The Fourth P.E.C.K. focuses on the Kids

Money is almost always a touchy topic when it comes to relationships, and it does not get easier to discuss when you get married.  It is just good common sense to know about your intended’s money language, money comprehension and money fitness. This is the fourth and last installment of our P.E.C.K. pre-wedding money conversations!  Our first installment spoke of the “P’s” – Practical.  The second installment addressed the “E’s” – Emotional.  The third covered “C’s” – Contractual.  This installment is on the “K’s” – Kids All couples want their children to thrive, though this means different things to different people.  Your idea of how to care for your children’s money needs, expectations and desires are so important to explore together.  Let’s talk about the top nine kids and money questions to ask your intended before your baby’s first cry. 1 – How do you feel about gifts and toys? Some families have birthdays and holidays that are flowing with gifts – other families believe that too many gifts make all gifts seem unimportant.    Some families feel too many toys are a distraction and others want more than enough.  It’s a good idea to know where your spouse is coming from early, to help keep a unified front.  It is simply practical to discuss this before your in-laws shock you with the opposite of what you expect. 2 – Do you want to send your kids to private school? Private schools can be a good family fit, though the cost can be prohibitive.  If you feel it is very important that your children got to private schools, it is a good idea to speak about your hopes and dreams for your children before they step foot in school and to open an educational savings plan to help manage school fees.  A qualified financial advisor can sort through the options available to you and help you choose the appropriate plan. 3 –… | Read More »

Summer is a great time for cleaning out tax documents

As you ‘re doing your annual summer cleaning, you may be asking yourself, “Do I need to keep these tax returns dating back to the 1980’s?  The short answer to that question is no.   So how long do you need to keep old tax documents?  That answer to that question is a little bit more complicated.  As always, the IRS has some good information on their website – According to the IRS:  “The length of time you should keep a document depends on the action, expense, or event the document records.  Generally, you must keep your records that support an item of income or deductions on a tax return until the period of limitations for that return runs out.” So what exactly does that mean?  The IRS recommends that you keep your tax returns and any supporting documents for 3 years after the date of filing.  So if you filed your 2013 tax return on April 15th, 2014, you would keep all of your records until April 15th, 2017.  As with any IRS rule, there are exceptions: 1. If you have under reported your income by 25% the IRS can go back 6 years. If you claim a deduction for worthless securities or a bad debt, keep your records for 7 years. If you are self-employed, it is recommended that you keep your records for 6 years. If you have documents connected to assets such as rental property, stocks, bonds, or business assets etc.,   keep those records until 3 years after you dispose of the asset. Documents for distributions from an IRA should be kept for 7 years. If you do not file a return or file a fraudulent return, keep your records forever because the IRS can go back indefinitely. If you still just can’t get yourself to throw out all of those old documents from 1985, there are other options.  In the world of high technology that… | Read More »

The Third P.E.C.K. in pre-marital financial prep is contractual

Money conversations are the topic of this four- part series: P.E.C.K.   I am not talking about the “how-much-is-the-wedding-going-to-cost” type of discussions.  Instead, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am again highly suggesting that you discuss money matters before you get married.  Money does not get any easier to deal with once you’ve tied the knot.  It is simply good common sense to know your intended’s money language, money comprehension and money fitness prior to joining forces. Our first installment of the P.E.C.K. pre-wedding money conversation spoke of the “P’s” – Practical, the second speaks of the “E’s” – Emotional, and this third installment discusses the “C’s” – Contractual.    It is hard to hear the word contract and not think of … 1)      Pre-nuptial agreement In general, most young couples will not even need to think about a pre-nuptial agreement.   However, when there is large net worth(s) riding on the line, it is useful to consult a lawyer for a multitude of reasons.  In addition, if you are arriving at a second marriage with children to consider, it is a good idea to discuss your estate and your legacy for your children. 2)      What about insurance? There are so many types of insurance – car, health, home, life – and, to some people, insurance may seem too expensive or even unimportant but it quickly becomes VERY important when you run into trouble.  I cannot stress how tragic it is to see a family devastated by the loss of a spouse/parent only to realize that they cannot maintain their home because there was no life insurance.  It is imperative that you know where your spouse stands on the topic of insurance of all kinds. 3)      Do I need a will? Always, yes.  It is difficult to even think of, but so important and not particularly expensive, especially when you consider the cost and length of probate.   Make a… | Read More »

New Paradigm In Investing Requires Fresh Approach For RIAs

A combination of global volatility, increasing life expectancy and the rising sophistication of the individual investors has led to a new paradigm in wealth management. Diversification within a portfolio isn’t enough. Clients today require a diversification of investment strategies. A risk versus reward ratio that allows people to both achieve their retirement goals and sleep at night can be tricky in a market environment in which wild swings are the new standard, according to Sam Winch, president of Winch Financial and a registered investment advisor representative for more than 15 years. “In any given year the market is going to swing plus or minus 50%,” he said. “The vast majority of client accounts can’t absorb swings like that. You’re talking about people’s life savings and you can’t expose them like that. The solution is a combination of strategies that narrows the parameters of loss, while still allowing some room for upside growth.” It’s not enough to diversify investments in a single strategy, according to Winch. Advisors who simply match their clients’ risk tolerance profile to an appropriate strategy aren’t doing enough. “It’s important to base your returns relative to the amount of risk your taking,” he said. “The returns, obviously, are a critical component of your allocation. For instance, alongside your indexed funds, direct 10% of your allocation into a tactically managed fund that will allow for some agility within the market.” “We have a mutual fund that is a perfect example of this new breed of investing. The Ginkgo Multi-Strategy Fund is designed to be a key element in a well-diversified retirement portfolio because it aims to offer steady returns, with stop/loss provisions and a unique ability to move to cash when market conditions are especially dire.” Tactically managed funds can be more expensive than their less actively traded counterparts, because they move into and out of the markets as conditions warrant. They also offer a sense of security… | Read More »

Winch Financial Hires Head Of Investments

As a 40-year industry veteran, Winch Financial CEO Christina Winch, CFP® understands that timing plays a key role in both investments and corporate development. So, when the perfect candidate became available just at the time she was looking to expand her investment department, Christina jumped at the opportunity to hire him. John Hintz, CFA® and Winch Financial’s new Head of Investments, offers both a wealth of experience and an eagerness to grow the Appleton based company. “What drew me to Winch was the dynamic nature that Christina displayed when I interviewed with her. She spoke with a lot of excitement about her company’s opportunities to expand,” he said. “Additionally, her focus on client services and wanting to do what’s best for her clients really impressed me.” In addition to his Chartered Financial Analyst certification, Hintz has an MBA and more than two decades of investment management experience including broad exposure to all asset classes and funds. In his 19-year career with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Hintz held 10 position titles. Most recently he was Senior Portfolio Manager, Director of Equity Research and Senior Equity Analyst for the Fortune 500 financial services organization, which has more than $82 billion assets under management. He took a leave of absence from the company in 2012, spent a year caring for his ailing mother and then found himself seeking a change. “My priorities have always been God, family and career and they got mixed up for me for a while,” he said. “I was spending 60-70 hours a week at work and I admittedly lost touch with my family. I really appreciate this opportunity to get my core values back in alignment – God first, then family, then career – while still challenging myself professionally and making some exciting improvements to Winch Financial.” One area he’d like to develop is in investor relations. “I’d like to take the investment team out of the office,”… | Read More »