by Ron Bare
As I sit down to write this, it is a sunny 70-degree day with a slight breeze, some would say near “perfect” conditions. It may be perfect weather but that’s not what I feel inside. I feel a burden – a burden but at the same time peace. Peace that goes beyond my understanding but a heaviness of the unknown. How many lives and families will be affected? What will the economic impact be and how will it ultimately affect us? All of the “experts” seem to have a different outlook on the health situation and the financial impact and timeframe. Could it be that no one really knows? Where should we go for the answers?
These past few days as I worked at my home office, I watched several signs of new life outside my window; a robin with bright colors, a finch perched just feet away, a bald eagle flew right over my house and I can almost watch the bushes and trees budding their leaves. These are all reminders that spring is here and new life is coming!
It is also the week of Easter. A story that redefined the meaning of life! Hope, Peace, Love, Joy can all be found in the Easter story regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. Jesus died on Good Friday and all seemed lost – even his 12 disciples thought it was over. They fled for their physical lives, were emotionally defeated and spiritually confused. BUT Easter morning came a few days later and everything changed! Over 500 witnesses saw Jesus after he rose on Easter and many wrote about it and sacrificed their lives because of their testimony. They had a new outlook – one that changed everything. Physically they had hope for life beyond what this world has to offer, emotionally they had joy and peace even when enduring suffering, and spiritually they had a rebirth knowing they had hope for eternity.
We can experience the same today in the uncertainty of our life circumstances. We may find ourselves wanting to control our circumstances or how our leaders are responding – but we will be better off working on self-control. We CAN control how we respond to events, but usually cannot control the events themselves. How can we have contentment, faith in the future, and peace? To be content it is necessary to not fear the future, to have peace we must look for truth and to have faith we must rely on what is trustworthy. Are these even possible? Yes! The Easter story makes all this possible. We have someone who gives us a bright future, who IS truth and who has proven trustworthy. This person is found in the center of the Easter story – Jesus. He is our Way, our Truth, and our Life!
We are praying for you and your family that you will experience His peace, joy and hope this Easter weekend. And for our country and world to have physical, emotional, and financial healing. I am also looking forward to a good ham and lots of chocolate!
The CARES Act is an acronym for Coronavirus Aid, Relieve, and Economic Security Act. Below are some thoughts specific to our industry that might be helpful to you:
- 2019 IRA Contributions: The 2019 IRA contribution deadline has been extended with the tax-filing deadline until July 15th. Make sure that you communicate with us if your contributions are intended to be for prior-year.
- Early Withdrawal Penalty Waiver: The CARES Act also waives the 10% early distribution on distribution of up $100,000 from IRAs and plans for individuals who meet the requirements of being affected by the coronavirus. The tax would still be due on pre-tax distributions, but could be spread evenly over three years, and the funds could be repaid anytime during the three years.
- 2020 RMDs: The Act included a waiver for required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020. This waiver applies to company savings plans and Traditional and Inherited IRAs. If you would like to stop your 2020 RMDs, please contact our office.
- Charitable deductions: The Act creates an above-the-line charitable deduction for 2020 (not to exceed $300) with a cash donation to charity, this particularly useful for those using the Standard Deduction on their tax return but still give. If you itemize your deductions, the bill also modifies the AGI limitations on charitable contributions for 2020, to 100% of AGI for individuals and 25% of taxable income for corporations. The bill also increases the food contribution limits to 25%. The prior AGI limit was 60% for individuals. Donor-Advised Fund Limits were unchanged, so if you are desiring to maximize the individual or corporate increases, the increased giving must be directly to a qualified charitable organization.
The Bill that was passed is over 800 pages long and covers many things from stimulus, to loan programs, to one-year changes in tax laws, and more. Please stay close to your accountants, attorneys, and bankers for applicable opportunities this Act provides. Feel free to reach out to us if you have questions as to how this Bill impacts you and if we don’t know the answer, we’ll point you to someone who does.
If you anticipate receiving a stimulus check, it would be a good time to prayerfully consider how best to use that money since it was not in anyone’s plans as the year started. If you haven’t been financially impacted by the COVID-19, perhaps consider extra levels of generosity to help those who have needs.
Thank you again for trusting us to walk with you on your stewardship journey.
Please take some time to watch this video blog from our Founder and President Ron Bare. He provides perspective on the coronavirus, the financial markets, and how to implement some Biblical wisdom in times of uncertainty. We hope that it will be a blessing and encouragement to you during this pandemic. Please pass it on to others to whom you think it will benefit.
On Thursday, Pennsylvania Governor Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania be closed as of March 19. Bare Wealth Advisors is complying with that request and our physical location is closed until further notice.
Although our physical location is closed, we remain committed to serving you throughout the unfolding coronavirus situation. We will all be working remotely and will have access to our email and voicemail during this time. If you need to contact us, please call the office number. If someone is unable to answer the phone, please leave a message and we will call you back promptly.
This in an unprecedented time in the life of our community, nation, and world. We are daily seeking the Lord for His guidance and are committed to praying for our leaders and all of those on the front lines of fighting this virus. We are also praying for you and your families – please feel free to reach out to us with any concerns or personal requests. We appreciate your understanding and patience, and we look forward to being able to meet with you again face to face soon.
We wanted to give you an update on Bare Wealth Advisors’ response to the developing coronavirus situation.
First, we want to keep lines of our communication open with you and be available to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have over the upcoming weeks. We understand the concerns you may have related to your investment accounts and the potential impact on your financial plan. If there are any short-term changes to your financial situation, please contact as soon as possible. In any situation, we will continue to provide advice based on the timeless principles in God’s Word.
Second, while we will remain open, we are limiting the number of in-office meetings we have. If you are scheduled in the next few weeks, we will reach out to you regarding your meeting. Based on various factors, we will be holding meetings via phone or Skype.
We will have staff available to receive any checks for deposit into your accounts. You can either mail these in or drop them off at the office. We will also have a licensed advisor available to speak to you via phone during our normal business hours.
While we think the size of our team and our office location are not conducive to spreading the virus, our first priority is the safety and health of our employees and clients. Also, as Americans we want to be part of the solution to minimizing the serious effects of this virus. By taking these steps, we can help protect our team and their loved ones, you our clients, and contribute to our country moving forward. This is a developing situation with governments both locally and nationally issuing updates, so we will keep you up to date on how these effects our day to day operations.
Additionally, if you are at a higher-risk of getting sick, please let us know if we can assist you in any way with getting items you may need for daily living.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.
The Bare Wealth Advisors Team
by Ron Bare
As mentioned in our previous blog, the Bare Wealth Advisors team believe in helping our clients make financial decisions flowing out of a comprehensive financial plan based on your values and goals. However, we do understand that the current health situation with the virus and also the implications of how this effects your financial goals is probably on your mind. With that in mind, we wanted to share a few thoughts on fear and also a few principles we believe.
Since fear levels in our country (and world) are at high levels, we thought it would be good to share some thoughts and principles related to fear and finances. I have heard that the Bible says do not fear (or be afraid) somewhere close to 365 times, one for each day. This is clearly to remind us that our nature is to fear the unknown and the circumstance we may be faced with. I was reminded in our church service this past week to read Psalms 91 (too long to type in this blog – I suggest going to the YouVersion Bible app to read). Reading this and other scripture is a great way to actively combat fear in our lives and for those we care about.
In addition, as we make financial decisions, we believe reviewing a few basic principles can be effective when we live in times of uncertainty. Here are a few to consider:
- God is the owner of all things, including our money (Psalm 24:1). This reminds us we are stewards and should work hard to manage what has been entrusted to us; however, we are not expected to have a crystal ball based on future events that may or may not happen.
- Live within your means and be content with what we have (Hebrews 13:5)
- Minimize the use of debt
- Build liquidity and have some money put back in savings for the unexpected and for income that you may need in the short term (our planning process accounts for these items)
- Think long term – the longer term your perspective typically will help you make better financial decisions. (Think back to the financial crisis of 2008 – 12 years ago, we have recovered well)
- Give generously – personally I believe this to be a very important step in coming up against fear we may have. Fear causes us to hold tight to what we have rather than have an open hand, look to help someone in need or bless a cause or mission you believe in.
In summary, one of our core values at Bare Wealth is Biblical wisdom. We believe that when we manage our lives and finances according to Biblical principles we can experience:
- Contentment under all economic conditions
- Confidence in financial decision making
- Maximize the use of money, our talents and time for what matters most to us
As always feel free to contact our team with questions on your plan/investments or concerns related to what is happening in our world, we care about you and your family.
Also, please pass this on to any family or friends who may benefit from reading this.
by Ron Bare
One thing I have learned, working in the financial services industry over the past 24 years, is by having your investment decisions flow out of a comprehensive personal financial plan, based on your values and goals, is essential to making wise decisions over time. The moment you separate your investment decisions and make them independently of a comprehensive financial plan is when those decisions are made based on emotions, news events, or other items that do not point back towards your values and goals.
If you have worked with Bare Wealth for any length of time, you know we believe in planning around our client’s purpose, values and goals and letting these items drive all decision making. However, we do understand when world events cause large movements in the financial markets, feelings of concern may arise regarding how these shifts may impact your objectives. With that in mind, we do not want to be silent when events, such as the coronavirus, influence the markets with an 11% drop in one week.
In case this has caused any concern (or fear) related to life or your finances, we want to assure you that unless your goals or short-term financial needs have changed, it is best not to react to these news events. Let your financial plan have the time it needs to properly help carry out your goals. As always, we are here to take any questions or inquiries surrounding these events. In the meantime, lets pray for the families impacted by the virus and pray that a solution would be developed to stop the spread of the disease.
by Ron Bare
As mentioned in our “Yearly Update Letter,” 2020 is Bare Wealth Advisors’ Year of Vision.
At the beginning of this year, I (Ron) set some time aside to get alone with God and to focus on HIS vision for 2020. As I did, something stirred in my heart. God helped me see that during the last two decades, He has been developing my influence… my voice… and my abilities to move towards solutions to some problems in our world. As I wrote down the vision I felt God gave me, I closed my laptop that day and was excited to begin taking steps towards accomplishing what God had just planted in my heart.
How about you? Have you taken time to get alone with God as this new year has begun? If not, I would encourage you to! I feel confident that as you desire to hear from and seek Him, He will begin to unfold a vision for you with the gifting’s He has developed in you.
Proverbs 29:18 says “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. Some versions of this verse replace perish with “the people cast off restraint”. Several versions of Proverbs 29:18 actually replace the word vision with “revelation” or “divine guidance” which may give us a better picture of what this actually is. What this verse is saying is that without godly vision for your life, or revelation from God, we are left to perish or “run wild”. God’s revelation is His Word! At Bare Wealth, we have seen this to be true especially in the area of finance. Without using God’s wisdom given in His Word and without formulating a plan or vision for your finances, mistakes are more easily made. In addition, if there is no order or restraint –financial problems (too much debt, too little margin, very little impact, no contentment, etc.)– all begin to surface.
Aligning our “vision” or plans with God’s divine revelation is the ultimate goal. What we all need to ask ourselves to help us gain clarity in our vision is this question: What has God shown me and what will I do with what I have been given?
Many of us have been given much not only in the financial area of life, but also talents, relationships, education, experiences, time etc. Those who have been given much have a higher level of responsibility and accountability (Luke 12:48). With a focus on Vision in 2020, we hope to help each family we serve better answer the above questions and take steps to help you gain a clearer vision in your finances, relationships, and many other areas of your life – ultimately in your God given purpose. Here is what I believe will happen if we are successful managing our lives with a greater vision: we will have great impact, improved relationships, increased adventure and fun, and gain eternal rewards.
Driving into work today the classic 1972 Johnny Nash song “I Can See Clearly Now” came strolling into my mind. It made me first break out in song and then contemplate the blessing of sight and finally consider how this year is going to be the Year of Vision at Bare Wealth Advisors. You will hear more about our Year of Vision throughout the year but for now I simply want to focus on seeing clearly or having clarity.
Did you know that eyes are made up of 2 million working parts? Or that your eye is the fastest muscle in your body? I regularly take my eyes for granted and forget that my vision is one of the greatest gifts I have. However, when I forget my glasses or get something in my eyes and lose the clarity of vision, it’s an easy reminder how critical it is to see clearly.
As a financial advisor, one of the areas we excel at is giving financial clarity to our clients. It’s more than just wealth management and insurance products based on your age and risk tolerance. These might provide a course but cannot provide full clarity. Once we get a chance to walk through a full financial plan, understanding a client’s core values in addition to their financial goals and circumstances, we can provide a lot of clarity as to the path they are on and help them answer the question of “how much is enough?” in many areas of their financial lives.
We’re looking forward to 2020 and hope to see you soon! As the Johnny Nash chorus continues, “It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshiny day”.
As you know this is our Year of Generosity and one of the interesting things about generosity is that it’s always easier to tell someone else’s story of generosity than our own. We are quick to quote Matthew 6 when Jesus said “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.” We take that sentence out of the rest of the Sermon of the Mount and fear “losing our reward” if we tell someone about our giving.
Yet the sections of Matthew 6 on giving, prayer, fasting, treasures, and worry are all about the heart of why we do what we do. In speaking about giving, Jesus said don’t be like those who do it “to be honored by men”. What if our cheerful giving to the Glory of God included “spurring others on in love and good deeds”? Generous Giving is on a mission to see the generosity of God displayed through the generosity of God’s people. Since it’s football season we thought we’d include a story below of a Quarterback’s generosity journey.