Professional Involvement

Contributing to your Human Capital AKA Investing in Yourself

Contributed by: Nick Defenthaler, CFP® Nick Defenthaler

Human capital – “the collective skills, knowledge, or other intangible assets of individuals that can be used to create economic value for the individuals, their employers, or their community,” as defined by dictionary.com.  In my mind, however, I have a more simplistic definition – an investment in YOU.  As financial professionals, a major part of our job when working with clients, like you, is aligning your investment portfolio with your individual goals and objectives, which is typically comprised of various mutual funds or ETFs. However, in many cases, the best investment we can ever make is in ourselves – something we can oftentimes overlook or we don’t truly appreciate how big of an impact this investment can have on our lives.

Investing and financial planning both contain many factors or variables that we have either very little or virtually no control over—for example, what the S&P 500 performs for the year, tax policies, how retirement plan contribution limits change, etc. So when working with clients, we prefer to really focus on the things that we can control, like savings vs. spending, portfolio risk, debt load, etc., and maximizing your own human capital falls within this category.

So how do we focus on things we can control? Some examples include:

  • Being intentional with the degree you pursue
  • Obtaining professional designations after college
  • Taking classes to become an expert in an area of interest that can progress your career
  • Taking on additional responsibilities in the workplace to earn more than the standard cost of living pay increase
  • Moving to a new city with more opportunity for you
  • Hiring additional staff or a career coach

The list could go on and on. You may notice that many of the items that go into the investment in one’s self or “human capital” require capital!  I challenge you to not think of these items as “expenses,” but to rather look at them as a necessary component in your ongoing saga of investing in yourself.  This paradigm shift will improve your outlook and more than likely increase the likelihood of your success. 

Making the right choices and committing to investing in yourself typically translates into increasing the value of your future earnings, a major component of your own human capital.  Does this mean you give yourself carte blanche while investing in yourself?  Of course not!  Those who truly maximize their human capital are strategic with their investments and think long-term; very similar to how we approach the investments we recommend to clients.    

As we ring in a new year, it’s a good time to take a step back and think of the ways you want to invest in yourself in 2016 by laying out a plan of what you want to achieve over the next few years. Just as we help clients align goals with the investments we help them make, you should do the same with your own human capital, because chances are, investing in yourself will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. 

Nick Defenthaler, CFP® is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Nick is a member of The Center’s financial planning department and also works closely with Center clients. In addition, Nick is a frequent contributor to the firm’s blogs.


This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Nick Defenthaler and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Keep in mind that individuals cannot invest directly in any index. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that is generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market. Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss.

Tim Wyman Joins Board of Leadership Oakland

Contributed by: Center for Financial Planning, Inc. The Center

Every year, Leadership Oakland takes 50 developing local leaders and challenges them to become catalysts for change in our community. The Center’s Tim Wyman is a graduate of the Cornerstone Program and has just stepped up to serve on Leadership Oakland’s Board of Directors. He says he’s honored to continue the tradition of leadership:

“For 25 years, leadership Oakland has been the premier organization for individuals looking to develop their leadership skills and knowledge in Oakland County. Participants of their Cornerstone Program are fully immersed in leadership positions in both the private and public sector. The organization continues to play an important role in Oakland County's future success and I am privileged to serve as an ambassador of their mission.”

In a span of 9 months, Leadership Oakland participants delve into the issues facing the region -- from education, government and the justice system to health and human services and race and ethnic diversity. The program’s new President Kevin Wisely welcomed Tim and the other new leaders:

“We are pleased to welcome our newest board members to the Leadership Oakland team. Our board is comprised of dedicated, successful and committed individuals that strive to advance our mission of regional leadership development. Graduates of our program are effective leaders in their personal, professional and public lives. We are looking forward to an exciting program year!” 

To find out more about the mission and how to get involved, click Leadership Oakland.


Raymond James is not affiliated with Leadership Oakland. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website's users and/or members.

FPA of Michigan -- Passing the Torch

Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP®

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The Center's long and distinguished history of service to the Financial Planning Association (FPA) continues, as Sandy Adams, CFP® passes the torch to Center team members Tim Wyman, CFP® and Nick Defenthaler, CFP®. Sandy recently left the FPA of Michigan Board of Directors after 7 years of service, including 2 years as board president and 2 years as board chair. Tim has served previous terms of the FPA Michigan board, as well as a term on the FPA National board. Nick is joining as a first-time board member.

Each of our founding partners has served in the leadership of our professional organization -- giving back to our profession is an important goal of The Center and honors our firm value of Professionalism and Competence. Our involvement with the FPA is an honor and tradition that we hope to keep alive for years to come.

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In 2012-2014 Sandy has been named to the Five Star Wealth Managers list in Detroit Hour magazine. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.


Five Star Award is based on advisor being credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR), a FINRA registered representative, a CPA or a licensed attorney, including education and professional designations, actively employed in the industry for five years, favorable regulatory and complaint history review, fulfillment of firm review based on internal firm standards, accepting new clients, one- and five-year client retention rates, non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered, number of client households served.

Awards & Inspiration at the RJ Women’s Symposium

 From helping families prosper to the art of negotiation, the 20th annual Raymond James Women’s Symposium was packed with great insight and inspiring speakers. Marilyn Gunther, Melissa Joy and Laurie Renchik recently traveled to St. Petersburg, FL for the opportunity to take part in thought-provoking education sessions and mingle with other women advisors in the Raymond James family.

The trip this year was especially exciting because The Center’s own founding partner Marilyn Gunther received the Raymond James Network for Women Advisors 2014 Women of Distinction award.  She was presented with the award by the President of Raymond James Financial Services at an opening night awards dinner.  This award is given to women advisors with Raymond James who are exceptional in both their professional and personal contributions.

These are our Top 5 ideas we brought back to Michigan:

  1. Susan Bradley from the Sudden Money Institute talked about recognizing the role of money in all of the transitions of life.  We have come a long way from thinking about money as the accumulation and distribution phase.
  2. The number of RJ upper management team attending was an acknowledgement of the increasing and effective role of women advisors and women leaders.  We have a long way to go, but it is a start.
  3. Author and former sports agent Molly Fletcher shared her insights about the art of negotiating with an emphasis on belief in what you do and not being afraid to ask the tough questions.
  4. In the workshop, “The Estate is Set, But Are Families Prepared?” we learned more about helping families thrive and prosper from one generation to the next with family meetings designed to help prepare the next generation for financial and non-financial aspects of wealth transfer.
  5. On the topic of Women and the World of Finance, Sallie Krawcheck drew on her Wall Street experiences as well as current research to illustrate how companies that embrace gender diversity on their boards and in management often see improved performance and profitability as a result.   

Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed web sites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any web site or the collection or use of information regarding any web site’s users and/or members. C14-038768

Sandy Adams attends Sudden Money Workshop

 

Each Center client is unique, but some face similar life transitions. Dealing with the loss of a spouse, major health challenges, job changes, wealth transfers or sudden money windfalls … all can put you in the position of making important decisions about your financial plan. To help our clients through these transitions, some of our team members are going through a special training course called Sudden Money(R).

Center partner Sandy Adams, CFP(R) recently made a whirlwind trip to Miami to attend the Sudden Money(R) Institute's mid-year coaching workshop. She joined more than a dozen financial planners and founder Susan Bradley, CFP(R). "I have worked with several clients that have experienced unexpected transitions in their lives -- like the death of a spouse or a major illness.  This training is invaluable in assisting clients during these times of transition because it is providing me with tools and strategies to help them navigate the obstacles they face."

The workshop was a first step in the two-year quest to become a Certified Financial Transitionist(TM).  Sandy joins Center partner Melissa Joy in pursuit of this designation. Continuous education and personal growth are core Center values and these educational opportunities not only help us deepen our skills, but further assist our clients.


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Center Supports "A Meaningful Life with Alzheimer's Disease"

 

November 5th marked the second annual Alzheimer’s Association and Institute of Gerontology collaborative conference.  Again this year, the conference brought together over 260 caregivers and health professionals to explore and understand a person-centered approach to caring for those living with Alzheimer’s.  The Center for Financial Planning was a sponsoring partner for the event.

Sandy Adams served on the planning committee for the 2013 conference, and moderated a panel discussion around the difficult conversations, legal and financial issues that affect those with Alzheimer’s and their families. “This conference is very unique in that it brings together families and professionals to have realistic conversations about caring for those with Alzheimer’s,” Sandy explained. “Participants received great information and enjoyed experiential presentations on alternative therapies involving art, music and exercise.”   She is looking forward to serving on the planning committee for the 2014 conference.


Links are being provided for information purposes only.  Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors.  Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website’s users and/or members.

Our Cliff Notes from the FPA Fall Symposium

 In our busy lives, both at home and at work, it can often seem as if there are just not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we’d like.  Despite our busy schedules, it is our responsibility as trusted advisors to step out of the office occasionally to better ourselves both professionally and personally.  I was fortunate enough to attend the 2013 Financial Planning Association (FPA) Fall Symposium in late September.  The FPA is a well-known and respected organization in the financial planning profession giving advisors the chance to network; discuss better business practices and, most importantly, learn from each other’s experiences.  Over the two-day event, Matt Trujillo, Sandy Adams and I attended close to 10 presentations regarding the market, the economy and various financial planning strategies.  While I won’t bore you with every “take-away” we found extremely helpful and useful, here are some key points discussed at the conference that I felt clients would find valuable and beneficial:

Key Points

  • Stay Smart: Under stress (such as experiencing a market downturn) studies have shown that IQ levels drop an average of 13%.  It is extremely important for us to remind clients of the negative effects of poor investment decisions during stressful periods in the market and to help guide them through these turbulent times. 
  • Make it Personal: Labeling accounts has been shown to increase saving on average by 50%.  For example, labeling a checking or savings account as “Jane’s college fund” greatly increases the savings level by adding a personal touch or goal to the account. 
  • What to Watch: Although domestic equities have done phenomenally this year, valuations still point to potential further appreciation, as price-to-earning (P/E) ratios are approximately 7% below the historical average. 
  • Eye on Europe: Many portfolio managers and market strategists are forecasting a strong outlook for international equities in the coming years as Europe emerges out of their recession. 
  • Bond Buzz: Despite rising interest rate environments, investors should still consider bonds!  Bonds act as a diversifier to the equity portion of the portfolio and can be a very integral piece of the investment puzzle.  We think investors should be focusing on shorter duration bonds to hedge against interest rate risk. 

Several of these points have been on our investment team’s radar for quite some time and we are still implementing them within client portfolios.  It is, however, a nice feeling to know many of the suggestions made by some very bright speakers were things we at the Center do for clients on a daily basis. 

One of my favorite quotes from the symposium was this: “The future is more consistent than the present”.  As much as I wish I had that highly sought-after crystal ball, we cannot possibly predict what the market will do on a day-to-day basis.  What we can do, however, is help guide clients over many years and walk them through each stage of their financial plan to help ensure long-term success, which as the quote states, is far more predictable –something we can all value and appreciate.  

Nick Defenthaler, CFP® is a Support Associate at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Nick currently assists Center planners and clients, and is a contributor to Money Centered and Center Connections.


The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. This information is not intended as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any investment referred to herein. Every investor's situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation. Any opinions are those of Nick Defenthaler, CFP and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. There is an inverse relationship between interest rate movements and bond prices. Generally, when interest rates rise, bond prices fall and when interest rates fall, bond prices generally rise. International investing involves special risks, including currency fluctuations, differing financial accounting standards, and possible political and economic volatility. Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss. Keep in mind that individuals cannot invest directly in any index, and index performance does not include transaction costs or other fees, which will affect actual investment performance. Individual investor's results will vary. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. This information is not intended as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any investment referred to herein. Every investor's situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation. Any opinions are those of [FANAME] and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. There is an inverse relationship between interest rate movements and bond prices. Generally, when interest rates rise,bond prices fall and when interest rates fall, bond prices generally rise. International investing involves special risks, including currency fluctuations, differing financial accounting standards, and possible political and economic volatility. Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss. Keep in mind that individuals cannot invest directly in any index, and index performance does not include transaction costs or other fees, which will affect actual investment performance. Individual investor's results will vary. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

My Alzheimers Association Experience

 This summer, I had a wonderful opportunity to get an insider’s view of the Alzheimer’s Association.  I spent over 120 volunteer hours at the Greater Michigan Chapter of the Association as part of my master’s certificate program in Gerontology, and it was time well spent.

My goal during my volunteer time was to get a well-rounded view of the Alzheimer’s Association and the services and resources it provides to families facing an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis.  I spent about half of my time answering calls on the Association’s Helpline, which provides support, education and referral services to callers.  I spent another large part of my time in the Sakwa Day Program, a respite program for individuals diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s. It provides a safe, activity-oriented experience for people with dementia while their care providers work, run errands, or just get a break.  I was also able to participate in community education programs and observe support groups during my volunteer time. 

My experience at the Alzheimer’s Association gave me a greater base of knowledge with which to help Center clients, and others, going forward.  Even more valuable, I feel that I have a better understanding of what families are facing with a dementia diagnosis.  I know that we are very lucky to have an Association in our neighborhood that provides a wide range of services and resources, with a staff that has a passion for what they do – a passion that radiates to others, including me.

For more information on the local Alzheimer’s Association, services and programs, call 1-800-272-3900 or visit the website at www.alz.org/gmc.

Helping those that help others

 In October the Center will be furthering our vision to help those who help others.  Our financial planners will be spending time with the employees at Community Housing Network in Troy, Michigan.  This is one way we give back to some of the great folks in the area that spend their time helping others make our community a better place to live for all. We will be answering the employees’ personal financial questions pro bono and help them get their financial “houses” in order so that they can be focused on helping those in need.

The Community Housing Network is a passionate advocate, devoted to providing homes for people in need. They give people access to resources to create sustainable communities. This is achieved with proven strategies of homelessness prevention, housing assistance and development, community education and referral, advocacy, and additional services.

Center Helps to Support Professional "Issues in Aging" Education

 

One of the Center’s core values is Continuous Learning and Personal Growth – a value that applies not only to our Center team, but also to other professionals that may serve our clients. That is why we were proud to support the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology (IOG) as it educated over 250 healthcare professionals at its 24th annual “Issues in Aging” conference. 

“Issues in Aging,” one of the longest running and well-recognized events of its kind, aims to provide information on best practices and current research related to geriatrics and gerontology.  One day of each annual two-day conference is dedicated to Alzheimer’s and related dementias.  Our nation’s ongoing generational shift will demand healthcare professionals that are armed with knowledge and skills to help our older adults.  The IOG is certainly doing its part!

The Center has  partnered with the IOG for many years to provide both financial and volunteer support, with  Sandy Adams serving on the IOG’s Board of Visitor’s for the last two years.  For more information about the WSU Institute of Gerontology’s ongoing research, education and outreach efforts, go to www.iog.wayne.edu.


Links are being provided for information purposes only.  Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors.  Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website’s users and/or members.