FIC Blog

We believe in – and live by – a philosophy of excellence.

Average is not good enough … Our goal at Family Investment Center is excellence. We find excellent investment products and supervise an excellent service package. We maintain a library of excellent research materials and financial planning resources. We also demand top safety and security for our clients.

We won’t settle for average. We continually seek top managers or securities and meld them into superior custom portfolios. Each palette of investments is carefully tailored to personal or family goals. We enlist excellent managers, research, resources, and effort for our clients. Don’t settle for average. You deserve excellence.

Please search our blog posts for answers to common investment questions, and we look forward to sharing our knowledge and experience with you first-hand.

Investment Strategies to Help You Meet in the Middle

Three Investment Strategies for Couples

A sound investment portfolio includes a variety of investments to provide a more stable, yet prosperous, result. For couples, investment strategies can be a contentious topic, particularly when one has a low threshold for risk while the other’s is higher.


Opposites might attract, as the old saying goes; however, can that be a good thing when it comes to investing? In some cases, the answer is a definitive “yes.” Take, for example, a husband who is quite conservative when it comes to risk and prefers to keep the family dollars tied up in safe but low-yielding investments. The wife, on the other hand, is a real risk-taker, ready to pounce on a “hot stock.” To keep the investment moving forward and reach investment goals, it is important to balance each other out and stay on track.

So how does a couple like this make their opposing risk tolerance work?

Communicate About Risk

It is not entirely uncommon for couples to never express their opinions about risk. The situation might become clearer in how each person displays their relationship with money, because their upbringings in regard to money management could be quite different.

Having an actual conversation about these backgrounds and how that influences preferences in regard to investment strategies can add a sense of mediation to the process of investment planning, leading to compromises in investment styles.

Set Goals

Regardless of your position on risk, there is probably a set dollar amount put toward your goals, whether they are goals that are reached in stages or if you’re just setting a big retirement goal. When you come to that number, you then need to figure out how you will invest to reach these goals.

The great part about getting to this point is that most investment advisors can set up an investment discipline that allows each individual some autonomy over the portfolio that relates directly to their risk tolerance, giving each an empowered role in the process.

Invest Separately?

For some couples, investing together would be as awkward as sharing an email or social media account. Investing separately is also okay as long as the communication is good. The couple should maintain a good overview of their assets and stay on the same page with goals. Meeting together with a trusted investment advisor can help ensure there are no unforeseen bumps down the road.

At Family Investment Center, we’ve assisted couples with wildly different views on investment strategies in coming together with a plan that works for both. Talk to one of our investment professionals today and let’s customize a plan to help reach your goals together.

 

Continue reading
16 Hits
0 Comments

Chris Danford Passes Series 65 Exam as Investment Advisor Representative at Family Investment Center

Danford to Help Women Make Unique Financial Decisions in New Position

 

Sept. 28, 2018:  With increasing media attention on the unique financial decisions placed in front of women, Family Investment Center announces the advancement of Chris Danford to an Investment Advisor Representative position. She became an Investment Advisor Representative for the firm in September, after passing the Series 65 Uniform Investment Advisor Law Examination.
 

“People don’t think about special financial needs for women, but I see it again and again,” says Danford. “Women live longer, may earn less over the longevity of their careers, and may move in and out of the workforce with small children. Decisions can be complex. I’m excited to offer guidance for these life situations and more.”
 

Danford has served the Family Investment Center firm since 2011 and is also Director of Community Relations. She will continue in this role in addition to advising clients about finance and investing.

“I’m excited to step into an advisor role,” says Danford. “As Director of Community Relations, I’ve watched the team work with clients for years. This is an opportunity for me to help clients directly.”
 

In her current Family Investment Center positions, Danford draws upon diverse career and community roles. She worked 29 years as a teacher, special education teacher and counselor in the St. Joseph and Park Hill School Districts and Bishop LeBlond High School. After retiring from Park Hill School District in 2011, Danford was an adjunct teacher at Northwest Missouri State University. She was elected to the St. Joseph School District Board of Education and served from 2012 to 2017. 
 

“I helped families for years as a school counselor and I’ve raised three successful daughters. Those coaching skills translate nicely into financial and investment planning,” Danford explains. “Some may think our business is about the numbers, but it is not. It is about the people. That’s my specialty.”
 

Reflecting her community dedication and volunteerism spirit, Danford has been active in organizations including CASA, InterServ, United Way, The Center and the Buchanan County Extension Council. She was the Missouri High School Counselor of the Year in 2009 and has been recognized as a Distinguished Alumni at Missouri Western State University. She graduated from Missouri Western State University in 1978 and earned an Master of Science in Guidance and Counseling from Northwest Missouri State University in 1990.
 

Family Investment Center, with offices in St. Joseph, Missouri and Lenexa, Kansas, is a commission-free planning and advisory firm founded in 1998. The company serves hundreds of families and other clients and manages some $275 million in discretionary portfolios.

“I'm excited to join the advisory team at Family Investment Center.  What a great time to help others achieve their financial and family goals,” says Danford.
 

About Family Investment Center 
Reflecting an unconventional approach to investing and financial planning, Family Investment Center invites clients to “plan for some serious freedom.” Now in its third decade of service, Dan Danford is Founder/CEO of Family Investment Center, a pioneer among commission-free investment advisory firms. Richard C. Salmen serves as President of Family Investment Center. Salmen also serves as the 2018 Chairman of the CFP Board national board of directors. 

With a team of professionals at offices in St. Joseph, MO, and Lenexa, KS, Family Investment Center brings a client-focused philosophy to individuals and families in the Kansas City area and across the country.

Media sources who have interviewed or quoted the Family Investment Center team include The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CBNC, Barron’s, InvestmentNews, BusinessWeek, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Kansas City Star, the Chicago Tribune and others.

 

Continue reading
94 Hits
0 Comments

401(k) Investing: Tracking Changes in 2018

There’s Still Time in 2018 to Make Changes in Your 401(k) Investing

 

The IRS announced earlier in 2018 that retirement plan contribution limits for 401(k)s are changing. The increased contribution limits can help you put more away to reach your retirement goals and there’s still time in 2018 to put this change into action.

For three years, the IRS held the amount you can contribute to your 401(k) to $18,000 annually. This year, your opportunity for 401(k) investing improves as the limit goes up to $18,500 (plus a $6,000 catch-up contribution for those 50 and older). They also increased income phase-outs for IRA contributors as well as adjusting gross income limits for those who get the “saver’s credit.”

Changes to IRAs

If your investments include a SEP IRA, the overall defined contribution plan goes up to $55,000 per year (it was previously $54,000), which is seen as particularly beneficial to small business owners and others who are self-employed. 

For deductible IRA phase-outs, the IRS is allowing people to earn more in 2018 and deduct contributions to a traditional pre-tax IRA. However, keep in mind that if you earn too much to get a deduction, you can still contribute to this vehicle, it just won’t be deductible.

If you’re an IRA contributor that isn’t covered by a retirement plan from your workplace, and your income is between $189,000 and $199,000 the deductions are phased out, which is up $3,000 from what was allowed last year.

Changes to the Saver’s Credit

Low- and moderate-income workers who are looking to take advantage of the saver’s credit get a $1,000 increase in what they can make and still qualify for the credit. The IRS allows couples that file jointly in 2018 to make $63,000, up from $62,000. Head of household limits go up from $46,500 to $47,250, and single or married and filing separately can earn $31,500 and still qualify for the credit, which is a $500 increase from last year.

Family Investment Center stays on top of changes like these and our team has many ideas, strategies and plans that meet the needs of each individual investor as these changes continue to take place. Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can help keep you on track with your retirement plan

 

Continue reading
24 Hits
0 Comments

How Are You Planning for Retirement?

How About Starting With a Blueprint

Like a construction project, every good plan for a solid foundation involves a blueprint with overarching principles that must be followed. To develop your blueprint when you are planning for retirement, consider these three concepts:

1. Income vs. Expenses

The majority of retirees count their income as Social Security and the savings they’ve amassed. While the pension is quickly becoming a thing of the past, current retirees might be enjoying theirs right now. Regardless of whether you’re on a pension, 401(k) or IRA, the key to income success while in retirement is to coordinate your monthly expenses with monthly income.

Choosing a system of withdrawing your savings in a way that minimizes your tax load is important, and knowing from which accounts to withdraw first can be difficult to determine.  If you’re unsure of the best strategy, be sure to ask an advisor for help.

2. Distribution

Although profit sharing, 401(k) plans, deferred compensation, IRAs and tax-sheltered annuities are all more popular today than the pension plan, many still face the decision of what to do with a pension in retirement.  There are usually two main options: annuitize the pension into monthly payments or take one lump-sum payment. For many, taking the lump-sum payment provides better long-term growth potential and flexibility, but getting a large amount of money at once can be challenging to budget for many retirees. Plus, any amount of that money that isn’t rolled into an IRA will face federal and state income taxes. 

 

There are also many things to consider with alternatives to an IRA rollover. Be sure to find out about investment restrictions, surrender charges (in some but not all cases), and the tax consequences of all of your options. If you’re in an employer plan that allows you to stay on after termination or retirement, your plan fees might be low, and you could have a number of investment options, which is a good thing in planning for retirement.  Ask lots of questions about all the options.  If you’re unsure, talk to an advisor.

3. Know Your Risks

Not everyone is going to have the same opinion where risk is concerned. People are living well into their 80s today, which means they need to consider more carefully how they approach investment risks as they age. What might be considered “risky” for a 60-year-old in investment planning could be “safe” for a person who has decades to go before they retire.

However, risk must also be taken into account in regard to how long you plan to be in retirement. People retiring today could have a 30-year retirement horizon, and inflation can make a huge impact on a retirement portfolio.

Dan Danford, CEO of Family Investment Center, says, “If you’ve ever built a house, you know it's easy to get caught up in the details: lights, appliances, floor coverings and finishes. Deciding on all these things can be exhausting. Planning for retirement can feel a bit like that. But just like building a house, in retirement, the right foundation creates lasting value.” Find out more about how Family Investment Center can help you build a solid foundation by contacting us today.

 

Continue reading
26 Hits
0 Comments

What do Financial Planning and Fitness Strategies Have in Common?

Change Your Mindset to Get in a Healthier Financial Planning Position

 

 

The best fitness coaches let their clients know that to reach their goals, it takes sticking to a plan, and that a plan is a long-term situation. The coach has the experience required to guide clients through the right exercises and nutrition plans to help them reach their specific goals. Financial planning professionals are similar in their tactics.

Think of your financial planner as your health club instructor for a moment. Your goals can be anywhere from improving your cash flow to managing your taxes or focusing on retirement and estate goals. Maybe you’re more interested in business planning or insurance.  When you go to your financial planner, they will have a series of “exercises” that can help you reach your goals.

 

Your Financial Planner Should Have the Tools You Need
When you go to your health club, they have all the tools you need to develop or tone specific muscle groups. Furthermore, the club has seasoned experts there to show you how to operate the equipment correctly. On your first trip to the club, you’ll likely get a consultation where a fitness coach will help you set goals and develop a strategy for reaching them. The same can be said of a financial planner. They will sit down with you, talk about your current situation, and you’ll together set goals.

Taking Inventory and Keeping Track: Important Roles of a Coach
Your financial planner will listen to you as you talk about your challenges and various ideas. Then, you’ll get a comprehensive financial review to gather all your documents and establish a way to keep everything organized - just as you keep track of your reps, sets, body fat and weight as you track progress at the gym.

Individualized Attention is a Key Element
A fitness coach is able to offer special, customized care – because no two clients have the same body types or challenges. The same can be said of a financial planner – it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to helping you manage your money and your investments. They’re going to look at you as the individual you are, and do what’s best to get you on track to meet your goals.

At Family Investment Center, we strive to act as financial coaches. It’s our mission to assist our clients in using their money more effectively so they can live the life they envision for themselves. If you’re committed to improving your financial health, contact us today. What are you waiting for?

Continue reading
131 Hits
0 Comments