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Category: ADPA (Accredited Domestic Partner Advisor)

The Trump Presidency and Same-Sex Marriage

I’ve been getting quite a few questions about Donald Trump and what it means for the LGBT community and same sex marriage.

Here are my thoughts:
Mr. Trump will have an opportunity to nominate a Supreme Court justice. He has given mixed statements on same sex marriage. On one hand, he has said that it’s settled, on the other, he has said that he would put a justice on the court that would overturn the ruling and put it back to the states. The reality is that it depends on the ideology of the justice who takes over the empty position on the court.

Given Mr. Trump’s conservative beliefs on abortion and other issues, and that the Republican party is in control over both the House and the Senate, one can come to the conclusion that a justice would most likely hold conservative beliefs. This could mean an overturn of Obergefell v. Hodges, or at least an attempt to bring the issue up to the highest court in the land again.

For Obergefell to be overturned, the case would have to make it up through the court system again and be put in front of the Supreme Court. This is isn’t a simple task that happens overnight. The Supreme Court tends to uphold its prior rulings. Also, the court doesn’t traditionally review cases that they have recently ruled upon. Given that the Obergefell ruling was made in June 2015, I don’t see where a case would be immediately seen by the court.
At this time, I don’t feel that we are in immediate danger of having same sex marriage overturned. However, with that being said, nothing is guaranteed. We will have a better understanding of the temperature of the court once justice nominations are presented.

Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management
Opinions offered are those of Sharon Herman and not necessarily those of LPL Financial.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Independent Financial Partners. IFP is a registered investment advisor. IFP and Silver Key Wealth Management are separate entities from LPL financial.
Ms. Herman may only discuss and/or conduct transact securities business with residents of FL, MI, GA, NC, NJ, VA, TX. www.finra.org www.sipc.org

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How a good portfolio is like Thanksgiving dinner

Hello ladies and gents, yes, I’m going to talk about Thanksgiving!

Mmmmm…. Thanksgiving. What’s not to like?

Turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and watching my beloved Detroit Lions… Good portfolios are like a good Thanksgiving dinner – they have a little bit of everything! Even the weird Jell-O mold that Aunt Petunia brings with the walnuts and celery in it.

As an LGBT financial advisor, my clients usually ask me what kinds of investments they should have in their portfolio. Diversification can help your portfolio weather the good and the bad markets. It can help you take advantage of the upside and help temper the downside. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk. No one asset class performs well in all market conditions. Some years bonds will do better, other years, blue chip stocks will do better. Sometimes, small cap companies are doing well, other times, well, it seems like everything is not performing well at all.

What to do:
Have a mixture of investments in your portfolio.
Some asset classes include:
Cash and cash instruments: These include CD’s, money markets and savings accounts
Fixed income investments: These would be bond investments. Bonds are debt instruments that pay a fixed interest rate. You can buy individual bonds with staggering maturity dates and investment grades to diversify the bond portion of your portfolio.
Growth and Income investments: These are usually large cap “blue chip” stocks . These investments usually look for modest capital appreciation and dividends. They are usually companies that have been around for many years and have a history of paying dividends. Many times, they may have years and years of dividend payment increases.
Growth investments: Small and midcap stocks. These may pay dividends, but are usually less than growth and income. They are looking more for capital appreciation of the stock and not as much of a focus on dividends.
Think of this like Thanksgiving dinner – you want your plate to have a little bit of everything!
How about balancing? Never put all your eggs in one basket. A mixture of all of the asset classes may be a better way to go.

Do you have a good mix in your portfolio?

The above is for information only. I suggest you speak to an ADPA (Accredited Domestic Partner Advisor) about your particular situation.

Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial. www.silverkeywealth.com
The opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Silver Key Wealth Management. Silver Key Wealth Management is a separate entity from LPL financial.
Ms. Herman may only discuss and/or conduct transact securities business with residents of FL, MI, GA, NJ, VA, TX. www.finra.org www.sipc.org

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Review your Retirement Plan Options

Does your current employer offer a retirement plan?
If they offer something above and beyond a 401(k), good for you!

Find out if this is a defined benefit or a defined contribution plan.

What’s the difference?

Defined benefit means you will get $X/month as a pension when you retire based on your salary and years of service. Pretty simple. They tell you the amount that you are getting.

Defined contribution plans mean that your employer will put in $X a year into a retirement plan on your behalf. It is usually a percentage of your salary. The difference is that they aren’t guaranteeing how much your will get at retirement. When you retire, the amount you get is based on how much they’ve added, and the performance of the account. You can choose to take a lump sum or an income stream as a pension when you retire.

Why do you need to know this? A couple of reasons… Frequently, when someone retires and they get a pension, they can elect to take a smaller pension amount and have the pension extend to their spouse after they pass away. This is great for financial planning purposes.

If you aren’t married and have a partner, many employers do not extend this benefit to the unmarried partner. Particularly if it’s a government agency, such as a school system, law enforcement, etc. This changes the financial planning landscape. If you are unmarried and partnered, you might be better off to take the lump sum upon retirement instead of the pension. Or take the pension and get additional life insurance.

Either way, planning is a little tricky in these situations. So find out what you have and how it works.

Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial. www.silverkeywealth.com
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Silver Key Wealth Management, a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL financial.
Ms. Herman may only discuss and/or conduct transact securities business with residents of FL, MI, GA, VA, NJ, TX. www.finra.org  www.sipc.org

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How Marriage Affects your Credit Score

I get this question frequently – “We are thinking about getting married, what’s that going to do to my credit?”

This is usually a concern when one person has good credit and their significant other has bad credit.
The good news is that marrying a person with bad credit doesn’t automatically drag down your credit score.

However, there are situations where it can become an issue, so you need to be careful.
If you and the bad credit person want to purchase something together and want to apply for a loan, be wary!

When applying for a loan jointly, the loan folks will pull up your credit report jointly. This means at this point, your credit history will be commingled with the other person. At that point forward, it is difficult to get them split apart.

If one person has good credit and the other person has bad credit, the loan should only be applied for by the person with the good credit.

Unfortunately, this means that only the salary and assets of the person applying for the loan will count for debt/income ration, work history, etc.

A person’s income and assets who isn’t on the loan – even a spouse – isn’t taken into account. It doesn’t matter if they will live at the same address or will be contributing to the household payments. They aren’t on the application, so they aren’t taken into consideration.
In a nutshell, until the person with bad credit straightens out their credit issues, don’t apply for anything jointly.

Another thing to look at is why the other person has bad credit. Money is usually the number one thing that couples fight about in a marriage. Before tying the knot, take a good, long, look at how the bad credit situation happened and make sure it’s a situation that you can live with now and down the road. Is it constant poor spending judgment and money management? Or a one time life event that put them in this situation? Not a romantic way to look at a relationship, but a very pertinent factor when looking at spending the rest of your life with someone.

Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial. www.silverkeywealth.com

The opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Silver Key Wealth Management, an independent investment advisor. Silver Key Wealth Management is separate entity from LPL financial.
Ms. Herman may only discuss and/or conduct transact securities business with residents of FL, MI, GA, NJ, VA, TX. www.finra.org. www.sipc.org
Photo credit: Dennis Skley

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Record Keeping 101

Hello savvy investors!

One of the best ways to stay on track with your financial life is to get organized. Here’s a great tip. You should split up your files between short term and long term records. Below is a list of what records fall in which category.

A great way to start off the new year is to go through your current records, purge what you don’t need and reorganize what is left. Then just maintain what you have! It will make your life much simpler down the road. Happy organizing!

Short Term records – keep for one year

• paid bills
• bank/investment statements
• canceled checks
• credit card statements
• health records
• resume (review and update yearly)
• income tax receipts (then put with your tax return in your long term records)
• major purchase receipts
• insurance policies (auto/house/boat)
After a year, clean out your files. Most major financial institutions have online access to statements. You may not even need a paper file for some of these documents.

Long Term Files
Long Term Files should include:

• bank statements (last 7 years)
• credit card statements (with home improvement expenses)
• receipts for home improvements
• warranties
• income tax records
• inheritance papers
• investment statements for all investments – stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirements plans, annuities
• legal papers about formerly owned properties
• birth certificates
• social security cards
• burial deeds
• wills/trusts
• powers of attorney
• car titles
• house titles

Remember not to keep any wills, trusts, power of attorney paperwork in a safe deposit box. When a death occurs banks will seal the safe deposit box and people will not be able to access your paperwork. Keep documents of this nature in an accessible place and inform your next of kin their location.

Photo credit: Hey Paul Studios

Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial. www.silverkeywealth.com Sharon.Herman@silverkeywealth.com

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Silver Key Wealth Management, a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial.
Ms. Herman may only discuss and/or conduct transact securities business with residents of FL, MI, GA, VA, NJ, TX. www.finra.org. www.sipc.org

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5 Things to do when the Market is Volatile

Hello savvy LGBT investors! I frequently have people who are concerned about what to do when the market takes a significant drop. They get worried. They feel like they want to sell their investments and put money into cash until the market gets better. That could be the very worst choice you can make. Here’s why:

1. Market Volatility is Normal – Traditionally, the stock market has three to four drops a year that average 4-5%. It’s normal. Growth doesn’t happen in a straight line when it comes to investing. It goes up, it goes down. It goes up again.

2. If you have good investments a temporary downturn in the market isn’t anything to worry over. If your investment has good fundamentals, a good management team and a good future, DON’T PANIC. You have a good investment. The value of your investment may be down at the moment, but you know it has a solid management team. Don’t lose sight of the long term.

3. If you have your long term money in long term investments, don’t worry about day to day fluctuations. Just don’t; that’s silly. It’s like baking a cake that has to be in the oven for 45 minutes. You don’t worry because it isn’t done baking at the 15 minute mark, right? Same thing for your investment portfolio.

4. Keep your short term money in short term investments. Need money in the next year or two from your investments? Keep that portion in cash, or a CD. Then you don’t need to worry about market fluctuations.

5. Add more money to your investment! A downturn in the market is a good time to add money to your current investments! You get to buy them on sale. You like it when it was a higher price; maybe add to your positions when the price is lower, too.

photo credit: Kate Ter Haar

Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial. www.silverkeywealth.com

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Silver Key Wealth Management, a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL financial.
Ms. Herman may only discuss and/or conduct transact securities business with residents of FL, MI, GA, VA, NJ, TX. www.finra.org www.sipc.org

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Why dollar cost averaging can be your best friend

What is Dollar Cost Averaging?

As an LGBT focused advisor, I get many questions about investing money each month to seek growth of your wealth. Dollar Cost Averaging is investing equal amounts of money into an investment over a period of time, and may be just the investment plan you need.

For example, let’s say that you want to contribute $12,000 into an investment account. You can deposit the $12,000 all at once. Another option is to Dollar Cost Average and invest $1000 each month.

Why not invest all at once?

For starters, most people aren’t very good at saving up a big sum of money then writing a check. Something always seems to come up and their money gets diverted to something else. That’s a pretty easy way to have your financial goals get off track.

If you set up your bank account to automatically have money sent to your investment account each month, then you don’t have to worry about writing that check. It’s done. Finished. Invested. A beautiful thing. Odds are that you going to “set and forget” and not notice the money being transferred.

Dollar Cost Averaging helps to stabilize your investments during a volatile market

Sometimes the market is up, sometimes the market is down. Sometimes your investment is up, sometimes your investment is down. If you invest some money each month, you are going to buy at both the lows and the peaks. It normalizes over time. That’s where the name Dollar Cost Averaging comes from. Your investment purchase price averages out over time. Actually, if your investment is going up over time, the price will go up over time. But when the market dips, you wouldn’t have put all of your money in at the high just to watch it drop.

How to get started

It’s easy! Most investment management firms, including mine, can set up DCA program for you. We can help you pick the right investment(s). You can pick the amount and the day of the month to invest. Then just watch your nest egg!

*Note – not all investments are available for dollar cost averaging. Some investments have a minimum amount to start, then you can DCA after the initial purchase. Please talk to an advisor for more information.

Dollar cost averaging involves continuous investment in securities regardless of fluctuation in price levels of such securities. An investor should consider their ability to continue purchasing through fluctuating price levels. Such a plan does not assure a profit and does not protect against loss in declining markets

Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial. Sharon.herman@silverkeywealth.com

The opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Silver Key Wealth Management, a registered investment advisor. Silver Key Wealth Management is a separate entity from LPL financial.

Ms. Herman may only discuss and/or conduct transact securities business with residents of FL, MI, GA, NJ, VA, TX. www.finra.org www.sipc.org

photo credit: Robert Donavan

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4 Main Points When Choosing a Financial Advisor

Hello my savvy LGBT investors! Today we are discussing how to choose a financial advisor!

Choosing a financial advisor can be a daunting proposition. Today, we’ll tackle some of the biggest questions and points that one should take into account during your search!

What kinds of registration(s) does the advisor have?

A well rounded advisor has a series 7, series 66 and a life/annuity registration.

A series 7 allows the advisor to sell all security products, except for commodities and futures.
A series 66 allows the advisor to be an Investment Advisor Representative.
An annuity/life license allows the advisor to handle annuity and life insurance transactions.
Having the series 7 and 66 allows an advisor to conduct fee based or commission business.
Having only a series 7 registration allows the advisor to only conduct commission based business.

Ideally, your advisor will have all three of these qualifications
. The reason I suggest this is that if a financial services person only has, say, an annuity/health registration, those will be the only products they can offer. Since one size doesn’t fit all, clients often are missing out on viable investment opportunities with a financial services person who isn’t fully qualified.

Are they independent?

There are basically two ways financial advisors work.
One is through a wirehouse broker/dealer.
These are the big firms whose names you are probably familiar with. These firms have production/sales numbers that their advisors must meet each month. They also frequently have proprietary products – meaning house brand products. They may not be the best investment product on the market, but the payout to the firm is usually more, because it’s their in house creation. Being that production numbers must be met and proprietary products are sold – sometimes there are situations where there is a conflict of interest between the goals of the advisor and the needs of the client.

The second way that financial advisors work is by being independent.
Being with an independent broker/dealer offers all of the same compliance oversight for the advisor and client as a wirehouse, but allows the advisor much more freedom to run their practice. There aren’t monthly production quotas, and most don’t have any proprietary products. For example, www.lpl.com is an independent broker/dealer.

I find independent advisors much more desirable, as they aren’t being pushed by the home office to hit a certain sales number. They also aren’t being nudged to use proprietary products. An independent advisor with series 7, series 66 and a life/annuity registrations is the solid combination for a client to have for transparency, ability to be placed in the appropriate investments, and unbiased client portfolio management.

In most cases, independent advisors are seasoned professionals. Most independent firms only allow experienced advisors to become affiliated with their broker/dealer. The advisor, in most cases, has an opportunity to utilize many more investment products when they are independent, as opposed to when they are with a wirehouse firm. Choice is good, right?

What kind of background do they have?
A fantastic, but little known resource is the FINRA broker check. http://brokercheck.finra.org/Search/Search.aspx
FINRA is the ruling entity over advisors. You can find out :

1. What registrations the advisor has (FYI – they do not track insurance registrations)
2. How long they’ve been in practice
3. How many firms they’ve worked for (ask questions if they have changed firms several times over their career)
4. Have they had any reportable events – arrests, bankruptcies, client complaints.

Do they have any professional designations?

There are many professional designations available that advisors can have. Most seasoned advisors have one. Ask the person you are working with if they have one and what it means. It’s nice to know that your advisor has taken the time to go above and beyond to educate themselves in their field.

Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial. www.silverkeywealth.com

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Silver Key Wealth Management, a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL financial.
Ms. Herman may only discuss and/or conduct transact securities business with residents of FL, MI, GA, VA, NJ, TX. www.finra.org. www.sipc.org

photo credit: Dennis Jarvis

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Don’t be a Donkey with your Money!

Hello my savvy LGBT investors! We see it all of the time. Commercials for the sleekest sports car, the latest and greatest gadget, or whatever the newest “must have” item is.

Most people don’t even realize that they fall victim to corporate marketing and it may lead them down a bad financial path.
Advertising to purchase goods, whether it’s car, clothes, jewelry, or whatever, is a way to make you think that you can’t live without their product. That your hard earned money, your time, your effort is worthy for exchanging for their item.
Think about it. Let’s say you make $40/hr. Luxury car maker guy wants you to buy their car for $40,000. You have to give up 1000 hours of your life for that vehicle. Actually, you give up more than that, once your figure in gas, insurance, maintenance, etc. Is that car worth giving up a half of a year of work? Really? It will still get door dings. It will still depreciate. Most people I know get over the excitement of a new car within the first year that they own it. It’s just a car.

The same thing can be said for other high priced items. A Rolex watch costs from 5k up to 300k. I hate to tell Rolex owners this, but time is the same everywhere whether you own a Rolex or a Timex. Who made it a luxury brand? Rolex did with their expensive advertising! They convinced the consumer that they really need to have a Rolex watch to be somebody important! It’s just a watch.
You exchange some of your time on this planet for money
I understand that people get enjoyment from owning certain things. I certainly want people to enjoy their lives. All I am saying is that you are exchanging a certain amount of time on this planet for working to make money. Are the things you are buying worth the time you are exchanging? Think about it the next time you decide to make a big ticket purchase.

As a financial advisor, I frequently see people who “wear their money”.
They drive the fancy car, have the expensive clothes, jewelry, toys, and have nothing saved. They get 5 or 10 years out from retirement and start to panic. They didn’t have their priorities right.

Don’t be a Donkey!
I like donkeys. They are loveable and rather cute. I wanted to use a word that begins with an “A”, but this is a family blog. Just don’t be a dumb “donkey” when it comes to your money.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t treat yourself to nice things from time to time.

But make sure when you purchase these things, they don’t detract from your most important financial goal – taking care of your future.
Save for financial freedom first. If you have extra money AFTER all of those things are set aside for, then look at how you spend your discretionary income. Don’t spend your money on expensive doo dads first, then figure out what you have left for retirement, college for the kids, etc.

What do you think of buying luxury brand items?

Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial. www.silverkeywealth.com Sharon.herman@silverkeywealth.com

The opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Silver Key Wealth Management, a registered investment advisor. Silver Key Wealth Management is a separate entity from LPL financial.
Ms. Herman may only discuss and/or conduct transact securities business with residents of FL, MI, GA, NJ, VA, TX. www.finra.org www.sipc.org

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