What is a “second opinion” of my portfolio?

We are often asked to provide “second opinions” on investment portfolios. Sometimes an investor has managed their own finances for years and is looking for a professional “tune up”. Other times they have been using an advisor and simply want the comfort of some extra due diligence.

Second opinions help to ensure proper investment selection, financial alignment, and reasonable fees.

In this video, Dean and Brock discuss the information they look for when conducting  a “second opinion” analysis.


Roth vs Traditional IRA


“Should I choose a Roth IRA or a Traditional IRA.” This is one of the most common questions we hear from individuals who are saving for retirement. There are some important differences regarding when you pay tax and who is eligible.

The most important thing you can do is SAVE! Yes, you will be able to look back in 30 years and say definitively if a Roth or Traditional IRA was your best choice.  Some of this will depend on forces that you can’t fully control. Things like tax law changes, your income in retirement, and the rate that you will draw upon your retirement savings. What you can control is your dedication to a savings program.

What the video above for a more complete discussion on Roth vs Traditional IRAs.


Big Bank or Independent Advisor?

There are a lot of places you can go to get financial advice.

So why choose a local, independent advisor vs. a “Big Bank” or National Chain?

In this video we discuss some important characteristics of our Independent Advisor business model.

Preparing For Retirement

What is your dream for retirement?

Retirement use to mean moving to Arizona and playing golf everyday. If that is your dream, great!! Or maybe you envision a different lifestyle for your “second act.”

In this video we discuss 3 basic steps that will help prepare you for retirement.


Are SPACs a good investment?

In the past 2 years Special Purpose Acquisition Companies, or SPACs, have become a popular route for private companies to become listed on publicly traded markets.  If you don’t know what a SPAC is, we suggest going back and watching our previous video.

In this video, we want to focus on whether a SPAC is good investment. Of course, each SPAC will be different, and returns will vary. However, recently our partners at Ycharts pulled data on 72 different SPACs. Their research gives us some insights we wanted to discuss.

What is a SPAC? (Special Purpose Acquisition Company)

In the last 2 years, a new type of company has gained immense popularity. These companies are called Special Purpose Acquisition Companies, or SPACs. While just 1 SPAC had an Initial Public Offering (or IPO) in 2009, already in 2021 we are approaching 300.

To understand what a SPAC is, it is best to focus on what a SPAC does.  In this video, Dean explains the basic concept of a SPAC.

The WA State LTC Act with Tim Ripp

In July of 2019, the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Program legislation became law, now referred to as the WA Care Fund. We are writing to you because this law will take effect this coming January 2022 and will impact your paychecks if you are a W-2 employee.

In essence, the law provides a small Long-Term Care (LTC) benefit for Washington residents. It will be funded by an uncapped and mandatory 0.58% payroll tax on all income for every W-2 employee with a few exceptions such as Federal employees and certain negotiated employer bargaining units.   The program offers an initial $36,500 benefit which will be inflated annually by a rate determined by a Washington State board, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in Washington. The program will adhere to strict vesting rules along with residency requirements at claim time to qualify for benefits.

We are passing this information along, as there is a window of opportunity to file for an exemption to the payroll tax and involvement in the program. The law allows for Washington employees to file for an exemption through the Employee Security Department (ESD) October 1st, 2021 through December 13st, 2022.  The law also stipulates that to file for the exemption the employee must have credible LTC insurance in place prior to November 1st, 2021.

We recently conducted an interview with Timothy Ripp who is an Executive Vice President at Clifton Park, and a subject matter expert on the WA Care Fund. In our interview, Tim discusses what the new law entails and why individuals may want to opt out.

If this upcoming payroll tax has caught you by surprise and you would like to learn more about the State program and your options, now would be a great time to schedule a meeting to review your options to acquire the exemption and incorporate LTC planning into your financial plan.

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendation for any individual. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.

4 questions to ask your CPA now that your taxes are done

In the world of sports, games are won and lost on the practice field. We do not think it is a stretch to say that the same is true for taxes. It is about preparation.

Now that tax season is over, and before you shelve your tax return for the next 9 months, we suggest you do a little work to prepare yourself financially for this year.

Here are 4 questions you should ask your CPA now that tax season is over.

  • What is my adjusted gross income and marginal tax rate?
  • Do I have any remaining loss carry forwards?
  • Am I eligible for a ROTH IRA conversion?
  • Am I effectively utilizing charitable giving to reduce my taxes?

Tax season is a time of reflection. A rear-facing view (or accounting) of where you have been and what you have done financially.

To take control of your finances, you need to look forward. That is where financial planning comes in.

We are not tax professional, and we can’t do your taxes for you. But when you get the answers to these questions, we are  happy to have a conversation about financial planning strategies.

To be kind, think In Kind

Today we are talking about charitable giving strategies. Donations in Kind are a powerful way to efficiently give to charitable causes. These direct gifts are a great way to help charitable organizations, while reducing your tax bill. These types of donations are not right for everyone, and we encourage you to speak with a tax professional about your specific situation. However, most charitable organizations, non-profits, and churches can accept these types of donations. So regardless of the cause that you support, it is possible that In-Kind giving can increase your donation’s impact.

One of the most important questions to answer before setting financial goals

What is the most important question to ask before setting financial goals?

In Lewis Carol’s famous novel Alice in Wonderland, Alice asks the Cheshire Cat what fork in the road to take.  The Cheshire Cat replies, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” Alice explains she doesn’t really care where she goes, as long as she goes somewhere. The Cheshire Cat responds “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

That is true for lost protagonists, and it is true for investors, knowing where you want to be is the first step in getting there.

We want to be your partners in reaching financial goals. We love helping to develop the plans and teaching you about the options available. However, only YOU can decide what you want out of life.

So, what do you value most?

Because that is the most important question to ask before you set any financial goal.

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