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About the author  ⁄ Van Pappas

Van Pappas

Van Pappas, CFP® - Van is a native of Atlanta. He holds his undergraduate degree in Finance with an emphasis in Real Estate. As a planner for 15 years, he earned his CFP designation from Kaplan University. He is currently the Chairman and founder of the Chamblee Chamber of Commerce and sits on the Downtown Development Authority for the City of Chamblee. In 2012, he noticed the value of helping the X-Y Generations and decided to merge his practice with oXYGen Financial. Background and qualification information is available at FINRA's BrokerCheck website.Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

Five Financial New Year’s Resolutions For 2020

It’s 2020, and that means that most of you have made at least one New Year’s resolution for this year or even for the next decade. For most of you it will surround either diet or exercise, but for some of you, getting your financial plan in order may rise to the top of the list. With the average American now surpassing more than $7,000 of credit card debt, student loans at more than $1.6 trillion, and 50% of the people in America who are 55 years and older having no retirement savings at all, it may appear cash flow management will be THE term we all need to learn for the next decade. In Your Smart Money Moves fashion, here are my ideas for a sticky 2020 financial New Year’s resolution that can help you grow your bottom line. Get Your Financial House In Order Take The 21 Day Budget Cleanse – I just published a new book to ...

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Buying a House Might Not be a Great Investment

For most of us, owning a home will be the biggest investment you have.  But is it really a good investment, or is it just a place to lay our heads at night?   You have to live somewhere, and as I like to say, “you can’t take a brick out of your house to put food on the table.”  Many people hold the belief that a house is a good investment.  And I agree it is a worthy goal.  But the desire for owning bigger houses is widespread, especially among high income earners.  So, let’s explore the numbers by looking at the S&P Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index.  Over the last 10 years after the recession, the annual return of the index is 4.21%.  If you go further back to 2000 to include the Real Estate run up and bubble, the annual return is only 4.11%.  In comparison, the S&P500 over the last 10 years averaged 10.99%. You might ...

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Your Money – You Can’t Take it with You

At age 70 ½ the government (Uncle Sam), wants you to start taking money out of your tax-deferred retirement accounts.  You know, your 401K, your IRA.  Any retirement account that you have put part of your income into over the years to avoid paying tax on it.  Now they want you to take a RMD (Required Minimum Distribution).  That’s IRS talk for, you’d better start paying taxes on that tax-deferred money.  They figure, you have avoided the taxes long enough and they want their cut, before you leave this earth. So, if they force you to take money from your retirement, how do you determine how much?  Well there is a calculation to come up with the minimum distribution amount.  Most people have multiple accounts from changing jobs and not rolling over old accounts to consolidate.  You start by taking the total account value on December 31st of the previous year of all retirement accounts (except ROTH IRAs); and you ...

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Steps to Take When You Lose a Loved One

The population is aging, and we find ourselves more and more having to deal with the loss of loved ones.  It can be a very emotional time.  While their estate documents might be all in place, the documents especially control what happens months after their passing. So, what happens after death until the will kicks in?  Having a checklist in place for family members to follow can reduce their stress, as they go through the grieving process.  Use these steps as a guide to set up your own checklist. Letter of Instruction.  This should be a document that tells family members important information like any prearranged funeral plans, organ donations, any desired service details. Make Funeral Arrangement.  If your loved one did not put together a Letter of Instruction, then making all the arrangements usually falls to the closest relative.  This can be difficult for grieving spouses, so a next of kin may need to step in to help. Notify ...

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Is it Time to Dodge the Draft?

No, you are not going to have to avoid a Government draft. But with winter coming, you might want to do somethings about that drafty house.  Some simple inexpensive projects could save you up to 18% on your energy bills this winter.  Here are four projects you should look at doing. Durable Weather Stripping.  Take a look at your exterior doors.  If you can slide a piece of paper between the door and the frame, then you are probably losing energy.  Bronze strips bought at your local hardware store are about $20 and easy to install on your own. Insulate the Attic Hatch.  If you have the traditional pull-down ladders to get to your attic, you will notice that was not build with any regard to energy saving.  A supper easy fix is to get an attic tent.  This is exactly like it sounds.  It is insulated fabric that you staple to the attic floor over the latter hatch.  It ...

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Green Eggs and Van

When my son was a small child, he loved when I would read him Dr. Seuss books.  Stories like ‘Oh the Things you can Think’, or ‘To think I saw it on Mulberry Street’ were some of his favorites.   Maybe it was the funny stories.  Or maybe it was the made-up words.  But he kept asking me to read them again and again.  What he did not realize was that he was learning some important lessons about money, math and being an entrepreneur from the books.  Here are a few of the Dr Seuss lessons that I love. ‘Horton Hears a Who’ has great lessons for business owners, who can find it a challenge to delegate work.  Entrepreneurs realize that there are no small rolls in a company.  And successful companies need good leadership and management. “A person’s a person, no matter how small”.  My favorite point in the book is where the smallest suggestion can be transformed into something ...

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Can you Fund your HSA from your IRA???

If you have an HSA (Health Savings Account), you know the great value is that you can use funds from the account Tax-Free to pay for medical expenses.  Unfortunately like most government created financial instruments, there is a limit on how munch you can contribute to the account each year.  But even with a contribution limit, Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) reports that in 2017 only 13% of all HSA accounts were fully funded and 36% of HSA accounts were not funded at all. Typically, the reason accounts are not fully funded is the owner is either not educated on how the accounts work; or they do not have the cash flow/income to make the contribution. So, there is a strategy that most people do not know about, where you can take dollars from your IRA and move them to your HSA.  And most importantly you pay no tax or penalty to do this.  It is called a QHFD (Qualified ...

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Are those Phones Calls a Scam?

For years I’ve been telling my clients that those phone calls from the IRS are scams.  The IRS does not call people.  And you should never give out your information over the phone. Well now the scammers have moved to Social Security.  There is an increase in scam calls, claiming they are from the Social Security Administration.  They sound official making claims that due to fraudulent activity your Social Security number is being suspended.  What they are trying to do, is get you to let your guard down, so you will give them some of your personal information. Let me be really clear.  Your Social Security number is NEVER suspended.  This is not something the administration does, and they will never make phone calls to people.  Most of the time communications come from official postal mail. But you may have gotten an email from the administration and that is probably real.  If you have gone to SSA.gov and created a ...

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If you build it, will they REALLY come

We all know the iconic line from Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams “If you build it, they will come”.  It was actually “…he will come”, but the business world has taken that line and transformed it to mean that no matter what you build, people will use it or pay for it.  As James Earl Jones said “…they most certainly will come”.  But will they REALLY. This business advice can be disastrous for entrepreneurs, as they cannot just create a product and hope it sells.   It is still very important to engage your customers for feedback.  The more important statement should be “who are we building this for?”. Here are a few things to think about for your next startup. Your idea is not a secret:  The secret formula to Coke is one thing, but ideas are different.  Don’t guard the idea like a national secret.  Circulate it to see if it is valuable and get some validation to ...

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10 Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

All too often, new clients come in, and we discover that they have been complacent about the need for proper estate planning.  They think they are either too young or too old, they are of modest means, or an estate plan is unnecessary.  Plus, no matter how much you think your family loves one another, people are greedy when it comes to money. When assets come into play, no estate plan, or a poor one, can cause issues or allow property to fall into the wrong hands. Here are 10 mistakes that, if avoided, will smoothly transfer your estate. Not having a Will or, in the alternative, a living trust – Without a main vehicle to drive the estate, the probate court has to get more involved. Focusing solely on taxes – Under current tax law, most people will not hit the estate tax limits, so taxes do not have to be the driving decision maker. Naming the wrong executor/agent/trustee ...

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