FOUNDATIONS The Principle Our Firm Is Built On
Welcome to the first edition of our new newsletter! As you know, our team has always valued open communication with all of our clients, and we’re excited to have this new avenue to give you our take on the ever-changing world of finance. Inside, you’ll find some great insights on everything from risk management to recipes. Before you dive in, I’d like to offer a little insight of my own: how Financial Architects came to be in the first place. As co-founder and CEO, our firm’s history and character are very much entangled within my own. When I went to college in 1969, questioning the status quo was somewhat normal. As my career in the financial services business launched in 1976, the independence that had been part of my past continued as part of my core worldview going forward. In 1985, Turner Thompson joined me to start Financial Architects, Inc. Turner had been a mentor of mine from the beginning of my career. We felt strongly that we would build a company that would be independent and not a branch of a mainstream financial institution. We wanted to represent our clients, but that required autonomy.
one goal was just to survive. I’d like to say that we had full confidence in our success from the beginning, but it wouldn’t be totally true. Aside from Turner Thompson’s mentorship, all I had was a desk, two phones, and a bit more hair than I have today. If the garbage needed to be taken out, I was the one doing it. I’d never dreamed that this company would become what it has today. With the benefit of hindsight, I can say it was our spirit of independence that caused us not only to survive but to thrive. Almost everyone else in the industry had allied themselves with the big corporate players on Wall Street and the insurance industry. As the financial shockwaves of the turn of the millennium hit, we were very grateful to be untethered from those behemoths. Staying the course hasn’t always been easy. The draw of a major “brand name” national financial institution is something we continue to resist. You see, the only “brand name” we care about is yours: your name as our client. We exist to serve you in all aspects of your financial world by Empowering Financial Freedom® — your financial freedom. Fast forward to today, and I can happily say that we’ve grown in ways we all feel good about. It’s no longer just Turner
and me holding down the fort. Patrick Marody joined the firm in 1990, and Chris Cousins joined the firm in 2004. They became owners at Financial Architects, Inc. in 2018. We’ve got a great team of more than 30 smart, talented, and creative Financial Architects and support team members who span generations. They bring their own history and perspective to bear in a dynamic economy. The needs of our clients today are different than they were 30 years ago, but the challenges remain the same. As the year draws to a close and we look toward the future, I feel more confident than ever that our unique, freethinking approach gives us the grace and flexibility to empower your financial freedom. The one thing that will never change is our independence. After all, that’s what lets us put you first.
Here’s to all those who stood with us along the way,
It’s strange to admit, but when I formed Financial Architects in 1985, our number
An Important Conversation How to Talk About Your Estate With Your Family Members Passing on your wealth to family or the charitable organizations you care about is an admirable goal, one we help our clients reach. As part of the planning process, we coordinate with your estate planning attorney to accomplish your objectives effectively and efficiently. The one thing we and your counsel can’t do is make this process much easier to talk about with your family members. We can, however, offer a few pieces of advice. FIND THE RIGHT TIME AND PLACE You don’t want to blindside your relatives by bringing up your estate plan over morning coffee or a holiday dinner. Let your family members know you want to have the conversation, and set aside time to have the discussion, whether as a family unit or on a person-to-person basis. You could even bring a family member along to your estate planning meetings to make sure they stay looped into the process. START WITH YOUR PHILOSOPHY Rather than launch into the nitty-gritty details of your assets and the avenues you are using to pass them on, begin with your reasoning behind your estate plan. Do you want to divide up your assets among your children equally? Is it important to you that a certain grandchild has money for a college education? Will you leave money to a charity or organization that is near and dear to your heart? There are no wrong answers when it comes to your estate, but outlining your values and reasoning will help your family members understand your last wishes. REMEMBER TO LISTEN Family members will always have goals and interests of their own, and it’s important to take these into account. Maybe you plan on leaving property to a son who wants to move out of state, for example. Listening will help you make adjustments that fit your family’s needs. Discussing what will happen after you’re gone will always be difficult, both for you and those who care about you. But discussing your estate plan with the people it will impact is an important part of the process. Take the time to answer questions, listen, and address concerns to keep your family members from being surprised or confused when your estate plan goes into effect.
ANTIQUING IN THE AGE OF EBAY How to Score the Best Deals
Antique stores are not as common as they used to be. Thanks to online shopping and websites like eBay, it has gotten slightly harder to find quality antique items and good deals. All too often, it seems like sellers rely on eBay and similar websites as a point of reference to price their items, even if eBay isn’t the best avenue to gauge the market. For those of us who love antiques, this can be discouraging, but don’t fret! In the era of mass-produced, low-quality home goods, antiquing is very much alive, and it is still possible to find the unique items you’re searching for. The styles of yesteryear can still be found tucked away in dusty little shops — if you’re willing to put in the work to find them! Here are a few tips for finding those treasures in the age of eBay. Inspect the Item Good, old-fashioned antiquing comes with one major perk you won’t get on eBay: You get to inspect the item personally before making a purchase. You can investigate the condition of the piece and ask questions about its authenticity. If you notice certain flaws in the item, you can bring that up when it comes time to haggle. Haggle! Don’t forget to bargain with the seller! Being able to negotiate the price of an item is another huge benefit of visiting an antique store in person. While some sellers can ask for a “best offer” on their online listings, many don’t, giving buyers next to no flexibility. A lot of people may be too intimidated to haggle, but when you take the time to do it, you will almost always save a little money. Do Your Research As a buyer, you want to have reference points regarding authenticity, condition, and price. If you find an item you’re interested in, take some time to research it further. It’s great to have your smartphone on you so that you can do some digging before extending an offer or making the purchase. The more informed you are, the greater the chance you’ll get a good deal. Have Fun Antiquing is about discovering hidden gems and having fun along the way. When you’re traveling or exploring an area you’ve never been to, visiting antique shops can be a wonderful experience chock-full of history and one-of-a-kind items you wouldn’t otherwise come across. When you go in with an open mind, that’s when you find the greatest treasures!
The information contained in this newsletter is derived from sources believed to be accurate. You should discuss any legal, tax, or financial matters with the appropriate professional. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Securities offered through The O.N. Equity Sales Company, Member FINRA/SIPC (www.FINRA.org/ and www.SIPC.org). Investment Advisory Services offered through O.N. Investment Management Company and FAI Advisors, Inc. Financial Architects, Inc. and FAI Advisors, Inc. are not subsidiaries or affiliates of The O.N. Equity Sales Company or O.N. Investment Management Company. We have representatives currently registered in the following states: AL, AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, NC, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TX, VA, WA, and WI.
Take A Break
Everyone likes to dream about what enjoying their wealth will look like after a successful career or business endeavor: visiting white-sand beaches, spending winters somewhere warm, enjoying days golfing, ice fishing, gardening, baking, checking projects off your honey-do list, or spending more time with the grandchildren. Having infinite time for whatever your heart desires is what retirement is about, right? Of course it is! You can paint the clearest picture in your mind of what your retirement will look like and conceptualize the ideal financial strategy to make it all work. But that’s where the problem lies — it’s all theoretical. You truly don’t know what retirement will bring until you’re living it. GOING IN BLIND Visualizing this wealth enjoyment phase (a better description of retirement) could be compared to having a child. If you’re a parent, think back to a time before you had kids. Perhaps you were young or a newlywed, dreaming with your spouse about one day starting a family of your own. The perfect picture was painted in your mind. When you or your spouse got pregnant for the first time, you likely started preparing for what you thought you needed, such as making your home more kid-friendly, decorating a nursery, and researching the best baby products. Fast-forward to when your firstborn was welcomed into the world and it was time for you to take your new baby home. It was pretty terrifying, right? You likely wondered if this little human came with an instruction manual. Or maybe you were surprised when the hospital just let you leave even though you felt like you had no idea what you were doing. You probably realized quickly that all the planning and dreaming about how things were going to be didn’t match the reality of what being a parent was like at all. You probably remember your colicky baby screaming for 10 hours nonstop, the babysitter not showing up, and the expensive formula making your baby sick. In that moment, you began to experience the pain and difficulty of taking care of a newborn who was completely reliant upon you. All of the little preparation details would have been very difficult if not impossible to conceptualize beforehand. So when your focus is the enjoyment of your wealth in retirement — just like when you had a baby — you’re going in blind. It’s great to dream about what things will look like (and don’t stop dreaming!) but keep in mind that there is only so much you can prepare for. MAKE A STRATEGY Since there is no perfect roadmap for this next stage, it is important to have a strategy that can be carefully and actively executed during changing circumstances; this will always position you to do what you want, with whomever you want, and how you want. Then you can enjoy the wealth you worked hard to build without fear. Keep the focus on economic principles because they’re always true and never change — even when life does. This is important, especially when “theoretical” retirement becomes “actual” retirement in the execution of your lifelong aspirations. HOW TO TURN THE THEORETICAL CONCEPT OF RETIREMENT INTO A REALITY
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BUTTERY ROASTED CHESTNUTS
Whether or not you have an open fire, you can easily roast some chestnuts using this simple, delicious recipe. INGREDIENTS
• 2 pounds fresh
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste • Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
chestnuts, unpeeled • 2–3 sprigs rosemary • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
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. 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.
Inspired by Bon Appétit
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Inside This Issue 1 | The Principle Our Firm Is Built On
2 | Antiquing in the Age of eBay
2 | How to Have the Estate Planning Conversation
3 | There Is No Perfect Roadmap for Retirement, but You Can Prepare Now
3 | Buttery Roasted Chestnuts
4 | What Do My Symptoms Mean?
Winter Illnesses You’d Rather Avoid KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR BEFORE THEY ATTACK 4
Achoo! That’s the last noise you want to hear this winter. Cold weather brings a slew of sicknesses, so be vigilant to treat these common illnesses, or better yet, avoid them altogether. THE COMMON COLD Although there is no cure, a cold is easier to treat than other illnesses. If you or a loved one has a runny nose, low-grade fever, headache, cough, nasal congestion, or sore throat, the common cold has most likely taken hold. With the help of rest and perhaps some cold medicine, like cough drops and decongestants, the cold will come and go in about a week. BRONCHIOLITIS Bronchiolitis appears most commonly in children less than a year old and
is caused by other viruses. Of the many symptoms — nasal congestion, low-grade fevers, and coughing — wheezing is the one you should be most concerned about. If your child is having difficulty breathing and is dehydrated, they may have caught a more serious strain of the virus. Most children will recover with at-home rest, but some may need to be hospitalized for more severe symptoms. INFLUENZA The flu is known for causing high fever, muscle aches and pains, nausea, and other symptoms similar to a cold. Often, the fever will last for around five days, but it can be shortened with the aid of antiviral medications. However, these medications are recommended only for children who face serious complications
or hospitalization from the flu. If you want to avoid catching this, your best bet is to receive the annual flu vaccine. STREP THROAT A sore throat, headache, stomach ache, vomiting, and high fever are signs of strep. This infection is treated with antibiotics and should be addressed soon after the first symptoms appear to prevent further complications. Children with strep throat should stay away from school and other activities until they’ve been on antibiotics for 24 hours. Everyone knows that getting sick is no fun and is best avoided at all costs. However, it happens to everyone eventually. Catching a virus or infection in its early stages can help you shake the sickness much faster.
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