There are a number of reasons we ask you to meet with your wealth advisor on an annual basis. The most basic reason is that things change more than we might think over the course of a year, and even minor changes can have big impacts on our lives – and our financial plans. A less-than-expected bonus or raise, or a higher-than-expected bonus or raise, can really effect financial projections, and hence our investment advice to you. Major expenses, such as a wedding, lifestyle purchase (boats, vacation house, expensive trips, etc.), changing employment conditions, unexpected medical situations, and more can put larger-than-expected dents in our budgets, and will want to be accounted for in your financial plan. By sitting down once a year, it gives us a chance to review all of these life changes and make necessary adjustments to your financial plan. It also gives us a chance to review overall market and economic conditions with you, and allows us to ascertain if your current investment objectives are in line with your current strategy.

By meeting with us annually, you also help us meet our Fiduciary obligations to you. A Fiduciary is someone who must always act in your best interest, which means that we need current, relevant information in order to make those Fiduciary decisions on your behalf. We cannot continue to offer you investment advice based on out-of-date information. So that means that we need to be continually updating your information with the latest, most relevant, information. And an annual meeting is the best way to do that.

We know meetings are time consuming, but we can be as efficient as need be based on your time constraints. We are also flexible in how and where to meet, offering meetings in our office or in your home, video meetings via a variety of platforms, or even old-fashioned phone calls. Though if you do come into the office for your annual meeting, you leave with an SBC cookie, and having eaten a number of these over the years, I can assure you that they are worth the trip.

However you choose to satisfy your annual meeting obligation, please know that this meeting is an important component of what we do, and a vital way that we help meet our fiduciary obligation to you. So the next time one of our Client Service Associates calls to set one up with you, please keep these things in mind, and accept our thanks in advance!

Ho! Ho! Ho! The end of the year is quickly approaching, and Santa will be here before you know it! As you’re making your financial list and checking it twice to prepare for a new year, consider:

  • Are you or should you consider contributing to a College Choice 529 Plan? Indiana taxpayers can get a state income tax credit equal to 20% of their contributions, up to $1,000 per year. The deadline for making 2022 contributions is December 31.
  • Have you taken your Required Minimum Distribution (age 72) from your Retirement Account(s)?  Remember, there is a 50% penalty on any portion that hasn’t been satisfied by December 31. 
  • Ever thought about making a Charitable Distribution? By making a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD), you may reduce the amount of taxes owed. You may be able to donate your Required Minimum Distribution to the charity of your choice (or a portion of it) and not have your adjusted gross income affected, depending on age. These funds need to go to the charity directly from your retirement account. You may donate up to $100,000.
  • When was the last time you reviewed your 401K and IRA contributions? By maximizing the contributions, you benefit from compounded interest year after year. Keep in mind investing is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Anything major or life changing that you’re aware of for 2023? Planning any big purchases?  Preparing for retirement? Getting ready to change jobs? Will you be relocating? Are you planning for a wedding? Saving for surgery? Planning ahead will help reduce stress when the time comes.
  • Have you updated or do you have an estate plan? Have you heard the saying that if you don’t have a plan for your life, someone else will? Do you have beneficiaries on your investment accounts? Do you have a Will or Medical Proxy? Life can throw curveballs; be prepared.
  • Look at your insurance policies to make sure they are up to date. Has the Fair Market Value gone up on your home? If so, make sure you have enough homeowner’s insurance. What about life insurance? Have you reviewed your auto insurance recently?

At SBC, we help keep you on the path to financial success through careful planning and preparation. We are passionate about helping you reach your financial goals. As the end of the year approaches, please keep the above things in mind. Reach out if you need help in planning—we’re here for you!

Happy Holidays!

In the pension and Social Security law infancy of the 1930s, normal retirement was age 67 and life expectancy was age 62. It simply wasn’t expected that most were ever going to collect on either. 

With the advancement of modern medicine, life expectancy has been extended closer to age 84. Yet corporate America has a pension system that would allow the employees the ability to retire as early as age 55, with an unreduced pension, based on an 85-point system (combination of age and years of service). 

Today, with extended life expectancy and an early retirement feature, the actual years spent in retirement has been extended well beyond what pension actuaries were prepared for. Traditional defined benefit pension plans guarantee a retiree an income for life. If married, it is possible to guarantee an income for the lives of both spouses. Over time, this has become a crippling financial obligation for corporate America. With the approval of the IRS and ERISA, corporate America decided to start unwinding traditional defined benefit pension plans and convert them to cash balance plans. They were obligated to use a certain formula tied to current interest rates and an actuarial life expectancy. It is somewhat counterintuitive that a rising interest rate environment would actually lower a potential lump sum pension payout. The reason the direction interest rates moving have an inverse effect on lump sum pension values lies within how the conversion calculation is done. First, the original traditional pension benefit obligation is calculated based on the employees earned credits. This results in an amount the employee is to receive monthly. Then, that monthly income amount is converted into a lump sum present value of what the total future payout would be over the participants lifetime. The participant’s lifetime is determined by actuarial life tables. 

For example, if you’re trying to calculate for an income replacement, the higher the interest rate the lower the actual lump sum needed. So if I need $5,000 per year of income and can earn 5% on my money, I need $100,000 invested. If I could earn 8% on my money I only need approximately $62,500 invested to replace that same $5,000 of income. The higher the interest rate at the time of retirement the lower the lump sum. The US government has been raising interest rates in an attempt to slow inflation. 

All this is quite confusing and complex. Most people just want to retire worry free, but today they feel as though they are required to become pension actuaries and investment professionals before doing so. It is fair to say most are just trying to make their best informed retirement decision. This is where it becomes invaluable to seek the advice of a trained professional. These types of decisions are typically irreversible and will impact you for life. 

Please reach out to one of our financial advisors before trying to make this life-altering decision on your own. We are here for you and your friends and co-workers. Let us help!

The most common question I hear regarding social security is simply, “When should I take it?” To find a blanket answer would be like trying to answer the question, “What car should I buy?” The answer will always be “it depends.” What is your commute? How large is your family? Should you consider electric? Do you haul heavy items regularly? Simply put, one cannot recommend a car without more information. Answering when to take Social security is no different, it depends. 

Below are some items to consider when speaking with your financial professional. 

Earned Income: How long do you plan to earn income through wages and when is your full retirement age? If you earn income through wages or a business, it can affect your social security amount if you have taken benefits prior to your full social security retirement age. Benefits are withheld after a specified amount, and your benefits are then recalculated after full retirement age. 

Cashflow: What is your cashflow picture now, after retirement, and after starting social security? Everyone may have different resources to consider, and income is taxed in various ways. A retiree may have substantial passive income from real estate or farm cash rent that meets current living expenses. As a result, delaying social security may be a wise decision because additional cashflow is not necessary. Understanding your cashflow picture and integrating all financial resources can help make the social security picture clearer.  

Pension: Do you have a pension that interacts with social security? A social security component often exists and corresponds with traditional pension plans. It must be considered when deciding which pension option is right for you.  

Wages: Who is the higher wage earner for a married couple? Is an ex-spouse to be considered? Because social security rules depend on marriage status, spouses and ex-spouses must be considered. For example, if one spouse passes then the widow will receive the higher benefit of the two.  If delaying social security to increase the benefit is the decision, it may make sense to apply the strategy only to the higher wage earner knowing that the higher benefit will carry forward should one spouse pass prematurely.

These are just a few examples to consider in making your decision. Many other factors may exist for your situation, but a comprehensive understanding of your entire financial picture will help guide you to the right decision. 

Reach out to your financial advisor to review your situation and don’t forget to join us on Tuesday, October 25, for an Education Session on Social Security at SBC Wealth Management. RSVP today

Every year, countless numbers of seniors and other vulnerable adults are subjected to financial exploitation, sadly, in many cases, by people they know and trust. And with approximately 10,000 people every day turning 65 years old, older citizens are one of the fastest growing segments of our population. Whether you are a senior yourself or have senior loved ones in your life, please keep the following tips in mind to help recognize the signs of financial exploitation, and, if necessary, take action to protect yourself and the ones you love.

There are certain ‘red flags’ or changes in behavior that could be indicative of senior abuse or financial exploitation.  

New Friends or Connections

One of the biggest red flags are new people involved in a senior’s life. Is someone new injecting themselves into the senior’s life or taking over certain aspects of their life, such as their bill paying or helping them with their mail? While this could be an innocent desire to help, it could also be a sign of potential exploitation. New friends or social connections should be encouraged (social isolation is a major concern for the elderly and a cause of depression and a host of other health issues), but caution should be taken with new associates in a senior’s life. Should this new person act as a ‘gatekeeper’ by restricting access to the senior or not letting them out of their presence when among others, this should definitely be viewed as suspicious behavior.

Change to Legal or Financial Documents

Another red flag is a new desire to change financial or legal documents. Sudden or unexplained changes to trustees, beneficiaries, insurance policies, powers of attorney, and wills or other estate documents, especially when not recommended by a financial or legal professional, should be cause for concern.

Asset Tampering 

Other behavior that should raise red flags are unusual or large charges or cash withdrawals, missing property or other items from the home, unexplained bills or checks, or the inability to respond reasonably to questions about their finances, expenses or bills.

Steps to Take To Protect Loved Ones

What can you do if you suspect that you, or a loved one, friend, or acquaintance, is being exploited? You should report the matter to the state department of Adult Protective Services. While each state has different laws and rules, most states have a system for reporting and handling suspicious behavior. 

Indiana is a ‘Mandatory Reporting’ state, which means that if you believe or have reason to believe that a senior or endangered adult located in Indiana “is the victim of battery, neglect, or exploitation,” you are required to report the matter to Indiana Adult Protective Services. Reports can be made by phone or online at If you believe that the exploitation is happening at the time, or that the senior or endangered adult is in immediate danger, you should call 911 right away to report the matter.  

FINRA also runs a Securities Helpline for Seniors, where senior investors can receive assistance and support from FINRA staff related to various securities topics. The Helpline operates 9 am to 5 pm eastern time Monday through Friday, and can be reached at the following toll free number: 844-57HELPS, or (844) 574-3577. Additional information about the Helpline can be found at

FINRA, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), and the SEC all recommend that clients have at least one listed Trusted Contact on their investment accounts.  And we here at SBC second that recommendation. But what is a Trusted Contact and why do all of these organizations recommend the use of one?

A Trusted Contact is someone that you authorize us to contact on your behalf should we have concerns about your health or welfare, or are unable to otherwise contact you directly. This person can be anyone that you choose and trust—a family member, close friend, a professional such as your lawyer or accountant, or virtually anyone you wish who is at least eighteen years of age. You may be under the mistaken impression that if we have concerns about you or your welfare that we could contact one of your beneficiaries or a close family member that we are aware of, but due to privacy restrictions, that is not the case. We are only legally able to contact those who you have listed in writing as a Trusted Contact. You can have more than one Trusted Contact, and you can remove a Trusted Contact at any time in writing. Having a Trusted Contact provides you with an additional layer of security because it allows us the ability to speak with someone who knows you well if the need ever arises.

Please note that having a Trusted Contact does not confer any legal obligations or authority to that person. This person would not have trading authority or other ability to access your funds or securities, or otherwise transact any business on your behalf.

If you would like to list one or more Trusted Contacts, please contact our office and we’ll have the required Forms sent out to you. If you are not sure if you have a Trusted Contact currently listed, please reach out and we will look up any Trusted Contacts currently on file. Should you have any additional questions about this topic, feel free to contact your account representative. You can find our general contact information at

While listing a Trusted Contact is completely voluntary, it is highly recommended as additional protection, so in the off chance we ever notice anything amiss, we will have the ability to contact someone you know and trust. You can review an informational posting relating to Trusted Contacts from the SEC on the website at

There’s no such thing as a free lunch. 

The phrase “free lunch” refers to a once-common tradition of saloons offering a free lunch to patrons who purchased a drink. Often the foods included at lunch were high in salt, so those who ate the free lunch would inevitably be thirsty for at least one additional drink.1

Urban legend aside, the phrase acknowledges that a person or society cannot get “something for nothing.” This certainly has been the case for stock investing in 2022. While I’m typing, we are experiencing a correction in the S&P 500 (down over 10% from the all-time high) and a bear market in the technology-heavy Nasdaq (down over 20% from the all-time high). 

While these bumps in the road may feel tough to stomach while they’re happening, periods of negative performance are not all that uncommon for the stock market historically. In fact, since 1950, the S&P 500 has experienced 36 corrections, 10 bear markets, and 6 crashes. This translates to a correction (-10%) roughly every 2 years, a bear market (-20%) every 7 years, and a crash (-30%) every 12 years.2

This is precisely why our investment philosophy centers around building diversified portfolios that are durable in all market environments. In the past, stock market volatility has historically provided opportunities to rebalance and buy stocks “on sale” using proceeds from bond investments (buy low, sell high).

What has made 2022 uniquely challenging, however, has been the severe negative performance of US Bonds:

A combination of restrictive monetary policy, rising interest rates, and inflation have created a “perfect storm” for bond investors resulting in their worst quarter of performance in over 40 years.3

In response, economists, PhD’s and market pundits have begun to question whether bonds should have a role in your portfolio. Clients with an aggressive risk tolerance, or those planning to build wealth for future generations are wondering, “Why would I invest in bonds making 3% per year when inflation is running over 8%? Why not just invest 100% in stocks?” Indeed, locking in a negative 5% inflation-adjusted (real) return on your bond investments doesn’t sound great, but this way of thinking ignores why we choose to invest in bonds in the first place:

“We buy stocks so we can eat well, but we buy bonds so we can sleep well.” – Cliff Asness4

Bond investments generally provide a consistent income stream and greater safety of principal. If your portfolio is a boat, then picture your bond investments are your ballast. When winds, waves, and other forces of nature threaten to tip or capsize your boat, your ballast allows it to maintain its balance and power through. During market crashes, demand for bonds tends to surge, as investors exchange risky assets for safer investments in what’s commonly called a “flight to safety.” This is why portfolios with more bonds in them have experienced less of a crash in the past three recessions: 


More importantly, investors that owned bond investments and rebalanced during the above crashes experienced an even bigger benefit during the recovery that followed. Of course, correctly timing the rebalancing would have required some luck but having that ability and owning bonds in the first place didn’t happen by chance.

Retirees and folks nearing retirement age know that negative returns are much more painful later in life. So, while the talking heads sell fear of recession and aim to convince the public that there is no alternative to stocks (“TINA”), remember bonds will be your safety net for the next black swan event. Removing our emotions and taking our lumps can be difficult in the short-term for even the most intelligent investors. This is why it’s important to maintain a long-term, rules-based investment philosophy and why it pays to have professional help. 

The information provided in this post is being provided for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice.  Those seeking information regarding their individual financial needs should consult a financial professional.  Opinions expressed are current as of the day of posting but are subject to change without notice based upon changing market, economic, political, or social conditions.  All information is from sources deemed to be reliable, but no warranty is made as to its accuracy or completeness.  SBC, our employees, or our clients, may or may not be invested in any individual securities or market segments discussed in this material.  Past performance is no guarantee of future results and any opinions presented can not be viewed as an indicator of future performance.  Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.



  4. Maggiulli, Nick. Just Keep Buying. HARRIMAN HOUSE PUBLISHING, 2022.
For more recent market commentary, see

Have you thought about selling your home recently? Or perhaps selling your vacation home or rental home to capitalize on this buying frenzy?

Real estate, specifically the purchase and sale of homes, has been a hot topic in recent years. Home prices have increased exponentially creating huge opportunities for sellers. But have you thought about the tax consequences of that sale? Or what options you may have to defer taxes or possibly avoid taxes altogether? 

Your tax liability depends on the purpose of the home and how long you have held the property. When you sell a home or property for more than you paid for it, you may owe capital gains tax. If you held the home for more than a year, you could owe long-term capital gains tax on the difference between the purchase price and selling price. Long-term capital gains tax rates are either 0%, 15% or 20%, depending upon your income. If you sold the home less than a year after purchasing, you could be subject to short-term capital gains tax. Short term capital gains are taxed at ordinary income tax rates, which could be much more than long-term cap gains rates depending on your income and profit from the sale.

However, there are some exceptions and exclusions to consider before you prepare to pay your dreaded tax bill…

  • Primary Residence Exclusion

If you are selling your primary residence, the IRS allows you an exclusion for capital gains tax called the “Primary Residence Exclusion.” You may exclude up to $250k of profits if single, or $500k if married filing jointly. To qualify, you must have lived in the home for at least two out of the previous five years.

Note: The IRS says you’re not eligible for the exclusion if you excluded the gain from the sale of another home during the two-year period prior to the sale. There are some exceptions to this rule, and you may still qualify or partially qualify if you had a change in employment, change in your health, or experienced other unforeseen circumstances.

*A common strategy for rental home owners is to use the property as their primary residence for at least 2 years so they can qualify for this exclusion.

  • 1031 Exchange

A 1031 exchange, also known as “like kind exchange,” allows you to defer taxes by selling your property and then buying a similar property. To do this correctly, the properties must be “like-kind” and you should use a qualified intermediary (in other words, do not take control of the cash before the exchange is complete or the entire transaction could be disqualified.) You must report this to the IRS on Form 8824.

  • Opportunity Zone Funds

Opportunity zones were created under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The idea was to spur economic growth in low income communities and offer a tax benefit to those investing in these areas. Within 180 days of the sale, an individual may roll their gains into an opportunity zone fund, and defer the taxes until 12/31/2026. If you hold the investment for more than 10 years, any appreciation earned on the opportunity zone fund will be tax free. For investments made before 12/31/2021, an investor can get a 10% step up in basis for holding the fund at least five years.

  • Donor Advised Funds

If you are making substantial donations to charity, it could make sense to donate the property to a Donor Advised Fund and receive a deduction up to its fair market value. The limit for non-cash assets held more than a year is 30% of your AGI, but there is a carryover for five years if the deduction exceeds these limits.

All of that being said, please remember to not let the tax tail wag the dog. Taxes should be considered, but not at the expense of all else. Speak with both your financial advisor and accountant to weigh your options and determine the best strategy for your personal situation.


Sources and Articles:

All of us, no matter what our income or financial status, are subject to being a victim of financial fraud and other scams.  Both the number of these scams and their sophistication means that we should all be vigilant and protective of our personal information.  According to the credit card bureau Experian, 1 in 20 Americans are the victim of identity theft or related financial fraud every year, with a cost of approximately $17 billion. But the good news is that we can all take some steps to protect ourselves from these frauds and scams.

The most common type of fraud is the unauthorized use of credit or debit cards, where your card or account number is used to make unauthorized purchases.  This is followed by account takeovers, where someone attempts to take over your investment account, bank account, or credit card account, preventing you from accessing it and taking money or making unauthorized purchases from it.  The opening of new accounts or loans is yet another type of fraud.  This is where a new account or loan in your name is opened, and when spent or drained of funds, the resulting default gets charged to you.  Types of accounts opened often include credit cards, bank loans, car loans or leases, or utility or phone accounts.  Finally, governmental, tax, or employment fraud is used to generate identification in your name, apply for tax refunds in your name, or receive other government benefits in your name.  This type of fraud exploded during the Covid pandemic, when many people found that their identity had been used to apply for unemployment benefits or other covid related benefits.

The most important thing that you can do is to put a ‘lock’ or ‘freeze’ on your credit.  This will prevent unauthorized individuals from opening an account in your name, or using your credit or information to open an account in their name. While it is a bit time consuming to do, this is one of the best things that you can do to protect yourself from fraud, so the small investment in time is really worth it.  You can fill out a freeze online with the three major credit bureaus, by phone, or by mail.  The easiest way is online, where you can go to the websites of all three bureaus, answer a number of questions to verify your identity, and where you will be given passwords and pins.  KEEP THOSE PASSWORDS AND PINS in a safe place, for if you ever need to temporarily unfreeze your accounts (for example, to apply for a loan, open a new credit card or bank account, or the like) having ready access to those passwords and pins will make the unfreezing process a lot swifter.  You can also call each of the credit bureaus and do a phone version of the online forms.  Finally, you can do the request by mail, but this is by far the most cumbersome method, as the amount of documents that need to be mailed in, and the time to review them, makes this a last resort choice for most people.  You can usually request a free copy of your credit report at the same time, which is another great way to monitor open accounts and check for discrepancies.

The next best thing that you can do to protect yourself is to carefully monitor your account activity.  Most credit and debit cards have an option where you can be texted or emailed any time your account is used to make a purchase.  Be sure to enable this feature for all of your credit and bank/financial accounts.  By noticing any unauthorized transactions early, you can prevent further fraud, as well quickly notify your financial institution for reimbursement.

You should also pick unique, complex passwords, and regularly change passwords for important services, such as email, bank and financial accounts, and credit card accounts.  And be sure to choose different passwords for your email accounts and financial accounts!  If your email password is hacked and it’s the same password that you use for your bank or financial accounts, you’re putting yourself at needless risk.  Many people find it best to use a Password Manager.  This is a program that will generate and maintain unique, complex passwords for most of your online accounts.  While some charge a small annual or monthly fee, there are a number of free program that you can use as well.  PCMag has listed some of the better ones here

Also, always authorize two-factor authentication (sometimes known as multi-factor authentication) when available.  Most all email services, financial companies, and bank offer this (in fact, many require use of two-factor authentication).  This is where you are only permitted access after entering your correct username and password, as well as entering a unique, ever changing password or pin that is sent to a phone or email account.  This way, even if someone does gain access to your username and password, without access to the device or account to which that second password or pin is sent, they would not be able to access that account information.

Lastly, always be mindful of where and how you are accessing your personal information.  Utilize secure online connections every time you check private accounts, and use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when you can.  Never check your private accounts or financial accounts from an unsecure network connection – hotels, airports, and other ‘open’ networks are not the time and place to be accessing such sensitive information.  Wait until you are back at your home or office or elsewhere where you can be assured of a secure connection.

And one more thing – don’t forget paper documents!  Credit card offers, mailed statements, mailed bills that include account numbers, tax returns, and the like should always be disposed of properly.  If you have not done so already, purchase a cheap paper shredder and use it to securely shred all such paper documents.

By following the above advice, you can dramatically increase the chances that your private, personal financial information will remain secure from criminal activity.  And while some of the above steps do require a bit of a learning curve or time commitment to set up, it is time well invested – for your peace of mind and for the safety and security of you and your family!



Are you wondering if you are on track for a solid financial future? A financial plan will answer that question and more. After all, wouldn’t you want to secure your tomorrow while living well today?

Who is a candidate for a financial plan?

Success is getting what you want by having a clearly defined path to get there or lowering your expectations. In my experience, highly successful people have different needs for financial planning. Though they have the resources, they are often time-constrained and neglect the upfront commitment planning required to fix financial disorganization and properly identify goals (not to mention go through the process of finding a trusted professional to work with). However, the need for a trusted financial professional should be a top priority for highly successful individuals.

To be more specific, if you have a goal that sounds like some of the examples below, then you are a candidate for a financial plan.

  • I want to maintain (or improve) my current lifestyle in retirement
  • I want to retire early so I can travel
  • I want to sell my primary home and move to a home (or condo) in a different state
  • I want to fund my grandkids’ college education
  • I want to donate significant assets each year to a specific charity
  • I want to take my family on a week-long vacation every other year for the next ten years
  • I want to make sure each of my kids ends up with no debt and $1mm in assets
  • I want to protect against health care costs consuming my wealth

What is in a financial plan?

A basic financial plan consists of an inventory of assets and liabilities (net worth), clearly defined (short-term and long-term) goals, and the ability to track progress towards reaching those goals. 

With my clients, I use a financial plan to assist in making the best possible decisions with them (and their other trusted advisors) – on taxes, saving, spending, health care, debts, philanthropy, insurance, gifting, and inheritance. By addressing all aspects of your financial lifestyle, you’ll be better equipped to determine what needs to change and how to improve your financial situation.

Why have a financial plan?

In the simplest form, you need a financial plan to check your progress in reaching goals and objectives. Notice I didn’t say “financial goals.” Everyone wants to make and have more money, and while it certainly helps provide more options, it is not the goal. You need a financial plan to reach your life goals; money is just the tool, and your plan will connect the two. In addition, working with a financial planning professional will give you the ability to see how minor changes you make to your life can drastically influence your future. 

A plan can answer what happens if you retire earlier (or later), spend more (or less), and how different market/economic environments would impact your situation. It’s there to keep you focused on the important things when the road gets bumpy, which it most certainly will.

Living life without a plan is like trying to get to a destination without a map. For those of you who haven’t, I recommend making the commitment and seeking out a professional to get your financial plan started today.