Sun Post http://post.mnsun.com Local News for Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Crystal, Golden Valley, New Hope and Robbinsdale Minnesota Mon, 27 Jul 2015 20:54:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Robbinsdale man killed in motorcycle crash in Stanford Township http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/robbinsdale-man-killed-in-motorcycle-crash-in-stanford-township/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/robbinsdale-man-killed-in-motorcycle-crash-in-stanford-township/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 20:54:14 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=136292 A 70-year-old motorcyclist from Robbinsdale was killed when his motorcycle collided with a vehicle at the intersection of County Road 8 (261st Avenue) and Highway 47 in southern Stanford Township in southwestern Isanti County the afternoon of July 26.

According to the State Patrol, around 4:15 p.m., Dexter G. Olson, was driving a 2000 Honda Road Street heading northbound on Highway 47 when it collided with a 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix, driven by Diane M. Olson, 50, of Ramsey in the intersection.

The State Patrol said Olson, heading westbound on County Road 8, stopped at the stop sign, then entered the intersection to head southbound on Highway 47. The motorcycle struck the driver’s side of the Pontiac.

Dexter Olson was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis and died. His passenger, John R. Syrovatka, 64, of Minneapolis, is in serious condition at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids. Diane Olson suffered no apparent injuries.

The State Patrol said alcohol was not detected on any of the parties. Neither the driver nor the passenger on the motorcycle was wearing a helmet.

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A rollicking Crystal Frolics http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/a-rollicking-crystal-frolics/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/a-rollicking-crystal-frolics/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 20:17:03 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=136258 Crystal’s annual Crystal Frolics community celebration was held July 23-26 at Becker Park.

At one of the four day festival’s first events, the Bill Koncar Polka Band serenades Becker Park at the 2015 Crystal Frolics. (Sun Post staff photo by Joe Bowen) One of the first pitches thrown at one of the first softball games at the 2015 Crystal Frolics. (Sun Post staff photo by Joe Bowen) Gina and Marlon Williamson slide down the Fun Slide at the Crystal Frolics on July 24. The carnival was a popular destination for children and their families. (Sun Post intern photo by Brian Mozey) The beer tent was a busy place on the nights on the Crystal Frolics. As tradition holds, the West Metro Fire District had firefighters serve the beer to the citizens of Crystal. (Sun Post intern photo by Brian Mozey) The Teddy Bear Band plays during the Family Festival on July 26 at the Crystal Frolics. The band allows the children to dance around and is focused on children. (Sun Post intern photo by Brian Mozey) George and Maria Thornton work together at the Home Depot Kids Workshop to create a birdhouse. This was one of the activities at the Family Festival on July 26 at the Crystal Frolics. (Sun Post intern photo by Brian Mozey) Gracie Bellido hugs a camel as her father takes a picture during the Family Festival on July 26 at the Crystal Frolics. (Sun Post intern photo by Brian Mozey) Liam Difflei rides the pony at the Family Festival on July 26 at the Crystal Frolics. Pony rides were one of many attractions for families throughout the day. (Sun Post intern photo by Brian Mozey) Firework shows were on July 24 and 25 for the Crystal Frolics and many of the Crystal community members came to watch the show. (Sun Post intern photo by Brian Mozey) Sam Dawkins pitches the ball during the softball tournament at the Crystal Frolics on July 24. (Sun Post intern photo by Brian Mozey) Bud MacMillan connects with the ball for a base hit during the softball tournament at the Crystal Frolics on July 24. (Sun Post intern photo by Brian Mozey) Crystal Mayor Jim Adams jokingly taunts a would-be dunker at the Mayor’s Dunk Tank at the 2015 Crystal Frolics. At right is City Council Member Jeff Kolb. (Sun Post staff photo by Joe Bowen) Curtis Simmons, left, and Lee Rulford, right, enjoy live music provided by Georgia Clay at the 2015 Crystal Frolics. (Sun Post staff photo by Joe Bowen) Attendees enjoyed a cornucopia of carnival rides, including a merry go round. (Sun Post staff photo by Joe Bowen) Carnival games were another popular attraction at the 2015 Crystal Frolics. (Sun Post staff photo by Joe Bowen) A series of carnival food booths were on hand, offering corn dogs, fried dough and more. (Sun Post staff photo by Joe Bowen) The Frolics’ beer tent was a popular attraction. (Sun Post staff photo by Joe Bowen)
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George and Maria Thornton work together at the Home Depot Kids Workshop to create a birdhouse. This was one of the activities at the Family Festival on July 26 at the Crystal Frolics. (Sun Post intern photo by Brian Mozey)
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Navy swimmer takes on 2,500 Mississippi miles to honor fallen heroes http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/navy-swimmer-takes-on-2500-mississippi-miles-to-honor-fallen-heroes/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/navy-swimmer-takes-on-2500-mississippi-miles-to-honor-fallen-heroes/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 20:08:41 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=136257 It’s often said that freedom isn’t free, but for families of soldiers killed in the line of duty, that fact is all too real; after the loss of their loved one, the worst thing for these families is for their soldier to be forgotten.
Fortunately, these “Gold Star” families have a new hero in Navy combat veteran Chris Ring who will spend the next few months swimming the length of the Mississippi in honor of the brave men and women who gave their lives in the war on terror.
“We can’t bring them back, but we can honor them,” Ring said.
Ring began his swim June 6 after months of planning and organization. He hopes to complete the journey by Dec. 12, requiring him to swim an average of 12 miles of the river each day. By the end, he will have traveled 2,552 miles of the Mississippi River from its source in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, to the Gulf of Mexico, each mile representing a hero who lost their life serving their country.
Ring’s swim brought him through the Dayton-Champlin area Friday and Saturday, July 17 and 18, as he heads south to the Twin Cities. His swim is a challenge he volunteered to complete through the nonprofit “Legacies Alive” that will test his physical and mental strength and perseverance in a way that honors fallen heroes and rallies support for their families.
Each of the families Ring meets leaves a signature on the support kayak accompanying Ring on his swim, and he said he tries to take each of the fallen heroes with him on the journey.
“I never forget a family,” Ring said. “I look at each name (on the kayak) and remember each family, each story.”
He said these names, and the families he’s met, keep him motivated throughout the grueling journey.
“I never feel it’s about me or what I’m doing but what the cause is and why I’m doing it,” Ring said.
If successful, Ring will become the first American, and the second person in history, to complete the task, a “historic event” said Maj. John Donovan of Camp Ripley.
“(This project) brings back so many memories of beautiful young men and women we saw train here who didn’t come back alive,” said Chaplain John Morris, a founding member of Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, a support program to veterans, their families and Gold Star families.
While Ring might be the only one in a wet suit, his swim is backed by a group of like-minded veterans through the Legacies Alive project.
Mike Viti, an Army combat veteran, founded Legacies Alive to remind the nation of the men and women who lost their lives while serving in the military by completing extreme mental and physical feats.
“As combat veterans … as you take the uniform off for the last time, you promise to not leave your service in the rearview mirror,” Viti said of the project’s origins.
Viti himself hiked 4,400 miles across the country to raise awareness for fallen soldiers as well as for men and women still overseas.
“We’re raising awareness for those who are still out front, on the tip of the spear, and their families,” Viti said.
He added that while the project can’t fix the hole that fallen soldiers leave behind in the lives of their families, it can honor them and ensure their memory lives on.
“The day I fear the worst is the day that a loved one’s name isn’t said again,” Viti said, echoing Gold Star families.“It’s important that when we’re 80, we’re telling stories.”
Not everyone, however, could complete such an extreme physical challenge in honor of fallen veterans.
“I’ve always been comfortable in the water,” Ring said.
He added, however, that spending hours on end in the water isn’t the point.
“You can tell people about the river,” Ring said. “(But) nothing that I could experience … could compare to what these families experience. I’m not even close.”
Ring added that the goal of the project is to make sure everyone knows who Gold Star families are and what they’ve sacrificed.
“No family should have to explain or raise awareness for themselves. That’s what we’re here to do,” Ring said.

– Complied by Megan Hopps

 

 

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Robbinsdale Little League wins state tournament http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/robbinsdale-little-league-wins-state-tournament/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/robbinsdale-little-league-wins-state-tournament/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 19:50:02 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=136253 Robbinsdale Little League 11-year-old All-Stars took home the Little League state championship crown on Sunday, July 26 in Duluth. (Submitted photo)
Robbinsdale Little League 11-year-old All-Stars took home the Little League state championship crown on Sunday, July 26 in Duluth. (Submitted photo)

Battling through a losers bracket may never faze members of the Robbinsdale Little League 11-year-old all-star baseball team again.

Neither will surrendering an eight-run inning.

Robbinsdale’s 11-year-olds beat Lake Park of Duluth 14-11 on Sunday, July 26 for the state title in spite of giving up eight runs in one inning. It also marked the second time Robbinsdale beat Lake Park and made their way through a losers’ bracket to win a big tournament.

“It’s been a quite a journey that’s for sure,” Robbinsdale coach John Velander said.

Ups and downs in the state championship game served as a microcosm of that journey. Robbinsdale went up 3-0, but Lake Park piled on eight runs in the second inning.

“We were playing pretty strong,” Velander said. “Our team’s been through a lot of adversity.”

After rallying with strong hitting and defense, Robbinsdale finished off Lake Park as Seth Velander closed the game on the mound. Velander struck out three in the final inning.

“He kept the ball in the zone and kept them off balance enough,” John said.

Nelson Ponce gave Robbinsdale’s offense a lift with a three-run home run. He finished with ten for the summer.

“That was a huge boost,” John said.

Making comebacks has been a constant for the Robbinsdale team in recent weeks. At the District 1 tournament, Robbinsdale won six-straight games moving through the losers bracket on July 13-19 at Riverview Park. They also beat defending state champion Coon Rapids-Andover twice in the process to advance to the Little League state tournament on July 22-26 in Duluth.

First, Robbinsdale avenged an earlier loss to Plymouth-New Hope by winning 14-5 on July 17. Phillip Ponce hit a walk-off home run to seal the game. He had 12 home runs overall for the season.

Robbinsdale advanced to face CRA on July 18 and won 9-8. It set up a winner-take-all game on July 19, which Robbinsdale won convincingly 12-1.

Tournament play had not started pretty for Robbinsdale with the 10-7 loss PNH on July 13. The new District 1 champs also squeaked past Tonka Blue 8-7 on July 15 to stay in alive in the tournament. Nonetheless, Robbinsdale managed to win six games in seven days to claim the title.

Bats then came more alive in the final four games as Robbinsdale beat Golden Valley 12-1 on July 16 and then put 14, nine and 12 runs in the final three contests of the tourney. Robbinsdale kept the hot hitting going right away in Duluth.

They won 14-3 to open the state tourney on Wednesday, July 22 but fell to Lake Park 7-5 on Thursday, July 23. Robbinsdale rebounded to defeat Itasca 7-2 on Friday, July 24 and then claimed a spot in the state title game by beating Lake Park 9-1 on Saturday, July 25. Nelson Ponce pitched a solid game for Robbinsdale in the win over Lake Park.

“When you have that kind of pitching standing up in front of you, and then the guys just go out at hit the ball around; that’s all it takes,” John said.

Contact Matthew Davis at matthew.davis@ecm-inc.com

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6 Questions About 529 Plans http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/6-questions-about-529-plans/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/6-questions-about-529-plans/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 19:02:01 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?guid=b37ccf4cb446b5cde8d931e76c96a5ee If you’re saving for your child’s higher education, you probably have a lot of questions besides “When did college get so incredibly expensive?” One popular savings tool that might puzzle you the most is the relatively new 529 plan. Here are the most popular questions.

The 529 college savings plan – begun in the late 1980s and now operated by states or educational institutions – offers tax-advantaged ways to save for various costs of higher education. What else should you know?

Common questions I hear from my clients:

What can my child use 529 money for? The money can pay for qualified expenses such as tuition, fees, books, supplies, computer-related costs and room and board for someone who is at least a half-time student. Pizza, burritos and beer don’t qualify, unfortunately.

How much can I contribute? The answer is not as straightforward as with an individual retirement account or 401(k) retirement plan. Generally, contributions to a 529 max out at $350,000 per beneficiary.

You also need to remember federal gifting tax laws. A gift of more than $14,000 to a single person in one year incurs gift tax. A 529 allows an individual to potentially contribute up to $70,000 (married couples up to $140,000) tax-free in one year to an account for a particular beneficiary.

To do this, you elect to treat the entire gift as a series of five equal annual gifts when you file Internal Revenue Service Form 709, “Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer” with your annual tax return. The IRS can tell you more.

There are no age or income restrictions to contribute.

What if our relatives want to contribute? Family members can either open a 529 account and name your child as the beneficiary or kick into an existing 529 that they don’t own.

If your family members contribute to a 529 account that they do own, they receive a state tax benefit if their state offers such a deduction. Opening just one account for the beneficiary and letting your family help fund it can be simpler.

Why use a 529 over a regular taxable account? These accounts defer taxes; your contributions grow tax-free as long as you use the funds on the qualified expenses mentioned above.

This beats paying the government for an after-tax account – but the latter does offer complete flexibility on where and how you can spend the money. A 529 doesn’t.

What if my child gets a full scholarship? You will not lose money.

You can withdraw from the 529 without penalty, though you do pay taxes on the earnings at the scholarship recipient’s tax rate. You can also use your 529 to pay for expenses that the scholarship doesn’t cover, such as room and board, books and other required supplies.

You can keep the 529 open with your child as beneficiary if he or she plans on graduate school, or you can also change the beneficiary and name another college-bound child.

What if my child does not want to go to college? You can change the beneficiary to another family member (a sibling, first cousin, grandparent, aunt, uncle or yourself, for example), and the money goes toward that person’s education. Most plans allow you to change your beneficiary only once a year; if your child has a change of heart and does decide to attend college, you can rename that child the beneficiary.

Remember too that these funds can help pay for two-year associate degrees, as well as for trade and vocational schools.

A final option: Withdraw the money, or cash out the plan. You pay income tax and a 10% penalty on the earnings, but not on your contributions.

If unsure that your child is in fact headed to college, sit tight on cashing out. One thing you learn fast about young adults: Life can always change.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Andrew Comstock, CFA, is president and chief investment officer of Castlebar Asset Management in Leawood, Kan.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

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If you’re saving for your child’s higher education, you probably have a lot of questions besides “When did college get so incredibly expensive?” One popular savings tool that might puzzle you the most is the relatively new 529 plan. Here are the most popular questions.

The 529 college savings plan – begun in the late 1980s and now operated by states or educational institutions – offers tax-advantaged ways to save for various costs of higher education. What else should you know?

Common questions I hear from my clients:

What can my child use 529 money for? The money can pay for qualified expenses such as tuition, fees, books, supplies, computer-related costs and room and board for someone who is at least a half-time student. Pizza, burritos and beer don’t qualify, unfortunately.

How much can I contribute? The answer is not as straightforward as with an individual retirement account or 401(k) retirement plan. Generally, contributions to a 529 max out at $350,000 per beneficiary.

You also need to remember federal gifting tax laws. A gift of more than $14,000 to a single person in one year incurs gift tax. A 529 allows an individual to potentially contribute up to $70,000 (married couples up to $140,000) tax-free in one year to an account for a particular beneficiary.

To do this, you elect to treat the entire gift as a series of five equal annual gifts when you file Internal Revenue Service Form 709, “Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer” with your annual tax return. The IRS can tell you more.

There are no age or income restrictions to contribute.

What if our relatives want to contribute? Family members can either open a 529 account and name your child as the beneficiary or kick into an existing 529 that they don’t own.

If your family members contribute to a 529 account that they do own, they receive a state tax benefit if their state offers such a deduction. Opening just one account for the beneficiary and letting your family help fund it can be simpler.

Why use a 529 over a regular taxable account? These accounts defer taxes; your contributions grow tax-free as long as you use the funds on the qualified expenses mentioned above.

This beats paying the government for an after-tax account – but the latter does offer complete flexibility on where and how you can spend the money. A 529 doesn’t.

What if my child gets a full scholarship? You will not lose money.

You can withdraw from the 529 without penalty, though you do pay taxes on the earnings at the scholarship recipient’s tax rate. You can also use your 529 to pay for expenses that the scholarship doesn’t cover, such as room and board, books and other required supplies.

You can keep the 529 open with your child as beneficiary if he or she plans on graduate school, or you can also change the beneficiary and name another college-bound child.

What if my child does not want to go to college? You can change the beneficiary to another family member (a sibling, first cousin, grandparent, aunt, uncle or yourself, for example), and the money goes toward that person’s education. Most plans allow you to change your beneficiary only once a year; if your child has a change of heart and does decide to attend college, you can rename that child the beneficiary.

Remember too that these funds can help pay for two-year associate degrees, as well as for trade and vocational schools.

A final option: Withdraw the money, or cash out the plan. You pay income tax and a 10% penalty on the earnings, but not on your contributions.

If unsure that your child is in fact headed to college, sit tight on cashing out. One thing you learn fast about young adults: Life can always change.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Andrew Comstock, CFA, is president and chief investment officer of Castlebar Asset Management in Leawood, Kan.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

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Champlin Legion Post 600 breezes through Sub State 9 http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/champlin-legion-post-600-breezes-through-sub-state-9/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/champlin-legion-post-600-breezes-through-sub-state-9/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:01:32 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=136209 CP30SPchamplegionround1-01
Alex Bakritges, starting pitcher and upcoming senior at Champlin Park High School, pitches seven scoreless innings and goes 4 for 4 at the plate. Bakritges was one of many that had success against Brooklyn Park in the 12-0 win on Thursday, July 23. (Sun Post intern photo by Brian Mozey)

Rebels reach back-to-back state tournaments

by Matthew Davis and Brian Mozey
Sun Post Newspapers

Other than one grueling 3-1 victory over Ham Lake, Champlin Legion Post 600 rolled to a second-consecutive Sub State 9 championship on July 23-26.

“That was the big one,” Rebels coach Mike Loberg said of Ham Lake. “They had their ace going against us. Our whole lineup had good at-bats against them. We had opportunities just about every inning, and we cashed in on one of those.”

Down 1-0 in the fifth inning, Aaron Kloeppner drove in two runs and Derek Smith one as the Rebels took a 3-1 lead. Tim Munn led the team in hits with three, and Riley Johnson had two.

Post 600’s bats also made the most of a seven-strikeout day by Rebels pitcher Alex Duane on Saturday, July 25 in the win over Ham Lake. Duane pitched six innings, and Tyeler Schmidt closed out the game in the final three innings.

The Rebels set up an opportunity to clinch the title on Sunday, July 26. They followed through with a 10-2 in over Coon Rapids to return to state Legion tournament. Moreover, the Rebels won the title on their home field.

“It felt surreal,” Rebels pitcher Brian McGill said.

“All of our seniors have been around this field 5-10 years,” he added.

Champlin opens state tournament play in Chanhassen on Friday at 10 a.m. against Hutchinson. Competition continues for the Rebels later that day win or lose at 4 p.m. or 7 p.m. The tournament runs through Monday, Aug. 3 with the champion advancing to the Central Plains Regional.

“If we keep swinging the bats and hit the ball like we have been, I think we think we should be able to play really well,” Rebels infielder Noah Bouley said.

Rebels open sub state with a bang

Pitchers enjoy having a lead at the beginning of the game. For Alex Bakritges, he decided to help himself out and knock in four runs himself.

Champlin Legion Post 600, the number one seed for the sub-state section nine tournament, ten run ruled Brooklyn Park Post 630 Knights in seven innings with a final score of 12-0. The bats were alive for every Champlin Park player and the defense made plays behind Bakritges’ back.

“I couldn’t have had this success on the mound without the help of my defense,” Bakritges said. “Our defense is what wins game and tonight they knocked down everything in the infield and tracked every ball down in the outfield.”

Bakritges pitched seven scoreless innings with one strikeout and only allowing one hit. He also performed well at the plate going 4 for 4 with three singles and one double. He also knocked in four of the twelve runs.

Mike Loberg, head coach of Champlin’s Legion team, said he was proud of the work Bakritges did on the mound and at the plate throughout the game. He was also happy that Bakritges was able to pitch all seven innings because it allows the coaches to have more choices for the upcoming games.

Loberg said the team, collectively, hit well with every player except one getting on base at least once in the game. One of the leaders to this offensive production was upcoming senior, Riley Johnson.

Johnson was a home run shy of the cycle with a double in the first inning, single in the second inning and a triple in the fourth inning. Johnson said his teammates told him about the possibility of getting the cycle, but he was more focused on the win.

“In the fifth inning, I hit a fly ball to left field and my team was hoping it carry for a home run,” Johnson said.

Champlin Park followed up the strong performance with an 8-1 win over a red-hot Westphal Armstrong team on Friday, July 24. The Falcons had won eight of their last ten games, but McGill went the distance for Post 600 as he fanned six batters an allowed four hits.

Contact Matthew Davis at matthew.davis@ecm-inc.com

Contact Brian Mozey at brian.mozey@ecm-inc.com

 

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When Advice Falls Short http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/when-advice-falls-short/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/when-advice-falls-short/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:00:53 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?guid=48ff956eb71e61a3a92aa07cb18b09f6 Yes, you can get a bad financial plan, one that doesn’t cover every facet of your life. Like matching your income and your spending.

Take my client Joanna. At 10:06 a.m. on Feb. 22, 2007, her divorce was finally final. She headed straight for the outlets: Retail therapy was in store and she looked forward to some healing.

The people who love Joanna wanted her happy, healthy and healed. No doubt they also wanted her to be able to pay the bills she racked up in her celebration.

Seven years later, Joanna comes into my office. By this time she’s in her mid-50s with a few health issues and still earns about $65,000 a year, not much more than in 2007. What has changed, she explains to me, is that her accounts are nearing empty and she might have to sell her home so she can send her last son to the kind of expensive college her first three sons enjoyed.

She pushes all her paperwork across the table. I see she hired an advisor from a well-known big firm and took the time to list her expenses on a worksheet I sent to her before our meeting. Looking over her tax returns, spending records and account statements, I clearly see she’s $5,000 underwater every month.

I ask her what plan she worked off to this point, and she says she expected her investments to do better and her money to last longer.

Advisors can come in one of two types: 1) Commission-based, which means they earn money based on your investment and planning choices. 2) Fee-only (like me), which means they work for a flat rate or a percent of your assets and earn nothing extra based on your decisions. Joanna had seen a commission-based advisor

But you also can divide advisors by how well they plan your finances. Her previous one didn’t do a very good job when it came to tracking her spending. A financial plan needs to look at every bit of your life, not just your investments. We lock eyes as she grins in acknowledgement of oops! hanging in the air.

In 2007, Joanna walked away from her 23-year marriage with $960,000 in cash, a paid-for home she thinks is now worth $975,000 and $5,000 in monthly support that ended just before she came to see me.

Joanna says she’s ready to get serious. We have the home appraised – the amount comes in at $725,000, much less of course than she figured. We factored in another 8%, or $58,000 in her case, for costs of selling the home. That left $667,000 as the net Joanna can expect from the sale of her home before taxes – another surprise for her.

She’s tested the idea of earning more. At her age with health issues and her inability to work more hours, employers showed little willingness to hire her. Reviewing her expenses, she agrees she can cut back on some items but remains worried about her son waiting to go to that expensive college.

I get paid to be straight with clients, and they are allowed to hate my answers.

For Joanna, we first projected conditions of her life going forward if she makes no changes. We thought who might provide shelter for her and her son before the end of the year if she decided to make no adjustments to her money situation (a short list). Then we modeled her life with very sharp and immediate changes.

She chose immediate – and substantial – pain over certain destitution. We sold the home and she banked $600,000 from the sale, paid her credit card off and started renting a nearby townhome to lower her expenses.

She takes about $2,000 each month from her accounts to supplement the $5,000 she earns. We work to pinpoint what she cares most about spending on while we also identify her ability to pay her bills on her own. We look at her whole financial picture.

Many days, she cursed us, the heavens, her former advisor and her ex – and in the end enjoys a level of confidence she says she’s never had.

Her health issues are improving. She will not send her son to the expensive college and instead includes him in some of our meetings as we help him get used to the new normal. He says he likes seeing his mom happy and healthy, and he thinks she’s healing.

She paid a big price, though, for too little advice.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq

Bonnie Sewell, CFP, CDFA, AIF, is the principal at American Capital Planning LLC in Leesburg, Va. 

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Yes, you can get a bad financial plan, one that doesn’t cover every facet of your life. Like matching your income and your spending.

Take my client Joanna. At 10:06 a.m. on Feb. 22, 2007, her divorce was finally final. She headed straight for the outlets: Retail therapy was in store and she looked forward to some healing.

The people who love Joanna wanted her happy, healthy and healed. No doubt they also wanted her to be able to pay the bills she racked up in her celebration.

Seven years later, Joanna comes into my office. By this time she’s in her mid-50s with a few health issues and still earns about $65,000 a year, not much more than in 2007. What has changed, she explains to me, is that her accounts are nearing empty and she might have to sell her home so she can send her last son to the kind of expensive college her first three sons enjoyed.

She pushes all her paperwork across the table. I see she hired an advisor from a well-known big firm and took the time to list her expenses on a worksheet I sent to her before our meeting. Looking over her tax returns, spending records and account statements, I clearly see she’s $5,000 underwater every month.

I ask her what plan she worked off to this point, and she says she expected her investments to do better and her money to last longer.

Advisors can come in one of two types: 1) Commission-based, which means they earn money based on your investment and planning choices. 2) Fee-only (like me), which means they work for a flat rate or a percent of your assets and earn nothing extra based on your decisions. Joanna had seen a commission-based advisor

But you also can divide advisors by how well they plan your finances. Her previous one didn’t do a very good job when it came to tracking her spending. A financial plan needs to look at every bit of your life, not just your investments. We lock eyes as she grins in acknowledgement of oops! hanging in the air.

In 2007, Joanna walked away from her 23-year marriage with $960,000 in cash, a paid-for home she thinks is now worth $975,000 and $5,000 in monthly support that ended just before she came to see me.

Joanna says she’s ready to get serious. We have the home appraised – the amount comes in at $725,000, much less of course than she figured. We factored in another 8%, or $58,000 in her case, for costs of selling the home. That left $667,000 as the net Joanna can expect from the sale of her home before taxes – another surprise for her.

She’s tested the idea of earning more. At her age with health issues and her inability to work more hours, employers showed little willingness to hire her. Reviewing her expenses, she agrees she can cut back on some items but remains worried about her son waiting to go to that expensive college.

I get paid to be straight with clients, and they are allowed to hate my answers.

For Joanna, we first projected conditions of her life going forward if she makes no changes. We thought who might provide shelter for her and her son before the end of the year if she decided to make no adjustments to her money situation (a short list). Then we modeled her life with very sharp and immediate changes.

She chose immediate – and substantial – pain over certain destitution. We sold the home and she banked $600,000 from the sale, paid her credit card off and started renting a nearby townhome to lower her expenses.

She takes about $2,000 each month from her accounts to supplement the $5,000 she earns. We work to pinpoint what she cares most about spending on while we also identify her ability to pay her bills on her own. We look at her whole financial picture.

Many days, she cursed us, the heavens, her former advisor and her ex – and in the end enjoys a level of confidence she says she’s never had.

Her health issues are improving. She will not send her son to the expensive college and instead includes him in some of our meetings as we help him get used to the new normal. He says he likes seeing his mom happy and healthy, and he thinks she’s healing.

She paid a big price, though, for too little advice.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq

Bonnie Sewell, CFP, CDFA, AIF, is the principal at American Capital Planning LLC in Leesburg, Va. 

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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New Hope, Golden Valley community line http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/new-hope-golden-valley-community-line-2/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/new-hope-golden-valley-community-line-2/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:00:16 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=136058 New Hope
The following New Hope students have been named to the honors lists at their respective colleges or universities:
Bethel University, St. Paul – Nadia Abboud, Audrey Hiljus, Haley Kuffel, Cournety Peterson and Caleb Skorseth
St. Catherine University, St. Paul – Natasha Acuna
University of Northwestern, St. Paul – Michaela Maupin

The following New Hope students have graduated from their respective colleges or universities:
University of Minnesota — Duluth – Brian Porter, Bachelor of Science in civil engineering, Allison Remple, Bachelor of Business Administration in management and Nicole Whelan, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music Degree in music education
Bethel University, St. Paul – Haley Kuffel, Bachelor of Science in nursing

Golden Valley
The following Golden Valley students have been named to the honors lists at their respective colleges or universities:
Bethel University, St. Paul, Minn. – Nicholas Manoles
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y. – Jacob Derechin
Minnesota State Mankato, Mankato, Minn. – Ari Hillman, Sarah Jacobson and Tasha Johnson
College of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph, Minn. – Sophia Pellizzer
University of Northwester, St. Paul, Minn. – Tia Anderson, Rachel Kuelbs and Preston Koepke

The following Golden Valley students have graduated from their respective colleges or universities:
University of Minnesota — Duluth, Duluth, Minn. – Hannah Jocelyn, Bachelor of Applied Arts Degree in teaching communication arts and literature and Jonathan Roth, Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in graphic design
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y. – Jacob Derechin, Bachelor of Science in physics
University of Oregon, Eugene, Ore. – Joseph Loubert, Doctor of Philosophy in mathematics
University of Northwestern, St. Paul, Minn. – Tia Anderson, Bachelor of Science in psychology
Gov. Mark Dayton recently appointed Golden Valley resident Carol Cummins as member of the Board of Judicial Standards. Her term was effective June 30, 2015 and expires Jan. 1, 2018. She is replacing Jeffrey Bumgarner.

Gov. Mark Dayton recently appointed Golden Valley resident Jennifer Mundl as member of the Minnesota Assistive Technology Advisory Council. Her term was effective June 30, 2015 and expires Jan. 2, 2017. She was re-appointed.

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CEAP turns a new leaf with thrift store http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/ceap-turns-a-new-leaf-with-thrift-store/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/ceap-turns-a-new-leaf-with-thrift-store/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:00:55 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=136187 Turning Leaf has a wide variety of new or gently used men’s, women’s and children’s clothes to choose from. (Sun Post staff photo by Christiaan Tarbox)
Turning Leaf has a wide variety of new or gently used men’s, women’s and children’s clothes to choose from. (Sun Post staff photo by Christiaan Tarbox)

The Brooklyn Center office for Community Emergency Assistance Programs has added a thrifty new program in its mission to raise money for its food service programs.

Last month, CEAP saw the addition of the Turning Leaf Thrift Store in the Brooklyn Center office at 7051 Brooklyn Blvd., where donated clothes and accessories are sold to customers at very low prices, with all revenue going towards the nonprofit’s food shelf and distribution initiatives.

“It’s our way of providing very, very low-cost clothing items to clients who are also using us for other services,” said CEAP President Clare Brumback. “The thrift model is something that is attached to many social service agencies in the metro area. We were inspired by the success of not just having it available for folks (here), but for everyone in the community.”

CEAP’s Brooklyn Center office serves residents from Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park and east Champlin, but this new thrift store is open to all interested in finding hidden treasures for low prices, whether they’re serviced by CEAP or not.

“Any kind of clothing or accessories that the community donates, we then have in our thrift store,” said Brumback. “It’s also a way for us to offer that opportunity when folks are in our building for other services.”

Compared to CEAP’s Blaine office, the Brooklyn Center branch has the space to accommodate the service. CEAP has already hosted a sidewalk sale to promote Turning Leaf and is planning more seasonal promotions to increase traffic.

“Cyclically through the year, we’ll do things like prom dresses or winter coats,” said Brumback. “So we’ll do drives and low-cost options for folks so they can supplement their wardrobes.”

Turning Leaf is especially helpful in raising money for CEAP to provide clients with goods that are too expensive and/or rarely donated.

“A lot of the resources we get, like personal care items – diapers, formula – those are rarely donated,” said Brumback. “One of the reason that we’re doing this is to generate some other revenue that will help us cover for those basic needs.”

Turning Leaf accepts new and gently used men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, but does not accept electronics, toys or furniture. CEAP is also looking for more volunteers to man the cash register and sort donations from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 12:30-4 p.m.

“It’s a great way for neighbors to help neighbors, and it’s also a great way for us to generate some income to serve our hungry neighbors,” said Brumback. “It’s not intended to make a huge amount of money, it’s intended for us to get those extras in the food shelf that aren’t usually donated.”

For more information on CEAP’s Turning Leaf Thrift Store or to sign up as a volunteer, call 763-450-3679 or email at volunteer@ceap.org.

Contact Christiaan Tarbox at christiaan.tarbox@ecm-inc.com or follow the Sun Post on Twitter @ecmsunpost.

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Time for Riskier Investing? http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/time-for-riskier-investing/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/07/time-for-riskier-investing/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 14:30:30 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?guid=de5d5a82483e23f40a35eeecc9095df5 After several years of solid stock market returns, you may actually be less afraid of risk. Maybe you question your asset allocation and strongly consider more stocks and other supposedly riskier assets. When balancing the temptation of ballooning returns with prudent and tested patience, though, choose the latter.

First let’s look at a few important points when changing an asset allocation, specifically when adding risk to a portfolio.

Historical Returns

The table contains the historical results of large U.S. stocks, U.S. bonds and portfolios containing varying percentages of each from 1926 to 2014. A few details stand out:

  • An all-stock portfolio generated the highest return, compounding capital at nearly 10% per year. This higher return came with greater volatility; stocks declined more often and in greater severity than did bonds.
  • Although stocks handily outperformed bonds over the 88 years, stocks occasionally underperformed for many years. Investments made in stocks during the late-1920s, mid-1960s and late-1990s lagged behind bonds for stretches of 10 or more years. Frequently since 1926, stocks underperformed bonds for five-year stretches.

Here are expected returns for different asset allocations assuming that future returns remain consistent with historical ones.

Historical Forecast Returns

(I think returns will be lower, but let’s use these averages.)

Assuming an asset allocation of 60% stocks and 40% bonds and annual stock returns of 10% and bond returns of 5% (historically consistent), a 60/40 portfolio has an average expected annual return of about 8%.

What if we bump the portfolio’s stock exposure? An 80/20 portfolio, using the above figures, enjoys an average annual expected return of 9%.

Should you reallocate that way? Only if you have at least a decade to tie up your money in the investment: a buy-and-hold passive investor needs that many years for a solid chance of outperforming a 60/40 with an 80/20 one.

Why? Stocks fall precipitously once or twice a decade.


Bear Market Returns

Recessions and bear markets wipe out many years of the excess returns that investors hope will accompany more-aggressive asset allocations. During recession-driven bear markets, stocks’ fall averaged about 30% and bonds rise about 5%. In a typical recession, a hypothetical 60/40 portfolio goes down about 16% and a hypothetical 80/20 portfolio goes down approximately 23%.

This grid shows the number of years necessary to make sure that additional risk sees a reward if future returns follow historical patterns.

Breakeven Horizon 5% / 10%

What if you think future returns will skew from the historical? Your recommended time horizons change.

Breakeven Horizon 3% / 15%

Under this bullish forecast, you still need five years before it makes sense to shift from a 60/40 portfolio to an 80/20. If a bear market occurs before five full years of 15% stock returns and 3% on bonds, you’re better off staying at 60/40.

Breakeven Horizon 3% / 15% Recession

What about imminent below-average returns? If returns over the next decade average 6% for stocks and 3% for bonds, your required time horizon stretches beyond a decade.

Breakeven Horizon 3% / 6%

So far we assume you’re a perfectly passive investor, selecting an allocation, rebalancing once per year and making no attempt to change the allocation to manage risk or increase returns. Why approach this discussion with a passive investor in mind if you’re an active investor?

Though an active investor may attempt to manage risk, such efforts may fail. Investing passively and assuming average market returns makes probable outcomes more evident. You’re also armed to make better active-management decisions.

To distance yourself from short-term investing:

  • Aggressively buy stocks during bear markets and early in the market cycle. Once the market bottoms, it then tends to rise at least 20% annually during the following two to three years. Don’t attempt to buy at some hoped-for bottom; do buy consistently when blood is in the streets (even your own).
  • Reduce exposure to risk assets as a bull market ages and when future expected returns are low. Your portfolio may very well underperform a more aggressive investment stance for a while. Time will still reward a 60/40 portfolio as richly, or even better, than it will an all-stock portfolio in the middle of a bear market.

We expect returns over the next seven to 10 years to settle between 3% and 5% per year. We also foresee fairly solid returns over the next two to three years as the U.S. and worldwide economies continue to grow.

Think long-term and do not try to outperform the stock market or the benchmark every year. Managing risk even at the expense of short- to medium-term underperformance can make sense. If future returns are compressed, be patient and wait for better opportunities before increasing your risk exposure – which can also curb the dangers of emotional influences in your investing.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Alan Hartley, CFA, is chief investment officer for Black Cypress Capital Management, which has offices in St. Augustine, Fla., and Charleston, S.C. He has been in the investment field since 2004.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

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After several years of solid stock market returns, you may actually be less afraid of risk. Maybe you question your asset allocation and strongly consider more stocks and other supposedly riskier assets. When balancing the temptation of ballooning returns with prudent and tested patience, though, choose the latter.

First let’s look at a few important points when changing an asset allocation, specifically when adding risk to a portfolio.

Historical Returns

The table contains the historical results of large U.S. stocks, U.S. bonds and portfolios containing varying percentages of each from 1926 to 2014. A few details stand out:

  • An all-stock portfolio generated the highest return, compounding capital at nearly 10% per year. This higher return came with greater volatility; stocks declined more often and in greater severity than did bonds.
  • Although stocks handily outperformed bonds over the 88 years, stocks occasionally underperformed for many years. Investments made in stocks during the late-1920s, mid-1960s and late-1990s lagged behind bonds for stretches of 10 or more years. Frequently since 1926, stocks underperformed bonds for five-year stretches.

Here are expected returns for different asset allocations assuming that future returns remain consistent with historical ones.

Historical Forecast Returns

(I think returns will be lower, but let’s use these averages.)

Assuming an asset allocation of 60% stocks and 40% bonds and annual stock returns of 10% and bond returns of 5% (historically consistent), a 60/40 portfolio has an average expected annual return of about 8%.

What if we bump the portfolio’s stock exposure? An 80/20 portfolio, using the above figures, enjoys an average annual expected return of 9%.

Should you reallocate that way? Only if you have at least a decade to tie up your money in the investment: a buy-and-hold passive investor needs that many years for a solid chance of outperforming a 60/40 with an 80/20 one.

Why? Stocks fall precipitously once or twice a decade.


Bear Market Returns

Recessions and bear markets wipe out many years of the excess returns that investors hope will accompany more-aggressive asset allocations. During recession-driven bear markets, stocks’ fall averaged about 30% and bonds rise about 5%. In a typical recession, a hypothetical 60/40 portfolio goes down about 16% and a hypothetical 80/20 portfolio goes down approximately 23%.

This grid shows the number of years necessary to make sure that additional risk sees a reward if future returns follow historical patterns.

Breakeven Horizon 5% / 10%

What if you think future returns will skew from the historical? Your recommended time horizons change.

Breakeven Horizon 3% / 15%

Under this bullish forecast, you still need five years before it makes sense to shift from a 60/40 portfolio to an 80/20. If a bear market occurs before five full years of 15% stock returns and 3% on bonds, you’re better off staying at 60/40.

Breakeven Horizon 3% / 15% Recession

What about imminent below-average returns? If returns over the next decade average 6% for stocks and 3% for bonds, your required time horizon stretches beyond a decade.

Breakeven Horizon 3% / 6%

So far we assume you’re a perfectly passive investor, selecting an allocation, rebalancing once per year and making no attempt to change the allocation to manage risk or increase returns. Why approach this discussion with a passive investor in mind if you’re an active investor?

Though an active investor may attempt to manage risk, such efforts may fail. Investing passively and assuming average market returns makes probable outcomes more evident. You’re also armed to make better active-management decisions.

To distance yourself from short-term investing:

  • Aggressively buy stocks during bear markets and early in the market cycle. Once the market bottoms, it then tends to rise at least 20% annually during the following two to three years. Don’t attempt to buy at some hoped-for bottom; do buy consistently when blood is in the streets (even your own).
  • Reduce exposure to risk assets as a bull market ages and when future expected returns are low. Your portfolio may very well underperform a more aggressive investment stance for a while. Time will still reward a 60/40 portfolio as richly, or even better, than it will an all-stock portfolio in the middle of a bear market.

We expect returns over the next seven to 10 years to settle between 3% and 5% per year. We also foresee fairly solid returns over the next two to three years as the U.S. and worldwide economies continue to grow.

Think long-term and do not try to outperform the stock market or the benchmark every year. Managing risk even at the expense of short- to medium-term underperformance can make sense. If future returns are compressed, be patient and wait for better opportunities before increasing your risk exposure – which can also curb the dangers of emotional influences in your investing.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Alan Hartley, CFA, is chief investment officer for Black Cypress Capital Management, which has offices in St. Augustine, Fla., and Charleston, S.C. He has been in the investment field since 2004.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

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