We’re spreading the word

In an industry dominated by numbers, we honored words yesterday. Words have power and we understand that. Outside the office, we are musicians and song writers, parents and coaches, writers and artists, pet owners and friends. In those capacities, we choose our words carefully and celebrate the abundant resources of the English language. We understand that words matter, and so do the manner and tone with which we use them. Once again this year, we joined the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign by Special Olympics. We support the efforts to stop using the word retarded in a derogatory manner, or as an absent minded expression of exasperation. Yesterday, we wore T-shirts to demonstrate our collective appreciation for this cause. Our tools as financial planners remain rooted in numbers — percentages of growth, levels of risk tolerance, ages, income levels, and life expectancies. But, our success relies on relationships and the words we chose to build them. Words can heal or hurt, comfort or curse, educate or offend. We see this every day in the families we counsel and classes we teach. Yesterday, we all wore T-shirts (even the investment guys, some of whom felt wildly uncomfortable in an office setting without a stiff collar against their necks) and took a stand to end the use of one word. Though the campaign lasted just one day, our efforts continue throughout the year. We vow every day to choose ours words as carefully as we monitor our numbers. Respect. Inclusion. Unity. Acceptance. Friendship. These words form the basis of the Spread the Word campaign, and these are the standards to which we’ll hold ourselves as well. At Winch Financial, we’re investing for all seasons, and building relationships for life.  

Avoid tax surprises related to the Affordable Care Act

As we approach the five-year anniversary of the day President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, we are still seeing some challenges related to the way people are navigating their way through that historical healthcare overhaul. One significant change that is posing major challenges to American taxpayers is that, for the first time, upfront tax subsidies/credits related to individual health insurance are tied to income projections. The trick is that subsidies and credits are calculated on an income projection for an entire year. Since most people elected to take the subsidy/credit upfront and lower premiums throughout the year, they are finding that they have to pay back part or all of their subsidies on their 2014 returns, because when they estimated their income for 2014 in 2013, they didn’t take into account all sources of income that will count towards their modified adjusted gross income. In some cases, it was extra withdrawals from retirement accounts that they didn’t plan on taking.  For others it was picking up more hours at work, bonuses at work, or a pay raise.  Even an unexpected inheritance from a family member can throw off even the most carefully planned income estimate. One way to take the guess work out of the equation is to elect the option to take any subsidy/credit when you file your taxes, instead of upfront. If you don’t want to wait to get your subsidy/credit, here is the big take away: you can adjust your income level used to calculate your subsidy/credit amount at any time during the year.  If you are computer savvy and used the healthcare.gov website Marketplace to enroll for coverage you need to report a life change and follow the steps until you can edit your income projection for the year.  If you would rather call the Marketplace, you have that option as well, the phone number is 1-800-318-2596 and it is available 24… | Read More »

A three-step process to generous giving

An ancient, Biblical concept, the art of joyful giving has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years as investors work toward the twin goals of defining success today, and establishing a lasting legacy for tomorrow. “To be a generous giver is not only noble in the altruistic sense, but for practical reasons as well. It’s a critical component of a well-devised financial plan,” said Christina Winch, CFP®. “If you’re making money, you have to learn to give back. That’s the secret to a fulfilling life.” As a founding member of Kingdom Advisors, Christina has helped guide this group of independent Christian financial advisors to enormous growth, based on the concept of Biblically sound investing. What began as a concept in 1981 has become an international force. Larry Burkett initially asked a group of 16 advisors, including Christina, to form the board of directors for what was then known as the Christian Financial Planning Institute. Today, Kingdom Advisors includes 1,360 advisors from 72 communities around the world. A recurring theme for Kingdom Advisors has been the art of generous giving. “A large part of the reward that you get from your finances, and the way you get the most contentment and fulfilment in life, is by sharing what you have with others,” Christina said. “It’s exciting to give; it’s gratifying to make a difference in the world.” At Winch Financial, the wealth management and financial planning company Christina founded in 1981, we advocate a three-step approach to charitable giving to ensure your plan is both effective and joyful. We call it the Giving Three. This is a critical step and should be discussed with your financial advisor. Evaluate your finances and determine how much you intend to contribute to charitable causes annually. As important as choosing the amount you will donate, is determining the direction your funds will go. Take time to choose charities that speak to your heart. The key to… | Read More »