Today more than ever, financial planning is an essential part of preparing for and navigating retirement. From budgeting and managing your taxes and insurance to planning for income in order to maintain your lifestyle and/or check items off of your bucket list, financial planning means much more than just investing.

Bringing all the pieces of your financial life together can be challenging, but is extremely rewarding. Financial planning takes the guesswork out of managing your finances and helps you understand the implications of each financial decision you make. Everyone has different goals, so it’s important to have a unique plan that works for you and your financial situation – both today and in the future.

Once we understand what constitutes an ideal retirement for you, we design a plan that gives you options using the resources available. We look at all areas of your financial life, mindful of your goals and the risks that could interfere with success. The result is a blueprint of your goals, financial situation, opportunities and risks in one plan of action. This customized plan is based on what you value most and is designed to maximize assets and income potential while managing risk.

Our fees are based on the scope and complexity of the planning involved. We focus on the planning first and implement the plan, if appropriate, by using independent solutions held to a high fiduciary standard. We can serve our clients on a fee-only basis depending on the situation, although our best relationships involve working with families and individuals for the long term and overseeing their assets and risk management.

Call 713.840.0534 or email us to get started on your financial plan.

Retirement income planning is different from the traditional approach to saving for retirement. Many people find they have less desire to experience market risk once they have retired. Also, when you are retired, you may need to meet spending needs by taking distributions from your assets, which often calls for integrated strategies beyond just managing a portfolio of stocks and bonds. In today’s low interest rate environment, you may not be able to generate the type of income your parents did by sticking to only those two asset classes.

Also, an issue that many new retirees overlook is something called “sequence of returns risk”. Sequence-of-returns risk refers to the risk of receiving poor market returns early in the time frame from which you start making withdrawals from your assets. For some people, this may mean experiencing a bear market at the beginning of retirement. When you start withdrawing money from your investments, the returns during the first few years can have a major impact on your wealth. It is not just long-term average returns that impact your wealth, but also the timing of those returns.

If you are within five years of retirement, we recommend that you evaluate your current situation to determine if you have a plan to generate the income you’ll need throughout retirement – even in the face of sequence of return risk.

If you have concerns or questions, we offer our Complimentary Second Opinion Service to help you get the answers you seek. To request this complimentary service today, call 713.840.0534 or email us.

Investment advisory services are available on a fee-basis through PlanMember Securities, a SEC Registered Investment Advisor. LKJ Financial and PlanMember Securities do not provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your own tax or legal professional on any such matters.

Before investing in any mutual fund carefully read the prospectus(es) which contain information about investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses and other information all of which should be carefully considered before investing. For current prospectus(es) call (866) 509-2238. Investing involves risk. The investment return and principal value will fluctuate and, when redeemed, the investment may be worth more or less than the original purchase price. Mutual funds and money market funds are not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Asset allocation or the use of an investment advisor cannot guarantee a profit nor ensure against loss.

Our money management philosophy is centered on the belief that the best investment decisions are not achieved by just answering questionnaires, but are developed with a thorough understanding of your overall financial picture. We only work for your best interests, and this isn’t something that is turned on or off, but rather is a constant.

Your personal circumstances, your appetite for risk, need for income and your time-frame will all play a role in designing the right type of investment portfolio to help you achieve your long-term goals. While we can’t control “the market” – stock prices, inflation, politics, taxes, unemployment rates or business profits – we can control our asset allocation, our exposure to volatility and how we react to these external forces. Are we able to stick to the plan we made before we got scared? Have we built an investment and financial plan that can weather various market cycles?   

Investment management plays a significant role within your financial plan. Buying and selling investments in order to achieve a specific objective can be done with a strategy that is passive or active, aggressive or conservative. Our money management strategies may deal with traditional investments like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs) and insurance as well as more sophisticated techniques offered by our third party money managers such as alternative investments, real estate investment trusts (REITs), master limited partnerships (MLPs), futures and other investments. Everyone has different objectives, so it’s important to have a unique investment plan that is tailored to your goals and your risk tolerance.

To help you evaluate your current investment plan, we offer our Complimentary Second Opinion Service. To request this service today, call 713.840.0534 or email us.

Before investing in any mutual fund, carefully read the prospectus(es) which contain information about investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses and other information all of which should be carefully considered before investing. For current prospectus(es) call (866) 509-2238. Investing involves risk. The investment return and principal values will fluctuate and, when redeemed, the investment may be worth more or less than the original purchase price. Mutual funds and money market funds are not insured nor guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Asset allocation or the use of an investment advisor cannot guarantee a profit nor ensure against loss.

Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of a mutual fund carefully before investing. This and other important information is contained in the prospectuses or summary prospectuses, which can be obtained from the “financial professional” for your plan and should be read carefully before investing. All investments may involve risk including possible loss of principal.

Exchange-traded products (ETPs) are subject to market volatility and the risks of their underlying securities, which may include the risks associated with investing in smaller companies, foreign securities, commodities, and fixed income investments. Foreign securities are subject to interest rate, currency exchange rate, economic, and political risks, all of which are magnified in emerging markets. ETPs that target a small universe of securities, such as a specific region or market sector, are generally subject to greater market volatility, as well as to the specific risks associated with that sector, region, or other focus. ETPs that use derivatives, leverage, or complex investment strategies are subject to additional risks. The return of an index ETP is usually different from that of the index it tracks because of fees, expenses, and tracking error. An ETP may trade at a premium or discount to its net asset value (NAV) (or indicative value in the case of exchange-traded notes). The degree of liquidity can vary significantly from one ETP to another and losses may be magnified if no liquid market exists for the ETP’s shares when attempting to sell them. Each ETP has a unique risk profile, detailed in its prospectus, offering circular, or similar material, which should be considered carefully when making investment decisions.

REIT Disclosure: Investors should consider a fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in a REIT.  This sales and advertising material is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation of an offer to buy any securities. Such an offer can only be made by the Prospectus. This material must be read in conjunction with the current Prospectus for the respective offering in order to fully understand all of the implications and risks of the offering of securities to which it relates. A copy of the Prospectus must be made available to you in connection with this offering. You must meet suitability standards in order to buy any securities described herein and may not be suitable for everyone. Refer to the details in the applicable Prospectus. The achievement of any or all goals of any offering that may be described herein is not guaranteed. Risks for these investment program offerings typically include: may not be liquid,  no public market currently exists, and one may never exist; there is no assurance that the value of the holdings will be sufficient to return any portion of the investors original capital invested in any offering of such securities; substantial fees and expenses are typically paid to an offerings advisor, its affiliates and participating broker dealers; assets acquired with leverage have risks including loss of value and limits on flexibility needed if there are changes in the business or industry. An investment in any of these investment programs should be made only after careful review of the related prospectus. All information contained in this material is qualified by the terms of applicable Prospectus.

Master Limited Partnerships Disclosure: Investing in MLPs involves additional risks as compared to the risks of investing in common stock, including risks related to cash flow, dilution and voting rights. Each Fund’s investments are concentrated in the energy infrastructure industry with an emphasis on securities issued by MLPs, which may increase volatility. Energy infrastructure companies are subject to risks specific to the industry such as fluctuations in commodity prices, reduced volumes of natural gas or other energy commodities, environmental hazards, changes in the macroeconomic or the regulatory environment or extreme weather. MLPs may trade less frequently than larger companies due to their smaller capitalizations which may result in erratic price movement or difficulty in buying or selling. Additional management fees and other expenses are associated with investing in MLP funds.. The potential tax benefit of investing in MLPs depend on them being treated as partnerships for federal income tax purposes. If the MLP is deemed to be a corporation, its income would be subject to federal taxation at the entity level, reducing the amount of cash available for distribution which could result in a reduction of the fund’s value. MLP funds accrue deferred income taxes for future tax liabilities associated with the portion of MLP distributions considered to be a tax-deferred return of capital and for any net operating gains as well as capital appreciation of its investments. This deferred tax liability is reflected in the daily NAV and as a result a MLP fund’s after-tax performance could differ significantly from the underlying assets even if the pre-tax performance is closely tracked.

Investments are not guaranteed and are subject to investment risk including the possible loss of principal. The investment return and principal value of the security will fluctuate so that when redeemed, may be worth more or less than the original investment.

When considering what will happen to the assets you leave behind, it is important to make sure you understand the different strategies available to help reduce or eliminate the taxes and costs associated with transferring your wealth to your loved ones or to charity. In some instances, you may even be able to increase the size of your estate during the transfer, in addition to saving on taxes and costs.

Wills and trusts address specific issues and need to be reviewed and updated by an attorney as your situation changes or as laws change. However, there are many financial and legal issues that can cause money to fall through the cracks. These cracks may be found in places like your tax returns, unknown fees and charges, large future income taxes from your qualified or non-qualified money, healthcare costs and lawsuits. Not all of these issues may be addressed in your will or trust.

To help you become proactive and get informed on the issues that may impact you, your family or any entity to which you may leave your legacy, we offer our Complimentary Second Opinion Service. To request this service today, call 713.840.0534 or email us.

LKJ Financial, LLC and PlanMember Securities do not provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your tax or legal professional on any such matters.

Do you know the most important questions you should ask your CPA before you complete another tax return or see another year go by that could be costing you extra tax dollars? Here’s just a sampling of the areas to discuss with your accounting and financial professionals:

  • Understanding the benefits of tax-deferred, tax-exempt, and tax-reduction strategies.
  • Not all dividends are taxed at the same rates. Do you know which assets qualify for the lower rates?
  • Are you paying income taxes on accounts that have lost value? The so-called “phantom income” is money that you don’t actually pocket, but the IRS still treats as income. Is this happening to you? If so, what can you do about it?
  • How is Social Security taxed and can you lower that taxation?
  • Beginning at age 72, are you expecting to spend all of your required minimum distributions (RMD) from your retirement accounts? If not, then there may be tax reduction strategies available for consideration.
  • Can you do a Roth IRA conversion? Should you?

Tax planning can play a major role in charitable giving as well. As you may know, when you donate to a charitable organization, the IRS allows you to take a deduction on the gift. However, if you own non-retirement assets such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds or real estate that have appreciated in value, you may be able to make donations that save on taxes AND provide larger donations to your charity of choice. 

Option One: Imagine that you own $60,000 of Apple stock that has doubled in value since you bought it years ago. $30,000 is your principal – what you paid for it – and $30,000 is your profit. Let’s also assume you want to donate $60,000 to charity. You could sell your Apple stock resulting in a tax of $4,500 (15% capital gains tax on your $30,000 profit). Then you would make your $60,000 donation; you’d receive a $60,000 tax deduction, but you would also owe $4,500 in taxes.

Option Two: Instead of selling your Apple stock to generate the cash to gift, you could instead gift the stock to your preferred charity or to a charitable account that you direct. Once transferred, the shares can be sold by the charity with no taxes due. Furthermore, you receive a full deduction for the $60,000 gift. The end result: $60,000 tax deduction with no income taxes due. A total tax savings of $4,500 vs. Option One.*

These are the types of questions and issues you need to be talking about with your financial and tax professionals.  To help you become proactive with your tax issues today, we offer our Complimentary Second Opinion Service  or you can reach us via email or phone 713.840.0534.

*This example is provided for illustrative purposes only and designed to illustrate the mathematical concept discussed. These are hypothetical growth situations and actual rates may fluctuate over time. Each individual’s situation will be different.

LKJ Financial, LLC and PlanMember Securities do not provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your tax or legal professional on any such matters.

Investing in employees’ financial well-being makes good business sense. A growing body of research shows a direct link between workers’ financial stability and their productivity and performance at work. 

The fact is, we spend most of our adult lives coping with financial issues, yet we receive virtually no formal financial education to prepare us for these challenges. By sponsoring a financial education program, you have the opportunity to improve your employees’ overall financial well-being and in return, improve productivity in the workplace.

If you are an HR professional or a business owner, please contact us at 713.840.0534 or email us to learn about our financial literacy program and courses for employees.

Understanding how to integrate government pensions like the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) of Texas pension into your retirement savings and income planning is a critical step towards achieving financial freedom.

We currently work with over 600 educators and their families in Houston area school districts, providing advice on topics including the following:

  • How to maximize your TRS benefits
  • Calculating the cost of your retirement
  • Understanding the pros and cons of the TRS partial lump sum option
  • Debt reduction strategies in retirement
  • Estate planning techniques for TRS employees
  • Social Security offsets for TRS employees

Our knowledge of TRS allows us to deliver unique planning strategies that work for public school and other nonprofit employees. We believe that educators – critically important members of our community – are an underserved market and we are proud to serve their needs and those of their families.

With nearly 20 years of experience working with educators, we listen closely to understand what’s important to you. By taking time to understand you, we align our advice with your financial and lifestyle needs and goals to offer straightforward yet effective strategies help you improve your financial well-being.

Ready to get started? You can reach us via email or phone 713.840.0534.

Hear what Lindsey and Lynne have to say about filtering out myths, misconceptions and missing information.

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What’s Your Risk Number

Setting portfolio return expectations using risk – rather than just average return – can lead to you feeling more informed and happier about your investments. Find out what your Risk Number is with this brief tool, which uses a scientific framework that won the Nobel Prize for Economics.

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Representatives are registered with and offer only securities and advisory services through PlanMember Securities Corporation, a registered broker/dealer, investment advisor and member of FINRA/SIPC. 6187 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013, (800) 874-6910. LKJ Financial, LLC and Plan Member Securities Corporation are independently owned and operated. PlanMember is not responsible or liable for ancillary products or services offered by LKJ Financial, LLC, Lynne James (TX Insurance License #722438), Lindsey James-West (TX Insurance License #1561746), Albert Glover (TX Insurance License. #654986) or Adam Goldman (TX Insurance License #2404721).