Yearly Archives: 2015

Add a New Executive Imperative to Your 2016 Corporate Planning: Your Executives’ Futures

There’s something every business executive has in common. They have more to do than hours in the day. They’re working 60-hour work weeks or more with little time for families, hobbies and more. The pace is relentless and exhausting.

In the midst of the chaos, executives are hard pressed to think and act beyond the next deadline, pay period or client deliverable. They’re hurting themselves without even knowing it, especially with ongoing changes in executive and equity compensation laws, tax and risk management, and general economic issues.

As the year comes to a close and companies gather their senior executives to evaluate plans, budgets, personnel and projects, a critical reality must be addressed:

How can we strengthen individual corporate executives to succeed at work while also helping them be better, healthier and happier men and women?

The company can play a role without exorbitantly expensive perks, benefits and compensation schemes. Even the smallest changes – and commitments – can produce the greatest outcomes. Just ask the former chief executive officer of a Dallas energy services firm.

“It had never crossed our minds as a team of executives to focus on what each of us were facing individually and privately,” he said. “All of us worked hard and fast and none of us had a plan to secure our financial futures and retirement.” That’s when the CEO decided that the company could do something for its team that could transform their lives: corporate-driven, corporate-sponsored financial planning services.

Now retired, the CEO reflects on how this one decision – this one corporate benefit – ensured a quality lifestyle beyond the c-suite. “It’s a benefit that gives and gives and gives, and doesn’t require a lot of legwork, administration and cost.”

The approach is simple. A program is tailored to each organization and each individual. It ensures that executives gain clarity, direction and professional advice on a variety of financial issues, such as:

  • Equity compensation strategies such as regulatory issues related to equity compensation
  • Equity incentives and stock options
  • Tax liabilities
  • Asset allocation
  • Retirement and college funding planning and preparation
  • Estate planning and preparation
  • Risk management and insurance-related issues
  • Charitable giving

Costs for the program will vary based on the number of executives participating in the program. At Carter Financial Management, we offer a free cost analysis and review. Our program is called the Corporate Advantage.

Why Consider Corporate-Sponsored Financial Planning?

  • Companies can improve executive recruitment and retention.
  • Companies show their commitment to their executives’ long-term financial health.
  • Companies and executives share a low-risk and affordable benefit, even for small companies and start-ups. Financial advice and recommendations must be objective and in the best interest of the individual and no one else. Advice should derive from a planning partner that is independent and fee based. Personal integrity and a strong trust are paramount.
  • A program partner should incorporate an entire team of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS® and a back-end support team.

Consider turning your 2016 corporate strategy sessions into an executive discussion about long-term goals – personal, individual goals.

Float the idea of company-supported planning. It benefits the company. And the talent that makes it succeed.

This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Carter Financial Management and not necessarily those of Raymond James.

Carter Investment Conference Recap

It’s Not Just a Conference, It’s a Community. And That’s What Matters.

It’s a wrap. We hosted hundreds at The 36th annual Carter Investment Conference, Oct. 10 who spent an entire Saturday with clients and colleagues that expect more than status quo wisdom about financial markets, economic policy and financial planning. We welcomed many who committed their day to hear first-rate perspectives from national financial experts.

From its 8 a.m. kickoff to the social reception in the afternoon, the Carter community gathered to learn, listen, question, examine and enjoy each other’s company. While all the speakers addressed key issues, insights and trends, we share a small portion of insights from two of the 12 conference guest speakers.

Highlights & Insights

James Camp took us to the crux of what clients consistently question us about: “How can I generate income in a low-yield environment?” Below is a small portion of his perspectives. Camp is managing director of fixed income at Eagle Asset Management. He began with two compelling retirement facts:

  • Nearly half of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement and nearly one-third of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.
  • In 2010, American workers were $6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably, per a study conducted by Boston College’s Center for Retirement

Then he asked this question, “Based on what we know today, do fixed-income and equities make sense?” His final take-aways:

Fixed Income

  • Look for issues that offer proper compensation for the underlying risk. Know what you own.
  • Demographic trends may continue to favor municipals. Look closely at credit worthiness.
  • Diversification amongst the various fixed income sectors may lower the overall risk of a portfolio and lower down capture ratios thereby preserving capital.

Equities

  • Stocks may be attractive on a relative and risk-adjusted basis.
  • Demographic trends may continue to favor dividend-paying stocks as retiring baby boomers drive demand for income strategies.
  • Stocks that pay dividends have historically outperformed non-dividend-payers over the long term and with less volatility.
  • Diversify between stocks and bonds. We do not believe the outlook for the economy or markets prohibits investment success.

Another keynote speaker was Robert C. Doll, CFA, senior portfolio manager and chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management. He is often a featured guest on CNBC and other national television programs. He spoke on “From Conflict to Clarity: Understanding Investor Sentiment.” Some key insights:

  • The U.S. economy. The biggest risk to the U.S. economy is the foreign backdrop (China continues to deteriorate, the Eurozone is tepid at best, Japan’s recovery is stalling, and Brazil and Russia in recession). Yet he also says the U.S. economy is relatively healthy:
    • 2Q GDP upward revision to 3.7%
    • Housing starts up 10.1% Y/Y
    • Existing home sales up 10.3% Y/Y
    • Bank loans up 7.6% Y/Y
    • Bank deposits up 6.3% Y/Y
    • Unemployment claims below 300,000 for 25 weeks in a row, a record
    • Positively sloped yield curve
    • Manufacturing PMIs over 50 in 71 of past 72 months
    • Mortgage rates below 4%
    • Further stimulus from lower oil prices
  • The job market continues to strengthen. For example, with private sector payrolls, there is 65 continuous months of growth, which is the longest streak since the 1930s. And employment? It has increased by approximately 3 million jobs in the last 12 months with Job growth that consists of 2.8 million full-time jobs and 0.2 million part-time jobs.

We are so appreciative for all the attendees, speakers and CFM team members who worked hard to make it all happen. Be sure to clear your schedule for next year’s conference. You don’t want to miss it.

For all of us, it’s not just a conference. It’s a community.

And that’s what really matters.                      

This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of the speakers and not necessarily those of Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Investments mentioned may not be suitable for all investors. Dividends are not guaranteed and must be authorized by the company’s board of directors. Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss regardless of strategy selected. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Navigating the Medicare Mystery

You may be aware that an increase in Medicare premium is predicted for 2016. Some individuals may not be affected at all, while others may see an increase upwards of 50% in their Medicare premiums next year.

Those affected are:
1. Anyone whose MAGI is more than $85,000 single/$170,000 MFJ.
2. New Medicare enrollees in November 2015 or later.
3. Current Medicare enrollees who are not receiving Social Security benefits.

Those unaffected are anyone who receives a Social Security benefit now AND does not exceed the MAGI income threshold above. This group of Medicare enrollees fall under a “hold harmless” provision that allows them to avoid a Medicare premium increase that would cause their Social Security benefit to decrease. This is about 70% of Medicare enrollees.

This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.

Navigating the Medicare Mystery

Medicare Mystery

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Being Prepared for The College Cash Crunch: Are You Ready?

2033 is just around the corner. That’s 18 short years if you’re a mom and dad with a newborn. That means you can start now to prep your kids – and your pocketbook – for college. Yes, it’s not too early. The years will fly by.

For those who didn’t start early – and the kids are approaching those college years – begin now to examine your alternatives and approaches. Costs are out of control. Example: What cost less than $900 in 1980 for tuition and fees can now cost you anywhere from $9,000 to $35,000 or more, per year. One semester at The University of Texas or Texas A&M is approximately $10,955. That’s $87,640 for four years, or the equivalent cost of a 2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder 2-door convertible.

Here’s how to get started.

Don’t Wait. The greatest challenge to savings plans of any kind is procrastination. Avoid delays and do it. An initial first step is to first meet with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® who can guide you through your overall financial goals, including college.

Make Some Assumptions & Decide. This means you think about the type of education your child will receive. Are you a Texas A&M Aggie alum with a legacy that requires your kids to go to there? Do you want your child to attend a state or private university, in state or out of state? Answering these questions provides your baseline for covering costs, at current levels. Note that The College Board reports an average annual increase of 2.5 percent to 3 percent for college.

Discover The 529. A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future college costs. Contributions to 529s grow tax-free and distributions used to pay for college expenses (tuition, room and board, books and other required supplies) are distributed tax-free. Some key components:

  • They offer an advantage for those with significant income since the plans have high contribution limits and potential state tax deductions. The key is to not give beyond a certain limit that triggers the gift tax.
  • In terms of a gift tax, parents, grandparents or even friends may make contributions of up to $14,000 ($28,000 for married couples) per child each year, or up to $70,000 ($140,000 for married couples) without incurring a federal gift tax. Source
  • Be aware of the impact on a student’s needs-based financial aid application when a parent is the owner of 529 assets. However, if the grandparents are the 529 plan owners it won’t hurt qualification for needs-based aid.
  • In terms of estate tax, contributions are not considered part of a giver’s estate. A portion of the contributions is included in the donor’s estate if the giver dies during the five-year election period. Source
  • If you have multiple children, a 529 offers the flexibility to use the money among the kids, without penalties.
  • Children and other beneficiaries of the plan can be named, i.e., parents, stepparents and stepchildren.

There are additional benefits and conditions related to 529s as well.

Grow, Share & Show. Grow your college savings by encouraging parents, stepparents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to give to the college fund vs. the typical gifts for birthdays and other holidays. Have your child contribute to the fund as well.

Be Realistic. Paying bills, living life, rearing kids and saving money can be difficult and stressful. Regardless of what one “should” be spending and saving, maintain your focus and discipline for long-term gains. This usually requires us to inventory our lifestyles, choices and purchases – and decide on the must-haves vs. nice-to-haves. Be realistic as you spend and save.

These six guidelines get you off to a good start as you prepare for the day when your child pulls out of the driveway for his or her freshman year of college. It’ll be here before you know it. Guaranteed.

Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses associated with 529 college savings plans before investing. More information about 529 college savings plans is available in the issuer’s official statement, and should be read carefully before investing.

Tax-free withdrawals may be made for qualified education expenses. Otherwise, the deferred earnings portion may be subject to taxes and a 10% penalty. Please consult a qualified tax professional to discuss tax matters. This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss.

Save the Date: CIC

THE AGENDA

October 10, 2015 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Cityplace Conference Center

Emotional Bias & Its Effect on Disciplined Investing
The diverse topics will include:

  • Your portfolio & the effect of rising interest rates
  • Pros & cons of passive (ETF) & active (mutual funds) investing
  • European stimulus’ effect on global markets
  • Successful Social Security strategies
  • And much more!
CIC RSVP Form 2015

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Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of mutual funds and ETFs, and variable annuities and their underlying funds carefully before investing. This and other important information about Mutual Funds and ETFs, and variable annuities are contained in the prospectus, which can be obtained from your financial adviser and should be read carefully before investing.

The opinions and services of the speakers and companies they represent are independent of Raymond James.

Investments in securities of MLPs involve risks that differ from an investment in common stock. MLPs are controlled by their general partners, which generally have conflicts of interest and limited fiduciary duties to the MLP, which may permit the general partner to favor its own interests over the MLPs.

International investing involves special risks, including currency fluctuations, differing financial accounting standards, and possible political and economic volatility. Dividends are not guaranteed and must be authorized by the company’s board of directors.

Be advised that investments in real estate and in REITs have various risks, including possible lack of liquidity and devaluation based on adverse economic and regulatory changes. Additionally, investments in REIT’s will fluctuate with the value of the underlying properties, and the price at redemption may be more or less than the original price paid.

Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. CFM is an independent firm.

Cybersecurity Announcement

August 26th from 10 – 11 a.m.

Cybersecurity: Protecting What Matters Most

Cybersecurity has become a topic of critical importance for national security, economic vitality, and individual peace of mind. This presentation will explain the cyber threats that are prevalent today, provide an expert’s view on recent cyberattacks, and describe what Raymond James does to protect our clients. You will also learn about best practices you can follow to help protect your information and financial transactions.

Two Ways to Participate!

Webinar – You may log in from your personal or work computer to enjoy a live stream of the session.

Onsite – Limited seating will be available on the second floor conference room at CFM’s building (12222 Merit Drive).

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Client Appreciation Event

You and a guest are invited to attend the International Debut of The Abelló Collection: A Modern Taste for European Masters, featuring the Works of:

  • Salvador Dalí                              Pablo Picasso
  • Henri Matisse                             Georges Braque
  • Amedeo Modigliani                    Francis Bacon

May 12, from 6 – 9 p.m. Cocktails and Hors d’ Oeuvres will be served.
Self- and Docent-Guided Tours

Client Appreciation Event

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