by Ron Bare
I remember as a child waking up on Christmas morning full of excitement and anticipation for what the morning would bring – a special breakfast, stockings, and…presents!
However, growing up on a dairy farm meant it was also a morning of waiting. The cows still had to be milked on Christmas morning just like every other day, and that meant that I had to wait until all the morning work was done, showers for my parents who were doing the work, and breakfast to feed those who already put in half day’s work until I could get to those presents! Ugh! Time seemed to move so slowly!
Then, the moment finally came -the Bible was opened, and the Christmas story read. And we could begin opening presents! Whatever the gifts were, they were usually worth the wait! However, by the next year I somehow would forget the gifts from the prior year and be looking ahead to what the next Christmas would bring.
Christmas Day more than 2000 years ago the world was also in waiting. Waiting on a promised Savior who had been foretold hundreds of years prior. But finally the wait was over. Jesus Christ was born! Unexpectedly, he came as a baby…. grew into a man…and died on a cross for the sins of the world. This was and is great news! He lived a perfect life, performed many miracles, and taught and modeled for us all how to live a life of impact. A life that is willing to serve, put others first, and ultimately die for others who are underserving of such sacrifice. Jesus was and is THE gift of Christmas.
“For God so loved the world that HE gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16. This gift lasts throughout eternity and is not like earthly gifts that rust and rot away or are quickly forgotten. He is the gift that forever changed the world and was worth the wait. He is the gift we should all reflect on every day, but especially during the season of Christmas, not to be lost in the hustle and preparations of the upcoming day.
Throughout 2021 at Bare Wealth Advisors, we have carried the theme “Year of Impact” both internally and with our valued clients. As we come to the end of another year and bring the “Year of Impact” to a close, I am drawn to the impact the life Jesus had on all of humanity. 2021 years after his birth we are still celebrating this life on the most widely known holiday celebrated each year. The life of Jesus Christ is the most impactful life of anyone who has ever lived and one we should look to model. He did it not with much wealth (actually very little), but rather with a life that served, loved, and ultimately was laid down for others – you and me. So, as we celebrate another Christmas season let us remember that the wait is over! The best gift ever has been given to all! And we are free to live a life like Jesus, a life of impact.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
by Lamar King
As we approach Thanksgiving in our “Year of Impact,” it’s hard to think of
any greater impact than a life lived in gratitude. Sounds trite, but when you stop and really think about it – it’s so true. In high school when the Lord captured my heart, a friend shared 3 powerful verses with me that we also recently memorized as a team at Bare Wealth. “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I find that being joyful and giving thanks is fairly easy when things are going well. I also find I pray more when things aren’t going well. But the power of Christ shines most and carries the most impact when we do these things both when life is going well AND when life stinks. This is not fake happiness or empty one-liners, but a dependency on and a deep-rooted belief in WHO is with us, WHO is the righteous judge, WHO wins in the end, and WHO loves our loved ones better than we can.
An excellent example of living this way was the apostle Paul. While in prison he wrote to the church in Philippi and said, “At the moment I have all I need – and more!” (4:18) Can you actually imagine saying that?! Throughout this entire book he reminds the Philippians of what is most important, where their focus should be and to “shine like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” (2:15) Rejoicing and gratitude are a recurring theme throughout Philippians – what an impact that must have made on the readers! (and should on us today!)
The picture at the top of this post was hanging on the dining room wall of a hotel we stayed at in Salina, KS this summer and I had to take a picture of it. As I researched the author, I found she is someone with a deep history of pain and addiction yet out of that darkness learned the power of gratitude. Though it does not take long to find great quotes about gratitude online, a life lived in gratitude is a rare jewel.
As we approach Thanksgiving, may the season be a catalyst for us all to change our thoughts about things both in and out of our control and may we grow more and more in gratitude for ALL circumstances. God does not call us to something that is impossible – as we pray continually, He will renew our minds so that our life of gratitude will produce joy in us and impact in those we interact with.
by Jim Wahlberg
As we move into the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period for another year, I think most of you know the “routine” by now. For those of you experiencing this for the first time or if you just need a reminder, I thought it would be helpful to remind you all of dates and times that changes can be made.
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 2022 plans. If a plan change is necessary, I can help with enrollment, including signing and submitting applications beginning October 15th. We can continue to meet and accept applications until December 7th…after the 7th you cannot submit an application for the AEP.
Do I have to meet, call, or sign anything to keep my current coverage? Generally, NO. If your current plan is continuing for 2022, 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 have a 5-10 minute phone call that we can review the upcoming changes and decide if an in-person meeting is necessary.
Finally, as a general reminder, you will receive 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 questions 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 Ryan Kurtz
As many of you know, our theme at Bare Wealth Advisors for 2021 is “Impact.” Specifically, we are challenging our staff and clients to ask, “how can we use our resources and lives to have an impact on others?”
As I reflect on my life and career, a man comes to mind that was very influential in my own life as well as extremely influential in our industry. Even though he is no longer with us on earth, Larry Burkett epitomizes a life of impact.
Larry passed away when I was 25 years old, and I was never able to meet him. My remembrance of Larry Burkett was when I spent afternoons as a young boy feeding animals and milking cows in the barn on our family farm. Typical of many farmers, the radio was playing, and every midafternoon a show called “Money Matters” aired. It was a “call-in” type of show where people would ask Larry financial questions and he would answer them. I was always struck by the way Larry gave answers to callers with knowledge for each financial situation while simultaneously integrating Biblical wisdom with the answer. His words were full of love for each person regardless of the financial situation – even if the caller found themselves in very negative appearing circumstances. Years later, as I began my career in the financial field as an advisor, part of my desire to help others came from wanting to “be like Larry” – to give loving financial advice integrated with God’s Word.
In addition to the radio show, Larry published over 70 books in his lifetime, and sales of these books now exceed 11 million copies. As I prepare for meetings with clients, I still have many of his books in my office that I pull out from time to time to see what Larry said about a certain topic. It is interesting to me that when I look up the advice he gave in his writings there is almost always a Bible reference included.
Not only did Larry impact me personally (and many others) through his radio broadcasts and writings, Larry was also instrumental in starting or helping to start a number of wonderful Christian financial ministries. At Bare Wealth Advisors we still are closely connected to several of these ministries, and they continue to impact so much of what we do each day. Some of these organizations that we use and connect with regularly are Kingdom Advisors, National Christian Foundation, Crown Financial Ministries, and the Money Wise radio show.
As I reflect on the impact that Larry’s life had on me and many others, I ask myself, “on who am I having an impact?” “Am I having the same life changing impact on others as Larry’s life impacted mine?” I will always be forever grateful for Larry’s life and the way God used him to influence me in so many areas of my life.
by Ron Bare
It’s hard to believe we are nearing the end of August 2021. As you all are very aware, the past year and a half have presented never before seen challenges and uncertainty. We recognize that often fear and anxiety are the results of this uncertainty. We thought it would be appropriate as we head into the fall to share some important, time tested principles, as well as a few key thoughts on our economy.
- As always, we recommend the best course of action is to be long-term, goal-focused, planning-driven investors. We’ve found that the best course for us is to formulate a financial plan—and to build portfolios—based not on a view of the economy or the markets, but on our most important lifetime financial goals.
- We believe in following a plan with discipline — as opposed to reacting to current events. This offers us the best chance for long-term investment success. Simply stated: unless our goals change, we see little reason to alter our financial plan. And if our portfolio is well-suited to that plan, we don’t often make significant changes to that, either.
- We do not believe the economy can be consistently forecast, nor the markets consistently timed. We are therefore convinced that the most reliable way to capture the long-term return of equities is to ride out their frequent but ultimately temporary declines.
PERSPECTIVE OF CURRENT SITUATION
- The economy continues to struggle with supply chain imbalances, as well as with a historic mismatch between the number of job openings available and continued high (though rapidly declining) unemployment. Financial journalists continue to speculate on when these blockages will clear, but for long-term investors like us, the key is our belief that they will, in the fullness of time.
- There is also the issue of the Biden administration’s drastic tax proposals with respect to capital gains and estates. The best that can be said on this subject is that, as the first half of the year ended, the momentum behind these initiatives seemed to be declining. But the political climate remains as detrimental to capital (and capitalists) as it’s been in quite a while.
- Nonetheless, for investors like us, the most important economic report of this whole six-month period is the fact that household net worth in this country spiked 3.8% in the first quarter of 2021—to $136.9 trillion—propelled by broad gains in the equity market and in home prices. Even more important, perhaps, is the fact that the ratio of household debt to assets continued to fall, and is now back down to about where it was 50 years ago.
- The consumer powers this economy, and the consumer has rarely carried more manageable debt levels relative to disposable income—and has simply never been holding more cash—than he/she does today. In June, the National Retail Foundation raised its outlook yet again; it now expects retail sales to grow 10.5% to 13.5% (that is, $4.44 trillion to $4.56 trillion) year over year. As a result, the retail giant Target raised its dividend by a whopping 32%.
As always, if your situation has changed, or if you would like to speak to one of our advisors, please give us a call. We thank you for your continued trust and confidence in the team at Bare Wealth Advisors and we look forward to speaking with you soon!
by Tina Bare
As we are now halfway through our 2021 Year of Impact focus at Bare Wealth Advisors, we wanted to encourage you that giving back to organizations with your time and talents can be as important as giving your treasure. Many organizations rely very heavily on the support of volunteers and would not be able to survive without them! Ron and I (Tina) have been involved with a local youth ministry, the Parkesburg Point, (parkesburgpoint.com) for many years. We have served in different capacities – from board member to Bible study leader to cooking meals, staffing retreats and mentoring. At times we question do we have “the time” to volunteer and do these things, but we have always found that the Lord extends our time, blesses us, and fills us when we give of our time and talent to His work. The impact is two-fold; the Point meets the needs of those they serve and we in turn are impacted through the interactions that occur. I asked Amy Walton, Volunteer Coordinator at the Point to share her perspective on how volunteers impact their ministry:
“The Point addresses the spiritual, academic, emotional, and physical needs of the students. Volunteers have served those needs in many ways and help carry out the vision of a victorious life. One volunteer couple responded to a student who moved 41 times before coming to The Point. As a high school student, he could not read. Our volunteer couple began to address his academic needs by helping him learn to read. The time spent with this young man turned into a long-lasting relationship. Through their love and encouragement, he began learning about his passion to pursue real estate, learned how to budget, buy a car, and an apartment – and enjoyed eating family meals, something many of us take for granted! As a successful adult, he thanks The Point and this faithful couple for changing his bleak outlook into a life filled with hope, purpose, and love.
Volunteers also help carry out the programs that work towards our mission. Each month 150 volunteers from multiple churches come and serve home-cooked meals to our students each day that we are open. This service covers a nutritional and physical need for our demographic which falls below the poverty level. Other volunteers use their gifts and talents to teach cooking, woodworking, boxing, electrical work, skateboarding, tutoring, reading, and music. Additionally, we have volunteers who open their homes and pools for our Summer Bible Study students to swim—giving a chance for students to experience a peaceful, faithful atmosphere that they strive for in their own future home.
Volunteers support our mission, make an incredible impact, and show that true service does not require anything in return—we are grateful! Hundreds of volunteers have been serving, praying, supporting, giving, and believing in The Point for the last 18 years—the impact is priceless.”
We at Bare Wealth Advisors love to help you intentionally manage your wealth in a way that aligns with your God-given purpose for maximum impact – but, we also want to encourage you that there are so many ways to have impact outside of finances. We challenge you to ask yourself, “How can I leave an impact not only through my finances but also with my time and talents?”
“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” – Proverbs 11:25.
by David Denlinger
It is no secret that this past year created a significant amount of uncertainty, fear, and confusion. In times like these, it is very easy to allow the stress and weariness to get the best of us. All the negative headlines and conflicting news sources seem to shake our judgement. Instead of letting fear control our thoughts and decisions, 2 Timothy 1:7 is a good reminder to stand firm, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” From a financial standpoint, staying disciplined during uncomfortable times is difficult but crucial to short-term financial wellness and long-term financial success. Here are several guidelines to help keep your eyes on the goal:
Don’t focus on market swings. It is important to have a financial plan and to stick to it through market volatility. If there are changes to your financial situation, please let us know and we can review your accounts to see if we need to make changes, but it is important to not make decisions out of fear or emotion. Additionally, trying to time the market often involves a lot of disappointment and very few find success.
Invest prudently. The natural human tendency is to buy lots of stock when prices are rising and to stop buying altogether when prices are on the down swing. But some stock prices may provide a good value if the market drops, and you will be able to buy more for the same amount of money. When you are in the accumulation phase, the best way to invest is to setup a monthly investment. This removes the emotion from investing and is a proven long-term plan for successful investing.
Increase your savings. In times of stress, it is natural to buy something fun. But no matter how you feel, it is important to follow Biblical principles and spend less than you make. Focus on adding to your savings instead of making large unnecessary purchases due to the stress you may be feeling.
Give Generously. No matter what is happening around us, it is important to continue to give. There will always be people in need and as a nation we have been very blessed financially. Consider giving of your time, talent, or money to those around you. Furthermore, you can consider giving to local, national, and international organizations to increase the impact that you can have.
Hopefully, these guidelines are helpful as you face the challenges of today. The pandemic has touched each of our lives differently and as you continue to steward your finances, we at Bare Wealth Advisors encourage you to stay disciplined and in all things be grateful. Philippians 4:6-7 states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
by David Denlinger
Like most avid sports fans, I cheer for certain athletes more than others. As a kid, I was captivated by the athletes who performed the best and kept a “likeable” persona. Apparently, these athletes made enough of an impact on me that I would spend hours in my backyard pretending to be them. Since my years as a little squirt, I have gained a greater appreciation for athletes who are outspoken about their faith and have made a difference outside of their sport. As I reflect over some of my favorite athletes, Tim Tebow is someone who has made a significant impact on my life.
In the 2009 NCAA Football National Championship, Tebow wore eye black with “John 3:16” written across it. As the star quarterback and Heisman trophy winner, there was no surprise that he consumed more airtime than the other players. As a result, 92 million people googled the Bible verse John 3:16!
It amazes me how Tebow’s small decision to write John 3:16 on his eye black compelled 92 million people to search it on the internet. Since 2009, Tim Tebow has continued to use his platform to make a significant impact. In 2010, he created the Tim Tebow Foundation which “exists to bring Faith, Hope and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.” In addition to his foundation, Tim has written books and speaks in front of large groups of people. It is evident that Tebow is letting his light shine for his maker and allowing God to use his influence to impact the world.
Although wearing eye black might not be the best way for you to influence others, it is important for us to look for ways in which we can make an impact using our God-given gifts and talents. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Whether you are a famous professional athlete or not, we all have a unique “platform” that God has prepared for us. What ways do you intentionally choose to make an impact? What are some new ways you can intentionally make an impact?
by Curtis Burkholder
As we continue to discuss ways to have an “Impact” with our time, treasure, and talents, we wanted to highlight that tomorrow is “National 529 Day”! This day was established to focus on the importance of planning and saving for college – through what is known as the 529 plan. By utilizing a 529 plan, you can help impact someone’s educational life. As you know, education can be expensive. The 529 plan is an excellent way to purposefully plan to save for an individual’s education – whether that be your child, grandchild, or another special child in your life. If you do not know what a 529 plan is, you are not alone! Keep reading to learn more about how these accounts can be a helpful and impactful tool when saving for college or K-12 private education.
The 529 plan received its name because it was authorized in section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. It does not actually have anything to do with the May 29th other than it’s a great date to highlight this plan! The 529 is a college savings plan that allows individuals to save for college on a tax-advantaged basis without paying federal taxes on its growth – but only if it is used for qualified higher-education expenses. A few years ago, the tax laws were updated to allow families to use funds toward a private elementary or secondary education-up to $10,000/year per beneficiary.
If you contribute funds into a 529 account and the original beneficiary does not need the funds for their education, the beneficiary can be changed to another family member. This provides flexibility in funding and planning for education expenses as funds can be transferred between different siblings as well as down their family line.
It is also important to understand the tax treatment of 529 accounts. There are tax advantages for contributions into a 529 account. Each state has established their own plan with an investment company so you will receive a state tax deduction for any amount that you contribute into a 529 account. However, if you live in Pennsylvania, you may claim a deduction for a contribution to any state’s 529 plan. This means that you have a wide range of investment providers to choose from for the 529 account. This also means that you can contribute to 529 accounts for your grandchildren even if they live out of state.
Another important element to consider is how 529 distributions are treated from a tax perspective. If the funds are used for qualified education expenses, there are NO taxes due on the distributions. However, if the funds are not used for qualified education expenses, the earnings of the non-qualified distributions will be subject to income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax.
Almost anyone can open a 529 account including parents or grandparents. No matter who opens a 529 account, anyone can contribute to the account for the student. If you have grandchildren, you can contribute to their college education by establishing a 529 plan for their benefit or using one that is already established. This can also be useful if your grandchildren attend private school, as you can help cover the cost of their education and get a state tax deduction for any contributions made into a 529 account. The funds in the 529 account can then be withdrawn to be used to pay for the private school tuition.
Hopefully, you have gained a better understanding about 529 plans, as well as the advantages to using them. If you wish to learn more about 529 accounts and how they can be used for your children or grandchildren with great impact, please contact our office and we would be happy to discuss this with you in greater detail. Happy National 529 Day!
Securities America and its representatives do not provide tax advice; therefore, is is important to coordinate with your tax advisor regarding your specific situation.
by Curtis Burkholder
Have you ever considered how your life may impact future generations? Does your heart burn with a passion for a cause? Today, I want to briefly share the story of one individual who impacted many generations.
Recently the team at Bare Wealth Advisors read Gospel Patrons and discussed it weekly. Gospel Patrons is a book about generous people who funded the work and ministries of other people in history. This book specifically highlights the story of three individuals and their financial supporters. The book tells the stories of the impact they had in their world at the time and how many continue to impact us today. One of these stories is the story of George Whitefield (1714-1770).
You may have heard of Whitfield before as many people know him as one of the founders of Methodism as well as a preacher during the Great Awakening, but some parts of his story are not as well known. Whitefield had a financial backer known as Lady Huntingdon who helped to fund his ministry. Lady Huntingdon became widow at the age of thirty-nine and used her financial resources for eternal purposes.
Whitefield had a preaching style that was unique and uncommon for his time. He was known for speaking of spiritual things as being real. In stark contrast to sermons of the day that were often read and were dry, Whitefield’s sermons were passionate, biblical, and joyful. Often Whitefield would preach twice a day seven days a week. He also tried something that had not been tried in England at the time, preaching outside.
Amid drawing large crowds to hear him speak on both sides of the Atlantic, Whitefield also faced opposition. He regularly had rocks, dirt, and even eggs thrown at him. He was almost stoned to death in Ireland, two people attempted to murder him while he slept, and others tried to distract him and his listeners. But despite the opposition, he continued preaching.
By the time of his death at age fifty-five, he had preached at least 18,000 sermons averaging over ten per week-more than 500 sermons a year for thirty-four consecutive years. In his will, he left everything to Lady Huntington who had supported his ministry.
Through Lady Huntingdon’s support and Whitefield’s tireless preaching, they influenced many in both England and America. It is estimated that over 80% of those living in the American colonies at the time heard Whitefield preach. This provided a common theological framework that influenced the nation for many generations. Between both England and America, it is estimated that over ten million people heard his sermons.
As we reflect on the life of Whitefield and what he accomplished, it is amazing to consider what he did without our modern transportation or sound projection systems. Considering this, I encourage you to reflect on everything that we have, and to think about your talents, time, and the resources God has given you. How may God want to use you to impact not only this generation but future generations. It may not be an easy road, but through perseverance may you accomplish the dreams and desires God has placed within your heart.