114 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
    • 5.0, 30 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.

    The "R" Plan - 5 Steps to Fight Prediction Hubris, Ep #114

    The "R" Plan - 5 Steps to Fight Prediction Hubris, Ep #114

    No one can argue that the stock market has been tumultuous lately. During times of market uncertainty, investors seem to become even more certain about their predictions of the next stock market moves. 
    Short YouTube Recap: https://youtu.be/ShmeDGPQ3l4
    As people make these predictions over time the stakes get bigger and bigger. Listen to this episode to hear what steps you can take to fight this prediction hubris. 
    Wealth isn’t determined by investments selected but by investor behavior When markets become more volatile, the desire to control our outcomes becomes stronger. Our instincts pressure us to make predictive moves of what we feel is going to happen. This is when the ability to stay disciplined can have the biggest impact.
    Otherwise, we find ourselves sweating out extreme buy and sell decisions that could cause you to miss the biggest market moving days. There was a good chance of this with our latest examples over the last 3 months, when you saw 3 of the worst 25 single day losses and 2 of the largest 25 day gains, happened in the S&P 500.
    This is why we created a thought exercise to help you reflect on your investment strategy during times of market stress. We’re calling it the “R” Plan, where we provide five steps to fight the inevitable prediction hubris that occurs during these periods.
     The R plan 
    Remember your past predictions. Think about the predictions that you made over the past few months. How did those turn out? Do you remember that overwhelming fear we all felt in March? Do you remember 2008? How about the tech bubble? How did your stock market predictions turn out during those tricky times? Regret - The decisions you make in the short term can have a big impact on your long-term wealth. The day to day swings can be huge when the market is volatile. Retirees often feel that they don’t have the time or ability to make up for losses and many decide to sell and flee to the safety of cash. But deciding not to ride the wave can lead to serious regrets.  Resilience - We often forget how resilient the stock market is over time. People don’t acknowledge the fact that stock market declines are always temporary and that they advance 75% of the time. It’s also good to remember that bear markets are shorter than bull markets. Declines are temporary but gains are permanent Be more conservative if you are uncomfortable with the thought of losing half of your asset value. Diversify - we may have mentioned this a few times before. Hire a professional an investment planner as well as a financial planner Consider all your options Implement an investment strategy based on your financial goals Review - When markets are volatile take the opportunity to reflect on your portfolio. Think in dollar figures rather than percentages to make potential losses more real to you. Consider these tips as you review your portfolio Reward - Staying invested in a balanced portfolio with equity exposure has provided long-term rewards. Also, returns are strongest after the steepest declines. Sticking through the rough periods to get to the rewards is the hard part. Because it’s rarely a smooth ride. Returns in any given year have ranged from as high as 54% to as low as -43%. In fact, the S&P 500 had a return within plus or minus 2% points of this 10% average in only 6 of the past 94 calendar years, according to Dimensional research. Resources Worst Investing Dilemma - Blair Belle Curve Guide to Market Recoveries – Capital Group Investors Approaching Retirement Face Painful Decisions - WSJ Investing in Uncertain Times – Ally Bank When Stocks Are In the Red Don't Make This Mistake - CNBC Episode 27 - A Financial Advisor's Worst Investment Mistakes Outline of This Episode [2:06] How can you fight against your instincts of making predictions? [7:04] The decisions you make in the short term can have a big

    • 27 min
    The ABCs of Special Needs Financial Planning Ep# 113

    The ABCs of Special Needs Financial Planning Ep# 113

    Special needs financial planning is an intricate and delicate process.
    Youtube Recap Here: https://tinyurl.com/y7wchxee
    A process loaded with challenging emotional and financial decisions. So below we provide 4 steps to think through if planning for your special needs loved one’s future.
    More than 40 million individuals or about 10% of total American population are living with a disability according to the US Census. This takes a careful planning approach to assure needs are met.
    More Detail Here: https://bit.ly/2BbvxLv
    Summary
    Approach – Highlighting the importance of constructing an experienced team to help guide families through the special needs planning process Benefits Available – What governmental benefits and programs are available to my special needs loved one now and as they age? Consider Your Estate Plan – What steps should be taken to align your estate plan to provide ample financial support to your special needs loved one while making sure their benefits are not negatively affected. Develop Your Savings Strategy – What accounts are available for special needs individuals and which are the best fit for your situation

    • 34 min
    Should You Change Your College Savings Strategy During COVID?

    Should You Change Your College Savings Strategy During COVID?

    In times of crisis and uncertainty, the potential need to access our savings seems to rise to the forefront. However, many of the accounts that we utilize for our savings are tied to certain restrictions. For example, the age 59.5 restriction for retirement account withdrawals without facing a 10% penalty, or HSAs and 529 accounts which must be used for medical expenses and education expenses respectively. These unique accounts are great tools to efficiently invest our savings given the tax deferred or tax-free growth. The issue though is what happens when we need funds to cover items that don’t meet the parameters and restrictions set forth by these accounts.
    COVID-19 has me pondering my own finances and how well equipped they are to be flexible in times of need. These circumstances we’re in have produced many implications to our finances and society with a big one being the impact of education from pre-school age all the way through college.
    We’ve seen a shift to more online educational resources in recent years and this has only escalated with the impacts of COVID-19. College students have spent the better part of their spring 2020 semester living at home and completing their coursework online. While certainly not the college experience these students anticipated, they’re still able to receive a quality education without the cost of living in a dorm room on campus or 3+ meals per day at the campus dining hall. We’ve even seen some refunds returned to students which if were withdrawn from a 529 account originally, then that money needs to go back into the 529 account to avoid taxes/penalties.
    So what does this mean for our college savings strategy? For my two 2.5-year-old boys I’ve been saving monthly in a 529 account since they were born with intention to provide a portion of their college education from the 529 account. However, I’ve reconsidered this strategy this week and am shifting to utilizing a couple other accounts for their future savings. At Financial Symmetry we had many discussions with clients about not over-funding college savings accounts given the high taxes and penalty if not used for education along with discussions about savings for the parents own retirement and financial independence.
    Roth IRA A great savings tool as the contributions can we withdrawn at any time tax-free, and the earnings grow tax free and can be withdrawn after age 59.5. This is the primary account I’ll now be using for future education needs for my twin boys as I’ll be able to withdraw the contributions for the education if needed. If for whatever reason they don’t need those funds for college then no worries as I can retain the Roth IRA for my own future financial needs. With a 529 plan though, I wouldn’t be able to do that as those funds would be restricted to education expenses.
    Brokerage Account I ran the numbers on the actual advantage 529 accounts do provide. Say my monthly contributions add up to $15k and earn $5k over the years to equate a $20k balance. Those earnings would be tax free in a 529 account for education expenses. If those funds were instead in a taxable brokerage account and assuming a 22% federal tax bracket this would be $1,100 of tax due on those earnings. You must weigh the flexibility of a non 529 account vs. the tax savings it can provide. Also consider that with proper tax planning in a brokerage account could mean even less taxes due given accessibility of tax efficient funds, tax loss harvesting, donating earnings to charity as ways to lower that tax bill.
    So who should use a 529 account? For those that already are maxing Roth IRA contributions, contributing a large amount to 401ks, and maxing HSA contributions. Those who exceed the AGI limitation of Roth IRAs and are unable to utilize the back-door Roth strategy High probability of attending private grade school as 529 acc

    • 21 min
    Why is the Stock Market Doing So Well When the Economy is Not? Ep #111

    Why is the Stock Market Doing So Well When the Economy is Not? Ep #111

    Why is the stock market doing so well when the economy is not?
    Short Youtube recap here: https://youtu.be/QubNZjHHN04
    With headlines about skyrocketing unemployment and an impending recession, how has the stock market rebounded so quickly? Despite the historic drops in March, the S&P 500 is only hovering in a range 10-15% from its overall highs. While the stock market and the economy are influenced by each other, there are key differences that emerge during market extremes.
    The economy has taken a beating We have all heard the negative news surrounding the economy. It seems to be one of the only topics that news channels talk about. GDP declined 5% in the first quarter and is expected to decline by 20-30% in the second quarter. Unemployment has shot up at a historic pace from 5% to 15% in just a few short months. However, the Federal Reserve and the CARES Act have helped keep people and companies on their feet.
    Why is the stock market doing so well? The stock market went through record-setting drops back in March but since then it has bounced in the 35-40% range off the lows. We are still nowhere near the all-time highs that preceded those March declines, but the S&P 500 continues to rise and has been trading in a range 10-15% below it's all time highs reach in February. This creates confusion for most in the face of terrible economic headlines. One reason is that companies and investors are constantly looking at what is to come. They aren’t making decisions based just on the next 6 months, instead, they are projecting the growth over the next 5-10 years. It’s also important to remember that for every distressed seller there is a buyer. Investors are considering their bets for the future and if they anticipate we've seen the worst, then better than expected potential outcomes can drive stocks higher.
    The stock market recovers before the economy Historically, the stock market tends to make a recovery before the economy. For example in 2009 the stock market hit its bottom in March, but the country continued in its recession until the second half of that year. World War II is another example. The stock market was up every year during that period, despite all the turmoil going on in the world and the restrictions that were put in place by the war.
    What will happen in the stock market going forward? Well, unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball. But there are plenty of opinions you can find from watching the headlines or talking to your neighbors. This type of information can be detrimental not only to your mental state but also to your pocketbook. Allowing your emotions to take the investing wheel, can leave you second-guessing your investment strategy. In fact, the next time you want to look at your investment statements, we'd suggest opening your financial plan instead. You’re better off focusing on what you can control, like your risk tolerance, your rate of saving and spending, and your tax situation. Evaluating how your personal economy has changed, can leave you better positioned for the long-term. This allows you to have the appropriate investment allocations, so your worry can be abated, no matter how wild the stock market or economy gets in the short-run.
    Outline of This Episode [1:27] Investments, forecasting, and good investments strategy [5:14] The stock market looks forward [6:24] What will happen with the economy and the stock market going forward? [9:09] The stock market doesn’t trade on good or bad, simply better or worse [11:43] Focus on what you can control 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 Apple Podcasts > Stitcher > Google Play

    • 15 min
    Retirement Planning Changes in the CARES Act, Ep #110

    Retirement Planning Changes in the CARES Act, Ep #110

    Today we're taking a deep dive to explore the retirement changes within this landmark piece of legislation. On this episode, you’ll learn what CRD’s are, who are qualified individuals, and how to note CARES Act withdrawals on your tax return. Join us to hear about financial opportunities that you may not have considered.
    Short Youtube video recap: https://youtu.be/2QjSpi3op_U
    What is the purpose of the CARES Act? The CARES Act was recently passed to help Americans get through this difficult time that has been filled with job losses, furloughs, lay-offs, and the mandatory closing of workplaces. The goal of the new law was to make it easier for citizens to access their money during these stresses. The CARES Act makes retirement account withdraws easier and more accessible without the standard early withdrawal penalties.
    What are Coronavirus Related Distributions (CRD’s)? Coronavirus related distributions or CRD’s allow for qualified individuals to take up to $100,000 from their retirement accounts during the period of January 2020 to January 2021. This withdrawal for qualified individuals is taxable but you can pay the taxes on these withdrawals over a period of 3 years. It’s easy to remember what the CRD’s offer by thinking of the 3 R’s. 
    Relief - The CARES Act offers relief from the standard 10% penalty when you pull money from an IRA or 401K. Repay - You can repay the withdrawals over a 3 year period.  Regimented - The taxes from these withdrawals are regimented and can be paid over a 3 year period.  Who are qualified individuals? The CRD’s are only available to qualified individuals, but who exactly can qualify for these withdrawals? You can qualify if you or your spouse has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or if you have experienced a loss of income during this time. You may have experienced a job loss, a reduction of hours, or an inability to work due to lack of child care. If you do qualify for a CRD you’ll want to examine all of your options before you make this choice. Make sure to work with a professional to see if this is the best choice for you. 
    This year you do not have to take an RMD The government doesn’t want to force you to sell your stocks at lower prices, so for 2020 RMD’s will not be required for anyone. If you have already taken your RMD for the year you can even pay it back. Listen in to learn how. Instead of taking your RMD, you may want to consider doing a Roth conversion. 
    Outline of This Episode [1:27] $100,000 withdrawal for qualified individuals [4:46] Examples of how to use your withdrawals [5:55] Who are qualified individuals? [8:00] This year you do not have to take an RMD [13:10] Make sure to note the CRD on your tax return Resources & People Mentioned Episode 108 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 Apple Podcasts Stitcher Google Play

    • 16 min
    3 Questions to Ask Yourself During Stock Market Drops, Ep #109

    3 Questions to Ask Yourself During Stock Market Drops, Ep #109

    Today we explore some of the most common questions that people ask during a market decline. We discuss what a financial advisor does and doesn't do for their clients in bear markets, whether you should refinance, and the benefits of tax-loss harvesting. Listen in to hear what you could be doing to stay proactive during this market decline. 
    Youtube recap here: https://youtu.be/QUCpQcf2vu8
    What are the benefits of working with a Financial Advisor during a Stock Market Decline? Financial advisors can be a great resource during a stock market decline. The fear you feel in these situations can be paralyzing. If you don’t have a financial advisor to help you act in your best interests, you may end up not taking any action at all. So what are some things a financial advisor can do for their clients during these challenging times? 
    Creating a financial plan and an investment plan. You need to know what your strategy is and why you are investing. Not having a plan is putting yourself at too much risk. Listen to the wise words of Warren Buffett, “risk is not knowing what you are doing.” Rebalancing. When the market takes a dive, it could be an excellent time to rebalance your portfolio. Tax-loss harvesting. Nobody likes to pay taxes and tax loss harvesting is a great way to minimize your current and future taxes.  Help avoid making irrational decisions. It’s hard not to sell when the market drops 10% in a day or 30% in a month. A financial advisor can help talk you down off of that cliff and show you the light Should I Refinance my Home? One way to give yourself a bit of control during times when life is feeling out of control is to consider refinancing your home. Since mortgage rates have declined in recent months now may be the right time for you to refinance. You’ll want to analyze what your break-even point is to see if it is worth it. There are many different ways you can go about refinancing. You could use a mortgage broker, you could go through your own bank, or you could use an online mortgage lender. Listen in to hear the differences between those 3 options. 
    What is Tax-Loss Harvesting and why is it important during a market decline? We all feel the urge to do something right now. But instead of doing something that could be detrimental to your wealth, tax-loss harvesting can give you the opportunity to do increase your wealth over time. The biggest question we hear surrounding tax-loss harvesting is why would I want to lock in losses? The answer is don’t think of it as a loss, but an exchange. You are taking that loss to reinvest in something similar. Look at tax-loss harvesting as a one way to help you rebalance. Find out if tax-loss harvesting is right for you by listening to Allison Berger’s excellent analysis. 
    Outline of This Episode [0:27] Should I use a financial advisor during a market decline [4:50] Should I refinance my home? [8:36] What is tax-loss harvesting? Resources & People Mentioned Preparing Your Portfolio for a Bear Market 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 Apple Podcasts Stitcher Spotify Google Podcasts  

    • 16 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
30 Ratings

30 Ratings

Davo1466 ,

Sharp minds and engaging financial wisdom.

These gentleman are at the top of their game. Lots of useful info delivered in a manner in which you can tell they care about helping people. Give them a listen you will be glad you did.

tommut ,

Insightful and entertaining

What I like about this is the interplay between the two hosts. Financial Planning can be a dry topic, but the back and forth between the hosts make it seem like you’re listening to two friends just chatting. But instead of random small talk, they are instead giving life altering tips and advice.

JoshCrist ,

Empowering, insightful and actionable! 🙏

Whether you’re just starting out on your retirement journey, looking to level up your investing game or just want to broaden your mindset around wealth creation - this is a must-listen podcast for you! Chad and Mike do an incredible job leading conversations that cover a huge breadth of topics related to the ins and outs of creating (and sustaining!) a retirement that matches your values. Each conversation is empowering, easy to dive into and levels you up no matter where you are in your journey. Highly recommend listening and subscribing!

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