Trilogy Financial, a privately-held financial planning firm with over $2 billion in client assets, utilizes a combination of our best technology and broad perspective to help you advance your tomorrows.

Jeff Motske is passionate about people finding financial freedom as a way of life. Feel free to browse some of the more commonly asked questions of Jeff, or, of course, submit your own. Jeff reviews all questions and usually responds back via this website in 24-48 hours.

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Questions You May Have

  • What is the process for taking the Compatibility quiz and when should I expect my results?

    Before starting the quiz you will need to enter your email address along with your partners. This is so we can link your results with your partners.

    After you complete the quiz it is assigned an ID number. You will then be prompted to do one of the following:
    1. Have your partner take the quiz next (if they are in the same room)
    2. Have an email sent to your partner so he/she can take the quiz.

    If your partner does not use one of these two options to complete the quiz, ID numbers can't be linked together and your results will not be generated. After you both take the quiz, the results are sent to both email addresses.

  • How do interpret my quiz results?

    The quiz is comprised of 4 different categories:

    Trust –
    Lifestyle –
    Risk –
    Planning –

    Each category will have a customized meter (think gas gage). The further your needle to the right, the better your fared as a couple.

    Your results should identify your strengths and weaknesses. It will give you points of discussion. The quiz is a great conversation starter. However, the book is a much deeper dive and will give you solid advice on how to work through your differences and teach you how to build a solid custom “financial house” together.

  • Do you have any advice for evaluating and decreasing credit card debt?

    The easiest way to discern how you have gone astray is by going over your credit card statements together. Take three highlighters—say: green, yellow, and blue. Sit down together with the credit card statement and highlight, in green, all the purchases that were a “necessity (gas, groceries, etc.).” With the yellow marker, highlight the ones they “liked to have,” and with the blue, mark the “nonessential/frivolous purchases.” The results will most likely be eye opening. You never realize just how much money is spent on “like to have” and “nonessentials”. After adding up the “like to have” and “nonessentials,” devote all that money to paying down the credit card with the smallest balance first while making the minimum payments on the additional cards. Repeat the process until you have zero balances on all of them.

    This process should encompass building a budget (budgeting worksheets can be found on my website under the resources tab) which includes some fun money, but also cuts down on unnecessary expenses. Began having monthly financial dates to review your budget and expenditures.

  • What’s the difference between good debt and bad debt?

    The short of it, good debt creates value or generates income. For example: bonds, real estate loans, home mortgages. Even with good debt, be careful not to overextend yourself and understand the risks involved.

    Bad debt is debt incurred to purchase items that quickly lose their value and/or do not generate long-term income. Bad debt is also debt that carries a high interest rate, like credit card debt. Every month that you make a partial payment on your credit account you are charged interest. The disposable or durable item you purchased continues to lose value, and the amount you paid for .it continues to increase.

  • I am trying to get my finances under control, but am lost on where to start.

    If you’ve never made a budget before and don’t know where to begin, don’t worry. I have sample budget worksheet that I use with my clients in the resources section of my website. Generally speaking, you’re going to need to tabulate your household income and expenses, which will require gathering any and all billing, credit card, and bank statements. The goal here is simply to get the numbers down in black and white; which becomes the basis for your financial game plan.

  • What exactly is a financial game plan?

    Your financial game plan is dedicated to your financial success. It includes your budget, 911 fund, your goals, and a way to help protect your plan. I look at creating a financial game plan much like building your own custom house. You start from the ground up, beginning with a good piece of land and a solid foundation on top of it. Check out my Financial House worksheet to get on track to your financial freedom.

  • How should I maintain and update my budget?

    In the first few months, it's essential to review account statements regularly and see exactly how much was spent on various expenses. These aggregate figures should be compared to the amount set up in your budget and any adjustments should be made to reflect the reality of your life. This is the best and easiest way for your budget to remain relevant in your financial life. Inevitably you will come across "one time" expenses that you may wish to add up over the course of a year rather than per month. For example, let's say your refrigerator goes on the fritz and it costs $400 to make repairs. While this is a legitimate household maintenance expense, it wouldn't be accurate to add $400 to a section of your budget for household expenses or upkeep. It would be better to add up all of these sporadic expenses to arrive at an annual figure for "home maintenance" or similar category in your budget.

    If you find that you've budgeted too harshly and are unable to stick to your budget, then simply reevaluate your budget and goals.

  • How much should I set aside for investment?

    First, I would like you to have your game plan in place. Your financial game plan is dedicated to your financial success. Once you have your game plan in place, one in which you and your spouse are ready, willing, and able to follow, then it’s time to talk investing.

    Remember, when it comes to investing, it’s really about picking the appropriate investment vehicle to get you to your destination. How far you have to go (your goal) and how much time you have to get there, will determine a suitable vehicle (risk level). Distance and time matter. If, for example, you are planning a trip across the country--retirement goal--there are a variety of ways to get there: you could drive a car, fly on an airplane, take the train, ride the bus or even ride a bike. Factoring in the amount of time you have will rule out some of these options, in route to determining which the best fit is.

    As far as how much you should invest, since we’re talking about investing in your primary goals (rooms), the objective--as you may recall--is 15 percent or more of your gross income (before taxes)…the pay yourself first principle! If you’ve been living paycheck to paycheck, this may seem like a monumental task. But, reviewing your budget and getting your priorities straight will help you make headway on increasing your savings rate. And while 15 percent is the target, you can certainly start with less. Some investments will allow you to put away as little as $25 dollars on a monthly basis.

  • What is a better option, renting or owning?

    For some of you, renting might be a smarter option. Until you have clarity on where you want to plant roots as a couple, renting makes some financial sense. Just like a mortgage, your rent payment should not exceed 28 percent of your gross monthly income. Renting is a “flat” expense in the budget—if the water heater breaks, for example; it’s not your responsibility to fix it. Renting also gives you a chance to check out the neighborhood, the surrounding community, the area in general—and then determine if it’s a place where you’d like to eventually buy your home.

    When it does come time to buy your home--understand that your home is not an investment. Repeat after me…“My home is not an investment.” It’s your home. It’s the place you live. If your home increases in value, your net worth has increased on paper, but that doesn’t translate to cash in your bank account unless you sell it.

  • When creating our financial game plan, should we have joint or separate accounts?

    Yes, yes, yes! The goal here is to work together. So, yes, everything should be done jointly. However—and this is a big however, I also think it’s important for couples to have their own individual accounts. Commit to having joint accounts for everything, thus minimizing the risk to hide money, or if you are going to have separate spending accounts, make sure all sources of income come into the joint account first, before allotments go to the individual ones. It’s important to maintain some sense of independence and individuality, so long as you remain honest and transparent with your spouse.


The information provided is general in nature and should not be construed as comprehensive financial advice. As with any financial matter, please consult with your qualified financial professional before taking any action. Please remember that investment decisions should be based on an individual's goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk.