The FEG Team’s Favorite Books They’ve Read This Year

If you’re like many of those at Financial Enhancement Group, you’re always in search for the next good book to read. Below are some of the favorites curated by our team at FEG.

 

Andrew Thrasher, CMT
Portfolio Manager

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers
This is a compilation of content from Tim Ferriss’ very popular podcast. Each chapter highlights notes with one or two of the 200 ‘titans’ Ferriss has interviewed; from co-founders, Navy Seals, Olympians, biochemists, billionaires, inventors, philanthropists, and many other fascinating people who share great wisdom and insights from their experiences. It’s 700 pages long but very hard to put down once you start reading.

 

Joe Clark, CFP
Managing Partner & Lead Advisor

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
The story of Phil Knight in terms of struggle and prevailing all the way to success. Even the best have hardships and challenges. Persistence, determination and the willingness to think outside the box can pay off.

 

Angi Kinser
Event Coordinator

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
I thought the book was better
than the movie that was eventually made based on the novel. Every good book tries to create a new or exciting twist. I truly did not see this one coming. And the character was written so well, I felt like I had her affliction!

 

Taylor Jenkinson
Para-planner

Seven Men: And the Secret of their Greatness by Eric Metaxas
A book compiled of seven short biographies of seven men who stand for honesty, courage, and charity during times when the culture and the world run counter to those values.

 

 Stacy McNeal
Account Processor

While I haven’t ready any good books lately, I have been enjoying my daily devotion. I use an app called First 5 and have recently finished Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon.  Now on a study of Ruth, Esther and Song of Songs.   I find it helps keep me much more positive and productive in my day and life in general.

 

Lindsey Madinger
Para-planner

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
A great summer read that definitely has a “desperate housewives” kind feel to it. HBO recently turned it into a TV series as well.

 

Adam Harter, CFA
Partner & Chief Investment Strategist

The Outsiders by William Thorndike
 Yes,  the novel from back in the day with pony boy was good – but I’m talking about the more recent book about a group of CEO’s that achieved extraordinary results over long periods of time. It’s a book about capital allocation – and as nerdy as that sounds – it was soul food to an investment nerd.  The icing on the cake is that it is also about not letting norms dictate behavior. 

Conspiracy of Fools by Kurt Eichenwald
A detailed account of what went wrong at Enron. Though it may sound like a dated story now, Eichenwald is such a good writer that it is fascinated to see how he was able to weave together such a rich account of the story.  Even the footnotes about how he was able to reconstruct the story was remarkable to read. 

 

Confederacy of Dunces by John Toole
A classic that I find many readers overlook.  It’s a truly unique novel by a writer that unfortunately took his life before he gave us more and will guarantee to make you laugh.

 

 

 

Ron Owens
Customer Service

Mitch Rapp by Vince Flynn & Kyle Mills
A series of novels that has been a very captivating series and extremely hard to put down.  After beginning a book, you definitely want to keep reading to find out what will happen next.  Action happens fast with the Flynn novels, so the writing style keeps your mind focused on the plot and activates your mind into visualizing what you are reading. 

 

Aaron Rheaume
Financial Advisor

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson
The basis of the book is how to survive and thrive when an opportunity is presented. The story is centered around the biblical character Benaiah in 2 Samuel chapter 23. Beniah was fearless, he jumped in a pit with a lion and killed it. Most people would have run the other way. It talks about overcoming your fears and taking on risk, because of the risk Beniah took it propelled him into becoming one of the greatest military leaders in Israel.

 

Dean Huddleston
Financial Advisor

A Bible study of the book of Psalms
Reading the cries of David and understanding the stresses and strains of his life caused by others and himself.  Psalm 143 I can relate to well.  

 

Dusty Emmons
Data Entry Processor

Shannarra by Terry Brooks
A series of novels that take place in a fantasy/post-apostolic world and are definitely a good read. These books have recently been turned into a television series called the Shannarra Chronicles which begin after the first book in the series called The Sword of Shannarra

 

Paul Karshner
Financial Advisor

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The book speaks on the search one has to find ones destiny. That search can be something scary to some, but it is the search for your dreams which makes life worth living. A quote that really stuck with me from the book is, “The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself, no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.” Growing up it was something that I carried with me that when I had doubt of what my future goals/dreams were I had to push through. It is the pursuit that makes those dreams come true.

 

Jana Hargett
Para-planner

Wonder by R.J. Palaci
This is actually a children’s book about a fifth grader with a facial deformity who has to go to a mainstream school.  I like it because the chapters are all written from different perspectives of the main character and those around him as he works through the struggles of adapting to a new school.  It’s family friendly and they have a movie of it coming out in the fall.

 

Jamie Hanna
Financial Advisor

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
My all-time favorite book which  is a great reminder to take a step back and enjoy the little things in life.

 

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
I
t is about a nurse with colored skin being accused of a horrible crime by a white supremacist. It is written from the perspective of many different people and makes you realize how people see life differently. It has a great ending with a lot of lessons.

 

 

Grant Soliven
Financial Advisor

The Naked Sun by Issac Asimov
The author uses space fantasy and robotics to address modern (at the time it was 1956) sociology and psychology.

 

 

Disclaimer: Do not construe anything written in this post or this blog in its entirety as a recommendation, research, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. Everything in this post is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. I or my affiliates may hold positions in securities mentioned in the blog. Please see my Disclosure page for full disclaimer.

What to Know About Charitable Gifts After Retirement

After 29 years in the financial industry, I can say with complete confidence that nothing can come between you and your retirement more effectively than the IRS-even after retirement. Retirement time presents unique taxation challenges when it comes to individuals’ gifts to churches and other not-for-profit organizations deemed 501c(3) entities.  

The reduction in income that typically occurs after retirement is often accompanied by a move to a lower tax bracket. This situation presents two challenges for charitable entities. First, many people tithe from their income. We work with many families who allocate part of their annual income – from $100 to even $20,000 or more—to non-profits like the Salvation Army, United Way or alma mater. When their income drops upon retirement, these individuals’ gifts are also reduced. A family may have more than $1 million in a tax-deferred retirement account, but the funds are considered an asset and people typically give based on their income rather than their assets.

A second challenge for gifts made after retirement is that a decline in the marginal tax bracket reduces the taxable benefit of the gift. And while this situation does not prevent donors from making gifts, many individuals are highly aware of the tax benefits gifts that accompany giving.

What is a non-profit entity to do? We advise non-profits to become proactive and help donors better understand their gifting. No one likes taxation surprises, including non-profits so we frequently present at charitable organizations to help 501c3 organizations understand the realities affecting taxes and the gifts of retired donors.

As a charitable organization, it is critical to understand three topics: Qualified Charitable Distributions, Donor Advised Funds and the gift of appreciated stock in lieu of cash. These organizations also need to understand bequests and how they function. The better non-profits understand these areas, the better they can help their supporters make the most of their generosity.

Not all organizations can afford to hire an individual to counsel their donors on matters related to gifting. We do our best to help fill that role for organizations who don’t have a financial guide. However, there is one standard resource every non-profit must have: An Investment Policy Statement (IPS).  This guide serves as an investment playbook explaining how the organization will treat and invest those funds that come in the form of something other than cash. The IPS also addresses how the organization will invest excess funds.

Not every non-profit organization has an established brokerage account to accept appreciated stock, but that’s because they don’t understand the tax implications for their donors. Too often, donors don’t understand either. Two things every institution should consider when thinking about its financial future are educating the donors who give to the cause, and developing an IPS aligned to the organization’s mission. The conversation needs to start before it’s too late. As an organization’s donor base ages, it needs to prepare for changes. The time to act and to help donors is now.

Tax advice provided by CPA’s affiliated with Financial Enhancement Group, LLC.

Disclaimer: Do not construe anything written in this post or this blog in its entirety as a recommendation, research, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. Everything in this post is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. I or my affiliates may hold positions in securities mentioned in the blog. Please see my Disclosure page for full disclaimer.

Consider This… Radio Show 7/22/2017

Here is this week’s radio show, hosted by Joe Clark, CFP with Sherri Contos.

 

Disclaimer: Do not construe anything written in this post or this blog in its entirety as a recommendation, research, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. Everything in this post is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. I or my affiliates may hold positions in securities mentioned in the blog. Please see my Disclosure page for full disclaimer.

Are Stocks Speculative or Risky?

As one of my stated missions is to help people better understand their money, this column along with our weekly radio show and blog often examines the world of economics through the lens of everyday life. Last week, our team had an opportunity to present at Noblesville Baptist Church where a straightforward and very important question was posed: “Joe, what is risk?”

That question is a reminder that a simple term like “risk” can be very confusing. Working with families, we use the Fiduciary Focus as a guiding checklist. We believe in maintaining a dedicated and intentional focus on risk and volatility, fees and expenses, taxes both today and tomorrow and obtaining a real return.

At Noblesville Baptist, we asked attendees, “Are stocks risky?” Naturally, everyone said yes.  When asked if bonds were risky, half the attendees said yes. Yet when we asked if certificates of deposit (CDs) were risky, no one said yes. I thought, “Houston we have a problem!”

Stocks are not risky. Before you put this column down, please trust me and continue reading. Risk naturally conjures up a negative outcome. Humans simply don’t think of risk in positive terms.  Consider these risks: She may say no when you ask her out. You might have a car wreck. You could fall and hurt yourself. You could lose your money. None of these scenarios are positive. Stock values can indeed decline but they can also rise. Stocks are inherently “speculative” not risky. In the world of finance, risk is defined as getting an unexpected result, whether good or bad.

During the Great Depression, FDR needed money back in the banks, so in his famous fireside chats he replaced the word speculative with risk. The change in verbiage caught on and continues today. For example, we use a risk tolerance test with the families we serve, but the test doesn’t address how a family will respond if their account’s valuation increases. Rather it looks at behavior through the lens of a negative event.   

The chart I used to address the “what is risk” question actually focused on volatility and provided a 30-year history of the markets. I started my career two weeks before the October 1987 crash. Since then, I’ve witnessed other times of volatility including the Tech Wreck of 2000 and the Great Recession of 2008.  But over time, the market has marched higher. Interestingly, fixed income investments (think CDs) have also experienced volatility over time although not as extreme at any one point. Are stocks and bonds risky? They are speculative but also volatile, and various forms of risk can lead to volatility.

CDs are not volatile but they are risky! Everyone focuses on risk of principle but don’t forget other risks that could threaten your financial future. Reinvestment rate risk, credit risk, longevity risk, purchasing power risk, market risk, concentration risk, business risk, currency risk and about six to ten other risks also merit consideration. Risk incorporates much more than lost principle. Get to know your money and your risks.

Disclaimer: Do not construe anything written in this post or this blog in its entirety as a recommendation, research, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. Everything in this post is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. I or my affiliates may hold positions in securities mentioned in the blog. Please see my Disclosure page for full disclaimer.

Consider This… Radio Show 7/15/2017

Here is this week’s radio show, hosted by Joe Clark, CFP with Sherri Contos.

Disclaimer: Do not construe anything written in this post or this blog in its entirety as a recommendation, research, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. Everything in this post is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. I or my affiliates may hold positions in securities mentioned in the blog. Please see my Disclosure page for full disclaimer.