Town Talk Features

Take it from the Experts

We turn to professionals for many things—and for good reason. They can help us get results, make informed decisions and navigate complicated waters. Below, four local experts share nuggets of wisdom they regularly pass on to clients.

joanne johnson, insurance solutions plus broker/owner 
A new world: Because of the Affordable Care Act, there’s been a tremendous change in individual health insurance. Many people are not prepared for those changes and aren’t aware of how these impact their retirement planning.
Education is key: We’ve been accustomed to having employee plans with low co-pays, but those low co-pays cost a lot in terms of premium dollar—that’s money you could be managing yourself.
Plan ahead: Long-term care plans are essential because you no longer can rely on the government. There are options that provide protection if you need it, but leave the money available for your heirs if you don’t.
Wise words: Read your annual notice of coverage, or at least keep it as a reference. If your doctor orders a test or procedure, shop around to save money. For individual ACA plans, perform an annual review with your broker to ensure your plan will continue to meet your needs.

SF-Bower_3-(1)-copyken bower, clayton financial group ceo & managing director
Getting started: The first step is to understand client goals and dreams. Then we build a plan around that.
The financial adviser role: To discuss investments, educational funding, philanthropy, tax planning, social security, exercising stock options, risk management, etc. We help clients think about their finances from a more global perspective.
The ball’s in your court: It’s important to spend at a responsible rate given your level of assets. Another client responsibility is frequent conversation with your adviser about what is changing in your life. The more information clients communicate, the more specific our recommendations can be.
Discipline over emotion: When markets dip, advisers reinforce the notion that we’ve invested for the long-term. We have an incredibly disciplined approach, so we will revisit the allocation and targets, and we’ll be proactive about making investment recommendations, but we help investors steer clear of emotional responses to market volatility.

SF-Barbieri_1mike barbieri, pdi investigations partner
Signs of trouble: In domestic cases, the first signs of wrongdoing are people who are overly protective of their phone and are spending a lot of time away from the family.
Advice to clients: We tell clients not to ask the person in question where they’re going or what’s going on. These questions send a red flag. He or she will become more cautious, and it will take us more time to develop a case.
Misconceptions about the field: One misconception is that we’re too expensive. Clients also often come in thinking their case is beyond what we do. But we’ve been doing this successfully—even on a national and international level—for 30 years.
Time factor: This is not Magnum, P.I.—building a case takes time. I always tell clients to remember that we have no control over what that individual does, which means we can’t tell them how long it will take. If the person is cautious, it may take us awhile.

SF-Horlacher_3janet horlacher, janet mcafee real estate principal
Best face forward: In this age of HGTV, Houzz and Pinterest, buyers expect magazine-quality homes.
Finance first: Know how you’re going to finance a new home. This is more important than before—in previous hot markets, a seller could feel confident that if they sold their home immediately, they would have many homes to pick from. Now, the combination of demanding buyers and low inventory means the process of finding a new home might take longer and you may have to act faster.
Real estate misconception: You can’t go it alone. Buying or selling a home is a complicated transaction. We rely on a lot of experts to guide us, including inspectors, title examiners and surveyors.
When things go wrong: As long as we’re prepared and we’ve done our due diligence, we have processes in place to deal with problems that may occur. Both sides have a common goal in closing the sale. This means if we work cooperatively, we can resolve any issues.


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