Job Change or Retirement? Here is a great reminder checklist

Books get updated and reprinted on a regular basis. This post is from several years back, but worthy of a re-post!

Maybe you are about to Retire… CONGRATULATIONS ! ……Or maybe you are about to change jobs… exciting new times, just around the corner…

Here are a few handy reminders before/as you leave!

Job/Retirement Change ChecklistFinanicial Planning Doc

Grab that Last paycheck– Once you are gone, the internal system may be harder to access, be sure to get your last paycheck downloaded for your tax and personal recordkeeping.

RSU -Options- Grants -Make sure you are not leaving anything on the table via a vesting sunset or time line that can be associated with your departure.

Employee Stock Purchase Plan-Confirm you have control of your stock and transfer it to an easily controlled account-most ESPP plans are only holding tanks and cumbersome to make transactions.

Deferred Comp– Check on when your plan will be paying you your funds- i.e. tax year, time frame, and if all at once or over several series of payments- confirm the payments method and where they will be sent if mailed.

Pension – Get a copy of your latest balance or estimated amount, time frame of payment, if the projection is inclusive of your departure, if your spouse is included as beneficiary and his/her date of birth is correct and MOST IMPORTANTLY your correct address.

Health Coverage– You do not want to go a day without coverage, make sure you have some type of overlap such as Cobra, New company coverage, Medicare or outside personal coverage.

401k– In most instances you want to take control of your old 401k by rolling into a self directed IRA. Make sure your final paycheck withholding has hit your 401k before you roll it over or there will be residual amount later.

New 401k-In most cases you want to allocate your new 401k aggressively- be careful NOT to overfund your old and new plan in the same year- most maximums are $18k (+$6k catch up) – If your two employers do not know about each other they may accidentally allow you to overfund the total afore mentioned amount

Severance– Be sure to get your arms around the type, amount, timing and pay and benefits.

Social Security Withholding – Withholdings may likely be over withheld since your two employers did not know about each other – keep good tax records- if they did, you get a refund.

While mentioned several times, once more due to just how important, be sure to keep your address up to date with your former employer !

Have a great ‘More Organized” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.
A Dallas Texas based fee only
Financial Planning Total Wealth
Management firm.

Getting your Emails Four Times Faster and better Voice Calls too … Eventually! – Friday

Ten years ago, when we moved into our current Douglas Ave offices, phone calls were the norm. Today, emails dominate our electronic airwaves as the main form of communication!

As our regular summer project, we happily tackle some form of Technology EVERY YEAR —

A few years back, after an over caffeinated multiple day off site, out of state event, we (I signed up for) tackled the New Total Vault AND a new Web Page – a bit too much at once…

Last year, cloud based email system and client record keeping, relieving our server of stress and capacity….. Several hiccups along the way, so good call to take this one in singularity.

This summer, 4x speed – kinda!

10/100 Updated to 100/400speed- superhero-534120__340

Upload and download speeds … this may be backwards, but the new system is faster and hopefully more efficient –  Tech friends apologize, we are financial planners – but enjoy what technology does for us!

In true, strangled by the slowest dog fashion, while we have increased our speed four times, our hardware was maxed at 10/100!

New hardware ordered and promised!

Yes, we are nerds, but in today’s environment, remote is the norm — happily we comply!

Today, is Friday and our new hardware AND 4X speed was to be done for sure by Wednesday – the 24th!

Oh, did we mention our phones are VOIP – which means they should also get clarity with the new 4X speed– eventually!

Ahhhh…. a digression (or rant) may have occurred — rest assured in the not too distant future, we will receive your emails 4X faster than before, and hear your calls clearer – happily! But today is a Friday – a hot Friday, and the second of five days of a national tennis tournament in a neighboring city –

Enjoy your Friday, your weekend and the Summer- Talk to you next week!

Have a Great “Soon to be Four Times Faster” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.
A Dallas Texas based fee only
Financial Planning Total Wealth
Management firm.

Taking Social Security Before Full Retirement

Occasionally in the past we have been guests on Wharton’s “Your Money” Sirius Satellite Radio show with Professor Kent Smetters.

Kent and many of his guests are stanch advocates of waiting to take Social Security until the VERY last possible minute.

Just like we believe there is not a product that is correct for everyone, there is also frequently not items that are incorrect for everyone!

Taking Social Security Before Full Retirement

Gasp… Kent and most of his guests not only would encourage many to wait until the maximum delayed time for Social, but certainly not advocate early commencement-

Before we begin, here is a MOST conservative chart of the 2018 Maximum Social Benefits cross over chart comparison of starting at age 62 versus age 66 – again maximum amounts at both ages-

2018 Social Security Crossover

At age 82 it was a bad decision to take Social Early, Or was it?

Here are our thoughts on the situation:

  • Single Folks – You have the most to think about as there is no spousal situation to concern you – Frequently early distributions make more sense especially to single folks
  • Health – If your health is suspect, it may make sense to take benefits early to get some benefits sooner rather than later
  • Quality of Life – Generally we move a little faster today than tomorrow – While we never know the decay of that speed, it is worth thinking about
  • Overall Financial Plan and Liquidity – If taking benefits early helps the liquidity of one’s plan and in many cases can help the long term overall asset growth, a consideration should be made

Things to Consider when taking Social Early

Remember you can’t go back to work until full retirement age. There is a penalty for earnings that kicks in at $17,040 – Translation – You can not EARN more than $17k from an employment type of situation (not including IRA distributions, pensions and the like) and not have a taxable penalty, basically nullifying the benefit to taking Social. This earnings penalty fades away once you hit full retirement age, which is 66 in most cases currently.

If you are married, and your spouse has little or no earnings credits, early Social commencement may limit your spouses eventual benefit, especially there is a large disparity of age – Translated – Upon death your spouse can receive your full benefit, prior to death 1/2 of your benefit – If one takes benefits early, it may reduce the benefits of a greatly younger spouse.

It is not an easy decision as the only way we know the best decision is to know the day we go room temperature! Otherwise it is somewhat a of a bet, but a bet with odds that we can ascertain in advance.

Bottom line, we just want to be clear, it is not ALWAYS the best “bet” to wait until the VERY last minute to take Social benefits.

Wash away the possible stigma that socially many have for taking Social early, it may be a good “Bet” many times!

Have a Great “Maximized Social Security Benefit” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.
A Dallas Texas based fee only
Financial Planning Total Wealth
Management firm.

Tariff Update – AKA Trade Wars in the Old Days – Sure Enough we have been here before?

Over the past 30 years, much of what we learned are what opinions to trust, which views to listen to, and more importantly, who to tune out.

Scott Grannis, former chief economist for a large financial company and currently retired with no intention of returning to work (NO BIASES!) is one of our favorite reads. Here is a very small portion, but a favorite on the Tariff wars from Scott and his Blog “Calafia Beach Pundit” – he lives in CA currently.

“In the past 12 months, the US has imported about $525 billion of Chinese goods, while at the same time exporting to China only $135 billion. China is selling almost four times more “stuff” to us than we are selling to them. So, the thinking goes, if both countries jack up tariff rates to prohibitive levels, the Chinese have much more to lose than we do, particularly since our economy is still half again as big as China’s. At some point the Chinese will wave the white flag, we’ll all agree to reduce or eliminate tariffs and intellectual property right theft, and sweetness and light will return to international trade relations.

We can’t rule out a successful end to today’s tariff wars, but neither can we be confident that they will inexorably lead to a repeat of the Smoot-Hawley tariff wars which in turn led to the Great Recession. I continue to believe that tariffs are so universally understood to be bad and even stupid that eventually our leaders will do the right thing and make trade freer and fairer. Why bet against what would be a win-win for all parties? (Zero tariffs are an economist’s dream, since by facilitating free trade they would be a boon to all countries.)”

Trade Wars History – This is not our First Time

Follow his comments up with an excellent updated chart on the subject matter from our friends at Visual Capitalist, and we will let you formulate your own opinion – an opinion that is likely more updated than before reading this post!

Have a “Tariff Trade War Update” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.
A Dallas Texas based fee only
Financial Planning Total Wealth
Management firm.

Bet you didn’t know we had a YouTube Channel – Vault and Other Video’s Coming Soon – Friday Tennis

After a heavy week of Pension Benefit Options and a Super Heavy 90 day Treadmill/Earnings update… let’s slide into this hot weekend on easier ground…

Did you know we had a YouTube Channel?

Yep, we do – it’s out there and holds all of our Video’s from the very beginning. It also lets us easily embed the videos in other places!

JK YouTube Channel pic

Take a look, here or at the link at

Ok, so there is nothing edgy or slanted, but there is a tone of great information on it… take a look as see for yourself!

Here is our most popular Video EVER, for obvious reasons (its a few years old and wrong season, but we can always use a laugh)  …


Speaking of Videos ….

Vault and Financial Planning Video’s Coming Soon

Our Vault has undergone some updates – NICE – and we want to update a few of our current “How to Vault” videos (Six 1 minute Fun Video’s found here or on our Youtube Channel) as well as add to the details of several of our most popular posts.

The Vault Videos will stay at 1 … yes ONE minute – long time listeners and readers know that is really hard for me, but with such good feedback, we will keep it right there – if possible – haha!

Several of the more complicated items, such as Estate Planning Checklist and the Inverted Yield Curve series will make the cut as well.

Hope you enjoy in advance!

So it is a Friday … and that means you are headed into a Summer Weekend – Please enjoy and stay hydrated, which is what we will try to do with the 13 year old, as she play a tournament in a farther Southern Texas City, but it will still be HOT!

Don’t forget to spend time with those who are important in your life… it goes fast!

Talk to you next week!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.
A Dallas Texas based fee only
Financial Planning Total Wealth
Management firm.

90 Day Treadmill aka Earnings Update and Neat 10 year Chart

Earnings are the ultimate driver of capital markets.

Growth or the expectation of growth and markets will EVENTUALLY (patience may be needed at times) rise.

Contraction of earnings – think recession- markets will go down, no patience needed on this one, as markets frequently do not waste time in their contraction.

Earnings Update

We frequently quote our Friends at Factset as they do a fantastic job of reviewing every detail of earnings each 90 Day Treadmill/Quarter …. too much of course can lead to YAAAWN … we get it, but we have to keep an eye on this stuff even during Summer Doldrums-

Here is a latest update-

  • Earnings Scorecard: For Q2 2018 (with 5% of the companies in the S&P 500 reporting actual results for the quarter), 89% of S&P 500 companies have reported a positive EPS surprise and 85% have reported a positive sales surprise. 
  • Earnings Growth: For Q2 2018, the blended earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 is 19.9%. If 19.9% is the actual growth rate for the quarter, it will mark the second highest earnings growth since Q3 2010 (34.1%). 
  • Earnings Revisions: On June 30, the estimated earnings growth rate for Q2 2018 was 20.0%. Four sectors have lower growth rates today (compared to June 30) due to downward estimate revisions and negative earnings surprises. 
  • Earnings Guidance: For Q2 2018, 62 S&P 500 companies have issued negative EPS guidance and 47 S&P 500 companies have issued positive EPS guidance. 
  • Valuation: The forward 12-month P/E ratio for the S&P 500 is 16.6. This P/E ratio is above the 5-year average (16.2) and above the 10-year average (14.4).

Ok, so earnings are moving along pretty good as managers continue to navigate tax cuts and a frisky consumer.

Our theme of the year “Patience” is still in order – but take a look at this neat chart –

Neat 10 Year Review of Earnings and Market Movement


7-13-18 EPS Growth and Mkt Growth 10 year avg

There is a correlation in earnings and capital market growth- patience and fingers crossed for continued fantastic earnings growth!

Have a Great “Continued Positive Earnings” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.
A Dallas Texas based fee only
Financial Planning Total Wealth
Management firm.

Our Favorite Pension Plan Beneficiary Option Reminder – Survivor Option Review

For those that still have a pension plan, congratulations, you are lucky!

With longer living (thank goodness) becoming more frequent, many pensions are being withdrawn from the market, replaced by the fancy termed Defined Contribution Plan aka 401k –

If you have a Pension plan, at the time of commencement, you have an irrevocable choice to make – Make it carefully.

Our Favorite Pension Plan Commencement Distribution Option

This is by no means a cart blanch recommendation for EVERYONE to make this decision, however many may be best suited by one of our favorite options –

100% Joint Survivor-

We like this option for the following reasons:

  1. No change in cash flow for any parties not matter the mortality of each
  2. Statistically this is the may be the best option for getting the most money as this will pay until both participants are deceased
  3. Easy to understand – You get a monthly deposit that stays constant

Words of Caution

  • Do not take this decision lightly as it will be irrevocable
  • Careful on taking your pension as a lump sum, this may not always be the best decision
  • Keep your beneficiary paperwork safe – with mergers and changing of plans, you want to have proof of your decision in the future if ever called upon
  • Frequently we see a ton of options – don’t bite on a bad one – there are many that are better for the company than the participant, not surprisingly
  • If you are single, it may make sense to take your pension earlier – Only one beneficiary makes this decision more complicated and this is also the case for Social Security (our most famous public pension plan!)

This post is just a reminder as we have run into this a few times more frequently recently and wanted to get the word out there once again!

Reach out with ANY questions!

Have a Great “Pension Benefit Reminder” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.
A Dallas Texas based fee only
Financial Planning Total Wealth
Management firm.