Wealth Management Blog

Posts tagged Wealth Management

Does Money Really Buy Happiness?

By JJ Burns

July 19, 2018

Can lasting happiness be traced back to the almighty dollar? It's an age-old question, and the answer tends to vary depending on who you ask. Some say they'd sure be happier if they could afford to pay off their debts and live out the rest of their days in stress-free retirement bliss. Others swear that real happiness, like the feeling you get when your child wraps you in a warm hug, simply can't be bought.

In all my years of helping people manage their wealth and investments, I've learned that both are true. Happiness is hard to come by if you're plagued by financial insecurity. This is because what financial peace of mind really gives us is freedom. At its core, money is a resource that, if used wisely, opens the door for what matters to you most—things that don't have a price tag, like taking time to help your child with a school project or connect with your significant other.

When financial stress is down, we have more mental space and attention for life's true treasures, like family and friends. It makes sense that those struggling to make ends meet seem to have lower happiness levels. A now-famous 2010 research study out of Princeton University found that earning less than $75,000 a year was linked to more stress and everyday sadness. It stands to reason that once our basic needs are met, day-to-day stress tends to go down.

But the research also had one other particularly interesting finding: general happiness levels didn't improve much for folks who excelled beyond that $75,000 mark. In other words, someone making $200,000 wasn't all that much happier than someone earning $100,000 less.

Thanks to inflation, that $75,000 figure has surely gone up a tick since 2010. So how much do you need to be financially comfortable these days? According to Charles Schwab's annual Modern Wealth Index, an average net worth of $1.4 million should do it; $2.4 million to be considered wealthy. But these findings also come with a non-financial twist "Living stress-free/peace of mind" and "Loving relationships with my family and friends" are among the top definitions of personal wealth.

In many ways, true and lasting wealth has less to do with our net worth and more to do with our outlooks and values. On the same note, building wealth isn't so much about how much money and assets we accumulate—instead, it really depends on how we choose to spend our money. At JJ Burns & Company, our wealthiest clients (i.e. those whose financial choices are in line with their values) all have one thing in common: they've put their money to work for them by way of a diversified, long-term written investment plan.

Taking the long view is best here. Whether your idea of real wealth is the ability to put your kids through college stress-free, retire early and spend more time with family, or have the opportunity to travel the world and feed your wanderlust, smart investing is the best way to get there—and the time to start is always now. Thanks to the magic of compounding interest, those who start early typically reap the biggest returns.

All this means, in simple terms, is to keep our investments balanced. This is diversification, and it's essential to putting some muscle behind your money in order to ultimately fund your long-term goals. Why? The market is a notoriously volatile place, and ups and downs are simply par for the course. Diversifying is your best protection; if one area of your portfolio dips, it's not enough to tank your whole plan. The best analogy for long-term stability is to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket.

Many of us zero in on hitting a specific salary milestone or amassing a certain degree of assets to measure how wealthy we are. But I've learned that true wealth has much more to do with freedom—more specifically, having the freedom to use your time in a way that fosters true happiness. Spending quality time with family and friends, and making memories with loved ones, are easily life's greatest riches. The same goes for having the financial freedom to pursue our passions, nurture our health, and attend to our life's purpose. Our money is perhaps our most powerful resource for achieving all these things.

Being our client means knowing that when it comes to your personal vision of wealth and happiness, we're right behind you, echoing your values every step of the way. The most important part of the equation is putting a stable plan in place to help you get there.

JJ Burns & Company Acquires Emmes Wealth Management

By JJ Burns

July 11, 2016

Melville, NY – Nationally recognized wealth management expert JJ Burns announced this week that the company he founded has acquired Syosset-based Emmes Wealth Management. Emmes founder and CEO, Barry Goldberg, will join JJ Burns & Company as a Director. The acquisition represents a significant step toward JJ Burns & Company’s long-term strategic plan of building a leading wealth management team. 

Founded in 1994, JJ Burns & Company focuses on comprehensive wealth management based on an individual’s unique vision and goals. This boutique, high touch approach to planning incorporates all areas of your financial life including retirement planning, investment management, estate planning, and legacy planning. With the acquisition of Emmes Wealth Management and the joining of Barry Goldberg to the team, it gives JJ Burns & Company more time to focus on their mission of making a meaningful difference in the lives of the families they work with and their strategic partners.

“We serve our clients with openness and unparalleled attention to detail,” explained JJ Burns, CFP®, CEO/President. “And we’re excited that Emmes Wealth Management embodies those same principles that JJ Burns & Company is known for. Barry’s expertise and shared values formed the foundation of this acquisition.” 

Emmes Wealth Management was built on the principal of taking a whole life view of clients’ financial situations and providing broad-based, integrated strategies. “We are excited to join JJ Burns & Company. Their team planning approach, analytical and evidence driven investment strategy, and powerful client service model will enable us to provide even more value to the families we serve,” said Barry Goldberg.

Going forward, Mr. Goldberg will continue to manage his base of clients while becoming part of strategic business development initiatives and strategic partnerships at JJ Burns & Company.

About JJ Burns & Company

JJ Burns & Company is a leading wealth manager for high-net-worth individuals and families. As an SEC-registered independent Registered Investment Advisor, the company is a fiduciary advisor making recommendations that are solely based on the best interests of clients. JJ Burns & Company uses a team approach with a focus on fostering long-term client relationships. The company works closely with other professional advisors to develop a holistic plan covering every aspect of a client’s financial life. For more information, visit http://jjburns.com.

No Will? Don’t Make Prince’s Mistake

By JJ Burns

May 13, 2016

David Bowie and Prince both had much in common—an international career as talented musicians, performers and actors; and sadly, untimely deaths this year (January and April, respectively). But possibly the most significant thing they didn’t share were wills. While Bowie had an estate plan and a will, Prince reportedly died without one.

We understand that discussing financial matters for some people is difficult—and that contemplating what will happen when you’re gone can be even more unpleasant. However, without proper planning, you stand to lose a significant amount of the value of your estate to state and federal taxes, not to mention legal fees. It’s estimated that Prince’s $300 million estate will pay $120 million—or more—in taxes.

Consider this: without a directive after your death, a judge could award your spendthrift step brother (whom you never liked) an equal share of your hard-earned assets as those awarded your children. Or, your alma mater may not be able to help fund the scholarship that was so important to you.

A comprehensive wealth management plan will give you the power to live the life—and pass on the life—that you want.

Officially Intestate

The legal term for dying without a will is “intestate.” Depending on the situation, it can be a lengthy, difficult process to sort out if you are managing it for a family member or friend—or if they are managing it for you.

To save effort, it’s key to understand what assets are not passed through in a will. These are assets where beneficiary(ies) are assigned or where there is co-ownership, and can include:

  • Life insurance policy proceeds;
  • Retirement plan funds in IRAs, a 401(k) or other retirement plans;
  • Assets held in a living trust;
  • Joint tenancy or community property funds with right of survivorship, such as real estate or bank accounts;
  • Funds or property held in a transfer-on-death account.

States Rule Over the Feds

The federal government has a specific tax percentage they levy on the amount of an estate. But what every state requires for probate and levies for taxes is different.

Generally, spouses, registered domestic partners and blood relatives will inherit under a certain state’s intestate laws; unmarried partners, friends and charities are not eligible to receive an intestate distribution. If there is a surviving spouse, he or she usually receives the largest portion of the estate. And if no relatives can be found, without a will, the state becomes the heir and takes any remaining assets.

In the case of Prince, who was divorced and had no living children, his one full-blooded sibling and five half-blooded siblings will all share in his estate.

Special Considerations

If you have minor children or loved ones with special needs, it’s especially important to have a will and other estate planning instruments in place to care for them. You don’t want to leave important guardianship decisions up to a judge who knows nothing about you, your family nor your wishes.

The Bottom Line

A will for anyone at the minimum is essential. A comprehensive estate and financial plan is even better. Changes in life invariably happen so make sure your plan is up to date. If you don’t have one, talk to us today.

Athlete To Entrepreneur Without Losing It All

By JJ Burns

April 28, 2016

Life After Professional Sports

It’s not unusual to hear about professional athletes losing all the money they made playing their sport only a few years after they retire. Sometimes they spend all their money on expensive homes, cars, jewelry, and clothes.

Other retired pros lose it all as an entrepreneur. Many athletes start businesses after they leave their sport. Others invest in someone else’s business or charity.

They are often flush with cash, surrounded by friends, family and managers, and full of good intentions. Starting a business is part of the American Dream. They seem to have everything in place to make that dream a reality. They are “retired” but young enough to still have another profession, helping others and helping them.

They have a desire to create a successful business and make some money.

Many things can go well along the way—but even more can go wrong. There’s a reason so many businesses fail in their first few years: Lack of planning.

Why Athletes?

Professional athletes have worked hard physically to get to the top of their game. Once they become successful in their sport, they earn large sums of money. This does not automatically prepare them to become successful business owners.

Just as they need a written plan to open their business, they need a written plan to manage their (sudden) wealth.

Marques Ogden played for four NFL teams. At the height of his career he was worth $4 million. He became a real estate developer in 2008. He took courses offered by the NFL to help players after their sports career. He declared bankruptcy in 2013.

Antoine Walker played in the NBA. He made more than $108 million during his professional basketball career. Not only did he spend his new wealth on cars, jewelry and homes, he started a real estate firm. Just two years after retirement, he filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

Starting Off Right

The NFL has programs in place to help their athletes. Not only do they offer classes like those Ogden took for retiring players, they also offer a rookie symposium. This four-day session is designed to teach players how to handle many aspects of their new life. Experts and retired players share advice and give tips.

Hall of famer Aeneas Williams told one group, “Begin with the end in mind.” They are urged to think about setting a plan for their career. There will be many steps along the way where they can lose their footing. The same will happen when they leave the league.

These NFL players have been given help along the way. When they began their sports career and when they retired and started a business. They got advice, so what went wrong? Getting the right assistance can make all the difference.

Planning Is Imperative

Ogden did not plan long term for this business. A comprehensive wealth advisory firm can help business owners create written financial plans. Part of this process is to anticipate possible issues and to solve for the potential gaps in entrepreneurial endeavors.

Ogden didn’t blow his money on cars and houses. He started out with a background in finance. He launched his construction company in 2008. In 2012 he took on a huge project and lost $2 million in 90 days. He tried to save the business with his own savings. It was all over by 2013.

Opening a business is a lot more complicated than making sure you don’t blow your money while you build a career. It goes well beyond living within your means and not spending your paycheck on what might be considered frivolous trappings of fame.

Beginning a business is high risk and care needs to be taken in an overall wealth management plan. It’s important to recognize possible setbacks. It’s also vital to acknowledge when enough is enough and to protect and preserve levels of overall wealth for the longevity of a life-long plan.

Putting a Team Together

Create a written wealth management plan with a financial services team who can give you perspective on achieving your goals and preserving your wealth. 

Sure taking risks is part of any overall plan, but keeping the long-term goal of overall preservation is key. Some business owners can go back to a previous profession, but a professional athlete is not going back to the NFL. For these entrepreneurs going backward is not an option.

Just as Williams hopes the rookies will keep their goal in mind of ending on a high note, business owners also need to think about the finish line. The team you put together can help determine your success as an entrepreneur. You’ve worked hard for that nest egg, now put it to work to help you build a future.