In case you have not heard, there is a mega millions drawing happening tonight. Actually, it’s a $2.6 billion dollar drawing. It has created a lot of excitement for many. Everywhere you go, you can hear people talking about what they would do if they won, where they would go, and what they would buy. Many have expressed quitting their jobs right away, buying a new house (or island), or helping family members. It seems people are inspired to dream when they have a chance of “winning big”. I have to admit, it is fun to get lost in the “what would I do with a billion dollars” fantasy. Unfortunately, the odds are certainly not in our favor of winning the lottery. I read somewhere that you have a better chance of “being drafted by the NBA or being killed by a vending machine” then winning the lottery. Yikes! But still, Americans across the country are excitedly buying their tickets in anticipation that this could be the life change they have been waiting for.
What if I told you that you don’t actually need luck to become a millionaire by the time you are 65. All it really takes is some forethought, discipline, and time. In fact, if you are still in your 30s, all it takes is saving $7,000 a year through a retirement account. That works out to about $580 per month before taxes. Which really means you will probably only miss about $460 from your actually net pay check. Friends, that is only about $220 per biweekly pay. Can you find a way to defer that into a 401k or IRA for the future payout of $1,000,000? Can you start with something smaller and build to achieve the ultimate goal? Someone in America might become a billionaire tonight, but it is possible for many more to become millionaires by the time they retire. It all starts with making the choice to save now for the future.
We love helping our clients hit the “retirement jackpot” … no lottery ticket necessary!
Our coats for Kids campaign was born from the experiences of our President, Ashley Rosser. Prior to her career at Victory, Ashley was a pediatric nurse for a hospital located in West Philadelphia for over ten years. She was often reminded of the daily struggles of so many children living in the nearby communities. Throughout the long winter months, while driving to work she would see small children walking to school in the bitter cold without jackets, hats, or gloves. This has forever stayed in her mind and she always hoped to one day help make a difference in the lives of children who are not able to have the basic necessities. This was the catalyst for Victory Fiduciary Consulting’s first “Coats for Kids” campaign last year.
Over two months’ time, Victory collected 75 new and like new coats for kids and adults. By working with local schools, Victory was able to provide over 30 coats to children in need who live right in our communities. An additional 40 adult and children’s coats were donated to a mission in Camden who directly handed them out to those in need.
2018 Coats for Kids Campaign
We are hoping to make a difference again this year by collecting new and like new coats for kids and adults. We will be working with our local schools to distribute specific coats to students who have been identified to be in need. This year, we will also be taking donations of hats, mittens and scarves to go with the coats. You may drop off any donations to our office at 53 N. Main Street Mullica Hill NJ. We will also have a box on our porch for after-hours drop offs. We will be kicking off the “Coats for Kids” campaign at our annual Client Appreciation Day Open House on October, 25th from 3pm-7pm. Thank you so much for helping us make a difference in our community.
Let’s look at making the case for life insurance. Life insurance isn’t about YOU. It is about your loved ones. When a spouse/partner dies unexpectedly, many times their loss is catastrophic to their family’s financial stability. Many households are two income families; the sudden loss of one’s income can be insurmountable for their family to overcome. No one ever wants to talk about the need for life insurance. It is an uncomfortable subject and most people view it as “the only purchase I hope I never need”. Unfortunately, the reality is by the time one realizes they or their partner should have purchased life insurance, it is often too late.
Making the Case for Life Insurance – Objections
One of the objections I hear often is “We are young and healthy, I do not see a need for it right now”. Wrong. The best time to look at purchasing insurance is when you do not have any medical issues. Once you receive a serious medical diagnosis, it can be very difficult and sometimes even impossible to secure coverage for yourself. Rates are also much more favorable for a younger, healthy person. Another response I hear often is “but I have coverage through my employer, why do I need my own policy” Unless you can guarantee that you will work for your current job until you either die or no longer need insurance, you are taking a gamble that you will have coverage when it is needed.
Making the Case for Life Insurance – Types
There are different types of insurance that offer different benefits and purpose. Some will simply provide a death benefit for a specific dollar amount and are guaranteed for a set number of years. Their payments are typically fixed for the duration of the contract. There are other insurances that can provide coverage “for life”. The premiums may be fixed or variable, depending on the specific coverage you are looking for. Some contracts are strictly designed to provide a death benefit, while others have cash value benefits as well.
Making the Case for Life Insurance – Expertise
It is important to sit down with an insurance professional who can help you determine how much coverage you should consider having and what type of insurance would best suit your specific needs. At Victory, we use a specialized program that helps our clients determine how much life insurance they should consider purchasing based upon their current needs and lifestyle. It is important to be well informed of your needs so you can properly protect your family for years to come.
People always ask me “How Much Should I Contribute to My 401K?”, but many Americans are still not contributing anything to their company’s 401k plan. Of the employees who actually have access to a company sponsored retirement plan (only about 55% currently contribute) about 35% of these are still not contributing anything at all to their retirement. The grim reality is that for most, the only savings they will have at retirement will come from a company sponsored retirement plan. Those who do contribute are probably significantly underfunded. Many Americans have no idea how to even begin to project what current deferral rates they should be targeting.
So How Much Should I Contribute to My 401K?
A good rule of thumb for anyone to use is saving 10% of salary for 30 years. However, most employees are still living paycheck to paycheck, making 10% off the table, at least to get started. What should you do? I recommend to my clients to start off with ANY AMOUNT POSSIBLE to at least get themselves into the plan. Most people say if they never see it, they do not even miss it out of their check. If you are contributing to a tax deferred account (like a 401k, SIMPLE IRA or SEP) remember that your check is taxed AFTER your deferral so you will be missing less than the amount you are saving.
If your employer offers a match and you are not maximizing that, you are literally leaving money on the table that your employer is trying to give you for retirement. Once you start saving for retirement, the next goal is to defer just 1% more than the year before until you hit the 10% goal (or possibly more depending how close you are to retirement and how underfunded you are). 1% more each year can have a significant impact on your retirement balance at retirement.
An employee who earns $15 per hour during a 40 hour work week could save an additional $30,714 over 30 years by just increasing their deferral rate by 1% more each year. It is noteworthy that this 1% would amount to about $9.60 per bi-weekly pay going into their retirement account. That is just a few coffees or a pack of cigarettes!
Saving for retirement does not have to mean a huge change in habits, just a commitment to making small but powerful changes over time. We can offer you a complimentary full scope review to determine if you are currently underfunded for retirement. We will help you develop a plan to get back on track by using our retirement readiness program.
– Ashley Rosser AIF
Victory Fiduciary Consulting is proud to offer you tools and tips to protect yourself from identity theft. Unfortunately identity theft is a growing problem as our reliance on technology increases. It is important to be proactive to protect your identity and personal information.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi – Scammer’s can setup unsecured networks that hack data from your device. If you do use a local hotspot for Wi-Fi, make sure you use a password secured network and avoid conducting financial transactions or logging into your bank account.
Passwords – Make sure your passwords are complex and change them often. Passwords should have a minimum of 8 characters, letters, and numbers. Avoid using personal identifiers (name, date of birth).
Social Media – Be cautious of what you post on social media. Do not give easy access for criminals inadvertently. Avoid listing who you are with, your location, when you are on vacation, etc. This may give criminals information allowing them to break-in to your house or trace your footsteps.
Applications – Avoid installing suspicious applications and only download from reputable websites or applications. Scammers create apps that can allow your personal device data to be breached. Information such as saved passwords, personal data, banking credentials can all be vulnerable.
Phishing scams – Attempts made by scammers who create fraudulent e-mails, pop ups, and messages that looks like they are from legitimate companies. They attempt to collect your banking, credit card, passwords, or personal information. If you are unsure if it is legitimate, take the extra step and call the company to verify before providing any information.
Phone scams – Avoid answering a phone number do not recognize. Scammers will use phone numbers that resemble a local number in hopes that you will answer. If you do answer and the recording or live person is claiming to be your Credit Card Company or bank, just remember that your Credit Card Company or bank will never call and ask for your personal information. Immediately hang up and call your bank or credit card company to confirm. If you receive a threatening call from someone demanding payment, hang up and call the business they claim to be from.
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
How to Reduce the Risk of Identity Theft
Review your credit report often. You are entitled to a free copy from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agency every 12 months. Call 1-877-322-8228 or order online from www.annualcreditreport.com (only authorized website for free credit reports).
Monitor your bank accounts, credit card transactions, and billing statements early and often.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about security practices at your doctor’s office, bank, hospital, utility companies, etc.
If you want to be proactive about protecting your credit, placing a freeze on your credit report with each of the credit monitoring companies is the best way to prevent someone from opening unwanted accounts with your social security number.
What to do if your identity has been stolen
Record Keeping – Be sure to keep records of all correspondence with the creditors and agencies you contact. Follow up all telephone calls with a letter and keep a copy.
Creditors – Notify all creditors and financial institutions, in writing and by phone, that your name and accounts have been compromised.
Federal Law Enforcement – Report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at identitytheft.gov
Credit Reporting Agencies – Contact the three national credit reporting agencies by phone (Equifax 1-800-525-6285; Experian 1-888-397-3742; Trans Union 1-800-680-7289)
Utility Companies – Ask utility companies to watch out for anyone ordering services in your name
FBI – if the identity theft was internet-related, file an FBI Internet Crime Complaint at ic3.gov
Consumer Affairs can be reached at (845) 340-3260
To receive your free card blocker from Victory, give us a call at 856-464-3100 ext. 109 and we will ship yours out today!
Victory Fiduciary Consulting is proud to announce our President Ashley Rosser graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program in April 2018. Designed to create jobs and grow the economy by bringing education, capital and support services to business owners throughout the United States, the Program is funded by a $500M grant from the Goldman Sachs Foundation. It was an honor for Ashley to be invited in the program, joining 21 other business owners from various backgrounds and industries. It is guided by an advisory council including Babson University, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Bloomberg founder, CEO, and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett. The curriculum has been developed by Babson University and administered by the Community College of Philadelphia. Ashley has been working hard to implement the knowledge and experiences she gained during her time as a student. Stay tuned for exciting updates this coming year.
Here are the latest development in our financial consulting practice.
Increased Cybersecurity Measures
Victory engaged SSD Technology Partners in March 2018 as our cybersecurity provider. SSD uses multilayer security solutions to detect potential vulnerabilities on our servers, PCs, email system, and any other critical applications. SSD also uses two-factor authentication, data encryption, and other practices to protect our security position. E-mails sent from Victory are secured through Erado. We take cybersecurity very seriously as protecting your personal information is our top priority.
eMoney Software System
Victory is excited to announce that we are now fully integrated with eMoney. eMoney is a sophisticated financial planning software program that is now available for all of our clients. Some features of the program include Interactive Estate Planner, Goal Planner which allows eMoney to predict the probability of achieving a goal, and Need Analysis tool that can project different financial scenarios such as; college planning, insurance needs analysis, retirement planning, and more. If you are interested in learning more, give us a call today to schedule an in person meeting or online webinar.
Victory’s President, Ashley Rosser talks with the editor of the 401k Specialist about how to encourage employees to start saving for retirement early.
How To Make 401k Succession Planning Successful
Post from 401K Specialist – June 2017
The cobbler’s children have no shoes—it’s cliché but apropos when discussing advisor succession planning for their practices. An industry dedicated to diligent planning for others fails to do so for itself. How does it specifically work in the 401(k) space? These business partners with familial ties shed light.
What happens now?
Posted By: Bud Verfaillie
JUNE 16, 2017
Would you be ready for this phone call? “Hi Dad, it’s Ashley…I know this is really random and I totally understand if you say no. I was wondering if maybe I could come into the office sometime and learn more about the business.”
In the fall of 2009, my daughter made that call, which dramatically changed the course of my family’s life.
Her career for the prior decade was as a registered nurse, serving in a large pediatric hospital in their level-one trauma center. She genuinely liked what she did and was good at it. However, she kept having thoughts about joining me, a business owner since before she was born.
Growing up, however, she never really thought of the business as something she wanted. Like most kids and business, Ashley imagined it dreadfully boring. She absolutely hated math and could not envision sitting at a desk performing complicated calculations. Plus, she saw that I worked long hours, especially when she was young. She remembers when I coached her softball team in a dress shirt, tie and sneakers, not having time to change before the game. To this day, she can’t really say what prompted her to make the call. She just knew she wanted to learn more.
I started my financial planning practice in 1978, right out of college and newly married. My first office was a closet I converted to a workspace in our one-bedroom apartment. I grew a mustache because I thought it made me look older.
Fortunately, through hard work and perseverance, the practice grew. In 1995, we converted the private wealth management division to fee-only. We severed our relationship with our broker-dealer and established Victory Asset Management Co. an independent RIA firm. In October of 2000, Victory hit the $100 million AUM mark. In 2005, I repositioned the practice to develop a proficiency in compliance consulting for 401(k) plans.
I always wanted my three daughters to chase their passions, but in the back of my mind, I privately hoped that at least one would get involved in the practice.
This set the stage for that career-changing phone call. That three-minute call changed my practice, legacy, and motivation to grow the business. It’s hard to express my emotions when my oldest daughter called to ask what I thought about her joining the firm. We laugh now, but there was a 20-second period of silence as I processed what I heard. It was the most rewarding day of my professional career. I shed tears of joy at a national conference I was attending in the midst of over 4,000 advisors and vendors. My private wish was becoming a public reality.
Ashley and I immediately brainstormed about how to create this new working relationship. I made certain my wife of over 35 years, Peggie, was involved in our big picture discussions so as to gain her perspective and support. Peggie has been my strongest personal and professional supporter, and I wanted to make certain she understood and was on board with our strategy, as the decisions would have a direct financial impact on our retirement plans.
Phase One: Planning
Since I was no longer concerned about an outside sale, we focused on an internal succession strategy. I made a few phone calls to peers who had children in their practices. I quickly identified issues of concern.
There were notable differences between the founding parent and their incoming children. The issues stemmed primarily in differences in work ethics, style, and client confidence which was ultimately affecting client integration. Certain clients only wanted to work with the founders. I already knew Ashley had a great work ethic, good disposition, outgoing personality and a sincere desire to help people. I felt confident that once she proved her professional competence, everything else would fall into place. We identified the type of training, licenses, accreditations and mentoring that would be necessary to assure a great client integration.
Valuing the business proved challenging, but we eventually decided to use a multiplier of revenues, then discounted, because I knew I was going to receive future income (and because Ashley was my daughter).
Ashley agreed to take a more modest salary and utilize sweat equity in exchange for purchasing company stock, which I gifted her as well. The plan is for her to receive a total of 10 percent of the company stock each year over the next 10 years.
Victory is an S-Corp, and all of our stock is in voting shares. We considered providing a minority discount for stock transfers, as well as changing some of the voting shares to non-voting shares, but decided against it as to not complicate it further.
The main disadvantage for just gifting the stock was that Ashley would have to wait for my death to receive a step up in cost basis if she decided to sell the business.
At the end of the 10-year stock transfer, the business will pay either myself or my estate an income for 10 years. Once we valued the business, we had a stock redemption agreement created and funded it with term insurance. We also purchased key-man life insurance on me. I wanted to make certain Ashley could hire the right type of professionals while she was still learning the business if I died early into the transition.
Around this time, I thought it appropriate to update my estate plan, which was created 15 years earlier. Our net worth had changed, additional properties were purchased and I wanted to make it clear how the estate was going to factor into Ashley’s eventual acquisition of the practice.
It was also a good time to give the practice a facelift and to upgrade our technology. I thought better technology and software programs could increase proficiency, plus I didn’t want Ashley to have to endure my “old school” practices.
The first step was a name change to Victory Asset Management Co. DBA Victory Fiduciary Consulting. The new name was more indicative of our business model. In addition, we would not have to set up a new RIA firm, just make a name change with the SEC.
We then upgraded our server and workstations. We changed our client management and servicing software, and upgraded our retirement planning software. Victory’s website and marketing materials were also dated. We completely rebranded the company and created a new website and capabilities brochures. Ashley played a key role in all the decision-making so she could take ownership. The rebranding was costly but necessary. We sent out several press releases touting our changes.
Our training and mentoring program was quite simple. I showed Ashley how I conducted certain tasks and she watched. On certain tasks, we had written procedures. The next time that task needed to be completed, Ashley would complete the task as I watched and when necessary, provided critiques.
If procedures were written, it was a great opportunity to see if they needed to be updated. We both had our own styles, but the end result seems to be the same.
Phase Two: Implementation
Implementation was probably the hardest phase for Ashley. After passing her Series 65 exam and earning an insurance license, and my confidence, it was time to introduce her to clients. Plan sponsors, 401(k) participants and our clients had never dealt with anyone other than me, and some of our support staff.
This was a crucial step in the process. Clients had to begin to see Ashley as a competent owner. The only way for this to happen was to have her act in that capacity. We did this in steps. Ashley had been attending meetings and conferences for two years. I would always be present and Ashley would listen and interject comments. It was now time for Ashley to be the presenter and for me to sit back.
She began to take a more active role in client meetings, but I was always there to act as a backup and provide critical analysis after the meeting. She began to gain both the confidence and trust of our clients. Ashley led meetings and calls, and the transition was smooth. She was already a familiar face and voice to most clients, so it seemed very natural.
Eventually, calls began going directly to Ashley. I stopped being copied on most emails. Even though our clients knew I’d not left the practice, reaching out to Ashley became the normal practice for most clients.
Several senior managers even went as far as saying they not only felt comfortable with Ashley taking over the practice but that it also provided them future assurance of our formal succession plan. In August 2016, Ashley was promoted to president while I still retain the title as CEO. This helped recognize her ownership position.
Phase Three: Departure
I am a little over seven years from formally retiring from the practice, though I cannot imagine not being involved in some way. I have the freedom to take longer vacations, but I do not anticipate full retirement anytime soon. However, it’s increasingly satisfying to know that if something did happen to my health, I have a legacy that positively impacts my clients and family for generations to come. I also shaved the mustache because I thought it made me look younger.
Initially, the succession plan seemed daunting as we mapped all the necessary steps. In reality, it made me analyze the practice from an entirely different perspective. As a result, we made our practice upgrades much faster than we would under normal conditions, and it positioned us to be more competitive while offering a more robust value proposition.
Victory Fiduciary Consulting is a retirement planning firm in New Jersey that specializes in 401k compliance consulting. Victory first earned its CEFEX certification in 2007. Bud Verfaillie is an AIFA, PPC and CFP and Ashley Rosser is an AIF.
Victory Fiduciary Consulting’s senior management announced their firms 2016 operational upgrades after more than two decades.
“Victory has undergone substantive and sustainable changes in 2016, including a rebranding marketing initiative, key personnel additions, and now system upgrades, to augment our firm’s operational efficiency,” said Bud Verfaillie, CEO.
The operational upgrades include industry state-of-the-art software, integration, and internet management improvements to streamline client services. Victory Fiduciary Consulting upgraded their fund monitoring and reporting; plan participant enrollment; retirement and income projections; and client relationship management services.
“We have incorporated a variety of industry financial tools and resources into our Victory toolkit to provide enhanced client services, but never want automation or technology to replace personal interaction,” said Ashley Rosser, President.
Fund Monitoring & Reporting:
Victory Fiduciary Consulting utilizes, fi360®Toolkit, an industry leading fund monitoring and reporting software program that provides the most accurate investment information to our investors. The fi360® Toolkit allows our Plan Sponsors the ability to track and document portfolio decisions over time to help meet industry best practices and fiduciary principles. Plan Sponsors can create custom investment policy statements that integrate with reports, thereby saving valuable time and money.
Plan Participant Enrollment:
Victory Fiduciary Consulting utilizes SmartPlan, an interactive, employee engagement and enrollment software program to augment our 401k plan participant services. SmartPlan helps increase 401k participant participation and deferral rates on more plans in less time.
SmartPlan features virtual instructors, actors John and Arlene, who serve as instructive hosts. They guide employees through an interactive experience to discover their individual retirement needs and risk tolerance. Plus, SmartPlan is available 24-hours a day, across a variety of platforms including web, iOS, Android and Windows Mobile, making it easy for user accessibility.
Retirement & Income Projection:
Victory Fiduciary Consulting utilizes MoneyGuidePro™, a state-of-the-art, financial analysis and projection software program to provide the highest quality retirement planning services to our clients. MoneyGuidePro™ is the flagship product of PIEtech, Inc., a web-based financial planning software program that helps Victory Fiduciary Consulting create, implement and maintain investment strategies that will best meet the lifetime financial goals of our clients.
Client Relationship Management (CRM):
Victory Fiduciary Consulting now utilizes Redtail Technology, a leading provider of web-based Client Relationship Management (CRM), paperless office and email archiving solutions in the financial services industry. Redtail Technology offers integration with many of the financial services industry’s most widely-used applications, including leading insurance, annuity, reporting, and financial management companies. Redtail Technology’s CRM helps Victory Fiduciary Consulting to more efficiently manage and service our valued clients, while simultaneously improving operational efficiency.
Established in 1995, Victory Fiduciary Consulting is an independent Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firm based in Mullica Hill, NJ that provides 401k consulting services to Plan Sponsors of small to mid-size companies and serves as retirement investment advisors to private investors from all walks of life.
Victory is one of only three firms in the Delaware Valley to earn a 2016 Center for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX) Certification, and the only retirement planning firm in the State of New Jersey to earn the prestigious Investment Advisor Certification Validation.