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Category: Same-sex marriage

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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Starting off your new year right

Happy New Year, my LGBT friends! Here are a few ideas to help you start off the new year on a good foot!
1. Make a folder for your 2015 taxes. As year end statements and tax reports arrive, put them in your folder.
2. Review your 2015 IRA contributions. Have you put in the maximum allowable amount? If you haven’t, you should.
3. Have you gone paperless? Many utilities allow you to go paperless for statements. Make the switch if you want to cut down on paper.
4. Tax returns only have to be kept for 7 years. If you have older tax returns shred them.
5. Furnace filters and batteries in smoke detectors – Yes, these are a pain to change sometimes. Smoke detectors with low batteries only seem to start chirping at 3am during the work week. If you haven’t changed the batteries for more than 6 months, swap them out for new ones.
6. Review your investment portfolio. Check that you’re properly balanced. Make adjustments, if needed.
Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management
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 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, NJ, VA, TX. www.finra.org  www.sipc.org

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Will or a Trust?

Should I get a will and/or a living trust? What’s the difference?  p.s. Don’t forget the Medical part!

Everyone wants to ensure that their worldly possessions go to whom they want in the case of their demise.

What’s the difference between a will and trust?
In a nutshell, wills have to be probated through court. That means it costs money, it takes months to settle and people can contest your will. Plus your financial affairs are a matter of public record. But, they are a great way to be specific about who gets what items (Aunt Petunia gets the piano…).
Living trusts avoid probate, allow you to control how and when your assets are dispersed when you are deceased and also allow for you to spell out who will handle your affairs if you become incapacitated. In general, they cost more than a will, but they keep your estate from having to go through probate. They are also more difficult to contest.
Durable Power of Attorney– Make sure you get this document when planning your affairs. This is particularly important for LGBT couples. Durable Power of Attorney documents are good for day to day items (you need your partner/spouse to sign a legal document on your behalf).It is also important if you become incapacitated or have a medical emergency. You have it spelled out, in writing, who is going to be making medical decisions for you. We’ve all heard of incidents where a partner is shut out of the family decision on how to care for someone in the hospital because they aren’t“next of kin”. This is problematic in states that don’t recognize gay marriage. So don’t leave it to chance. Get it in writing. Most Durable Power of Attorney forms do cover medical incapacitation. General Power of Attorney forms do not. They terminate when a person becomes incapacitated. It is best to see an Estate Planning Attorney to see what set of documents best fits your situation. This is not meant to be specific legal advice for 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, 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

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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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2 Quick Year End Ways to save on taxes

The end of the year is coming! Now is a great time to take a look at your financial house and see how you can save money on taxes.

1. Contribute to your IRA.
Your IRA contribution may be tax deductible. This tax deduction holds true if you currently do not participate in an employer’s retirement plan. Even if you can’t take the full deduction, all of the growth in your IRA will grow tax deferred. It can help make your compounding opportunities more powerful.

2. If you have prior investment losses, you can use them against current investment gains.
Do you have losses from years past? They carry over from prior years and can be used against gains this year. It may make sense for you to sell some of your investments with gains, offset those gains with prior losses and not have or lower your taxable gains.

See if either of these two ideas will help you keep some money in your pocket!

It is of crucial importance that you seek the advice of a tax advisor before executing any of the above suggestions. Each individual’s situation is different.

Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial. www.silverkeywealth.com
photo credit: 401(k)2013

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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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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Focusing on the LGBT community and why it’s important

People have asked me, why are you putting so much effort into this blog and website?
It’s simple, really. I love our LGBT community and want to give back.
My idea for lgbtinvesting.com came one evening when I was at a networking dinner at a local restaurant.

A financial advisor I didn’t know was sitting next to my wife. He started asking her what I did for a living. She told him I was a financial advisor, had my ADPA accreditation and liked to work with the LGBT community.

His response was, “Oh, I have some of those on the books.”
My wife said “Some of what?”
He said “Some of those. Gay people. I have them in my book of business.”

He spoke to my wife like we were things, not people. My wife was very angry, as was I.  I had only heard the tail end of the conversation, but pieced it together pretty quickly. I feel awful for his clients. This advisor doesn’t care about them as people. Heck, he hardly sees them as people. They probably have no clue as to what he really thinks, yet they have entrusted him with their life savings. That probably won’t be a successful relationship for those clients.

It was then that I decided to be a voice.
If I can pass on advice to help you further yourself financially, then I feel pretty good. I mean, if people are running up against a guy like “some of those” out there in the community, then how is anyone going to feel comfortable about having a personal discussion about financial plans and investing?

I’ve met many people who haven’t felt comfortable about coming out to a financial advisor.
Even though parts of DOMA have been struck down, and same-sex marriage is being legalized across the country, it doesn’t mean that everyone loves us… and let’s be honest; folks in the financial services industry have the reputation of being staunch conservatives who aren’t very supportive of the LGBT community. It’s really not a surprise LGBT folks are apprehensive. I’m stilling running into guys like the “some of those” that I met at that dinner. I’m sure people in the LGBT community are seeing it, too.

There are many couples who don’t feel comfortable telling all their business to someone who they aren’t sure accepts them.
They certainly don’t want to give business to someone who will use the money they make to support people who are against the LGBT community. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot! I’m betting if the clients of “some of those” knew what he said, they would be furious!

I want to provide the kind of guidance that will help you make decisions that will be fruitful to your future.
I want everyone to feel that they have a place to turn to get investment advice. I also want everyone to know they have an experienced professional available they can turn to, if needed.
So now you know why I started this blog and try to dispense good, useful information to everyone. LGBT investors need a place to call home.

Questions? I’m happy to answer them!

Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial. www.silverkeywealth.com
An ADPA (Accredited Domestic Partner Advisor) designated Financial Advisor can assist you with your financial planning and investment needs.
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 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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What is a Leading Economic Indicator and Why is it Important?

Hello LGBT investors! Often, investing terms can make you feel like you are lost in a maze of strange vocabulary. Today I thought I’d tackle one that people talk about on the news frequently.
Leading Economic Indicators
A leading economic indicator is a tracked measurement of economic activity. It’s called leading because these indicators can be used as a tool to help predict how the economy and markets may change in the future.
Why are they important
Economists look at the trends of different leading indicators to see what industries are performing well or are in decline. Leading indicators are one of many precursors as to how the economy may react in the future.

 

Indicators include:
• Building Permits
o If more new houses are being built, people have money and feel confident in their current financial situation.

• Unemployment claims
o If unemployment goes down, more people have jobs.

• Inventory changes
o If inventories go down, that means that people are purchasing the goods

• Average weekly hours, manufacturing
o If weekly hours go up, that means the manufacturing plants have more orders to build

• Manufacturers’ new orders, consumer goods and materials
o More new orders means more demand

• Manufacturers’ new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders
o More new orders from businesses means more manufacturing and industrial needs

• Stock prices
o Stock prices go up when consumer sentiment is high and earnings are good.

• Bankruptcies
o If bankruptcies are down it means that less people are having financial issues

• Retail Sales
o People buy more retail items when they have more discretionary income

So the next time you hear a new report about the economy and they discuss leading indicators, you’ll have better idea of what they mean. Plus, you’ll look really smart at your next cocktail party!
How are you feeling about the economy at the moment?

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

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