What is Your Net Worth, and Why Should You Care? Steve Knudson Quoted

One of Intermountain Financial Group’s financial advisors , Steve Knudson, was quoted in the article, “What is Your Net Worth, and Why Should You Care?”

You probably know how much you make each year, and maybe even what you spend each month, but do you know your net worth? And more importantly, how to use the information in a way that matters?

Knowing your net worth can have a significant impact on your budgeting, spending, and retirement plans.

What is net worth?

Simply put, net worth is everything you own minus what you owe. While online calculators can be used to run the actual numbers, it’s important that you determine assets from debts accurately, to arrive at the most accurate breakdown.

Create a personal balance sheet with two categories: What you own (assets), and what you owe (liabilities). The “owned” category should include checking, savings, certificates of deposit, investment and brokerage accounts, retirement and college savings plans, and the value of vehicles you own outright (which can be found using Kelley Blue Book).

If you own furniture, electronics, art, technology, or jewelry worth significant value, those items are assets, as is the equity (what you own) in your home or investment property. (It is not the market value of your home — unless you own it outright).

Conversely, the “owed” category should include the balance you owe on your mortgage loan, student loan debt, auto loans, credit card bills, taxes owed, alimony or child support, and lease obligations you may be bound to for a car or rented dwelling.

Though actual calculation of net worth is simply subtracting what is owned from owed, it’s imperative that your balance sheet “inputs” are accurate.

Financial expert Steve Knudson of Intermountain Financial Group says that relying too heavily on net worth becomes problematic when based on unrealistic projections of unpredictable forces.

For example, if you’re invested in stock markets and the economy is booming, so is your net worth. Market values plunge one day — your net worth goes with it. An overstated net worth analysis can lead to borrowing things you can’t actually afford, and underestimating what you need to put aside for retirement.

“I have seen far too many portfolios trashed due to over aggressive valuations on real estate and private company stock valuations that have never materialized,” Knudson says.

Here are three simple ways to put your net worth balance sheet into action:

See where you stand with retirement

Forbes contributor and financial adviser David John Marotta, president of Marotta Wealth Management, says that saving 15% of your take home pay each year throughout your working life should theoretically provide sufficient savings for retirement, even with the ebb and flow of the market. Obviously, the exact number that percentage amounts to will change with your salary throughout the years.

Using your net worth balance sheet, you can easily arrive at a very basic spot check of how well you’ve planned for retirement so far.

Let’s suppose you started contributing to retirement five years ago, and your annual take home pay has been $40,000 for that time. Sticking to basic math, you should have about $30,000 earmarked in a retirement account. Of course, you may have more, or less, based on the investments you’ve made and employer matches, but the 15% rule is a simple way to see where you currently stand. If you’ve fallen short, you’ve got some catching up to do, either by spending less, saving more — or a combination of both.

Start a debt elimination strategy

Retirement planning is about strategizing a way to live in an essentially income-less scenario, aside from what you’ve saved. Ideally the “owed” section in your net worth balance sheet will be blank when you retire — even if that’s far from your reality today.

The steps you take now to eliminate debt can be just as important as what you contribute into retirement savings, particularly if the debts you carry have you paying far higher interest rates than your investments earn.

Using your “owed” column, formulate an action plan for long-term debt elimination that will allow you to eventually enter into retirement debt-free. Start with the highest interest rate loans first, and work your way down. As you whittle loans away, you’ll free up more funds to build liquid assets, and invest for retirement.

Focus on long-term planning

Knudson suggests a triangle-style approach to net worth analysis that focuses on three critical aspects of long-term financial management: income, access and growth.

To determine income needs, calculate your monthly fixed expenses compared to your monthly cash flow. If monthly income sufficiently covers those costs, Knudson says “there is no need to “burden an investment portfolio with bonds or low performing investments.”

To evaluate access, add up the total of your “owned” assets that are completely liquid, meaning that if a financial emergency happened tomorrow, you could withdraw your money without paying fees or penalties, or selling assets that may or not be worth peak value.

If most of your “owned” column consists of property, stocks, bonds or mutual funds, consider shifting some assets into more liquid savings tools to protect your long-term financial affairs. Once you’ve determined income and access, Knudson suggests investing the balance of cash in a long term growth portfolio to hedge against inflation, provide for appreciation, and invest for opportunities.

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Steven Knudson quoted in article regarding “6 Ways to Test Your Financial Literacy Today”

Written by: Stephanie Taylor Christensen

Improving your personal finance know-how is a goal worth aspiring to, but with so much to learn, how do you know where you stand when it comes to financial literacy?

Here are six aspects of money management to test your own financial literacy:

Budget basics

While there are plenty of online and mobile app tools that ease the burden of budgeting, your dedication to managing spending, eliminating debt, and saving as much as you can is key. The longer and more consistently you budget, you’ll begin to identify and plan for those red flag financial events like car repairs, vacation expenses, gifts, and medical bills so you don’t have to turn to using high-interest credit cards.

If you have debts, your budgeting plan should also include eliminating them, systemically, based on the interest rate on each loan. (Hint: Pay down the one that costs you the most, first).

Pre “financial crisis,” budgeting was about not overspending. In light of renewed focus on the risks of living paycheck to paycheck, the advice has shifted not to living within your means, but well under them.

In her book “Money Rules,” finance expert Jean Chatzky  says anyone under the age of 35 should aim to save 10% of what they earn. Anyone older who hasn’t saved yet should strive to save 15%. If those numbers aren’t feasible, identify what you can save — even if it’s $10 a month, and start doing it automatically.

doing it automatically.

Saving strategically

Building savings is the hallmark of financial security and is important in financial literacy, and it’s important no matter how much money you make.

Though saving can be as simple as putting money in a savings account, true financial literacy is about saving strategically, and staying current on what savings tools pay you for your business, while costing you nothing.

Search current deposit interest rates on checking, savings, money market accounts and certificates of deposit using a comparative tool like Bankrate.com, and consider only accounts that don’t require an account minimum, or charge fees to access or transfer your money.

If you’re comfortable with online banking, you’ll typically find higher rates than brick and mortar institutions offer.

Although  deposit interest rates have been paltry over the past few years, the idea is to make savings systemic, and consistent. Take advantage of automatic savings plans (also called ASPs), or automatic deduction options that an employer might offer so that a portion of each paycheck goes directly into savings, without giving you the opportunity to miss it.

Understanding fees

Banks got hit hard with regulatory legislation following the 2007 financial crisis, and they’ve got to make up for lost revenue in the form of fees.

It’s estimated that banks need to recoup, on average, between $15 and $20 a month from each depositor just to earn what they did in the past, according to an analysis on checking accounts by Oliver Wyman, a financial consulting firm.

If you’re unsure whether you’re paying fees to bank or use a credit or debit card, educate yourself by examining statements and the latest terms of your accounts online. If you’re in a product that doesn’t fit your needs, be proactive and seek one that is a better fit — before you dish out hundreds of dollars on a year on pointless fees. If you can’t find one at your current institution, a credit union may be a less expensive alternative.

You may never see an actual “bill” from a financial planner and wealth adviser, but rest assured, they don’t work for nothing. However, different advisory firms have different policies. Some get commissions from trades made on your behalf, others work on a flat- fee, and others take a percentage of the value of your portfolio, in a “ “you don’t win if I don’t win” approach.

The fee you are paying will be reflected in some shape or form on statements you receive, but it may be clear as mud. If you have no idea what you’re paying a financial adviser, ask. If you feel the value of their services is worth what you’ve paid, you’ve developed a good relationship. If you don’t, move on. The beauty of being financially literate is the power to make informed decisions.

The importance of expecting the worst

You probably know you need auto, renters, and homeowners insurance, but long-term financial planning and wealth building is highly correlated to an understanding of insurance as a risk-management tool that can protect you, your family, and your wealth for the long-term.

Familiarize yourself with the major benefits and drawbacks of different kinds of insurance, like term-life, disability, and long-term care, even if it seems like they don’t impact your life today.

Steven Knudson, financial adviser at Intermountain Financial Group, says that not having adequate life insurance is a disaster waiting to happen, and that anyone in their 50s and beyond should “obtain some level of long-term care insurance to avoid the catastrophic loss of a chronic illness in later years.”

Though employers may offer some level of insurance coverage, including for death and disability, it may not be enough to cover your survivors, and/or your assets. “Even if you have a group long term disability plan at work, pick up a personal fixed income protection in a non-cancellable disability insurance plan,” Knudson says.

Savings is largely based on preparing for the unexpected, and undesirable, aspects of life, too. Henk Pieters, certified financial planner and president of Newport Beach, Calif. based Investus Financial Planning, says that regardless of income, all clients should have at least 3-6 months worth of living expenses covered in an FDIC insured savings account — provided they have a very stable career.

Business owners and those in industries or salary tiers that present higher degrees of professional uncertainty need to save an entire year’s worth of living expenses.

Impact of tax laws

You know that taxes take a chunk out of your paycheck but the more you understand about them, the more you can leverage taxes to your advantage and increase your financial literacy.

There are many expenses that the government allows as deductions for tax reasons, including business-related travel, entertainment, and mileage. Education costs, child-care credits, mortgage fees, and expenses related to job-hunting, relocation, or a home-based business can mean paying fewer taxes, too.

Some charitable gifts and donations, including items made to qualifying non-profits, and funds that you “gift” to relatives or loved ones, whittle your tax burden too.

If you sell assets that appreciate in value, like stocks or bonds, you’ll need to pay capital gains taxes on them, but a qualified financial adviser can help dentify the best strategies to keep the most amount of money you legally can.

Use credit for good

Credit is often blamed as a reason people struggle financially, but when used as it was originally intended, it’s one of the greatest means of financial empowerment you can access and a key to financial literacy.

Building and maintaining healthy credit habits opens opportunities to borrow from lenders who can help you to build wealth, whether you choose to start a business, buy property, or invest in your future.

David West, Founder of West Capital Advisors, Inc. Joins Intermountain Financial Group Firm

David West aligns his 30-year practice with local agency to further assist his clients with additional products and services

Salt Lake City, UT—David West, CLU, ChFC, has recently joined Intermountain Financial Group, the Utah Agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), as a financial services professional with over 30 years of industry experience. West joined the firm to enhance his product offerings for his current and future clients.

West’s focus is working with successful physicians and dentists in developing comprehensive strategies regarding their wealth. West also works with influential clients in transition with retirement, estate planning, and business succession needs.

“Joining Intermountain Financial Group was a decision that I did not take lightly,” stated West. “My clients’ wellbeing and financial needs take precedence, and this move allows me to offer additional strength and stability to their portfolios and lives.”

West received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and History from Montana State University at Billings, and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Phoenix. He has worked in the industry for over 30 years, has earned the Charter Life Underwriter designation, earned the Chartered Financial Consultant designation, and is a member of the Financial Services Professional Utah Chapter.  

# # #

For more than 150 years, local residents and businesses rely on Intermountain Financial Group (http://www.intermountainfinancialgroup.com) to help them secure their financial futures. The company significantly impacts Utah’s economy as seen in the numbers below (as of December, 2011):

  • More than 13,800 policyholders and clients1
  • Servicing over $740 million in assets2
  • Over $3.9 billion in life insurance coverage in force3
  • Over $21 million of life insurance benefits (claims) paid4
  • More than $8 million in dividends to whole life policyholders5

 The company has been in awarded the national Sloan When Work Works award in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008, as well as the Work/Life Award by the Utah Department of Workforce Services in 2011, 2010, 2008 and 2007 naming them one of Utah’s best places to work. The company currently has offices in Salt Lake City, Utah and St. George, Utah.

* * *

*Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. member SIPC.  (Salt Lake City Agency – 6330 S. 3000 E., Suite 600, SLC, UT  84121 – (801) 943-6277)

 MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives.

 Insurance offered through MassMutual and other fine companies.

 1.         An insured, owner, or payer of a MassMutual policy or contract.

2.         Includes values of MassMutual and subsidiary insurance companies’ insurance and retirement products and investment products offered through MML Investors Services, LLC, a MassMutual subsidiary.

3.         Amount of individual life insurance in force as of 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company.

4.         Amount of individual life insurance claims paid from 1/1/11 to 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company.

5.         The amount of dividends to whole life policyholders in 2011.

 

*David West is a registered representatives of, and offers securities, investment advisory, and financial planning through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC.  (Salt Lake City Agency – 6330 S. 3000 E., Suite 600, SLC, UT  84121 – (801) 943-6277)

 CRN201410-165145

Intermountain Financial Group Hires Debbie Engebretsen

Debbie Engebretsen Joins Agency to Enhance Financial Strategies for Clients

Salt Lake City—Debbie Engebretsen recently joined Intermountain Financial Group, the Utah Agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), to enhance her five-year practice as a financial services professional.

Engebretsen began her career five years ago and specializes in long-term-care insurance, and the women’s market. She particularly focuses women who are in transition like going through a divorce or who are recent widows.

“I wanted to take my career to the next level,” said Engebretsen. “Through my relationships with other women already associated with the firm, and knowing the strength of the products, and the agency, I believed joining the firm was the best fit for me and my clients.”

Engebretsen is a graduate of Rick’s College majoring in Business Administration. She is heavily involved in the community serving as the Vice President of Finance for Utah Women in Insurance and Financial Services (WIFS); committee member for Salt Lake Women, a subsidiary of BYU Management Society; member of Park City Business Women Network; committee member of Distinguished Young Women of Utah; member of Salt Lake Choral Artists; and serving as Vice President for Concert Choir.

View Published Release in Salt Lake Tribune

# # #

For more than 150 years, local residents and businesses rely on Intermountain Financial Group (http://www.intermountainfinancialgroup.com) to help them secure their financial futures. The company significantly impacts Utah’s economy as seen in the numbers below (as of December, 2011):

  • More than 13,800 policyholders and clients1
  • Servicing over $740 million in assets2
  • Over $3.9 billion in life insurance coverage in force3
  • Over $21 million of life insurance benefits (claims) paid4
  • More than $8 million in dividends to whole life policyholders5

 The company has been in awarded the national Sloan When Work Works award in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008, as well as the Work/Life Award by the Utah Department of Workforce Services in 2011, 2010, 2008 and 2007 naming them one of Utah’s best places to work. The company currently has offices in Salt Lake City, Utah and St. George, Utah.

* * *

*Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. member SIPC.  (Salt Lake City Agency – 6330 S. 3000 E., Suite 600, SLC, UT  84121 – (801) 943-6277)

 MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives.

 Insurance offered through MassMutual and other fine companies.

 1.         An insured, owner, or payer of a MassMutual policy or contract.

2.         Includes values of MassMutual and subsidiary insurance companies’ insurance and retirement products and investment products offered through MML Investors Services, LLC, a MassMutual subsidiary.

3.         Amount of individual life insurance in force as of 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company.

4.         Amount of individual life insurance claims paid from 1/1/11 to 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company.

5.         The amount of dividends to whole life policyholders in 2011.

 CRN201409-165099

Intermountain Financial Group Hosts Norman Rockwell Exhibit at Open House to Celebrate New Location

Intermountain Financial Group, LLC, a general agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), will celebrate its new location by hosting an open house with 40 Norman Rockwell pencil sketches on display. The public is invited to attend on September 27th from 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

MassMutual commissioned these works of art for use in advertising in the Saturday Evening Post and other magazines in the 1950s and 1960s. The scenes capture moments in everyday American life, with an emphasis on family and children’s activities.

“We have settled into our new offices, and want to celebrate with the Utah community by sponsoring this rare exhibit at no charge,” stated Todd Reid, JD*, CLF, General Agent. “Our new space provides us additional quality office space to serve our clients, and grow our existing agency of over 60 financial services professionals.”

Intermountain Financial Group moved to its new offices earlier in September at the Old Mill complex located at 6330 South 3000 East, Suite 600. Their phone number remains the same at (801) 943-6277.

Intermountain Financial Group was founded in 1857 and has been in the Old Mill area of Cottonwood Heights since 2003. The agency has over 13,000 policy owners with a total of almost $4 billion dollars of life insurance in force. The professional staff numbers over 60 associates with 10 support personnel.

For more information, visit www.intermountainfinancialgroup.com.

###

For more than 150 years, local residents and businesses rely on Intermountain Financial Group (http://www.intermountainfinancialgroup.com) to help them secure their financial futures. The company significantly impacts Utah’s economy as seen in the numbers below (as of December, 2011):
• More than 13,800 policyholders and clients1
• Servicing over $740 million in assets2
• Over $3.9 billion in life insurance coverage in force3
• Over $21 million of life insurance benefits (claims) paid4
• More than $8 million in dividends to whole life policyholders5

The company has been in awarded the national Sloan When Work Works award in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008, as well as the Work/Life Award by the Utah Department of Workforce Services in 2011, 2010, 2008 and 2007 naming them one of Utah’s best places to work. The company currently has offices in Salt Lake City, Utah and St. George, Utah.
* * *
*Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. member SIPC.  (Salt Lake City Agency – 6340 S. 3000 E., Suite 500, SLC, UT  84121 – (801) 943-6277)

MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives.

Insurance offered through MassMutual and other fine companies.

1. An insured, owner, or payer of a MassMutual policy or contract.
2. Includes values of MassMutual and subsidiary insurance companies’ insurance and retirement products and investment products offered through MML Investors Services, LLC, a MassMutual subsidiary.
3. Amount of individual life insurance in force as of 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company.
4. Amount of individual life insurance claims paid from 1/1/11 to 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company.
5. The amount of dividends to whole life policyholders in 2011.

*Not practicing on behalf of MML Investors Services, LLC

Jim Woodward Celebrates 40 Years with Intermountain Financial Group


James H. Woodward, CLU, ChFC
Financial Services Advisor with 40 years of experience

8/21/2012— Learn More

Jim Woodward to Celebrate Four Decades with Utah Firm, Successfully Serving Individuals and Businesses with Financial Strategies

Intermountain Financial Group “Home” for the past 40 years, and calls it “the best in the world for my career and clients.” Woodward joined Intermountain Financial Group (http://www.intermountainfinanciagroup.com), a Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) general agency in Salt Lake City, in 1972 and has been more than a successful advisor to many individuals; he has also been the General Agent of the Utah firm before retiring in 2001 to concentrate solely on his clients.

“As one of the agency’s strongest producers,” said General Agent Todd A. Reid, JD, CLF “Jim is a perfect example of how we, as financial services professionals, have the opportunity to work with our clients through the many stages of their life. Jim is a tremendous asset to our firm and to MassMutual.”

 # # #
For more than 157 years, local residents and businesses rely on Intermountain Financial Group (http://www.intermountainfinancialgroup.com) to help them secure their financial futures. The company significantly impacts Utah’s economy as seen in the numbers below (as of December, 2011):
• More than 13,800 policyholders and clients1
• Servicing over $740 million in assets2
• Over $3.9 billion in life insurance coverage in force3
• Over $21 million of life insurance benefits (claims) paid4
• More than $8 million in dividends to whole life policyholders5

The company has been in awarded the national Sloan When Work Works award in 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008, as well as the Work/Life Award by the Utah Department of Workforce Services in 2011, 2010, 2008 and 2007 naming them one of Utah’s best places to work. The company currently has offices in Salt Lake City, Utah and St. George, Utah.
* * *
*Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. member SIPC. (Salt Lake City Agency – 6340 S. 3000 E., Suite 500, SLC, UT 84121 – (801) 943-6277)

MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives.

Insurance offered through MassMutual and other fine companies.

1. An insured, owner, or payer of a MassMutual policy or contract.
2. Includes values of MassMutual and subsidiary insurance companies’ insurance and retirement products and investment products offered through MML Investors Services, LLC, a MassMutual subsidiary.
3. Amount of individual life insurance in force as of 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company.
4. Amount of individual life insurance claims paid from 1/1/11 to 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company.
5. The amount of dividends to whole life policyholders in 2011.

Greg Williams is given Two Thumbs Up in the Salt Lake Tribune

7/27/2012 Salt Lake TribuneLearn More

The Salt Lake Tribune gave Greg Williams “Two Thumbs Up” and labeled him “a highly effective person”.
As written in the Salt Lake Tribune July 27, 2012:


What do you do when you win an award for serving your community? If you are Greg Williams, a former high school teacher who has since made a mark as a financial adviser for the Massachusetts-based MassMutual Financial Group, you direct the $10,000 prize to your old school district. The Jordan School District will use the money to expand the The Leader in Me program, modeled after Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to two more schools. As Covey, who died earlier this month, advised (Habit 4), everybody can win.