Biden’s Tax Plan: What Conservatives Need to Know

With Joe Biden threatening to spend literally trillions on leftist social engineering schemes he’s got to get the money from one of three places: borrowing (from China), increasing the money supply even more than the 30 percent it’s gone up in the last year, or taxing “rich people” (in other words, YOU!)

What’s going to happen next?

Democrats and Republicans seem pretty far apart on everything and without the ability to end the filibuster, their prospects of forcing Socialism on America – and threatening your investments – through Congress are limited.

But Joe Biden’s still in the White House, rapidly undoing every single pro-business policy President Trump put in place.

President Biden’s $6 trillion proposed budget offers a lot of spending and higher taxes to pay for it.  None of these tax hikes are a surprise as they are in line with what Biden has promised before.

Wealthy taxpayers are looking at a higher top income tax rate, higher capital gains taxes, and the loss of the step-up basis on inherited assets if Biden, Schumer, Pelosi and the rest of the envy-filled Democrats get their way.  Corporations are also in the line of fire, facing an increase in corporate tax rates, which could affect profitability.

They hate you and me because our success is a result of freedom, and not government picking winners and losers.

How likely is it that any tax hikes will be retroactive?

One of the big shockers coming out of recent tax news is that the higher capital gains taxes could be made retroactive to April 2021.

There is historical precedent for this as it has happened a number of times before but only for tax CUTS, not tax HIKES!

Bottom line, I do think that higher taxes are coming – YET, but Joe Biden and the Democrats will continue a major push to punish “rich people” like you and me with more taxes as part of their Socialist “Equity” scheme.

With so much uncertainty around taxes, now is not a time to panic, but to think carefully and make adjustments where needed.  That’s where I come in, to give a steady hand in an era of crazy policies coming out of Washington, so you can survive until we can take our country back.

P.S. There’s a lot going on in the economy and Washington. I’ll keep you updated along the way, but if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out. That’s why I’m here.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Investment advisory services offered through RWA Advisors, LLC., a state registered investment advisor.

Is Your 401(k) a Litigation Risk?

In 2020, there were over 200 lawsuits alleging malfeasance and negligence, among other things, against 401(k) plan sponsors. Earlier this year, life insurance firm John Hancock settled a 401(k) lawsuit for $14 million. The lawsuit accused John Hancock of alleged self-dealing and listing their own series of products in the investment lineup for the plan, even though there were lower-cost alternatives with better proven track records. They were also accused of having excessive administrative fees when compared to similar sized plans. Along with the $14 million settlement, John Hancock agreed to retaining a 3rd party investment consultant for the next 5 years, develop an investment policy statement, and help negotiate record-keeping costs. If a large company like John Hancock can get hit, then that begs the question – Is YOUR 401(k) a litigation risk?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased amount of time people have spent at home, more and more employees have begun to look into their 401(k)s. And from the looks of it, things must not have been so great, because there’s been an 80% increase since 2019 from the amount of 401(k) class actions that have been filed, with that number being more than double what it was in 2018.

Usually, these lawsuits tend to target the larger plans because of the financial incentive, but that has started to change over the recent years. As everything adopts a more digital approach, it has become much easier to find information on plans of all sizes, including the smaller ones. Smaller 401(k) plans don’t always have the professionals on board to make sure all the moving parts of the plan are working in conjunction with one another, making them an easy target for predatory law-firms that need only just a few disgruntled former employees to move forward with their litigation.

The fact of the matter is, most business owners and executives are focused on running the business, not the 401(k). And why should they? You just put money in and forget about it, right? WRONG! There are a lot of details that need to be addressed in a 401(k), such as-

  • Are there share classes with lower expense ratios?
  • Did you hire your recordkeeper without competing bids?
  • Are all contributions being submitted in a timely manner?
  • Are you identifying and enrolling eligible employees on time?
  • Are you sending the required plan notices to all eligible participants of the plan when required?

With that being said, maintaining a 401(k) is a lot of work. However, just because you have a lot going on doesn’t mean the 401(k) needs any less attention. If anything, it’s the exact opposite! As your business continues to grow and your team expands, you will have more participants in the plan and more to keep track of. Having a competent advisor looking over your shoulder will help ensure that important matters are being taken care of when they need to be.

If you made it this far, feel free to take advantage of our FREE 401(k) checklist-

Give me my checklist

Better yet, if you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to take a look at your current situation and give you a FREE plan analysis. Just click the link and schedule a time below-

Schedule a free consultation

Put Your Money Where Your Values Are

Why I Try to Invest in Companies that Share my Conservative Principles

Here is the nightmare scenario; a moral dilemma that causes conflict to your very core. The perfect investment opportunity is presented to you. You are promised stable returns for years to come. The books check out, the company is legit and their finances are in good order. What’s the catch? What’s the hold up from jumping while the iron is hot?  Here is the catch – this company uses its profits to advance an ideology you don’t believe in. The very profits you are helping to create are in turn used by this company to fund, support and proliferate a liberal agenda that advocates for a bigger, more activist and socialized government.

On the one hand, you can reap the financial benefit of investing in this company. On the other, you are faced with a gnawing feeling that your money is being used to support the very policies you oppose. What is the point of great financial returns only to find out that your money is going to be taxed away  by politicians elected by the very profits you helped create with your investment? A real soul twister.

I have been there, and I hated the feeling. Knowing that my money, my investment, my financial belief in a company was then used to fund liberal and progressive causes across the country was an issue I could not come to support. BLM protests, democratic candidates up and down the ticket and ANTIFA groups all could be tied back to liberal dollars. I took a stand as I didn’t want my investment in company X to be part of that.

That’s why today I try to invest in companies that share my principles and my values.

Now, this doesn’t mean investing in any old company. No. It has to financially make sense for your investment goals, both short and long term. Nevertheless, the benefits of “Principled Investing” are worth the extra work in researching in how companies utilize their profits.

The benefits of putting your money where your values are:

  • A portfolio that meets your financial goals;
  • Gives your investments a secondary sense of purpose;
  • Investing becomes more than just making money;
  • Your money only goes to support causes and issues you care about;
  • Peace of mind knowing your investments are making a difference;
  • A portfolio that shares your values.

This bigger challenge today is not just determining whether to invest in Company A or Company B, but also ensuring the various index funds, mutual funds and ETFs you put money into are also only investing in companies that match your values.  It is not possible to only invest in politically conservative companies but to the extent that you can, you should.  This can be even more time intensive as you scour the books to see which company does what and how they use their profits. For me, that research is worth the peace of mind I get knowing my investments are making money and not aligning with policies I see as detrimental to my family or my business.

Today, there options for conservative traders who want their money to go with their values. Everything from firms that will do the research for you, to wealth advisors who do hard work to try to make sure you are making the right investment – financially and morally.

Whichever the case may be for you, the choice is very clear. When returns are not enough and you want to ensure your investments mirror your values, it’s time to invest in companies that share your morals and principles.

Put your money where your values are. Your wallet, and your soul, will thank you.

 

How Organizations Have To Steer In Times Of Political Advocacy

Introduction

Back in 70’s, companies used to keep themselves far apart from politics. Backing a certain political ideology was considered a bad omen for an organization. Businesses, both large and small ones, preferred to maintain political neutrality in their public statements with their main goal always solely fixed towards increasing profitability for their shareholders. When contributions were made to political campaigns, it was ensured that equal contributions were made to both sides. There was consensus in the corporate circle that hedging was the best way to move forward.

However, things took an interesting turn in the early 1980s, when corporate social responsibility (CSR) became a part of the best practices and policies of organizations. Companies started to weigh the consequences of their actions on society and the environment. Public support also rallied around products and processes of companies, but it still had nothing to do with politics. Company actions like that of cutting ties with a supplier involved in abusive labor practices or procuring raw material through grey channels were judged from an ethical standpoint as opposed to a particular political ideology.

Since the advent of 21st century, things started to change. People around the world started to take polarized positions on political matters. As a result, activism started to creep into corporations as well. With news channels running 24/7 bombarding the people with political views along with social media playing a critical role in fueling polarized political views amongst the masses, it became very challenging for companies and their leadership teams to take a neutral stance. Organizations that wanted to remain relevant and not become part of the “cancel culture” had to take a stance against things that were unpopular amongst its core supporters.

Social Media Giants Creating Polarization in Society

There have been numerous occasions where companies have picked opposite sides on the same political issues. Take the leading social networking behemoths, for example. They have a history of taking opposing stances on the same development. On one hand, Jack Dorsey’s organization called Twitter decided to label inflaming tweets from former US President Donald Trump as “glorifying violence.” On top of that, Twitter even fact-checked and debunked some of Trump’s tweets claiming a connection between mail-in ballots and voter frauds. Even Snap’s CEO Evan Spiegel revealed to the public that his company will not be promoting posts by Trump on the platform.

On the other hand, Mark Zuckerberg and his company, Facebook, opted for a completely different position on the matter. He claimed that he is not an adjudicator of free speech and even reached out to Trump clarifying Facebook’s stance in this regard. According to experts on social media platforms, Facebook has become a hub for the conservative right while Twitter has become home for the liberal left. This is clear evidence of how these publicly listed social media giants have picked a side on the political spectrum and creating the polarization in our society and this begs the question of whether social media is making a positive or negative impact on society.

At the core, social media platforms work on engagement, and taking a stance on political matters results in anger and disagreement amongst the audience when the stance does not go in their favor. This can result in the audience leaving one social media platform and moving on to the other social media platform that takes pride in and celebrate their political ideology. Over time, this leads to an increase in polarization across the different platforms.

How Leading Brands & Retailers are picking a Side?

Nike, Kaepernick and Racial Injustice

Colin Kaepernick was featured in the “Dream Crazy” advertisement campaign released on Labor Day in September 2018 by one of the leading sportswear, Nike. Alongside him, there were numerous other leading active athletes like LeBron James, Serena Williams, and the whole of the US Women Soccer team in the advertisement, all of whom have been vocal about social issues.

Kaepernick has been an advocate of racial injustice in the US and has been vocal about police brutality and other related issues. While playing for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, he started to kneel on one knee when the national anthem was played before the start of the game to show his support for the cause. This created a lot of chatter and a national debate started on this. On one side were the people who called his action derogatory to the sacrifices made by the US military. On the other end, there were people who appreciated him for taking a standby kneeling for people who have been silenced and oppressed. Since leaving the San Francisco 49ers in 2017, he has still not been signed by any other team.

According to an analyst, Nike sales increased by as much as 31% following this campaign over the Labor Day weekend and the stock price of this Oregon-based company rose by 5% in the subsequent weeks after the release of the advertisement.

Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Black Rifle Coffee Company & Others on Gun Advocacy

Following the February 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida which resulted in the deaths of 14 students and 3 staff members at a high school, two of the biggest gun sellers, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, halted the sales of certain assault-style rifles. By doing so they took a clear stance in the debate related to gun control. Walmart, the biggest gun seller in the US with availability at around 4,000 supercenters revealed that it would not sell guns to anyone below the age of 21 and would not even sell items having a similar look to assault-style rifles. Dick’s Sporting Good also made the announcement and added that it would not sell high-capacity magazines either.

The rest of corporate America also rose and reflected their clear stance on gun control as well. Notable airlines like Delta and United severed ties with the Fairfax, Virginia-based gun advocacy group, and ended its discounted pricing for NRA members. This was resonated by Avis Budget Group and Hertz, two of the leading car rental companies in the US. Both corporations ended the discount for NRA members as well. Insurance giant, MetLife also announced that it would end its discount program for the members of the NRA. This was a clear reflection of organizations picking a side on the gun control issue in US.

Black Rifle Coffee Company (BRCC) came on to the scene as a company owned and operated by veterans in December 2014. The company became embroiled in controversy back in November 2020, when the picture of 17-year old Kyle Rittenhouse was posted on a social media platform by a blogger considered a long-term supporter of the coffee brand. The post showed Rittenhouse wearing a BRCC shirt along with a caption, “Kyle Rittenhouse drinks the best coffee in America.” For those of you who don’t know, Rittenhouse had been charged for the killing of two people during a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. BRCC came out immediately on the matter and said that they will not profit from the misfortunes of the others and remains supportive towards veterans and gun control.

FOLX Health & Equal Medical Access for Marginalized Groups

To fulfill the customized medical needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, FOLX Health was founded in 2019 as a digital healthcare provider. Queer people of color are highly likely to be marginalized in the community due to social inequality and must go through hoops for access to even basic medical needs. The conditions worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Boston, Massachusetts-based company is providing its services across 15 states in the US. The services include ED, PReP, STI testing, customized hormone therapy packages, and a tailor-made medical database available online aimed towards answering medical questions for the queer community by queer affirming medical practitioners across the US.

The company has been created with the sole purpose of understanding the difficulties of the queer and the transgender community and finding a way to serve their medical needs. According to research conducted by the queer and transgender-identified organization, nearly 20% of the people identify themselves as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Such strong purpose-driven companies are strong examples of how neutrality is thrown out the window in serving different communities.

What’s the Way Forward?

Taking such a stance on political issues by corporations has been termed as endearing and considered as the right thing to do in this day and age, as it can lead to a stronger connection with key stakeholders.

Researches have suggested that political advocacy is seen as part of general business practice and used as a tool to create a bond with its customers and strengthen its brand. Employing political advocacy in marketing communication is not seen as manipulation or a gratifying practice by an organization. This means that the previous belief of mixing politics and commerce not working well may not be relevant in present times.

This reflects a new normal in the business environment where political advocacy can work hand-in-hand to generate sales and profits and organizations are now required to get involved if they want to remain relevant.

Conservative

The following are companies which openly support conservative principles, while refusing to support most if not all liberal ones.

Company Industry Justification
Charity Mobile Telecom Sends 5% of its users’ price to pro-life, pro-family charities.[4] Scores 3.33 at 2ndvote.[5]
Cintas Service Target of asset manager Blackrock’s pressure campaign for its support for conservative causes.[6] Donations, mainly by individuals, went 91% conservatives in 2020.[7]
ConocoPhillips Energy 96% organizational and 59% individual donations went conservatives in 2020.[8]
Cornerstone Payment Systems Finance Cristian payment processor[9][10]
Duke Cannon Retail Men’s grooming products creator and retailer. Supports military organizations with donations and products[11].
Epik Internet Hosts Gab citing free speech rights, despite many vendors’ de-platforming of the site.[12]
The Epoch Times Media Holds “Truth and Tradition” as tagline and principles.[13][14]
ExxonMobil Energy [15][16]
Gab Internet Social platform focused on free speech, owned by an outspoken Christian.
Hobby Lobby Retail [17][18][19][20][21][22]
Mardel Retail [17]
Molson Coors Food [23]
MyPillow Retail Founder/CEO is very vocal about voter fraud after the 2020 US Presidential election.[24][25]
New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD) Media
One America News Network (OANN) Media Consistently the third most-watched news channel among Republican voters.[26]
Parler Internet Conservative host Dan Bongino is a co-owner.
Patriot Mobile Telecom A portion of users’ bills is donated to conservative organizations. The user is given choices in this matter.[27][28]
Rumble Internet
Revolver.News Media Popular news start-up catering to American conservative values
Sheetz Retail Gas stations and convenience store chain, which is owned and operated by republicans.[29][30]
Ruger Sport Although a gun manufacturer supporting the 2nd amendment might seem self-serving, this company has been adamant in that stance, while also vocally opposing liberal candidates.[31][32]
Uline Supplies Supports conservative causes; some of their trucks have been seen bearing the Bible reference “John 3:16”.[33][34]

 

Somewhat conservative

The following companies support some conservative causes and principles, but do not seem to take a strong stand solely in their favor. These typically offer minor support to liberal causes, but from a statistical standpoint[35] are still more conservative than not.

Company Industry Justification
Abbott Laboratories (Similac, Pediasure, Pedialyte, etc.) Health [36][37]
Applebee’s (DineEquity, Inc.) Restaurants [38][39][40]
Arby’s (Roark Capital Group) Restaurants [41][42][43][44]
Bass Pro Shops Retail [45][46][47][48]
Brave Internet The browser blocks data-grabbing ads and trackers. Founder and CEO Eich‘s opposition to same-sex marriage led to his forced resignation as CEO from Mozilla, which he co-founded.[49][50] Avoids content censorship via IPFS integration.[51]
Cabela’s (owned by Bass Pro Shops) Retail [52][53][54][55][56][57]
Flowers Foods (Wonder Bread, Tastykake, Nature’s Own, Bunny Bread, Mrs. Freshley’s, HomePride, etc.[58]) Food [59][60][61]
Gold’s Gym (TRT Holdings) Fitness Organizational donation went 100% Republican in 2020.[62]
Guitar Center (parent of Musicians Friends) Retail [40][63][64][65]
Murphy USA Retail [66][67]
New Balance Apparel As the only major local manufacturer of athletic shoes, New Balance supported Donald Trump’s (as well as several Democrats’) trade position to focus on US manufacturing job creation. The brand’s vice president of public affairs criticized Obama Administration for “turn(ing) a deaf ear”.[68][69][70][71]
NewsMax Media Extensively covered election fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election.[72] Distanced itself from allegations of Dominion‘s involvement in the fraud after threats from the voting machine company.[73][74]
Omni Hotels (TRT Holdings) Hotel Organizational donation went 100% Republican in 2020.[62]
Outback Steakhouse (Bloomin’ Brands) Restaurant [75][76][77]
Palmetto Cheese Food Founder and owner Brian Henry called BLM and Antifa “terror organizations.” He later apologized amid backlash.[78][79]
ProPay Finance [80][81][82]
Publix Super Markets, Inc. Retail [83][84][85]
Regnery Publishing Media When Senator Josh Hawley‘s book The Tyranny of Big Tech was cancelled by publisher Simon & Schuster following the January 6th 2021 Capitol storming, Regnery picked it up just days after.[86]
Remington Arms (Cerberus Capital Management, which includes Marlin Firearms & Advanced Armament Corporation) Sport [87][88]
Urban Outfitters Retail [89][90]
White Castle Restaurants [91][92][93][94]
Winn-Dixie (Southeastern Grocers) Retail [95][96]
Yuengling (craft beer company) Food [70][97]

 

Slightly conservative

The following companies seem to show slight leanings or preferences towards conservative principles and causes, but do not seem firm or determined in this trend. Liberal causes are usually also supported at least in part, but over all, they tend to favor conservatism slightly.

Company Industry Justification
7-Eleven Retail 7-Eleven PAC donated 95% Republican in 2020.[98] Scores 3.00 at 2ndVote.[99]
Ace Hardware Corporation Retail Ace Hardware is part company owned — those stores branded as “Westlake Ace Hardware” are such — but also part franchised, so an independent owner may be conservative or liberal.[100][101][102]
American Greetings Corp [103]
Amway/Alticor Inc. Retail (MLM) Although the company as a whole only minimally engages in politics,[104] company employees overwhelmingly support republicans. Amway’s PAC also seems to favor Republicans.[105][106]
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse Restaurants [107]
Blue Bell Food [108]
Coinbase Finance while employee donations favor democrats, Company CEO Brian Armstrong refused in 2020 to support or oppose the BLM organization, saying that the company would stay out of politics.[109]
Carl’s Jr. Restaurants [91][110][111][112]
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Restaurants [113][114][115]
Domino’s Pizza Restaurants [75][91][116][117]
Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (Dr. Pepper, 7UP, Mott’s, Snapple, A&W Root Beer, Crush, etc.) Food [118][119][120]
Fox News Channel Media By far the most watched television news channel for Republicans, even after Biden’s inauguration as President.[121]
Goya Foods Food [122][123][124][125][126][127][128][129]
Hanes Apparel [130][131]
Koch Industries (Angel Soft, Rock Island Oil & Refining Company, Invista, Koch Minerals, Georgia-Pacific, Molex, Koch Fertilizer, Flint Hills Resources, Koch Pipeline, Matador Cattle Company, and Guardian Industries) Conglomerate KochPAC donated 97% Republican in 2020.[132][133][134]
Las Vegas Sands (casino and resort) Entertainment Donates substantially to republicans, but much of it seems to go to RINOs and “center-right” causes.[135][136]
L.L. Bean Apparel [137][138][139][140][141]
Menards Retail [142][143][144]
OverStock.com Retail [145][146]
Perry Ellis International (owns multiple apparel brands) Apparel [147][148]
Ross Stores [149][150]

Cryptocurrency Basics

Cryptocurrency is making headlines. It seems like everyone is diving into this new market.

But what exactly are they diving into? And should you join them? I made a short video discussing the top three things you need to know before you decide whether to jump in or sit this one out.

 

What Sports Car Racing Taught Me About Business

What if I told you that running a business and car racing were almost identical? Most people do not know that car racing is one of my passions. You might not know that when I was a kid, I used to drag race cars and race Motocross. A few years back, I was on the pit crew for Starworks Motorsports. Because I did not move as fast as I used to, I wouldn’t be one of those guys you see jumping over the wall. Instead, I did lollipop. Lollipop? The sign looks like a lollipop! The lollipop guy holds the sign to stop the car coming into the pits at the exact right spot, so my pit crew can fuel the car, change tires, and/or do a driver change. After I get the car to stop, I hand a tire to a member of my crew and then I pull an air hose back over the wall. All this happens in less than 40 seconds. It is a tightly choreographed process. If a mistake is made in the pits you can lose a race.

Why does all this matter? I have come to realize how car racing and running a business both require a highly coordinated team to succeed. It is not a one-man-band. Like race car drivers, business owners are confident in taking risks because of the team they have behind them. Business owners wear many hats; many times, we deal with the financial gains and risks of owning a business. Like driving a race car, owning a business is for the hard worker, risk-taker, and visionary. Their lives and our livelihoods are at risk. Performances by the team have the most significant impacts on us from the eyes of our fans or clients. To succeed, our teams need to know the goals and be motivated to reach the finish line.

As proven by the Chinese virus, a successful business does not pause, it adapts. A business owner must take the time to lead, manage, motivate to ensure that employees perform at their full potential. In racing, inadequately trained pit crews can result in wasted time where every second counts. The best teams are the ones that learn from their mistakes, improve their processes, and recover quickly. Even with the best pit crew, there is still a risk associated with being the driver. Like drivers, business owners take the highest risk, putting their blood, sweat, and tears into trying to win the race.

Confidence on the racetrack and in business is essential. The crew must be ready, motivated, and focused on doing the job. The driver must have confidence in the team. We cannot win the race alone and it is crucial to be completely confident in your teams’ ability to complete their task.

I want my team to know that they have my support and that I have confidence that we can succeed, whether it be securing a new client or winning a race. The employees and the pit crew can only do so much, but without trust and a leader in place, it is not easy to find the motivation to work as a team to get the job done.

My team should feel just as accomplished as I do when things go in the right direction. We all must celebrate our accomplishments together, just like how we learn from our mistakes together. The first person the driver hugs after he wins the race is his crew. Similarly, when things go well, we as owners thank and show appreciation to our employees first. It is surprising what people can do when they are a part of something bigger than themselves.

Understanding the Difference between Suitability and Fiduciary Standards

What Is a Fiduciary Financial Advisor?

Key Takeaways About Fiduciary Vs Suitability

  • Different types of financial advisors are held to different standards for managing their clients’ money.
  • Fiduciaries have a legal obligation to act in the best interests of their clients, not just suitable for them. They are held to a higher standard to provide a Duty of Care and a Duty of Loyalty.
  • A breach of fiduciary duty can occur when an adviser who is held to a fiduciary standard puts their own interests ahead of their clients’ interests.

If you’ve been in the market for a new investment advisor, chances are you’ve come across the terms suitability and fiduciary standards. While on the surface they may seem similar, it is important to understand the difference between those advisors who are held to a fiduciary standard versus those who are held to a suitability standard, particularly before choosing someone who you are going to trust to manage your money.

What Is the “fiduciary Standard of Care?

The fiduciary standard of care requires that a financial advisor act solely in the client’s best interest when offering personalized financial advice.

Who Follows the Fiduciary Standard?

Under federal law, in particular the Investment Advisors Act of 1940, investment advisors are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or appropriate state authorities and are required to provide services to their customers under the fiduciary standard.  Investment advisors and investment brokers, who work for broker-dealers, tailor their investment advice to individuals and institutional clients but are not governed by the same standards.

According to the Investment Advisors Act of 1940, investment advisors working directly for clients are legally required to place their clients’ interests ahead of their own.

The act also requires that advisors make their best effort to ensure their investment advice is made using accurate and complete information and that the analysis they provide is as accurate and thorough as possible. Fiduciaries must disclose potential conflicts of interests and place trades under a “best execution” standard, meaning they will strive to trade securities with the best combination of low cost and efficient execution.

As fiduciaries, the SEC has stringent rules for investment advisors and determines how advisors are able to charge their clients. Advisors are able to assist in the financial decisions of individuals and institutions who make financial decisions in order to plan for retirement, college payments, or in building their own, often taxable, investment portfolios.

What Is Suitability?

Unlike investment advisors, brokers serving the broker-dealers they work for follow a suitability standard as set by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rule 2111. FINRA Rule 2111 requires that a firm or associated broker have a reasonable basis to believe their recommended transaction or investment strategy is suitable for the customer.

Broker-dealers are considered by the SEC to be financial intermediaries who help connect investors to individual investments and are held to a “suitability obligation,” which means they are required to  recommend suitable investments. This means, the broker-dealer is only required to believe that the decisions they make will benefit their client and that the transaction costs are not excessive. Their primary income comes from commissions earned from making transactions for the underlying customer. The best way to find out whether your advisor is a fiduciary is to ask if they are a Registered Investment Advisor.  Registered Investment Advisors are required by law to act as a fiduciary and put their clients’ interest first. Interested in learning more or working with an advisor who is held to a fiduciary standard to always put your interests first? Contact us for an introductory call to start the conversation.


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Don’t Let Them Leave Home Without These

DON’T LET THEM LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THESE IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

Important documents to cover you and your dependent child over 18. To you, they will always be your kids. To the rest of the world—particularly the medical, banking, legal, and academic communities—they are adults the day they turn 18. If something happens while they are hundreds of miles away, your rights and access to your young adult’s medical records and other personal information are now just as off-limits to you as a complete stranger’s.

This issue hit close to home when I was getting my barely eighteen year old son settled for his freshman year at a major university. As part of his college orientation, he registered at the health clinic where he was asked to sign a variety of forms. When I asked to review the forms prior to his signature, I was denied. I requested they use the HIPPA form I brought with me, rather than theirs, I was denied again. At this time, they insisted on meeting with him alone where they advised him to not sign the HIPPA form. My son and I have a close relationship and he signed the HIPPA form enabling me to act on his behalf if, heaven forbid, he should become unable to act on his own behalf.

It may also come as a complete shock to your college freshman that his parents can’t step in, as in years past, and simply take care of things for him if he is traveling or unconscious without prior consent and the correct paperwork in place.

If your dependent child is at college or in transition to the “real world,” you’ll both want to be prepared and legally covered for any eventuality. Fortunately, with a bit of planning and a few signed documents, everyone can enjoy peace of mind.

ACADEMIC RECORDS

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires written consent from students who are 18 or older (attending a school that receives U.S. Dept. of Education funds) before grades, transcripts, and disciplinary records can be shared with others. This includes parents. Your student must sign a FERPA Release if you want access to his academic records.

MEDICAL RECORDS

• The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) restricts the release of an adult’s medical information to only those who are named in a written HIPPA Compliant Release Form. The release can set limits on what information is shared or take the form of a blanket authorization. A full blanket authorization allows access to all medical information, which is best in emergencies where your son’s or daughter’s condition may be unknown. Retain a copy of the signed document within easy access so you can produce it quickly for medical providers.

• A Florida Durable Power of Attorney, or healthcare proxy, is a legal document that gives you the ability to make decisions about your child’s healthcare. It generally doesn’t become effective unless your child is incapacitated or unable to make her own medical decisions. Different states have different requirements as to document contents and if it must be notarized.

• A Living Will, or advance directive, speaks to the unspeakable. In the event of a tragedy, this document spells out your son’s or daughter’s wishes regarding end of life decisions such as organ donation or withholding life-extending medical treatments.

FINANCIAL RECORDS

• Many colleges allow parents to access financial aid, tuition, housing and meal plan account records with a simple permission form, or it may be included in a FERPA consent form. A joint checking account or credit card shared by you and your student is the easiest way to have access to financial transaction information.

• Your student can sign a Durable Power of Attorney, which will allow you to manage his affairs if he is out of the country, becomes incapacitated, or for any other reason. This document gives permission for you to sign documents, access bank accounts, handle property issues, and generally act in his stead for a specified period. The Power of attorney can be limited to only certain types of transactions or give full access.

DON’T BE CAUGHT OFF GUARD

Having these documents properly drawn, executed, and easily accessible is a relatively simple matter that can make all the difference in an unexpected situation. Consider this a teaching moment and spend some time discussing these documents with your child. The earlier your son or daughter learns about adult responsibility and risk management, the earlier he or she can begin to formulate a sound financial plan for life. Don’t go it alone. Contact Bob Rubin, Rubin Wealth Advisors, today at bob@rubinwa.com to discuss strategies for and with your young adult.

Corvette Stingray Relaunch Proves Smart Risk-Taking Is Worth It

Car enthusiasts have been buzzing about the much anticipated launch of Chevy’s 2020 C8 Corvette Stingray for good reason. Every inch of the iconic car has been reimagined from the bottom up. It’s aggressive style is turning heads and its horsepower is undeniable. The 2020 C8 Corvette Stingray boasts a 495 horsepower 0 to 60 in under 3 seconds engine and will be priced just under $60,000 when it becomes available for sale.This is incredibly impressive given the advanced nature of this car. While enthusiasts were hoping for a price tag under $80,000 or $100,000, Chevy instead is offering their mid-engine 2020 Corvette under $60,000 which is sending shockwaves throughout the auto industry and forcing luxury sports car lines at five times the price to sit up and take notice.

So, why are we covering the launch of the 2020 Corvette Stingray in our financial blog? Under the hood of the headlines lies a much larger story that may feel all too familiar to our entrepreneurial readers. General Motors’ Corvette launch story is one of vision, risk, perseverance, and American entrepreneurial spirit that enabled Chevy to bring their dream into a reality despite the high stakes and incredible odds against them. An American brand that has seen its share of adversity over the years is upending an industry that nearly counted them out. The relaunch of this famed American sports car has been in the works for decades and, more than once, nearly didn’t happen.

Corvette sales in the U.S. have been in a steady decline since 1979. GM needed to pivot to make a business case for the car. GM was on pace to sell less than 20,000 units for a second consecutive year. The car’s performance and ability to stand up to the competition was not the problem. General Motors has continued to spend capital on variants of the car that achieved new levels of performance in recent years. The result? A reinvented, iconic American-made sports car that outperformed a Lamborghini for a fraction of the cost captivated more than 1 million viewers on Twitter with Chevy’s creative unveil.

With the pending release, GM – which has been significantly cutting production of low selling passenger cars – announced last April that it would add a second shift and more than 400 hourly jobs at its Bowling Green, KY assembly plant to support production of the next-generation, mid-engine Corvette.

With all their chips in, GM and Chevy have relaunched the C8 Corvette Stingray and, from everything we know so far, the results are nothing shy of revolutionary. With this launch, GM reminds us that with a big dream, hard work, ingenuity and perseverance, anything is possible – even against great odds.

5 Common Money Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

Starting and building a new business can be one of the most exciting times of an entrepreneur’s life. Building a thriving business begins with a solid financial foundation. At Rubin Wealth Advisors, we work with entrepreneurs at all stages of their business’ life cycle. More than half of businesses fail within the first three years. Launching on the right footing requires solid financial planning. Below are five of the most common money mistakes new business owners make and tips on how to combat them.

Underestimating

Underestimating the investment (and other resources) needed to launch and grow your startup is one of the most common challenges new entrepreneurs face. Undercapitalization of a small business or not having the right equity, financing and/or investors can stall or halt a startup in its tracks. In today’s competitive environment, it will be difficult to survive and grow a new business without the proper funding and support. Prior to launch, new entrepreneurs should have a thorough understanding of the capital they will need, their options for financing and which choice is right for them and their goals.

Undervaluing

All too frequently, small business owners under-price their products or services. Whether it stems from a lack of confidence or market knowledge, perceived oversaturation, fear of failure or another reason, it is a slippery slope that can have long-term ramifications if not corrected. Understanding your business’ unique selling proposition, how it separates your offerings from the competition and how to best articulate it to your target audience will help you price and market your products or services from a position of strength.

Lack of Budgeting

One of the most important responsibilities of a new business owner is to continually steer the company towards profitability. Your roadmap to profitability begins with a carefully planned budget that covers your overhead, operations, marketing, taxes, insurance and other expenses. Creating a clear budget and having the financial discipline to follow it are essential to maintaining a healthy bottom line.

Not Planning for Tax Obligations

As an entrepreneur receiving payments from clients or customers, you’re solely responsible for your tax liability. As a business grows, it is easy to focus on day-to-day operations and neglect tax responsibilities. However, to stay on top of your tax liability, plan to pay quarterly taxes payments to the IRS so you’re not surprised with a large tax bill at the end of the year. Stay familiar with the specific taxes that will impact your business.

Not Separating Business and Personal Accounts
Startup business owners can often find themselves with plenty to do and not enough hours in the day to get it all done. If you’re looking to cut corners, this is not one of them. Set up separate accounts early – and commit to maintaining separate savings, checking and credit card accounts for your business before you receive your first payment from a client or customer. Doing this from the start will make your accounting, quarterly tax estimates and budget cleaner and easier. Separate bank and credit accounts will help provide a more accurate picture of your company’s financial health and avoid taxation penalties. Separating your personal accounts from your business’ accounts will also pave the way for you to reinvest a portion of the money your business earns back into the business to build a stronger future.

Owning and managing a business of any size is no small undertaking. Entrepreneurship can be one of the most rewarding career tracks – and can also be isolating for those business owners who don’t have trusted advisors in their corner with whom they can brainstorm, consult with and get connected to professionals who can make a difference or solve a challenge.

At RWA, we help business owners strategize their launch, grow their business, select retirement options, evaluate merger and acquisition opportunities, investments, the sale of their businesses and succession options. We connect them to the contacts and resources that can make the critical difference between success and failure. To learn more about our financial and consulting services for business owners, contact us at info@rubinwa.com.