Strong Considerations During Career Transition

No matter how hard we try, we all inevitably face career transition. Having had experience with my fair share of career transition, I thought I’d share some of the things that successful career-changers have implemented…

Podcast Details

Podcast Title:  Strong Considerations During Career Transition

Podcast Series: Financial Literacy Boot Camp

Link to Show Episode

No matter how hard we try we all will be inevitably faced with a career transition–whether that be within the same company but a new position, a new company altogether or a complete career change and the ever so famous “starting your own business”. Having had my fair share of career transition I thought I’d share some of the things that successful career-changers have implemented.

Here’s a list for your “consideration”…

They consist of the following:

Consider Cash Flow
This is what will kill a new business quick if you are an entrepreneur. And it is not necessarily your business expenses, but your personal living expenses [that don’t stop] when you are trying to get a new venture off the ground.  Or perhaps you are going to a high base salary to a more commission based job.  Whatever the scenario, you’d do well to have good cash flow management strategies in place prior to your transition. A good rule of thumb for your bank account is to have 3-6 months in living expenses. This can be more but not less.

Consider Your Company Benefits
If you split this into 2 categories–current considerations and future considerations–you might think of things like company benefits such as medical care as something to consider in your career transition. How similar is the coverage between Company A and Company B?  If this is misunderstood, you can be leaving benefits on the table.   In the future consideration camp, consider “deferred compensation” and 401(k) accounts as things to try and maximize without leaving much behind.  A lot of people leave the money in the plan because they don’t know what to do with it but this is not the best choice in most cases. Another thing could be vested shares of stock or options or other types of incentive pay. These all should be carefully reviewed for the ramifications of you leaving or transitioning from the company.

Consider Your Biggest Asset–Your Home
Buy/Sell/Rent my home?
Check out another version of this explanation from my Facebook post.
One of the best financial decisions I made before starting my company was to refinance my home mortgage from a 30 yr loan to a 15 yr loan. This freed up some monthly cash flow and ultimately was the best decision for me and my family based on our long-term plans. I’d highly recommend reviewing your long-term housing plans prior to career transition to see if it makes sense to find a way to reduce interest, make improvements, etc before you take a pay cut.  I often get clients caught in whether they should rent, buy or sell when they are forced to move to a new city. Well, there is some math to this. If you decide to rent out [a previously purchased home], consider if the all-in cost of renting will be less in what you could charge. And if so, is that difference big enough for you to become a full-time landlord or pay someone to manage the property. If not, save the land lording for a game of Monopoly and look to sell your home.

What if you are upside down?
When you are underwater on the mortgage, it may be best to just rent our previously purchased home because you have no other choice.  But if you’re in a career that has you moving frequently and you haven’t purchased a home, you may consider renting until you get more stationary. Believe me, I know the hassle more than most being a military brat, but at some point, you have to be smart about your finances. And buying and selling homes without making any money is not a smart financial transaction and it will negatively impact your net worth.

Consider Your Mate
Hopefully, it goes without saying that if you are in a marriage relationship, you need to get your spouse’s support on any move.  If you want to add unnecessary stress to your relationship, just ignore my advice here.  Having been married for over 20 years, there hasn’t been any major move I’ve made in my career without the support of my wife.  When things are not looking rosy, you’ll need the support of your significant other in those times especially.

#financialplanning #careertransition #newjob #finance #financialadvisor #financialtips #financialadvice #episode55

Helpful Links:

About Me:
Dominique Henderson, CFP® is founder of DJH Capital Management, LLC., a fee-only, registered investment advisory firm specializing in comprehensive financial planning and wealth management.

Sound bumps provided by www.bensound.com

How Do the Rich Really Get Rich?

Today we cover a subject that nearly everyone is interested in and that is getting rich. And more specifically, how that process happens. I provide the “Cliff Notes” version of the actual mechanism on how wealth is generated.

Podcast Details

Podcast Title:  How Do the Rich Really Get Rich?

Podcast Series: Financial Literacy Boot Camp

Link to Show Episode

What is Systematic Risk?
So there is a term called systematic risk. And I have to cover this because it will give context on “how you get rich”. Systematic risk is the risk inherent to a “system”. Think of investing in the stock market and the risk that comes with investing in equities.  There are risks inherent to that type of investment that are unavoidable and non-diversifiable. This would be defined as the uncertainty associated with investing in this system.

This is not to be confused with “systemic” risk which is risk similar to the collapse of 2009 where subprime mortgages almost took down the entire financial system. So if you invest in a system (e.g. commodity, stock, bonds, Bitcoin, etc.) you will have systematic risk. Lowering your total systematic risk will be a function of you accessing the types of risk, isolating them, and attempting to mitigate each individual risk. This is nearly impossible which is why it is inherent to the system.

What is Nonsystematic Risk?
Which now brings me to non-systematic or unsystematic risk. This is risk not inherent to the system but instead is very specific and is able to be diversified.  If you were an Enron employee in the early 2000s and most or all of your 401(k) was in Enron stock you have both systematic and nonsystematic risk, the latter due to the lack of diversification in your portfolio.  Nonsystematic risk can always be reduced or eliminated by spreading your investment dollars across multiple asset classes.

So How Do the Rich Rreally Get Rich?
Well, in short, they have a lot of nonsystematic risk in their portfolio. They have very concentrated positions in their portfolios. They usually use leverage to magnify their concentrated bet also.

Is this safe…?   It totally depends on the person.

In Ashvin Chhabra’s book, The Aspirational Investor, he has a chapter entitled: “How Do People Become Very Wealthy?” he talks about the Forbes 400 list and the 4 categories of wealth that comprise the list.

1) Business Owners comprise 60% of the list
2) Financiers comprise 20% of the list
3) Inheritors comprise 12% of the list
4) Real Estate Veterans comprise 8% of the list

#financialliteracy #financialadvice #financialplanning #forbes400 #wealth #rich #money #episode54

Helpful Links:

About Me:
Dominique Henderson, CFP® is founder of DJH Capital Management, LLC., a fee-only, registered investment advisory firm specializing in comprehensive financial planning and wealth management.

Sound bumps provided by www.bensound.com

Listening…The Advisor’s Best Tool

What is the financial advisor’s greatest tool? Hint: You have two ears, but only one mouth.

Podcast Details:

Podcast Title:  Listening…The Advisor’s Best Tool
Podcast Series: Financial Literacy Boot Camp

 

The latest research suggests there are:
  • over 400,000 advisors in the US
  • over 164MM working adults (26-65) or “potential clients”
Based on these numbers, every financial advisor would have about 400 families to serve, and everyone wanting financial services would have an advisor and every advisor that wanted to serve clients would have plenty of clients to make a good living.

Factors disrupting this Utopian like scenario would be…
  • DIY Investors (that will likely never hire an advisor);
  • Robo Advisors (that will absorb some of the need for investment management service specifically);
  • there are bad advisors that don’t deserve 1 client let alone 400;
  • there are good advisors that on their best day can’t serve that many clients
ThinkAdvisor asked Alan Alda (M.A.S.H actor and former financial advisor) the following question:
TA: Why is it critical for financial advisors to communicate well?
AA: “It’s important, not so you can sell people something they don’t need but so you can help them see what they do need if you understand their goals and how they can reach them. If they don’t understand you, your clients are in danger of leaving the way I had to leave my accountant when I couldn’t understand him because he was talking in jargon — for years and years.”

My point on his comments…
Jargon alienates people.  When I go to my doctor I expect him to break down in simple terms what’s going on.  Since he’s a good physician he should be able to use all the medical terms (as if he were with peers) and then switch to a good “bed side manner” as if he were with patients.  To me, this is the mark of a good physician.  He understands that my goal is not to become a doctor, and therefore, I don’t need all those fancy terms, I just want my problem fixed.  Same way with a financial advisor.  Clients just want their problem fixed and they want to know that you can help them.  No need for fancy terms, just solutions.  You can only do this when you listen.
Alda also mentions that some clients will be afraid to ask “what does that mean” when and if they don’t understand something.  Here’s the power of being able to conduct a dialogue with clients versus a monolog.  In many cases, I’ve seen where the advisor is talking so far over the client’s head that there is a disconnect. This only causes the relationship to drift apart eventually and unmet expectations ensue.

TA:  Generally, how does one relate better? 

AA:  “It doesn’t involve staring at someone in the eyes. It involves taking in the whole person. Some research I helped get done suggests that there’s a real advantage in increasing your empathy [stepping into the other person’s shoes] by paying close attention to who you’re talking to, trying to figure out what they’re feeling by observing their face. So there’s a little science suggesting it really does matter.”

My point on his comments…
So this is a really salient point because people really don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.  Any service professional has the duty to listen to the client and place his or her self in the client’s shoes.  After all, the client is coming to you with a problem because they think you have a solution.  We do well to fully understand the problem before inserting a solution.  I talked about “diagnosing” on Maven’s Keys recently.  So I’ll use the physician analogy again.  Any good physician is going to first diagnose the malady prior to prescribing medicine.  Here’s where the experience factor for advisors really comes to play because after working with so many clients you will begin to diagnose more accurately after listening to the client.  Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily taught in classrooms, and even when it is, it has to be practiced constantly for the advisor to become good at it.

#FINANCIALLITERACY #FINANCIALADVICE #FINANCIALPLANNING
#LISTENING#CLIENTSUCCESS #ADVISOR SUCCESS
#EPISODE53

Helpful Links:

About Me:
Dominique Henderson, CFP® is founder of DJH Capital Management, LLC., a fee-only, registered investment advisory firm specializing in comprehensive financial planning and wealth management.

Sound bumps provided by www.bensound.com

What to Do Before You’re Gone

So recently I created a little template that I like to call the “Financial Contentment Letter”. And it is really a discussion starter and thought provoker for clients to start to take action on their estate planning.

Podcast Details:

Podcast Title:  What to Do Before You’re Gone
Podcast Series: Financial Literacy Boot Camp
(Video and illustrations available on our YouTube channel here.)

 

So recently I created a little template that I like to call the “Financial Contentment Letter“.  And it is really a discussion starter and thought provoker for clients to start to take action on their estate planning.  This is a good document to go over before you create a will, medical & health care directives, or power of attorney because it helps you think through the things necessary in all those documents.

So I wanted to take the time during this show just to walk through the rationale behind my creation of this document and some of the experiences I’ve had that point to its importance.

A document like this would have been really helpful when my wife’s father passed suddenly a week after I graduated college. One of the last things your family is going to want to do is endure during the grieving process is trying to figure out what bills need to be paid and where the bank accounts are and what the passwords are.  These are simple things that family “CFOs” take for granted.

Since this document is designed to be a conversation starter and thought provoker, it’s going to make you think of things like:

  • Does my spouse know the passwords to all the financial accounts?
  • Is there a safe or lockbox that my spouse doesn’t know about?
  • What are all the financial institutions and life insurance companies where we have accounts?
  • What are the phone numbers and/or the names of the representatives of those companies (e.g. agents, bankers, etc.)?
  • Who are the beneficiaries on the account(s) we have?  Anyone that shouldn’t be on there?
  • Who would handle my estate?  Are there any individuals I should have a conversation with about this?  (e.g. adult children, trusted friend)

#financialplanning #taxstrategy #investmentstrategy #retirement #educationalplanning #estatestrategy #taxsavings #finlit #finance #money #financialadvisor #financialtips #financialadvice

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About Me:
Dominique Henderson, CFP® is founder of DJH Capital Management, LLC., a fee-only, registered investment advisory firm specializing in comprehensive financial planning and wealth management.

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Strategies to Maximize Executive Compensation

In the parable of the two business executives, I reveal 3 strategies to maximize wealth with employer benefits.

Podcast Details:

Podcast Title:  Strategies to Maximize Executive Compensation
Podcast Series: Financial Literacy Boot Camp
(Video and illustrations available on our YouTube channel here.)

Powerpoint Slides

In my previous positions and just through a lot of reading on executive compensation, we’ve developed an expertise.  So any of you listening out there that have executive compensation like RSUs, restricted stock, NSOs or ISOs, you want to give us a call so we can evaluate whether not you are maximizing your wealth potential and saving yourself money in tax liability.  Today, I’m going to share a little parable that gives a high-level overview of how we help our clients.

In previous articles, we’ve have mentioned the importance of having a specific strategy to maximize your wealth building potential through executive compensation program.  In our practice, we notice many highly-skilled and hard-working professionals don’t maximize their executive compensation programs either due to lack of knowledge or lack of time.  This article will focus on some of the strategies that can be utilized in order to not incur unnecessarily high taxable income in any given year that awards are given, exercised or vested.  To illustrate a specific strategy we will use the parable of Ron Smith.

 

The Parable of the Two Business Executives (6:00)
Ron Smith is the vice president of sales for MegaPharma, Inc. a thriving pharmaceutical company based in the US.  Ron has been with the company for nearly fifteen years and has experienced great success.  Such success he is now contemplating hiring a financial professional to help him manage his finances.  Before this time he had managed pretty well he thought, at least according to his peers, but the events of the past six months have caught his attention.  About seven months ago, his close friend and fellow colleague, Bruce Davis, who works for AlphaBioTech was laid off after serving his company for ten consecutive years.  That was bad news indeed, but Bruce was a great saver and his wife works also so they would be fine financially.  The real problem was what Bruce shared with Ron during a pharma conference they attended together.

 

Ron’s Situation(10:15)
Several weeks go by and Ron meets with Bruce’s financial advisor.  The financial advisor uncovers several things.
Ron has 4 wealth building tools that are offered to create retirement income:
  1. Defined Contribution Profit Sharing Plan or “401(k)”; The company matches up to 6% dollar for dollar (see episode 42)
  2. Defined Benefit Cash Balance Pension Plan; The company contributes 7% of Ron’s salary to the plan annually
  3. Restricted Stock Units; These have a 3-year vesting schedule
  4. Non-Qualified Stock Options; These have a 3-year vesting schedule and 10-year expiry
Observations (16:00)
  • The Advisor has also noticed a high concentration in MegaPharma’s stock across these 4 accounts
  • Ron is currently in the 33% tax bracket and concerned with his new salary and bonus he will be in the highest bracket of 39.6%
Three Planning Strategies (17:22)
After review, the financial advisor advised Ron to employ these three strategies to help Ron.
1) He recommended that Ron avoids exercising his options until after he had earned enough income year-to-date to avoid paying social security taxes and thereby reducing his take home pay.  This will put 6.2% back into his pocket.
2) After creating a schedule of all Ron’s RSUs and NSOs, an exercise schedule was created to incorporate a system to “average-out” selling company shares to diversify his retirement portfolio.  This minimized taxes while taking into consideration historical company share performance, Ron’s risk tolerance, and his financial goals.
3) Transfer property out of his estate by donating to a charity and use the subsequent tax deduction received to offset some of the W-2 income tax generated at exercise.

 

Addidtional Resources:

 

#executivecompensation #restrictedstock #stockoptions #taxsavings #retirementplanning #finlit #finance #financialadvisor #money #financialtips #financialadvice

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About Me:
Dominique Henderson, CFP® is founder of DJH Capital Management, LLC., a fee-only, registered investment advisory firm specializing in comprehensive financial planning and wealth management.

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What Do You Need to Know Before Working with a Financial Planner?

As an industry insider and one that has a concern for those that consume financial services, there are things you should know before working with a financial planner/advisor/professional. This episode will teach you what you need to know.

Podcast Details:

Podcast Title:  What Do You Need to Know Before Working with  a Financial Planner?
Podcast Series: Financial Literacy Boot Camp
(Video and illustrations available on our YouTube channel here.)

I really wanted to use this show as a way to update my article:  “Five Tips to Consider Before Choosing an Advisor”.  As an industry insider and one that has a concern for those that consume financial services, there are things you should know before working with a financial planner/advisor/professional.

Some of this has been covered previously through the above-referenced article and Episode 10-“Putting the Serve Back into Financial Services”, however, after recently giving a talk at a conference about this subject I felt I should update “the list”.

Questions/Issues We’ll Address on this Episode:

The 5 Areas of Greatest Concern:

Experience (Qualfications, Education, Specialty, Etc.) – (7:47)

Let’s talk experience.  Now I covered in a previous episode (“The Low Down on Financial Advisor Credentials”) some of the more popular professional designations.  I’m going to stick with what I’ve said before that you want someone that has been working with clients for at least 5 years especially if they have their own firm.  If it is a larger firm obviously the collective experience will probably exceed that.  But you may also want to look for a specific expertise.  What is your particular pain point?  Why do you want their help?  Ask them specifically how they have helped people in your shoes.  This will get them talking about their experience and their service offering which should give you some answers

Fiduciary Role (Ethics, Conflicts of Interest, Etc.) -(12:55)

I think the first and foremost is making sure your advisor is a fiduciary.  I actually spoke with a prospective client the other day and he actually referenced this term.  He asked about my pay structure and how I’m compensated.  I applauded his level of knowledge because most individuals working with an advisor don’t even know how their advisor is paid.  And if you don’t know how they’re paid you don’t know if his or hers interest are aligned with yours.  So make sure they adhere to a fiduciary standard and are looking to serve client interests before their own.

Method of Compensation (commission-based  vs fee-based) -(15:00)

Question them about their methods of compensation.  I’ve covered this before in episode 24 ” The ABCs of Financial Advisor Compensation”.  Does your advisor receive commissions as compensation by the selling of products to you?  If so, ask them what method they use to choose certain products and the incentive pay from the advice they give.  Other advisors may be compensated via some type of fee structure which can be fee-based or fee-only.  These are questions you should ask and have the advisor explain to you.

 

Method of Service Delivery (financial plan, IPS) – (18:45)
Next point is to have an investment policy statement (IPS for short).  But I want to expand that by saying that you should start with a financial plan.  A lot of people don’t agree with me here but anything that you do successfully in life usually starts with a plan, so why not your finances? When you focus only on investments how is the rest of your wealth to be managed?  What about tax planning?  Risk management?  Estate planning?  In sitting down with a financial planner, you should be focused on them taking a comprehensive view of your situation.

 

The “Sniff” Test – (21:25)
Passing the “sniff” test is another point I want to bring up.  I believe gone are the days where the advisor holds hostage all the information from the prospective client.  Especially if this leads to intimidation.  Nowadays, clients are looking for a collaborative experience and that means a sharing of information.  So if you are sitting with someone that does not seem they espouse that philosophy, you may want to keep looking.

 

#taxsavings #retirementplanning #finlit #finance #financialadvisor #money #financialtips #financialadvice

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About Me:
Dominique Henderson, CFP® is founder of DJH Capital Management, LLC., a fee-only, registered investment advisory firm specializing in comprehensive financial planning and wealth management.

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The Low-Down on Financial Advisor Credentials

Which one should I work with? Which designation is “better”? What are the qualifications to become one? How are they regulated?

Podcast Details:

Podcast Title:  The Low-Down on Financial Advisor Credentials
Podcast Series: Financial Literacy Boot Camp
Video and illustrations available on our YouTube channel here.

Powerpoint Slides

Questions/Issues We’ll Address on this Episode:

How many financial advisors are there?  (5:15)

Per the BLS there are 249,400 (in 2014) of “financial advisors”.

How many financial advisors are there?  (7:20)

Natural Questions….Which one should I work with? Which designation is “better”? What are the qualifications to become one? How are they regulated?

Top Down View on Advisors and their Specialty (8:15)
What is a CFP and what are the requirements? (9:35)
What is CFA and what are the requirements? (16:12)
What is CPA and what are the requirements? (20:35
Other designations (23:10)

Other Resources:

FINRA website for designation comparison
Episode 24 on Advisor Compensation
Episode 22 on What to Look for in an Advisor
5 Tips Before Hiring a Financial Advisor
10 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

#financialliteracy #finlit #finance #financialplanning #financialeducation #advice #financialadvisor #financialliteracy #money #finances #financialplanner #cfp #cfa #cpa

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About Me:
Dominique Henderson, CFP® is founder of DJH Capital Management, LLC., a fee-only, registered investment advisory firm specializing in comprehensive financial planning and wealth management.

 

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