KFA Blog

Giving Well to Future Generations

By:  Michelle Smalenberger - Director of Client Services and Financial Advisor

b2ap3_thumbnail_Future-Generation.jpgAs a new parent, I can think of few things more important than always wanting to provide the best and give all I can to support and encourage my daughter.  But in doing so, am I hurting her desire to excel and accomplish to reach her full potential?  Is it possible to provide these good things at the wrong time and in the wrong way?  Regardless of how old your children are, you can make a large impact on their life in the way you support them.

Supporting our children happens in many ways including emotionally and financially.  I hope to share ideas for both as some of you may be thinking “What if I can't just give them money?”.

At Kabarec Financial Advisors, we work with clients of all ages and hear all sides about how family members feel about money.  As a Financial Advisor, I have had a front row seat to observe all points of views regarding inheritances – what is hoped for or expected and all the accompanying emotions.

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Who Encourages You in Your Race?

By:  Michelle Smalenberger - Director of Client Services and Financial Advisor

For the past couple of months I have been joining my neighbor as she trains for the Chicago Marathon.  Having run two marathons myself, I know you have to complete the training to be prepared tob2ap3_thumbnail_Run.jpg finish on the day of the race.  You have to train your body each week the same way you will run on race-day.  This means you should try to wear the same clothing, shoes, carry the same amount of water, liquid, and protein goo or food.  You need to try and drink water at the same intervals so you stay hydrated but not drink too much.  My neighbor has run a marathon before too so she is not new to running and knows what she needs to do to prepare.

So why does she need me?  

Sunday morning before the race you have to get to where you need to begin the race pretty early.  The sun is just barely rising as all the runners congregate in the starting area.  Even as the runners gather together, large crowds of supporters who have joined in this journey continue the support they have provided all during the training.  Family and friends support a runner’s training by helping them fit all the training runs into their schedule, helping them get up early or run later after the kids are asleep, telling them to keep going and telling them they will not regret the hard work they’re putting in.  This takes hours, especially as race-day approaches.

I have joined my friend on her journey, literally, supporting her from behind…on my bike!  I am trying to get back in shape physically as well, so this has been a great start for me to bike along with her.  She is trying to accomplish her goal and I am along for the ride helping her however I can.  

We wake up early Saturday mornings for her long run while our kids are still asleep and we run in the evenings once our babies are snuggled in bed.  My job is to keep her running and encourage her to finish each run!  I tell stories and jokes, share about my day, and ask her questions that require only one word answers.  I tell her to keep moving when she may want to stop.  When she needs to complete speed intervals I help time her by providing guidance on when to start and stop.  If she has an ache or pain we can discuss whether she should hydrate more, get more rest, or stretch better.

As we were completing 10 miles last week I couldn’t help but relate this to my experience as a Financial Advisor.  This is exactly what I do with you as a client.  I get to join along your journey as you accomplish your goals.  Sure you could do it yourself.  But where would you turn when you need guidance or need to work through an obstacle?  Your financial advisor will be a guide and coach to encourage and support you throughout your entire life.

I believe you can be successful at whatever you set your mind to.  No wonder I love what I do…I enjoy supporting and encouraging even away from the office!

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What's the Water Cooler Buzz?

By:  Michelle Smalenberger - Director of Client Services and Financial Advisor

b2ap3_thumbnail_water-cooler.jpgHave you ever found yourself gathered around the break room water cooler thinking to yourself these people really have their lives together?  They seem to be making all the right decisions financially and seem to have a great home life.  It’s amazing how people can make their life sound pretty wonderful; but when an unexpected event happens, you really start to see the true story.  The real story seems quite far from what you heard day after day.  

Does this situation hit home for you?  It seems one day people can have everything together and the next be panicking.  You can be employed knowing where your next paycheck will come from and the next day panic that you have no emergency fund or plan for how to feed your family.  A large benefit from working with a financial advisor can be seen during these times when life throws us unexpected events.    

We’ve all heard the famous quote from Winston Churchill: “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”.

Initial steps when working with a financial advisor help remove this worry and anxiousness:

1. Building a solid foundation:

Knowing you have a solid foundation will cause you to stand strong when something happens to shake your confidence.  If you have an emergency fund and understanding of your finances, you will have money to cover expenses while you look to find your next source of income.

2. Setting a plan for success:

A prudent individual acts with or shows care and thought for the future.  Because no one has a crystal ball which is right 100% of the time, we have to make plans that remain flexible.  Your plan will be created to guide toward successful accomplishment of your goals; however we know there will be tweaks required along the way.  Your planned course may come across a bump in the road, but after overcoming that you continue to move forward.

3. Follow and refine your plan as you surpass milestones along the way:

Any plan is only as good as your follow through and adjustment of it.  In the above situation, if you had an emergency fund available to support your expense while finding a job, you should be more calm and confident as you begin your new job search, beginning your search right away.  Then once you find your next source of income you would replenish what was used.  Finally, you continue with your plan and refine it as needed.

If you find yourself unable to know who you can trust, please look to an objective professional who has your best interest in mind.  These professional advisors do exist and we are paid a fee for the advice we provide, not the commission we earn by selling you a product.

If you or someone you know needs reassurance and a plan to move forward, please give us a call at 847-934-7777.  We believe you can be successful, if you start today!

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How to Pay for Long Term Care?

Annuity, long term care policy, life insurance policy?

By:  Richard Feare, Richard A. Feare & Associates, Ltd.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Long_Term_Care_20140610-155655_1.jpgThese questions are being asked with a much greater frequency as individuals seek answers to the ever increasing concern regarding potential long term care needs and the associated expenses of providing for long term care.

The answers to these questions may now be found in several new generation annuity and/or life insurance policies.  In the case of an annuity, these policies offer a base plan which incorporates the usual features of cash accumulation, tax deferral, and long term growth potential.  The unique benefits of the annuity combined with a long term care rider provides long term benefits equal to as much as three times the premium, and the benefits can last for at least six years.  With the life insurance and long term care rider, the long term care benefits are taken as an advance against future death benefits, with amounts subject to policy maximums.

You may ask what changed in the financial arena to allow for the introduction of these plans; the answer lies with the Pension Protection Act of 2006.  This legislation allows that benefits paid as qualifying long term care expenses may and most likely will be received tax free.  The tax consequences of this legislation allow for benefits of qualified long term care received after 1/1/2010 have the potential to convert taxable gain into tax-free long term care benefits providing that the entire annuity value is used to pay for long term care.

Which is the best?  That depends on a number of circumstances, some of which include life expectancy and the financial position of an individual, however there seems to be little argument that these asset based products may provide an excellent solution to funding for the long term care dilemma.

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Wealth Defense: Survey Your “Stuff”

by:  Michelle Smalenberger - Director of Client Services and Financial Advisor


b2ap3_thumbnail_list.jpgRobert Brocamp, advisor to the Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement Newsletter, recently published an article about really accounting for all of the “stuff” we all accumulate.  As the proud owner of a lot of stuff, you should consider several things; your “stuff” could be lost or stolen which you would have to prove to your insurer that you once owned it, and also that some of the stuff you no longer want could be turned into cash.


The answer to cover is to take a home inventory—virtually going room to room and documenting everything you own.  As you are looking at each possession, take the opportunity to evaluate whether you still want it.  Once you’ve completed the inventory, you’ll not only have proof of your possessions for insurance purposes, but also a pile of stuff to sell, donate, or give away as presents.


How to do it

  1. Designate a place for the stuff you no longer want
  2. Take videos, photos or detailed notes to record brand, model number, serial number, etc.
  3. Get high priced items appraised such as jewelry and collectibles
  4. Scatter copies of the home inventory, including outside your home, such as a safe deposit box


Turn clutter into cash!

  1. Donate the stuff and take a tax deduction
  2. Sell items online such as Ebay, Craigslist, or Amazon.com’s market place
  3. Use a consignment store to sell expensive or unique items


Now that you’re done, you’ve documented your possessions, cleared out your house, and maybe even made a buck or two.  And most of all, you’ll appreciate the extra space!

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