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A Nontraditional Approach
Kelly Effland Lives the Dream Close to Home
It’s been a remarkable journey to get where I am today. Before I became a financial planner and joined Cornerstone Wealth Group, I was a nontraditional student. After I had kids, I decided I wanted to become a financial planner. But at the time, I didn’t have the education or background for it. So, I went back to college with my mind set on a new career. I got my associate’s degree in business administration from Hagerstown Community College. And as I researched financial-planning programs, I learned about a relatively new program at Shepherd University. It was perfect! The university was close to home and the program was exactly what I was looking for. In 2015, I graduated from Shepherd’s financial-planning program, and before I knew it, I was working in the financial industry at a firm in the area. While working with this firm, I learned about an opportunity at Cornerstone. Since I was already living in Hagerstown and working as a financial planner, the opportunity was too good to pass up. At the time, I was working a little farther from home than I’d liked, and with a family, that was a big deal. I pursued the opportunity at Cornerstone, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made; it’s up there with choosing to go back to school.
It’s wonderful to get to work in the heart of the community where I live and with many people who are essentially my neighbors. I tell my friends that it blows my mind that I’m doing exactly what I envisioned myself doing so close to home and with such a wonderful team and group of clients. Sometimes I have to pause to think about how well it all worked out after having kids and going back to school. It’s truly awesome. And this month marks two years of being a financial planner with Cornerstone. I work with Scott Toms and his clients to develop and present financial plans. Working so closely with them allows me to bring clients’ visions to life. There’s nothing quite like helping people achieve something greater. I especially love working with clients on retirement planning. I work with many folks who are approaching retirement or are freshly retired — two instances where having a financial plan comes in handy. I get to put this small part of their lives together as they develop new and exciting life and financial goals. Hearing their stories is nothing short of incredible. As the year winds down, I’m looking forward to celebrating the holidays with my husband, our two kids, and my husband’s family. Every year, we celebrate Christmas together, and we also honor my grandfather-in-law’s birthday,
which lands on Christmas Eve. It’s become tradition to have both a birthday party and a Christmas party, making sure each reason to celebrate gets proper attention. As you can imagine, our holiday season is full of family revelry and even more fun. From my family to yours — and from everyone on the Cornerstone team — we wish you a merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a wonderful new year!
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Stop Donating to Scammers How to Spot Fraud This Holiday Season
D uring the season of giving, charities receive a much-needed rush of donations as people open their hearts to others. Unfortunately, criminals are all too willing to abuse this goodwill. According to a report from the Justice Department, Americans over the age of 60 lose over $3 billion a year to scams and fraudsters. As charity scams reach their peak, here’s what you need to do to ensure your donations aren’t lining the pockets of criminals. Charities regularly reach out to past and potential donors through traditional mail, email, phone calls, or text messages. This means fraudsters will mimic their approach with less noble intentions. Because it’s impossible to determine who is on the other end of a call or email, you should never hand over your credit card information to strangers. If you really are speaking to a representative from a legitimate charity, During the various stages of retirement, your assets may be more or less vulnerable to different retirement income challenges. These include market volatility, taxes, inflation, spending behavior, and longevity. For instance, during the early stages of retirement, it’s critical to protect your assets from excessive market volatility and aggressive spending. That way, you don’t diminish the value of assets needed to generate income throughout your retirement. Later, your assets will typically be more vulnerable to the impact of inflation and an increase in medical expenses as you age, and they’ll require extra special attention. Here’s how typical retirement spending breaks down. Early Stage: Ages 60–74 Retirees in the early stage of retirement tend to be the most active and spend the most money. Many find they will need 80 percent or Never Give by Phone or Email
they will direct you to a secure avenue where you can give without worry.
Feeling Pressured? Walk Away
A lot of charities set goals they want to reach before the new year, but even groups that are hoping to raise a certain amount of money know better than to pressure donors into giving. Donations should always come from the heart, and it’s a bad sign if someone insists there’s a deadline for giving. As the Better Business Bureau says, “Responsible organizations will welcome your gift tomorrow as much as they do today.”
established charities are. Even legitimate organizations can be misleading about how they spend their donations. A good rule of thumb is to avoid organizations that spend more than 25 percent of donations on salaries or administrative costs. There are many amazing charities and organizations that do good work. Stay vigilant to make sure you are bringing joy to the world and not falling for a criminal looking to make a quick buck.
Only Give to Reputable Charities
Do some research before donating to charities. Look up any prospective charity on Charity Navigator at CharityNavigator.org. This service flags “high concern” organizations suspected of fraud and ranks how reliable
The 3 Stages of Retirement Spending
Middle Stage: Ages 75–84 Spending tends to level off midretirement for a number of reasons. This can include paying off a mortgage, downsizing, or selling a second car, boat, or vacation home that you no longer use. Additionally, a less active lifestyle or the loss of a spouse can also contribute to a reduction in spending. Late Stage: Age 85+ Spending tends to pick up again in late retirement, primarily due to a rise in the cost of goods and services over time and increased medical expenses associated with aging. Hospitalization, in-home care, or nursing-home care can drive up expenses substantially during the late stage of retirement. Retirees in good health moving to an independent-living facility may also see an increase in daily living costs due to paying rent and other facility charges, especially if they had previously been living mortgage-free.
more of their annual preretirement income to support their lifestyle. It’s not unusual for retirees to find that
they’re actually spending
more than when they were working.
After all, they now have additional time for leisure activities, eating out, and travel. However, overspending at this stage can be detrimental to your long-term goals if it leads to a reduction in the investment principal needed to generate additional income to support the later stages of retirement.
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5 Common Regrets of Retired Business Owners Insights From the Cornerstone Blog
1. Not Spending Enough Time With Family The day-to-day tasks of running your business probably keep you busy, but you don’t want to wait until retirement to invest in the people who are most important to you. Your family is the reason you work so hard, so make sure you figure out a work-life balance before you retire. That way, your relationships are still strong when you reach this milestone. Many business owners see their business as their retirement plan. They invest a significant amount of their personal assets into the company, and when profits roll in, they keep building the business. Even if your business is profitable and you plan to retire off the proceeds when you sell it, you still need to save and plan. Work with a financial professional to create a sound 2. Putting Off Retirement Planning
retirement plan and diversify your net worth so it isn’t all tied up in one place.
that will fulfill you, you can avoid the negative emotions that can come with this life transition. A Bank of Montreal study on retirement planning reveals that retirees who stayed busy and active, pursued independence, and volunteered were most satisfied with their lives. 5. Working Alone It’s no secret that being a business owner complicates life and finances. On top of saving for retirement and taking care of your family, you also have employees and tax considerations to think about. You are in a unique situation and would benefit from working with someone who specializes in serving business owners. For more from the Cornerstone Wealth Management Group blog, visit CornerstoneWealthGroup.com/insights/blog .
3. Failing to Create a Succession Plan or Exit Strategy Whether you want to sell your company or pass it down to family members, think about how and when you want to leave your business. If you choose to sell, see what you can do now to prepare and ensure you receive the highest price possible. Having a strategic transition plan makes your company more appealing to buyers who want assurance that it will continue to thrive without you. 4. Not Planning for Free Time When you go from working full time to not working at all, it can be a shock to your system. Saying goodbye to your business, employees, and routines can cause anxiety and depression. But if you plan ahead to fill your time with activities
Buttery Roasted Chestnuts
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
2 pounds fresh chestnuts, unpeeled 2–3 sprigs rosemary 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5. Pat dry and transfer to a medium bowl. Add rosemary, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Toss to coat and transfer to baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer. Gather the edges of the foil together, leaving an opening at the top. 6. Roast until peels curl up, about 30–45 minutes. 7. Transfer to a platter and serve while hot or warm.
DIRECTIONS 1. Heat oven to 450 F. 2. Place a large sheet of foil on a rimmed baking sheet. 3. On a large, flat workspace, place chestnuts flat side down. Using a sharp knife, carve an X on the rounded side of each chestnut. 4. In a large bowl of hot water, soak chestnuts for 1 minute.
Answer on page 4
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• Kelly Keeps It Close to Home PAGE 1
• Scammed for the Holidays PAGE 2
• At a Glance: The 3 Stages of Retirement Spending PAGE 2 • 5 Regrets Business Owners Have in Retirement PAGE 3
• Buttery Roasted Chestnuts PAGE 3
• Holiday Decoration Tours PAGE 4
Christmas Tours Get Away and Be Festive This Holiday Season
There’s nothing quite like the magical lights of the holiday season, and some destinations in the U.S. have perfected the craft of holiday decoration. If you’re looking to get away this December and still engage in seasonal festivities, add one of these places to your must-visit list. New York City’s Rockefeller Center New York City is an iconic location for Christmastime. The scene is like a Hallmark card: Ice-skating lovers whiz past miles of twinkling lights underneath an exceptionally tall and amply decorated tree. The tree is specially selected by Rockefeller Center’s landscaping crews, who scout out trees years in advance. It remains lit from November to early January, so you have plenty of time to check it out. Ranch Christmas in Jackson, Wyoming Jackson, Wyoming, takes its frontier culture to the next level during the Christmas
season. All year, the city proudly displays four elk antler arches, but around the holidays, they are lit up with white string lights and flanked with snow. The Christmas decorations and lights surrounding the archway make for a Western holiday pulled right out of a John Wayne classic. For holiday admirers looking for a unique spin, Jackson has you covered. Yearly Yuletide in Santa Claus, Indiana This one’s for the Christmas lover. If you can’t make it out to Santa Claus, Indiana, this holiday season, you can still celebrate Christmas in this tiny Midwestern town in January, June, or even October. Embracing its unique name, the town boasts a museum, holiday shopping center, and a Christmas theme park. In a moving tribute, the town’s residents also write responses to children’s Santa letters. It’s impossible to avoid holiday cheer in this town.
Disney World’s Christmas Magic What better place to celebrate the most magical time of the year than in the most magical place on Earth? Walt Disney World’s halls are decked to the max and boast a parade, gingerbread homes, strings of lights, and festive parties. Plus, costs to visit Disney World can be cheaper during the Christmas season, so keep an eye out for a vacation steal.
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