• Podcast,  Retirement Planning

    Face The Fear Podcast – Erin Martin, Retirement Plan Adviser, Take 2!

    In this episode, we welcome back Erin Martin, Retirement Plan Adviser at Phillips Financial to talk about 401(k)’s, retirement accounts, vesting and withdrawing money from your 401(k) and how that can impact your long term goals.

    Joining us in this episode is Nick Lucas and Nick Shoemaker, students at the University of St. Francis!

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    Don’t forget to subscribe, leave a review and share!

    XOXO – Nicole and Kaitlyn

  • Budgeting

    Tips to Talk Finances With Your Spouse

    Do you talk finances with your spouse? No? Well, you should. As awkward as it maybe, it is so important to have regular discussions over your financial situation.

    Now, I know this might be tough if there is a dark cloud over your finances, and may cause disagreements, but sweeping it under the rug only makes it worse. I assume there is some sort of discussion related to this subject, but is it a quick “honey, did you pay the rent?” or is it a full-on conversation related to goal setting, where you are at, where you want to be, and the steps you are taking to get there? There is a HUGE difference. Don’t get me wrong, you can still ask if the rent is paid but having the actual in-depth discussion behind that question is what is so important.

    Finances are one of the biggest causes of divorce in the US. I don’t mean to be a Debby downer, but it is a fact. By having these discussions and putting the work into creating a successful financial future, this can help you to avoid being in that statistic.

    Awkward Andy Samberg GIF by Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Find & Share on GIPHY

    To make this a little less awkward, I have some tips to help lighten the load:

    • Icebreaker: That initial conversation is probably going to be the toughest to start. Make it comfortable. Schedule a time to sit down to a nice dinner or get in your pjs and talk money with pizza. Anything to make the situation more relaxed. Try to start by discussing the positives of your finances. Maybe you saved an extra $300 this month, or you raised your 401k contribution, literally anything positive. Doing this can help get you both in a good mood. If there is nothing positive to start off with, maybe bring in a solution to an issue. Say you have a massive medical bill due this month, instead of just looking at the fact that you are going to spend a ton of money that maybe you do not have, look on the bright side that at least after this month you won’t have that bill and you can put that money into savings next month. Get creative and try to keep the mood light. The discussion will be more productive if you are both happy.
    • Do not lie: This is probably THE most important tip I can share. Hiding items related to money is the easiest way to cause an argument and create issues. It is so much better to get everything out into the open so together you can take the steps to make it right. No matter how embarrassing it is, or how big of a burden it may be, you are in this together. In my opinion, I would much rather hear the bad news up front and work through it than be lied to about it as the problem is getting much bigger. Be open and communicate the issues. This is so important.
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    • Use tools: There are so many resources out there to help you reach your financial goals. From budgeting websites, spreadsheets, templates, books, the list goes on and on. Find a tool that works best for you and your spouse. If you budget monthly and like apps there are sites such as Mint or Everydollar. If you budget weekly and like to have a paper copy, maybe you find a spreadsheet that you can fill in. Anything to help make it easier. This can also help make future conversations a breeze to get through. On top of that, you will visually be able to see how you are doing and stay on track.
    • Make goals: By setting financial goals you and your spouse will have something to work towards. Instead of waiting for the next paycheck to blow on food- guilty, say you made a goal to pay off your car 1 year quicker, now you have a purpose for the money that betters your future. These goals can be short term or long term, or even better a mix of both. Consider writing these down somewhere, your phone, computer, notebook, etc. Being able to see them will help make it harder to give up on them. Make sure they are goals you both agree on and benefit you both.
    • Make a plan and stick to it: Whether this is a budget, or a 5- year plan, make a plan. Discussing what you want to achieve and talking about how to get there is a great step, but really getting down deep and planning everything out will help you realize what you have to look forward to, what you can do right now, or where you are making mistakes. If you do not have a basic household budget yet, that might be a good place to start. Find a way that works best with your pay schedules and stick to the budget. From there, start making a longer-term plan. For example: In 5 years you and your spouse are going to build a house and to get there, year 1 you are going to cut the amount you eat out in half every month and put that money into savings, year 2 you are going to do so and so…and year 3 and 4 and so on until you build the house. Hang your plan on your fridge and talk about it frequently. Keep your budget, or plan in front of you so you can keep each other accountable if one of you starts to fall of track. Teamwork makes the dream work!
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    Hopefully these tips help you and your spouse start the conversation for your financial future. Talking about money does not have to be awkward. If you take the time to create a more relaxed environment and discuss the positive things you have or can do, in my experience, it helps so much. This is the person you are stuck with forever, make sure you are both on the right page to have a successful future!

    Author: Dakota Otis

  • Videos

    Estate Planning: Put To The Test

    Does financial planning really work? Abby Sullivan, Guest Contributor and Associate Account Executive at Allego, puts Estate Planning to the test! Inspired by our Face The Fear podcast about Estate Planning with Matt Erpelding, Abby decides to apply our content to her own life. Abby describes the process of creating a will, choosing a health care proxy, and designating a power of attorney. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

    Contact Us: facethefearfw@gmail.com

  • Insurance,  Podcast

    Face The Fear Podcast – Tim Kukieza, Disability Insurance Expert

    What is disability insurance, how does it work, and when do you need it? Tim Kukieza, Disability Insurance Expert, answers these questions and many more on this podcast episode – all while cracking a few jokes along the way. Listen in to find out:

    • If someone is young and healthy, why do they need disability insurance now?
    • If someone already has disability insurance through their employer, is there any reason why they may need to buy additional coverage?
    • What exactly does Disability Insurance cover? Will it replace my entire income?
    • How much does DI typically cost for a Millennial?

    Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review! XOXO

    Face The Fear Website: https://www.facethefearfw.com

    Contact Us: facethefearfw@gmail.com

  • Podcast

    Face The Fear Podcast – John Redmaster, CFP – Where should Millennials put their money first?

    John Redmaster, Certified Financial Planner and fellow Millennial, joins us to break down where Millennials should focus their money first. Should we pay down student loans or credit card debt? Save for a home? Invest in a 401(k)? Build up an emergency fund? John helps us find answers to these questions and more on this week’s episode:

    • What tips would you give to Millennials who just graduated college (or are several years into the workforce) who feel like their student loan debt is unmanageable?
    • Since you have the CFP designation, can you explain a little bit about what exactly that designation means and why it may be important to consider when seeking a financial advisor?
    • What can Millennials do TODAY to get their finances on track?

    Financial Focus Website:
    https://www.financialfocusonline.com/

    Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review! XOXO

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    Advisory Services offered through Investment Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisor and Division of ProEquities, Inc. Securities offered through ProEquities, Inc., a registered Broker/Dealer and member FINRA/SIPC.  Financial Focus is independent of ProEquities, Inc. Ash Brokerage and its affiliates are not associated with ProEquities.

  • Insurance,  Podcast

    Face The Fear Podcast – Jenny Crabill, Life Insurance

    On this episode of Face The Fear, we break down the basics of life insurance with Jenny Crabill, a fellow Millennial and Advanced Life Insurance Case Analyst. Here are a few of the questions Jenny helps us answer:

    • What exactly is life insurance & why is it important?
    • Why do I need life insurance now if I’m young, healthy, and don’t have anyone depending on my income?
    • When is the best time to buy life insurance?
    • How much does life insurance really cost?
    • How do I purchase life insurance?

    LifeHappens.org

    Face The Fear Website: https://www.facethefearfw.com

    Contact Us: facethefearfw@gmail.com

    Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review! XOXO

  • Podcast

    Face The Fear Podcast – Mother’s Day Money Talk ft. Becky Rogers & Robin Schuller

    On this special Mother’s Day episode, we do some girl talk with Becky Rogers and Robin Schuller, two of the coolest moms of Millennials that we know! Becky and Robin share the financial secrets they wish they’d known when they were in their 20s and 30s, as well as the advice they’ve given their Millennial children about managing money. If you want to find out how to slay your financial goals, stay tuned!

    And if you like us, don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review! XOXO

    Face The Fear Website: https://www.facethefearfw.com

    Contact Us: facethefearfw@gmail.com

  • Podcast

    Face The Fear Podcast – Chad Tallman, Financial Advisor

    In this episode, we chat with Chad Tallman, Financial Advisor*, about everything from investing, to budgeting, to retirement planning – all from a Millennial point-of-view. Chad debunks some common myths about financial advisors and provides tips for finding the right advisor who will best meet your needs. 

    Here are a few of the questions uncover in this episode:

    • How does someone start investing? 
    • What does “risk tolerance” mean?
    • Why is it important for Millennials to have a financial advisor and to develop a financial plan?
    • What does a holistic financial plan look like for a Millennial?
    • What questions should someone ask a financial advisor to make sure they are the right fit for them?
    • What is one thing you wish you know about finances when you were in your early 20s?

    Chad’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chadtallman/

    Contact Us: facethefearfw@gmail.com

    Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review! XOXO

    *(Securities offered through Sigma Financial Corporation, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through Sigma Planning Corporation, A Registered Investment Advisor. CLN Financial is independent of Sigma Financial Corporation and Sigma Planning)

  • Insurance

    Disability Insurance: The Base of Your Life Event Planning Strategy

    It’s reported that 40% of millennials would buy this product if they knew about it. No, it’s not the newest iPhone or even the latest Yeezy’s. It’s disability income insurance. Easily considered one of the most important insurance products available to your life event planning financial strategy. Trust me, I know what you are thinking. *Oh, great… another insurance policy that I need to buy but I’d probably be fine without.*


    I’ll tell you right now, you aren’t fine without it.

    Now what exactly is disability income insurance? Disability insurance is the foundation to all financial plans, as it protects and typically replaces about 60% your income in the event of an injury or an illness that prevents you from being able to work at your job and collect a paycheck. There are a two main types of disability insurance; Long Term and Short Term. Both are offered either on an individual basis or group basis offered through an employer. People insure their homes, cars and personal property yet they fail to insure the one thing that makes all of that a reality: their income! Here are some facts that might surprise you:

    • 1 in 4 Twenty-Year Old’s will have a disability event before they retire.
    • Most disability events last an average of 31.6 months.
    • More than 67% of Millennials have less than $1,000 in their savings account to cover any kind of emergency.

    Surprised? I know I was when I heard those statistics. Now with those numbers in front of you, you can easily see how a savings account with less than $1,000 wouldn’t sustain your Starbucks addiction, let alone pay your rent, car payment, or student loans for an extended period when dealing with an injury or illness that prevents you from working and collecting a paycheck.

    Many Millennials have a difficult enough time paying bills on time and not paying those bills with a credit card. Now imagine how a disability event could amplify your already difficult financial situation.

    While many employers do offer group disability insurance, those policies will only cover a portion of the income you typically receive as they are capped at certain benefit amounts, usually around 60% with a strict capped dollar amount. Some employers have disability insurance that you can elect in or out of, while other employers automatically include this coverage in their benefit package and is typically employer paid. Disability insurance on an individual basis tends to be much stronger and is built around your unique parameters, such as age, occupation, annual income, and medical history. As stated previously, the typical replacement of your income is around 60%, as insurance providers need to give you some incentive to return to work when healthy and able to do so. With that said, there is also the option of supplementing your group disability coverage with an individual policy to get the income replacement percentage past 60%, but keep in mind your income will never be 100% fully replaced through a disability income insurance policy.

    An individual disability insurance policy can be tailored around your specific financial needs. The typical design of a disability insurance policy includes an elimination period, along with a benefit period, and a specified definition of disability that determines how the insurance carrier considers you disabled. The elimination period is the beginning period of a disability claim that must be satisfied before disability benefits can be paid out on a claim, typically 90 days. Once that elimination period has been satisfied, the specified benefit amount (income) would be paid out for however long you are deemed disabled, which is determined by the definition of disability outlined in the policy. Or, if you were permanently disabled, the specified benefit amount (income) would pay out for the whole benefit period, which can range between 2 years and all the way to age 67 (Long Term Disability Insurance). There are several different definitions of disability available to disability insurance policies and the need for each is determined by a couple of different factors. The 3 main definitions of disability include: a not-engaged definition, a reasonable definition and a true/pure own occupation definition. Depending on your doctor’s prognosis of the disability and treatment plan, these definitions of disability are the determining factors that will either pay out a monthly disability benefit…or not.

    To sum it all up, you should be protecting your income, the thing that makes life happen! Obtaining disability income insurance on an individual basis is quite easy. Get in contact with a licensed financial professional and start the conversation by stating you would like disability income insurance to set the foundation of your life event planning financial strategy!

    Article Contributed By: Cameron Hull

    Contact Us: facethefearfw@gmail.com

  • Insurance,  Retirement Planning

    The Bills and The Fees: How to Talk to Your Parents About Money (Without Making It Awkward)

    If the thought of talking to your parents about money makes you cringe, you’re not alone. In fact, the majority of Americans would rather talk about “the birds and the bees” than “the bills and the fees” of finances with their own family. When given the choice, we would prefer to talk about our own DEATH than asking our parents about their will or estate. (Now, that is just ridiculous). There’s no question that money is a taboo topic that makes you want to run 100 mph in the other direction anytime you hear the words “budget” or “debt.”

    But, why is it so uncomfortable to talk about cash money with our family? And does it even really matter? After all, you’ve made it this far without diving into the depths of financial awkwardness with your parents. What’s the worst that could happen?

    Well, here’s a few stats for ya:

    • 52% of people turning 65 will need some form of Long-Term Care
    • 64% of people with Long-Term Care needs rely exclusively on friends and family for care
    • 25% of all caregivers are Millennials
    • Average annual cost of caregiving ranges from $18,000 (Adult Day Care) to $91,00 (Private Room in Nursing Home)
    • 55% of Americans have no will or plan to transfer assets at death
    • Only 35% of Baby Boomers are confident that they are financially prepared for retirement

    To summarize these lovely statistics: the odds that your parents may eventually require some form of Long-Term Care (assisted living, nursing home, etc.) during their lifetime is 1 in 2 (a coin flip). The chances that you will need to help pay for some of these costs are also quite high, especially if your parents don’t have any kind of long-term care insurance coverage or other savings in place. AND, if your parents are in the minority of those who have already established a will, congratulations! But, even if they do have a will, are you sure it’s up-to-date? You’d hate for your mother’s ex-husband’s cousin’s half-brother to end up inheriting money that was meant for you, right?

    (Yikes, talk about awkward!)

    With that said, yes. Having a conversation about finances with your parents is obviously very important. So, what are you waiting for?? Go ahead and throw those taboos to the wind and dive right in! OK, easier said than done, right? Let’s look at three simple conversation starters that will make the money talk a little less awko-taco.

    1. You’ve taken good care of me, so I want to take good care of you.

    When I was visiting my parents over the holidays, I asked them if we could set aside some time to talk about money. Specifically, I wanted my parents to know that, if anything should ever happen to them, I would be adequately prepared take care of them and their finances. Just as my parents have spent years caring for me and preparing me for my future, I want to be able to return the love by taking care of them when the need arises. We discussed what kinds of insurance policies, investments, and savings they have in place, where they keep financial records, and who they use as a trusted financial advisor. I didn’t ask to see any financial statements or specific policy information (because that’s usually where the awko-meter starts to rise) — only where this information is kept, so I know where to look if I need to access it at some point in the future. By emphasizing that my purpose behind the conversation was love and care for my parent’s wellbeing, we were able to talk open and honestly — without any hurt feelings or awkward outcomes.  

    YESSSSSSSS

    2. I’m interested in visiting a financial advisor, but I’m not sure where to start. Would you mind introducing me to yours?

    This is a win-win conversation starter. Not only does it provide you an opportunity to visit a financial advisor for the first time (without spending lots of money), but it also provides an ideal environment to discuss difficult financial topics with your parents. Their advisor can guide the conversation and act as a third-party mediator if needed. While meeting with the advisor, you may want to discuss your parent’s current retirement plan, including protection against long-term care events, and to review any beneficiaries on your parent’s insurance policies to ensure they are up-to-date. (You’d be shocked how often an ex-wife, ex-husband, or estranged family member ends up receiving a death benefit, simply because policy information was not current). AND, while you’re in the office, you might as well glean some insight from the advisor on your own financial plan. Most likely, the advisor will be more than willing to assist you, as they see you as a potential future client. (If the advisor doesn’t see your value, you may want to look for another advisor).

    Even if your parents don’t already have a trusted financial advisor, this is the perfect time to find a reputable professional together. It will be an opportunity to bond as a family, while also tackling your finances in an efficient and holistic manner.

    3. Do you have a legacy plan? AKA: If you die tomorrow, what kind of legacy to do you want to leave and how do you want it accomplished?

    Most people don’t like to think about dying until a death actually occurs. Can’t blame you. Death isn’t the first topic that comes to my mind when I think of “fun conversation starters.” BUT, the problem we create when we avoid talking about death is that we miss out on the opportunity to plan for a legacy — until it’s already too late. While your parents may want to leave their house behind to the family, donate their art collection to a local museum, and divide the rest of their assets equally among you and your siblings– if they don’t have these wishes expressly written in a will, they’re not likely to happen. When someone dies without a will (called intestate in legalese), your state will then determine how your assets should be dispersed. This could be okay, except that your state has no idea that you don’t even really like your spouse, you’re estranged from your son, and your daughter is a compulsive shopper who blows every penny she has on lottery tickets. But, the state doesn’t really care about your family issues. It will still divide up your assets among each of these individuals anyway. (Sorry ‘bout your luck).

    This is exactly why a will is important.

    Contrary to popular belief, establishing a will (and keeping it current) is not as much of a headache as many people think. For a simple estate (think: relatively small and not paying estate taxes), it may only cost around $100-$150 for an attorney to draft a will. (If you’re looking for a lawyer, start here). Or, you can also write your own will by using a reputable online software program or following a template. HOWEVER, if you complete your will on your own, you are doing so at your own risk, as each state has different regulations surrounding what is required to validate a will and, if done incorrectly, it may not hold up in court.

    I’ve only scratched the surface on the importance of writing a will (both you and your parents). And I haven’t even started to explain all of the incredible information that can be contained in a will, such as designating power of attorney or establishing a living trust. But, I realize I’ve already bored you to tears, so I’ll save these enthralling topics for a different time. (Psst: stay tuned for an upcoming Face The Fear Podcast episode on Estate Planning 101, coming soon!)

    In summary, you know you should probably strike up a conversation with your parents about money. It’s on your to-do list, right below “Clip grandma’s toenails” and “Watch paint dry.” At least now you’ve got a few conversation starters in your back pocket to break the ice. I promise, it won’t be as bad as you think. (Or, maybe it will be. In that case, I don’t know you). Either way, challenge yourself to start a conversation with your family about finances this week. Even simply cracking the door open today could provide fruitful opportunities for future discussions and prevent a flood of heartache, confusion, and financial strain later in life. Friend, it’s time to #FaceTheFear!

    Written By: Kaitlyn Duchien

    Contact Us: facethefearfw@gmail.com