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Delegate and Celebrate: Enjoy the Holidays with Less Stress

holiday 5

 The season for joy is upon us. It is the time of year to meet with friends and family. It is an opportunity to reflect on those things in our lives that bring us the most happiness. We have been very lucky here on the east coast to be enjoying unseasonably warm weather. It has allowed us to hang the lights without frostbite on our fingers and do the shopping without additional road hazards.

We are all making lists and checking them twice for our holiday plans, gifts, and gatherings. One item that doesn’t always make the top of the list, when thinking of the holidays, is year-end financial planning. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so the song goes. However, for many of us the end of the year comes with its own pressures that can add up and quickly make us feel overwhelmed.

Doin' the Two Step: Family and Investing

Two Step Dancing

If you're a Client, you’ve likely heard me talk about the importance of my family in my life. You probably know the basics about our household: I am married and have two young children. Like many husbands and fathers, my first priority is to make sure we have a roof over our heads and food in our kitchen.

But then, my thoughts turn to other needs, especially those of our children: Will they do well in school? Who are their friends? Will they be in good health? Will they find success throughout their lives?

Dream School: A Tale of Practical Reality

College Planning

This article was written by our intern, Wesley Wood.

For the class of 2017, the college application season is in full-force. Across the country students and their families are trying to come up with that precious list of schools to send their applications. They are visiting campuses, speaking to counselors, and browsing websites full of glossy images and buzzwords. They are also calculating financial need, looking at soaring tuition costs, and gawking at the financial burden the next four years will demand.

Emotional Investing and the Consequences of Behavioral Biases

Holding money and plant

We all experience distractions in the media, uncertainty in the markets, or pressure to buy and sell from friends, colleagues, and so-called financial gurus. All these factors can directly challenge an investor’s ability to make consistent, rational and logical investment decisions. This barrage of information coupled with inherent behavioral biases can make investing a challenge for most people. How you behave and react to the information available will play an important role in your financial success.

Family Estate Planning Discussions

family silhouette sunsetMy family, like many other families, is very busy; between children, work and home, there are many chores and activities that must be fulfilled every day. To conquer all these responsibilities, we divide many of them up. We trust each other to ensure that they are responsibly managing their duty. This works well because we have limited time and different skill sets. One of my responsibilities is managing the family finances.

Recently, my wife, Stephanie and I had a conversation revolving around our personal planning. It went something like this:

Stephanie: What happens if you die?

Bob: Don’t worry, everything is in order.

Stephanie: What does that mean?

Bob: We have our estate planning documents, there is more than enough insurance and everything for the business succession has been planned.

Stephanie: What do I need to know or do?

Bob: Ugh, well that is complicated.

Finding Peace of Mind When Planning for Retirement

Walking on the beachWhy do people get anxious about planning for retirement? The anxiety comes from different places—it can be the complexity of the planning process, the uncertainty of the outcomes, or the different parts that have to come together in order to make a cohesive plan work.
Then there’s the fear of making a mistake. In our experience in working with clients, this is the most common cause of anxiety. There are no do-overs when it comes to retirement planning. That fact can often place significant pressure on individuals and raise their anxiety about the entire process.

Global Investing: Protection and Opportunity

WHY GLOBAL INVESTING IS YOUR BEST BET REGARDLESS OF HOW IT LOOKS RIGHT NOW.

If anyone were to have invested for the first time in 2013 and they had opted for a globally diversified stock portfolio, then they are likely scratching their heads as to why their advisor isn’t making some changes to where the current opportunities seem to be. But for anyone else, such as those who had stock investments during the 2000’s or prior, then the reasoning to remain globally diversified is quite clear.

How ESG investing helps investors align their portfolios with their values

Backyard copyThe money you invest does more than work for your financial future, it supports the businesses and companies you choose to invest in.

Investors are recognizing the connection between how they invest and what values they want to promote and quite often these investors find the companies in their investment or retirement portfolios don’t align with their own values.

New Jersey Tax Changes that may Affect You and Your Families

Over the past year, you may have noticed our state has been at a standstill with road construction. This was due to a lack of funding over a standoff between Governor Chris Christie and democratic leaders in congress. In late September, a deal was struck that will replenish the state’s Transportation Trust Fund, bringing road and rail projects back underway by increasing New Jersey’s gas tax 23 cents per gallon.

The compromise was not all about tax hikes though. The offset to the gas tax hike is the gradual phasing out of the estate tax, a tax ease on retirement income, an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor, and a tax deduction for veterans. The total tab of the tax cuts, according to the governor’s office, would be $1.4 billion once fully implemented in 2021.

The estate tax has been a source of grief for residents of the Garden State and the plan is to phase it out over the course of the next year and a quarter. Beginning on January 1, 2017 the threshold will rise from $675,000 to $2 million and eliminate it altogether after Jan. 1, 2018.

What does this mean for those living in NJ? There are a few things you should consider; transportation expenses, retirement income impact, and estate planning. If your fuel expense is a significant part of your budget, you should expect an increase to this expense by about 10-15%. If you are retired or near retirement, some of you will get a little help on your tax bill. The income threshold for taxing retirement income will increase from $15,000 to $50,000 for individuals and from $20,000 to $100,000 for couples. In regards to estate planning, some families may need to review their documents. It would be advisable to review the following:


1. Wills and revocable trusts
2. Life Insurance Trusts
3. Durable Power of Attorney (gift provisions might warrant reconsideration)
4. Title to Assets


As always, we will conduct a plan review with each of our clients and make adjustments, as necessary, based on changes in the tax code and what it may do to your financial picture as a whole. It is important to note that these changes will impact every family differently and we will be discussing it with each of our clients on an individual basis.


Sources:
1. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-jersey-estate-tax-may-repealed-martin-shenkman?trk=eml-b2_content_ecosystem_digest-network_publishes-107-null&midToken=AQEr9S3B6GAkxw&fromEmail=fromEmail&ut=0Rdt0rf_6ii7s1
2. http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/09/christie_dems_announce_deal_to_end_road_funding_cr.html

Presidential Elections and the Stock Market

Next Month, AmericAns will head to the polls to elect the next President of the United States.

While the outcome is unknown, one thing is for certain: There will be a steady stream of opinions from pundits and prognosticators about how the election will impact the stock market. As we explain below, investors would be well‑served to avoid the temptation to make significant changes to a long‑term investment plan based upon these sorts of predictions.

Retired? What to do with all of that time

TimeWhen you are planning for retirement you may have all your ducks in a row. Many of the financial obligations of your life have been paid off; home and college. You have a nest egg to pay for living expenses and medical costs, an estate plan to ensure your family is protected when you pass, insurance so you are not a burden to your loved ones in your most elder years. You are free to live the life you desire.

Having a strong plan is critical to living a financially secure retirement, but have you considered and planned for your time when you retire? It can be a crucial yet often overlooked part of the planning process. For those who have not considered what their days, weeks and months will look like, it can make for a strained transition to your next phase of life.

Start the New Year Right by Organizing your Financial Life

stacked rocks

GETTING ORGANIZED, STAYING ORGANIZED AND PLANNING AHEAD

A new calendar year presents a great opportunity to take a fresh look at your finances and evaluate your long-term goals. While you’re reviewing your progress and planning ahead, you can also take the time to organize your financial life.

Getting your fiscal house in order can help bring clarity to your goals and give you a boost of confidence for achieving them. Follow these three steps to start this year on with a solid foundation and use the resources below to help you along the way.

Get organized

Cleaning house and getting rid of clutter is just one part of getting organized. Simplifying and automating how we organize our finances can help set us up for success by making it easy to do and maintain.

Taking the Road Less Traveled

Two roads diverged"Two roads diverged in a wood,and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

Robert Frost, excerpt from The Road Not Taken

I was reading an article recently from Financial Advisor Magazine that identified the regrets many people have for not taking more risks in life. “Among the top regrets were: not following their dreams, not taking risks with their careers, not taking risks with their lives in general, and not being gutsy enough in the choices they made.”i

Tax Scams rampant in 2016 filing season

With the 2016 filing season underway, we wanted to bring a scam to your attention that the IRS recently declared is headlining this year’s list of tax scams.

Protect Yourself

Scammers make unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via a phishing email.

Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim if they don’t get the money.

Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.

Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam.

Teaching your Children Financial Life Lessons

Life LessonBecause April is Financial Literacy Month, we want to take this opportunity to address a topic that’s important to many of our clients—helping children grow into financially responsible adults.

You can find plenty of financial education geared toward children and young adults with a simple Google search. Much of this information is good but overlooks many of the realities of our financial lives.

I’d like to start with these realities, then share some resources we recommend where you and your children can start to build your financial literacy.

The Paris Attacks

Paris

The attacks that occurred in Paris, France on Friday, November 13, evoked the all too familiar feelings of fear, horror and dread. By definition, acts of terrorism are meant to evoke those feelings which are complex because it rips us from our comfort zone. When we ask ourselves: How can some people think this way and take such action to perpetuate the way they think? And then comes the realization that there ARE people who think that way, which is so far from our own consciousness, and yet so close to our reality and day to day life.

An esteemed colleague in the financial planning field and a talented writer, Bob Veres, wrote the following piece about terrorism, outrage and what history might offer in terms of solace to all of us who feel fear, dread and horror in the aftermath of Friday’s attacks and only 14 years since the largest terrorist attack on US soil.

The Rules of Engagement: Finding the Right Advisor

When it comes to choosing a financial advisor it is important to follow some rules before making your decision.

There is a commercial that airs on prime time television, which is put out by the Certified Financial Planning® Board. The commercial depicts a man with dread locks and tattoos and body piercings -- the type of stylings one would not typically associate with a financial planner. He then underwent a makeover, on the dime of the CFP® board. At the end he was clean shaven, short haired, in a suit covering his tattoos and his piercings were gone. He looked like your average financial advisor and that’s exactly the point that the CFP® board was trying to make. This man was a DJ by trade and the CFP® Board cleaned him up, taught him a few financial catchphrases and brought fifteen different people in to meet with him and determine whether or not they’d like to work with him as their advisor. All but one of those people hired him.

The Smart Money's on Capitalism

Dow ImageI believe in Capitalism. It is the backbone of the financial markets. It provides resiliency to the American economy that has endured for decades, through periods of boom and bust. This foundation of our financial system is formed by the achievements of American business—thousands of companies, both large and small—that solve problems, invent solutions, and promote innovation to help improve people’s lives.

Welcome

Most people don't care about money.

They care about what money can do for them and their loved ones.

A few years prior to the founding of Private Wealth Management Group we discovered a subtle distinction between these two sentences. We began thinking about how we could help people determine what money can do for them and their loved ones. We realized that the true worth of money is in its ability to empower people to live their values.

In our fast paced, ever changing lives, our core values keep us grounded and gives life its meaning. It can be difficult to know what to do as our issues become more complex. We recognize everyone's situation is different and there are many unique factors affecting our clients' financial security. Our goal is to know our clients on a personal level and understand what matters most to them. Our team-based approach helps our clients make the right decisions for their financial future. As true partners to our clients, we empower individuals to discover their definition of wealth while providing the confidence to achieve it.

Learn More about our Comprehensive Planning Services.