Category Archives: Financial

Wine, Women & Wealth seminar – September 2016

Do you remember the times we had in September at Wine, Women & Wealth? Well of course not if you weren’t there. So check out the highlights below.

The evening started with Barbara Tilka with Trident Consulting & Services hosting an interactive survey with a prize being offered to the person who got the most questions right. She then proceeded to clear up some common credit misconceptions,  like does you personally checking your credit negatively impact it. The answer is no and in addition to, where you can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the reporting agencies in the US, Barbara mentioned that Credit Karma is a good site to use also. At Credit Karma, you get 2 of your 3 reports. She also shared a surprising statistic that the average credit score in the US is in the 600s.
Here’s what contributes to those credit scores via the information on your credit report:


Next our speaker discussed some obstacles to saving for retirement, the most common of which considering the average credit score in the US is only in the fair range is higher loan interest rates. She highlighted the differences in buying a car and a home with good versus not-so-good credit. For each item you can end up spending hundreds of dollars a month more that you could be saving to exploit the rule of 72 if you had better credit.

Click to learn about the rule of 72.

So, how can I maximize my credit score?

  • Pay every bill on time
  • Pay down (or adjust) maxed out cards, 50% of limit
  • Do not cancel any accounts even if no activity
  • Do not credit “shop”
  • Establish credit if you do not have any open
  • Continue to monitor your Credit Reports
    Most common credit “surprises”

    • Medical collections
    • Short sale credit report recording delays
    • Utility companies
    • Student loan late payments
    • Apartment lease termination charges
    • Liens on residential property

Following that advice to resolve real estate issues, we heard from Realtor Genni Jett with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. She gave a great update on the current housing market in Jacksonville, Florida providing the following interesting statistics be you in the market as a buyer or seller.

  • Jacksonville is the 9th most expensive city for renters in Florida.
  • Home values are 10-13% below 2006 prices
  • Home prices have been increasing 4-9% year over year for past 3 years. (Higher in high demand areas like the beaches.)
  • Zillow and Trulia aren’t the best place to go for home info. is the only site where realtors are required to update listing information.
  • The median for sale by owner price is 15% less than when you sell your home with a realtor.
  • Mortgage interest rates are still historically low.

Next month at the final Wine, Women & Wealth of 2016 expect to hear from a life coach and as always more financial tips.

Wine, Women & Wealth seminar – May 2016

This month we have another first time male (gasp!) speaker, physical trainer Colby Ebanks. He spoke about what to look for in a personal trainer before opening it up to the audience members’ questions.


A Personal Trainer Should:
  1. Focus on your goals more than anything.
  2. Tailor make a fitness program for your specific needs.
  3. Vary your workouts from day to day by how you feel.
Colby mentioned that trainers that he has worked with in the past have their own goals and agenda for their clients and don’t really take into account what the client wants out of their workout plan. If this has been your experience, he suggested to either push your trainer to make the switch or find another trainer.
On the second note, he clarified that you can tell if your trainer ahs made a plan specifically for you based on whether he or she has looked at you analyzing how you are built and what health and physical condition you are in. Lastly, he spoke on how stress and other emotional issues can have a physical effect on how your body responds to your workout on any particular day. Therefore a good personal trainer will be able to vary your workout based on the type of day you’re having.
Here are a few of the audience questions and his responses:
Is there an advantage to vegan/vegetarian diet?
For the average everyday person there is no advantage to being vegan or vegetarian. Those diets are advantageous only for specific physical conditions, like people who have high blood pressure, blood sugar issues, or a hereditary predisposition for certain health concerns.

I have an active job so do I need to work out?
The professional recommendations  are 300 minutes of  light/moderate exercise per week or 150 minutes of high intensity exercise per week.

There were some different types of exercise he mentioned that you may want to add in if your job did meet the 300 minutes of light/moderate exercise recommendation, so check with Mr. Colby Ebanks for the specifics.

The next speaker of the evening was the one and only, the original WWW male speaker, Frank Demeno.


He began by asking the audience what do you think of when you hear the words ‘financial plan.’ Some of the responses from the audience were

  • Saving money
  • Investing
  • Retirement – IRA/401K
  • And surprisingly, Life Insurance (the topic which Frank was going to speak)

The audience member who mentioned life insurance had a personal story which I found moving. Her family thought they had done the right thing in purchasing term life insurance for her mother. Unfortunately, however, her mother outlived the term &  they only received $1.57 when she died.

People are often sold on term life insurance because of it’s low cost and don’t think about the reality that the majority of these policies expire without paying out (i.e. you don’t die during the term). The common phrase is to ‘buy term & invest the difference’ which is a good idea until you insert people. Americans don’t tend to invest the difference; this is a nation of consumers. That’s why a permanent life insurance like an indexed universal life policy is like a better strategy.

But permanent life insurance is too expensive?
Is it really? Yes it costs more but you can’t outlive your policy as long as you make those monthly contributions and you build cash value. Cash value that you can use tax-free, whereas with the other investment options (savings and retirement plans) you’re paying taxes continually or when you need the cash during retirement. What’s more expensive: sacrificing a little bit now to have a lot later or being in dire need later during your retirement years or during the turmoil of losing a loved one?

Well I’ll just buy term and be very dedicated about investing the difference to build up savings for myself and my family.

Life insurance builds a financial future by saving money, but you get the estate up front. An indexed universal life policy is like buying term and having the insurance company invest the difference for you. But while that investment is growing, if you happen to die your family still gets $250,000.

If you had to spend $70,000 now for a quarter million dollar estate, could you pay it? Most people would answer “No.”  Well, how about if we do it the American way & set up a payment plan $175 a month?

Now if you tried to save $175 each month, how long would it take you to get to $250,000? Frank had the audience calculate it and it would take about 119 years. So let’s say you get the inexpensive $250,000 10 or 15 year term policy and save $175 a month. At the end of the term, 1) you don’t have a $250,000 saved and 2) you no longer have a life insurance policy that pays out $250,000 on the event of your death.  Now you’re 10 or 15 years older making the next term policy a little more expensive and maybe challenging your monthly $175 savings plan. Which do find to be the more sound path to take?

 The last point Frank made this evening was if you take a 1 year old & create a $250K policy, they would be a millionaire by their sixties. So grandparents instead of that trip to Disney World, contribute to your grandchildren’s indexed universal life policy.
Ladies, if you’re in the Jacksonville area be sure not to miss June’s Wine, Women & Wealth seminar with summer travel tips and how to create your own pension. Check back for more details.

Wine, Women & Wealth April 2016 – Who gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate?

Here in the U.S. it’s a few days away from the tax deadline. So a lot of invitees to this month’s Wine, Women & Wealth seminar might have looked at the title and wondered, “How is this one worth my time when I have to get my taxes done by Monday?”


Well it was worth it and it had a little tax fact that I had forgotten about. But more on that later.

The first speaker was Charlsey Baumeier from NetLaw. For more about NetLaw watch the video below.

Charlsey brought up an eye-opening fact in her presentation. All you parents who have bright-eyed 18 year-olds about to graduate & head of to college, what if they have a medical emergency? Will you be able to make medical decisions for them if they are unable to? From a legal standpoint the answer is no unless they have stated that you are their healthcare surrogate. That healthcare surrogate paperwork is included in the NetLaw package.

So what about the yellow pie plate? So many families experience additional turmoil when a loved one dies fighting over belongings because there is no will to state who gets what. A will is another one of the documents that comes with the NetLaw package.

OK back to the tax fact that I had forgotten about: the IRS still wants their money even in the year that you die. Who’s going to be left with that burden in your family? Have you decided yet? And will there be Money to handle it after your funeral expenses? If you don’t have a plan, speak to financial advisor and begin working on one. Need a financial professional? Contact Marie Edwards.

Wine, Women & Wealth March 2016 – Not Your Mom’s 401k

March’s Wine, Women & Wealth started with a recap of the ways to save for retirement since having little or no savings was one of the Five Mistakes Women Make with Money that were discussed during February’s seminar.

Savings Instrument Tax Impact
Savings Accounts & CDs Taxable
IRAs, 401Ks & Annuities Tax Deferred
Life insurance (cash value) & Roth Ira Tax Exempt

Believe it or not this month the guest was a guy and not one of the two we usually make an exception for at Wine, Women & Wealth! Steve Albritton, CFP and Regional VP from Howard Capital Management spoke about how challenging it is to pick what to invest in inside of your 401k. Despite the challenges, he gave the following stats on how many people seek professional help.

For less than $80 a year they offer a product called the HCM 401(k) optimizer that gives you personalized, professional recommendations on what to pick within your employer-provided 401k, 403b or 457a. If you were in attendance, you could have gotten 1 of the 2 free trial memberships he gave away. For more info, email Ms. ME.

In closing he shared the video below that demonstrates why it’s to your benefit to get professional help versus going it alone.


Our second guest speaker was our friend Jen from MetLife. She spoke about the importance of and the steps involved in creating a plan for retirement.

  1. Decide when in the future do you want to retire
  2. Determine the money you need for essentials, wants and wishes
  3. Create a plan from now to retirement

The last thing she discussed is how to make your savings last. She mentioned three sources of “guaranteed” income. Do you think you know what they are? Do you need help determining how to make it last?

In closing, one way to save that she stated is often overlooked is through cutting costs. Go through your monthly bills and look for ways to save at least once a year.

Next month’s Wine, Women & Wealth Topic: Your Grandma’s Yellow Platter. If you’re in Jacksonville, Florida don’t miss it. Check back for the link to reserve your seat.

Wine, Women & Wealth Jan 2016 – What Women Want

Better late than never…

That common phrase only applies to this blog post. When it comes to women, money and saving so that they can get the things they want it’s better now than later.

Every second Thursday of the month in our local office my business partners and I sponsor a seminar strictly for women to educate them on financial topics of an assorted variety. It’s known as Wine, Women & Wealth. The first one of 2016 focused on What Women Want.

At some point in their lives, 95% of women Continue reading Wine, Women & Wealth Jan 2016 – What Women Want