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Topics: Life Event Advice

November 11, 2023

Many Americans spend more hours than they’d like managing necessary financial components of life while balancing caring for a family, performing at work and enjoying time with loved ones. Despite working hard to try to strike a perfect balance, financial planning, saving and investing can be tedious and time consuming, and maybe even daunting.

This is where a fiduciary comes in.

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What Is a Fiduciary?

The term fiduciary is thrown around in the financial services world, but few people truly understand it.

A fiduciary is a person or organization that acts on behalf of another person or persons, and puts their clients' interests ahead of their own. A fiduciary has a duty to act in good faith and serve clients by earning trust and confidence. Being a fiduciary thus requires being bound both legally and ethically to act in the client’s best interests.

To the Financial Advisors at Trilogy Financial, it’s more than that. Yes, we believe “fiduciary” means putting clients best interest before our own. However, we take it steps further to demonstrate with evidence that our proposals are in the client’s best interest. The evidence, be it in a financial planning concept or investment strategy, is the key to being a fiduciary.

Why Is It Essential To Work With a Fiduciary?

When a fiduciary presents evidence that their proposals are in the clients best interest, it leads to confidence. That confidence leads to good financial decisions over time. As Life Planners, that is what Trilogy’s Financial Advisors are working towards.

A fiduciary's main goal is to help set clients on an upright financial track through financial behavioral coaching, accountability and to help clients develop a Life Plan. A financial advisor and fiduciary will also help you prepare for retirement by maximizing the profitability of resources directed towards saving plans, develop estate plan strategies and more.

As Advisors, we anticipate individual’s or family’s needs over time, which allows us to be a better fiduciary. We believe a true fiduciary guides clients through life’s roughest patches and toughest situations.

Let a Fiduciary Be By Your Side When Life Planning

Let’s face it…a fiduciary can help ensure your financial goals are aligned in the same direction as your ambitions. Right? Proper financial planning requires objectification of your goals through the hands of an excellent financial partner who can help you with the following.

Help you save for retirement

For many, having $1 million worth of liquid cash and a list of profitable assets by the time they retire is a dream come true. However it’s a difficult dream to work towards for many Americans. That’s where a fiduciary comes in.

The secret to getting the retirement and lifestyle you dream is preparedness and time. The earlier you begin to save, the better. Beginning early allows you to make small contributions that will accumulate to a lump sum amount over a long period. For instance, if you start saving $5,000 every year from your mid-20s, by the time you are 40 years old, you will mostly likely have crossed a quarter a million mark. Remember, you will still be young, energetic, and even determined to save more. Because compounding is so powerful, if you continue saving the same amount by the time you are 65, you could be almost at $1.5 million, more than what you had intended to save.

In contrast, if you start saving at 35, even if you double that amount to $10,000, you may stagnate at $840,000 by the time you hit retirement age. So, the earlier you begin to save, the more you will receive at retirement. But do not be deterred if you are starting later in life. With the right planning, it’s never too late to achieve your goals. A Trilogy Financial Advisor can develop strategies to compound savings through investments and other growth opportunities.

Save for education stress-free

According to Market Watch, an average American will spend over $58,464 on their child's education from primary school to the undergraduate level, doubling the UK's average spend and tripling France's. Now imagine you are the head of a typical American family with more than 3 dependents; you will need almost $200,000 for education alone.  This is a huge dent in a family's finances. Fortunately, a fiduciary can help you save for education and college. Saving about a third of your earnings for a decade with the purpose of spending it on education will take the pressure of school fees off your shoulders.

Grow your wealth

The potential of growing your total net worth is an exciting process. Our Financial Advisors help you to navigate investment opportunities and mitigate risk, serving as guides as you work to grow your investments. At Trilogy Financial, we believe investing is about more than positive returns. Growing your wealth is a tool that can help you achieve financial freedom and live the life you’ve dreamed of. A fiduciary can coach you through building out the investment portfolio that aligns with your unique goals, and empower you to make the meaningful decisions to pursue your life dreams.

Plan your estate strategy

Due to the complex nature of estate planning, estate strategies should be tailored to your unique needs. And each strategy should aim to protect and preserve your assets for future generations.

Regardless of the value of the estate, a fiduciary will help you plan for the estate by:

  • Ensuring your beneficiaries receive what you’ve planned for them after you pass
  • Planning for lifetime gifts through trust and minimization of diminishing estate taxes
  • Helping you to pass assets or a business to your younger generations
  • Identifying powers of attorney to ensure your wishes come true

 

Trilogy Takes a Bold Financial Approach

For us, care is at the center of everything we do as fiduciaries.. We care about each client like they’re an extension of the family. Every day, with every piece of advice, we empower our clients to live wealthy. Ready to explore the benefits of working with a fiduciary? Review Trilogy's Financial Life Planning Tool to see some of the areas of focus we’d suggest on the path to financial freedom.

Bottom Line

A fiduciary helps you make critical financial decisions that are in your best interest, for your Life Plan. Our Financial Advisors work with clients nationwide. Regardless of your location, we have an office nearby or a virtual way to connect from the comfort of your home.

Start Life Planning today.

Fiduciary investment advisory services are only offered through Trilogy Capital (TC), a Registered Investment Advisor. TC markets advisory services under the name of Trilogy Financial (TF), an affiliated but separate legal entity. TC and TF are separate entities from LPL.

August 1, 2023

A romance scam, also known as an online dating scam, is when a person gets tricked into believing they’re in a romantic relationship with someone they met online, when in fact their other half is a cybercriminal using a fake identity to gain enough trust to ask — or blackmail — them for money.

Oftentimes, a romance scammer starts on dating sites or apps. But scammers have increasingly started finding targets on social media, too.

After connecting with someone through a fake profile, the scammer will strike up a conversation and start building a relationship by regularly chatting with them. Once they start to trust the romance scammer and believe they have a truthful relationship, the cybercriminal will make up a story, ask them for money, and vanish.

Types of Romance Scams

Some of the most common internet dating scams include:       

Fake Dating Sites: Scam dating sites claim to be legitimate but are actually filled with scammers or underpopulated. These websites are created to mine your information.

Photo Scams: Scammers will convince their target to send their personal information in exchange for intimate photos.

Military Romance Scams: The scammer will pose as a military member, likely deployed. They build trust by using military jargon and titles, then ask for money to cover military-related expenses, such as flights home.

Intimate Activity Scams: The scammer connects with their target on multiple social media websites. Once they become closer, the scammer convinces them to undress and then threatens them with the recordings.

Code Verification Scams: Scammers will send a fake verification code through email or text, posing to be a dating app or website. Once clicked on, it will ask for their personal information, including Social Security number and credit cards.

Inheritance Scams: Scammers will make their target believe they need to get married in order to get their inheritance. In this case, they will ask them to help pay for something like airfare.

Malware Scams: Malware is also common on dating sites. In this case, the recipient will interact with a scammer who sends them a website that looks legitimate; however, it's a page that includes malware.

Tips To Avoid Losing Money To a Romance Scam

  • Protect yourself and older loved ones by raising awareness. Although this can be an uncomfortable topic, make sure you, your family and your friends are familiar with romance scams. The more you know about these scams, the better prepared you are to prevent being a victim.
  • Check in on older loved ones. Scammers are seeking to target those living alone or grieving the loss of a spouse as they are more vulnerable.
  • Limit what you share online.Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you.
  • Do your research.Research the individual’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the image, name or other details have been used elsewhere.
  • Go slowly and ask lots of questions.Don’t let the individual rush you to leave a dating service or social media site to communicate directly.
  • Listen to your gut.If the individual seems too good to be true, talk to someone you trust.
  • Don’t overshare personal information.Requests for inappropriate photos or financial information could later be used to extort you.
  • Be suspicious if you haven’t met in person.If the individual promises to meet in person, but consistently comes up with an excuse for cancelling, be suspicious.
  • Don’t send money.Never send money to anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone.

Think you’ve been scammed?

  1. Stop communicating with the individual immediately.
  2. Talk to someone you trust and describe what’s going on.
  3. Report the incident to local law enforcement.
  4. Submit a fraud complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Dating scams can have devastating consequences on individuals seeking love and companionship online. It's crucial to be aware of the red flags and take necessary precautions to protect yourself from falling victim to these fraudulent schemes. Even if it’s too late to recoup losses, details may help others from becoming a victim.

 

July 28, 2023

Password managers are a key resource in maintaining your security. They allow you to keep track of your passwords and encrypt them before they leave your device. Some password vaults can also generate and change passwords for you in one click, as well as securely store other types of data like credit card information. Password managers may remind you to change passwords regularly, evaluate their strength, or scan the dark web to check if any of your logins appeared online. A password manager also makes sharing your data with family and friends safer.

When using a password manager, you’ll only need to remember one master password. Combine it with multi-factor authentication (MFA)and biometric authentication to increase your security.

While they can increase your security exponentially, even reliable password managers can’t keep you 100% safe online. Following are a list of possible risks and ways to mitigate them:

  1. Not all devices are secure enough. Password managers can be hacked if your device is infected with malware. Users should invest in a trustworthy antivirus that will secure all devices first and reduce risks.
  2. Not using biometric authentication. NordPass, RoboForm, and Keeper all offer a biometric authentication option, such as requiring a fingerprint or face scan which offers another level of protection.
  3. Utilizing a Bad password manager. Not all password managers are created equal. Make sure the software you use does not lack the necessary security features to effectively protect your credentials at all times.
  4. Forgetting your master password. Select a password manager that has a reset feature or store your master password in some physically secure place. Be sure to enable account recovery options.
  5. Know what data is in your password manager. Be sure to know which accounts are stored in your password manager so in the case of a breach, you know which accounts to take action on, thus leaving the attacker with less time to cause more harm.

In a digital landscape where cyber threats are on the rise, using a password manager is a proactive measure that can overall protect your personal information and maintain robust online security. It simplifies the process of managing passwords, strengthens your defenses against unauthorized access, and provides peace of mind in an increasingly interconnected world. If you don't already, consider integrating a reputable password manager into your digital routine to enjoy the benefits of streamlined and fortified password security.

 

July 26, 2023

Scammers are pretending to be bank customer service representatives reaching out regarding fraud prevention. Their goal is to get you to reset your login credentials and gain access to your account.

How it works
  1. Scammers, posing as customer service representatives, will call and keep the victim on the phone for multiple hours to “resolve” a fraud issue.
  2. The scammer urges quick action to prevent alleged hackers from draining the victim’s account.
  3. The victim is asked for sensitive information like login credentials and verification answers.
  4. The scammer logs in to the victim’s account to initiate unauthorized payments, bypassing security restrictions via a direct call to the real Fraud Support, all while the true customer is on hold.
Quick Tips
  • Check your account activity frequently and monitor for suspicious transactions.
  • When asked for information that seems unusual, hang up and call the phone number on the back of your bank card or account statement.
  • Read text and email communications fully and pause before responding.
  • Remember that banks and credit card companies will never ask you for your password or your card/account number over the phone.

 

May 22, 2023

As the cost of living rises, households worldwide feel the squeeze. Inflation impacts everything from groceries to housing to healthcare, and families struggle to make ends meet as they stretch their budgets to the limit.

Recent statistics show the inflation rate in the United States has risen to its highest level in over four decades. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased by 7% over the past year alone. Inflation is a persistent increase in the prices of goods and services over time, leading to a decline in purchasing power of money. It affects the economy in many ways, including households, as it erodes their buying power, making it difficult to afford basic necessities.

A couple seeking help from a financial advisor.
A mature diverse couple shakes hands with a financial advisor.

How Is Inflation Impacting Households Today?

Inflation is affecting families significantly, with prices of goods and services rising rapidly. One area where inflation has a noticeable impact is the cost of groceries. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food prices have increased by 6% in the past year.

Inflation is also impacting the cost of housing. According to the National Association of Home Builders, lumber has increased by more than 167% since April 2020, making building, renting or renovating homes much more expensive.

Other areas where inflation impacts households include transportation, healthcare and energy costs. With gas prices rising, transportation costs are increasing making it more expensive for families to commute to work or travel.

Healthcare costs are also rising, with medical services and prescription drugs becoming more expensive daily. Additionally, the cost of energy, including electricity and natural gas, is increasing impacting household budgets.

 

How We Got Here and Why?

The United States has experienced an increase in inflation in recent years, fueled by a combination of factors, including:

Supply  chain disruptions: The COVID-19 pandemic caused disruptions in supply chains, leading to shortages of goods and raw materials and higher consumer prices.

Government stimulus: The US government has implemented several rounds of stimulus packages in response to the pandemic, flooding the economy with cash and contributing to inflation.

Labor shortages: The pandemic also caused labor shortages in many industries, which has led to increased wages for workers and higher prices for consumers.

Rising energy costs: The cost of energy has increased, with higher prices for gasoline and other commodities, which has increased the cost of goods and services.

Monetary policy: The Federal Reserve has kept interest rates low to stimulate economic growth, contributing to inflation by making it cheaper for consumers and businesses to borrow money.

These factors have all contributed to the current state of inflation in the US. However, inflation is complex and multifaceted; many other factors are also at play.

7 Tips to Help Navigate Inflation

Inflation can be a challenging economic environment for households to navigate. Here are tips from our team of advisors at Trilogy Financial that can help you manage inflationary pressures.

1. Calculate Your Inflation Rate

This measure provides a more accurate reflection of the inflation you are experiencing compared to the general inflation rate reported in the media.

A financial advisor can help calculate your personal inflation rate by analyzing your spending habits and identifying the goods and services that make up your personal consumption basket. This process can involve reviewing bank and credit card statements, examining household bills, and discussing significant lifestyle or spending habits changes to help you track the prices of these items over time and calculate your inflation rate.

2. Create a Cash Management Strategy

A cash management strategy will allow you to preserve your purchasing power and financial stability. A financial advisor can help you create a strategy that aligns with your financial goals and risk tolerance by:

  • Assessing your current financial situation,
  • Identifying your short-term and long-term cash needs, and
  • Recommending appropriate investments that balance liquidity, yield, and risk.

The strategy can involve diversifying cash holdings across different asset classes, using inflation-indexed bonds or money market funds, and considering alternative investments that offer potential inflation protection.

3. Discuss When and How to Use TIPS to Protect Against Inflation

Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are a type of U.S. government bond indexed to inflation. As inflation rises, the principal and interest payments of TIPS adjust accordingly, providing investors with a hedge against inflation. A financial advisor may recommend TIPS if you want to protect your portfolio against inflationary pressures or maintain your purchasing power over the long term. It could involve assessing your risk tolerance and investment objectives and recommending an appropriate allocation to TIPS within a diversified portfolio.

4. Discuss Alternative ‘Inflation-Hedging' Assets

In addition to TIPS, assets such as commodities, real estate and stocks of companies with pricing power can provide inflation protection. A financial advisor can help you choose the right assets for your portfolio by assessing your investment objectives, risk tolerance and time horizon. As a result, they can recommend an appropriate allocation to inflation-hedging assets that balance return and risk, like commodity funds, real estate investment trusts (REITs) or sector ETFs offering exposure to companies with pricing power.

5. Strategize for How to Avoid ‘Tax Bracket Creep' as Income Rises

Tax bracket creep pushes an individual's income into a higher tax bracket, resulting in a higher tax bill. This move can erode the purchasing power of your income and reduce your savings.

A financial advisor can help you strategize on how to avoid tax bracket creep by considering tax-efficient investment vehicles, such as Roth IRAs, tax-loss harvesting and charitable donations.

6. Review Homeowners and Other Insurance Solutions to Avoid Under Coverage

As the value of assets, goods and services increase due to inflation, the cost of replacing them also rises. A financial advisor can help you review your insurance coverage and ensure they have inflation protection from risks.

Advisors can also educate you on the different types of insurance available and their benefits, such as umbrella insurance, which can provide additional liability coverage in case of a significant lawsuit or accident.

7. Reassess Long-Term Inflation Assumptions for Retirement Projections

Inflation can significantly impact retirement savings and planning because it reduces the purchasing power of money over time. Individuals will need to save more to maintain their living standards in retirement.

A financial advisor can help you reassess your long-term inflation assumptions for retirement projections by analyzing your current savings and investment strategies, projecting future inflation rates, and identifying potential gaps in your retirement plans.

From Us to You: Control Your Financial Future

As inflation continues to affect households, you should take control of your financial situation and work with a financial advisor to develop a plan aligning with your goals, risk tolerance and personal situation.

Trilogy Financial is a financial advisory firm dedicated to helping clients navigate the complex world of personal finance. We offer comprehensive services, including financial planning, investment management, and retirement planning.

If you are concerned about the impact of inflation on your finances, contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced advisors. We are here to help you take control of your financial situation and navigate through the challenges of inflation.

Female financial advisor meeting with clients.
Female financial advisor meeting and discussing expert inflation protection tips with clients.

 

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The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual 2. Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal.

May 16, 2023

Planning for retirement amid changing market dynamics can be stressful, especially as retirement age approaches. Fortunately, there are a myriad of ways to prepare for it, even if you plan to retire early.

OPTIMIZE YOUR RETIREMENT INCOME

One of our top tips is to optimize your retirement income by setting yourself up with a diversified portfolio that offers a solid return. If you are in your twenties, there is a big opportunity to let compound interest work its magic. If you are in your thirties or forties, compound interest may not be as lucrative for you, but there are still plenty of ways to maximize your returns.

Here are some of the different options available to help plan for retirement:

  • SEP IRA – a self-employed retirement plan known as the Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA requires employers to contribute 100% of the accounts' funds and provide equal benefits to all eligible employees.
  • 401(k) – An individual retirement plan for which contributions are not tax-deductible, but withdrawals in retirement are tax-free.
  • Roth IRA – An individual retirement plan for which contributions are not tax-deductible, but withdrawals in retirement are tax-free.

Each option has its differences, so it is important to work with an advisor to identify which is best suited to your situation and your goals. There’s a lot that can go into your Life Plan and we are here to help.

happy woman on piggyback with man enjoying outdoors
Senior couple enjoying happy retirement lifestyle

DEVELOP A BUDGET AND SAVINGS PLAN

Budgeting can make a world of difference. If you haven’t already, establish an emergency fund. This will give you peace of mind and will help pay for any unexpected expenses that may arise. Once you’ve set that money aside, you can plan your monthly expenses, retirement contributions and more with the rest of the income you have.

As you develop this budget and savings plan to get you to your retirement goals, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What quality of life do I want to experience in retirement?
  • What medical expenses do I anticipate?
  • Do I plan on working during retirement?
  • Will I have a flow of income during retirement?

These are all important considerations and will help you develop an actionable plan to achieve the retirement lifestyle you dream of.

DETERMINE YOUR TAX BRACKET AND MINIMIZE YOUR TAXES

In retirement, taxes can eat into your available income, leaving you with less to live on. It's important to remember that taxes don't stop once you're retired. Our financial advisors are here to help guide you take steps throughout your working life to minimize your IRS obligations now and later.

The same basic tax brackets that apply to working taxpayers also apply to retirees. Determining your tax bracket in retirement is just like determining your tax bracket while you’re working – which  is determined by your filing status and taxable income (income minus deductions).

Common sources of retirement income that are taxable include:

  • Distributions from traditional 401(k)s and IRAs
  • Investment income
  • A portion of your Social Security benefits (in some situations)
  • Some pension income
  • Income from work (full or part time)

INVEST TO ADD ADDITIONAL CASH FLOW IN RETIREMENT

If building wealth is your goal, the stock market or other investment strategies are common options. Investments such as annuities, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and income-producing equities can offer additional retirement income beyond Social Security, a pension, savings and other investments.

DETERMINE THE AMOUNT OF RISK THAT IS APPROPRIATE FOR YOU

It is important to keep in mind that all investments come with risk. If you are young, you can probably tolerate more risk. If you are in your thirties or forties, however, you might benefit from taking a lower risk approach. This is because people in their twenties have more time to correct and mitigate losses. A financial advisor can help you decide if you would like to take a low-risk, slow-and-steady approach, or guide you through a high-risk approach with the potential of yielding higher returns.

PAY OFF YOUR DEBTS

It’s important to pay off credit card debt and student loans as soon as possible. Systematically chipping away at debt now, can have a significant impact on your future debts and purchasing power.

A mortgage can be looked at as both a good debt and a bad debt, depending on your goals. Many people choose to rent a home to avoid being tied to a mortgage, and others use that property as a cash-positive asset. Depending on your goals, it’s important to discuss each of these approaches with a financial advisor so they can help guide you through something that will ultimately benefit you and your family.

MAXIMIZE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS

Navigating Social Security income can be complicated, but there are several ways to maximize your social security benefits, including:

  • Work for 35 years or more
  • Earn as much as you can right up until full retirement age (or past it)
  • If you can, wait until you are 70 years old to claim – this can increase your benefit by 8% a year beyond your full retirement age

The goal is to maximize the income you will receive from Social Security, but the answer for you will depend on your age, current income, marital status, spouse’s income, and the age disparity between you and your spouse. With all the complexities to Social Security planning, there is no substitute for meeting with a trusted financial advisor so you can best navigate your life in retirement.

CONSIDER ESTABLISHING STREAMS OF PASSIVE INCOME

It's important to remember that there are multiple ways to set yourself up for prosperity during your golden years.

These include:

  • Investing in real estate
  • Investing in the stock market
  • Starting an ecommerce business
  • Writing books
  • Earning royalties of any kind
  • Investing in collectibles
  • Investing in gold and silver

In short, it's best to invest in as many financial assets as you possibly can in order to establish streams of passive income so that you are not solely reliant on one source for your earnings and returns.

ESTABLISH MULTIPLE STREAMS OF INCOME

You may want to consider continuing to work during retirement. This provides many people with a sense of satisfaction and purpose, AND you will be able to keep your benefits.

The earlier you establish multiple sources of income the better. Ideally, at least a few of these would be passive.

You deserve to be comfortable during retirement, and planning for this phase of life right now will likely help you achieve your goals, perhaps even surpass them. You have worked hard for most of your years around the sun, and you deserve to relax and enjoy every moment on your own terms during your golden years.

Why Choose Trilogy Financial

Planning your retirement strategy is important but not something to stress over. If you’ve already started saving, one of our certified financial planners can help you optimize your savings, investing and risk approach so you can live the retirement life you dream. However, if you haven’t started planning for retirement yet, there’s no better day than today!

Our Advisors will work with you to develop a deeper understanding of your alternatives, pinpoint practical needs and make plans for the care you and your family deserve. Please contact us to start your retirement planning today.

happy senior couple holding hands and walking on summer beach
You deserve to be comfortable during retirement
March 28, 2023

Financial planning involves thoughtfully outlining objectives and setting goals in your Life Plan. With anything, the possibility of running into obstacles, options, and challenges throughout your financial journey is unavoidable. That’s why it is important to implement some sort of checks and balances to mitigate these challenges. Insurance is one of the best ways to account for unforeseen conditions and events in your financial plan. The thought of utilizing insurance can be daunting. It makes the possibility of losing your car or home due to an accident, flood, or fire a reality. That’s exactly why we create a financial plan – to be prepared for the unexpected. Our team is committed to coaching you through the process, so that you can make an informed and confident decision. There are various types of insurance services available that your Trilogy Financial advisor can help you navigate so you can handle the many uncertainties that life throws your way.

Read on to discover these insurance services.

Insurance Services Provided by Trilogy Financial

Every Trilogy Financial Advisor is committed to helping you build the legacy you have always desired to leave through the following services:

Term Insurance

A term insurance policy is the most common form of temporary life insurance. The term usually lasts for a specific “term” of years. Term insurance is also a form of insurance that is rented. Meaning, you pay a monthly premium for the insurance, but it expires after the allotted time frame. The duration can range from five to thirty years.

Term insurance protects liabilities that will cease to exist after a specific period, such as providing extra cashflow for raising children. It is a simple life insurance plan that protects against the possibility of an untimely death. A death benefit is granted if the insured passes away during the policy's stated tenure.

Because death is unpredictable, term insurance plans are essential. The family may experience a significant financial loss if the family's primary provider passes away. A term plan covers the loss. It benefits the family, allowing them to cover lifestyle costs and continue to address their financial objectives.

Permanent Insurance

Permanent insurance can be considered “owning” insurance coverage. Like term insurance, you pay a monthly premium; however, in permanent insurance, the range is continuous and does not end within a time frame.

For instance, even after your children have moved out and your liabilities have diminished, you may continue to carry some form of insurance to cover your loved ones and compensate for your end-of-life needs.

Permanent insurance premiums are more significant than term insurance premiums because, unlike term insurance, the insurance company may never have to pay out the policy. Permanent insurance can be used as an income and an insurance tool. Both a death benefit and a cash value factor are included. You can access the money as the value increases by taking out a loan or a withdrawal, and you can terminate the insurance by withdrawing the cash value.

Long-Term Care Planning

Long-term care planning, at its foundation, entails ensuring that you or a loved one's needs are adequately met when they can no longer care for themselves. Therefore, as you age, having a practical plan becomes more and more crucial. While many maintain their independence well into their senior years, it never hurts to plan.

Any long-term financial plan should consider long-term care costs, especially if you are in your 50s or older. You are unlikely to qualify for long-term care insurance if you already have a disabling condition. Most over 75 applicants will not be accepted by long-term care insurance providers. Most persons who purchase long-term care insurance do so between 50 and 60.

Risk Management

Risk management entails recognizing, assessing and managing risk. A well-executed risk management program is built on a foundation of standardized risk assessments to assist businesses in prioritizing their risk based on its potential impact. This procedure will inevitably reveal hazards affecting the company's fundamental competencies.

As financial Advisors, it is a part of our job to help you navigate your financial well-being, which includes helping you mitigating certain risks. Identifying your risk factors is your first defense, followed by avoiding or limiting risks to your income and survivors. Insurance is your quality line of defense.

Importance of Insurance in Financial Planning

Here are some factors that make insurance an essential aspect of your Life Plan:

  • Financial assurance: You feel safe knowing that the insurance policy will cover the damages in the event of an emergency.
  • Tax advantages: Insurance lowers your taxable income and provides financial benefits.1
  • Risk protection: Insurance prepares you to deal with any financial loss you might suffer in the event of an unplanned circumstance.
  • Meeting your prerequisites: Several insurance policies are available to cover the various risks you can encounter.
  • Peace of mind: Insurance plans assure you that your funds will not be compromised in the event of an emergency.

*This information is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax advice.  You should consult with your tax advisor for guidance on your specific situation.

Why Choose Trilogy Financial

Your financial plan should be strategically in line with your insurance. Our Trilogy Financial Advisors use a comprehensive strategy to offer insurance policies tailored to your specific needs and Life Plan. We understand the risks you face and how to help improve your financial life. Our Advisors will work with you to develop a deeper understanding of your alternatives, pinpoint practical needs and make plans for the care you and your family deserve.

To help you build the life you’ve dreamed, we collaborate with the most reliable insurance firms with a track record of being financial secure and capable of paying claims.

Get Started with a Financial Advisor Today

Everyone has a distinct level of risk, and before purchasing insurance, it is critical to identify risks and establish how to limit the likelihood of them occurring. We understand that everyone has a varying level of comfort and experience in navigating finances and Life Plans. That’s why our Advisors are committed to being both a partner and coach to support you as much or as little as you need, so you can make the best decisions for you and your family.

At Trilogy Financial, our Advisors will guide you through your daily financial decisions to keep you on track and set you up for your real-life goals. If you have any questions concerning insurance or any other element of your financial life, get in touch or visit our website today to book a meeting with an advisor

 

happily discussing insurance plan after meeting with financial advisor
 

 

March 8, 2023

Estate planning is an essential step to help protect the wealth that you've spent your life building. Meeting with an estate planner will help to create a comprehensive plan that will allow your assets to effectively pass to your assigned beneficiaries. Creating this initial plan can feel overwhelming, and we are here to help you prepare.

Here are five important questions you can expect to discuss with your estate advisor as you start to plan for your future.

How Would You Like Your Wealth to Pass to Your Heirs or Elsewhere?

The basis of your estate plan is where you want to direct your wealth and how you'd like that to happen. No matter how large or small your estate is, you'll need to decide how it should be distributed among children, grandchildren, other family members or favorite charity organizations. For example, this could mean leaving different parties a percentage of your total assets, or leaving one child your business and another child your vacation home.

It’s important to also think about whether you want your beneficiaries to receive their inheritance all at once or not. If you have a disabled child requiring lifelong care on your list, or someone who needs a little extra help managing their money, you may want a trust or annuity structure in place to pay out the inheritance in increments.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Costs and Conflicts for Your Heirs?

Costs for your beneficiaries are most likely to come up if your estate needs to go through probate, which is the process by which a court distributes your assets. In addition to financial costs, there are other reasons to avoid probate. Probate can be a long and exhausting process – meaning, your heirs will not be able to access your estate right away. If you have dependents who will rely on the money in your estate, this can be an especially serious concern. In addition, probate adds your estate information to the public record, which you may want to avoid. There are several strategies your financial advisor might recommend to avoid probate. These include placing assets in a trust and moving funds into joint accounts with your beneficiaries.

Conflict among heirs is another common concern, especially in families where conflict already exists. While the legal documents included in your estate should help minimize disagreements and make it more difficult for someone to contest your wishes, communication during your lifetime is important as well. Disagreements often surround specific items like jewelry or sentimental pieces rather than your financial assets. Labeling these items, writing a letter of instruction and starting to pass on these things during your lifetime can all help make your intentions clear.

How Can You Reduce Your Tax Burden?

After a lifetime of working to earn your money, you likely want to direct your wealth to your loved ones rather than the government. In 2023, only estates valued at $12.92 million (or $25.84 million for some married couples) or more may be subject to the federal estate tax. If, upon your death, the total value of your estate is less than the applicable exclusion amount, no federal estate taxes will be due.

Depending on the state you live in, your heirs or your estate might also be subject to state estate or inheritance taxes. If taxes are a concern for your estate, there are several ways to reduce your tax burden.

One simple option is to start passing money along during your lifetime. Based on the 2022 gift tax exemption limit, individuals can give up to $16,000 per recipient per year. This lets you give money directly to your children or grandchildren while reducing the value of your estate, which will reduce your tax bill. Other options include a marital trust, which allows one spouse to place assets in trust for the other spouse, and an irrevocable life insurance trust, which can pay for life insurance premiums with tax-deductible funds and then avoid estate taxes later on.

Are You Already Working with Financial Professionals?

If you're already working with an estate attorney, a financial planner or a tax professional, it's important for your estate planner to understand the strategies your existing financial team has recommended. You'll want to make sure that all of these members of your team are working together so you aren't paying for duplicated efforts or conflicting suggestions.

If you aren't already working with a financial team, your estate planner may recommend that you do so depending on the details of your estate plan. If you have complex tax concerns, you might need to talk to a tax expert. Depending on the type of trust that you wish to establish, you may need an estate attorney to set it up.

How Will Changes in Your Life Change Your Estate Plan?

Your estate plan should have the flexibility to adapt to changes in your lifestyle, family structure or life expectancy. Your initial plan will be based on your current circumstances, but you should consider potential future concerns and possible solutions.

Divorce and Remarriage

Divorce and remarriage are common life changes that can affect your estate plan. If you remarry, you may not want your new spouse to manage the inheritance of your children from the first marriage. This can create the need for a new trust to be established. In addition, if you have more children in later marriages, you will again need to update your estate plan.

Life Expectancy and Medical Issues

There are other lifestyle considerations that might change as well. For example, if based on your family history you expect to live into your 90s, you might not want to start giving away assets to avoid estate taxes. And if medical issues arise and your life expectancy changes, you will likely need to adjust your plan.

While you won't need to make any decisions based on hypotheticals, it's a good idea to discuss the possibilities.

How to Get Started?

Your estate plan is a key component of your Life Plan. To create an estate plan that addresses the above questions and any other concerns you may have, you'll need to start by finding the right estate advisor. Talk to the Trilogy Financial team to take control of your finances today while maximizing your future opportunities.

Download your free Estate Strategies eBook to learn how to protect your estate.

 

family happy after meeting with estate planner
family happy with estate planning and secure future

 

April 18, 2022

Financial advisory firms have historically endured a bad reputation ­– either because they were too expensive, or they only helped people with lots of money to invest, or they were trying to sell clients a product or plan that didn’t align with the heart of their goals and situation. Too many Americans don’t think they can afford a Financial Advisor and planning services. Too many of them avoid partnering with an Advisor because they don’t think they have enough money to meet some criteria. But those are often the people who could benefit from a financial coach the most! It’s also the largest population in America. That’s why we founded Trilogy Financial almost 30 years ago – to provide a true fiduciary and financial coach to everyday Americans who want to live the best life possible. Our goal at Trilogy was to create something different, something people hadn’t seen before. And over the last 25 years, we’ve been evolving the firm and honing our practices to improve the financial planning industry and make an Advisor accessible to everyone.

A Purpose Driven Financial Advisor and Coach

In Trilogy Financial’s beginnings, our vision and purpose was to help Financial Advisors be better Advisors so they could help more people. However, as time has gone on, that’s evolved into something bigger. Now our purpose is to help everyday Americans gain financial independence. They are the group of people that often struggle to achieve their financial goals, and we want to focus and help those that need advice. This is the culture we’ve built today. Our Advisors want to help as many people as they can, and we’re on a mission to make those Advisors more productive so that can help provide more for our clients. That is purpose-driven business.

How to Make Financial Advisors More Productive For Clients

Most financial advisory and planning firms have an advisor-led service model, and there’s nothing wrong with that – except that not all Advisors have service as their strong suit. As a Financial Advisor, many people perceive our job is to advise people how to save and spend their money. But we believe it takes more than that to make an impact. We’re striving to build what we call a “trust transfer” where our Advisors spend more time advising clients, building Life Plans, and making recommendations, and a service team does what they do best. This is how we’re optimizing our operations at Trilogy for the benefit of our clients. This service team consists of a group of people with a distinct culture and skillset that will deliver great, helpful service to our clients. This is contrary to what’s “the norm” for financial advisory firms – and that’s exactly why we’re doing it. This is part of our efforts to bring quality financial planning and advice to everyday Americans.

Introducing the Mack Service Center

The Mack Service Center is a robust client experience service center that was Trilogy’s late co-founder Kevin “Mack” Mackintosh’s vision for the firm. His core focus was to build a meaningful client service team to support Advisors so they could do what they do best – financial planning – and provide the clients with a high quality experience. Mack designed and developed the Trilogy Service Team based on what he learned over the years as an Eagle Scout, rowing crew member and in his time in the financial planning business. From day one, he had a clear vision of what Trilogy could accomplish when we all worked together and focused on service. A few years back, he took the ball and really got it rolling for this project. He found the right people to lead it and get it off the ground. Right before his untimely passing in early 2020, he had nearly completed building the Service Center team vision. Following his loss, under the leadership of our founder/President, Jeff Motske, in conjunction with Eric Perkins – we built out the actual Service Center, team, outlined processes, operations and more. Kevin Mackintosh instilled the right attitude, built the right culture and we’re proud to name our Mack Service Center after him so his legacy lives on.

The Future of Trilogy Financial and the Mack Service Center

 Our goal is to have a well-regarded Advisor in front of every everyday American.  Too many financial advisory firms want to work with high-net-worth individuals, but it’s those who are 52 years old with $400,000 in their retirement who really need our support and education to get to where they want and need to be. These are everyday Americans, and they deserve for someone to help them pursue their dreams. And we’re changing that. We rolled out the Mack Service Center team this year to support our Financial Advisors’ current planning efforts with each client. This is our way of connecting the financial planning industry back with the real-life issues of Americans and helping each of them plan and live the life of their dreams.

January 31, 2022

Tax-related fraud and identity theft have continued to grow, with millions of people becoming targets. Scammers need little more than your Social Security number and other general information to file a fraudulent tax return and hijack your tax refund. Taxpayers typically don’t discover the fraud until they attempt to file their own returns, which is why it's essential to file taxes as soon as possible. At the same time, you may want to confirm the appropriate timing with your tax professional. Although 1099s are due by the end of January, custodians may correct 1099s throughout February. If drastic changes happen to a 1099 after you file your taxes, the change can severely impact the amount you owe.

 

Here are some helpful ways to prevent your SSN from being compromised:

  • If you have been a victim of identity theft, complete  IRS form 14039, identity theft affidavit.
  • Respond immediately to any IRS issued notice once you verify the authenticity of the notice. You can do so by calling the IRS directly at 800-908-4490 or setting up your  online account.
  • Get an Identity Protection PIN: a 6-digit number that prevents someone else from filing a tax return using your Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number. Only you and the IRS know the IP PIN.
October 29, 2020
 

Today, conversations, screens, and ads on how the upcoming election will affect our economy and the American way of life are unavoidable. Naturally, we start to ponder how the outcome might impact our own financial independence. Since market forecasters and economic commentators ever really get it right only part of the time, formulating investment strategy based on “expert” prognostications and financial journalism routinely sets individual investors up for failure.

According to historical analysis, in 19 of the past 23 election years from 1928-2016, stock market returns were positive, no matter which party held office. In fact, during an election year, the S&P 500 has experienced an average return of 11.3%—data that demonstrably counters the stock market doom and gloom headline hysteria generated in the media.

While it is crucial not to be emotionally reactive, it is equally important to plan for economic changes that are realistically possible. Following an election, it is wise to assess how federal policies could impact your plan.

A few takeaways…

  1. Separate your personal politics from your investment decision-making.
  2. Remain calm and focused on your long-term plan: thoughtful planning plus sound decision-making matters.

During his First Inaugural Address, our 32nd President reminded the nation that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” If not kept in check, fear becomes a catalyst for rash decision-making which can impede your path to financial freedom. As always, I am here to talk things through with you, to listen, and to assuage your fear; that’s my job.

October 11, 2018

How much time have you spent thinking about your future death? If you’re like most people, probably not much. Thinking about your death or that of a loved one can bring up plenty of unpleasant emotions, but having a plan to take care of the details can ease some of the stress in a time of grieving. So if you’ve lost someone close to you or just want to create a plan for the future, follow this checklist to help you deal with the financial side of an unexpected death.

Organize Documents

In the aftermath of a loved one’s passing, his or her will is not the only document you will need. In order to do things like request benefits or change the name on car titles, you will also need copies of the following:

Birth certificate

Death certificate

Marriage certificate

Social Security card

Automobile titles

Property Deeds

Insurance policies

Bank, investments, and retirement account statements

If you want to plan ahead, ask yourself: Do you have an organized filing system, or are all your important documents strewn about in different places? As you organize your family’s documents, make sure the appropriate people have access to the information they will need in the event of an unexpected death.

Notify The Appropriate Contacts

There are a few people you will need to contact who will be able to help you through the process of taking care of the deceased’s finances. As soon as you are able, reach out to their financial advisor, insurance agent, attorney, and accountant. These professionals are trained to know how to handle an unexpected death, and they will be able to direct you to the right sources of information and help you make the best decisions possible.

Take Care Of Immediate Financial Needs

When someone close to you dies, there are many time-sensitive tasks that need to be taken care of. These tasks often have a financial element involved. For example, when making funeral arrangements and covering burial expenses, be sure to review life insurance policies and look for any pre-arrangement details or last wishes the deceased may have left. Some expenses may be covered, which will save you a financial headache. Speak to the deceased’s financial advisor to see if there are any easily accessible funds set aside for bills or debt payments that cannot be deferred.

Review Benefits

Surviving family members may be entitled to certain benefits, such as Social Security benefits and perhaps pension benefits, life insurance, and annuities. Contact the human resources department of the deceased’s employer, who can explain and document the following benefits that may be available to you, including:

Life insurance

Healthcare, or extended healthcare coverage through COBRA

Compensation due, such as stick options or unused vacation pay

401(k) or pension

Depending on your relationship to the deceased, you may need to apply for Social Security survivor benefits, update insurance beneficiaries, and apply for settlement.

Manage Their Estate

Finances can get messy when someone dies. Our financial lives can be complicated, so use this list as a starting point for closing accounts, updating information, and taking care of the countless details. Look into whether the deceased had any of the following accounts and contact the institution:

Checking Account

Savings Account

Brokerage Account

IRA

401(k)

403(b)

Health Savings Account

Flexible Spending Account

College Funds

Don’t forget about debts. Debts don’t disappear when someone passes away. Investigate the following and make sure those who are now responsible for these debts are aware of the creditor’s name, outstanding balance, name on the debt, loan terms, and the amount, timing, and method of payments.

Mortgage

Home Equity Line of Credit

Automobile Loans

Personal Loans

Student Loans

Credit Cards

Make sure you don’t forget about recurring household expenses, such as utilities, and how and when to pay them: .

Property Taxes

Electricity

Sewer

Water

Natural Gas

Garbage

Telephone

Cable TV

Internet Service

Landscaping

House Cleaning

Homeowners Association Dues

Other organization membership dues

Work With A Trusted Advisor

Handling the details after the death of a loved one can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. Financial professionals are experienced with these situations and can guide you through the steps that apply to your unique circumstances. They will not only help you take care of pressing problems and concerns, but can also help you feel more secure in a time of financial change. A financial advisor can make sure your affairs are in order, update your financial plan, and implement appropriate strategies to help you stay on track financially.

Get Started on Your Financial Life Plan Today

Do not fill out the form below if you are an existing client. Please contact your Advisor directly.