S2EP31 Buyer Beware I: The Myth of 0-3% Down Payment
In this mini-series “Buyer Beware”, we are going to give you our brutally honest opinion on a lot of financial products/services that are so common nowadays, but we believe the buyers should think twice before they get into it. The first one: mortgages. We have heard so much from our LA clients: “My realtor told me that I only need to put down a 0-3% payment, and get that 2 million house, is that true?” Yes, it’s true, but most people probably shouldn’t do it. It looks very attractive: instead of saving for $400K, now you only need to save for $0-60k. But, there’s a couple of things to consider: you are mostly aiming for a house that’s too expensive for you to begin with (otherwise why only a 3% down payment?), so the monthly mortgage is going to be very high for you. Your cash flow will get so tight – say bye-bye to family vacations, restaurants, gifts, that new BMW you’ve had your eye on, or any other “fun stuff.” Second, with so little equity in the house, if there’s a real estate price correction, say the market price drops 5%, you are now underwater on your mortgage. If some emergency happens right when the market drops, you have to come up with enough extra cash to sell the place, or you could end up in foreclosure. Third, if you lose your job/income, you certainly can’t afford those high monthly payments anymore – you may get into a vicious cycle of late payments and penalties. Dan briefly went over what banks consider when they approve you for a mortgage. But please remember, what the banks see is only what’s on paper! They don’t know that maybe you need to pay a medical bill for your mother, maybe vacation is a “must” for you considering how stressful your job is, or maybe the house you’re about to get has some “surprise” waiting for you to be fixed. Sometimes the banks may approve you for more loans than you can truly afford. 1-3% down payment may work for Jeff Bezos because he has other assets to back it up. But if you are doing it because you can’t afford the house, please be careful!
S2EP30 Should I Take the Advanced 2021 Child Tax Credit?
Starting from July 15, 2021, and for the next 6 months, some families with child(ren) will receive monthly cash as an advanced child tax credit so that you can start spending it. Some people are either confused about what’s going on or are worried that taking the credit now will hurt them later in the year when they pay their taxes. Here’s a breakdown (assuming one child):
2020 Child Tax Credit: $2,000 per qualifying dependent child under age 17
2020 Max Child Dependent Care Tax Credit: $1,050
2020 Total Credit: $3,050
2021 Child Tax Credit: up to $3,600 ($1,800 advanced to you for the next 6 months) per qualifying dependent child (depends on the child’s age)
2021 Max Child Dependent Care Tax Credit: $4,000
2021 Total: up to $7,600 (depends on the child’s age) Income restriction: The IRS estimates your
2021 income by your 2020 (or 2019) tax return, so if you know your
2021 income will significantly increase and breach the top ceiling, you might want to opt-out of the advanced credit check. Otherwise, after you file for the 2021 tax return, the IRS will take the money back from you.
For more information on the credit’s differences due to the child’s age and your income level, please go to the IRS’s website.
DISCLAIMER: We are not CPAs; above is just a breakdown of the numbers. As for what’s the best practice for each individual and/or household, please contact your CPA or IRS for further advice.
S2EP29 The Business of Death – What is Funeral Planning?
For this episode, we invited Robert Sheck, the general manager of Weinstein & Piser Funeral Home to talk about funeral planning. It’s a difficult topic for most people of course, but it’s also a very necessary one. Tim started the conversation by asking what should one consider when they begin burial planning? And what do people miss in the process? Robert pointed out that funeral planning is not just about the financial aspects, but more about releasing your heirs from making emotional decisions at their saddest moment such as “What casket would dad like?”, “What dress would my wife like to be buried with?” Robert also mentioned that funeral costs usually double every 10 years and getting an insurance policy from a funeral home may be a smart move to lock in prices. Tim was curious how the millennial generation has changed the industry? Robert said that they are less into the traditions, and they prefer to treat the funeral as a celebration of life, rather than a sad, quiet event. Dan asked how Robert copes with all these sad emotions on a daily basis, and how COVID has changed the industry. Being afraid of your mortality is a very real thing, but no matter how difficult it is, please have the courage to talk about it, and make arrangements for yourself.
S2EP28 Inflation, Waiving Home Inspections, and Fractional Shares – Quarterly Commentary
This is our quarterly commentary episode. Are we facing inflation? If so, what does that mean, and how does that impact our daily life? The team put in their two cents. Real estate has been crazy for a while now, but for the past couple of weeks, we have seen a fast rise of buyers not only paying way over the asking price but waiving all contingencies including inspections. Tim himself is looking for a house right now, and he said he for sure will not waive inspections. The potential downfall is just too severe for him to stomach. If you don’t absolutely NEED a house right now, we encourage you not to get swept up by this “housing tornado” just because all your friends are doing it. Lastly, we discussed fractional shares. Nathaniel likes the idea of being able to afford a tiny part (less than one share) of a giant company. Dan, however, worried that this will encourage self-trading individuals to view the stock market even more so as a casino, not a properly-educated long-term investment. As Nathaniel said, like most financial products (services), they are designed for good reasons, it’s when people get too greedy that everything turns into an uncontrollable mess. Educate yourself, do the research, and have a healthy amount of anything!
S2EP27 Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me A Match
For this episode, we invited Abby Rosenblum, the founder of “The Social: Modern Matchmaking”, to talk about dating and matchmaking. Abby switched from her career as a TV producer to a professional matchmaker three years ago. She said that for both jobs, the key is to ask the right questions, and make your audience feel comfortable. Dan asked what Abby doesn’t like about this industry – her answer: lack of authenticity. Abby talked about how matchmaking is not just finding the right person for you, but more about helping you understand what you want, and then coaching you on how to interact with people. Abby asked Tim, Nathaniel, and Dan if they would be open to a matchmaking service if they were single as there is a surprising trend in her industry to work primarily with men, but not women. Tim was wondering what questions should one ask if they are interested in the matchmaking service. Like Abby said, if you are ready for love, get out of your comfort zone, and give it a try!
S2EP26 Cannabis: The Plant That Keeps Giving Part II
This is Part II of the episode. We mainly talked about the barriers and risks involved in the industry and what the future could look like. As a scientist, Echo wished she could do research freely, across state lines, and without having to come up with creative ways to dodge unnecessary regulations. Josh thought one of the biggest issues is money: the best product no longer wins the market. It takes a lot of money to just get permits, and even more to deal with regulations to run the business. Nathaniel and Josh discussed how the current cannabis industry resembles the alcohol industry after Prohibition. Dan and Tim were interested in what competition is like. Josh mentioned that the distribution channels are where major competition occurs. Interested in where cannabis’ future lays? Watch the full episode!
S2EP25 Cannabis: The Plant That Keeps Giving Part I
S2EP24 The Evolution Of Financial Advisors: Age of Change
S2EP23 Out of School & Into The Real World
S2EP22 “This Wine Pairs Perfectly With More Of This Wine!” – A Visit To Wollersheim
S2EP21 Swipe Left Or Right: An New Era Of Dating
S2EP20 So, You Want To Start A Business – Part II
This is Part II of “So, You Want To Start A Business!?”. As Nathaniel mentioned, it’s extremely important to choose the right structure for your entity (LLC, Partnership, C-Corp, S-Corp, Sole Proprietorship, etc.) Not only will it affect your taxes, but more importantly, it will also ensure or obstruct your company’s future growth. Other things that are necessary: a business plan, a continuity plan, a succession plan, and an operating agreement/bylaws. Dan talked about where to find financing, banks, investors, investment firms, etc. The team discusses where and how to find resources that may benefit you greatly. As Tim said, you need to start networking the day you can speak! How true. To sum it up, owning a business is hard work, but it’s worth it. You will experience rapid personal growth alongside the business. Be prepared, be rational, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
S2EP19 So, You Want To Start A Business!? – Part I
In this Part I of “So, You Want To Start A Business!?”, we talked about the cornerstone of starting a business and the preparation phase. Before you start a business, it’s important to ask yourself: why am I doing this, and who is my audience? Almost as soon as you start your business, you need to know how you are going to exit. Why so early to think about exit strategy, you ask? Because how you exit depends on whether you run it as a lifestyle business or an enterprise business. As for the preparation, go through your daily financial life with a fine-tooth comb and figure out what you need to make, and what you hope to make. Know this: for the first couple years, your business may not be as rosy as you want it to be and something (if not most things) will go wrong. In LBW’s experience, entrepreneurship is a family affair – even if your significant other is not actually a part of the business. Without their support, you can’t make it, at least not without sacrificing your personal life. Selecting the right business partners are another critical piece. Dan, Tim and Nathaniel couldn’t have been more lucky to have found each other. We have different skill sets, and the same understanding that what’s good for the team, is what’s good for the individual! For Part II’s episode, we will talk about positioning (how to actually set up the business) and resources.
S2EP18 “To Be, Or Not To Be…” – Create The Framework For Your Life
S2EP17 Picture Perfect – A Chat With Photographer Francis Son
S2EP16 Self-Leadership: How to Achieve Kung Fu Panda’s Inner Growth – A Chat With Zach Ketterhagen
S2EP15 Inflation, Rising Rates, Stimulus Package & NFTs – Quarterly Update
S2EP14 You Are Not Buying A Car, You Are Buying A Story – A Chat With Luxury Car Dealer Alex Schremp
S2EP13: Create A New Reality With Your Own Narrative: A Chat With Artist Jônatas Chimen
S2EP12 Standing on the Shoulders of the Giants – Saran Ouk’s Journey to Starting an NPO
In this episode, we invited our close friend Saran Ouk. Saran is the Founder and CEO of conNEXTions, a non-profit organization that guides underrepresented young adults to achieve their financial, educational, and career goals through mentoring, networking, and professional development. Born in a refugee camp in Thailand, Saran and her family were able to come to the U.S. as refugees thanks to a non-profit organization. The seed of giving back to her community grew from there. Saran talked about how to set up a non-profit: define your “business model”, learn to tell your story, and differentiate yourself from others. We discussed the difficulty in fundraising, networking, and the lack of manpower. Tim asked a brilliant question: how does Saran define success for conNEXTions? And we loved her answers: everyone should define their own success, and don’t follow other people’s goals. Dan closed the episode well: Sir Isaac Newton once said: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Thank you Saran and conNEXTions for being the “giant” for our community!
S2EP11 How To Sell A Family Business – An Inspiring Businesswoman Diane Seder’s Story
Diane Seder has had a very inspiring career. She joined the valves manufacturing family business “Milwaukee Valve” against all advice back in the late ’70s when the industry was “not suitable for women”, and worked her way up from the very bottom. We invited Diane to mainly talk about the sale of this multigenerational family business. Diane was clear about two key points: plan your selling strategy long before you are ready to sell, and communication within the rest of the family is critical. Tim asked about what one should consider when planning to sell the business. Diane recommended the following: check the company’s legal structure, review all owners’ trusts, set up a functional voting system long before selling, and go over the succession plan and tax consequences with professionals. She then stressed that it’s vital to think ahead, hire the right professionals, and most importantly, to have constant communication. Like Diane said, for a family business, what’s good for the business is what’s good for the family, and one should never forget that.
S2EP10 Eat, Donate, & Love – A Chat With Betsy Hughes
We are honored to present this episode with Betsy Hughes. Betsy has spent her entire career, nearly 40 years, as a student of philanthropy. Just in the last 20 years, she has raised more than $500M—for universities, museums, and human services organizations. Nathaniel started the conversation by asking in the U.S., who’s your typical major donor, and where does their money go? Without any surprises, religious groups are the number one charitable recipients. Betsy then respectfully debunked the myth that most NPOs spend too much money on administrative operations. She further explained that “passion” is the biggest reason people donate, so it’s important for you to vet the organization by understanding its mission and trusting them to utilize your donation. Volunteering may be a good way to start. We then discussed how the face of philanthropy has changed, especially during COVID-19. Betsy is excited to see much more involvement from women, people of color, and the younger generation. As Betsy said, over 70% of donations come from small individuals, and every bit counts! We highly courage you to start today if you can, whether to improve your own community or to help a cause that you believe in! Thank you!
S2EP 9 Cybersecurity: How To Protect Your Data In This Matrix World – A Chat With Will Robus
In this episode, we invited Will Robus to speak with us about cybersecurity. Will is the CEO of Outpost Security, a company that provides a revolutionary approach to managing cyber threats. We kickoff the podcast by asking Will to give us a broad picture of the cybersecurity space, and why it’s not talked about that much. Will explained the two sides of the industry: public-facing security to protect private information (i.e.: Target breach 2013), and business data protection. Will talked about the dilemma the industry is facing: if one doesn’t invest in cybersecurity, the business is obviously in danger of potential breach; but if one is protected too well, they ask themselves: “Why am I spending so much money on this? Nothing has ever happened to me!” Tim asked about Will’s thoughts on quantum internet, and we discussed what information decentralization means to the industry: Will believes that no matter how advanced the technology, as long as there’s a human element to it, mistakes will always be made. Overall, data is the new gold, and since our daily life, business and even government operations rely on data more than ever, cybersecurity is not a preference, but a necessity.
S2EP8 Fantastic Credit Cards And Where To Find Them
If you want to learn about how to increase your credit score and what credit cards to get, don’t miss this episode! Dan started the video by talking about the 5 key elements of building your credit score: paying your bills on time and in full, capacity, credit history, new credit, and credit mix. It’s always a good idea to establish your credit history as early as possible. Dan then debunked some myths about credit scores and taught us how to track them. Nathaniel is the main “credit card” man in the house. He talked about things that one should consider when getting the right credit cards. The most important thing, in Nathaniel’s opinion, is “to find the cards that fit your spending, do not fit your spending to the cards that you want!” He also discussed how “cash rewards” and “points” work differently according to your lifestyle and spending habits. If you are a credit card nerd like us, you will love this episode!
S2EP7 Real Estate Investment Is A Full-Time Job – A Chat With Tony Bickmore
Our most popular guest Tony Bickmore is back! In this episode, we discussed one of the all-time favorite topics: real estate investment. Tim first asked about house flipping, and Tony cautioned our audience not to try to outsmart the numbers. He explained his real estate investment framework: for short-term investments, it’s about being in touch with the neighborhoods, understanding their value, and getting in the market at the right time. And for long-term investments, the volume is everything. Tony agreed with Dan: real estate investing is a full-time job, and it only makes sense for part-timers if: a.) you can do the fixing and maintenance yourself, or have a big enough portfolio to hire a team, and b.) have a steady funding source that won’t affect your daily life. To sum it up, HGTV is meant for entertainment, not real estate investment advice!
If you have a project near Salt Lake City, UT area, please contact Tony at http://www.bickmoreconstruction.com/
S2EP6 GameStop’s Maniacal Rise – Social Media’s Role In The Investing World
In this episode, we discussed the recent “King of Performance” GameStop’s maniacal rise and social media’s role in the new investing world. After briefly explaining what happened to GameStop’s stock price, Nathaniel pointed out that the stock price is nowhere close to what the dying company is actually worth, and it will not last in the long term. Dan revealed a different side of the story: GameStop has been trying to sell itself for years. But they couldn’t find a buyer when it was trading for $3 per share, and they certainly will not get a buyer for $300 per share now. These retail traders that consider themselves “heroes that help the company by bidding the price up” are actually hurting the company: the employees and other shareholders. Nathaniel also added, as much as you may dislike capitalism and short sellers, just like a forest fire, they exist for a reason: they clean the dying companies out of the market so that new startups can have the space to grow and thrive. Tim expressed his frustration with social media’s role in this sh*tshow. People who brag about their gains on social media “oh I put $10k in, and made more than $2m!”, but never disclose that they may be millionaires to begin with, and that that $10k investment is merely 0.5% of their total portfolio. People who are late to the party and put their entire net worth into it are most likely the ones who will suffer the downfall and lose everything. As always, be rational and realistic. If you want to invest for the long run, research the company’s fundamentals; if you want to gamble and make (or lose) some quick money, don’t put in every penny you have!
S2EP5 How To Create The Right Mindset For Success – A Chat With Brian Levenson
In this episode, we invited one of Dan’s friends Brian Levenson to talk about his new book: Shift Your Mind: 9 Mental Shifts to Thrive in Preparation and Performance. Brian works with major athletes in the NBA, NHL, and MLS as well as business executives. After briefly introducing how Brian got into his executive and mental performance coaching business, we discussed the concept of achieving greatness by shifting from a preparation mindset to a performance mindset. Brian mentioned that one of the most important steps is to create self-awareness. Understand who you are so that you can decide where you want to go. To answer Nathaniel’s question, throughout the journey of creating the right mindset, being present is the most difficult step, and thinking about the future is the most misunderstood one. Brian stressed the importance of “turning it off and resting” and have the “how much money is enough for me?” conversation with oneself. As Dan pointed out, “time” and “money” are two of the most misunderstood topics that we don’t discuss openly and honestly enough.
S2EP4 The Reality Of Remodeling – A Chat With Tony Bickmore
This is a fun episode. We invited Tony Bickmore, the owner of Bickmore Construction, to join us and talk about remodeling/building your primary home. After Tony briefly introduced how he got into the business, Dan asked where people should start in terms of remodeling and building. Tony’s answer was very straightforward: have a realistic budget. Know what’s important to you, and understand the difference between “What is my budget?” and “What should my budget be?” are keys to a smooth process. Nathaniel asked what the one most important thing for clients to be aware of during this process. Tony thought that understanding the true scope of the entire project is crucial. So many of our clients ask us: is my primary home a good investment? You have to remember that asset ≠ investment. A house is not a bad asset but in no way a liquid investment. Tony summarizes it so well: the house is usually a person’s biggest asset, so it shouldn’t be an emotional decision; and yet, when it comes to doing anything with one’s home, for most people, it is 100% emotional.
If you have a project in the Utah area, please contact Tony at http://www.bickmoreconstruction.com/!
S2EP3 IPOs, Airbnb, Tesla, and Bitcoin – Quarterly “Trendy Talk”
Here we go again, this is our quarterly “Trendy Talk” episode for 2020’s 4th quarter. In this episode, we talked about IPOs, why do companies try to do IPOs, how are the prices determined (the truth might shock you), and what happened with Airbnb’s IPO. Tesla is one of the companies that we get questions about almost daily. Do you know that most of Tesla’s profit doesn’t come from selling its own products, but from selling the tax credits of being a “green company” to other big auto companies? Do you know that Tesla is selling at a multiple of 420 times free cash flow – not an ideal buyable price after all? As for Bitcoin, another insanely popular topic, as Tim said, if you want to invest 1% of your money and have some fun, by all means. But if you want to gamble your entire assets on it… well, don’t! We remember how popular marijuana was in 2019, but no one ever asks us about it anymore. You know what, trendiness passes, only value remains!
S2EP2 Space: The Final Frontier – A Chat With Rick Tumlinson
This episode is all about one of the most fascinating topics: space. Our guest is Rick Tumlinson, the co-founder of several space companies and non-profits, and one of the most influential people in the space industry. Rick kicked off the episode by talking about the book The High Frontier and how it inspired him to get into the industry. He then gave us a rundown of the space industry from a business lens. Tim followed up by asking how the space industry was funded. It was absolutely interesting to hear Rick speak about private vs government and China vs the U.S. in this new “space competition.” We were intrigued by Rick’s description of what a settlement could be like in space, and where he predicted those places may be. Nathaniel asked Rick’s opinion on what Elon Musk’s and Jeff Bezo’s passion for space could mean for Telsa and Amazon, respectively. Rick’s closing speech was powerful: to bring lives to dead space, to redesign our civilization and culture in a new era, that’s our job, and that’s where our future lies.
S2EP1 Rocking The Music Industry – A Chat With Drew Brown From OneRepublic
For the very first episode of 2021, we open our show with Drew Brown, the rhythm guitarist of the pop-rock band OneRepublic. We kicked off the podcast by asking what got Drew into music, what artists inspired him, what his favorite concert was, and what his shower/carpool song pick is (cue the “Beauty & the Beast” theme song plz!). Drew revealed that he almost joined a metal band, and as Nathaniel pointed out, that would not only have changed his career but his entire life because he would never have met his wife. Tim and Nathaniel explored with Drew his feeling towards the music industry, and how it has changed for better and worse. Drew talked about how he finds creativity not just in music, but also in business. He further discussed his opinion on streaming in the music business. As for COVID, Drew expressed his worries about young artists being unable to start their careers due to the lack of live performance opportunities. We were all very impressed by Drew’s commitment and vision. As Dan said, never underestimate the power of passion!
Not Just Another Nerd – An Interview With Nathaniel Leach
This is our “Get To Know LBW” mini-series where we interview each of our team members so that you will get to know us better. Our third interviewee is our Portfolio Manager Nathaniel Leach. He explained that despite what some people may think, he’s not a robot. He talked about how he explored many different subjects before landing on his history degree, and how that greatly influenced and helped his current job as our Portfolio Manager. He went in-depth talking about his reasons and feelings for joining the U.S. Marine Corps, and what he has learned from it. Dan and Tim asked Nathaniel about his greatest joy in life, his views on leadership, favorite place, game, food, etc. As Dan stated, most of our clients don’t know Nathaniel as well as the rest of the team because his job requires him to read and research rather than to talk and socialize. We hope this episode helps you understand Nathaniel better and see the caring, loving, and passionate person that we proudly call “friend!”
Wicked Smart Since 1982 – An Interview With Dan Weiss
This is our “Get To Know LBW” mini-series where we interview each of our team members so that you will know us better. Our second interviewee is the Director of Client Relations, Dan Weiss. We talked about his childhood, his education, and his minor (well, not so minor) obsession with geography and maps. He explained why he co-founded LBW Wealth, and what pushes and encourages him in life. Dan shared with us why community involvement and giving back to charity are so important to him personally. And of course, the interview isn’t complete without an embarrassing life story!