131 episodes

When considering retirement, do you wonder what financial opportunities you may be missing? Busy lives take over and years pass without taking advantage. In this retirement podcast, Chad Smith and Mike Eklund unveil financial opportunities, to help you balance enjoying today so you are ready to retire later. By day, they are fiduciary fee-only financial advisors who answer questions about tax savings, investment decisions, and how to save more. If you’ve been putting off your financial to-do list or are just not sure what you’ve been missing, subscribe to the show and learn more at www.financialsymmetry.com. Financial Symmetry is a Raleigh Financial Advisor, proudly serving clients in the Triangle of North Carolina for over 20 years.

Financial Symmetry: Balancing Today with Retiremen‪t‬ Chad Smith, CFP® and Mike Eklund, CFP®

    • Investing
    • 4.9 • 36 Ratings

When considering retirement, do you wonder what financial opportunities you may be missing? Busy lives take over and years pass without taking advantage. In this retirement podcast, Chad Smith and Mike Eklund unveil financial opportunities, to help you balance enjoying today so you are ready to retire later. By day, they are fiduciary fee-only financial advisors who answer questions about tax savings, investment decisions, and how to save more. If you’ve been putting off your financial to-do list or are just not sure what you’ve been missing, subscribe to the show and learn more at www.financialsymmetry.com. Financial Symmetry is a Raleigh Financial Advisor, proudly serving clients in the Triangle of North Carolina for over 20 years.

    Hidden Financial Mistakes and How to Spot Them

    Hidden Financial Mistakes and How to Spot Them

    Have you wondered if there are any financial mistakes that you may have been making?
    Video recap here: https://youtu.be/9fsWlp56R2U
    Sometimes our financial mistakes aren’t obvious, so in this episode of Financial Symmetry, we discuss 3 hidden financial mistakes that you may be making and how you can spot them. 
    Uncertain outcomes cannot be predicted Are you guilty of believing an uncertain outcome is certain? Sometimes we feel confident that things are going to happen. This can be true even with geopolitical events like the Coronavirus. You may have known the virus would happen, but could you have predicted this current situation? 
    People are naturally overconfident, but the market is smarter than you. Trying to anticipate corrections will cost you money. In fact, trying to anticipate market corrections will end up costing you more money than the market corrections themselves.
    One way to prevent overconfidence is by talking through potential outcomes with a financial advisor or a financial accountability partner. 
    Don’t underestimate the market’s ability for positive surprises Many people have a negative money script or way that we view finances. This scarcity mindset could penalize their financial potential. There will always be reasons to wait it out or not invest, but instead of focusing on those reasons focus on not missing out on opportunities. You don’t want to take a pay cut in retirement because of missed opportunities. 
    We often delay financial decisions to give ourselves time to think about it more or evaluate the alternatives and to consider all outcomes. But often the best investments are the most difficult ones that you have to make. This is why having an investment plan makes sense. 
    “Investing is a lifelong journey. Making money slowly is much better than making then losing money quickly.” -- David Booth.  Are you missing hidden tax opportunities? There are different tax opportunities that can be taken depending on your phase of life and how the laws change. One opportunity that many retirees were able to take advantage of this year was the lack of required minimum distributions (RMDs). This allowed people to do Roth conversions. Retirement brings on a wealth of tax planning opportunities since you have more control over your income in retirement. Advanced tax planning early in retirement can help you save on your lifetime tax bill. Listen in to hear how long-term tax planning can save you money over your lifetime. 
    Estate planning pitfalls Estate planning is often the last part of a financial plan that people want to address since it is the least enjoyable part of financial planning. But if you want a say in what happens to your money after you are gone then you’ll need to create an estate plan and review it periodically. Check out episodes 102 and 122 to learn more about estate planning. 
    Do you have enough? Are you saving enough? When is the best time to invest? Are you missing out? These are all questions that can be answered with the right financial plan. Think about what a financial plan can do for you. If you are looking for a financial advisor to help you create a financial plan click through to our website.
    .Outline of This Episode [2:40] Believing an uncertain outcome is certain  [10:16] Missing hidden tax opportunities  [14:50] Are you taking advantage of an HSA? [17:15] Estate planning pitfalls [21:18] Today’s progress principle Resources & People Mentioned Charlie Munger Episode 91 - Your Retirement Secret Weapon Episode 47 - Why Do I Need an HSA? Episode 102 - How the SECURE Act Will Impact Your Retirement Episode 122 - Leaving and Receiving an Inheritance by the Decades Roger Whitney - The Retirement Answer Man podcast Connect With Chad and Mike https://www.financialsymmetry.com/podcast-archive/  Connect on Twitter @csmithraleigh @TeamFSINC F

    • 24 min
    During Stock Market Manias, Ask These 3 Questions

    During Stock Market Manias, Ask These 3 Questions

    Stock market manias have an uncanny way of capturing our attention.
    Short video recap: https://youtu.be/wr04xy1pDnU
    Not only do they dominate weekly headlines, but create visions of what could be. The most recent example is the rapid rise of meme stocks, including Gamestop, AMC and Blackberry among others.
    In this episode, we’ll explore what happened with this most recent mania, and describe the why behind how we can become enamored with this type of approach. We'll then offer three questions to provide a framework for the next time you're facing similar feelings.
    What happened with Game Stop? You may have seen a Game Stop store at your local mall or shopping center. Game Stop is a video game retailer whose future did not look promising. Many people compared it to Blockbuster Video.
    This uncertain future attracted the interest of short-sellers and the retailer ended up becoming one of the most heavily shorted stocks. When an online Reddit group discovered what was happening to the stock, many people decided to jump in and stop the short. This sudden influx of investors drove the share price up to unprecedented levels.
    There’s a difference between gambling and investing Manias are nothing new. We've seen them in many forms including the Nifty Fifty in the 1950s, the tech bubble in the 1990s and BRIC Countries during the 2000s. The speed and size of these rallies can foster a fear of missing out feeling that's is more analogous to gambling.
    There's a fine line between gambling and investing. In stock market manias, it's easy for people to throw risk considerations out the window because the possibility of life-changing gains takes over. Subsequently, this mentality could lead to detrimental results when investors are using money they can't afford to lose.
    With Game Stop, investing quickly becomes interesting when the stock is increasing like a rocket ship within a week. For many, this strategy looks miles more exciting when compared to a disciplined long-term strategy. This is when the gambling temptation can circumvent the longer-term evidence based approach you may have used up to that point. Enter diversification.
    That's because diversification decreases your investment risk. When you diversify, you invest in many different types and sizes of companies all over the world. The goal of diversification is to ensure the performance of one specific stock won’t impact your entire portfolio.
    3 Questions to Ponder when Tempted If you find yourself considering a specific stock purchase, there are a few questions that can help your decision.
    What does this strategy claiming to provide that's not already in your portfolio? What will this investment reasonably add to your portfolio by including it? Could you increase your expected returns? Will it reduce volatility in your portfolio? Does this help you achieve a goal? Are you going to be comfortable with the range of possibilities this purchase creates? Your investment strategy will be most appropriate for you when it's created in service to your financial plan. A plan that is specifically created for your goals and circumstances. Understanding the interaction between your income and future expenses for the next few years.
    What will you need your savings rate to be? How much longer will you plan to work? Do you have other resources where this risk won't derail your long-term financial picture? Carefully considering your investment decisions and ensuring that they align with a cohesive and diversified investment strategy will help you stay on target to reach your long-term goals.
    Outline of This Episode [1:32] What happened with Game Stop? [6:03] There is a difference between gambling and investing [9:29] The benefits of diversification are far-reaching [14:39] Time is the ultimate thief  [17:33] Today’s progress principle Connect With Chad and Mike https:

    • 20 min
    Wealth Building by the Decades: One Thing You Can Do to Ensure Financial Success

    Wealth Building by the Decades: One Thing You Can Do to Ensure Financial Success

    What is the most important thing you can do for building wealth?
    Video recap: https://youtu.be/OVSKtk6TzB0
    Recently, Jeff Levine (@CPAPlanner) put this question out into the Twitterverse: Other than saving and investing, what is the one single most important factor to financial success?
    Too often when dealing with financial decisions, we try to overcomplicate what is best for us. We liked the simplicity of a single thing to focus on, so this week we are breaking down our version of the most important thing you can do in each decade to improve your financial journey.
    Harness the power of compound interest while you’re young If you are starting to build wealth in your teens and 20s you’re in luck. Time is on your side.
    An often cited roadblock to getting this started, is the overwhelming debt obligations to student loans. While important to tackle high interest rate debt, carving out a small amount of automated savings can be life-changing.
    For many, the first time we see a compound interest example, we are inspired. We included a powerful example below to demonstrate how much investment growth accumulates over 40 years, compared to the amount you are saving.
    By saving small amounts early, compound interest becomes your super power. Automating this savings each month in an investment account with exposure to a diversified stock portfolio starting in your 20s, is arguably the single biggest impact decision you'll make in building wealth. Because of the natural discipline it creates, making it harder to stop it down the road.
    Continue to pay yourself first During your 30s, life often becomes busier. Between new marriages, job changes and growing families, consequential decisions can pile up. These exciting changes bring curveballs you often don't expect, like childcare for remote school over the past year.
    This is when deciding to pay yourself first benefits you behind the scenes when life decisions are taking priority. If your saving and investing decisions are made only after you cover your expenses, then your budget is upside down.
    Automating your savings and charitable giving can leave you better positioned as you head in to your 40s.
    Don’t compare yourself with those around you During this decade, it's tempting to continue moving the goalposts as you reach certain levels of success.
    Comparing your financial situation to others is a common derailment to your long-term success in your 40s. Keeping up with the Joneses can feel like an endless treadmill.
    In the The Psychology of Money, Morgan Housel writes, “the ceiling of social comparison is so high that virtually no one will ever hit it, which means it is a battle that can never be won or that the only way to win is to not fight it to begin with, to accept that you might have enough even if it’s less than those around you.”
    Determine your definition of enough. Is it a certain amount of money in the bank? A bigger house? Being laser focused on your ultimate financial goals, allows you stick to your financial plan, providing peace of mind along the way.
    Be flexible in your 50s Successful financial planning begins with understanding potential high impact risks.
    More and more, we see unexpected hurdles for people in their 50s. It could be a layoff or a loss of assets due to grey divorce, but understanding the potential impact with scenario planning beforehand can leave you more agile to adjust.
    Investing in your personal and professional relationships through the years, allows for more flexibility when reinventing yourself in these circumstances. Additionally, understanding the impact of withdrawals on your assets can be valuable in the case you need temporary withdrawals to sustain you during a transition.
    After building wealth, keep perspective Hopefully, in your 60s you are reflecting on a life well lived. This is a time to gain perspective. Commo

    • 27 min
    Top Investment Lessons Learned from 2020

    Top Investment Lessons Learned from 2020

    From a historically quick bear market decline to a speedy rebound, 2020 certainly took us on a wild ride. But there is a lot we can learn from this crazy year.
    Short video recap: https://youtu.be/fUfGwGk-gEY
    In this episode, we are reflecting on the investment lessons we learned over the past year. What were the lessons you took away in 2020? Listen in to hear if there are any other lessons you can learn from the year.
    Optimists make better investments than pessimists Historically, the S&P 500 returns 8-10% per year. Since markets go up in the long term, people who focus on the long-term growth of the stock and bond markets, as well as the growth of the economy, will prosper.
    This lesson was put to the test in March of 2020 when we had the shortest bear market in history. Investors that stuck it out profited greatly. From March 23 to the end of 2020 the market went up an astonishing 68%.
    Since no one has a crystal ball, buying in a bear market can be scary. This is why we recommend having an investment plan or a rules-based process in place. 
    If you lost sleep over or sold stocks during the decline then you need to reassess your asset allocation. How did you fare in the market decline? Were you an optimist or pessimist? Did you stick to your investment plan and wait it out?
    Listening to the media is expensive These days, the markets move at lightning speed. At this velocity, people often feel like they need to stay on top of all the latest financial news. However, listening to the financial media can hinder your ultimate goal. The media’s job is to sell advertising, not to help you reach your financial goals. 
    Even if all the uncertainty drives you crazy, step away from the sensationalist news. The number one predictor of long-term investment success is investment behavior, so teach yourself the discipline not to act on every little thing you hear on the news. Turn off your notifications and guard your time instead. 
    Watch out for fads We all hear the rags to riches stories about the latest fads. Raise your hand if you have a friend who has struck it rich with Bitcoin lately. These stories can be so powerful, however, no one ever talks about the downside. 
    FOMO (fear of missing out) is real and we often want to jump on the latest bandwagon, whether it be Bitcoin, gold, or whatever the new shiny thing is. At the end of the day, the value of what you own is only what someone else is willing to pay you. 
    If you still want to jump on the latest bandwagon understand your motive and think about the impact of your investment on your financial plan.
    Produced by Financial Symmetry Hosted by Mike Eklund and Chad Smith Recorded in Raleigh, NC

    • 26 min
    12 Actionable Steps to Improve Your Financial Outlook in the New Year

    12 Actionable Steps to Improve Your Financial Outlook in the New Year

    As we come upon a new year it is a good time to reflect on your finances and set goals.
    Video Recap: https://youtu.be/yKdGYEjhTB0
    In this episode, we discuss 12 steps you can take action on to improve your financial outlook. If you’re looking to get off on the right foot in 2021, print out this checklist and run through it to find improvements you can make now.
    12 easy steps you can take to improve your finances
    Record your financial goals and positive habits. Writing things down is a great way to hold yourself accountable and see how far you have come. When you write down your goals you can refer back to them later. Our clients have the added benefit of using our Global Dashboard to help them keep track of their financial goals and habits. 
    Check your estate documents. This is something that we all push off until later. Do your heirs a favor and review your estate documents now. Are they up to date? This can save your family a lot of headaches. 
    Set up an income and expense tracking tool. You need to have an understanding of how much money is coming in and going out each month. When you start tracking your income and expenses you may discover a lot about yourself. It’s also a good idea to compare your cashflow this year with years past. What has changed?
    Make sure you have emergency savings. The general recommendation is to have 3-6 months in an emergency fund, however, this can be specific to you and your situation. You may need more. If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that the world can throw you some unexpected situations and it is important to be ready. Where is your emergency savings fund?
    Match and max your 401K. Are you taking advantage of the company match in your 401K? Can you amp up your 401K? It is important to remember that the company match amount is not the maximum that you can save. $19,500 is the IRS maximum per year. Are you maxing out your 401K this year? Did you have to make any adjustments to your savings? 
    Review your investment strategy. There have been so many changes this year in the stock market this year. Your stock allocation may have grown so it is a good time to check whether your allocation is in line with your investment strategy. Remember that investment behavior is much more important than individual stock picks. 
    Make sure you are maximizing tax efficiency. Are your assets the most tax-efficient? All accounts are taxed differently. Think about what assets are best to hold across which accounts.
    Pay down high-interest debt. Many times we tend to ignore our high-interest debt, but it is important to understand how often you use debt. Focus on the interest rate and balance of your debts. What is your overall debt? Is it good debt or bad debt? Listen in to hear what we think of different types of debt. Our thoughts may surprise you.
    Order your free credit report. Every year around the holidays there is an increase in fraud. Try using Credit Karma to keep track of your credit score.
    Review your insurance policies. Do you still need life insurance, disability, or an umbrella policy? You may be carrying too much insurance.
    Show me the money! Understand where your accounts are and how they are structured. Keep an inventory of where your accounts are and consolidate them if needed. Its easier to make decisions when you are organized
    Communicate with your spouse. Are you both on the same page financially? Has your financial situation changed this year?
    After listening to this episode feel free to download this sheet and print it off to use it as a checklist.
    Read the full post here:

    • 28 min
    How a Financial Advisor Invests Their Money - Mike Eklund

    How a Financial Advisor Invests Their Money - Mike Eklund

    Motivated by the new book, How I Invest My Money, I (Mike Eklund) wanted to communicate how I manage my own money.  In our recent podcast, we discuss my approach with investments, savings, spending, debt, insurance, and what the money is for (goals).  We also review some of my core beliefs which include:
    Spend less then you earn Automate savings, investing, and anything else that you can Invest the majority of portfolio in growth assets (stocks) Spend money on experiences, relationships and to save time Insure against big risks (life/disability) Avoid high-cost debt Keep it simple. Complicated is the enemy for most individuals. Near the end of the podcast, we discuss one of the best investments I’ve ever made.   As a married father of four kids, it is our purchase of a lake cabin where we create many family memories.  This investment return is determined based on actual experiences as they far outweigh any financial return.
    Finally, we finish with what the money is for.  Primarily three things:
    Time to do the things we enjoy (family, friends, and staying active) Freedom (peace of mind that we’re ok) Legacy for kids (help them get started) I hope you enjoy the podcast!
    Outline of This Episode [1:14] What are my belief systems about investing? [4:45] How did my family shape his views about money? [6:22] My views on net worth [10:45] My views on investing [15:03] Have I been scarred by my investment history? [20:50] How much spending is too much? [29:19] How do we manage risk? [32:58] Creating moments is important Resources & People Mentioned BOOK - How I Invest My Money by Joshua Brown BOOK - The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley Episode 91 - The Mega Backdoor Roth BOOK - Happy Money by Elizabeth Dunn Episode 59 - Tax Solutions for Charitable Giving BOOK - The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel BOOK - Enough by Jack Bogle Connect With Chad and Mike https://www.financialsymmetry.com/podcast-archive/ Connect on Twitter @csmithraleigh@TeamFSINC Follow Financial Symmetry on Facebook Subscribe To This Podcast ApApple Podcasts > Stitcher > Google Play

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
36 Ratings

36 Ratings

Ima listener ,


A Must listen to show! Really knowledgeable hosts!

Annie DJ ,


I’ve been listening to Chad and Mike for a while now and they have only gotten better with time. The shows are intentionally brief, but contain actionable items.

Their latest episode 118 provides a deeper insight into their investing philosophy. I like that some episodes are designed for beginners and then they mix in other episodes that are more technical and you may have to listen to twice.

Well worth your time!

multi's man ,

Multi’s man

Regarding episode #179, wealth building by the decades: Many good points and summary but it seems to have missed a little on the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. For many, maybe most folks, those years are very fruitful and can make or break a good retirement. At the point of their 50’s lots of people are good at their jobs and have lots of experience and are generally paid for it. Consequently, they are making much more than they were in the early years and usually have a chance to really stuff money into savings. You don’t get as much compounding but big deposits into retirement accounts go a long way!
Thanks for what you do!

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