Your Financial Planning Advocate | Alpha Wealth Funds

 

Monday the 15th has finally come and gone which means your tax stress is gone too!  Well hopefully, unless you filled IRS Form 4868 which is the “Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return”.   If you’re anything like my family, preparing your taxes teaches you a few things. You need a financial plan.  It also makes at least one family member infuriated, and this year it was my mom.

I love my mother, she has the valuable skill of properly allocating her funds, which is also known as very frugal.  It’s a valuable skill, but it takes a lot of flak.  Those who usually make fun of it in their 20-30’s, are the same ones who regret not asking them for advice when they’re in the ’50-’60s.  That’s about the time the “cheap people” can comfortably retire (usually early), and the ones who made fun of them are told they must work into their 70s.

Recently, I’ve met a lot of people that are extremely nervous about the thought of retirement.  Some of them, like my aunt, would like to retire early.  Others like my mom just want to retire, and for her, it’s her second time.  They both have the same stress though; they’re terrified that they’ll run out of money.  Like most people, they think of the worst-case scenario or that they’ll have to go back to work as a Walmart Greeter at 75 years old.

Whether or not you have this same fear, odds are you want to retire but don’t have a specific criterion to meet that allows you to retire stress-free.  Does any of this sound familiar yet?  Simplified, do you know what specific amount of savings you will need to retire and live without the stress of running out of money?  This leads me to what I call the power words and phrases.  Those are any sentence that starts with “Can I afford…?” or “I can’t afford…”.

– Are you asking yourself these questions?  The Can I questions.

 

  • Can I retire? or retire early?
  • How many more years do I have to work to feel comfortable retiring?
  • If I retire now, how long will this last? Or will I become a burden on my family?
  • I can’t work at this job anymore, but I can’t retire early, what the heck can I do?
  • What kind of life will I have when/if I retire now?
    • Can I travel at all? or like I want to?
    • Can I move or buy a new house/car?
    • If I travel, or buy the house/car, can I still support myself past 70?
  • Can I help my children with their wedding if I retire?

Or the even more critical, the I can’t statement.

  • I can’t afford that because I’m retiring soon.
  • I’d love to take that vacation with you, but I also want to retire soon, so I guess I can’t.
  • I can’t afford to retire and take the trip, so I’ll spend another summer home.
  • I can’t do both, so I’ll do the cheaper of the two.

 

  •  Wouldn’t it be nice to know the answer to these questions? 

What if I told you there are professionals whose job it is to answer these questions?  In addition, an extremely important aspect of these professionals is that they are Fiduciaries who always must keep your best interests in mind.  This was supposed to be a law, BUT it was fought by the large brand name institutions that make millions off NOT being your Fiduciary.   After a long drawn out fight, its initial proposal was in October 2010, it was vacated by the Fifth Circuit Court in March 2018 (Department of Labor Article).  It has essentially stagnated since, but the SEC has indicated it will re-engage it sometime in 2019.

There is though, a designation that takes 2-3 years to complete which has those types of rules and standards.  They also have a Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, and everyone who has this certification is held to the Fiduciary Standard.  I hold myself to the Fiduciary Standard, both as a former Marine and financial professional working towards this certification, but there is no law mandating it.  What you’re able to do, is work with anyone that has the acronym CFP by their name.  This stands for the title Certified Financial Planner.  A Financial Planner can answer those questions that cause you stress, but all Financial Planners are not created equal.

To complete the certification in 2 years instead of 3, I must be mentored by a professional with this certification during that time.  This brings me to my role at Alpha Wealth Funds and my mentor (and boss) Chase Thomas.  During my time working with Chase, I have seen numerous questions get answered that not only relieve stress, but that truly prepare our clients (and family) for retirement with honest answers.  The CFP has the highest standards, which is why I chose to work toward it.  It also reminds me of the Marines too.  People can, and will, always argue that the branch of service or unit they were in is the hardest with the highest standards.  The real answer is though, which certification (or military branch/unit) is synonymous with the highest standards and the ones you would pick first to work for you as if your retirement (or life) depended on it?  Everything I have read, and everyone I talked to, all led me back to the same road of the CFP.

  • ) So, what all do they do, and why should I pay them?

This is a profession and a service you pay for.  Like I stated in the last Blog Post, if it’s something that can result in death or owing money, I’m happy to use a professional.  There are no mulligans, do-overs or take-backs in the life you’re living and the checking accounts that go with it.  As a result, if you watch a YouTube video, read a book or have watched a lot of movies, I will never let you fly my plane or manage my retirement.

  • ) How are you different and why you?

That’s a great question, I’m glad you asked.  Most planners will charge you a yearly fee that’s usually a few thousand dollars.  Then you’ll have one 30-60-minute meeting once a year.  If they don’t hold you accountable and follow up to ensure you’re completing things like a healthcare directive, living will and switchi