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.
by Ron Bare
As we continue our theme of impact for 2021 at BWA I thought it would be appropriate to spend time focusing on the impact of mothers. Mother’s Day is just around the corner – in case you forgot, it’s May 9th! Mother’s Day is a day reserved to honor and celebrate the mother of a family, and according to Wikipedia “as well as motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society”.
I was blessed to have a mother that exemplified all that God designed a Mom to be. She had a true servant heart and selflessly served her family daily, worked harder than anyone I know, and modeled well a Proverbs 31 woman. She was always available to talk to, ready with a hot breakfast when my brother and I would come in from the barn (I can still remember sitting at the island and she would flip pancakes onto our plates!) She loved raising puppies, collecting funny things like beanie babies and McDonalds dalmation toys, and she loved to say “not in my book” when she disagreed with something! – we’d always ask her when she was going to write that book! After a six month battle with cancer in early 2019 she went home to be with her Lord Jesus. When she was diagnosed with cancer (her second round with this awful disease), the depth of her faith became such an inspiration to all of us as she lived it more openly than ever before. Her life Bible verse is found in Proverbs; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” My Mom trusted her life – all the days of it, to the Lord. Prior to her passing she put this verse on a laminated card and gave it to all her children and grandchildren. I read this every morning before I head out for my day and reflect on the truth and impact of living these verses out.
I am prone to lean on my own understanding, and when I do, the “right path” becomes foggy quickly. Learning to trust the Lord and lean into His wisdom, and seeking His will is a daily battle for me, and probably for you as well. When we fight and win this battle, we experience freedom to live without fear – which was exactly what my Mom did over the last months of her life. We never once saw or heard fear in her. Finding the right path in life is not accomplished on our own but rather with a dependance on our creator. My Mom taught me this and continues to remind me of this daily through the legacy she has left her family. She passed with her family by her side, loved and missed by her husband, children and grandchildren – a life so well lived!
I am so thankful for the impact my Mom had in my life. Motherhood should be honored and celebrated – my mom embraced her role as a mother, and it showed in the way her family rallied to her in her time of greatest need. I find it ironic that our culture seems to want to blur the lines of what it means to be a mother and/or father. These are roles to honor and celebrate and essential to the wellbeing of healthy families and communities. As Mother’s Day approaches be sure to tell your mom (or mother figure in your life), the impact she has had on your life (while she is still with you) and if you have lost your mom take some time to reflect on her life and the sacrifices she made on your behalf. Then together let us honor the moms in our areas of influence and be sure they know we appreciate the sacrifices, impact, and love they have showed to us and the next generation.
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 res urrection 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 email@example.com and I will be happy to answer any questions you have. I hope that each of you have a great Fall season!