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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

3 Tax Tips to Help You Retire Overseas the Right Way

After chasing and living the American dream, more and more Baby Boomers are considering retiring overseas. According to Travel Market Report, 3.3 million of America’s 78 million Baby Boomers say they are interested in retiring abroad. It’s a growing trend that is motivated by either the desire to develop a second home and financial situation or the need for a lower cost of living to be able to retire early or retire without working.  In fact, approximately 7 million Americans file an expat tax return and millions more are no longer required to file a U.S. tax return due to their reduced income.

If you find yourself in one of these two boats, the good news is that retiring overseas is certainly possible and with good planning, can be very rewarding.  Sitting down with a tax and financial professional with experience in international tax is the best first step.  Making sure that your financial house is in order ensures that you will experience the retirement of your dreams. Typically, at Money Concepts, we start working with clients about 18-24 months before they move abroad to make sure that they have their tax and financial worlds in order.  The IRS especially targets U.S. expats with additional reporting requirements and draconian penalties so we help our clients make sure that they do not have to worry about any IRS surprises when they are abroad.

Money Concepts advisor, Nick Hodges, CPA/PFS, MBA, CFP, CGMA, shares the three tax tips he always talks through with prospective expats:
  • Leave from the “right” state: You could save a bundle on state income tax and avoid future harassment from state authorities by making your overseas move from a “no income tax” state. But you have to establish residency there before you leave the U.S. There are nine “no income tax” states you can consider: Florida, Alaska, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Move to one of these before you head overseas and you can save significantly. 
  • What you need to disclose: There are as many as six additional federal tax disclosure forms when you move abroad. While these forms usually don’t change your U.S. income tax amount, each form carries a minimum $10,000 per year penalty if not correctly filed. 
  • Keep important documents safe and accessible: Most of us keep our important documents in a safe deposit
box or filing cabinet. But when you need them abroad, consider scanning
and saving your files to a USB-
or thumb-drive. Alternatively, you can employ a secure, online storage for your important documents and data, which you can then access from anywhere in the world.
If you are considering retiring overseas, make sure you have a firm grasp on your tax and financial situation, a strong sense of adventure and adaptability, and the willingness to exchange some U.S. comforts for the exotic offerings of foreign locations. 

For more information, we encourage you to contact one of our financial advisors and take a look at the following resources:

Nick Hodges, CPA/PFS, MBA, CFP, CGMA

Thursday, September 25, 2014

3 Reasons That Will Make You Rethink Your Need for Life Insurance

When was the last time you really thought about your life insurance policy or reviewed your life insurance needs? Chances are, if you don’t live in the world of wealth management like us, it’s probably been longer than you’d like to admit or perhaps it’s never even been more than a fleeting thought. You know, one of those, “I probably need to check into that soon”. Well, the reality is that life insurance can often be misunderstood, misconceived or altogether avoided, but when armed with the right information and resources, life insurance becomes a valuable tool in your financial plan.

What is the importance of having life insurance? It’s the peace of mind you get from knowing your loved ones will be taken care of – it can pay off debts and loans, help fund a child’s future education, or provide a steady source of income for family members. And while many Americans see the value in life insurance, less than half actually have life insurance policies – 95 million adult Americans to be exact, according to industry research group LIMRA.

If you’re within that group, we want to provide you with three reasons why you should rethink your decision and add a life insurance policy to your coverage:
  1. Income Replacement. This the most basic purpose of any life insurance policy - replacing your annual income until the age you would have retired. When you have lost your ability to get out of bed and go to work, how will you survive without your income? From here, you should be able to determine how much life insurance you need.
  2. Protecting and Taking Care of Loved Ones. Consider whom you are leaving behind and how they will be impacted by the loss of your income. Your spouse and your children are the most important part of your life. It goes without saying that you would do anything to ensure their comfort and safety. Financially, you should be able to say the same.
  3. Tax-Free Wealth. You have the ability to build up tax-free wealth that you can use either during your lifetime or to be passed on to your heirs. If you build a variable universal insurance policy correctly, you can use it as a big Roth IRA. Post-tax money goes in, but the money grows tax-free and can potentially be pulled out tax-free.

“Life insurance is a financial product like so many other financial products. It is sold out of fear or need instead of out of good solid mathematics,” comments Money Concepts Financial Planner, Christopher Puffer. “Take this into consideration: Life insurance is the only investment vehicle that can guarantee a sum of money to be available when the most critical bills are due.”

Your policy isn’t a gamble; it is a vital part of the economic plan to keep your family financially secure. If you are underinsured, we strongly encourage you to seek the financial protection you need today. Keep in mind the following questions when determining your life insurance options: 
  • What is the need for the insurance?
  • How much do you need?
  • How long of a term do you need on the policy?
  • Explore your options thoroughly. Don’t make price your only deciding factor!

When life throws you a curve ball, you want to be prepared for it. Be proactive and select a licensed financial planner to serve as your trusted advisor now and in the years to come.

Christopher Puffer, Financial Planner

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shredding for Colonial Fundraiser

On Saturday, July 19, Rob Moritz sponsored the Shredding for Colonial event benefiting the Chad/Courtney Bus Replacement Fund. This fund was created to replace a school bus lost after a tragic and fatal accident last summer. Here are the results: 

    • 825 pounds of paper were shredded, which recycled will replace SEVEN TREES!
    • Over $4,000 was raised.
    • Money Concepts Headquarters matched $1000, for a total exceeding $5,000!
    • Rob was interviewed LIVE for TWO different television stations.
    • In addition, he was interviewed FOUR additional times.
    • ALL FOUR Indianapolis Television stations ran the story on the late evening news!

Through this event, the Faithful Stewards of Money Concepts recycled approximately 5,225 lbs of recyclable paper. As a result, the following resources were conserved:

    • 44 Trees
    • 993 Gallons of Oil
    • 18,288 Gallons of Water
    • 12,540 Kilowatt Hours of Energy 
    • 261 Cubic Yards of Landfill Space

Congratulations to Rob and the Faithful Stewards team on a successful fundraising event!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Money Concepts: Building a Legacy of Financial Leadership for 35 Years and Counting

Today, we reach a major milestone as we celebrate our 35th anniversary. When Jack Walsh founded Money Concepts in 1979, he had a mission to help financial advisors achieve success with turnkey systems and procedures that offered holistic financial planning and wealth management solutions. And while so many things have changed over the last 35 years, there is one thing that has remained the same...our dedication to Mr. Walsh’s original mission. Today, at the helm, driving the organization to new heights is Jack’s son, Denis, who leads Money Concepts in the role of CEO.

From inception, establishing a strong foundation of leadership that would leave a lasting legacy has been a top priority for the Walshes. With this foundation, Money Concepts has been able to provide thousands of nonproprietary independent financial products and services to our advisors, which means success for our clients, success for our representatives, and ultimately, ongoing growth for our company. Today, we can proudly say there are more than 700 Money Concepts Planning Centers throughout North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim.

One of the most exciting and most gratifying parts of this journey is the success our advisors have achieved. We were created to help financial advisors. To witness their longevity, quality of work and guidance they give their clients fills us with an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment. We are honored to have them working with us and will do everything in our power to maintain and earn the trust they have placed in us. We also want to recognize the corporate staff for the quality effort they put forth. We could not have reached this achievement without you.

“We are very proud of all of our staff. They are a great group of people who are dedicated, hardworking and enjoy what they do and it shows. The real key to our company culture is the love we have for what we do and a respect for everyone we work with,” President and CEO Denis Walsh said of his organization.

Our goal over the next 35 years is to build the premier independent financial planning and wealth management company in the world. We want to build a firm that satisfies the needs of advisors today, and looks to the future, positioning us at the cutting edge of technology, allowing us to adapt as changes occur in the market.

Executive Vice President Barry Dayley adds, “I believe as long as you’re growing, you’re vibrant, you have fresh ideas, you are seeking opportunities, you’re not just managing something, you’re really growing something; you will not have reached your pinnacle – and we are far from that now.”

Happy Anniversary, Money Concepts and here’s to many years to come!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Why We Need More Women In Investment [INFOGRAPHIC]

In a country where women are expected to control two-thirds of consumer wealth in the U.S. over the next decade and to become the recipients of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history, it’s surprising to see the lack of women within the investment industry. Perhaps even more shocking, is the industry’s response to it.

Let’s take a step back and get a sense for the role of women in the financial services arena. Within our industry, women make up only about 30 percent of the total populace of U.S. investment advisors. At hedge funds, women fill fewer than 20 percent of C-level positions. And at venture capital and private equity firms, only 13 percent are made up of females, who fill only 12 percent of C-level desks.

This begs the question, where have all the investment women gone?

Money Concepts financial advisor, Susan Sukys, weighed in on the topic, “The industry has historically been predominantly male, so there's a natural time delay for women entering the industry… The same evolution has been seen for physicians, attorneys and other professional, formerly male-dominated professions.” In many instances the world of financial services is still perceived as a scene out of Mad Men, a boys’ club of sorts. Financial advisor Rebecca Muller adds, “It’s a field that women typically are steered away from. I think it’s a cultural thing that is slowly being overcome.”

Fortunately for us, Money Concepts advisors like Susan Sukys, Rebecca Muller and Cheryl Boyer have chosen the path of financial service in order to educate and empower clients to make the financial decisions that will help them live more enriched lives. “Women bring to this industry a natural tendency for nurturing relationships which is conducive to building effective and profitable client-financial planner relationships,” said Boyer. They encourage other women to join their ranks.

What would it take for more to follow in their footsteps? Our advisors felt that if women were more knowledgeable about the profession and what it means to be a true financial planner, the more they would be drawn to be a part of it. Popular media often negatively spotlights the moneymaking side of the industry; but, there is a more holistic, sharing-of-information approach to this profession that supports clients in their goals, building their path to success personally, professionally and financially - and that is what needs to be seen. The more women who enter the field, the more role models will be created for young women to emulate and hopefully, over time, the balance on the scales will shift and the gender representation within the industry will be equalized.

Sukys noted, “This field is immensely rewarding, but challenging. It is not for the faint of heart. You are an advocate and guide for individuals and families with financial goals, which ultimately can add significantly to their quality of life, not just in the present, but also for future generations. It's a privilege to partner with clients on these impactful goals, and you'll want to be prepared to shoulder that rewarding responsibility.” And if that’s not enough, Muller points out that the flexible work schedule allows financial advisors to enjoy an engaging and impactful career, while still being available to your family. So not only is a career as an advisor personally and professionally rewarding, it will also provide you and your family with the resources to do anything you want to. “The short answer - Join us and Just Do It!” she exclaims.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

How Charitable Giving Pays Off

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Wintston Churchill

At Money Concepts, we offer our clients and customers holistic financial planning and wealth management solutions that empower them to live more enriched lives. In doing so, we encourage them to pay it forward and enrich the lives of others through charitable giving.

Imagine if you transformed your thought process from earning money just to get by to earning money to be a part of a bigger whole! This is the concept of “earning to give.”

One of the key phrases Founder Jack Walsh stated in Money Concept’s formation was that "our education teaches us how to earn a living, not what to do with it". We all have our own respective situations and the ability to give or spend as we see fit. Making charitable giving a regular part of a budget can be an empowering teaching tool and justification of what we were meant to do in life. By simply showing the reduction of arbitrary or wasteful spending that has no real value, and turning it into a giving stream that saves lives, or helps deliver a life experience can not only change the receiver, but also the giver. It helps bring a perspective into your life that is often times lacking. 

If you want to incorporate charitable giving into your financial plan, the first step is to take the first step. Make the decision to prioritize it within your budget. Review what your current spending habits are and where your money goes. Usually, you will find multiple ways to create money to reallocate in your monthly budgeting. If you’re having trouble with this process, speak with your financial planner. “[We] are in the business to truly help others, not only from a financial planning perspective, but also to help discover how we can all have a better life, which includes charitable efforts,” noted Money Concepts financial advisor John Hathaway.

The next step is to do a self-evaluation on what is important to you and align yourself with a charity or organization that you will be proud supporting. You can’t give to every charity, but find one or two that ideologically and philosophically align with yours. Probably the best advice when it comes to giving is not to get involved with charities for the sole purpose of exposure or to be a part of anything that acts in an unauthentic way. You will do yourself a disservice and you will not gain the full life experience that awaits you unless your intention is pure.

Money Concepts strives to be a prime example of “earning to give” through its yearly tradition Spring of Love. During May and June Money Concepts allocates 1% of its gross income to various charities like Folds of Honor, St. Jude’s Hospital and Make A Wish Foundation. It is our mission to help foster and assist charities in the communities where our advisors are. Money Concepts financial advisor Craig Sutherland has supported St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for almost 20 years and has even founded the "Money Concepts Classic,” a local charity golf event. John Hathaway helps contribute to Early Childhood Education and Wellness and Cherish the Children, a statewide effort to help children and families in need of financial assistance.

Sutherland adds, “At some point, everyone will face a situation or make a decision on what is most important or meaningful in their life. In that moment, there is a clear realization that you have the ability to change the world. No matter, great or small, you can be a part of something great.”

Are you ready to start earning to give?

Major Contributions by:
Craig Sutherland
John Hathaway