Monthly Archives: June 2015

How well do couples communicate on money? – Part 2

Most couples think they communicate well, but research indicates otherwise when it comes to finances. Of course, talking about finances can be a minefield. If one partner is frugal and the other spends freely, tensions can be high. Disagreements about money are one of the leading causes of divorce.

More than four out of ten couples (43%) did not know how much their partner makes. Many were off by over $25,000! This can have serious effects. If you don’t know how much income you make as a couple, how do you know how much you can reasonably spend?

Unless couples lead totally separate financial lives, not knowing how much they are earning together can lead to a lack of savings or even debt. This issue could be behind the alarmingly high amount of debt that people carry, often at exorbitant rates.

More than one-third (36%) of couples disagree on the amount of investable money they have. This usually happens when there is a division of labor between couples, where one partner is in charge of the investments.

However, our experience indicates that couples also disagree on the kinds of investments that are appropriate. In general, men tend to prefer riskier investments that women. This can lead to a good deal of stress and disagreement.

Our next essay will take a look at couples in retirement.

Korving & Company, the 2015 Suffolk Small Business of the Year is a family owned investment management and financial planning firm. We deliver a very personal level of service to guide, empower and assure our clients that their money is carefully managed to meet their long-term life goals.

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How well do couples communicate on money? – Part 1

A recent research report by Fidelity Investments studied how well couples communicated. The majority (72%) said they communicated very well. However, the study found that couples don’t communicate very well at all on finances, and many disagree on investing. The study included a wide range of ages. The couples were either married or in committed relationships. They ranged in age from 25 to retired.

Here is what the study showed:

  • 43% didn’t know how much their partner earns. 10% were off by over $25,000.
  • 36% don’t know how much they had in investable assets.
  • Nearly half had no idea how much they should to save for retirement.
  • 60% didn’t have any idea how much Social Security would provide for their retirement.

This proves to us that financial planning is very important; especially for achieving peace of mind and helping couples get on the same page about their finances.

We will be exploring this issue in upcoming essays.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, contact Korving & Company.

Korving & Company, the 2015 Suffolk Small Business of the Year is a family owned investment management and financial planning firm. We deliver a very personal level of service to guide, empower and assure our clients that their money is carefully managed to meet their long-term life goals.

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What makes us different?

When most people think about investment firms with tens of thousands of “investment advisors” they think of people who call them up with recommendations to buy a stock or bond for their account.

But what’s the objective? What are you trying to accomplish? Will his recommendation take you closer to your goal, or farther away? What’s his motivation for the suggestion?

Think about getting on an airplane. You want to go the Phoenix. Does the pilot ask you what route you would prefer? How fast he should fly?  How about a detour to Minneapolis?  If he did, you would probably get off the plane. It’s his job to pick the best route in the shortest time and with the least risk.  That’s what you’re paying him for.  You want him to do the flying, you expect him to get you there without your input.

That’s what a real financial advisor does for you. He doesn’t suggest buying or selling stocks, bonds or mutual fund. He picks the best investments that will lead you to your goal and keeps you advised of your progress. He’s not selling investment products, he’s taking you to your destination in the best way possible.

At Korving & Company we ask you what your destination is, what your goals and dreams are and then put together a plan … and a portfolio that’s designed to get you there with the least risk in the time of your choosing.  We are Certified Financial Planners (CFP)™

That’s what makes us different from the Big Box stores. Check us out on the web.

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Merrill Lynch to Clients: Join “One” or Pay Commissions (via Financial Advisor Online)

The largest investment firms are moving their clients to their fee-based platforms.  Most of the other firms are doing the same.

There is nothing wrong with fees rather than commissions.  In fact, we believe that fees are preferable for most investors.

But they are not always the right, or the lowest cost, option for some.

For clients who have less than $1 million, the fees with “One” are often higher than they can get elsewhere.

If you are a customer at one of the “Big Box” stores and want to shop around to see if you can get better service and perhaps a better price.  Check us out.

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8 Common Reasons for Retirement Failure

1. Overspending.

-You won’t spend less in retirement.  The old saw that retirees only spend 80% of their pre-retirement income is a myth.

2. Elder Fraud.

-Seniors are becoming the favored victims of swindlers.

3. Health care.

-As we age the cost of medical care goes up.  Medicare is covering less and premiums are going up.

4. Starting a business.

-Investing capital in a business that fails can devastate retirement finances.

5. Adult children.

-Helping your children through a “rough patch” can become is one of the most common ways of ending up broke.

6. Second homes.

-The cost of maintaining that vacation home when you’re no longer working can drain your resources when your income drops.

7. Divorce.

-Couples sometimes wait until the children leave home to divorce.  When assets are split 50/50, retirement becomes a problem for both parties.

8. Investment mistakes.

-Making poor investment choices is one of the most common ways of ruining your retirement lifestyle.

If you are nearing retirement, don’t enter into it without a plan.

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Just How Rich Is Donald Trump?

There is a problem with trying to figure out what a billionaire is worth. A lot of their assets are in things that are impossible to measure with precision.  The average individual can add up their bank accounts and investment accounts.  But once it gets beyond those numbers the exact value of “things” like homes gets murky.

For example, your home may have an assessed value, for tax purposes, of $500,000.  But the amount you can actually sell it for can range widely, often more than 10% of the assessor’s number.  So this typical homeowner can’t be sure of his net worth within $100,000.  So if the average American homeowner can’t determine exactly how much he’s worth, it’s a lot harder for a billionaire.  For example, some very wealthy people own sports teams and these are assets that are not publicly traded so their actual value is impossible to define as Donald Sterling found out when he was banned from the NBA.  The team was estimated to be $324 million but sold for $2 billion.

Donald Trump’s net worth includes lots of real estate, leaseholds and assets like the value of his brand name.  That means that the question of “how rich is Donald Trump” is a guesstimate not even Trump can be sure of.  But you can be sure that a man with his own Boeing 757 is rich.

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Korving & Company – Suffolk Small Business of the Year

We are very proud that Korving & Company has been named Suffolk Small Business of the Year by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce (HRCC).

HRCC Suffolk SBOY award 2015

We were honored at a luncheon on Norfolk sponsored by the HRCC on June 12th. Pictures of the event can be found on our Facebook page.

Here is what Inside Business had to say about us:

Father-and-son duo Arie and Stephen Korving have more than four decades of experience in financial advising between the two of them.

Arie Korving entered the business in 1986, working for a global wealth management firm, and Stephen joined him at the firm in 2004, after working in institutional money management. Branching out to start Korving & Co. in 2010 gave them the opportunity to provide individualized financial advice to clients. Their purpose is managing money but putting people first is at the core of what they do.

“We know our clients,” Stephen said. “We manage money for them to help them achieve what it is they want.”
Today, they have clients in every stage and circumstance of life, from the widow in an assisted living facility to the corporate executive. The common denominator among clients is that they remain with Korving & Co. for a long time, some for over 20 years.

Because of Arie’s establishment in the industry and his ability to maintain relationships, they are not just nationwide but across countries, Stephen said. Given the nature of how they invest, long distance relationships with clients have never been an impediment.

“We are a family business that works with families,” Stephen said. “We do for our clients what we would do for our family members if they were in the clients’ situation.”

“We decided to run this business to help people achieve their goals and we want to do it in a highly ethical, highly transparent way,” Arie added.

It is this type of personalized guidance that has kept the company increasing at 15 percent to 20 percent per year, a rate that they want to continue to see as long as it provides the opportunity to work with people in a meaningful and impactful way.

This principle was further established during the market crashes of 2000 and 2008, after which the company decided to become totally independent of large investment firms, allowing them to provide service based on their clients’ needs.

“It really resonates with people when you can say let’s find what you really want to do rather than what the market wants to do,” Arie said. “That type of risk control is an important service we offer.”

Located in Suffolk, they are truly a small business by choice with only one other employee beside themselves on payroll. By staying small, they are able to grow in relationships and be involved in the community, Stephen said.
Arie recently published a book, “Before I Go,” which shares his life experiences from an educational standpoint. They also have had articles in local publications and are currently rated No. 4 in financial blogging in Virginia and in the top 100 in the U.S….

Their bottom line is helping people. “We can continue to grow in the amount of money we manage, but we want to maintain the very personal relationships we have with people,” Arie said.
“People never want to think of themselves as a number.”

We welcome your inquiries.

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Successful and investing and emotional control

One of the big benefits of professional money management is “emotional control.”

Emotional control is the ability to control one’s emotions in times of stress. Napoleon once said that “The greatest general is he who makes the fewest mistakes.” There is a similarity between war and successful investing. Both require the ability to keep a cool head at times of high stress.

There is another old saying in the investment world: “Don’t confuse brains with a Bull Market.” When the market is going up, it’s easy to assume that you are making smart investment decisions. But your decisions may have nothing to do with your success; you may simply by riding the crest of a wave.

That’s when people become overconfident.

When the market stops going up, or the next Bear Market begins, the amateur investor allows fear to dominate his thinking. The typical investor tend to sell as the stock market reached its bottom. In fact, following the market bottom in early 2009, even as the stock market began to recover, investors continued to sell stock funds.  Since then the market has doubled.

Professional investors are not immune to emotion, but the good ones have developed investment models that allow them to ride through Bear Markets with moderate losses and ride the rebound up as the market recovers. It is that discipline that allows them to make fewer mistakes and, like Napoleon’s general, come out ahead.

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The “Bad Timing” risk to your retirement

One of the biggest things that create problems for people who retire is a market decline at the wrong time …. just as they retire.

The reason is easy to understand.

Retirement usually corresponds to the time people have gathered the most assets. Let’s assume that the retiree has managed to gather a million dollars. If this money is fully invested in the stock market and the market goes down 50%, he’s lost $500,000. Suddenly half the money he’s put aside has evaporated, just as he started on his retirement journey. If this happens the retiree may run out of money much earlier than planned.

This is referred to as “sequence of returns” risk. It applies to the time people begin to withdraw their money to fund their retirement dreams. One pension consultant believes that there is a 10 year period when this risk is greatest: five years before retirement and five years after. This is the time when portfolio balances are highest and the amounts of money that can be lost are greatest.

In contrast, a big loss at the beginning of the time we begin to save has much less impact. Simply put, if we put $2000 aside to begin our savings journey to retirement, a 50% loss is only $1000. That’s a lot less damaging than losing the same percentage of a million dollars. Plus we have much less time to make it back.

That’s why “sequence of returns” has very little impact when we’re accumulating assets, but a big impact when we’re taking money out.

Risk control is important at all stages of life, but especially as we’re near – on into – retirement.

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The Real vs. the Ideal (Sometimes Life Happens)

The latest issue of Investment News reminded me of an article I saw recently about Marco Rubio, a Senator seeking the Republican Presidential nomination. It seems that he cashed in a 401k to buy a refrigerator, an air conditioner, pay some college costs for his children and cover some campaign expenses.

Financial planners always tell their clients that they need to put money aside for retirement and to never, ever take money out of retirement plans before age 59 ½ because the taxes and penalties can take nearly half of the money that you withdraw.

The article goes on to say that:

“Unfortunately, many middle-class Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement and some, like Mr. Rubio, even pull money out of their retirement plans prematurely.”

Our advice regarding the timing of withdrawals from retirement accounts is, of course, exactly right. And it will be followed if you are rich enough. Unfortunately, as John Lennon once said, “life is what happens when you’re making other plans.”

Most people have finite resources. Not everyone has the money to fully fund their IRA, 401k, 529 college savings plan, health savings account, life insurance and long-term care insurance policies. Life is about making choices between have-to-have and nice-to-have.

We realize that, and provide our clients with the trade-offs they often need to make. Some goals are achievable and others may not be. And sometimes it’s worthwhile cashing in a 401k if it means that later on you can become President.

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