Archive for financial advice

Deidre Waltz Announced as New Managing Director

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (February 22, 2017) – Argent Financial Group and its subsidiary Argent Family Wealth Services (AFWS) are pleased to announce the addition of Deidre Waltz, CFP®, CIMA, CPWA as Managing Director.Deidre Pic 3

In her new role, Waltz will continue to develop AFWS’s services and collaborate with other Argent professionals to deliver these services to Argent’s high net worth client families. With over 30 years of experience in trust and investments, Deidre has overseen fiduciary relationships of wealthy multi-generational families and complex family office structures.

Waltz has distinguished herself by becoming a Certified Financial PlannerTM, a Certified Investment Management Analyst and a Certified Private Wealth Advisor. She is a graduate of Oklahoma City University and National Graduate Trust School focusing on trust and estate law and taxation.

“Deidre’s wealth of experience and industry knowledge make her a key addition to Argent Family Wealth Services.  Her hiring shows the firm’s commitment to being a leading services provider. We are very fortunate to add someone of Deidre’s caliber to fulfill this role,” said Mark Hartnett, AFWS President.

“Bringing family office solutions to our clients is a natural evolution for us and a perfect complement to our family wealth consulting practice. Deidre’s deep experience will help us develop a family office model that is pioneering and sustainable, and that meets the unique needs of our clients,” said Bond Payne, Argent’s Vice Chairman, Corporate Development.

“I am grateful Argent is able to continue to attract exceptionally talented individuals. Deidre’s highly specialized skill set and professional leadership enhance Argent’s ability to serve families with effective, long-term solutions.” added Kyle McDonald, CEO of Argent Financial Group.

 

What Planking Can Teach You About Wealth

by Kenny Brown, Heritage Trust

Recently I joined a boot camp. I have friends and neighbors who rave about Kenny Brownthem, and I thought if it’s working for them then it should work for me, right? After my first class, I thought I was going to need someone to drive me to the emergency room. My body ached all over. I was told it is a sign of getting in shape. I do not understand why being out of shape has to feel so good. I stuck with it, and I was so glad I did. I feel better. I look better…I realize this is subjective. One of the exercises we do in our boot camp is known as the plank. Basically, it is when you hold your body off the ground similar to a push-up position and hold it in a straight line.  I have learned there is a right and wrong way to do them. The plank is one of the best exercises to strengthen your core, which I learned is more than just your muscles in your stomach. It is also includes the lower back, hips and buttocks.

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Being the financial nerd that I am, I realized the plank exercise could be a great way to explain how to sustain and preserve long-term wealth. For example, no matter the fitness level during the plank exercise you will begin to shake, sweat and experience pain throughout your body. I know it sounds fun… like being electrocuted. Anyway, the point is the more planking one does the easier it gets.  The reason…a stronger core.  Similar to preserving and growing wealth over time you must have a strong core also known as a well thought out asset allocation.  Just like the pain (volatility) experienced in the capital markets, relying on a well diversified asset allocation and sticking with it over time (discipline) ensures success as things go up and go down you can rebalance and take advantages of those opportunities to buy low, sell high.

I know it sounds so simple, but it is so difficult to do. In fact, there is a big disconnect between what investors think they make and what they actually earn.

“Typically, the studies find that the returns investors have earned over time are much lower than the returns of the average investment.” – Carl Richards, The Behavior Gap.

The reason is simple. Investors are relying on everything else (CNBC, friends, neighbors and anyone willing to offer up advice) rather than an asset allocation plan that focuses on balancing the risk versus reward according to you as the investor’s individual risk tolerance, goals, and investment time frame.  Interesting fact: George Hood held the longest plank at five hours and fifteen minutes. We at Heritage are focused on the long-term, and while I don’t plan on planking for five hours, I hope this challenges you from an investment perspective to focus on the things that matter so you can stay up for the long haul.

Deductions: The Good, Bad and Ugly

by Shannon Reed, Heritage Mineral Management

Shannon ReedWith today’s low prices for oil and natural gas, clients want to be sure they are receiving all of the income they are entitled to. One way we play an important role in that is to keep up with the changes – including the standard language of the Oil and Gas Lease as it pertains to proceeds a mineral owner receives for the products sold off the leased premises.

Traditionally, an Oil and Gas Lease contains a “Gross Proceeds” clause in which the Lessee agreed to pay the Lessor for gas, of varying nature or kind, produced and sold or used off the leased premises (THE GOOD). However, we have seen a shift in the industry towards oil and gas companies seeking a “Net Proceeds” clause in which the Lessee agrees to pay Lessor for gas (including casinghead gas) and all other substances from the sale thereof, less a proportionate part of the production, severance and other excise taxes and the cost incurred by Lessee in processing, gathering, treating, compressing, dehydrating, transporting, and marketing, or otherwise making such gas or other substances ready for sale or use (THE BAD). These deductions are now one of the hottest topics in the oil patch.

As a result, one has two distinct different points of view when it comes to negotiating the deduction terms of an Oil and Gas Lease. GROSS PROCEEDS –VS– NET PROCEEDS. Heritage Mineral Management, as Agent for our clients, continues to negotiate leases with the “Gross Proceeds” clause. The opposing point of view of the oil and gas companies (Lessee) is that they should be able to share the cost to make the product marketable. In an effort to further solidify our clients’ position, Heritage will seek to add a “NO DEDUCTIONS CLAUSE” as a special provision to the lease. This provision emphasizes that royalties payable under this lease shall be made without deduction. An exception is often made per a court decision that allows the sharing of some costs if the result is more profitable (example: transportation charges to deliver gas to a different market that brings a price that outweighs the extra expense). Otherwise, Heritage goes great lengths to avoid deductions.

In recent years, many oil and gas companies have been investigated and class action lawsuits have been initiated as a result of these improper deductions. Many leases did not contain provisions authorizing deductions for the cost of converting gas to marketable condition (THE UGLY).

Our team proactively reviews monthly revenue to check for deductions that may or may not be taken against our mineral owners’ royalty income. As a result of this research, Heritage has been successful in obtaining refunds due to our clients for “deductions” that should not have been taken, including going as far as opting out of class action lawsuits and pursuing a more fair refund on our own. At Heritage Mineral Management, we provide expertise, teamwork, and extensive research to best serve client needs—and today’s deduction issues are an example of how we can help.

The 50/20/30 Rule of Budgeting

by Whitney Hufnagel, Heritage Trust

Life is all about making decisions. From the time you wake up each morning to the time you go to sleep each evening, you will have likely made hundreds of decisions. Most daily decisions seem small and routine, and every now and then a major life decision is sprinkled in the mix. Most of us can probably agree that it is easy to see how major life decisions can have a large impact on our financial situation, but how many of us realize the compounding effect these seemingly small daily decisions can have on our ability to reach our financial goals?

Our daily decisions, whether good or bad, help form habits. The habits we create have the ability to carry us successfully towards or destructively away from our goals. Creating a budget is just one tool that can help foster and maintain healthy financial habits. Budgets allow us to make sure we are spending our dollars wisely and in a manner that is appropriate for our unique situations and interests. Often times, people don’t attempt to budget or give up on budgeting because it can be time consuming, confusing, boring, unrealistic, or feel too restrictive; however, used in the right way, a budget can be very powerful and aid in daily decision making.

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The article below discusses a simple 50-20-30 rule to budgeting that may make budgeting easier for a novice and quicker for a pro. Simply put, 50% of your income should go towards living and essentials, 20% should be allocated towards financial goals, and 30% should be allocated towards those things you want but don’t need. As the article mentions you can adjust the percentages in a way that fits your unique situation. However, try not to reduce the 20% allocation toward financial goals. If anything, increase that allocation.

Please remember, this is a rule of thumb and does not ensure financial success. It is simply a tool that can help you determine whether your decisions and habits are financially healthy, help you identify areas of improvement, and help you maintain a level of awareness to make sure you are spending your dollars in an enriching way for your unique lifestyle. If you would like to discuss budgeting or financial planning in more detail, please contact us to see how we can help you.

New to Budgeting? Why You Should Try the 50/20/30 Rule – Forbes.com

If you’re new to budgeting, figuring out how to manage your money each month can feel overwhelming. Not only do you need to organize, but you also have to make difficult decisions about how to spend your cash. Relying on the experiences of others can help only so much, because your income and expenses are unique. Someone may be able to spend $2,000 per month on rent in Arlington, VA, but that kind of spending may not work for you.

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The 70/80/90 Metaphor

by Mark Hartnett, President, Argent Family Wealth ServicesHT Mark Hartnett

What is the significance of these three numbers?

The 70/80/90 Story is a statistical one that many financially successful fami- lies either don’t want to hear or have chosen to ignore. They tell a story of harm and suffering when the intention is usually the opposite. Let’s take a closer look:

70: The percentage of all generational transfers that fail (defined as, follow- ing the transition, the beneficiaries lose control of their wealth through foolish expenditures, bad investments, mismanagement, inattention, in- competence, family feuding or other causes within their control).

80: The percentage of trust beneficiaries that believe their trust is more of a burden than a blessing. 90: Of the generational financial transfers that are successful, 90% of assets are transferred into trusts by the third generation.

These numbers explain in great simplicity why the “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three genera- tions” proverb is a reality for so many families. In other words: 1) most transfers fail; 2) of those financial transfers that are successful, almost all assets are transferred into trusts whereby; 3) the vast majority of beneficiaries are unsatisfied with their role as a beneficiary. So the answer to the question,“What comes next?” is usually… shirtsleeves for the third generation.

My first introduction to the 70/80/90 phenomena was early in my journey as a professional trustee. I was introduced to a third generation beneficiary who had recently dropped out of high school when she found out she was a beneficiary of her grandfather’s trust. She was “set for life” and didn’t need to waste her time getting an education. While $500,000 may have seemed like a lot of money to a bright-eyed teenager, neither my counsel nor her quickly decreasing trust ac- count balance convinced her to change her course and results of her foolish decisions.

So what do families who beat those odds do differently?

  • Recognize their assets are not only financial, but also human, intellectual, spiritual and social – the families also work very hard at being intentional in growing all forms;
  • Create a shared vision (their “why”) and mission (their “how”) for the family’s wealth;
  • Communicate on a consistent basis in both structured and non-structured settings;
  • Learn how to become mindful givers as well as receivers;
  • Create trust cultures that seek to grow excellent beneficiaries;
  • Tell and retell the family’s stories.

    As you can guess, this requires great effort for the families that seek to defeat the 70/80/90 Story. However, the families that are intentional and committed to the process are much more likely to be successful and leave a lasting legacy for generations to come. Let that be our guiding thoughts as we enter a new year in our lives.

    Roy Williams and Vic Preisser, Preparing Heirs (San Francisco: Robert D. Reed Publishers, 2003).
    Hartley Goldstone, James E. Hughes, Jr. and Keith Whitaker, Family Trusts (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2015)

On Wellness and Financial Stress

by Brad Knowles, Heritage Institutional

Let’s talk about wellness. There is financial wellness, physical wellness, emotional Brad Knowleswellness, and probably a few other wellnesses that I need to learn more about. For years, we have heard people talk about corporate wellness programs: smoking cessation programs, weight loss programs, counting calories, and earning points for activities like walking or gym memberships. Some companies that have implemented these programs have seen significant decreases in employee absenteeism and health insurance premiums plus an increase in productivity.

Not too long ago my lovely wife said that she wanted to “clean up” her diet — to eat better and eat smarter.  Like all good husbands, I volunteered to join her.  She had spent a considerable amount of time researching exactly how to do this.  We started our venture on the first of the month and planned to “eat clean” for 30 days without cheating. I will admit, I was shocked. The food was great. I had more energy than I could ever remember having ever. By the end of the 30 days, I lost two pant sizes. I felt like a new and improved me.

Today, we still eat pretty clean. We subscribe to the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time we eat clean, and 20% of the time we just eat whatever sounds or feels good. I will confess, I don’t always feel that great after I put away a mountain of fried food.

In the last few months, I have started to see articles and studies that are connecting financial wellness and nutrition. Financial wellness articles have regularly discussed the stress caused by financial hardship. Stress causes us to trade our normal healthy lifestyle behaviors for much less healthy behaviors. Stress can cause depression, inactivity, unhealthy food choices, binge eating and drinking, and many other things.  I never considered the cause and effect relationship between financial stress and health, but it is real.Print

In a 2015 study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), they found that 72% of adults feel stress about money at least some of the time, and 22% experience extreme financial stress.  When the stress is extreme, health suffers. Many respondents reported thinking about skipping or did skip doctor visit because of financial concerns.

Stress at home doesn’t stay at home.  It invades every aspect of our lives like an unwanted house guest. It takes up mental and emotional space, it weighs a ton, and it grows like a weed.  Many studies have reported that employees miss work due to financial stress. One study reported that 37% of employees in the study spent three hours or more thinking about their financial stress at work. When employees worry about their financial stresses at work, they lose focus and productivity decreases.

Fortunately, Heritage Institutional has a new found focus on Financial Wellness. We are currently researching effective ways to help employees decrease their financial stress. A recent study of HR professionals said that 81% offer retirement plan education to employees, however, most do not provide any financial literacy training. We believe a solid retirement plan plus financial literacy education for employees is not only the smart thing to do, but the right thing to do. Stay tuned.

Ethics, Scouting & Trust

by Mike Carroll, President & CEO

At a recent advisory board meeting for a local university, I was asked what was the biggest Mike Carrollfactor in our current economic malaise and what would best prepare our students for the business world.  My immediate response was ethics.  Ethics is a character trait that, unfortunately, is in short supply in today’s world.  Greed has replaced ethics as the accepted norm.  We, as a society, have a low standard for ethics.

Not only is there no shame for what I would call unethical behavior, but also we elevate people who are unethical to role model status.  Whether politician, corporate executive, athlete, religious leader or media celebrity, it doesn’t seem to matter.  The last two decades have been appalling in my opinion.  There was a time in our history when unethical behavior would not have been tolerated.  Duty, honor, and character meant something and were held in high esteem.

As a CPA, I most enjoy the ethics portion of the continuing professional education that we are required to take each year.  Ethics is a challenge to teach. I believe it is a value system we learn as children and young adults but must nurture and reinforce as we grow older.  Many consider ethics in legal terms –as long as they aren’t breaking the law, they are ethical.  In reality, ethics is much more complicated and not nearly as black and white.

My family has been involved with Boy Scouts of America for many years.  I am an Eagle, and all three of my sons are Eagles.  A few years ago when I was presenting my youngest son his Eagle award and challenge, I had him repeat the Scout Law to the audience with me: A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.  Yes, I can repeat the scout oath and law from memory!  I challenged my son to always remember the Scout Law and to use it as his moral compass in life when confronted with difficult decisions.

I learned a lot about the Scout Law by teaching it to young scouts and also about those young men who are tomorrow’s leaders.  It is enlightening to hear a young man talk about what it means to be brave or trustworthy.

Scouting puts these young men in positions that will test their leadership skills and teach each one of the principles of the Scout Law.  They will fail at times, but that, unfortunately, is the way we learn many of life’s lessons.  There are few, if any, programs left today which focus on such concepts and most importantly put them into practice with boys experiencing both success and failure.  All of this may not lead to ethical behavior as an adult, but I think it puts these young men on the trail with a good compass.

What does ethics and the Scout Law have to do with trust?  Trust law has its roots in English common law.  The concept of a trust dates back hundreds of years to the Crusades.   Before leaving for the Crusades, English knights would leave their property and other assets “in trust” with their most trusted and loyal friend as trustee for the benefit of the knight’s heirs, should he not return from the Crusades.  The Knight considered the friend chosen as trustee as not only ethical but also possessing each of the qualities listed in the Scout Law above (A “Trustee” is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, …).

Little has changed over all the succeeding centuries.  Trust clients today want and expect someone they can trust who will be loyal to them and their families under any circumstance.  The same concepts and values continue to this day.  Good ethics, coupled with the values of the Scout Law, are the foundation to any trust relationship and business for that matter.

I love what I do here at Heritage and don’t you just love the image of English knights in full regalia on horseback riding off to the Crusades?

Originally published in 2011