About Jerry Maldonado

Jerry specializes in retirement, insurance and tax off-set strategies for professionals and small business owners. His focus is to help clients identify their definitions of legacy and financial security while simultaneously implementing innovative strategies to help make those financial goals a reality. For more information on his services, he can be reached at: JGM Consulting LLC [email protected] (951)858-0798 Lic#0H33733

Are You at Peak Financial Fitness?

Physical fitness and financial fitness are inextricably linked, says financial advisor Pamela Gilmour. Ignore your health or your wealth, and it can catch up to you. The parallels are striking. When people live an unhealthy life in their 20s, 30s and 40s, the risk of disease and debilitating conditions grows. By the time people reach their 50s, medical care often becomes an expensive necessity. Likewise, those who ignore their finances — keeping credit cards maxed out and living paycheck to paycheck — live with high levels of unhealthy stress. When they reach their 50s and start thinking about retirement, a new reality sets in: They may arrive at retirement without enough to live on. Pamela Gilmour, CEO of Financial Fitness in Towson, Maryland, has been providing financial planning for over 25 years. A golfer, runner and certified Yoga instructor, she defines financial fitness as having the financial means to live the life you want without undue stress. How do you know if you’re financially fit? She says the following warning signs suggest you may need to give your finances the same attention you give to your workouts.  ARE YOU HAVING TROUBLE SLEEPING? “Waking up in the middle of the night is an alert from your subconscious,” Pamela says. You may successfully rationalize an unhealthy financial situation during the day, only to have deep-seated nightmarish anxieties. In fact, in a 2017 survey, 65 percent of Americans reported losing sleep over financial concerns.1 ARE YOU STUCK IN A VICIOUS CREDIT CARD CYCLE? Pamela sees many young adults who fall for the lure of interest-free credit cards as a way to reduce debt. “They have a balance of $10,000 on one card, so they flip it to a new interest-free card with the idea they will pay off that amount without incurring more interest. Instead, they run up more debt on the first card, so they’re in even worse shape.” By the time people reach their 30s, Pamela says they should be paying off their credit cards fully each month. ARE YOU ENGAGING IN EMOTIONAL SPENDING? Just as emotional eating can derail a health-conscious diet, coping with feelings of anxiety, boredom or unhappiness by buying things you can’t afford can seriously damage your finances. One client, after listening to Pamela talk about financial planning, said, “That sounds great, but it won’t work for me — I’m an over-spender.” Pamela replied, “Is that like having an incurable disease? If you keep saying you’re an over-spender, you’re going to be an over-spender.” Working hard to change your habits — to become an under-spender — can help build financial fitness, she says. ARE YOU PASSING-UP GOOD OPPORTUNITIES? An inability to say “yes” to opportunities like sending your child to a top-notch university or buying a beach house with friends — even though you’re making good money — is a warning sign. If you feel you should be able to afford something but can’t, you need to explore why. Taking a tactical approach to personal finances could be [...]

2019-05-31T17:10:52+00:00 By |

LIFE CYCLE PLANNING

Financial planning means something different to everyone. For some, it's about getting by on their paycheck, for others it's about watching the stock market each day. Unfortunately, very few of us feel prepared to meet our ongoing financial obligations and objectives. Worries about money have become one of the greatest anxieties of our day. Because our lives and goals are so different, there is no turn-key solution for managing ones finances and meeting financial goals. We can, however, identify several steps successful people take in planning for and meeting their financial goals. We call these steps "Life Cycle Planning" because each step can be tied to the attainment of certain life defining events that almost everyone goes through. DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN CAPITAL Human Capital is a person's ability to turn their skills and abilities into a livelihood. The development of these skills and abilities helps us maximize our income potential in a competitive marketplace. In our early years, usually between age 19 and 25, we set ourselves on a course that largely defines our Human Capital potential. Each of us makes an investment in Human Capital, whether we realize it or not. For some this is an investment of time, gaining experience and skills on the job. For others it is an investment in trade school or college. It should also be noted that although our greatest focus on Human Capital development is in our early years, this is an investment we should continue to make and assess throughout our working careers. MANAGEMENT OF EXPENSES, BUDGETING Once our "Human Capital" investment begins to pay dividends in the way of earnings, we must begin to develop and apply management skills to our newfound earnings. Without managing our expenses, our wants and needs will invariably outpace our ability to earn. By implementing some form of budgeting, we can begin to set our sights on saving and meeting our longer term financial objectives. A beginning budget can be as simple as setting aside a predetermined percentage of our earnings each month for saving, spending what is left until it is gone, then spending nothing more until next month. ADEQUATE LIQUIDITY As our budget begins to pay off in a healthy savings account, we begin to wonder how best to apply our limited savings to our unlimited needs and wants. Without exception, the first financial need we should meet is to have an emergency fund. An emergency fund allows us to cover unexpected short term needs using cash instead of leveraging our future earnings through costly loans. As a general rule of thumb, your emergency fund should be adequate to maintain your standard of living for three to six months. ADEQUATE INSURANCE PROTECTION A major disability, the loss of a family breadwinner, a fire in your home, a major medical problem for a family member... the most dramatic emergencies can seldom be planned for through personal saving. Although such tragedies can create devastating individual financial hardship, the financial risk [...]

2019-04-12T19:47:12+00:00 By |

Strategies for Paying Down Student Loans

College was fun. But now the bill has come due. American students have over $1 trillion in student debts. The debt burden college graduates have is a substantial obstacle to personal financial progress, but you likely already know that. There are strategies you may want to consider in lightening the weight. LOOK INTO PUBLIC SERVICE LOAN FORGIVENESS For people working in government, non-profit and other public service jobs, certain federal loans may be forgiven after 10 years of qualifying payments. Many individuals are not even aware that they qualify for the program. VOLUNTEER There are a number of programs, e.g., AmeriCorps, Peace Corps and Military service, whereby such service will accrue a benefit that reduces an outstanding loan balance in an amount that varies with each program INCOME-BASED REPAYMENT PLAN Your payments on eligible federal loans can be capped at a percentage of your income, if you have a partial financial hardship, which is defined as monthly repayment amounts in excess of the level calculated under a 10-year standard repayment plan. If you make such payments and meet other requirements, any remaining balance will be forgiven after 25 years of qualifying repayment. PRE-PAY PRINCIPAL Pre-payment of principal will help lower the lifetime interest costs of a loan. Of course, the challenge for many young workers is that they may not have the cash flow to make pre-payments. Consider ways to raise cash specifically for such pre-payments. Do you still receive birthday and holiday presents? Ask for cash instead. Did you receive a raise, bonus or overtime pay? Direct unexpected cash flow to pre-payments. Student debt can be overwhelming. It may seem, at times, like you’ll never get past it. Don’t despair. Remember, time is in your favor. As you gain work experience, the economy improves and Baby Boomers retire, opportunities for economic advancement will emerge and help you move ahead.   Jerry Maldonado Jerry specializes in retirement, insurance and tax off-set strategies for professionals and small business owners. His focus is to help clients identify their definitions of legacy and financial security while simultaneously implementing innovative strategies to help make those financial goals a reality. For more information on his services, he can be reached at: JGM Consulting LLC [email protected] (951)858-0798 Lic#0H33733 www.jgmconsultingllc.com

2019-03-01T15:48:28+00:00 By |

Learn, Earn and Retire at Any Age

Millennials are do-it-alls and have-it-alls — in a good way. Research shows they far outpace other generations in focusing on these life priorities:1 Traveling Having a rewarding career Being recognized for accomplishments Enriching their intellectual horizons Looking great In other words, millennials expect to have fulfilling jobs that earn them kudos, but to never rest on their laurels and to always keep learning. Plus, they intend to travel the world while looking fabulous. (Sleep, apparently, is not a priority.) Kidding aside, millennials are rewriting the “life stage” playbook. Rather than compartmentalizing their journey into pre-, mid- and post-career periods, they are blending learning, earning and enjoying life in a continuum. What can the rest of us learn from millennials’ desire to embrace all of life in the moment? FEED YOUR BRAIN We know that learning ties to financial empowerment. College graduates earn approximately $1 million more over their lifetimes than high school graduates — and the gap increases with more education.2 But did you know that being a lifelong learner, as millennials so far tend to be, can also help reduce stress, delay cognitive decline and increase lifespan?3 Take educational tours, listen to TED talks, master a hobby, monitor online courses, read more. Enriching your brain will expand your horizons at any age. WORK TO LIVE Many millennials are opting for “portfolio careers,” amassing skills and experiences to build their value in the employment market or to start their own businesses. It’s a good model to follow. (And here are some ways to build your own career stock, while we’re at it.) The other takeaway is that many millennials say they don’t plan to retire. That philosophy squares with the research:  being engaged with meaningful work as we age is linked to better emotional and physical health.4 When tailoring your own retirement plan, consider ways you can continue to contribute your skills to others. CHILL AND FULFILL The most financially and emotionally confident Americans balance work-life responsibilities.5 Millennials take it even further. They’re not waiting for retirement to live their best lives. Harnessing digital technology, they’re blending the professional and personal in a holistic way to gain greater flexibility over how, where and when they work and play. This sense of control helps them avoid burnout even in demanding roles and drives high fulfillment, with 74 percent of millennials reporting they are satisfied with their lives. No matter where we are on life’s journey, the moment that matters most is right now, and maybe there is an opportunity to learn from the millennial mindset to add greater satisfaction, control and fulfillment to your life.   Jerry Maldonado Jerry specializes in retirement, insurance and tax off-set strategies for professionals and small business owners.  His focus is to help clients identify their definitions of legacy and financial security while simultaneously implementing innovative strategies to help make those financial goals a reality. For more information on his services, he can be reached at [email protected] JGM Consulting LLC [email protected] (951)858-0798 Lic#0H33733

2019-03-01T15:53:45+00:00 By |

The 12 Steps to Living Confidently: How to Retire With Confidence

Take Worry Out of Planning for Retirement!   Imagine you’re planning a round-the-world cruise. It won’t happen for a few years but you’re serious about going. One of the first things you do is figure out the cost. As the date draws closer, you nail down the exact amount of money you’ll need. Now, imagine you’re planning to retire. Wouldn’t you do the same thing? Figure out exactly what it will take to keep you afloat during your retirement journey? Most Americans don’t. In one survey, only 14% of pre-retirees knew what their Social Security payments were likely to be at retirement.1 “That’s scary,” says Douglas Dubitsky, Guardian Vice President, Product Management, Retirement Solutions. “Social Security benefits were never meant to be the only source of income in retirement. Understanding your benefits will help you plan confidently for retirement. And we know that having a plan is one of the key behaviors in achieving financial and emotional confidence.” What else is scary according to Dubitsky – not having other retirement assets on hand to cover you should you opt for delayed Social Security payments. Being strategic about your overall retirement income plan in this way is one way to become more financially and emotionally confident. Dubitsky has some additional rules of thumb. The 75% rule. You need about 75% of your pre-retirement earnings to live comfortably in retirement. If you earn $76,000 a year, for example, you’ll need retirement income of $57,000. Social Security will only cover part; about $32,000 a year would have to come from other sources.2 Wait if you can. While there is no “right time” to retire, the age you activate your benefits makes a big difference. If you were born between 1943-1954 and apply for Social Security benefits at age 62, you’ll receive about $1,000 less per month than if you wait until age 70. Again, if you do choose to delay Social Security, make sure you have other retirement assets on hand to cover you. Get real numbers. Calculating Social Security benefits is complex. Calculators on the Social Security website can help you estimate. Factor in healthcare costs. Medicare premiums and health care costs keep rising. A married couple, both age 65 in 2020, may need up to $365,000 over retirement just to cover health care.3 There are no guarantees. The mass migration of Baby Boomers leaving the workforce is putting a financial strain on the Social Security program. Payout may only be 77 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits by 2033. All the more reason to plan for alternative sources of income! “There are other practical things you can do,” adds Dubitsky. “Limit your dependence on Social Security earnings in retirement planning by increasing retirement contributions to both your IRAs and 401(k)s. Set up automatic deductions if possible. Estimate your retirement expenses now and calculate them out 30 years to see what a long retirement will cost. And stay on top of rising medical expenses by building up a health savings [...]

2018-09-18T12:05:46+00:00 By |

The 12 Steps to Living Confidently: Business Succession Planning

What Happens to Your Business if You Are No Longer Able to Run It?   Nearly 75 percent of small businesses don’t have a succession plan, according to a recent survey.1 To put that into perspective, it’s as though three-quarters of the commercial jets in the air right now don’t have a co-pilot. That may sound dramatic but think about it. If the owner of a small business suddenly dies or becomes incapacitated, the company may stay aloft for a time — but the odds of an optimal outcome rapidly diminish without a plan in place. This daredevil bent is not surprising: Entrepreneurs tend to be calculated risk takers. In a recent study, it was shown that entrepreneurs typically align with the financial profile of Ambitious Spenders who put an emphasis on saving to start or expand a business. But protecting a business is as important as growing it. Research also shows that Ambitious Spenders prioritize creating wealth and building a legacy. With the right succession planning, small business owners can help to ensure both the long-term success of their business — and greater financial security for themselves and their family for years to come. Here are three steps to help get your succession planning off the ground: ASK TOUGH QUESTIONS Succession planning is a blueprint for continuing or liquidating a business when the owner is no longer involved. If continuance is the goal, who will take control? Many business owners assume their children will want to be involved, but that may not be the case. Some issues to explore: Are my family members interested in running the business? Do they have the skills and aptitude? How will those family members who are uninterested in the business share in the legacy? Would it be preferable for an outsider to assume ownership? How will that transition be managed to protect my heirs? INSURE AGAINST THE UNKNOWN Insurance is a key element in a business succession plan. Whole life insurance: In the event of an owner’s untimely death, the benefits from a whole life insurance plan may be used to pay creditors and provide survivors with financial resources to either maintain the business or liquidate it. If the owner decides to retire, a whole life policy may be used to fund supplemental retirement income.2 Disability insurance: Disability insurance provides valuable stop-gap financial protection if an owner is unable to work due to illness or injury. The proceeds can help the business meet its day-to-day expenses, as well as business loans and other longer-term financial obligations — until the owner is back on his or her feet. CONSULT WITH A FINANCIAL SPECIALIST Developing a well-designed succession plan can be one of the most significant financial decisions you’ll make, which is why you should consider consulting with a knowledgeable financial professional who will take the time to understand your business and provide unbiased advice. Owners of high-growth, small businesses are more likely to rely on advice from professionals than owners [...]

2018-09-07T16:54:20+00:00 By |

The Steps to Living Confidently: Time Horizon, Risk Tolerance, and Compounding

Learn the Benefits of Starting a Retirement Fund Early in Age!   Investing for retirement may have a simple premise: make sure your savings are working hard, so when you stop working, you can live comfortably on your retirement income for many years to come. But the best way to do that differs for each person. Here are three factors to consider in creating your plan: TIME HORIZON How long before you retire? Forty years? Twenty years? Ten years? Your horizon is the amount of time before you begin drawing income from your retirement savings. It’s the prime period to build your retirement funds — and its length plays a role in determining how much risk you can afford to take. Generally speaking the more years you have before retirement, the greater the risk you may be willing to take with your money. If you’re nearing retirement, you may benefit from more conservative investments. This can help you plan more confidently. Let’s consider Humpty Dumpty. A good egg, Humpty is 42 years old. He intends to retire at 65, so his time horizon is 23 years. Many financial specialists consider a horizon of more than 10 years to favor an aggressive investment portfolio — i.e., one designed to provide a higher rate of return while also involving a greater likelihood that those funds could lose value. The closer to retirement Humpty gets, the more his financial advisor may advise him to scale back risk. But Humpty’s horizon is not the only factor in his decision. RISK TOLERANCE Just because you are decades away from retirement, that doesn’t automatically mean you should opt for higher-risk investments to chase a rate of return. You want to figure out your risk tolerance. What is your relationship with money? Are you comfortable riding an investment roller-coaster if you gain a favorable return down the road? Or do dips in market value give you high anxiety? The answers to these and other questions can help you determine whether you want an investment portfolio weighted toward stocks (aggressive) or fixed-income investments (low-risk) or a balance between the two. Because you want to make rational, rather than emotional, investment decisions, it is helpful to be aware of your financial goals and behaviors and to work with a financial professional to devise a plan that suits your level of risk tolerance. Learning how your personal style and financial habits intersect can help you plan more confidently. THE POWER OF COMPOUNDING What Humpty may have sacrificed by starting later in life (age 42) and choosing a very low-risk investment strategy was the ability to fully exploit the incredible power of compounding. Compounding is the ability of investments to generate earnings. Here’s how it works, i.e., from age 20 to 30, Jack contributed $1,000 to his retirement account, earning seven percent compounded monthly. That $11,000 investment grew to $168,514 by age 65, when he retired from taking cows to market.1 Similarly, if he started saving at 55 years [...]

2018-08-22T18:11:28+00:00 By |

The Steps to Living Confidently: The Small Business Dream

How to keep your small business from failing.   Thinking about starting a small business? Join the club – 97 percent of US employer firms are small businesses, a total of 27.9 million.1 While everyone starts with a dream and the best of intentions, an uncertain economy plays a role, for sure, and some businesses just tend to tank more than others. Then there are the businesses that are exposed to structural shifts, like travel agencies and office supply stores. But opportunity abounds in growth areas like shared services, healthcare, construction, food and hospitality, technical consulting, and senior care. So, do your homework and hedge your bets by finding a suitable growth area (shared services, for example) and the type of business that has a higher chance of success (accounting and payroll management, for example). Then, once you’ve decided on the right business for you, these five steps can help you to realize your entrepreneurial dream. ASSESS YOUR FINANCIAL PERSONALITY Your attitudes toward life, money, and financial decision-making will influence your entrepreneurial success. Small business owners in America tend to be Ambitious Spenders, according to recent research. They struggle with work/life balance, and while most hate to delay gratification, they still prioritize saving to grow their business and estate. Sound like you? PRIORITIZE CASH FLOW Over 80 percent of small businesses fail because of negative cash flow. They don’t have enough money coming in at the right time to meet their financial obligations. Making healthy cash flow a top priority will help your business weather the ups and down. Put together a forecast of anticipated payables and receivables so you’re not blind-sided, set up and enforce realistic payment terms for customers, and work with suppliers to get favorable pricing and discounts. PROTECT AGAINST COMMON RISKS You can forecast cash flow, but you can’t forecast disaster. Small businesses need big protection. Consider different types of disability income and life insurance policies to help safeguard your business if you were unable to work due to illness or injury, or if a key employee passed away suddenly. Property insurance may be important, depending on your business. And liability insurance will help protect you from lawsuits. GROW THE RIGHT CULTURE Culture isn’t just for yogurt. Successful small-business owners build a collaborative workplace environment in which employees unite behind a shared mission, values, and behaviors. Learn how to delegate effectively to others within your business and build strong personal relationships with employees, vendors and customers. It’s all about creating a positive network, inside and outside the business, that enables everyone to perform at their best. SEEK ADVICE FROM PROFESSIONALS Owners of high growth small businesses are more likely to rely on advice from professionals and informal business support groups than do owners of companies with declining revenue, according to our research.2 In particular successful entrepreneurs continuously work on developing their skills around strategic planning, money management, and hiring. Starting a new business is exciting — and a huge commitment of your time and money. To [...]

2018-08-09T11:10:09+00:00 By |

The Steps to Living Confidently: Legacy and Estate Planning

How to protect your loved ones with legacy and estate planning.   You work hard for your money. And you protect it. Year after year, you build net worth as your cash and other assets (house, real estate, investments) grow. Now, imagine that you never protected your money — that you left your paychecks on the bus or your front steps for anyone to take. Where would you be now? Without a basic estate plan, you’re taking the same risk with your wealth. If you don’t have the right documents to protect and transfer your assets, decisions will be made based on the law, not your wishes. And the value of your estate could plummet due to estate settlement costs and taxes. Working Americans are seriously stressed out. One reason is the disconnect between financial priorities and behaviors. You want to protect your loved ones, yet maybe you’ve put estate planning on the back burner. Instead, follow the lead of Confident Planners, the least stressed Americans. They use estate planning to take control of the unknown and safeguard their family’s future. You can do the same!   “I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START.” Fair enough. Estate planning sounds complex. One way to start is to focus on the top three tools everyone needs: Last will and testament: Simply put, a will is what you want done with your stuff when you die. It specifies who gets the house, the investments, your bobblehead collection, and everything else you hold dear. Die without a will, and the state steps in to make those decisions. A DIY will is possible (and probably better than nothing), but it always helps to consult an expert.   Living will and healthcare proxy: A living will spells out your wishes about end-of-life care. For example, how long would you want to stay on life support? The healthcare proxy designates a person to make those decisions if you become physically or mentally incapacitated. The two documents go hand-in-hand, and you can find forms online.   Durable power of attorney: This is the legal counterpoint to the living will: a document that specifies who can make financial decisions in the event you are incapacitated.   There are many other valuable estate planning tools, but at the bare minimum, complete these three documents as soon as possible. Once you do, you will feel much more confident that you’ve protected your estate and loved ones.   “I DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT IT.” A surprising finding in recent research centered on Ambitious Spenders—people who have high incomes but are still financially and emotionally stressed. They prioritize building an estate but avoid planning to ensure its long-term viability. If that sounds like you, it may help to look at estate planning as the opportunity to build a powerful “future spending” engine to meet important goals, such as: Funding children’s and grandchildren’s education Providing ongoing care for elderly relatives or a special needs child Supporting your favorite charities or arts [...]

2018-07-24T16:49:29+00:00 By |