A Personalized Financial Plan Built To Weather Any Storm (Radio Program)

Financial Planner and Client Creating Financial Plan to weather any storm

As a result of the pandemic and the volatile market, many people are asking the same question:

Are you prepared to fund a 20+ year retirement and does that plan account for less than ideal circumstances?

There’s no question that the Coronavirus has changed the way that we feel about money. With careers and nest eggs seemingly more fragile, many financial planning issues have taken on a new urgency.

More Americans are considering the need for a financial plan. The good thing about having a solid financial plan in place is that when things feel like they are falling apart in the world around you, you’re still starting from a position of strength.

That’s where Benchmark Wealth Management comes in. A financial planner is trained to help you understand your goals and create a plan to achieve them while protecting you from things that might get in your way. This plan is crafted and customized for you.

You deserve a financial future crafted by experts, personalized to your needs and built to ride out any storm.

At Benchmark, we know that our greatest investment is our relationship with you.

If recent events have you thinking about putting a plan in place or if you just want to understand how we work, we’d love to meet you. Call us at 1-860-434-6890 or connect with us online.

Additional information, including management fees and expenses, is provided on our Form ADV Part 2, available upon request or at the SEC’s Investment Advisor Public Disclosure site, www.iapd.com, searching with our company name or unique identifier, CRD # 160192. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Securities offered through Private Client Services, Member FINRA, SIPC in the following states: AZ, CA, CT, FL, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, RI, TX. (Securities-related services may not be provided to individuals residing in any state not previously listed) Advisory services offered through Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC a Registered Investment Advisor. Private Client Services is an unaffiliated entity.

The 5 Biggest Financial Mistakes I See

Discarded financial plans in trash can.

By Richard W. Stout III

Have you ever made a large purchase that you instantly regretted? Most people have, yet we continue to make this mistake over and over again. Financial mistakes can prevent you from reaching your goals or doing what you love. They can postpone dreams such as owning your own home or reaching your desired retirement date. Or they can cost you money you can’t afford to lose. The worst part is, you may not even realize when you’re making one!

Financial mistakes come in all shapes and sizes, and they don’t just happen during accidental spending sprees. To avoid them, you have to know what they look like. With 25 years of experience in the finance industry, I want to share with you the 5 most common financial mistakes I see people make.

1. Neglecting Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

Employer-sponsored retirement plans offer excellent benefits that you can’t afford not to take advantage of. Experts recommend that you save 15% of your pre-tax income to go toward retirement. But for those just starting out, saving 15% can be a tough goal when paying off debts like student and vehicle loans. Capitalizing on your employer-sponsored retirement plan can ensure you don’t leave money on the table.

A good middle ground is to save at least the maximum that your employer match-contributes. For example, if your employer will match up to 6% of your pre-tax income, you should plan to contribute at least 6% toward your retirement account each pay period. This means that, with your employer’s contribution, you’re actually saving 12% of your pre-tax income for retirement. You’re already close to that 15% goal!

2. Not Keeping a Monthly Budget

Many people also make a big financial mistake by not keeping a monthly budget. A monthly budget reveals poor spending habits, tracks your progress toward savings goals, and gives you more control over what you spend your money on. Many people are afraid of budgeting, worrying that it will require them to make unpleasant sacrifices.

But budgeting isn’t about sacrificing at all. Budgeting clarifies where your dollars are actually going. This clarity gives you the freedom to choose where you want your money to go, rather than wondering at the end of the month what happened to your whole paycheck. Keeping a budget allows you to spend money on extras such as dining out or playing golf without wondering if you can afford it. You get to do the things you love, guilt-free!

3. Trying to “Beat” the Market

Each year billions of dollars are wasted trying to “beat” the market despite the empirical evidence that very few investors, yes-including “professionals”, have demonstrated the ability to consistently achieve better returns than broad, un-managed indexes. Quite often, attempting to achieve higher returns results in taking greater risk, greater trading costs and sub-par results. Broadly diversified indexes not only typically offer extremely low costs and diversification, but they are inherently tax efficient.

Investors have historically been much better served by focusing attention, time and energy on things they can manage, such as how much risk to take in the first place, rebalancing periodically, having realistic growth rate assumptions, and deriving their investment strategy as part of their financial planning process.

4. Fearing Market Corrections

It’s important to take a holistic, historical approach when investing in the stock market. Markets always experience periods of correction, and we don’t believe this is a reason to sell your investments when the markets are low. Panicking during a market downturn can lead to significant losses, so it’s better to ride out market corrections, as they are guaranteed to occur. Market corrections are followed by market recoveries.

5. Underestimating the Cost of Owning Real Estate

Finally, I see people purchasing real estate without knowing the true costs. Real estate owners should be prepared to pay for more than the home or property itself. Owning real estate comes with additional costs such as property taxes, insurance premiums, and interest rates. Real estate owners should also plan to replace worn-out appliances or roofing and, in the case of rental properties, to deal with renter destruction or vacancy periods. Depending on the locations of the property, these costs can be quite high and can easily overstretch an eager real estate owner’s initial budget.

We Can Help You Avoid These Mistakes and More

At Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC, we help you avoid these common mistakes and plan your financial future with intentionality. Your financial well-being makes up the core of our values, and we want to help set you up for success. Schedule a meeting with us today by calling 860.434.6890 or emailing me at richard.stout@bwmllc.net.

About Rick

Richard W. Stout III is managing director of Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC, with 25 years of experience in the financial industry. He specializes in financial planning and asset management for individuals, families, and institutions seeking to build and monitor durable and sustainable plans for their financial futures. Rick is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) designation. He has earned a Master of Science degree in Personal Financial Planning from the College for Financial Planning and holds the Master Planner Advanced StudiesSM (MPAS®). He obtained his MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his BA in Economics and Anthropology from the University of Connecticut. He also completed the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWM®) program through the Estate and Wealth Strategies Institute at Michigan State University. He has extensive background experience in lending, credit review and analysis, and real estate and partnership management. Learn more about Rick by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

Additional information, including management fees and expenses, is provided on our Form ADV Part 2, available upon request or at the SEC’s Investment Advisor Public Disclosure site, www.iapd.com, searching with our company name or unique identifier, CRD # 160192. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Securities offered through Private Client Services, Member FINRA, SIPC in the following states: AZ, CA, CT, FL, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, RI, TX. (Securities-related services may not be provided to individuals residing in any state not previously listed) Advisory services offered through Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC a Registered Investment Advisor. Private Client Services is an unaffiliated entity.

What All Women Should Know About Personal Finance

Woman Thinking about personal finance

By Thomas Britt

Women have come a long way in the past few decades when it comes to career opportunities and playing a significant role in every aspect of our communities. But even though women make up 50% of the workforce these days, (1) they face financial challenges not often faced by men. Women typically earn 81 cents of every dollar earned by men, (2) and they usually spend fewer years in the workplace because they may take time off work to raise children or take care of elderly parents. Because women generally live about 6-8 years longer than men, (3) this means women have fewer years to save a higher percentage of their income, so they can fund their longer retirement.

Doesn’t seem fair, right?

That’s why women need to be even more informed about their financial opportunities and how to maximize what they have. Gone are the days when husbands were the only ones in control of the family’s finances. Here are a few key principles all women should know about personal finance in order to succeed.

Stay on Top of Your Spending

To reach your financial goals, you need to track your spending. Even if you have a high net worth, you may be surprised at how much more you could save if you cut unnecessary purchases. It could potentially equate to thousands more by the time you retire.

A recent study shows that only 23% of women make the primary decisions about their family’s day-to-day finances. That number drops down to 18% when it comes to making decisions about longer-term retirement and investment planning. (4)

If you’ve left budgeting up to your spouse or partner until now, set aside one night a week to go over the details and get on the same page. It could save you a lot of heartache and frustration down the road should something ever happen to your spouse or your relationship.

Find More Ways to Save

Once your budget is solid, start finding ways to save more money. There are typically two ways to do this: decrease spending or increase income. The most effective way is a combination of both.

Small everyday purchases add up to a large amount of money over time. Think about ways you can decrease spending without depriving yourself. Could you make your own coffee throughout the week instead of grabbing a cup on your way into the office? If you want to increase income, could you ask for a raise at your current job, rent out your spare bedroom, or start a side job?

Whatever you do, make sure you take advantage of your retirement plan. Whether it’s an employer-sponsored plan or a personal plan, contribute as much as you can—especially if you’re near retirement. You’ll thank yourself later.

Invest with Confidence

Investing is a great way for women to close the gender pay gap and save extra money for retirement. Did you know women typically have a 0.4% higher return on investments than men? (5) It’s true. But women are also more likely to keep their money in a low-risk savings account than in investments because their earned dollars are more precious to them. Breaking this cycle and having a strong investment portfolio gets you one step closer to reaching your financial goals—and living your dream life in retirement.

Find a Trusted Partner

Given the right tools and education, women can succeed in reaching every financial goal they set for themselves. It may be overwhelming at first, but the more you know about investing and the more you do it, the easier it becomes. The best way to gain momentum in reaching your financial goals is to seek help from a professional.

At Benchmark Wealth Management, we can help you build a financial plan and investment portfolio that works for you. Want to learn more? Easily schedule an introductory consultation by contacting us at 860.434.6890 or emailing me at thomas.britt@bwmllc.net to arrange a consultation.

About Thomas

Thomas J. Britt is managing director of Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC, with 20 years of experience in the financial industry. He specializes in executive financial planning, retirement planning, investing, as well as the management of trusts and endowments. Thomas is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional and holds the Master Planner Advanced StudiesSM (MPAS®), Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®), and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®) designations. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of New Haven, an MBA in financial technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning from the College for Financial Planning. He is also a proud veteran of the United States Navy Submarine Force. Learn more about Tom by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

Additional information, including management fees and expenses, is provided on our Form ADV Part 2, available upon request or at the SEC’s Investment Advisor Public Disclosure site, www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/firm/160192

Securities offered through Private Client Services, Member FINRA, SIPC in the following states: AZ, CA, CT, FL, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, RI, TX. (Securities-related services may not be provided to individuals residing in any state not previously listed) Advisory services offered through Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC a Registered Investment Advisor. Private Client Services is an unaffiliated entity.

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(1) https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/01/10/january-2020-jobs-report/

(2) https://www.payscale.com/data/gender-pay-gap

(3) https://www.who.int/gho/women_and_health/mortality/situation_trends_life_expectancy/en/

(4) https://www.fidelity.com/bin-public/060_www_fidelity_com/documents/pr/couples-fact-sheet.pdf

(5) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-money-investing-women/why-women-are-better-investors-study-idUSKBN18Y2D7

How to Pursue a Regret-Free Retirement

Retired couple enjoying regret free retirement

By Richard W. Stout III

Regret is not always a bad thing. While it’s not good to sit in the regret of past mistakes, when we learn from those mistakes, it can help us make better choices in the future. Unfortunately, that’s not true in every situation, namely retirement. There are no retirement do-overs, and any mistakes you’ve made in your preparations are a lot harder to remedy once you’ve packed up your office for good.

Here’s the good news: if you aren’t retired yet, there’s still plenty of time to learn from others so your retirement can be as fulfilling and comfortable as possible. Take a look at these four tips that will help you work toward a regret-free retirement.

1. Save Early and Often

Many people, 55% according to a Global Atlantic Financial Group study, (1) enter retirement and discover several things they wish they’d done differently. And the number-one regret? Not saving enough. One of the ways to make sure you have the nest egg of your dreams is to save early and often. While it may be tempting to hold off on saving until the kids are out of the house or until you’re more established in your career, don’t. The longer you hold off saving for retirement, the harder it will be later on.

For every year you delay in saving, you’ll have to contribute exponentially more to reach your savings goals because of compound interest. If you start saving $400 per month at age 25, you will have $1 million saved by age 65 (assuming a 7% annual investment return). If you don’t start until age 35, you’ll have to save around twice as much to reach $1 million by age 65. Make it a priority to save, even if it seems like a small amount, and you’ll be on your way to avoiding this regret.

2. Set a Realistic Retirement Budget

A common retirement misconception is that you won’t need as much money in retirement as you do now. You may think that you won’t have a mortgage in retirement or that you won’t be supporting your kids anymore. And while your expenses will change, that doesn’t mean you’ll have fewer expenses. For example, healthcare costs can put a serious dent in your retirement savings. It is estimated that the average couple will need an average of $285,000 to cover medical expenses in retirement, and that’s often more than people have saved for retirement overall! (2)

To make sure you don’t underestimate your retirement needs, develop a clear picture of what you want in retirement and track your spending now so that you know how much retirement will cost. The key takeaway here is to create a retirement saving and spending plan specific to your lifestyle and your needs. While the general rule of thumb is that you’ll need 70-80% of your pre-retirement income to live on in retirement, that number may be more or less for you. Work with a professional to create a customized strategy so you aren’t scraping pennies together later in life.

3. Create Multiple Income Streams

Social Security is an important piece of your retirement income plan and you should create a claiming strategy to maximize your benefits, but did you know that the Social Security program was designed to replace just 40% of an average worker’s wages? (3) In other words, you’re going to need more than just Social Security to get through retirement.

Take stock of the tools available to get you to your retirement goal. What income sources do you have? This could be anything from IRAs to 401(k)s to pensions to annuities, even rental income or taxable brokerage accounts. It is important to analyze your alternative income sources and incorporate them into your overall retirement strategy.

4. Set Retirement Expectations

When it comes to retirement planning, a common mistake is to only focus on the financial side of things. Sure, it’s great if you have enough money saved, but you can’t enjoy your retirement if you are not fulfilled. Most people find their identity in their careers, and when their career ends, they don’t know what to do; they lose their feeling of purpose. Make a plan for your time in retirement so when you leave your job, you have something to look forward to. It could be travel, hobbies, volunteering, time with grandchildren, or even volunteer work. The important thing is to determine what your next step is going to be.

Experience a Fulfilling Retirement

We understand that deciding when and how to retire is a difficult decision, but you don’t have to make the hard choices on your own. At Benchmark Wealth Management, our top priority is to find out what your ideal retirement looks like and work with you towards making it a reality. No matter what your situation, it’s possible to enjoy your retirement and feel confident in your future. If you want to experience a regret-free retirement, please call 860.434.6890 or email me at richard.stout@bwmllc.net to schedule a consultation.

About Rick

Richard W. Stout III is managing director of Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC, with 25 years of experience in the financial industry. He specializes in financial planning and asset management for individuals, families, and institutions seeking to build and monitor durable and sustainable plans for their financial futures. Rick is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) designation. He has earned a Master of Science degree in Personal Financial Planning from the College for Financial Planning and holds the Master Planner Advanced StudiesSM (MPAS®). He obtained his MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his BA in Economics and Anthropology from the University of Connecticut. He also completed the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWM®) program through the Estate and Wealth Strategies Institute at Michigan State University. He has extensive background experience in lending, credit review and analysis, and real estate and partnership management. Learn more about Rick by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

Additional information, including management fees and expenses, is provided on our Form ADV Part 2, available upon request or at the SEC’s Investment Advisor Public Disclosure site, www.iapd.com, searching with our company name or unique identifier, CRD # 160192. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Securities offered through Private Client Services, Member FINRA, SIPC in the following states: AZ, CA, CT, FL, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, RI, TX. (Securities-related services may not be provided to individuals residing in any state not previously listed) Advisory services offered through Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC a Registered Investment Advisor. Private Client Services is an unaffiliated entity.

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(1) https://www.globalatlantic.com/retirement-survey

(2) https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/personal-finance/plan-for-rising-health-care-costs

(3) https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10024.pdf

 

Common Financial Mistakes Pre-Retirees Make

Pre-Retiree thinking about the financial mistake he made.

By Thomas Britt

Retirement is just around the corner—HOORAY! Or maybe it’s still a few years down the road. Regardless, preparing for retirement is no easy task. There are a few common mistakes pre-retirees make, but that can be avoided through proper planning.

Not Budgeting

The word “budget” has some negative connotations as it seems restrictive or daunting to have to track how we spend money. However, knowing what is coming in and out of your accounts every month is vital to prepare for retirement.

Budgeting helps you to see what you are spending each month and to plan accordingly for the future. You cannot invest or save an adequate amount of money for retirement if you don’t know what you’ll need each month.

Not Saving or Investing for Retirement

While budgeting your dollars and monthly income is a big part of the process, 45% of Americans say that they have saved nothing for retirement. (1)

Investing is crucial if you want to live comfortably in retirement, and your investment strategy will depend on several factors, including personal financial objectives. A financial planner can help you hash out those objectives and implement strategies to assist you in reaching your goals.

Not Adjusting Your Asset Allocation

Once you’ve started investing for retirement, periodically you will need to adjust your asset allocation. Asset allocation is an investment strategy that aims to balance risk and reward by apportioning a portfolio’s assets according to an individual’s goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon. (2)

This means that the older you get, the less risky you will want your investments to be so that you don’t lose a large portion of your assets if something were to happen to the economy (like COVID-19) or otherwise.

Not Having a Lifestyle Plan

Retirement is an accomplishment many hope to achieve someday. But have you thought about how different it will be in retirement than during your working years? How are you going to spend your time and your money when you’re retired?

You will need to think about these things when planning your retirement. After all, it’s not just about having enough money or assets to support you, it’s about having fun too!

If you have any questions about your retirement plans, our team at Benchmark Wealth Management is ready to assist. Please call 860.434.6890 or email me at thomas.britt@bwmllc.net to arrange a consultation.

About Thomas

Thomas J. Britt is managing director of Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC, with 20 years of experience in the financial industry. He specializes in executive financial planning, retirement planning, investing, as well as the management of trusts and endowments. Thomas is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional and holds the Master Planner Advanced StudiesSM (MPAS®), Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®), and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®) designations. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of New Haven, an MBA in financial technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning from the College for Financial Planning. He is also a proud veteran of the United States Navy Submarine Force. Learn more about Tom by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

Additional information, including management fees and expenses, is provided on our Form ADV Part 2, available upon request or at the SEC’s Investment Advisor Public Disclosure site, www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/firm/160192

Securities offered through Private Client Services, Member FINRA, SIPC in the following states: AZ, CA, CT, FL, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, RI, TX. (Securities-related services may not be provided to individuals residing in any state not previously listed) Advisory services offered through Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC a Registered Investment Advisor. Private Client Services is an unaffiliated entity.

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(1) 64% of Americans Aren’t Prepared For Retirement — and 48% Don’t Care

(2) Asset Allocation

Don’t Let Uncertainty Dash Your Long-Term Goals or Dreams

Financial Resiliency Spelled out in scrabble tiles

At Benchmark Wealth Management, we believe in three core tenets in dealing with the uncertainty of the financial markets.

  • The absolute truth is that nobody can tell the future. When crafting a financial plan, we all focus on goals, dreams, risks and fears, but most people do not put an emphasis on weathering the downturns.
  • At Benchmark, we understand and embrace the concept of financial resiliency – the ability to withstand life events that have an impact on your income or assets. We don’t view stressful situations as unsolvable, rather, we perceive them as a learning experience and an opportunity for personal growth or development.
  • It is important to have a financial plan founded upon resiliency. A plan shifts the focus from fear and anxiety and directs it to building a strong foundation that has you covered in all financial climates.

If you’re looking for help in building a more sustainable and resilient financial life, contact us today. Listen below for more information.

Maintain Financial Resiliency with Benchmark Wealth Management

How to Protect Yourself From Cyberattacks

User protecting themselves from financial cyber crime

By Richard W. Stout III

Does it seem like there are more and more news updates about hackers and breaches in security? As we become increasingly dependent on technology and use multiple devices on any given day, there are more opportunities for our personal information to be compromised. But no matter how daunting this may seem, just remember that one of the best things we can do is learn about what cyberattacks are and how to prevent them from happening.

What Are Cyberattacks?

First, let’s look at what cyberattacks are and why they pose a threat to you and your money. Cyberattacks are malicious attempts to access or damage a device’s data, including computers, phones, gaming devices, printers, and other devices. If the hacker succeeds, they could access your personal information and the capability to block access or delete your documents and pictures. (1) With this information, they could potentially steal your identity, money or credit, damage your reputation, or jeopardize your safety.

Not something you want to experience, right? Here are 4 simple steps you can take to ensure your safety.

1. Strengthen Your Passwords

Your first line of defense online is passwords. Your passwords are the gates between criminals and things like your financial accounts, so you want them to be as strong as possible. And when it comes to passwords, strength comes from complexity. Aim to use a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers. To make them easier to remember, choose a phrase or acronym that you created yourself.

In addition to strong passwords, you want to make sure you have separate passwords. Don’t use the same one, or a simple variation of the same one, for multiple accounts or websites. Also, avoid using your name, government ID numbers, address, or other personal information that can be easily found, such as the names of your children or pets.

Consider using a password management app or software. (2) They take the pressure off you to remember every single password and remove the temptation to have them written down somewhere. It’s also good practice to change your passwords 3 to 4 times a year. When offered, add a second barrier to entry in addition to your password with two-factor authentication.

2. Screen Your Emails

Phishing scams show up in your inbox regularly, even if you’ve applied stringent security settings to your email account. If an email sneaks in that looks like it is from a financial institution, do not click on any of the links or open any attachments. Most financial institutions will send you a secure message through your account rather than a direct email. Delete the email or report it to your provider.

Before you click on a link in any email, check two things: the sender’s email address and the link destination. Phishers often try to look legitimate by showing up in your inbox with a realistic name, but if you hover your mouse over the sender’s name, you will see the full email address to determine if it is from a trusted source or not. Use the same tactic with the clickable links inside the email message. Hover your mouse over the hyperlink and see where the link will take you. If it looks suspicious, delete the email. To be safe, when shopping online, type the retailer’s URL into your browser instead of clicking email links.

3. Be Picky About Your Wi-Fi

We’re so used to using our phones everywhere we go that we often don’t think about the security of the Wi-Fi networks we connect to. But it might be worth it to give it some extra thought, especially when you are shopping online while using public Wi-Fi. Avoid submitting your credit card information unless you are connected to a private, secure wireless network. In other words, save your shopping for home or another trusted network, not for your local coffee shop.

If you do need to enter personal information on the go, turn your Wi-Fi off and use your phone data, connecting you to your more-secure cellular network, or consider investing in a virtual private network (VPN) so you can use public Wi-Fi with more peace of mind.

4. Take Advantage of Alerts

Many financial institutions offer customizable notifications. You can choose to receive alerts for transactions placed outside of your geographical area, purchases above certain amounts, or instances when your credit card is used without the card being present. If you receive a notification for a charge you did not make, alert your credit card company or bank immediately and freeze the account.

Notifications aside, be sure to regularly review your credit card transactions. Make it a habit to check for unknown line items or irregularities. Inspect your credit report and look for errors in your personal information or lines of credit. If you see anything amiss in these reports, your identity may have been stolen. You can get three free credit reports a year from annualcreditreport.com and a free TransUnion and Equifax report once a week from creditkarma.com.

Protect Yourself

While it can feel unnerving to think about cyberattacks and hacking, implementing some of these tips may help you feel more confident and can help you reduce your risk. If you have questions about your online information or how Benchmark Wealth Management will work to protect your information, call 860.434.6890 or email me at richard.stout@bwmllc.net to schedule a consultation.

About Rick

Richard W. Stout III is managing director of Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC, with 25 years of experience in the financial industry. He specializes in financial planning and asset management for individuals, families, and institutions seeking to build and monitor durable and sustainable plans for their financial futures. Rick is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) designation. He has earned a Master of Science degree in Personal Financial Planning from the College for Financial Planning and holds the Master Planner Advanced StudiesSM (MPAS®). He obtained his MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his BA in Economics and Anthropology from the University of Connecticut. He also completed the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWM®) program through the Estate and Wealth Strategies Institute at Michigan State University. He has extensive background experience in lending, credit review and analysis, and real estate and partnership management. Learn more about Rick by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

Additional information, including management fees and expenses, is provided on our Form ADV Part 2, available upon request or at the SEC’s Investment Advisor Public Disclosure site, www.iapd.com, searching with our company name or unique identifier, CRD # 160192. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Securities offered through Private Client Services, Member FINRA, SIPC in the following states: AZ, CA, CT, FL, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, RI, TX. (Securities-related services may not be provided to individuals residing in any state not previously listed) Advisory services offered through Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC a Registered Investment Advisor. Private Client Services is an unaffiliated entity.

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(1) https://www.ready.gov/cybersecurity

(2) https://www.dhs.gov/how-do-i/protect-myself-cyber-attacks

 

Benchmark Wealth Management Makes a Difference in Lyme and Old Lyme [VIDEO]

Benchmark Wealth Management Gives Back to the Old Lym, CT community

By Richard W. Stout III and Thomas Britt

When stay-at-home orders were announced and businesses suddenly shut down or limited, we knew we had to do something to help the most vulnerable in Lyme and Old Lyme, Connecticut. So when The Lyme-Old Lyme Coronavirus Relief Fund was set up through the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB), we reached out with a challenge to the community and announced that we would match all donations on a one-to-one basis up to a total of $10,000.

Well, we are happy to report that the community responded! The coronavirus pandemic has been unprecedented, but the good news is that so has the response of many generous people just like you.

Check out this local news coverage from NBC Connecticut to find out how much was raised and how this fund is helping those around us.

Thank you for rising to the challenge and making a difference! For more information on how we serve our community, please call 860.434.6890 or email us at richard.stout@bwmllc.net.

About Rick

Richard W. Stout III is managing director of Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC, with 25 years of experience in the financial industry. He specializes in financial planning and asset management for individuals, families, and institutions seeking to build and monitor durable and sustainable plans for their financial futures. Rick is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) designation. He has earned a Master of Science degree in Personal Financial Planning from the College for Financial Planning and holds the Master Planner Advanced StudiesSM (MPAS®). He obtained his MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his BA in Economics and Anthropology from the University of Connecticut. He also completed the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWM®) program through the Estate and Wealth Strategies Institute at Michigan State University. He has extensive background experience in lending, credit review and analysis, and real estate and partnership management. Learn more about Rick by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

About Thomas

Thomas J. Britt is managing director of Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC, with 20 years of experience in the financial industry. He specializes in executive financial planning, retirement planning, investing, as well as the management of trusts and endowments. Thomas is a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) professional and holds the Master Planner Advanced StudiesSM (MPAS®), Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®), and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®) designations. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of New Haven, an MBA in financial technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning from the College for Financial Planning. He is also a proud veteran of the United States Navy Submarine Force. Learn more about Tom by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

Additional information, including management fees and expenses, is provided on our Form ADV Part 2, available upon request or at the SEC’s Investment Advisor Public Disclosure site, www.iapd.com, searching with our company name or unique identifier, CRD # 160192. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Securities offered through Private Client Services, Member FINRA, SIPC in the following states: AZ, CA, CT, FL, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, RI, TX. (Securities-related services may not be provided to individuals residing in any state not previously listed) Advisory services offered through Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC a Registered Investment Advisor. Private Client Services is an unaffiliated entity.

The Importance of a Financial Plan

Financial plan

By Thomas Britt

When the unexpected happens, chaos can result. Remind you of any current events? We know it’s important to be prepared, but without a plan of action in place, doing what’s best for you and your family in the midst of a crisis is infinitely harder.

I’m talking specifically about a financial plan, which is essentially having all the details about your financial life in one place, including your savings, debt, assets and investments, life insurance, and other elements that apply to your financial situation. (1) This means that when a crisis hits, rather than resorting to panic or stress, you can rely on a thorough plan of action for handling your finances.

Be Ready When Chaos Comes

Let’s start with the elephant in the room, or more accurately, the potential virus in the room. This is not the first time (and won’t be the last) there has been a threat to your health, lifestyle, or money. Since we know this reality, being prepared for when, not if, these circumstances arise is key for having stability and security, no matter what comes your way.

When there is already a plan in place, the panic some people feel is eliminated. Plans set people up for success and everyone deserves the chance to succeed.

Achieve Your Goals

Did you know you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down? (2) Having a financial plan is not just about managing your money, it’s about making sure the time spent to earn your money is used to reach the dreams you have for you and your family, giving you a life full of satisfaction and contentment.

What do you want for your life now and in the future? What about your loved ones? Whether it’s vacations, having more time at home, putting your kids through college, retiring with dignity, or some other desire, chances are that it involves having some money and a plan for how that money should be allocated.

Starting a financial plan now will allow the future you desire to become a reality.

Secure Your Future

Review the following actions you can take now to secure your future, which are the basic building blocks of creating a financial plan:

  • Know your current situation by creating a budget.
  • Have emergency savings for when unexpected expenses arise or to weather a potential job loss.
  • Total up how much debt you have and calculate how much of your monthly income is going toward minimum payments. Create a plan of action for paying down those debts.
  • Determine the household income you need to earn in order to reach your goals.
  • Understand how much you need to invest per month for retirement, which is something a trusted financial advisor can help you determine.

Are You Ready to Create a Financial Plan?

If you don’t currently already have a financial plan in place, now is the time to create one. And as you’re likely spending a lot more time at home lately, it’s a great opportunity to tackle this task. We know this can feel daunting, but remember that our team at Benchmark Wealth Management is here to guide you. We can assess your current financial situation, help you make the necessary changes, or affirm that your investments are exactly where they should be. Don’t hesitate to call 860.434.6890 or email me at thomas.britt@bwmllc.net to arrange a consultation.

About Thomas

Thomas J. Britt is managing director of Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC, with 20 years of experience in the financial industry. He specializes in executive financial planning, retirement planning, investing, as well as the management of trusts and endowments. Thomas is a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) professional and holds the Master Planner Advanced StudiesSM (MPAS®), Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®), and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®) designations. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of New Haven, an MBA in financial technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning from the College for Financial Planning. He is also a proud veteran of the United States Navy Submarine Force. Learn more about Tom by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

Additional information, including management fees and expenses, is provided on our Form ADV Part 2, available upon request or at the SEC’s Investment Advisor Public Disclosure site, www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/firm/160192

Securities offered through Private Client Services, Member FINRA, SIPC in the following states: AR, CA, CT, FL, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, PA, RI, TN, WA. (Securities-related services may not be provided to individuals residing in any state not previously listed.) Advisory services offered through Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC a registered Investment Advisor. Private Client Services is an unaffiliated entity.

________________

(1) https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/investing/what-is-a-financial-plan-how-can-i-make-one/

(2) https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/13/self-made-millionaire-how-to-increase-your-odds-of-success-by-42-percent-marie-forleo.html

 

Financial Planning Advice During These Hard Times (Radio Program)

Microphone for Financial Planning Advice During These Hard Times (Radio Program)

Rick Stout is honored to have been featured as a guest on the local radio show, “Meet The Expert.” On this episode, Rick shares his insight from historical financial evidence and tells you how to strategize to help get through this current situation. Listen now.

ABOUT RICK

Richard W. Stout III is managing director of Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC, with 25 years of experience in the financial industry. He specializes in financial planning and asset management for individuals, families, and institutions seeking to build and monitor durable and sustainable plans for their financial futures. Rick is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) designation. He has earned a Master of Science degree in Personal Financial Planning from the College for Financial Planning and holds the Master Planner Advanced StudiesSM (MPAS®). He obtained his MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his BA in Economics and Anthropology from the University of Connecticut. He also completed the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWM®) program through the Estate and Wealth Strategies Institute at Michigan State University. He has extensive background experience in lending, credit review and analysis, and real estate and partnership management. Learn more about Rick by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

Additional information, including management fees and expenses, is provided on our Form ADV Part 2, available upon request or at the SEC’s Investment Advisor Public Disclosure site, www.iapd.com, searching with our company name or unique identifier, CRD # 160192. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Securities offered through Private Client Services, Member FINRA, SIPC in the following states: AR, CA, CT, FL, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, PA, RI, TN, WA. (Securities-related services may not be provided to individuals residing in any state not previously listed.) Advisory services offered through Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC a registered Investment Advisor. Private Client Services is an unaffiliated entity.