Are You Ready For A New Year? 5 Steps To Take Before You Say Hello To 2020

By Jeff Gilbert

This year (and decade!) is quickly coming to a close, and if you’re like most Americans, you spend the month of December neck-deep in Christmas parties, shopping for gifts, and planning for travel. You might think that managing your finances can wait as you deal with the holiday busyness, but since finance-related resolutions consistently fall in the top five most popular New Year’s resolutions, (1) why don’t you give yourself a head start on your 2020 financial goals? Here are 5 critical financial actions you’ll be glad you tackled when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve!

1. Celebrate Victories And Set New Goals

What financial goals did you set when you rung in 2019? Did you stay on top of those goals or did they get swept under the rug? Take this time to reflect on the past year and mark how far you’ve come, celebrating your progress, no matter how small! Then evaluate your saving and spending from the past year, set some new goals, and adjust your financial plan, taking into account any life changes such as marriage, relocation, or a job change. 

2. Bump Up Your Savings

If possible, max out your contributions to your 401(k) by the end of the year to make the most of your retirement savings. For 2019, you can contribute as much as $19,000 (or $25,000 if you are age 50 or older). Remember, these are your contribution limits and any employer match would be in addition to this. You might also consider contributing to a Roth IRA. For 2019, you can contribute as much as $6,000 (or $7,000 if you are age 50 or older). Finish the year strong by investing in your future!

3. Take Advantage of Your Employer Benefits

While every employer has different rules that apply to the benefits they offer their employees, many benefits expire or reset at the end of the year. You work hard for these perks, so be sure to use them!

Medical and Dental Benefits

At the beginning of 2019, did you have good intentions of taking care of some dental work, blood tests, or other medical procedures lingering on your to-do list? Now’s the time to take advantage of all your healthcare needs before your deductible resets. Dental plans in particular often have a maximum coverage amount. If you haven’t used up the full amount and anticipate any treatments, make it a priority to set an appointment before December 31st.

Flexible Spending Account

Like your health insurance benefits, you’ll want to use up as much of your FSA (flexible spending account) dollars as possible by the end of the year. You are only allowed to carry over $500 to the next plan year. Check the restrictions on your account to see what the money can and cannot be used for, and take care of any needs you may have as allowed by your plan.

Sick and Vacation Time

Depending on your company, your sick or vacation time might expire at the end of the year. Check with your HR department to learn about any expiration dates. If it does expire, fit in a last-minute vacation or even a staycation. If you need to make any trips to the doctor in the near future, schedule those appointments now to make use of these benefits before you lose them.

4. Make Some Updates

To your estate plan and insurance coverage, that is. If you have taken the time and energy to create an estate plan, you’ll want to check in periodically to ensure all the documents are up to date and no major details have changed. Any significant life event is a good time to think about updating your estate plan documents. If you change any of the beneficiaries in one place, such as a life insurance policy, make sure that they are consistent with the other documents so that there is no confusion. 

Your insurance needs may have changed as the year has gone on, which is why it’s important to regularly review your insurance coverages and your designated beneficiaries to make sure they are up to date and reflect your current financial situation. For example, if you’ve paid off debt and your youngest child has just graduated from college, you may not need as much life insurance coverage since your family’s needs and liabilities have decreased. You might also want to evaluate your need for other types of insurance you may not currently have, such as long-term care insurance.

5. Give, Then Give Some More

If gifting is one of your long-term financial goals, it’s never too early to start planning for the legacy you want to leave your loved ones without sharing a good portion of it with Uncle Sam.

Each year you can gift up to $15,000 to as many people as you wish without those gifts counting against your lifetime exemption of $11.4 million. If you’ve yet to gift this year or haven’t reached the $15,000 limit for a particular recipient, make sure you do this by December 31st.

If you’re planning to itemize deductions on your 2019 tax return, be sure to make your charitable contributions before the end of the year. This includes donating appreciated securities, which may help you avoid paying taxes on the gains. Along with your other tax documents, find and organize any receipts you have from donations to charities, whether made in cash, as a securities contribution, or other type of gift.

End The Year Strong

Which of these steps do you need to take before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve? Our team at Balboa Wealth Partners would love to help you finish the year strong and set you up for a successful 2020. Give me a call at 949-445-1465 or email me at jgilbert@balboawealth.com to get started today! 

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive-level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high- and ultra-high-net-worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals, worry less about their finances, and focus more on their life’s passions. Based in Orange County, Jeff works with clients throughout Southern California as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com

Advisory services provided by Balboa Wealth Partners, Inc., an Investment Advisor registered with the SEC. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Balboa Wealth Partners and its Investment Advisor Representatives are properly licensed or exempt from registration.

Securities offered through Chalice Capital Partners, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC.

Balboa offers advisory services independent of Chalice. Neither firm is affiliated.

____________

(1) https://vitagene.com/blog/most-popular-2019-new-years-resolution/

Welcome Our New Team Members!

By Jeff Gilbert

Balboa Wealth Partners is thrilled to welcome two new additions to our team, Aarone Tirpak and Mark Zielinski! We love that our firm is growing and expanding, and we are thankful to have these two extraordinary advisors here to provide our clients with even more expertise, passion, and skill. 

Meet Aarone

Aarone joins us from Wells Fargo, where he excelled in his job as a producing branch manager. He has been in the financial industry for over three decades, beginning with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in the early ’90s and leading to opportunities to work with mass affluent clients throughout the country. He’s held various roles, including managing an advisory branch with over $1 billion in client assets, assisting clients with retirement planning, overall planning and asset management needs, as well as coaching other advisors so they can develop their own best practices to better serve their clients. He has also spent some time providing financial wellness education lectures for several Fortune 500 companies, special interest groups, and local municipal venues. 

Aarone thrives on helping his clients find confidence in their financial decision-making process and supporting fellow advisors with any and all insights and skills he has gained over the years. 

Meet Mark

Mark Zielinski has a rich and deep background in the financial industry with 38 years of experience both in investment and wealth management and financial advisor recruiting. He’s held executive roles in branch/complex and regional management with Prudential Securities, Piper Jaffray, and Wells Fargo Advisors.  He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, as well as a certificate in executive development from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Mark is known for being an exceptional communicator and excels in breaking down ideas into simple and easy-to-understand concepts. Mark earns client and team member trust quickly and is regularly sought after for leadership positions. He is a calculated risk-taker who balances both facts and intuition, a strategy that has proved successful in his almost four-decade career. Mark is passionate about helping people grow their businesses while building exceptional lives. 

Welcome Aarone And Mark

We believe Aarone and Mark will be powerful additions to our team and we encourage you to welcome them to the firm when you come by! If you would like to meet our new advisors or find out what Balboa Wealth Partners can do for your financial life, give me a call at 949-445-1465 or email me at jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive-level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high- and ultra-high-net-worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals, worry less about their finances, and focus more on their life’s passions. Based in Orange County, Jeff works with clients throughout Southern California as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com

Advisory services provided by Balboa Wealth Partners, Inc., an Investment Advisor registered with the SEC. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Balboa Wealth Partners and its Investment Advisor Representatives are properly licensed or exempt from registration.

Securities offered through Chalice Capital Partners, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC.

Balboa offers advisory services independent of Chalice. Neither firm is affiliated.

The Biggest Financial Mistakes I See

By Jeff Gilbert

Life is hectic. If you’re like me, you run around day after day trying to finish a to-do list that never ends. This infinite to-do list is loaded with tasks we know we should do but can never seem to find the time to do them.

One of these neglected tasks is taking time to examine our financial health and make sure we aren’t making mistakes that will come back to bite us down the road. Unless we are constantly reminded of these common financial mistakes (and their consequences), life tends to take over and we forget.

Well, today I’m giving you a friendly nudge. Here are the three biggest financial mistakes to avoid—mistakes that are easy to make but that have huge consequences.

1. Failing To Set Up A Will And A Trust

One mistake I often see with new clients is that they don’t have a will or a trust set up. Nobody likes to think about accidents or death, but if you fail to set up these documents, you’re putting the well-being of your loved ones at risk. Let me explain.

A will is a document that gives instructions on how to distribute your assets when you die. It also indicates who will become the legal guardian of your minor children. Without a will, you are leaving this all up to chance—not a good idea! So, unless you are single, broke, and have no kids, you need a will.

A trust is another document used to transfer your estate when you die. Depending on your situation, a trust could make the asset distribution process faster (and less expensive) for your beneficiaries. The best way to find out if you need a trust is to speak with a financial advisor. 

2. Waiting Too Long To Start Saving

When you’re young, life is complicated. You’re busy studying, starting a career, finding a life partner, raising kids, and frantically trying to squeeze in a social life. That’s a lot of time, energy, and expenses. And unfortunately, it usually means your retirement plan is put off until “someday when things settle down a bit.”

This common mistake has serious consequences.

If you wait until mid-life to start saving for retirement, you lose your most powerful wealth-building tool: time. Every year you wait to contribute to a retirement account is a year less of compounding interest.

Whenever I ask people why they waited so long to start, it’s usually related to procrastination. “Oh, I’ll start contributing to that Roth next year when I have fewer expenses.” But then one year turns to two, two to five, five to 10—and before they know it, they’re 45 years old with zero dollars saved for retirement.

Please don’t do this!

3. Not Having A Plan

The last critical mistake I see is when people move through life without a financial plan. They have no written road map outlining the steps to reach their short-term and long-term goals. Many times, they don’t even know what those goals are!

Here’s a hard truth: You can’t just save some money here and there and hope for the best. It doesn’t work that way. This path leads to disaster. If you want to build the wealth needed to reach your lifestyle goals, you first need to define those goals, and then you must work backward to create a step-by-step plan.

This is exactly what we at Balboa Wealth Partners help our clients do. If you’re interested in a no-obligation conversation about how we can help you design a personalized program to reach your financial goals (and avoid the above mistakes, among others), give me a call at 949-445-1465 or email me at jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive-level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high- and ultra-high-net-worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals, worry less about their finances, and focus more on their life’s passions. Based in Orange County, Jeff works with clients throughout Southern California as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com

Advisory services provided by Balboa Wealth Partners, Inc., an Investment Advisor registered with the SEC. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Balboa Wealth Partners and its Investment Advisor Representatives are properly licensed or exempt from registration.

Securities offered through Chalice Capital Partners, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC.

Balboa offers advisory services independent of Chalice. Neither firm is affiliated.

Jump-Start Your Financial Plan For 2019!

What new goals are you trying to reach in 2019? Are you focusing on your physical health by joining a gym and cleaning up your diet? Are you throwing yourself into your career in order to earn a promotion? Or maybe, like millions of other people, you are using this year’s fresh start to find renewed motivation and make plans to get out of debt, save more, or reach a financial milestone such as purchasing a vacation home or retiring.

While setting goals can be a healthy way to focus on what matters in the new year, 80% of resolutions fail by February. (1) Your finances are too important to fail, so if you have dreams of making 2019 your best financial year yet, these 6 small but impactful steps will help you jump-start your financial plan and set a solid foundation for your financial life.

1. Create An Action Plan For Your Goals

Have you ever put your financial dreams in writing? Now is the time to do just that! Whether your dream is to save $100,000 in the next five years or fully fund your child’s college education, putting your thoughts on paper will help you turn your dreams into goals and your goals into a step-by-step plan. And since it will take time to reach your goals and plenty of obstacles will come up along the way, set attainable objectives and celebrate your progress.

Come up with deadlines to reach specific milestones on the way toward your overall goal. If you are trying to eliminate debt, for example, determine how much you will pay each month and what your subsequent debt amount will look like in six months, one year, or five years. It’s also important to use visual reminders to keep you on track and help you avoid discouragement. Whether you use a spreadsheet or a chart hung on your fridge door, measure your progress as time goes on, and remember that small steps add up to significant progress over time.

Be sure to reevaluate your goals frequently and make adjustments as needed. Having goals and an action plan to achieve your goals will give you perspective in your day-to-day decisions and help you prioritize your saving and spending.

2. Leverage Technology To Make Your Life Easier

Our lives are becoming increasingly busy, and it’s often the seemingly less important financial tasks that fall to the wayside. Thankfully, financial technology has come a long way. Take advantage of the tools available to streamline your financial life so you can devote your time and attention to the things that matter most.

Automating your bills and savings not only organizes your life but also has long-term benefits for your financial picture. Paying your bills automatically tends to improve your credit score, makes budgeting simpler, and can also make income tax preparation easier. Additionally, by automating your savings, you give yourself a chance to save before you can even touch the money.

If budgeting is your pain point, look for a budgeting platform that works for you, and don’t forget to talk to your financial professional to find out if they offer software that allows you to see all your accounts in one place so you can stay organized and track your progress toward your goals.

3. Eliminate Debt

It’s difficult to accumulate wealth and make progress toward your goals when you are paying high interest rates on things like credit cards, car loans, and student loans. Become relentless about reducing your debt and interest costs, and consolidate accounts where you can.

If you have a loan with a significantly higher interest rate than the others, you may want to work on paying off that one first. Or, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by debt, try paying off the loan with the smallest balance first, no matter the interest rate, in order to gain some momentum. Use a debt calculator to calculate out how long it will take to pay off your debt, then build extra payments into your monthly budget so you aren’t tempted to spend that money elsewhere.

Creating an emergency fund can help you avoid accumulating more debt. By setting up a liquid, easily accessible savings account, you won’t have to rely on debt to cover those inevitable life expenses, such as home repairs or medical bills. Create this cash cushion by putting aside money from each paycheck until you have enough to cover approximately three to six months’ worth of living expenses. You will never regret having an emergency fund at the ready.

4. Invest With Purpose

Anyone can close their eyes and pick a random mix of mutual funds to invest in, but having a customized retirement plan based on your circumstances, goals, and risk level is what will get you from point A to point B. Asset allocation is the most critical investment decision you can make, especially in our current volatile market.

Work with a financial professional to determine your risk tolerance level and create an investment strategy that will give your portfolio a clear sense of purpose. It’s also critical to rebalance on occasion to ensure your portfolio is still aligned with your goals and time horizon.

5. Mitigate Risks

No matter how hard you work to create a foolproof financial plan, there will always be risks and roadblocks that have the potential to get you off course. Inflation will decrease your purchasing power, and rising healthcare costs can eat away at your nest egg. Unexpected early retirement could change the time frame of your goals, tax changes could throw a wrench into your planning, and the loss of a spouse could impact your standard of living. Speak with your advisor to find ways to protect yourself against these risks.

6. Partner With A Financial Professional

Regardless of where you are in the planning process or what goals you have set for your financial life, we are here to support you, guide you, and help you navigate the challenges of life so you can attain your current and future financial needs. At Balboa Wealth Partners, our advisors specialize in overseeing your financial affairs and coordinating the day-to-day execution of your long-term financial plan, all with high-touch, responsive service. Let us help you jump-start your financial plan in 2019 by contacting me at 949-445-1465 or jgilbert@balboawealth.com to set up a no-obligation conversation.

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high- and ultra-high net-worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals and to worry less about their finances and more on their passions in life. Based in Orange County, he works with clients throughout Southern California, as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

Advisory services provided by Balboa Wealth Partners, Inc, an Investment Adviser registered with the SEC.  Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Balboa Wealth Partners and its Investment Advisor Representatives are properly licensed or exempt from registration.

Securities offered through Chalice Capital Partners, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC.

Balboa offers advisory services independent of Chalice.  Neither firm is affiliated.

____________

(1) https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2015-12-29/why-80-percent-of-new-years-resolutions-fail

The Top Five Financial Planning Challenges Of Business Owners

Owning your own business can give you great freedom and power in life. But it also comes with great responsibility. One of the responsibilities business owners struggle with is creating a plan to convert their successful business into long-lasting personal wealth. The first step in solving this problem is understanding what is involved in creating a solid plan. Once you know what you’re up against, you can start planning accordingly. Here is a list of the top five financial planning challenges business owners face as well as some tips to overcome them.

Setting Up An Ideal Tax Strategy

Taxes are complicated and time-consuming, especially if you are trying to make sure you aren’t paying more than you should be. When you’ve got a business to run, there’s no time to figure everything out yourself. That’s why it’s essential to get professional help. By letting an expert take care of your tax strategy, you’ll not only free up time to grow your business but also significantly cut down your tax bill. An advisor can help you choose the best business entity for your unique situation and show you strategies to legally minimize what you owe.

Protecting Your Assets

Making a plan to protect both your business and personal assets is a step you absolutely cannot skip. Failing to properly protect yourself can have devastating consequences if a lawsuit were to occur (which, in this day and age, is not unlikely). You’ll want to explore which general and professional liability insurances will serve you best, regularly review and maintain corporate documents, and keep an eye on capitalization levels. (1)

Preparing For Unexpected Circumstances

Most small businesses depend on a few essential employees to function successfully. If something were to happen to you or one of your key employees, you need to have a plan in place to protect both your business and your family. If something happens to you, who will take over? How can you ensure that you and your family will continue receiving an income? There are many factors to consider when creating a contingency plan, and it’s best to consult a professional to cover all your bases.

Choosing The Best Retirement Plan

As a small business owner, you have several options when it comes to setting up a retirement plan (for yourself and for your employees). Which one is best? Well, there is no one right answer. It all depends on your business and unique situation. Many times, the plans with the greatest tax benefits require the highest contribution levels. Because of this, you need to determine what balance is best for your business.

Planning The Transition Out Of Your Business

This is a factor that is often overlooked. You aren’t going to be working in your business forever. At some point, you will either sell or pass ownership on to someone else (family, co-owner, third party, etc.). How can you set up your business to maximize wealth for you and your family when that moment comes? In order to make this a seamless (and lucrative) transition, a plan should be established as soon as possible.

Next Steps

For a busy business owner, overcoming these financial planning challenges can seem overwhelming. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. With the help of a personal investment advisor, you can create a clear game plan, laying out where you are now, where you want to be, and the steps required to get you there. With an advisor in your corner, you can protect yourself from the pitfalls into which many business owners fall. If you’re interested in setting up a no-obligation conversation about how I can help you overcome these challenges and put your mind at ease, give me a call at 949-445-1465 or email me at jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients with guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high and ultra-high net worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals and to worry less about their finances and more on their passions in life. Based in Orange County, he works with clients throughout Southern California, as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

Advisory services offered through Balboa Wealth Partners, Inc. An SEC-registered Investment Adviser.  Securities offered through Chalice Capital Partners, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC

Balboa offers advisory services independent of Chalice. Neither firm is affiliated.

________

(1) http://www.plannersearch.org/financial-planning/top-five-financial-challenges-facing-business-owners-and-professionals

Five Steps to Get Your Financial House in Order

Did you know that four in ten Americans admit that they prefer not to think about money? (1) This isn’t all too surprising as, for many people, finances can seem complicated and overwhelming, and many people suffer from decision fatigue and don’t know where to start. If that’s you, take a look at these five steps to get your financial house in order.

1. Gather and Organize Your Financial Documents

Despite how digital our lives are becoming, there are still times we need physical documents. Find a system that works for you, whether it’s a binder, a locked filing cabinet, or an in-home, fireproof safe.

To start, separate your financial papers into three categories: bills, documents or statements to save, and old items you can toss. Gather everything together neatly and store it in one place that is easy for you to access.

Utilize a Password Manager Tool

Do you have a system for keeping track of your countless usernames and passwords? You’ll save yourself some headaches if you can find a method to keep all your information in one place. There are plenty of online password managers to choose from, but however you decide to organize your login details, be sure to regularly update your passwords to protect yourself from hackers.

Go Green

If you want to minimize the amount of paper that piles up on your counters, save a tree and get rid of clutter by enrolling in paperless document delivery for all your bills and financial services. Since you’re planning to create a password management strategy, the only thing you’ll need to do to access account details is find your login information and be on your way.

Communicate

Develop a master directory that lays out all your financial information to help you manage your affairs and serve as a guide to your family members if they ever need to assist with your finances. Be sure to include account numbers and logins and keep this document password-protected or under lock and key.

2. Set and Follow a Budget

Part of being financially organized includes being aware. If you know how much money is going in and out and stick to a budget, you won’t find yourself scrambling to pay bills or wondering where that recent paycheck went.

A budget helps you establish parameters for operating your household, understand if your goals are achievable in your desired timeframe, and may help reduce stress in the event of an unexpected incident, such as the loss of a job or an injury.

3. Automate Everything

Automating your bills and savings not only streamlines and organizes your life, but also has long-term benefits for your financial world. Paying your bills automatically tends to improve your credit score, makes budgeting simpler, and can also make income tax preparation easier.

Additionally, by automating your savings, you give yourself a chance to save before you can even touch the money.

4. Tackle Your Debts

If you are excited about conquering your goals, one of the first steps you need to take is to eliminate debt. When you are paying 10-30% interest on any number of credit cards or loans, you are cutting down on the money you have available to put towards your goals.

Become relentless about reducing your debt and interest costs and consolidate accounts where you can. If you have a loan with a significantly higher interest rate than the others, you may want to work on paying off that one first. Or, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by debt, try paying off the loan with the smallest balance first, no matter the interest rate, in order to gain some momentum.

An emergency fund can help you avoid accumulating more debt. By creating a liquid, easily accessible savings account, you won’t have to rely on debt to cover those inevitable life expenses, such as home repairs or medical bills. Create this cash cushion by putting aside money from each paycheck until you have enough to cover approximately three to six months worth of living expenses. You will never regret having an emergency fund at the ready.

5. Create or Update Your Will

It’s estimated that nearly 70% of Americans die without a will. People may avoid completing their wills because they don’t like to acknowledge that they will die or they may think it’s a complicated and expensive process. But the truth is that the value for your loved ones and heirs will far exceed your cost and effort. In the simplest of terms, a will allows you to ensure that you can leave a legacy to your desired beneficiaries, from physical household items to assets. Without a will, the state will determine what will happen to your assets and the process for your survivors and heirs may be much more complicated and time-consuming than it should be.

If you don’t already have a will, it’s time to work with an experienced professional to create one. If you haven’t reviewed yours in five or more years, it’s time to review and make any necessary updates.

Ready To Get Started?

Working with a financial planner involves more than just opening an IRA and setting up monthly contributions. Advisors add value to your money and your life by taking care of the details and giving you confidence in your financial future. If you want to benefit from the knowledge and experience of a financial planner as you get your financial house in order, give me a call at 949-445-1465 or email me at jgilbert@balboawealth.com to schedule a meeting.

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high and ultra-high net worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals and to worry less about their finances and more on their passions in life. Based in Orange County, he works with clients throughout Southern California, as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

Advisory services offered through Balboa Wealth Partners, Inc. An SEC registered Investment Adviser.  Securities offered through Chalice Capital Partners, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC

Balboa offers advisory services independent of Chalice.  Neither firm is affiliated.

_________

(1) https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/cfpb_fin-ed-digest_organizing-finances.pdf

Jumpstart Your Financial Plan for 2018!

How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions? Hopefully you aren’t part of the 80% of Americans who discard their resolutions by February, (1) but if you are, remember that there’s nothing magical about January 1st. No matter where we are in the year, you can set new intentions and make the small steps necessary to make your goals a reality. If you have dreams of turning your finances around or setting a firm financial foundation, here are some actionable steps to jumpstart your financial plan in 2018!

1. Start Where You Are

Don’t let your past mistakes keep you from moving forward. Did you make some bad investments or neglect to save? Start fresh from today and leave the past in the past. Take a look at your current financial situation, including income, savings, debt, and expenses, then come up with practical goals to make your dreams a reality.

2. Set Big Goals And Small Milestones

Don’t be afraid to dream big financially. What if you could save an extra $100,000 in the next five years or become financially independent years before the average retirement age? Having a big goal in mind can inspire you to stay on track. To avoid getting frustrated along the way, celebrate small milestones, such as reaching $5,000, $10,000, $25,000, and so on. Reevaluate your goals frequently to ensure you’re on track and make adjustments as needed. Having a goal in front of you will give you perspective in your day-to-day decisions and help you prioritize your saving and spending.

3. Review Your Insurance Coverage

Securing your financial future isn’t just about saving and investing, but also about managing your risks. Insurance helps you protect against risks that could ruin you financially. Your insurance needs will change based on your age, employment status, marital status, number of dependent children, etc. It is important to review your coverage each year to make sure you are fully covered and also to ensure you are not spending money on insurance that you don’t need. Double check your named beneficiaries as well to make sure they still reflect your preferences.

4. Get Your House In Order

If you are excited about conquering your goals, one of the first steps you need to take is to eliminate debt. When you are paying 10-30% interest on any number of credit cards or loans, you are cutting down on the money you have available to put towards your goals. Become relentless about reducing your debt and interest costs and consolidate accounts where you can. If you have a loan with a significantly higher interest rate than the others, you may want to work on paying off that one first. Or, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by debt, try paying off the loan with the smallest balance first, no matter the interest rate, in order to gain some momentum.

An emergency fund can help you avoid accumulating more debt. By creating a liquid, easily accessible savings account, you won’t have to rely on debt to cover those inevitable life expenses, such as home repairs or medical bills. Create this cash cushion by putting aside money from each paycheck until you have enough to cover approximately three to six months worth of living expenses. You will never regret having an emergency fund at the ready.

5. Make Purposeful Investments

Anyone can close their eyes and pick a random mix of mutual funds to invest in, but having a customized retirement plan based on your circumstances, goals, and risk level is what will get you from point A to point B. Asset allocation is the most critical investment decision you can make. Sit down with a financial professional and create an investment philosophy that will give your portfolio a clear sense of purpose.

6. Consider Unexpected Risks To Your Financial Plan

No matter how hard you work to create a foolproof financial plan, there will always be risks and roadblocks that have the potential to get you off course. Inflation will decrease your purchasing power and rising healthcare costs can eat away at your nest egg. Unexpected early retirement could change the timeframe of your goals, tax changes could throw a wrench into your planning, and the loss of a spouse could impact your standard of living. Speak with your advisor to find ways to protect yourself against these risks.

7. Partner With A Financial Professional

Whatever your situation, whatever your goals, a financial professional can walk you through each of these steps to get your financial plan in shape. Have you created a financial plan?  If not, what has stopped you from creating one? At Balboa Wealth Partners, our advisors specialize in overseeing your financial affairs and coordinating the day-to-day execution of your long-term financial plan, all with high-touch, responsive service. Let us help you jumpstart your financial plan in 2018 by contacting me at 949-445-1465 or jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high and ultra-high net worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals and to worry less about their finances and more on their passions in life. Based in Orange County, he works with clients throughout Southern California, as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

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(1) https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2015-12-29/why-80-percent-of-new-years-resolutions-fail

What Should You Do During a Stock Market Decline?

The markets took a big dip on Monday, with the DOW losing 1,500 points for the first time in a single day and the S&P 500 down more than 4%. The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures fear in the market, saw its biggest one day increase in history. Many investors, especially those close to retirement, are nervous. But what should you do during a market decline?

Stay Calm

At times like these, it’s important to put current conditions into perspective. This is not the first time the market has taken a tumble and it won’t be the last. Declines in the Dow Jones Industrial Average are actually fairly regular events. In fact, drops of 10% or more happen about once a year on average.

Play Dead

There’s an old saying that the best thing to do when you meet a bear market is the same as if you were to meet a bear in the woods: play dead. While easier said than done, successful long-term investors know that it’s important to stay calm during a market correction. Market volatility has increased in recent years and the media can often make it seem like each episode is worse than the one before. In reality, volatility does not hurt investors, but selling when the market is down will lock in losses.

Remember That Your Portfolio is Diversified

We understand that volatility and market declines are stressful. However, we encourage you to keep in mind that while the stock market may be down significantly, your portfolio is made up of both stocks, bonds, and other assets that are designed to work together to decrease overall losses. It’s important to consider your specific portfolio, investment horizon, and circumstances when reflecting on economic events. If you have questions about your portfolio, get in touch with our office.

Speak With Your Advisor

Whether you’re new to investing or an experienced investor, it’s helpful to consult with an objective third-party. Human nature causes us all to act out of emotion when our accounts go down. As an independent firm, we put your best interests first. We seek to serve as a support system for our clients, helping them make informed financial decisions that aren’t driven solely by emotion.

We’re Here for Your Friends and Family

If you have friends or family who need help with their investments, we are happy to offer a complimentary portfolio review and recommendations. We can discuss what is appropriate for their immediate needs and long-term objectives. Sometimes, simply speaking with a financial advisor may help investors feel more confident and less concerned with the day-to-day market activity.

Stocks and Company Spending Up on News of Tax Bill, But What Does it Mean for You?

On Wednesday, December 20, 2017, the House passed a tax bill, which will be signed into law by President Trump. Since the campaign trail, President Trump has promised tax reform and this bill entails a number of changes to the U.S. tax code that will impact both corporations and individuals. Company spending and stocks were already up on news of the bill passing.

Prominent economists and experts believe this tax bill may provide a boost to the economy, but by how much we don’t know. The Joint Committee on Taxation believes the bill will boost growth the total size of the US GDP by 0.8 percentage points over the first decade, while Goldman Sachs is estimating GDP growth will increase 0.3 percentage points above their baseline over the next two years.

No matter how much economic growth we can expect in the coming years, the big question is, what exactly does this bill mean for you? In a nutshell, it lowers tax rates for individuals and corporations, increases the child tax credit, doubles the standard deduction, and caps or eliminates several deductions. Here’s what we can expect from this bill.

What Does it Mean for Households?

It’s estimated that around 80% of people will see a tax cut in the first year of the legislation, and the Tax Policy Center estimates that the average person will see a tax cut of $1,610 in 2018.[1] However, the amount will vary based on income bracket. In general, the tax bill favors wealthier Americans, offering more tax breaks the more you earn, with fewer benefits to lower and middle class Americans. The TPC estimates that 65.8% of the total federal tax benefit will go to the top 20% of earners.

As a result of an increased after-tax income, some economists believe this may boost consumer confidence. However, the after-tax income increase may not be enough to see an economic change.

What About Big Businesses?

Big businesses will significantly benefit from the tax bill, namely with the federal corporate tax rate dropping from 35% to 21%. Companies will likely see a serious boost in their profits, with JPMorgan estimating that this bill will boost the earnings per share of S&P 500 companies by $10 per share in 2018.[2] Additionally, some experts estimate that giant companies like Google will save several billion dollars in 2018 due to the new tax code.

With these tax cuts, businesses may use these savings to increase wages, pay down debt, invest, or pay for capital expenditures, which could benefit their long-term value.

Will the Market Go Up?

Large companies benefit from reduced taxes, which is pushing their values higher on Wall Street. Some of the larger companies expressed their joy of the corporate tax cut by announcing bonuses and base wage increases for all their employees. The market was up in early trading after news of the bill. Many experts believe that gains are not already priced into the market and that it could continue to go up significantly through 2018.

Small and mid-cap stocks, consumer staples, telecoms, financials, and industrials pay the highest tax rate, so with the new tax cuts, these stand to benefit the most. Stocks are expected to rise, with the markets already seeing much activity. Experts at JPMorgan believe stocks could rise up to 5% after the bill officially passes.[3]

Steps to Take

We are all happy about market gains, but since this tax bill is so new, there is still much to understand about how it will impact households and businesses in the near and far future. No one is sure exactly how the economy will behave, but many experts expect a positive impact.

With so many potential changes, now is a good time to speak with your financial advisor to review your financial plan and retirement plan to see how your strategies may be impacted by this tax bill and whether it’s appropriate to make adjustments.

If you are already one of our clients, your portfolio has been built with tax reform in mind and we are continually monitoring the markets so we can make appropriate changes if needed. If you have any questions, call or email our office.

If your friends or family are concerned or have questions, now is a good time for them to review their financial plan to see how their strategies may be impacted by this tax bill and whether it’s appropriate to make adjustments. We’re never too busy to help someone you care about, so feel free to put them in touch with our office.

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[1] http://www.businessinsider.com/tax-policy-center-analysis-of-final-trump-gop-tax-reform-bill-2017-12

[2] http://www.businessinsider.com/stock-market-news-jpmorgan-marko-kolanovic-trump-tax-reform-bill-2018-outlook-2017-12

[3] https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/27/jpmorgan-says-the-stock-market-will-surge-5-percent-if-tax-bill-passes.html

Ten Financial Actions to Take Before the Ball Drops!

As hard as it is to believe, 2017 is almost over! While December is often a celebratory time of the year as we enjoy the holidays and spend time with our families, it can also be overwhelming and stressful for many of us. As we get ready to say goodbye to 2017, we may realize that we have not accomplished all our goals and we frantically attempt to squeeze in a few last-minute projects before January 1st rolls around.

Since your wallet definitely won’t be gathering dust this season, why would you let your financial plan fall to the wayside? Here are ten critical financial steps to take before we enter the new year.

1. Make The Most Of Your Retirement Savings

If possible, max out your contributions to your 401(k) by the end of the year to make the most of your retirement savings. For 2017, you can contribute as much as $18,000 (or $24,000 if you are 50 or older). You might also consider contributing to a Roth IRA. For 2017, you can contribute as much as $5,500 (or $6,500 if you are 50 or older). Keep in mind that if your income is over $196,000 and you’re married filing jointly, you won’t be eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA.

2. Consider a Roth Conversion

Roth IRAs are attractive because you don’t pay income tax when you withdraw funds in retirement. However, if you’re a high-income earner, you may not be eligible to contribute and instead invest in a Traditional IRA. If you have a Traditional IRA, you may have the opportunity to convert to a Roth IRA and save money on taxes in the long run. The deadline to convert to a Roth IRA is December 31st, so if you’ve been considering doing so, or wonder if it’s an appropriate option for you, talk to your financial advisor ASAP.

3. Use Your Medical and Dental Benefits

Did you have good intentions of taking care of some dental work, blood tests, or other medical procedures? Now’s the time to take advantage of all your healthcare needs before your deductible resets. Dental plans, in particular, often have a maximum coverage amount, and many cover two teeth cleanings per year. If you haven’t used up the full amount and anticipate any treatments (or just need a good teeth cleaning!) make an appointment before December 31st.

4. Use Up Your FSA Dollars

Like your health insurance benefits, you’ll want to use up your Flexible Spending Account dollars by the end of the year. Your benefits won’t carry over and you’ll lose any unspent money in your account. Check the restrictions for your account to see what the money can and cannot be used for.

5. Keep Up On Your Charitable Contributions

If you made a charitable contribution in 2017, you might be able to lower your total tax bill when you file early next year. It can be especially advantageous if you donated appreciated securities to avoid paying taxes on the gains. Along with your other tax documents, find and organize any receipts you have from your donations to charities, whether it was a cash, securities contribution, or another type of gift.

6. Review Your Insurance Policies

A lot can happen in a year. As you experience life changes, from the birth of a child to marriage to a new career, it’s important to regularly review your insurance coverages and your designated beneficiaries. Now is a good time to review your current insurance policies and make sure they are up-to-date. You might also want to evaluate your need for other types of insurance you may not currently have, such as long-term care insurance.

7. Double Check Required RMDs

If you’re retired, review your retirement accounts’ required minimum distributions (RMDs). An RMD is the annual payout savers must take from their retirement accounts, including 401(k)s, SIMPLE IRAs, SEP IRAs, and traditional IRAs, when they turn 70½. If you don’t, you may face the steep penalty of 50% of the distribution you should have taken. To calculate your RMD, use one of the IRS worksheets.

8. Discuss Loss Harvesting With Your Advisor

If you invest in bonds, mutual funds, or stocks in accounts other than your 401(k) or IRA, review your realized and unrealized gains and losses. You might be able to offset some of your gains by selling some losses. Tax-loss harvesting can help you save on taxes, but you want to make sure the move also makes financial sense for your situation. Talk with your advisor about potentially harvesting your losses and if it makes sense for you. Should you determine tax-loss harvesting is appropriate, you’ll need to complete the process by December 31st.

9. Avoid Gift Tax Consequences

It’s never too early to start planning for the legacy you want to leave your loved ones without sharing a good portion of it with Uncle Sam. You may want to consider gifting. Each year, you can gift up to $14,000 to as many people as you wish without those gifts counting against your lifetime exemption of $5 million. If you’ve yet to gift this year or haven’t reached $14,000, consider gifting to your children or grandchildren by December 31st.

10. Update Your Estate Plan

If you have taken the time and energy to create an estate plan, you’ll want to check in periodically to ensure all the documents are up-to-date and no major details have changed. Any major life event is a good time to think about updating your estate plan documents. If you change any of the beneficiaries in one place, such as a life insurance policy, make sure that they are consistent with the other documents so that there is no confusion.

Do you have questions on last-minute financial actions you can take before 2017 ends? Do you want to get on the right financial foot for the new year? I’d love the opportunity to offer you support along your financial journey. If you are interested in getting on the right financial foot, I encourage you to reach out to me for a year-end review. Give me a call at 949-445-1465 or email me at jgilbert@balboawealth.com

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high and ultra-high net worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals and to worry less about their finances and more on their passions in life. Based in Orange County, he works with clients throughout Southern California, as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com.