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How Indecision Is Killing Your Pocketbook

By Trilogy Financial
January 5, 2021
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Awareness is key to change, but you also need action. In fact, you need focused, decisive and immediate action to see change and to get yourself back on the road to financial independence.

There are a lot of decisions to make when forging your way to financial independence, there are also countless paths to each destination and countless solutions to each problem. Most folks are also juggling more than one financial goal: retirement, emergency funds, college education for children. How do you prioritize? How do you find the right solution for retirement or long-term care? All the decisions can be overwhelming, which causes many to check out of their own financial situation. While taking a step back when one feels overwhelmed is a natural response, refraining from taking action can ultimately do more harm than good.

Definitive action can both propel you towards financial independence and protect the traction you’ve already made. The sooner you start investing in your financial future, the more your funds can grow due to compound interest. The longer you wait to address any financial problems, the more these minor issues can snowball into larger issues, which can often be the case with debt. Also, if you haven’t taken decisive action to establish an emergency fund or invest in the proper form of insurance, an unexpected event can derail you further from your route to financial independence.

Our Advisors at Trilogy try to help you take the guesswork out of making a decision. Some of the worst indecision is born from not knowing the results of choosing Option A over Option B. However, our Advisors /Life Planners can run various scenarios for you, showing the consequences of different courses of action – helping you see which decision may be the right one for you. More importantly, they are here to support you through difficult situations, so the rest of your road to financial independence will be smooth sailing.

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By
Mike Loo, MBA
July 20, 2018

Over the course of hundreds of conversations with clients, I’ve found that quite a few them have wrestled with the idea of whether they should go back to school for an advanced degree. As their advisor, I am commonly asked if returning to school would be financially beneficial. The risk/return analysis is not always cut-and-dried in this situation. Investing X amount of dollars in a degree program does not always result in an equal or higher return in the future.

The True Value Of Education

Education is about more than just the money. After a recent conversation with a client, I had the realization that while I don’t need an MBA for my job as a financial advisor, the MBA experience itself shaped and molded me to become the advisor I am today. While I did take numerous finance classes to enhance my knowledge and quantitative skills, the greatest value I gained from earning an MBA came from improving qualitative skills, such as working with people, networking, effective communication, and time management. These are skills that I use daily in my current role.

Every experience we go through, especially those that push us out of our comfort zone and require plenty of work and time, leads to personal growth. Had I not gone through the MBA program at USC’s Marshall School of Business, I might not have developed the work ethic required to succeed as a financial advisor, and I could have ended up on a completely different career path altogether.

My Pre-MBA Self

Before entering the MBA program, I had a passion for the financial services industry, but like most college grads, I wasn’t sure how that would translate into a career. I didn’t have a clear direction for my future. I was interested in becoming an advisor but knew that it would be fairly tough to advise people on what to do with their finances when I hadn’t gone through many life experiences myself.

I had always loved the idea of making money and becoming more efficient with what I had, but I was young and dumb (and willing to admit that)! I fell into the cultural mindset of wanting to work typical business hours, earn a large salary, and enjoy life. In essence, I wanted the rewards but didn’t want to do the work involved to achieve those rewards. In my naive way of thinking, an MBA seemed to be the simplest path to achieve this end result. I can tell you that I was so wrong in this assumption!

What I Gained from My MBA

Networking Skills: USC is known for networking. Everything I heard about business school prior to attending was that the most important takeaway from the experience is to network, network, network. Unfortunately, my pre-MBA self was uncomfortable talking with people I didn’t know. I didn’t like to take the initiative to introduce myself and sometimes avoided conversing with people unless I was introduced first. As time went on and I experienced the pressure of competing against my peers and other highly qualified candidates for the same jobs, I was forced to rise to the challenge and become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

This skill alone has helped me immensely in my career when it comes to collaborating with a client’s other professionals, such as an estate attorney or CPA. In order to do a thorough job for a client, it’s often necessary to work with their other professionals to make sure we’re on the same page. In many cases, I’ve reached out to a client’s CPA to make sure they had my contact information so that if questions arise about the client’s investments, they call me rather than my client.

This skill has also helped me in reaching out to client referrals or prospective clients because I’ve found that people often want help with their financial planning, but they might not tell others or take the first step.

Effective Time And Task Management: During my time at USC, multitasking became the norm. If I wanted to effectively balance school, attend recruiting events, revise my resume, participate in mock job interviews, network for potential jobs, and somehow find time for a personal life, I had to become better with time management.

My job today is multi-faceted and includes juggling many tasks, such as answering client questions, servicing and monitoring their accounts, staying on top of changes in the industry, and dealing with changes life throws my clients’ way. Knowing that I was able to handle my heavy load in the past gives me confidence that I can prioritize my work today. Most importantly, I’ve come to realize that with all of these moving parts, it’s impossible to be rigid in only working business hours (again, something I aspired to when I was young and dumb), because not everyone is available from 8 am to 5 pm. Instead, I’ve become flexible with my schedule and instituted taking a day off during the week so that I can occasionally meet with clients on the weekend or do a phone call later in the evenings.

Is An Advanced Degree Right For You?

In my case, obtaining an advanced degree was one of my best decisions. It’s difficult to imagine doing anything else with my life and I am fortunate that I went down this path. If you or someone you know is trying to make this decision, I would love to give you some insight and help you look at the situation from an objective perspective. Or, if you would like to network and see if we could work together, call my office at (949) 221-8105 x 2128, or email me at michael.loo@lpl.com. I’d love to see you thriving in your life!

By
June Adams
December 20, 2021

TSA PreCheck Scams

 

TSA PreCheck is garnering a lot of interest, from both travelers and scammers alike. In addition to pocketing your renewal/application fee, these scammers take your personal information to sell on the dark web or create false identities that can be used illegally. TSA PreCheck scam emails are quite sophisticated, lacking many of the typical red flags such as misspellings, grammatical errors, and slightly-off-looking versions of TSA logos. We recommend that you continue to check the email address and web address of the sender, as well as how they’re asking for payment.

Always verify that the TSA PreCheck web and email address ends in ‘.gov’ – not ‘.com’, ‘.org’ or anything else. If they don’t, these are not official TSA PreCheck communications and you should not provide personal information or payment information. Additionally, don’t purchase or renew a TSA PreCheck membership by clicking on a link you were sent via an email. Instead, go directly to the TSA or Homeland Security website.

The other major red flag comes when it’s time to pay for your renewal or application fees. While there are multiple ways to make a payment for government services, scammers typically only give you the option of using PayPal. If you get an email and suspect it’s a scam, or end up clicking on a bad link yourself, TSA says to do the following:

  1. Report the fraud to your local Police Department.
  2. File a report with the Federal Trade Commission website.
  3. Contact your credit card company or bank and let them know about any fraudulent charges.

In the event that your credit card information ended up in the wrong hands, you will need to work through your bank or credit card company. TSA specifically states on its website that it “will not issue a reimbursement to applicants who attempt to enroll in TSA pre-check through a fraudulent website.”

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