Your family’s financial goals are unique and so is how you plan to invest. We do not believe in the traditional ‘Tell & Sell’ model of offering products – We ‘Educate & Implement’, often using a number of services to create the entirety of the portfolio.
About Stark Financial
Firstly, we are glad that you are considering reaching out to us. Whether you are a novice or financial-pro, our process is the same and we really do all we can to make working with us as simple as possible.
- Set Appointment – However you feel most comfortable, set an appointment with us to either meet in person or over Zoom.
- Schedule your own appointment through Calendly> https://calendly.com/sfgi
- Talk to Shannon personally via email to coordinate schedules> email@example.com
- Call us directly > 614-565-8691
- Stop by our office personally. Our office comes complete with masked smiles and sanitized hands and surfaces.
- Download my e-card here and schedule > https://card.get-card.com/sean-a-stark/
- Fact Finding – We need to get to know you and what your financial goals are so these are the things we ask in that first in-person or teleconference appointment. This is also the best time to ask us any questions you have for us or how we operate. It’s important to note that we work hard to build our business on client relationships. You are not just a number to us – we want to get to know you. This is the time where we start building that trust with each other by really getting to know one another.
- Implementation – Now we make suggestions based off of what we know to be true. We will discuss how we think you can bring these solutions to life and then we fill out the paperwork needed. We will even make calls to investment companies for you on your behalf when we are able. Our goal is to make this as seamless as possible for you!
- Maintenance – We are now your financial resource for financial questions and changes that happen in life. When you are thinking about buying a new car, home, have a child or your friends or family members have questions or needs, we are the phone number in your phone that you connect with. Keeping tabs on you and your portfolio is important too. You focus on living your best life and we will focus on keeping your portfolio relevant for your financial goals- throughout the economic changes.
This means that even though we are based out of Westerville, Ohio (and enjoy being a large part of the community) we have fully embraced technology without losing that very important individual touch. For those wishing to stay at home because of COVID concerns and for our clients out of town/state, we now have the ability to operate over teleconference (Zoom). In most cases, every part of the process, from meeting you and identifying your goals to signing documents, can be done entirely online. We have enjoyed embracing this option and find many of our clients have too! That being said, we are still in our office every day and our doors are completely open to clients for traditional engagements. Whether to have an appointment at our table or just to stop by and shake our (sanitized) hands, we love that we can offer our clients both options.
Firstly, we do not charge a fee for our meetings, whether in person or over Zoom. We are here to answer questions, look at what you already have or talk about establishing your first investments – all at no cost. No retainers, no subscriptions, no minimum investments.
Secondly, we have been transitioning over the past few years to more of a fee-based model of business. In essence, our compensation is better as your investment does better. We believe being a primarily fee-based firm has MANY benefits to the consumer that we would love to talk to you about as well (Including having an advice-based relationship, greater fee transparency, ongoing monitoring and rebalancing etc…). This is in alignment with our values as a company and our dis-taste for the ‘transaction-based’ mindset that many advisors & agents have.
That being said, we know that the needs of everyone is not the same- and sometimes a different type of product is more appropriate in supporting the client’s financial goals. It is for this reason that we do offer some commission-based products as well but we will discuss those options with true transparency.
S-ervice Before Self
As an RN for 10 years, I learned to stabilize the patient, assess and follow a plan of action to get them as healthy as possible. Sometimes they were unable to reach their healthiest goals, but we could improve their quality of life. Others, we were able to cure the disease or injury and live a full healthy lifestyle. When working in heart surgery, everyone on the team had their role and worked together with a common goal of healing that patient.
This correlates so well to what we do today in stabilizing the financial situation for the family; assess their goals, budget and assets. We are not always able to get them to their loftiest goals, but we are focused on helping to improve their quality of life. Our Stark Financial team can work together to help fix their financial injury and help to get them on track towards their goals. This background based in servant vs sales will echo across the company as we continue to grow with more advisors.
Having experience with captive agencies that focus more on growth of transactions have helped me be vigilant in my desire to bring a common-sense transparency that focuses on the long-term relationship. We will grow organically with leaders that share our vision to help those that want and appreciate the experience, guidance and service we provide
In short, it means we are not afraid to stay in our own lane. Many of our clients need a full and comprehensive growth strategy that includes experienced professionals outside of our roles as Advisors. It is for this reason that we act as the quarterback with other ‘teammates’ to help bring the whole plan together.
Accountant – Stretching your dollar in a tax efficient way.
Attorney – Securing your wishes for your estate or business. Planning, documentation and litigation.
Advisor – Acting as the quarterback and putting it all together.
We make sure all of the pieces are working together in an effort to complete the most holistic plan to help you work towards your financial goals in the fastest and most efficient way possible.
We believe that taking this AAA approach for your ‘retirement side assistance’ will give you the confidence that you are on the right path to being able to enjoy retirement to its fullest.
Whether you have your own accountant and attorney already established or if you need recommendations, we can help. Let’s Talk
Summary Plan – At SFGI, we have developed a one page summary plan that gets right to the point. This worksheet can be updated with each meeting to keep us focused on our goals. Combine this with our Goal & Implementation page to give our families the floor plan to their “Stark” financial house vs the overwhelming “blue prints”.
Detailed Plan – Stark Financial Group Inc. has chosen MoneyGuidePro® (MGP) as its central planning tool. It has been the top choice of planning software for eight straight years*, combining ease-of-use with clear, understandable results. MGP is completely web-based and is one of the goal-based planning system sophisticated enough to consistently produce a quality plan.
MoneyGuidePro® planning software was developed for the “real world” where you live. The proper focus for planning software is you, and MGP’s design and approach centers on what is most important to clients. MoneyGuidePro’s mission is to assist Stark Financial Group Inc. in providing reliable, complete, and understandable plans for clients.
Creating a plan begins with establishing what is most important to a client—learning what their goals are. Clients want to know how they can use their resources to reach their goals.
With the help of MGP, we focus on presenting results and recommendations that are understandable. If a client does not understand their results, they are less likely to take action.
MoneyGuidePro® helps us to provide “what if” scenarios so that we can explore many alternatives. We can see how sensitive a plan is to tax changes or increased longevity. We provide stress testing and risk management so that you can see what might happen to a plan across a range of real world uncertainties.
Finally, MGP is interactive. Adjustments can be made during a review meeting and Stark Financial Group Inc. clients can be involved in the creation of their plan. Accessing your plan from your home, office, or mobile device is an added bonus.
Small & Midsize Business
- Simple IRA
- Sep IRA
- Payroll Deduction
- Profit Sharing
- Cash Balance Plans
There are a lot of options but at the end of the day you need to consult with your financial professional and/or tax advisor to find what the best option is for you. While brochures, websites, neighbors and google can give you an idea of which plan type may be right for you, trained professionals with industry expertise will be able to confirm your findings or direct you to a plan that is better aligned with your specific needs and goals. We can then assist you in setting up that plan, following through and making strides in moving towards that goal.
“Many employers think the cost of offering a 401(k) plan is too expensive. However, tax benefits can help offset the cost. New plans are eligible for tax incentives of up to $1,500 ($500 per year for three years).”
~ Employee Benefit News, October 2017
*Not only are there various possible tax incentives to offering your employees retirement plans but it also can help in recruiting and retaining the quality employees your business needs. Let’s discuss where you are and what your options are.
- Save for your own retirement
- Receive tax credits and other incentives from the federal government
- Attract-and keep- better employees
- Realize increased worker productivity, especially if your plan is connected to company profits
- Deduct all employer contributions from current taxes
*These are just a few of the benefits we find that many business owner clients express, but at the end of the day we need to know what your real objectives are in establishing a plan for yourself and/or your employees. Let’s talk.
- Invest for the future
- Put more money away for retirement through most small-business plans than they might otherwise be able to save though an individual retirement account (IRA)
- Realize tax deferred growth of investments
- Be more content 9and therefore more motivated) with a benefits package that includes a company retirement plan
- Take advantage of the knowledge and experience of the financial professional associated with your plan.
We believe in establishing a win-win objective. The first step is letting us know what your real needs and goals are.
- Low Cost
- Employees contribute to their own accounts
- Employer match is tax-deductible business expense
- Easy setup and administration
- No complex IRA reporting requirements
- Reduced fiduciary responsibility*
- Contribution limits higher than with personal IRAs
- Employer makes contribution to each participants account
- Immediate vesting (money in employees’ accounts is their to keep)
*Employers have limited liability since participants control their own investment choices.
- Participants Contribute to their own accounts.
- Employer contributions (including match), if any, are deductible as a business expense.
- Flexible program designs to suit employer needs
- Annual nondiscrimination testing is not required for some safe harbor 401(k) plans
- High Contribution Limits
- Loans may be available
One benefit of being Independently Life Insurance and securities licensed for so many years is that we have had enough experience under our belt to know that not everyone has a need for life insurance. This is really where we shy away from the old ‘Tell & Sell’ model of talking about life insurance and are able to really look at your holistic plan and see if Life Insurance is really going to support your family’s goals. Life insurance is just a product – not a plan. It is just one piece of your financial house – not the entire thing.
To state another way, we are Financial Advisors that offer Life Insurance sometimes to supplement or brace the rest of the overall plan. If you don’t need it, we won’t recommend it.
*Right now you may not even know what kind of insurance you have, and that’s okay! We can help untangle what you have and see if it is in alignment with your current financial goals.
*Some important times in a person’s life to start thinking about life insurance are when starting a business, taking on a business partner, the birth of a child, a marriage, a divorce, starting or ending job.
Life insurance isn’t for you – it is for those that are left behind.
Connect with us HERE and we can help review what you already have and/or see if you have a need to establish something new.
For most people, financial needs typically revolve around attaining and maintaining a comfortable lifestyle. This often translates into a good home, the advantages of a college education for your children, enough income left over for leisure activities, and last but not least, a retirement income sufficient to maintain your lifestyle when your working years are over.
While saving and investing will undoubtedly be part of your overall planning strategy, it takes time to accumulate a pool of capital. One advantage of life insurance is that it creates an instant estate, which helps assure that money will be available to aid in meeting specific goals in case an untimely event (such as an early death) that deprives you of the time required for wealth accumulation.
A complete needs analysis helps determine what is important in creating and protecting the lifestyle you and your family enjoy. Even if current income doesn’t stretch far enough to satisfy all of your future financial objectives, the needs analysis process will help you establish and focus on your priorities.
We can guide you through this comprehensive analysis to identify your goals and to show you how life insurance may help to meet each of your objectives. By initiating a plan of action, you can create an estate that will provide financial assets should you no longer be able to do so yourself.
For details on what kind of life insurance you may need, see the below Q&A to dive into the different kinds that are offered and what situations they may be appropriate for.
Life insurance isn’t for you – It is for those that are left behind.
Connect with us HERE and we can help review what you already have and/or see if you have a need to establish something new.
You may have read numerous articles on the difference between Term Life and Cash Value Life Insurance products, however, it is important to note that many of them can be misleading. Almost all of them are written with phrases like; term is “temporary” and cash value insurance is “permanent”.
Term Insurance is known as “PURE life insurance”
Often recommended for an income-generating individual with liabilities
Often referred to as ‘temporary’ insurance because the coverage is in force for a limited period of time that is pre-selected. Once that period or “term” has ended, it is up to the policy owner to decide whether to renew or to let the coverage end. Term life insurance policies provide a stated benefit upon the death of the policy owner. The policy does not provide any returns beyond the death benefit (the amount of insurance purchased) and the policy has no additional cash value, unlike cash value life insurance policies (whole life, universal life, etc.), which have a savings component to pay for the increased cost of insurance later in life.¹
Term Insurance’s only purpose is to insure individuals against the loss of life and therefore all premiums paid are used to cover the cost of insurance protection. Level term life insurance provides the insured with coverage for a specified period of time; the term may be one, five, ten, twenty years or longer. The premium is calculated based on the age and health of the insured. The insurer then levels out the premium payments by charging more at the beginning of the policy than mortality costs require, so the premium payments are fixed and guaranteed for the duration of coverage.
Cash Value is sold as “PERMANENT life insurance”
Often recommended for business owners
The cash value is a big selling point that insurance agents emphasize when selling “permanent” life insurance. Here’s what you can do with the cash value in a life insurance policy:
- Make partial withdrawals. If the money is not repaid, the withdrawals will reduce the policy’s death benefit – the payment to the beneficiary- when you die.
- Borrow against the cash value. You can take out loans for anything you’d like. You’ll have to repay them, though, with interest, to maintain the death benefit.
- Withdraw all the cash value and surrender the policy. This will end the life insurance coverage, and in the early years you will pay a surrender fee to the insurance company.
- Use it to pay premiums once the cash value reaches a high enough level.
How the cash value grows depends on the kind of cash value life insurance policy you buy: a whole life insurance policy guarantees a fixed rate of return on the cash value to maintain coverage for the client to age 100.
With indexed universal life, the cash value growth is tied to a stock index, such as the Standard & Poor’s 500. With variable universal life, the cash value is invested in various accounts of stocks or bond mutual funds. This kind of policy offers the greatest potential returns, but it also comes with the risk that you could lose cash value if the investments have negative performance. This becomes one of the reasons why these policies could lapse. Others have not “permanent” policies. They had purchased these policies with the understanding they would last their entire life.
Unfortunately the industry uses multiple names for similar or the same product so you may have herd of other types of Insurance and/or Annuity products as well (Pension Max, Buy-Sell etc…), and sometimes fees and costs aren’t made transparent to the client either.
Fortunately for you, we speak the language and can help simplify the verbiage. Just bring your questions to us and we will help.
Again, right now you may not even know what kind of insurance you have, and that’s okay too! We can help untangle what you have and see if it is in alignment with your current goals.
1. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy.
Life insurance isn’t for you- it is for those that are left behind.
Connect with us HERE and we can help review what you already have and/or see if you have a need to establish something ne
There is another way to get both savings and a death benefit. There is an insurance purchasing philosophy of “Buy Term and Invest the Difference”. You may have heard TV and Radio personalities (Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman) talk about this. In this model, the consumer purchases a level term product and invests the cost difference of the term vs cash value policy in separate investment products. Those that oppose this view argue that consumers lack the discipline to save and lose the benefits of tax free growth inside the cash value policy. Very few Americans are fully funding their IRA’s or 401k’s giving the latter argument very little traction. Discipline can be a big issue without direction or accountability of a financial advisor. Selling a term life product without a savings plan could essentially set you up for failure.
Life insurance is a foundational product to make sure your family will maintain a standard of living should you die prematurely. The loss of your income would be devastating. So, in a sense, life insurance is really income protection. There is a need for life insurance if someone is reliant upon your income. With a proper plan and help of a financial advisor, you can build assets and become self-insured.
Example a 30-year old male purchases a level 30 year $250,000 term life insurance product for $25/ month. In contrast, the same male could purchase a variable universal life policy for $100/ month or a whole life policy for $225/ month. The difference between the term and whole life product is $200/ month which equals $72,000 over a 30-year period without any interest gained. At a 3% interest rate that savings grows to approximately $116,838. At a 6% interest rate that savings grows to approximately $201,907. At a 9% interest rate that savings grows to approximately $368,894. (Not to mention, that the insured is potentially able to stop paying on that life insurance at age 60).²
* You should understand that this is a flat interest rate and does not show a product or guarantee of these returns. This is for illustration purposes only. But, wouldn’t you rather know the rules to the game? We can show you illustrations that fit your personal numbers and you can make your decision from there. Either way, we can help you establish a plan that you feel is right for you and your family’s needs.
2. The examples in this article are hypothetical and for illustrative purposes only. They assume a steady 3% annual rate of return, which does not represent the return on any actual investment and cannot be guaranteed. Moreover, the examples do not take into account fees and taxes, which would have lowered the final results.
Life insurance isn’t for you – it is for those that are left behind.
Connect with us HERE and we can help review what you already have and/or see if you have a need to establish something new