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Small Changes, Big Differences

For most people seeking financial advice, especially those approaching retirement, many of their large decisions have been made already. The house you live in, the size of your family, your career and lifestyle expectations are determined by this point. They’re unlikely to change and really set the foundation of your financial picture.

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Only You Can Make You Wealthy

We talked for another 35 minutes about her expectations and aspirations, but after a while, I simply told her, “I, and the stock market, cannot make you wealthy; only you can make you wealthy.” I further explained that the markets can help grow your money and help you stay wealthy, but counting solely on the financial markets, or an advisor, to make you wealthy is not enough. It is most likely that you will earn more in your business or career than you will earn from the investment markets. Your financial advisor does not make you wealthy. We are here to help you get to where you want to be given your circumstances. We help optimize your situation, help you make efficient decisions with your limited resources, get you to take action, and employ a disciplined approach to the investment markets. In other words, you might not bring filet mignon to my office, but I guarantee if you brought chop meat, I’d help you make the best meatloaf around!

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Who is Paying Your Investment Fees?

The other day I met with a long time client and we were talking about some of her early investing experiences. She told me she started at a local bank and they offered her investment management services. She happily accepted and for years she thought it was a complimentary service provided by the bank and reminded me that she didn’t realize there were fees associated with her investing until our first meeting.

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What Every Teacher Should Know About Their 403(b): Surrender Charge Basics

How does it Work? Surrender charges usually come in two flavors: Fixed Period: Where the surrender charge is based on when you start the annuity. For example, if you started the annuity in 2017, the annuity could be free of surrender charges by 2024. In this example, the annuity has a seven-year surrender schedule. The number of years will vary depending on the insurance company. Another variable is the percentage, which represents the actual fee on the withdrawal. If you dig in the prospectus of an annuity, you will probably see something that looks like this- 8%, 7%, 6%, 5%, 4%, 3%, 2%. This indicates the annuity has a seven-year surrender period with an 7% surrender charge in the second year, 6% charge in the third year, and so on until the eighth year.

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The Upswing of a New Swing

So, how does this relate to personal finance? Sometimes, making a change feels uncomfortable, but it often yields good results. Not only will the initial change provide benefits, but it often has a ripple effect and positively impacts future events.

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