October 2009 Newsletter
We've all heard
the old adage, the more things change the more they stay the same. That
really rings true when I look at the advice of our contributing authors
this month. Both talk about getting back to basics with things like
budgeting, and saving for home purchases, retirement, and
emergencies. A lot of back to basics ideas are being discussed and
implemented as business strategies too. Even though we
adopt new technologies, and new ways of networking (social media),
it is still important to stick to core principles like having a solid
brand and reputation, marketing to a target market, and being known
as an expert or a resource in your niche.
I'd love to hear
your ideas and stories of what works for you in your business. Do
you have some "sure-fire" "tried and true" methods
you stick with year in and year out? Or have you put a new shine on
an old idea like relationship building? I'm sure we could all
use a reminder of some effective back to basics business tips. Feel
free to share your ideas.
all the best,
Connect the Right Client
With the Right
Professional " (SM)
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contacted Lori Williams for a referral of a business attorney and that
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Buying a home in the New Economy
CMPS, CMC, CRMS, CMLO, CALO, MBA, NAMB/MMBA Instructor
It wasn't that long ago when it was common for home buyers to strive for
the most expensive house they could afford. Buyers were told,
"don't worry about that large monthly payment, you'll grow into it
as your income goes up."
top of that questionable advice, home buyers were coerced into mortgage
products that offered artificially low payments for the short-term.
Buyers were told, "don't worry about the future payment increase,
you're home will be worth more then and you'll
be able to refinance to a lower payment again."
You don't hear either of those pieces of advice in our new economic
reality of high unemployment, rampant foreclosures and falling housing
prices. For the majority of home buyers, it's back
to basics: buy what you can comfortably afford, and make sure you
have some reserves to fall back on in an emergency.
How should a home buyer determine what to spend on a home?
It all starts with the monthly budget, not the price of the
home. The budget should determine how much of a monthly housing
payment the buyer can afford. If no monthly budget is written down,
then someone else will be dictating the home buyer's budget. As
we've seen before, this can lead to financial trouble for the homeowner.
An often overlooked
component of a home buyer's budget is money set aside for savings.
Not only should money be saved for emergencies, but also for
retirement. Not budgeting for these important future events, will
lead to living paycheck-to-paycheck
and may be courting financial disaster.
a housing payment is properly budgeted for, reputable mortgage and
real estate professionals can assist a home buyer in finding a
home that fits their monthly budget. Better to buy a home you can afford
and enjoy, than to fret over foreclosure if the mortgage is too
big or you encounter a job loss or other
unexpected financial emergency.
Drew Sygit is the Midwest's most certified mortgage expert
with over 15 years of experience in the Detroit metropolitan area.
He's written numerous articles for the mortgage industry and presented
for several financial organizations. Besides helping clients
purchase and refinance homes, Drew also assists distressed homeowners
trying to keep their homes.
for Retirement in the New Economy
By: Brian Franke, MBA
While it is important to budget for
your housing needs and other living expenses today, it is also important
to set aside income now for savings and retirement. Sometimes
people struggle with planning for their future, when there's so much to
think about today.
Do you plan on working your
whole life, or would you like to retire to a special destination
someday? Each person's view of retirement is different. That
is one of the things that makes us unique. In order to retire and
have enough money to last through 25 years of not collecting a paycheck,
it is time to start thinking seriously about a financial plan.
One thing you can do right now if you are a wage earner, is
take advantage of your employer 401(k) plan and save at least the free
money that the employer is giving you each year. This could be
$0.50 for each dollar of your contributions up to 4%.
Secondly, invest in a Roth IRA if you qualify. This will allow tax
free withdrawals when you plan to use it. If you are single and
have an adjusted gross income of $105,000 or more, or if you are married
and filing your taxes jointly with an AGI of $166,000 or higher, you are
not eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA. If this is the case, then
you can contribute to a Traditional IRA. It has the same tax
deferred earnings potential as a Roth IRA, but the growth portion is
taxed once you take it out. The maximum contribution for a Roth IRA
or Traditional IRA is $5,000/year (or $6,000 if you are over the age of 50).
The easiest way to save as part of your budget is to start up an
automatic deduction to your IRA. This way you can "set it and
No matter what stage of life
you are in, it is advisable to review your current financial situation
and goals with an advisor to make sure you are maximizing your
options. It's hard to reach a goal without a target and a
plan for getting there.
Brian Franke is a Vice President of Wealth Management at The
Advanced Strategies Group in Novi. His practice is focused on
fee-based financial planning and investment management. Brian has
been a speaker at a number of seminars including the University of
Michigan Business School, JVS, and in the automotive supply base.
For more information, contact Brian as follows:
The Advanced Strategies Group, Inc.
39500 High Pointe Blvd, Suite 150
Novi, MI 48375 (248) 468-0513
offered through First Heartland Capital, Inc. Member
FINRA/SIPC. Advisory Services offered through First Heartland
Consultants, Inc. The Advanced Strategies Group, Inc. is not
affiliated with First Heartland Capital, Inc. Investment related
emails should be directed to [email protected].