What do you charge for your services?

We knew we didn’t want to be bound to selling products to our clients. We wanted freedom to offer objective advice to our clients without an agenda to sell them products. Therefore SH&J was founded and still is a fee-only or non-commissioned firm.

Fee-only means our clients pay us a flat fee for our advice, not for products. We do not work on commission and are only paid by our clients. One of our founders, Larry Howes, says, “All of our efforts are designed to get you a better result.”

Melissa does a great job of giving you a quick rundown on our fees.

Here’s a quick overview of the information Melissa shared:

Financial Planning

  • One-time fee depending on case complexity
  • Planning fees range from $500-4,500.00
  • No additional charge for planning updates

Investment Management

  • 1% of assets under our management up to the first million
  • Reduced rate on managed assets above $1,000,000.00
  • Fees billed at 0.25% at the end of each quarter in arrears

Other small charges may include a fee for portfolio design, strategic implementation and asset transfers.

We’d love to meet you to share our firm’s philosophy with you in person. Give us a call at 303.639.5100 to set up a time to come in.

Wishing You Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year

Christmas concept. Happy Holidays.With the holidays upon us, we pause for a moment to reflect and say thank you. Thank you for your trust in us and for allowing us to be part of your financial family. We look forward to many more years of working together to plan, invest and succeed. We wish you the happiest of holidays and a prosperous New Year!

Please note our holiday schedule:

Wednesday, December 24: 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Thursday, December 25: Closed

Friday, December 26: Closed

Wednesday, December 31: 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Thursday, January 1: Closed

Friday, January 2: Closed

Here are a few bits of holiday trivia to impress your friends and family this season.

  • Which witch? Italy has a tradition of a witch dropping gifts for children through the chimney at Christmas. (source)
  • Nog notes. The popular holiday drink, eggnog is an American invention. (source)
  • Dashing through the snow. Popular Christmas song, Jingle Bells, was actually written for Thanksgiving. (source)
  • Doe a deer. Vixen is the only reindeer named after another animal. (source)
  • Spelling bee. There have been 16 ways found to spell Hanukkah in English. (source)
  • For the rest of us. Seinfeld character Frank Costanza created the alternative holiday, Festivus. (source)
  • Royal tidings. Queen Victoria was the first English monarch to own a Christmas tree. (source)
  • Dreamers dream. White Christmas is the number one selling holiday song of all time. (source)
  • Too much time on their hands. Norwegian scientists have hypothesized that Rudolph’s red nose is caused by a parasitic infection of the respiratory system. (source)
  • Presents galore. The presents given in the Twelve Days of Christmas add up to 364 gifts. (source)

 

2015 Financial Check-Up

By Julie Fletcher, Certified Financial Planner™ at Sharkey, Howes & Javer

Piggy bank with stethoscope1. Even if you are “maxing out” your retirement plan contributions, is it enough?

The retirement plan contribution limits are set by IRS guidelines and reviewed each year. However, the IRS is not a personal financial advisor and does not know how much you need to be saving to meet your financial goals. Just because you are “maxing out” your plan does not necessarily mean you are saving enough. 

Many people choose to contribute to the company 401(k) plan, which will allow you to contribute up to $18,000 in 2015 (with an additional $6,000 catch-up for those over age 50). A 401(k) plan allows an employee to contribute a portion of his/her salary on a pre-tax basis to a retirement savings account. Taxes are not paid until money is withdrawn from the account.

Beyond the company retirement plan, another popular choice is contributing to a Traditional or Roth IRA, which will allow you to contribute up to $5,500 (with an additional $1,000 catch-up for those over age 50). When you contribute money to a Traditional IRA, you typically are making pre-tax contributions. Taxes are not paid until money is withdrawn from the account. However, a Roth IRA is opposite. The contributions are made after-tax and the money is withdrawn tax-free from the account (both the contributions AND the growth). Warning: Contributions for both Traditional and Roth IRA’s can be limited due to your adjusted gross income. Be sure to consult your tax advisor.

If you are a business owner with no employees, you could consider contributing to a Solo (“Solo” is slang or shorthand for one-participant) Traditional 401(k) with profit-sharing provisions. Total contributions in the participants account are limited in 2015 to $53,000 (with an additional $6,000 catch-up for those over age 50).

If retirement plan contributions aren’t enough to reach your goals, you could also create a brokerage account to begin after-tax investing for retirement. There are no limitations to contributions and you could receive preferential capital-gain tax treatment. Although a brokerage account can be “ear-marked” for retirement, the account can technically be used for any purpose and does not have early withdrawal penalties. Taxes are paid “as you go” each year as reported on a 1099. Capital gains could potentially be offset by capital losses. Also, investment expenses (fees/commissions) could be deductible on your tax return.

2. Are you paying too much in taxes?

Meet with your tax advisor throughout the year to take advantage of tax strategies. Your tax advisor will help ensure you are taking the appropriate deductions for your personal and/or business tax return. A few items to review with your tax advisor throughout the year:

  • Are you paying more into FICA than necessary? FICA is the payroll tax paid by both employees and employers to fund Social Security and Medicare (in 2015 the maximum amount of earnings subject to FICA is $118,500).
  • Have you properly explored a home refinance option? If you are paying more than 5% in interest on your mortgage, it could be beneficial to explore ways to reduce your monthly payment dependent upon the number of years remaining on the mortgage and how long you plan to remain in the home.
  • Would a year-end charitable tax deduction benefit you and/or your business? Your tax advisor will help you determine how a charitable contribution would affect your overall tax liability.
  • Is your small business receiving Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) tax credits for employer-paid health insurance premiums? You can learn more about ACA at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website (www.hhs.gov/heathcare).
  • Is there a need for new business equipment? Purchasing equipment for your business can have tax advantages if structured appropriately (Section 179 of the IRS regulations).

 3. Are your hard-earned business and personal assets protected?

You have worked extremely hard to build your personal and/or business net worth. Be sure not to leave any gaps in your insurance coverage that would leave you vulnerable. Potential gaps include premature death, disability, health, liability, business, car and homeowner’s insurance. Having the proper insurance in place is essential for your protection. During your insurance coverage review, revisit the Affordable Care Act and how it will affect your individual or group health insurance in 2015.

4. Where is your investment advice coming from?

Are your friends, family, or co-workers your main source of investment advice? Are you acting on “hot stock” tips or investing in your friend’s investment real estate? Have you thoroughly researched these investment ideas to ensure you are aware of all the pros and cons? Almost every investment has risks. Remember, just because investment advice is “free” does not mean it is appropriate for your personal situation.

Cheers to you and your financial health in 2015!

To schedule a complimentary consultation with one of the Certified Financial Planner™ professionals at Sharkey, Howes & Javer, please call 303-639-5100 or visit shwj.com.

Announcing a New Blog Series: Inside the Economy with Sharkey, Howes & Javer

At Sharkey, Howes & Javer, we have formal Investment Committee meetings. Every two weeks, we discuss recent market trends, the economy and strategize for the future.

Within each of these meetings, Larry Howes provides a very interesting and detailed report on the economy; questions are raised and insightful conversations pursue.

We have decided to open these internal economic discussions up to our clients by creating a new “series” where we record the economic portion of the investment meetings, and invite you to listen along with us.

The current audio was recorded in our meeting last Monday, December 8th. Please note that this was prior to last week’s market selloff, due to the ongoing decline in oil prices, and this will be addressed in next week’s economic discussion.

Please check the volume on your computer and have your headphones ready. We look forward to hearing what you think in the comments section below!

Talk to Your Kids About Money… Really

Talk to your kids about moneyTalking to kids about the birds and the bees is awkward and hard. But what about money? A report by the National Financial Educators Council recently found the average youth financial literacy score to be just 58% (source). [Your kids can take the test here if you are interested]. Another study by Capital One found 52% of teens want to learn more about how to manage their money (source).

Right now most of our financial literacy education comes from our parents. It’s not standard in children’s education. Talking to your kids frequently about money is one of the best ways for them to learn how to handle their own finances as they become adults.

Here are a few tips to talk to your children about money:

Make it part of everyday conversation. You’re at the store and have a budget to stick to. Share with them how and why you came to your budget as you are shopping. Are your kids begging for a trip? Sit down with them and have them help make a plan to save for the trip as a family. Review basic bank statements with them so they can learn how to read financial information. Try inserting conversations about money into your everyday conversations and you won’t have to schedule time to have the ‘financial talk.’ Plus, it will be more effective if your kids can learn as they grow.

Be as open as you can about family finances. There are some topics that won’t be appropriate for all ages, we understand. But try to be open about finances rather than having those discussions behind closed doors. If times are tough, don’t fake it for the kids. Have a family savings meeting to discuss how you can all cut back. If you just received a raise or maybe an inheritance, talk with the kids about how you should invest it as a family. Decide as a family how you want to give to charities, etc. Being open about finances will help set kids up for financial success and make them more willing to talk about financial issues in the future. Continue reading