by Lamar King
Growing up on a farm, I (Lamar) was often encouraged to start my own business. So at the age of 12 I began raising and selling puppies. I purchased a beautiful yellow Labrador retriever and remember vividly one winter when she gave birth to a litter of puppies. One was not moving. It had gotten away from her mom and was lifeless. My father brought her inside and with warm water rubbed this little puppy and soon enough it was moving around, and life was evident! Like a real-life version of 101 Dalmatians, this puppy had seemingly come back to life! This experience is the closest I have ever come to physically seeing resurrection and I can assure you, it had lasting impact! As we approach Easter, this memory brings to mind a resurrection that has had an impact on me personally and on the world we live in – the most meaningful resurrection in history – the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
As Ron shared in our most recent blog, 2021 is our “Year of Impact” at Bare Wealth Advisors. There has been and is no greater impact than the person of Jesus Christ. The Gregorian calendar is the most widely used on earth currently and whether you call it the Common Era or Anno Domini (AD), the counting of years to get to 2021 started at the birth of Jesus Christ. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and willingly laid down His life at the hands of those who were His own people. He came as a King yet acted like a servant. He often taught with stories and parables to turn peoples’ hearts rather than with decree to only chase obedience. He restored the marginalized and showed the value of people no matter their age, gender, or ethnicity.
Throughout His ministry on earth, Jesus predicted his resurrection. Most of the time his followers really did not understand what He was talking about. Three days after His death, so much became clear. The tomb was empty! Everything Jesus had talked about suddenly made sense. For 40 days on the earth before ascending to Heaven Jesus physically appeared to many people. From groups of two to gatherings of 500, His presence is documented.
Jesus said to His followers in John 15:5 “Apart from me you can do nothing”. I believe this. The deepest and truest impact can only be found in and through Him. Him who conquered the grave. Him who walked in humility and obedience to His Father. Him who led people as a servant. Him who gave generously. Him who was patient with difficult people. Him who laid down His life for His friends. Him who empowered the broken and despised. Him who spoke with and encouraged those left alone. Jesus Christ impacted every person He met. And He gives us this same ability to impact others – through His example and the Holy Spirit. As we approach Good Friday, the day of His death, and contemplate the impact His resurrection had three days later, on what we now call Easter – may we all consider and remember His impact. And may it cause us to ask – Who am I impacting? And may we all walk anew with impact like this, by His strength.
If you would like to experience and walk in this life changing power and have lasting impact beyond your time here on earth, please feel free to reach out to our team.
by Ron Bare
Who or what are you impacting? This is the question we are asking at Bare Wealth Advisors in 2021. Each of us has an impact on someone or something, either in a positive or in a negative manner. Our mission at Bare is to help our clients “intentionally manage wealth that aligns with their God given purpose for maximum impact.” Our desire is to assist you in having the maximum impact with the wealth you are stewarding. What I (Ron) have learned over the past 25 years as a wealth advisor is that most of us aspire to having impact, but many things (both good and bad) easily get in the way of accomplishing this goal.
I recently heard a speaker say, “whenever we have excess it is easy to be wasteful.” It’s easy to think of this in terms of food, or time, but what about wealth? If you have more than enough, do you easily find yourself investing the extra into relationships or causes to help create impact? Or do you spend it on more temporal or short-term fun?
At Bare, we believe God has given us complete freedom to use wealth for enjoyment and for blessing our families, but also for SO much more! We believe in being intentional with excess wealth decisions so we can leave an impact and legacy. The end goal of managing wealth should not be endless accumulation. You have probably heard the saying, “you never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul full of our stuff.” When we die, only what has been invested into people and impact will last. That is what we are passionate about. Imagine a world where we took the excess resources we have and intentionally invested these funds into causes or people for positive impact.
Let’s dream together about a few areas of possible impact:
Family – have we purposely invested into our families’ dreams, whether that be education, launching a business, or helping to fund a passion?
Local communities – how can we improve the community we live in? Do we know our neighbors and their struggles? Are we involved in local ministries? What other ways can we help our community?
World problems – what problem around the world do you wish to see positive change in? Clean water for all? Elimination of hunger? End of human slavery? Value of human life? I am sure we could name so many more.
Let me leave you with a simple formula for intentional money management so you can have meaningful impact:
- Work hard to earn a living and bring increase to your business. We were made to work and improve the earth. (Genesis 2:15)
- Learn to be content. Not an easy task but the more we learn contentment the more we can focus on the needs of others. (Philippians 4:12)
- Set long term financial goals – college, family, retirement, or other. When you know your goals, it is much easier to calculate how much you will need to accomplish those goals.
- Set a financial finish line. This can be an annual cap on your living expenses or a cap on your net worth. When this is set, work hard to grow your income or net worth (increase is good), but commit to using the increase for impact on others.
Following this four-step formula can help you intentionally have an impact in your family, local community, and the world. We look forward to working with you in 2021 to help you set and accomplish your goals and to begin discussions on what kind of impact you wish to leave this world!
As many of you have seen in the financial news within the last week(s), social media forums are having an increased influence on specific shares of companies or precious metals. We have had several of our clients as well as friends and family members ask us to explain what is happening.
For those who have not heard about it, here is a quick background: Hedge funds often have large short positions on companies they expect to decline in share price. To “short a stock”, means to sell it with plans to buy it back later; hopefully, at a lower price. These positions are public as large hedge funds are required to make their holdings known. Recently, forums on some social media platforms have taken notice and leaders of these are encouraging people to buy stocks of a few of these companies to run up the price and cause large losses for the hedge fund managers.
A few thoughts and reminders:
- When you are buying a stock of a company, that company does not receive any money. Stocks (after the IPO – Initial Public Offering) are traded on the secondary market. So, when you are buying a stock, it is like buying a used vehicle – the manufacturer does not get a dime.
- Use caution if your heart is attracted due to a quick gain or fast profit. Proverbs 13:11 says, “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it”.
- Understand how your investment creates wealth. If you are going to buy an investment, make sure you or your advisor knows how it works. In this case, with companies like GameStop, look at the underlying company you are buying, in this case GameStop had 3 years of declining income, increasing debt, and the increasing use of borrowing to fund cash flow. Proverbs 14:15 says “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.”
- Consider the ethical side of an investment decision not just the financial side. Contemplate questions like “Am I making the right investment choice if I’m hoping for the demise of another for the sake of personal gain”? Proverbs 24:17 says, “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice.”
- Just like joining in partnership with someone in business – know what your exit strategy is. If you plan to get in on trends or investing in individual companies, know what your exit plan is. Do not buy based off excitement with no plan of when to sell after gains or losses occur.
- Seek the counsel of those whom you trust. Be cautious trusting your investment decisions to those you do not know.
There is nothing inherently right or wrong about purchasing stock in a company. However, we do know that every financial decision has more than just financial implications and it is good for each of our hearts to pause and consider the above thoughts before making any investment decision.
At Bare Wealth Advisors, one of our core values is Generosity.
We believe that cheerful and generous giving inspires others in their purpose, enriches relationships, and expands the influence of the resources we manage. All year long we love to lead our clients in conversations regarding generosity and strategic giving. But certainly, something happens between Thanksgiving and year end that ramps up those conversations. There is a clear connection between gratitude and generosity. A connection between heart and function. So here are some thoughts below about how you give in heart and in function.
How in our hearts:
- As Jesus is sending out His disciples part of His instructions were “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8b) As we recognize God as the owner and we as the stewards it positions our hearts in gratitude to give freely with no strings attached.
- “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7) This is a great chapter packed with why we should sow generously and give what is decided in our hearts.
- “Each person is to give what has been decided in their heart to give.” (2 Cor 9:7) Giving is to be strategic, prayerfully considered, and is different for each person/family/business.
- By Faith. “Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.” (2 Cor 8:2-3)
How in our function:
- Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs). These are great tools that make giving easier in so many ways. A DAF is basically a savings account for giving that provides the tax deduction the year you place money in the DAF. It can be directed out immediately to charities of your choice or wait until you decide to give it later. It simplifies giving record-keeping to one place, provides ability to give anonymously, can be used to maximize bunching strategies with the current itemized/standard deduction tax law, and so much more.
- Giving 100% of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). For 2020 only! You can deduct up to 100% of your AGI using charitable gifts of cash. These donations must go to an operating nonprofit. You can not use a DAF for the increased amount. (Though a single charity fund is an option)
- Out of Assets not only Income. We often only think of giving based on income and out of cash. However, there are lots of ways to give the same amounts but in a more tax advantaged way. Several examples would be: charitable SWAP donating appreciated stock and using cash then to buy back the stock to improve basis, gifting portions of business ownership, giving of grain or other commodities, Real estate, and more.
- Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) – IRA accounts have no required minimum distribution (RMD) in 2020. But those age 70½ or older can still make gifts directly from an IRA to a nonprofit up to $100,000. This gift donates pre-tax dollars. The earned income is not once taxed because it goes directly to the charitable organization.
Please reach out to us with questions as you consider your generosity goals! We would encourage you as Ron Blue says, to consider “doing your givin’ while you’re livin’, so you’re knowing where it’s goin’.” For it is better to give than to receive.
(We have recently completed a new video sharing more about our roots of generosity – please check it out! (www.barewealthadvisors.com/about/values/givingroots/)
Securities America and its representatives do not provide tax advice; therefore it is important to coordinate with your tax advisor regarding your specific situation.
by Curtis Burkholder
As we enter the fall season with changing leaves and weather, it is easy to feel the world around is changing as well. However, as the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun”. In light of all the changes, we can be paralyzed by feelings of fear as we consider the upcoming election, the nationwide racial unrest, and the ongoing Covid-19 concerns. It is important to maintain a long-term perspective and look at the facts to confront some of our emotions and the pictures we paint in our own mind. It is natural to want to react and wait to invest for a “better time” or when “things don’t seem as scary”. However, as we will look at below, the facts tell a different story.
In looking at historical market averages, the S&P 500 Index has averaged approximately 11% over the past 75 years. This is a time period that covers both Democratic and Republican administrations. If you fast forward 2 months from now, the election will be over. Some people will be happy, and others will be fearful based on the winning candidate. These emotions can lead us to make irrational investment decisions. We need to always remember that it is important to remain invested in the markets and not give in to fear.
A second fact to consider is that you don’t need to like who is President to do well in the market. According to Invesco, some of the best returns historically came when the presidential approval rating was between 36-50%. This occurs approximately 40% of the time. Take a moment to stop and reflect on this – the best returns in the stock market have come when half or more of the country has not approved of the sitting president.
A third fact to consider is that while we may feel this election is more divisive and contentious than in the past, we can look at our history as a nation and find another political disagreement that was more contentious. In 1804, the sitting Vice President of the United States, Aaron Burr, engaged the former US Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in a duel. This duel led to the death of Hamilton. While there are strong opinions on either side of the political spectrum today, none of us expect to see the Vice President (from either party) engage in a duel! As a nation based on freedom, there will always be different opinions and perspectives. We cannot let the political tensions impact our investing decisions.
As always, if there are significant changes to your personal situation, please contact us so we can relook at your plan and adjust accordingly. We do not want to make emotional decisions in reaction to the news, markets, or presidential elections. However, we will make changes as your goals and life situations change.
In conclusion, as we consider where we are as a nation and look to the future, none of us knows what today or tomorrow holds. But we do know WHO holds our future – Jesus Christ. As we look at the past, we can gain helpful perspective. We don’t know who is going to be elected, what the market is going to do, or if there will be a spike in COVID 19 cases this fall. We can take courage and comfort in the words of Jesus from John 14:27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (NLT)
by Jim Wahlberg
In a year that has been anything but routine and normal, I am glad to bring news of something that is staying the same in 2020. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is set to begin on October 15th and will continue through December 7th. In the days and weeks ahead, I will be looking into the plans for the upcoming year to make sure that I am prepared to discuss any changes with you.
Below are a some important frequently asked questions to help make sense of the AEP:
What is the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)? The AEP is a timeframe that allows Medicare beneficiaries an opportunity to either enroll, disenroll, or make changes to your existing Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription drug plan. Medicare Supplement plans have separate rules for change and are not necessarily tied to this enrollment season.
What are the dates of the Annual Enrollment Period? October 1st is the “magic date” that discussion can begin about any of the 2021 plans. If you receive information about a 2021 plan prior to October 1st, please wait to call as I cannot discuss details until that date. If a plan change is necessary, you can sign and submit applications beginning October 15th and we can accept an application only until December 7th.
Do I have to meet, call, or sign anything to keep my current coverage? Generally, NO. If your current plan is continuing for 2021, you are satisfied with the way it worked, and you understand the upcoming changes in coverage, you do not need to do anything. If you have questions about your plan for the next year it would generally be best to schedule a 5 or 10-minute phone call and I could review the upcoming changes with you. If an in-person meeting is necessary, we can set that up during that phone call.
Finally, as a general rule, when you receive the many different pieces of Medicare marketing in the mail, you do not want to send your phone number or email address on a response card unless you would like to receive a lot of calls/emails from the unknown sender of that mailer. If you have question about your Medicare coverage, please feel free to call our office or email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to answer any questions you have. I hope that each of you have a great Fall season!
By Curtis Burkholder
Take a moment to pause and remember how you felt at the beginning of 2020. Did you have a sense of excitement and anticipation for the start of a new year and new decade? What did you hope to accomplish this year? What did you expect life to look like by the middle of 2020?
If you were like me, you started the year with excitement, anticipation, and goals you hoped to accomplish. However, that quickly changed as March arrived and coronavirus changed all our lives. With schools and businesses being closed and “stay at home” orders in place, life suddenly was drastically different. I think it’s safe to say that none of us anticipated this new “normal”: mask wearing in public, limits on business capacity, and phrases such as “social distancing” and “6 feet apart” being commonplace.
Despite how things turned out and amid the challenges we all faced (and continue to face), I would encourage you to pause and reflect on where you are in life right now. Were there things you were able to accomplish over the last several months with reduced scheduling commitments? Did you find some things impossible to do with businesses being shut down? Have you had new opportunities or insights due to being required to stay at home? No matter what life looks like for you right now, I encourage you to revisit your dreams and goals. While some may need to be adjusted, some may be even more relevant today than ever before!
Reevaluating goals can be applied not only to personal life but also to our financial lives. Perhaps you have experienced a loss of income or increased job uncertainty. Maybe you’re busier now than ever and have seen your earnings greatly increase. Wherever you find yourself financially, it is wise to evaluate if you are doing the best job with the finances that have been entrusted to you.
In times of uncertainty, having a plan can help to guide us through difficult times. For example, when we travel, there are unknowns that can arise such as detours and mechanical breakdowns. However, as you remain patient and focused, even following the detour, you will arrive at your original destination. The same is true of our financial lives. When we stay focused on our goals and values, as we come upon “detours” in life, we can adjust our actions accordingly. Intentionally remaining focused on and revisiting our goals as needed, while navigating detours, allows us to accomplish what we set out to accomplish.
In conclusion, as we find ourselves in unexpected circumstances, I would encourage you to reflect back on the goals you set for 2020 as well as what you have learned over the last 6 months. As you then turn and look to the future, consider what is most important to accomplish with the time remaining in 2020. I believe God has unexpected opportunities and possibilities in the days and months ahead for you and your family!
by Ron Bare
In February of this year, I spent a week in Florida with my family as well as with some of our team from the office. Visiting colleges with our daughter, going to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, enjoying the beach, and attending the annual “Kingdom Advisor Conference” all seem like a distant memory. It is hard to believe that this was only three months ago! While we had heard a few “rumblings” of a new virus during our travels, we saw no masks or any cause for concern, even when boarding our plane on February 23rd.
The equity markets at the time were reaching new highs. The US economy was very strong, with record low unemployment and solid GDP growth rates. Although some were saying markets were beginning to look overvalued, the bottom line was that companies were profitable and were predicting even greater profits throughout 2020.
Then Covid-19 arrived and with it, full-blown panic. The market dropped 34% in 33 days, a record decline. I discussed this in our video blog in late March (which you can find on our website.) Now, two months later, the dust has begun to settle and although the panic has subsided there is still uncertainty about where we go from here. The markets have since recovered much of their decline, however, a large amount of skepticism remains. With this in mind I thought it may be wise to pass on a few thoughts relating to investing success over time:
- When stock prices are going down, the enduring value of the underlying companies is going up. The lower prices go, the more value is to be had at those prices. You understand this in almost every other area of your economic life (we all love to purchase something on sale!) It is essential to apply this same principle to the stocks of American companies we invest in – or you may never become a successful investor.
- Staying fully invested during market declines is the only sure way to capture the entirety of the markets long term advance. It is not possible to consistently sell out of falling markets and buy back later at the “right” time. Most of the market driven news is geared toward market traders, NOT long-term goal and plan driven investors. To the latter, market fluctuations are just part of the process to be rewarded for the long term returns of some of the greatest companies of America and around the world.
- You should never try to make long-term investment strategies out of short to intermediate-term disruptions. We always advise to make investment decisions based on our values and financial plan, not short-term events or emotions. The past few months are a good example. Let’s assume you ignored the market downward collapse of 33 days in late February and March and woke up today, May 15th, and took a look at the markets. Yes, they are down 15-16% from earlier highs, but that is in the range of a typical market correction that happens about once every 12-18 months.
There is the ongoing chance that the markets will continue to drop back due to the uncertainty we still are facing with the Covid-19 virus and economic wake it will leave. If you adhere to the ideas presented above, then these fluctuations should not impact your long-term goal and plan driven investment strategy. Perhaps when we focus on the long term, we not only will make much better investment decisions in the short term, but we also will rest better as we wait for time to pass.
by Ron Bare
For many of us, both individually and as companies, the year 2020 was to be an exciting “Year of Vision!” As 2019 drew to a close we began thinking of developing tools and correspondence to help our team and clients pursue a greater vision – not only in the area of finances, but also in other areas that money can be used as a tool to enhance. Areas of life such as family relationships, health, friendships, spiritual enrichment and more can all be improved when we gain better vision in our desires for these areas.
Then, as you are very aware, Covid-19 arrived in our country and the urgent took priority over many other initiatives. “2020 Vision” suddenly took a backseat. Perhaps at first your response was, what is the point of planning or focusing on our future vision when we need to survive this health scare and the financial/job implications that may flow from it. That is how I felt as this unfolded these past few months. But now I have another thought – what if this “reset” or “pause of life” (which is unlike anything we have ever experienced) is a gift to actually help us get a better perspective for tomorrow? Would we have ever really stopped all the activities and busyness of our lives long enough to gain true “2020” vision for our future? I’m doubtful.
Have you heard the old saying “Eat Your Carrots – they give you good vision!” Well, as I child I loved carrots. I always chalked my love for carrots as the reason for my 20/20 eyesight. Even as many of my peers have started to lose their vision and need corrective eyewear to get back to 20/20, I proudly kept eating my carrots. But time is moving on and I find myself holding the paper and my phone a bit further away from my eyes as I read. I stubbornly have stayed away from the eye doctor but I must admit, to get back to “20/20” I may need more than carrots for my vision!
Perhaps this quarantine has been the “corrective eyewear” we needed to get back to 20/20 vision for our lives. Let us not waste the good that has come from this. What have we learned? What do we need to change when life gets back to “normal”? Do we really want to go back to the way things were? Like many of you I am ready to fully get back to work. I am ready to get outside and go out to eat, “sit down style!” I miss sporting events, both locally and professionally. I miss actually going to church each Sunday. But I am not ready to go back to the hustle of plans most evenings and weekends, running to school/sports events often, and catching a few brief conversations with my kids and wife in passing. I LOVE the family dinners, games after dinner, conversations in the kitchen, cooking meals together, actually finishing projects that have been on the list, working out each day with my son and knowing that the upcoming weekend has a good bit of margin for life and rest! I love having extra time to connect with many of our clients on the phone and not running from appointment to appointment feeling rushed in many conversations. I want to listen to them, hear how they really are doing, and pray and help anyone I have the opportunity to spend some time with.
What is my vision for 2020 and beyond? How about taking better care of the body that God has given me and making exercise part of my daily life – doing it with my family. Growing spiritually as I read the Bible and connect with God on a deeper level because I’m spending time with God and actually listening to what He is saying in His word rather than feeling rushed by the next daily agenda item. Connecting with family by being together and enjoying each other (most of the time, 🙂 ) rather than just going to watch them participate in an activity. Really connecting with a few close friends and sharing life together. And working with additional margin so we can not only provide financial counsel but care and connect in deeper ways.
How about you? What is your vision for beyond the Covid-19 quarantine? What have you learned? What have you enjoyed and what do you need to DECIDE now so when life gets back to “normal” you do not, but rather you create a “new normal”. A normal with purpose, vision, margin, enjoyment and time to connect with God and people – the way God designed it.
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!