Resource Center

Financial wisdom produced by award winning and experienced financial professionals.

Starting a Business Checklist

By |September 27th, 2023|

Starting a business can be an exciting and rewarding journey, but it also requires careful planning and execution. To ensure your venture's success, it's essential to follow a structured approach. In this blog, we'll walk you through six crucial steps to get a business started. Spoiler alert – It’s easy and it does not require a lawyer or CPA. 1. Validate the Need: Before diving headfirst into your business idea, it's crucial to validate the need for your product or service. You want to make sure that there are people who genuinely require what you're offering and are willing [...]

How To Invest With Less Risk

By |September 20th, 2023|

Investing in stocks has been rewarding for long-term investors.  But that reward comes with risk.  If you invest long enough, you are likely to experience a 50% drawdown at some point in your stock portfolio.  If you invested in the 2000’s you saw US stocks drop by 43% during the dotcom crash and 50% during the Great Financial Crisis. It’s no wonder that people are searching for a different way to invest.   In the past, someone who wanted to reduce risk simply added bonds to their portfolio.  But as we witnessed in 2022, bonds can be correlated to stocks, [...]

Should I Use My Retirement Fund for a Down Payment?

By |September 13th, 2023|

Buying your first home is a memorable experience.  It can be hard, however, for young people to save up for a down payment, especially in today’s market when housing values have increased. It’s not surprising, then, that many people consider whether they should use their retirement account to help with the down payment. Is it wise?  Well, it’s not a bad idea.  In fact, I used money from my IRA to help with the purchase of my first home! Is it ideal?  It’s probably not ideal, as taking money out of retirement accounts can be costly compared to other [...]

Don’t Make this Mistake with your Estate Plan!

By |September 6th, 2023|

Estate planning involves preparing for situations that aren’t fun to think about.  Combined with legalese that can make the process seem more confusing, no wonder people have a hard time completing the necessary steps to properly safeguard their wealth. Say you open a new retirement account and are choosing beneficiaries.  This may seem straightforward.  If you are married, you can designate your spouse, include children, etc. You can even select contingent beneficiaries in case your primary beneficiary predeceases you. But have you ever come across two unfamiliar Latin phrases when designating beneficiaries?  The terms “per stirpes” and “per capita” [...]

3 Things to do to Prepare for the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

By |August 30th, 2023|

Every year from October 15th through December 7th, the Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare beneficiaries occurs. During this time, you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and/or Part D prescription drug plan. So, what can you do to prepare for this annual event? Here are three things to consider now. 3 Things to do to Prepare for Annual Enrollment Period 1. Don’t get tricked into rushing to make a change. Medicare beneficiaries know that they are constantly being marketed to. After turning 65, the biggest opportunity for insurance companies to get your business is during the Annual Enrollment Period. [...]

Introducing ONE+ by Stewardship

By |August 23rd, 2023|

Introducing ONE+ by Stewardship: Your Pathway to Affordable Homeownership Becoming a homeowner is a significant milestone that often comes with its fair share of challenges. From researching mortgage options to budgeting for maintenance costs, the journey can be both exciting and daunting. One of the most substantial hurdles, however, is the down payment. But fear not, as Stewardship is thrilled to announce its new ONE+ program, designed to help you step into your dream home with as little as 1% down and a 2% grant from Rocket Mortgage. Breaking Down ONE+: Your Key to Affordable Homeownership [...]

Just married? Do these 3 things.

By |August 16th, 2023|

Just married?  Do these 3 things. You are officially married—congratulations!  As you step into this exciting new chapter of your life, there are a few steps you should take to ensure a strong and secure financial future together.  After all, a successful marriage is built on more than just love.  Finances play a huge role in working towards a strong and lasting marriage. Here are three important action steps to prioritize after saying “I do.” Your married finances checklist Get a home buying game plan. One of the most significant decisions you and your spouse will make as a [...]

Strategies to Protect Your Portfolio: Structured Notes

By |August 9th, 2023|

Investors looking to diversify and add protection to a portfolio typically add asset classes like high quality bonds. While relatively safe, you can sacrifice long term returns since the yields on these bonds are eroded by inflation. Innovative investors can look to a product called structured notes to better align their portfolios with their goals. While they can appear overwhelming at first, implementing structured notes in a thoughtful manner can be a powerful way to enhance your investing experience. Structured Notes: A Primer First, let’s examine what structured notes are. Structured notes are financial products issued by banks. Major banks [...]

Is Social Security Taxable?

By |August 2nd, 2023|

Unfortunately, taxes don’t end once you are retired. In fact, tax planning becomes even more critical once employment ends, as your goal becomes keeping more of what you’ve accumulated and losing less to taxes. A common question among retirees is whether their Social Security income is taxable. In this post, we will examine Social Security taxation and help you calculate how much of your benefit is taxable. How Social Security is taxed The taxability of Social Security is dependent on your total income and tax filing status. Generally, if your only source of income is Social Security, your benefits are [...]

Five Reasons Not to Work with that Advisor

By |July 26th, 2023|

Partnering with a trusted advisor can help accelerate your financial well-being and provide peace of mind.  But how do you find an advisor that is right for you? There are many reasons why you would choose to work with a particular real estate, home loan, insurance, or financial advisor.  But here are five reasons why you don’t need to work with that advisor. Why you don’t need to work with that advisor Reason #1: You feel obligated because they are family. Working with an advisor who is a friend or family member can be great!  But you shouldn’t feel [...]

The Senior Income Loan: Making Sense of Reverse Mortgages

By |July 19th, 2023|

Raise your hand if you know a senior living on a fixed income. I'm willing to bet that a lot of hands just went up. It's a common challenge that many seniors face—a fixed income that barely stretches to cover the essentials, let alone provide for the little luxuries or unexpected expenses. But what if I told you there's a way to tap into the value of your home and turn it into a reliable source of income? That's where reverse mortgages come in. Now, before you dismiss them based on old perceptions, let's take a moment to shed [...]

What Is Probate and How Do I Avoid It?

By |July 12th, 2023|

One of the common reasons people put together an estate plan is to avoid probate.  Commercials for estate planning attorneys often scare people about the costs and hassle of going through probate. But what exactly is probate?  Is it really that bad?  If so, are there ways you can avoid it? What is probate? Probate is the legal process of settling a deceased person’s estate.  It involves several legal steps overseen by a court. The primary goals of probate are to: Validate the deceased person’s will. Appoint an executor to act on behalf of the deceased person. Even if [...]

Common Terms in Estate Planning

By |July 5th, 2023|

While planning for what happens to your estate after you die is important, it can be mystifying because of all the “legalese” contained in the planning process. Knowing the terminology associated with estate planning will give you a better understanding of what your estate documents provide and who is involved along the way. Here are fifteen common terms you should be familiar with when navigating your estate planning documents. Fifteen essential terms to know in estate planning. Will Also known as a “Last Will and Testament”, a will is a document that outlines how you want your assets to [...]

How To Fund a Trust

By |June 29th, 2023|

If you’ve put together your estate plan, you’ve taken a big step toward safeguarding your loved ones.  But what comes next?  If your estate plan includes a trust, the next step is to “fund” your trust. Funding a trust is the process of transferring ownership of your assets from your name individually (or jointly if married) to the name of the trust.  When you create a trust, you’ve created something that can hold your assets.  However, for the trust to be effective, you must fund it by re-titling or re-registering your assets in the name of the trust. By [...]

Your Home is Probably Underinsured

By |June 21st, 2023|

Once upon a time, in a quaint little town, there lived a woman named Sally. Sally was a vivacious and hardworking individual who had recently purchased her dream home. It was a picturesque house with a white picket fence, nestled in a friendly neighborhood. Sally had poured her heart and soul into making her house a home, with all the upgrades and luxurious features she had always desired. Inside, Sally's house boasted state-of-the-art appliances, elegant cabinets, and gleaming granite countertops, custom wood floors, a theatre room with all the proper technology, and the most perfect pergola that created an [...]

What if I invested every time CNBC said not to?

By |June 14th, 2023|

If you are looking for an edge in investing, maybe try doing the opposite of what the news tells you to do. CNBC has a well-known segment called “Markets in Turmoil” whenever stocks are in a drawdown. They bring out the graphic complete with bold red lettering and a bear in the background. CNBC doesn’t use the segment flippantly, only when things are scary. Here’s a sampling: May 2010: A Flash Crash causes the Dow Jones to fall 1,000 points in minutes. August 2011: The European Sovereign Debt Crisis, downgrade of the United States’ credit rating. October-December 2018: The [...]

Common Myths That Impact Your Insurance Rate

By |June 7th, 2023|

Insurance is a vital aspect of our lives, providing financial protection and peace of mind in the face of unforeseen events. However, there are several myths surrounding insurance rates that can mislead policyholders and impact their understanding of how premiums are determined. In this blog, we will debunk three common myths that often influence people's expectations about their insurance rates and shed light on the reality behind them. Myth 1: Turning age 26 makes my rate go down. This is not true. One common misconception is that once you turn 26, your insurance rate automatically decreases. While it is [...]

What Is A HELOC?

By |May 31st, 2023|

Even though housing prices have cooled, many homeowners saw their real estate values explode over the past few years. This has caused people to begin exploring options to tap into their newfound home equity. One popular choice is a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). A HELOC is a flexible borrowing tool that allows homeowners to draw from the equity they have built up in their homes. But is it a good idea? Let's delve into the details and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a HELOC. Understanding a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) A Home Equity Line [...]

Top 3 Things to Focus on When Buying a Home

By |May 24th, 2023|

Buying a home is a significant decision, and it's essential to consider various factors. By focusing on the following three key aspects, you can simplify the process and find the perfect home for you and your family. 1. Location The location of your home is crucial. Consider factors like the neighborhood, schools, proximity to work and other amenities that matter to you. Living in the right location can greatly enhance your overall experience and quality of life. For instance, being close to other families with young children or near their friends can be beneficial if you have kids. Similarly, [...]

What To Do When You Receive An Inheritance

By |May 17th, 2023|

Receiving an inheritance can be a significant and life-changing event, providing you with an opportunity to secure your financial future. However, it's crucial to approach this windfall wisely to make the most of it. We will discuss smart financial moves to make when you receive an inheritance. We also want to give you a free resource to assess your current financial situation so you can make sound financial decisions. Millennials and Gen Z If you were born between 1981 to the early 2000’s, you fall in this camp. You are more likely to have fewer assets and higher human [...]

Affordable Housing: Three Steps to a Lower Payment on Your Home Purchase

By |May 10th, 2023|

The topic of housing affordability has become a hot-button issue. Home values continue to rise and the government's response to the inflation issues they created has sent interest rates up after record lows from a few years ago.  There is a way to get your interest rate and payment much lower. Yup! No special government program, no bill needed to pass the Senate and House. All you need is some intelligent contract structuring, quality realtor relationships, and a wise home loan advisor. With the right approach, you can make house financing better and more affordable. Here are three steps [...]

8 Things A Christian Financial Advisor Teaches His Kids About Money

By |May 3rd, 2023|

As a Christian financial advisor, I’m asked what I teach my own children about money. While budgeting may seem like an obvious answer, I believe instilling strong values in our children is far more important when it comes to making wise financial decisions. In this blog, I will share with you the eight things I teach my kids about money which have helped shape their mindset toward earning and spending. Be others focused. I teach my kids to think about others, not just themselves. Serving others is the best way to earn an income, and being others-focused helps them [...]

This News Story is Misleading: A Good Credit Score is Still Good

By |April 26th, 2023|

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding an image from Fox News claiming higher credit score borrowers will be charged a 1% fee, while lower credit score borrowers will receive a discount of 1.75% on fees they would normally have to pay. This graphic is misleading and not entirely accurate. Borrowers with good credit will still receive a much better rate on their mortgage than those with a lower credit score. Context From Me Before I break down the details of this adjustment to mortgages going forward, I need to say the following: I am politically conservative and do [...]