Skip to main content

Schulfer & Associates, LLC

LouAnn's Articles

Retirement Projections: Important Even After Retirement

There is so much I love about working for my clients: providing comprehensive retirement projections is among my favorites because it brings the retirement picture into clear view. Even better than that is when a client or a couple retires because of the projections we’ve done and plans we’ve worked on.
View More

What’s It Like to be Newly Retired?

BAs you would guess, I’ve heard many personal stories over the years. For most people, it’s a mix of excitement and a bit of nervousness as retirement approaches. Making the adjustment from a regular paycheck and watching retirement accounts grow to withdrawing money from those same accounts takes a mental shift of comfort and confidence.
View More

Target Date Funds, Rebalancing and Active Management

Target date funds have become popular. The idea is to choose the fund with the year that you plan to retire, named something like “fund2035” and the allocation goes on auto-pilot, moving to more conservative options as the named year approaches.
View More

Finding Financial Balance

“How do you find balance?” is a question that’s been asked in specific contexts and as a whole life principal, for decades. Working moms, professionals, business owners, students, volunteers, fitness seekers, and those of us seeking to build our own net worth, to mention a few. Since I have been in all of those roles, many (still) simultaneously, it’s a question I’ve been presented with and pondered, especially as it applies to our financial lives.
View More

Income or Net Worth

If I were to ask you the question: Which would you rather have, income or net worth? What would be the basis for your answer? Income is the money you bring home on a regular basis. Net worth is the value of your assets minus your liabilities. To choose, you’d have to pick which you value more, your spending for today (income) or your security for tomorrow (net worth).
View More

Hindsight is 2020

2020 was the year of uncertainty. Among other things, investors were confused and uncertain as to why markets plummeted from February 20 – April 7 and then during the course of lock-down, shot back up in the months to follow.
View More

Women and Money: Taking Over the Finances

Over the past couple of decades, I’ve helped numerous single individuals and married couples with their financial decision making, planning and investments. Every year, I have married clients who become single again whether through divorce or death of a spouse. There is even the difficult-to-define in-between time when the cognitive aptitude of one spouse slips away to dementia or Alzheimers disease. More often than not, women are left to pick up the pieces, especially in the case of widowhoo
View More

What is your life worth?

It’s an arbitrary question in some ways, but certainly not a rhetorical one. Our life’s worth can be defined in many ways, sometimes best pondered through question. In reflection, what kind of lasting impact have you had on others? What have you begun that will continue on? Have the efforts of your work been fully realized? Have you been a contributor or a consumer? What will you leave behind that will make a difference to others? If you were to die tomorrow, how will you be missed?
View More

Your Last Gift

In my last article, I wrote about risk management and how for most of us life Insurance is a remarkable tool to manage what may likely be your family’s greatest risk. Not everyone “needs” life insurance; maybe your family doesn’t actually need your income or you’ve saved sufficiently to cover the risk of your death to them. After all, life insurance is not for the person who is insured, it’s for their chosen beneficiaries.
View More

Are you a trader or an investor?

It may sound like semantics but empirically, a trader is very different from an investor. Either is perfectly fine as long as you don’t confuse the two, and know which you are.
View More

The 4% “Safe Withdrawal” Rule

The 4% rule is often cited as the “safe” amount one may withdraw annually from their portfolio in retirement. The rule is meant to mitigate the risk of outliving your money. While it may be a sound mathematical theory, it’s not one I’ve ever had anyone get excited about.
View More

The Exit Isn’t Easy

Many people know our story. My husband and I bought our first business in 1994: a self-storage facility. It took time to turn that business profitable. As we did, we reinvested in other real estate: houses we rehabbed ourselves, a HUD property, student rental, commercial buildings, executive duplexes, and others. We found our real estate niche’ in creating custom homes for individuals with special needs.
View More

401(k)s, 403(b)’s and IRAs: What’s the Difference?

Saving for retirement is by far the most important financial goal many people have. Most people are familiar with the terms 401(k), 403(b) and IRA but don’t really understand the differences. It’s important to read your plan documents, because each company sets up their employee benefit plan differently, following the Internal Revenue Code that governs them, such as section 401(k) or section 403(b).
View More

Qualified Charitable Distributions: Win-Win-Win!

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, fewer people itemize expenses on their taxes due to the higher standard deduction amounts. For many, giving to their church or favorite charity doesn’t offer additional tax benefits. For those over 70 ½ though, a QCD from an IRA can be a win-win-win!
View More

SMA’s : Highly Customizable

Separately Managed Accounts are an option that many investors could benefit from, particularly in taxable accounts. SMAs are highly customizable, where the individual positions in the account are directly owned by and specifically managed for each individual account owner.
View More

Common and Costly IRA Mistakes: Rollovers

There are about a dozen or so common and costly Individual Retirement Account mistakes that I can think of off the top of my head. Rollovers can be a big innocent slip-up, in which the “oops” can be costly.
View More

Keep Flexibility in Your Retirement Income Plan

Planning for retirement can seem intimidating and is often filled with ambivalence. On the one hand, we fantasize about how great it would be to have a schedule filled just with our own personal activities, not having to report to work anymore.
View More

Fun Financial History

How did the bull and bear markets get their names? How did Wall Street get its name? What about “ticker symbols”?
View More

The Future of Social Security

It is around this time each year that the Board of Trustees of the “Federal Old Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds”, otherwise known as Social Security, provides their annual report to the Speaker of the House and the President of the United States. The Board consists of people in highly qualified positions such as the US Treasury Secretary, Secretary of Labor, and Secretary of Health and Human Services, to name a few.
View More

Tax Brackets

When we set up retirement income and do financial planning for our clients, we are cognizant of how they will be taxed. As such, we have discussions about their tax brackets. I was having one such conversation the other day and could sense the clients didn’t really recall how tax brackets work: it’s a common confusion.
View More

Who Owns Your Deferred Comp?

Deferred compensation plans such as 457’s can be a benefit option for those who work for governmental organizations or for highly compensated employees of an entity exempt from income tax under IRC Section 501(c) (a non-governmental sponsor).
View More

Not All Pensions Are Governed the Same

Many people are not aware that there are different types of pension plans which diverge in their responsibilities and protections for employees and retirees. Employers who have private pensions are required to maintain funding levels to ensure the solvency of benefit payments and most are protected by the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, the federal agency that insures most private pensions.
View More

Income Planning

When we meet with new prospective clients, we discuss the importance of an all-encompassing wealth management relationship rather than a transactional affiliation that would just help with a 401k rollover or to set up an investment account. Income planning is often an otherwise overlooked piece that has the potential to save you a tremendous amount of money over time.
View More

Guaranteed Income

The earliest and easiest step to retirement planning is opening a retirement account. No age is too young to begin: we opened ROTH IRAs for our sons the first year they had earned income, at ages 7 and 9. Open the account, pick investments and set your discipline to contribute as much as you can each year.
View More

Setting Up Retirement Income: How Does That Work?

We work with people who have saved and invested for decades. They understand how contributions work into their retirement accounts because they have been funding their investments for the greater part of their working lives.
View More

Old Life Insurance – Improve Your Position

“Well that didn’t work out like we were told when we took the policy out!” It’s a statement of frustration that I have heard many times from people over the years who bought a cash value life insurance policy that, years ago, they were told would help pay for future large expenses like college for their kids, or even retirement.
View More

Corporate Mergers and Your Retirement

I was talking with a long-time client recently who was reminiscing about what it was like to go through a corporate merger, as an employee. Change is not easy and the unknown can be flat out unnerving. He reminded me how, the longer he waited for answers, the more his anxieties intensified.
View More

Do I Need a Will or a Trust?

A client of mine called me up the other day and said, “LouAnn, I know we’ve discussed this before, but I need a reminder. My son was telling me how his in-laws had recently set up a trust, and I am wondering if I need one.” Great question. It’s one we get often. While I can not offer legal advice, I am happy to remind our clients how their financial assets will transfer upon death.
View More

When Should I Start Planning for Retirement?

We are often asked what the ideal time is to begin retirement planning. To be clear, retirement planning and retirement saving are two different things. One should begin saving for retirement as early as possible.
View More

The New Age of RMDs

As part of our regular review process with clients, we discuss Required Minimum Distributions, how they can be planned for, potentially minimized, and how to take the distribution if you are subject to one this year.
View More

Retirement Plan Decisions When Your Company Sells

We have many clients who have been dedicated, hard-working long-time employees performing the same job within the same location, but with a few different employers. Corporate sales or mergers have become commonplace, particularly within certain industries.
View More

Retirement Plan Options When Your Company Sells

I get a shifty feeling when I hear news that one company is being bought out by another. Memories of deep discussions with clients over the past two decades fill my mind as I recall the stages: shock of the news, waiting for information, and having to make decisions. For some, the decisions are many. For others, the decisions are few.
View More

Get Your Last Contributions In Before Retirement

One beauty of employer-sponsored retirement plans is that automatic contributions via payroll deduction is the norm. IRAs and ROTH IRAs can be set up with recurring contributions as well, but for various reasons many people have not done so. This can result in missed opportunity that you may later regret.
View More

ROTH IRAs: Going through the Back Door

Higher income earners are often disappointed when they realize they can not contribute to a ROTH IRA. After all, ROTH accounts can be a great way to grow money and eventually take distributions on a tax-free basis (applicable rules must be adhered to). Fortunately, it’s not the end of the road, as anyone of any income level can still get money into ROTH accounts using different strategies.
View More

Unintended Consequences of COVID: Early Retirement

Some people are great at socking away money for their futures. For those who’ve had the discipline in place, they’ve set themselves up for greater flexibility should the unexpected happen. Covid has been that “unexpected”.
View More

Long Term Care: Who Pays?

A question we periodically get is, what happens if I or if my spouse has to go in to a nursing home? Will the government take my accounts, my house and my assets? Fortunately, we can clear up this question easier than most people think.
View More

A Decade of Shredding Parties: Great Success for Catholic Schools, Community

Schulfer & Associates, LLC Wealth Management is excited to announce that their 10th annual Shredding Party was a great success, setting a few substantial milestones. Covid, cold weather, a reschedule, and rain didn’t stop the community from coming out for this great cause.
View More

How Families Get Financially Stronger

Over the years, I’ve had many conversations with people about what they want to give to their kids and grandkids. Some people are not compelled to help their kids once they reach adulthood while others are. Of those who are, many choose to give to their kids and grandkids throughout their lifetimes so that the gifts can be either directed by the parents/grandparents and/or made use of while their family members are young and building their lives.
View More

Positive Outcomes from Negative Experiences

How many times have you said “on the other hand, look at the bright side…”? It seems like more often than not, we have positive outcomes that accompany negative experiences. 2020 is certainly exemplary with Covid-19 and the disruptions it has caused. A scary virus and horrible experience for many, including fatalities that otherwise would not have happened: our hearts break for the loss of life that has occurred.
View More

What are Your Chances of Widowhood?

If you are married, what are the chances that one of you will become widowed?
View More

5 Retirement Planning Tips

Retirement planning is complex. We often hear of tips on how to fund retirement accounts and invest our money. Here are five tips that you don’t often hear.
View More

Giving Thanks for All We Have

Thanksgiving is an awesome holiday, with focus on food, family and gratitude. Here are 7 great quotes to ponder.
View More

Financial Evolution

It’s interesting how our industry has evolved over the years. Before I was born, investors turned to stock brokers for help with buying and selling individual securities. Then mutual funds came along, allowing investors a greater opportunity to diversify by pooling their money together into a fund rather than individually owning stocks and bonds.
View More

The Million Dollar Question

Every now and again I get asked “How much does a person need to retire?” It’s the million dollar question, because it seems like that is usually the answer the asker is expecting: a million dollars
View More

5 Year-End Financial Planning Reminders

The last couple of months in a given year always goes fast for me. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, then it’s Happy New Year! Hopefully you’ve accomplished your financial resolutions and goals by year end. Here are a few financial reminders that, if you don’t get them done by December 31st, you’ve missed out.
View More

Life Insurance Fatigue

One of the steps in our process with new and existing clients is to review their life insurance needs and existing policies. Often times, we run into older policies with cash value that has built up. I often get the question “Should I just cash this thing in?”, particularly as the family has grown financially stronger over the years and the owner of the policy may feel plain tired of paying policy premiums.
View More

Financial Roadmaps: Great for Short Trips

A roadmap is a great resource for a short trip. If you are planning travel and your trip is going to take a few days, weeks or even months, chances are your roadmap will be reliable.
View More

Dispersion in the Markets

The economy and financial markets are made of up many different sectors. In stock market language, this includes small caps, large caps, technology, emerging markets, consumer discretionary, materials, energy, financials…. The list goes on.
View More

Social Security: Often Misunderstood

The Social Security program is complex and often misunderstood. If you work and receive a paycheck, you understand that you are paying into the system, because you see the deduction from your wages.
View More

Creative Thinking: Updating Your Beneficiaries

Sometimes people ask if we do estate planning. The answer is yes, but we don’t draft trusts or wills: we leave the legal documents to the lawyers. There is so much more to be done on an ongoing basis that is part of your estate planning.
View More

Market Returns Amidst the Pandemic

There are times we say, “I remember exactly where I was when……” For me, I remember exactly where I was when the markets began falling in February of 2020. Until then, we had a strong 2019 and previous decade’s long bull run.
View More

The Effects of Drawdown

When it comes to numbers, our minds tend to think in a linear fashion. Combine a minus ten with a plus ten and you have zero. Investment returns are different though. If you have $100,000 for example, and lose 10%, you are left with $90,000. From that point, a 10% gain is $9,000, resulting in an ending value of $99,000. That is what we call the effects of drawdown.
View More

Qualified Charitable Distributions

Periodically, we’ve had clients tell us they wish to make a large donation to a charity or to their church. If they are over age 70 ½, an option to consider is a Qualified Charitable Distribution. Here’s an example of how a QCD can be a win-win-win situation.
View More

Preparing to Sell Your Business

I’ve worked with a number of small business owners over the years. Often, proprietors are working so hard building their businesses that they do not plan far enough in advance to sell their enterprise. Speaking from over 25 years of personal business ownership experience, I’ve always said that building a business is a lot like raising another child.
View More

Leaving Your Mark and Legacy

=Like so many others in our great community, I’ve been an active volunteer all of my adult life for various causes that are dear to my heart. I am currently the President of the Pacelli Education Foundation and as such, encourage others to remember the organizations and causes that are near and dear to them.
View More

Income Planning

When we meet with new prospective clients, we discuss the importance of an all-encompassing wealth management relationship rather than a transactional affiliation that would just help with a 401k rollover or to set up an investment account. Income planning is often an otherwise overlooked piece that has the potential to save you a tremendous amount of money over time.
View More

Guaranteed Income

The earliest and easiest step to retirement planning is opening a retirement account. No age is too young to begin: we opened ROTH IRAs for our sons the first year they had earned income, at ages 7 and 9. Open the account, pick investments and set your discipline to contribute as much as you can each year.
View More

Creative Thinking: Updating Your Beneficiaries

Sometimes people ask if we do estate planning. The answer is yes, but we don’t draft trusts or wills: we leave the legal documents to the lawyers. There is so much more to be done on an ongoing basis that is part of your estate planning.
View More

Assessing Your Investment Real Estate

People have chosen investment real estate for many reasons. It’s fairly easy to get into, one can borrow more than they invest of their own money, it can be done on a small or large scale, can be self-managed and done on a part-time basis.
View More

Politics and Your Investments

2020 is a year of heightened political anxiety and for some investors, worry about what the future holds. It’s good to remember that we’ve made it through bouts of change in the past. Recently talking with a client, I reminded him of what really makes the markets and the economy tick, because he was already planning on what to do immediately following the election should the presidency and congress go certain ways.
View More

Low Interest Rates: A Double Edged Sword

Years of low interest rates have been great for borrowers as their cost of capital is historically cheap. Low rates spur the economy by encouraging spending. Lending institutions have been busy writing and rewriting loans for years.
View More

The S&P is not GDP

Many investors are perplexed as to why the S&P 500, or stock market, has been climbing to new highs while much of the economy is struggling and unemployment numbers remain high.
View More

Long Term Planning Means Security for Women

It’s well understood that statistically, women outlive men. We often marry men who are older than we are, so the gap widens as to how long we may live without our husbands. Therefore, planning for the long term is a greater reality for women.
View More

Widowhood: A New Chapter

With over two decades of client experiences, I have had the honor to be the trusted financial professional for many widows as clients. Our mission statement is To Provide Financial Advice for Life.
View More

Investment Accounts: More Than Just a Return

While it’s true that we all invest to earn a return on our money, sometimes our investment accounts can accomplish more.
View More

Words Matter

I’ve had some highly productive meetings recently with new clients. We are in the process of moving their accounts to our firm. When discussing their IRAs and other investments, each told me they lost a lot of money earlier this year when the stock market went down. I asked if they sold their shares at that point: in both instances, they said no.
View More

All-Time Market Highs

I had a client call me the other day who was concerned about the market’s future performance. His accounts are actively managed and he has a long term time horizon, supporting his allocation to market based investments. He was concerned that we are at all-time market highs on the S&P 500 index.
View More

5 Determinants of Long-Term Portfolio Success

There are several components that determine the long-term success of your portfolio. I’ve had conversations with people who only focus on rate of return, overlooking the other four. It’s good to be reminded that the chances of your success for long-term investing can be improved by more than just rate of return.
View More

5 Determinants of Long-Term Portfolio Success

There are several components that determine the long-term success of your portfolio. I’ve had conversations with people who only focus on rate of return, overlooking the other four. It’s good to be reminded that the chances of your success for long-term investing can be improved by more than just rate of return.
View More

5 Determinants of Long-Term Portfolio Success

There are several components that determine the long-term success of your portfolio. I’ve had conversations with people who only focus on rate of return, overlooking the other four. It’s good to be reminded that the chances of your success for long-term investing can be improved by more than just rate of return.
View More

The Whole Picture

Sometimes we are asked “How much money does one need to retire?” Our answer: it depends. Everyone’s financial picture and retirement goals are different and can vary a great deal.
View More

Volatility Can Present Opportunity

Investors generally do not like market volatility like we experienced in February and March of 2020, meaning volatility to the downside. Knowing this, we were vigorously calling our clients to see if any were experiencing anxiety or concern; we discussed how their money is invested for the longer term. We went on to discuss two significant opportunities for some: adding money to their investments to “buy on the dip” of the market, as well as ROTH IRA conversions.
View More

Historic Patriotism and Investing

People invest their money for a variety reasons. If you’d ask my clients why they invest, a few responses would likely be “to make money”, “to retire” or “for my family’s future security”. Investments that allow investors to align their values with their wallets have grown in popularity with things like socially responsible or values-based investments. History is also laden with patriotism as a fundamental motive to position capital.
View More

Which Risk are You Willing to Take?

Maybe it’s our optimistic nature that leads many of us to believe we’ll never be the ones to suffer a distressing experience such as a house fire, unexpected medical incident, or health event resulting in the need for long term care. The statistics may surprise you.
View More

Retirement Planning: Like an Equation

I’ve been working with a few different couples recently who plan to retire soon. For many, preparing the turn for this new chapter provokes both excitement and anxiety. I often say that retirement planning is like a giant equation: there are many inputs to the left of the equal sign that influence the outcome of retirement to the right of the equal sign.
View More

Finish Line or Starting Point?

Congratulations to all the recent graduates, including our beloved daughter-in-law Julia who completed her Bachelor of Science degree from UW LaCrosse in just three years flat! Graduation is both a finishing line and a starting point, with a very bright future ahead!
View More

What Motivates You?

I am thrilled and excited when we receive a Confidential Profile from a prospective new client. It’s the starting point for us as advisors in a possible new relationship and as you can imagine, each person or couple’s situation is unique and fascinating. For me, it’s like watching a cooking show: the moment the chef opens his/her box of ingredients and their mind begins marvel in the creative process and see the potential outcome.
View More

Getting Started is the Hardest Part

We finalized a couple of impressive long-term care plans last week and started a financial planning engagement with a brand new client. I was pleased to help each client “check this off” their list, as it had been something they’d intended to get started on for quite some time: years, in fact.
View More

Planning and Inspiration at 81

I had the wonderful fortune of meeting a lady who is equally as sweet as she is sharp. She is the picture that many of us envision ourselves to be at 81: independent, eager to learn, financially successful to her own credit, energetic, socially engaged, and intellectually sharp. We had detailed conversations about her experiences in life, about money and advice she’s received from others. As you may guess, there has been good and there has been bad.
View More

The SECURE Act, CARES Act and Your RMDs

In retirement planning, Required Minimum Distributions (RMD’s) are a huge topic, and we’ve seen some big changes this year. These mandatory withdrawals apply to certain retirement accounts, and are based off of the account value on December 31st of the prior year as well as the Uniform Lifetime Table provided by the IRS.
View More

The Next Market Leaders

As we’ve been talking with our clients and prospective clients who’ve reached out to us recently during this bear market decline, we’ve been discussing our expectations for portfolios. One of the “you’re right but not quite” recurring conversations we’ve had is how to position one’s investments. For those who manage their own money, such as in their 401(k) or elsewhere, we’ve heard sentiment that they are just going to leave things as is until the market and their investments recover.
View More

You’re Retired, Your Accounts Shouldn’t Be

Some realities of retirement planning have changed in ways that are difficult for many people to wrap their minds around. Dogma has been that the closer you are to retirement, the more conservative your money should be invested. “You’re right, but not quite” has become one of my favorite recent sayings: it could be my next blog theme!
View More

Why the CARES ACT Waives RMDs

Required Minimum Distributions (RMD’s) are just as they sound: a minimum amount that is required to be distributed from a retirement account each year after you reach a certain age as an account owner, or in a specified schedule after you inherit a retirement account as a non-spouse beneficiary. The IRS website has great detail, leading off with the statement “You cannot keep retirement funds in your account indefinitely.”
View More

Jim Robinson earns Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP®) Designation

James Robinson, RICP®, Wealth Management Advisor with Schulfer and Associates, has earned the Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP®) designation from The American College of Financial Services. Using the most current retirement portfolio management techniques, the RICP® advisor helps to identify retirement income needs and objectives relative to the client's lifestyle goals in retirement.
View More

Don’t Forget the Simple Things

I attended a Wealth Management conference in Austin, TX recently with 168 other independent Wealth Management Advisors from across the country. Three days of sessions gave us insights on how to be better advisors to the clients we serve. We studied complex topics such as law changes, investment strategies, retirement and long-term care planning, taxes, estate planning, new technology, just to name a few.
View More

Passing Along Your Assets

It’s a great feeling as a parent to have helped your children, achieved financial success, and have assets to pass along to the ones you love. The timing of how you pass the assets on can matter a great deal.
View More

Key Ages for Retirement Income

You’ve worked hard all of your life. You’ve saved and invested your money, paid taxes on your income and you’ve made the mandatory contributions to government programs like Social Security and Medicare. Like so many others, the dream of no longer having to work is a big one and you can now see the retirement light at the end of the working tunnel. Financial planning for retirement should be at least as straightforward as saving for retirement, but it is not.
View More

Social Security: It Will Still Be There

A question I often hear is “Will Social Security be there when I retire?” The answer is yes. While I cannot tell you exactly what it will look like years down the road, I can give you a high-level perspective in this short article of how it works.
View More

People as Beneficiaries

I have been helping two sets of clients recently who are brother and sister to each other. They share as beneficiaries of a few different accounts, recently inherited from their mother. We easily transferred their portions of a ROTH IRA and an IRA to new accounts, which are now titled as beneficiary accounts in their names. This was straightforward and clear-cut, because the IRA and ROTH IRA listed each child of the mother, who was the original account owner, as equal beneficiaries.
View More

SECURE Act: More Flexibility for 529s

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 was signed into law by President Trump on 12/20/2019 and most rules took effect on 01/01/2020. This Act was the most substantial piece of legislation passed in over a decade for retirement savers and people working toward financial security.
View More

Double Check Your Beneficiaries

I met with delightful couple recently as brand new clients. They’ve worked hard and equally as important, practice sound financial disciplines. They’ve saved and invested regularly, having worked with an investment & insurance representative for over 25 years.
View More

Stretch IRAs Gone for Many

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 was signed into law on 12/20/2019 and most rules took effect on 01/01/2020. Many of the new provisions are retirement-saver friendly, but I was sad to see that the modifications to required minimum distribution (RMD) rules included the elimination of the “Stretch IRA” strategy for many non-spouse beneficiaries.
View More

The SECURE Act and Your IRA Contributions

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 was signed into law by President Trump on December 20, 2019. The new rules took effect on January 1, 2020. Among other things, the Act repeals the maximum age that you can contribute to a traditional IRA. Until 12/31/2019, you had to be under 70 ½ to make a traditional IRA contribution, as well as meet income test limits for deductibility in a given year.
View More

The SECURE Act and Your RMDs

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 was signed into law by President Trump on December 20, 2019. The new rules take effect on January 1, 2020. Over the next several weeks, I’ll overview sections of the new rules and how they may affect you.
View More

5 Modern Myths about Women and Money

I’ve been working with women and their money for over 20 years and as you can imagine, a lot has changed. There are still some beliefs that the financial industry, media and even some individuals assume to be true, that just flat out are not what I see.
View More

New Strategies

There has been a growing trend of financial advisors who offer a short-course on general financial education, usually renting a room at a university or technical college. This seems to be a better option than the free dinner seminars that were once popular. Often for a small fee, attendees can partake in a couple of nights of sessions that overview numerous financial or estate planning topics.
View More

5 Required Minimum Distribution Facts

We get all sorts of questions regarding Required Minimum Distributions. We put a substantial amount of effort into planning for and effecting the mandatory withdrawals that must occur from certain retirement accounts. If you are an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) owner, here are five RMD facts to be mindful of.
View More

What is Wealth Management?

We have an Advisory Council made up of five fine clients who’ve been with us for several years. At our last council meeting, we had an in-depth discussion of what Wealth Management means, and who needs it.
View More

Common and Costly IRA Mistakes

There are about a dozen common and costly mistakes that I can immediately think of that people make with their Individual Retirement Accounts. Over the next several weeks, I’ll go through them as space allows.
View More

Great News for Retirement Savers in 2020

If you are a retirement saver, I have great news for you. The amount you are allowed to contribute to some plans, as well as the income thresholds which make contributions permissible have risen for 2020. If you participate in a 401(k), you are allowed defer up to $19,500 of your salary if you are under 50 and up to $26,000 if you are 50 or over. These new limits for 2020 represent a $500 increase for each as compared to 2019.
View More

How Families Get Financially Stronger

Over the years, I’ve had many conversations with people about what they want to give to their kids and grandkids. Some people are not compelled to help their kids once they reach adulthood while others are. Of those who are, many choose to give to their kids and grandkids throughout their lifetimes so that the gifts can be either directed by the parents/grandparents and/or made use of while their family members are young and building their lives.
View More

Your Life Insurance Policies: Worth a Review

When is the last time you’ve reviewed your life insurance policies? For most people, they have a good understanding of their coverage as well as the features and benefits of their policy when they initially put the contract in place. Thereafter, it’s clear what the death benefit is and of course, the life insurance company will always make sure that you understand the premium due! Other important details of your policy may not be so obvious but are worthy of review.
View More

The Best Retirement Advice I’ve Ever Received…

I began working with a newer client about nine months ago. He is a successful semi-retired entrepreneur who has done a great job building and protecting his net worth. Throughout the years, he has worked with various financial planners, attorneys, CPAs and wealth management firms. His portfolio is robust with investments, insurances and a trust. At our initial meeting, I’d asked him “What is the most important thing I can help you with?” He replied as many do, with a list.
View More

What to do if you receive an Important Pension Notice

Pension buyout offers are nothing new. Longer life expectancies, increased costs to run pension plans and a decade of low interest rates have given incentive to hundreds of employers to offer their plan participants a "buyout", in which the participant would accept a lump sum of money in lieu of his or her future promised pension income. Buy-outs are usually one-time offers with a deadline.
View More

JIM ROBINSON CHAMPIONS TECHNOLOGY

Jim Robinson of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Wealth Management, recently attended LPL Financial’s Focus 2019 conference, one of the financial advice industry’s premier events and the largest annual conference hosted by LPL. During the conference, held Aug. 18 to 20 in San Diego, Robinson joined a select group of LPL Financial advisors and staff to share best practices and help connect other advisors to technology solutions that can help them more efficiently and effectively manage their practices.
View More

Imagining Retirement

I met with prospective new clients recently who were contemplating retirement. Like so many others, they have worked hard, dedicated themselves to a career and raising a family, and have been strong savers. When I asked them what the most important thing was that I could help them with, they agreed that it was designing a retirement plan.
View More

What Worries You?

When I meet with people for the first time, the two most important questions I ask are “What is the most important thing I can help you with?” and “What concerns or worries you?” Whether it is for wealth management or retirement planning, among the most common answers are not making large financial mistakes and balancing spending enough while not running out of money. In other words, it would be great if we could devise a plan to spend your last dollar on your last day!
View More

5 Tips for New College Students & Parents

There are all sorts of well known planning strategies for how to save for and pay for college. With the experience of two sons going away to universities, I'd like to share five tips that are not often thought of. Save on car insurance. If your son or daughter is not taking a car to college, call your insurance agent. They may offer a discount since your son or daughter will not be a regular driver while they are away at school.
View More

Rollovers and Transfers

Rollovers and transfers are ways to move retirement money from one account to another. Sound like semantics? Not to the IRS. Each comes with its own set of rules. A financial institution that holds your money is called a custodian; they have "custody" of your funds. You are rightfully allowed to move your money if you wish to choose different investments and hence, a different custodian. For example, if you are a plan participant...
View More

Organize Your Priorities

When we meet with new prospective clients, one of the first questions we ask is "What is the most important thing we can help you with?" We proceed with a comprehensive discussion surrounding their financial state-of-affairs, goals, concerns and expectations. Sometimes, an individual or couple may have a hard time making a decision as to how to move forward. My best advice: organize your priorities. Doing so will guide you in the right direction.
View More

Your Life Insurance Policies: Worth a Review

When is the last time you've reviewed your life insurance policies? For most people, they have a good understanding of their coverage as well as the features and benefits of their policy when they initially put the contract in place. Thereafter, it's clear what the death benefit is and of course, the life insurance company will always make sure that you understand the premium due! Other important details of your policy may not be so obvious but are worthy of review
View More

Your Greatest Risk may be Your Own Behavior

What do you think of when you hear the word "Risk"? When I ask that question to a client or prospective client, the answer is usually market losses in an investment. Certainly that is one type of risk. There are, however, many other types of risks that have to do with your financial well-being that we consider.
View More

Retirement Planning: Dig a Little Deeper

We work with a substantial amount of people throughout the course of a year who are actively planning for retirement.  Questions we commonly hear include: Where is the best place to put my retirement savings (401k, IRA)?  Which pension option is the right for me/us?  When and how should I claim social security?  When can I begin receiving retirement income?  What are the penalties if I do it wrong?
View More

It's Never Too Late for a Second Look

I met with a lovely couple for the first time recently who asked me to review their current financial situation and importantly, what it would look like upon the death of the first spouse.   Like many married couples, the husband is the older of the two.  The concern is, if he is the first to pass away, a considerable amount of pension income will be lost.  We also discussed social security:  upon the passing of the first spouse, the survivor assumes the highest benefit
View More

Suddenly Single

I hosted a Wine, Women and Wealth workshop at my office recently.  15 lovely ladies joined me for an interactive evening on how planning is different for women than it is for men.  We discussed how life changes if you find yourself suddenly single.  Marriage or a long-term relationship is a partnership where two people share many responsibilities.  In my 25 years of marriage, it has always been my ambition to rely on rather than be dependent upon my husband.  Still, if I
View More

Unexpected Money

When you see the words unexpected money you may conjure a vision of the person who wins the lottery and overnight, their dreams have come true.  Certainly, this is one way to come into a large sum  of unexpected money.  More commonly though, people who receive sizeable amounts of money do so through a divorce, a settlement from a law suit, life insurance proceeds from the death of a loved one, an inheritance, the sale of real estate, a business or other investment, receiving a sev
View More

Inheriting Accounts

I had a conversation with a funeral director recently about the overwhelming feelings people have when they lose a loved one.  The loss itself often feels too much to bear.  Shortly thereafter comes the realization that there is so much to do in so little time if pre-planning the funeral and final arrangements had not been done.  Then there are all the tasks of settling the estate.  He and I agreed that an important message that people need to hear is that when you lose a lov
View More

Long Term Care Planning: Different than it Used to Be

I had a review meeting recently with clients who are in their late 50’s.  Long term care planning was on our agenda.  They said they were not interested in pursuing insurance as a plan to cover potential future expenses, because the husband’s parents each had policies that never paid out.  In a meeting with another client, her parents also had long term care insurance that they’d purchased years ago.  Although her mother needed care a few times, she never go
View More

Sorting through Long Term Care Planning Options

Big decisions in life can be intimidating.  Some people are great at planning, while others procrastinate.  Sometimes we stall because we don’t know where to begin.  Many people find this true in financial planning for long term care. Write a list of what is important to you.  The majority of us like to believe we’ll be among the minority and reach a ripe old age without ever needing care.  So, start your list with two columns:  title the left colum
View More

Should I Work with an Advisor?

I met with a younger couple recently for an initial consultation.  They reached out to me with questions regarding retirement, which is likely 15 years out for them.  They are successful in their careers, save aggressively and have been doing their own investing into 401(k)s and basic index funds on-line.  The gentleman went on to say that he stays on top of his investments and feels he understands them, but now that their nest egg has grown to several hundred thousand dollars, he
View More

What Amount of Commitment Does Your Investment Require?

It’s a question that isn’t asked or understood enough:  What amount of commitment does your investment require? For those with a few decades of life experience such as myself, I don’t have to point out how our culture has changed to one of instant gratification.  That has actually become the case for some people with their behavior toward their investments, even though by its fundamental nature any investment should be held, and therefore judged and managed, for
View More

Your Greatest Risk May be Your Own Behavior

What do you think of when you hear the word “Risk”?  When I ask that question to a client or prospective client, the answer is usually market losses in an investment.  Certainly that is one type of risk.  There are, however, many other types of risks that have to do with your financial well-being that we consider.  Inflation risk.  Liquidity risk.  Financial emergencies.  Unexpected death or disability of an income earner.  A long-term care nee
View More

What is the Greatest Risk to Your Nest Egg?

In retirement, what is the greatest risk to your nest egg?  What could cause you to lose a significant portion of the assets that you’ve worked hard for all of your life?   For most people, debts are paid off.  Expenses are in-check.  Children are grown and independent.  Liability risks are low.  Investments have been well thought out.  For most people, the greatest risk to their nest egg is the possibility of needing long term care.Envision these tw
View More

When Should You Stop Investing?

The vast majority of us need to save money to reach our longer-term goals.  Retirement.  Paying for college.  Travel.  Weddings.  We tend to choose investments rather than savings accounts for these distant ambitions, rightfully so, since a variety of investment options have proven to outperform savings accounts over time. I’ve always really liked the “bucket” approach to aligning goals with saving and investing.  Visualize three buckets. 
View More

Life Insurance Shouldn’t be Complicated…. But sometimes it is

Years ago, the trend was for life insurance agents to sell whole life, universal or variable life insurance policies on the potential to grow the cash value inside of the policy.  Cash value can grow by overfunding the policy, meaning you put more money into the policy than the premium required to support the death benefit, or cash value can grow by dividends, interest or investment return on the cash value exceeding the expenses inside of the policy.Life insurance seems like one of those t
View More

“I don’t want to be the richest person in the cemetery…”

Our firm has an advisory council consisting of five diverse clients who we get together with twice per year for a half day of uninterrupted deep discussion.  We ask for perspective from a client’s point of view on aspects of their financial lives as well as ways that we can enhance our services.In the middle of a discussion, one of our council-member clients said half-jokingly that she does not want to be the richest person in the cemetery.  In other words, she wants to be able t
View More

Taxes and Your Investments

As a Wealth Management Advisor, I help my clients with important decisions, planning and investment management.  While I am not a tax adviser and do not give tax advice, I am mindful of how investment management and income distribution affect my client’s taxes. I began working with a couple in 2018 who had a complicated portfolio of business ownership and investments.  Reviewing their statements, I found over $69,000 of short-term capital gain had been generated with selling
View More

Important Ages for Your Retirement Income

You’ve worked hard all of your life.  You’ve saved and invested your money, paid taxes on your income and you’ve made the mandatory contributions to government programs like Social Security and Medicare.  Like so many others, the dream of no longer having to work is a big one and you can now see the retirement light at the end of the working tunnel.  Financial planning for retirement should be at least as straightforward as saving for retirement, but it is not.&n
View More

Beneficiary Designations Supersede Other Instructions

Last week, I shared information about the importance of knowing how to update your beneficiary designations.  While the subject sounds simple and most times is, there is potential for things to go wrong.  And when they do, it can be bad in a big way. Beneficiary designations are specified on a retirement account or life insurance policy and supersede other instructions such as those that may have been put forth in a will or a trust, but may not supersede the law.  That means
View More

10 Financial Resolutions for the New Year

A new year can either be a fresh start, a time to tweak or you can let it roll by without doing anything different at all.  If resolutions are your thing, here is a checklist.  Ten financial resolves for 2019. Face important decisions head-on.  Look over your next 12 months.  Big decisions involving money are easy to put off but may cost you in the long run.  Remember that you are not alone.  Engage the help of others including trusted family members or a friend and
View More

Doing Nothing is a Decision

In my line of work, people have to make decisions.  Sometimes the decisions are small ones, often times they are big.  The decision to save more.  Or not.  The decision to purchase life insurance.  Or not.  The decision to reposition assets.  Or not.  The decision to plan for retirement.  Or not.  The decision to plan for potential long-term care costs.  Or not.  The list goes on and on.  The biggest decisions can be the most intim
View More

Know How to Update Your Beneficiary Designations

When is the last time you reviewed your beneficiary designations?   For many people this easy task is one that ends up on the procrastination list.  Life changes and with it, should be a review of beneficiaries, trustee powers, powers of attorney, and transfers on death.Beneficiaries are designated on life insurance policies and retirement accounts.  You may name one or more primary beneficiaries as well as one or more contingent beneficiaries in percentages that you choose.&
View More

Are You a Trader or an Investor?

View More

True Wealth: All that Money Can’t Buy

I googled “wealth” recently and got about 280,000,000 results in .42 seconds.  I scrolled through the top few pages of hits and to no surprise the results were all about money.  As an Accredited Wealth Management Advisor, I work with people and their money day in and day out, predominantly in planning for and working toward a successful retirement.  I can tell you unequivocally that money is an important tool.  Money puts a roof over our heads and food on the tabl
View More

Words of Wisdom for Retirement

I am a quotations fanatic.  Some are profound and some are funny.  What I love about quotes is that the great ones say so much with just a few words of wisdom.  Here are a few on retirement with reflection from me.  If you have others that are worthy of sharing, I welcome you to e-mail me (louann.schulfer@lpl.com), I would love to hear from you!“The question isn't at what age I want to retire, it's at what income.”  George Foreman.  So true. 
View More

Great News for Retirement Savers in 2019

I am excited to share some great news for retirement account savers in 2019!  The amount you are allowed to contribute, as well as the income thresholds which make contributions permissible have both risen for the first time in six years! Since 2013, contributions to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA’s) have been capped at $5,500 if you are under age 50 and $6,500 if you are 50 or older.  For tax year 2019, that amount goes up to $6,000 for those under 50 and $7,000 for th
View More

Investing and Planning Different for Women than Men

Early in my career, I would despise hearing how women differ from men when it comes to investing.  Often, it was assumed that women earned less than men and were less aggressive than men, therefore, advisors should choose investments accordingly.  I would go to conferences and listen to the speaker address the “hot topic” of how to work with women clients, like they (the presenters) were afraid that if advisors didn’t use the right words, have the right eye contact or
View More

Fees are what you pay. Value is what you get.

When a new prospective client calls our office, one of the questions they sometimes ask is “What are your fees?” before they tell us what kind of service they are seeking or ask us what we do.  Investment fees are a popular topic lately in news articles and advertisements.   I respect the question and wholly advocate using money wisely:  it’s the entire premise of what we do! What the questioner cheats himself or herself out of sometimes is asking about
View More

Social Security: It will still be there

A question I often hear is “Will Social Security be there when I retire?”  The answer is yes.  While I cannot tell you exactly what it will look like years down the road, I can give you a high-level perspective in this short article of how it works.  Make no mistake, the program needs some sort of reform.  The last seven Trustees Reports, available at https://www.ssa.gov/oact/TR/index.html, have warned us that Social Security’s trust funds are projected to b
View More

What do Halloween and Investing have in common?

So what do Halloween and investing have in common?  Is it the fear of the unknown?  Scary times?  Afraid you’ll be haunted by your next investment move?  Maybe for some people.  For me, there are a number of interesting financial related terms that are Halloween-ish.  Have you heard of any of these?Spiders.  A spider is the pronunciation for SPDR, an ETF, or exchange traded fund, and is one of many ETF’s which track the S&P 500.  The acrony
View More

Your Life Insurance Policies: Worth a Review

When is the last time you’ve reviewed your life insurance policies?  For most people, they have a good understanding of their coverage as well as the features and benefits of their policy when they initially put the contract in place.  Thereafter, it’s clear what the death benefit is and of course, the life insurance company will always make sure that you understand the premium due!  Other important details of your policy may not be so obvious but are worthy of review.
View More

The Compounding Effects of Good Financial Habits

We tend to have a more mature clientele in our office.  Our clients generally have built their nest eggs and are often within striking distance of retirement or are already retired.  It’s the compounding financial habits and years of wise decisions that has gotten them to where they are today and is equally important in sustaining a successful retirement.   Here is a short version of some of the most impactful financial decisions one can make.Start early.  When is
View More

“The Best Retirement Advice I’ve Ever Received…”

I began working with a newer client about nine months ago.  He is a successful semi-retired entrepreneur who has done a great job building and protecting his net worth.  Throughout the years, he has worked with various financial planners, attorneys, CPAs and wealth management firms.  His portfolio is robust with investments, insurances and a trust.   At our initial meeting, I’d asked him “What is the most important thing I can help you with?”  He r
View More

Managing Suddenly Acquired Money

You may conjure a vision of the fortunate fella or lucky lady who wins the lottery and overnight, his or her financial dreams have come true. Certainly this is one way to suddenly come into a large sum of money that you didn't have to make decisions with before. More commonly though, people who suddenly receive sizeable amounts of money or other assets do so through a divorce, a settlement from a law suit, life insurance proceeds from the death of a loved one, an inheritance, receiving a sev
View More

Cost of Medicare Premiums: Planning can go a Long Way

Medicare is the federal government’s health insurance program for those over age 65 or for certain individuals who are disabled.  There are four “parts”:  Part A covers hospital expenses and is paid for by the government.  Part C refers to Medicare Advantage plans offered by private insurance companies.  Part B covers outpatient costs and equipment and Part D covers prescriptions; both B & D have premiums partially paid for by the medicare recipient.&nbs
View More

Financial Exploitation of Seniors

With our aging population, financial exploitation of seniors is a serious and growing problem.   It happens throughout all economic levels and has robbed people of their savings, their financial security, their home and ultimately their dignity.   We tend to think of criminal activity as obvious and violent.  However, exploitation often begins with a much softer approach.  By playing on emotions, money or other assets are often stolen through gradual persuasion, wit
View More

What You Need to Gather When Your Spouse Dies

Losing your spouse is losing your best friend, your soul mate and also, your financial partner.  From a financial aspect, it’s as if you have a business and you’ve just lost your only business partner.  This is one of the most devastating times of our life.  In this highly emotional time, the least of which you want to do is deal with the stress of remembering all that needs to be tended to financially, so here is a basic guide that I recommend you keep as a reference
View More

Colorful Financial Slang

Last week, my article Fun Financial History explained the origins of a few of my favorite and the most frequently used financial references:   bull and bear markets, Wall Street and ticker symbols.    If you missed that one, you can find it online at www.SchuflerAndAssociates.com | Meet Us | Blog.  Continuing the spirit of financial fun, here are some colorful financial slang terms you’ve likely heard.Blue Chips.  What exactly is a “blue chip”
View More

Fun Financial History

How did bull and bear markets get their names, and what do they mean?  Even if you are not the least bit interested in the markets or investing, you can’t help but hear these frequent references.   A bull market is one that is generally rising for a period of time and a bear market is one that is generally falling for a length of time.  There are a few different theories as to how these rising and falling markets got their name and none are specifically documented, as t
View More

Retirement Like a Rubix Cube

We meet with a significant number of people each year who are preparing for retirement.  If you are planning on retiring, the thought of structuring your retirement income plan can feel like trying to solve a rubix cube.  On one side of the cube is your 401(k).  On another, your pension.  Flip the cube over and there is your social security.  The other sides of the cube are your spouse’s 401(k), IRA, and his/her social security.  Solving for one color can feel
View More

Planning Does Not Stop After Retirement

What do you think of when you hear the words “retirement planning”?  Most would say planning for retirement.  But that’s only part of the job.  Planning does not stop when you are retired.Planning for retirement is the first phase.  It’s both subjective and objective.  Retirement planning starts with your vision.  From there, it’s like a giant equation with many inputs to work toward your desired output.  Needs and wants for spendi
View More

Understand Your Investment Qualifications

For years, we’ve worked with investments that are “alternative” to the traditional offerings that many people are used to or have experience with.  When I meet with new clients, it’s still very common for me to hear “I didn’t know I could invest in something like that”, not ever having heard of investor qualifications and the different investments that one may be eligible to invest in per FINRAs and the SEC’s guidelines (they are our regulator
View More

The Most Important Question

When it comes to investing, the most important question is often overlooked.  It’s easy to get money IN to your investments.  You expect that over time, you will earn a rate of return.  But the most important question may be:  What is my exit strategy? Commonly, investors are introduced to investments that are daily liquid with traded markets such as stocks, bonds and exchange traded funds or the investment sponsor such as mutual fund companies.  These can be foun
View More

Shredding Party a Great Success for Pacelli Catholic Schools & Community

On May 10th, Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals, a local retirement planning and investment firm, hosted their 8th Annual Shredding Party benefitting Pacelli Catholic Schools.Over $3,000 was raised at the shredding event through donations for the shredding services provided by Express Recycling Solutions, Inc., along with sales of shredded food, while attendees were entertained by the Pacelli Catholic High School pep band.Each year, Pacelli chooses a project which will be fun
View More

How Well do You Understand Your Annuity?

Sometimes I get the question, “Are annuities good or are annuities bad?”  My answer:  it depends.  It’s kind of like asking if medication is good or if it is bad.  The right amount used in the right circumstance for the right person can be great.  If the annuity is not a good fit or if there is not value for the extra expense, then it’s wise to consider other options.In a nutshell, an annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company.&nbs
View More

Escheatment and Your Investments

I had a new client recently come to me for help on his and his wife’s IRA accounts.  He said he didn’t have time to keep up on the investments and wanted to make sure that the accounts didn’t inadvertently end up in escheatment as unclaimed property someday to the State of Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue(1),  “Property becomes unclaimed or abandoned?? when there isn't owner? activity???R
View More

6 ROTH IRA Facts That May Surprise You

ROTH IRAs can be a powerhouse of tax benefit when the account enjoys compounded growth.  Here are six more facts that may surprise you. You can not be too young to contribute.  As long as you have earned income, age does not matter.  This was significant in our family when we gave our sons the opportunity to earn w-2 income beginning at 7 and 9 when we bought a golf driving range for them to run.  Their ROTH IRAs were opened the same year and they’ve been contributing e
View More

Retirement Planning: How Clear is your Picture?

When I meet with a prospective client or couple for the first time and ask “What is the most important thing I can help you with?”, the answer is often a list.  Near the top is, help me develop a clear picture of my retirement.  They usually go on to say that they have been strong savers, are not huge spenders and have accumulated a nest egg.  But the worry is there:  how much is enough?  How do I know my money will last as long as I do?   When can
View More

ROTH IRA Conversions

Should you convert all or part of your IRA to a ROTH IRA?  That depends.  There are pros and cons that may apply uniquely to each person’s financial situation.  Properly analyzing your circumstances may uncover a great opportunity.  However, understand the rules to avoid unexpected future surprises that may come as substantial drawbacks.The purpose of a ROTH IRA is to allow your money to grow tax deferred and take distributions on a tax-free basis.  The IRS has dis
View More

IRA Planning Options

There is so much you can do with your retirement money.  Start with an assessment of what is most important to you and quite frankly, what worries you.  Be sure you are familiar with, or are working with an experienced advisor who understands the various layers of rules governing retirement accounts, as unexpected taxes or penalties are surprises we all want to avoid!  Then, look for opportunities to potentially improve your future.  Here are a few cases I’ve worked rec
View More

You're Invited: Shredding Party!

We’re gearing up to host our 8th annual Shredding Party, a community service event that raises money for Pacelli Catholic Schools, and YOU are invited….  Individuals and Business alike!A few years ago in a business planning retreat, the advisors and staff of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals made a commitment to give more to our community.  We wanted to:1.       Host an event where we could share our knowledge with our com
View More

What to do When Your Pension Plan Terminates

In my years of experience as an advisor, one of the greatest sources of stress, anxiety and uncertainty felt by men and women is when they receive the news that their pension plan is terminating.  It feels like the rug has been pulled out from under their feet.  As loyal employees, they counted on their employer to provide a paycheck while working and throughout retirement.  Pension plan terminations are nothing new, but when it happens to you, it feels like a tragedy. What d
View More

What is Your Greatest Retirement Risk?

What is the goal of climbing a mountain?  Usually the answer I receive is ‘to get to the top of the mountain’.  Actually, that is just the first half of the journey.  The greater challenge is getting down from the mountain.  In fact, for climbers of Mount Everest, the highest peak on the planet, the descent is where most deaths occur.1  That is a great parallel to retirement planning.  “Accumulation” is getting to the top of the mountain.&nbs
View More

Introducing #WON

By LouAnn Schulfer, AWMA®, AIF® Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals* Accredited Wealth Management AdvisorSM Accredited Investment Fiduciary® In our business, we set aside time each Friday for “business development”, a discipline where our entire staff comes together to work ON our business, not just IN our business.  Feedback from our clients and our advisory council has been valuable in shaping our success.  What has always been evi
View More

Insurance Champions

LouAnn Schulfer of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals was recently recognized as anInsurance Champion by LPL Insurance Associates. This recognition is for the top 40 advisors in LPLInsurance Associates, which is part of...
View More

North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (NCWWDB)

LouAnn Schulfer of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals, was recently nominated andapproved as a Board Member to the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board(NCWWDB). NCWWDB is a public/partnership between...
View More

James J. Robinson Attends LPL Financial 2012 National Conference

JAMES J. ROBINSON ATTENDS LPL FINANCIAL 2012 NATIONAL CONFERENCE, A LEADINGFINANCIAL SERVICES EVENT FOCUSED ON INCREASING VALUE TO INVESTORSStevens Point, WI August 19-22 James J. Robinson from Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial...
View More

Professionals Offer Tips to Keep Resolutions

Many people resolve financially to do one or more of the following: save more, spend less or pay off debt. With these goals, the key to success is not unlike slimming down your waistline. Schulfer suggests thinking about what you want...
View More

Words of Wisdom for Retirement

I am a quotations fanatic. Some quotes are profound and some are funny. What I love about quotes is that the great ones say so much with just a few words of wisdom. Here are some on retirement with reflection from me. If you know...
View More

Do You Understand Distribution Diversification?

Recently, I was interviewed by Mark Henricks, a journalist from Austin, TX for an article that will be published on MainStreet.com, the personal finance site of TheStreet.com (if you watch CNBC you recognize “The Street”). Mark has...
View More

Inspiring Entrepreneurialism in Our Kids

When our sons were very young, my husband Gene and I set a goal to have some sort of part-time business for them to run during their teenage years. We wanted Jacob and Zachary to develop a business acumen early in life. We wanted them...
View More

Entrepreneurialism, Personal Responsibility and Kids

Earlier I wrote an article “Inspiring Entrepreneurialism in Our Kids”. When our sons were very young, we set a goal for them to have some sort of part-time business to operate during their teenage years. The opportunity presented...
View More

What Causes Market Sell Offs?

I like to simplify things. Break them down into the fundamentals. Then, once the basics are established we can add the more complicated facets in.So, what causes a stock market sell off? Simply put, there are more sellers than there..
View More

Retirement Planning: Dig a little deeper

We work with a substantial amount of people throughout the course of a year who are actively planning for retirement. Questions we commonly hear include: Where is the best place to put my retirement savings (401k, IRA)? Which pension...
View More

Big Changes to Social Security Planning for Some

On Monday, November 2, 2015, President Obama signed into law a 2 year bipartisan budget deal that avoids a United States default. The deal includes several provisions, one of which will affect social security planning for many.The deal...
View More

Important Ages for Social Security’s Recent Changes

Recently I wrote an article titled Big Changes to Social Security Planning for Some. The changes to Social Security are due to section 831 of the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Deal that was signed into law on November 2, 2015 (you can read it...
View More

What is your life worth?

It’s an arbitrary question in some ways, but certainly not a rhetorical one. Our life’s worth can be defined in many ways, sometimes best pondered through question. In reflection, what kind of lasting impact have you had on others?...
View More

What Would Happen If You Were To Die Today?

What would happen if you were to die today? It’s a question I ask all of my clients at some point. Often, the first response I receive is superficial and sarcastic, making light of the question. For all of us, it’s hard to imagine our...
View More

Old Life Insurance Policies: Did You Know….?

When is the last time you’ve had your life insurance policy reviewed? As with all types of business, the life insurance industry has evolved. There are things we can do with life insurance today that could not be done years ago. One of...
View More

Retirement Planning Advice: Work to eliminate your Debt

I explain to my clients that building a secure retirement plan is an equation. From a high level, that equation includes formulating an income plan and coordinating that with your spending plan. We identify your needed income (housing,...
View More

What Amount of Commitment Does Your Investment Require?

It’s a question that isn’t asked or understood enough: What amount of commitment does your investment require? For those with a few decades of life experience such as myself, I don’t have to point out how our culture...
View More

Your Last Gift

In my last article, I wrote about risk management and how for most of us life Insurance is a remarkable tool to manage what may likely be your family’s greatest risk. Not everyone “needs” life insurance; maybe your...
View More

What You Need to Gather When Your Spouse Dies

Losing your spouse is losing your best friend, your soul mate and also, your financial partner. From a financial aspect, it’s as if you have a business and you’ve just lost your only business partner. This is one of the...
View More

Accumulation vs. Distribution

Most people are familiar with how to save for retirement, and do a good job at it. Making regular contributions to your 401k, taking full advantage of your employer’s matching dollars, adding money to IRA’s or ROTH...
View More

Couples: Who makes your investment decisions?

In the years before I was a financial advisor, I had heard that the consensus about women and investing was that wives were often left out of making decisions regarding their family’s investment portfolio and retirement planning....
View More

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

In my previous article “Retirement, Like a Rubix Cube”, I wrote about the complexities of retirement planning with respect to solving for the entire retirement income puzzle. Like a rubix cube, retirement planning has many...
View More

Fun Financial History

How did bull and bear markets get their names, and what do they mean? Even if you are not the least bit interested in the markets or investing, you can’t help but hear these frequent references. A bull market is one that is...
View More

“I” is for Individual

A common misunderstanding that I come across working knee-cap to knee-cap with people is what an IRA is. IRA stands for Individual Retirement Account. “I” is for Individual. That means an IRA can only be owned by an...
View More

More Fun Financial History

A couple of months ago I wrote an article, Fun Financial History explaining the origins of a few of my favorite and the most frequently used financial references: bull and bear markets, Wall Street and ticker symbols. If you missed...
View More

Past Performance is No Guarantee of Future Results

It’s the line we as advisors say all the time. Yet, when I meet with clients at our firm who have been managing their own money, past performance is usually the number one metric that they tell me they’ve based their...
View More

Retirement: A Financial Decision or an Emotional Decision?

When you hear the words “Retirement Planning” the natural association is financial. How much money have you and your spouse accumulated throughout your working years? What is a reasonable distribution rate to determine the...
View More

Retirement Planning Advice: Work to eliminate your Debt

I explain to my clients that building a secure retirement plan is an equation. From a high level, that equation includes formulating an income plan and coordinating that with your spending plan. We identify your needed income (housing,...
View More

Retirement Planning: The Emotional Side

Earlier, I wrote an article: Retirement: A Financial Decision or an Emotional Decision? If you didn’t get a chance to read it, it can be found at www.SchulferAndAssociates.com | Our Blog. This article is a sequel. The truth is,...
View More

Sizeable Assets, Suddenly

You may conjure a vision of the fortunate fella or lucky lady who wins the lottery and overnight, his or her financial dreams have come true. Certainly this is one way to suddenly come into a large sum of money that you didn’t...
View More

Do you Understand Distribution Diversification?

Recently I was interviewed by Mark Henricks, a journalist from Austin, TX for an article that will be published on MainStreet.com, the personal finance website of TheStreet.com (if you watch CNBC you recognize “The Street”)...
View More

Social Media and Identity Theft: Are You Putting Yourself in Harm’s Way?

By LouAnn Schulfer, AWMA®, AIF® Accredited Wealth Management AdvisorSM Accredited Investment Fiduciary® Many of us enjoy social media. It’s fun to connect with people we don’t regularly see, keep up to date on...
View More

Important Ages for Your Retirement Income

You’ve worked hard all of your life. You’ve saved and invested your money, paid taxes on your income and you’ve made the mandatory contributions to government programs like Social Security and Medicare. Like so many...
View More

Your First Wealth is Health!

As I get older, I have a much greater appreciation for my health. I eat nutritious foods and work out just about every day. Lifting weights and jogging are not things that I enjoy doing, but I sure do value the mental sharpness I feel...
View More

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know….. and That Could Cost You!

The world we live in is complex and managing your money is no exception. Layers of rules and regulations make managing your assets more complicated than merely selecting investments to achieve a rate of return. One of my favorite...
View More

Life Insurance: Understand your Guarantees!

Choosing a life insurance policy can seem confusing, frustrating and intimidating. It’s a big decision and since life insurance premiums are not cheap, you’ll want be sure you are making an informed choice. More important...
View More

Do You Need Life Insurance?

The answer is no. You do not need life insurance on yourself, but your spouse and/or children may need you to have life insurance. What is the best way to find out if and how much life insurance you need? Start with a conversation. A...
View More

The Only Constant is Change: The DOL Fiduciary Rule

“The only constant is change” -- Heraclitus, Greek philosopher. Isn’t it interesting that this quote dates back to approximately 500 BC? Heraclitus created doctrines about the constant change and flux of life. Many...
View More

Couples: Who makes your investment decisions?

In the years before I was a financial advisor, I had heard that the consensus about women and investing was that wives were often left out of making decisions regarding their family’s investment portfolio and retirement planning....
View More

How We’ve Specialized in Our Business

Growth in business is key to success and longevity. Ours is no exception. Each Friday morning our team works on business development and a few times each year we travel to spend time with other top advisors from around the country at...
View More

Should I Roll Over My 401(k)?

When you leave a company, you generally have four options as to what to do with your retirement money. 1) Cash it out. Brace yourself for the taxes due and, if you are under 55 for certain types of plans or 59 ½ for others, an...
View More

Keep Flexibility in Your Retirement Income Plan

Planning for retirement can seem intimidating and is often filled with ambivalence. On the one hand, we fantasize about how great it would be to have a schedule filled just with our own personal activities, not having to report to work...
View More

Group Life Insurance vs. Personally Owned Life Insurance

Is it better to own my own life insurance policy or purchase extra group insurance through my employer? That’s a question I hear often in financial planning. The answer? It depends. As part of an employee benefit package, many...
View More

Social Security Restricted Application: Consider the “What If’s”

On November 2, 2015 President Obama signed into law, the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Deal. Section 831 contained significant changes to Social Security, which I had written about within days of the law passing as information began to...
View More

PERSONAL RISK MANAGEMENT

There are many types of IRAs. The two main categories which you may already be aware of are Traditional and Roth. The difference between the two is significant. Contributions or rollover dollars are received into a traditional IRA as...
View More

Different Types of IRAs

There are many types of IRAs. The two main categories which you may already be aware of are Traditional and Roth. The difference between the two is significant. Contributions or rollover dollars are received into a traditional IRA as...
View More

Your Last Gift

In my last article, I wrote about risk management and how for most of us life Insurance is a remarkable tool to manage what may likely be your family’s greatest risk. Not everyone “needs” life insurance; maybe your..
View More

Social Media and Identity Theft: Are You Putting Yourself in Harm’s Way?

Many of us enjoy social media. It’s fun to connect with people we don’t regularly see, keep up to date on each other’s lives, and share entertaining posts with our friends. It’s a great tool to get to know more...
View More

Don’t Blow Up Your IRA

Every now and again, I receive calls asking curious questions about what a person may be able to do with their IRA (Individual Retirement Arrangement). Often, they’ve heard an angle from a friend, a pitch from someone trying to...
View More

Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals Office Update

We’ve had a productive year of business advancements that we are excited to share with you. In fact, there is so much to share that we will be doing so in various e-mails over the next several weeks. We kicked off 2017 tackling a...
View More

Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals Office Update

Greetings! We’re continuing our communication with you regarding the exciting business advancements that Schulfer & Associates has made throughout the course of 2017. By now you’ve surely noticed the updated LPL account...
View More

We’re thrilled to bring you part three of our exciting updates!

E-signature is now allowable for most of our investment applications and other paperwork. Electronic form-filling and submissions are more efficient, reducing errors such as missed information, signatures or initials on paperwork. Once...
View More

Thank you for keeping up with our exciting updates! We’re delighted to send you

Thank you for keeping up with our exciting updates! We’re delighted to send you part four! Have you visited us at SchulferAndAssociates.com lately? Based on feedback from our advisory council, we’ve streamlined the content,...
View More

Raising Financially Responsible Kids

What does it take to raise financially responsible kids? The three words financially, responsible and kids each have significant importance when pondering the answer to that question. Financially: Money matters. Responsible: I believe...
View More

Can I Retire?

That’s the “million-dollar” question I get asked often. Truth is, there is not a magic nest egg number that works for everyone. Retirement planning is like a giant equation with many inputs and variables. To...
View More

Protection and Trust

Financial exploitation of seniors and vulnerable adults is matter of great concern for Schulfer and Associates, for LPL and the financial services industry in general. FINRA has taken steps to help firms address these concerns and to...
View More

Let Your Kids Handle Their Money. Literally.

When our sons were born, we knew we wanted them to develop a business acumen and strong work ethic at early ages. When they were 7 and 9 we bought a golf driving range for Jacob and Zachary to run. As a financial advisor, I am...
View More

Diversification: What it is NOT

You’ve likely heard the saying when it comes to investing, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”. That’s a great way to think of diversification. Diversification of your financial portfolio involves...
View More

Taking Time to Plan

We all have to make decisions. Sometimes the decisions are small ones, other times they are big. The decision to plan for retirement. Or not. The decision to address estate planning. Or not. The decision to plan for potential senior...
View More