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It’s been said that everyone is good at something, and no one is good at everything (though some may argue there are individuals who seem to excel at everything they attempt). The truth is, some people are much better at certain pursuits. In fact, they’re so good at what they do, they’ve earned the designation of “expert.”
Often, it has taken these individuals a lot of time, energy, and resources to hone their craft. That may mean studying the qualities of exquisite diamonds, understanding what gives an antique value, or identifying the best methods for protecting assets and growing hard-earned dollars.
Experts also typically truly enjoy their chosen profession, and they approach it with enthusiasm and a drive toward continuing to excel in their work. As they gain new knowledge, they’re eager to share it with others. They tend to keep their pulse on their market — whether it’s the real estate market, the stock market, or some other market — so they can provide current data to support their recommendations.
If you’re looking for insight, ask these trusted advisers. They’re the people you can turn to with your questions, without hesitation.
Q: Why is it important to have a purpose-driven approach to wealth management?
A: Investing is deeply personal, which is why UBS Financial Services always starts with a discussion about your values and what you want to accomplish in life. That also helps their team shape your wealth strategy around three financial dimensions:
- Liquidity (to maintain your lifestyle)
- Longevity (to improve your lifestyle), and
- Legacy (to improve the lives of others).
This structure, and UBS Financial’s unique management approach, allows you invest with a sense of purpose. It can also improve your overall results and provide emotional security. The process, and the plan you’ll create with UBS, can give you peace of mind knowing you’ll have what you need for today, tomorrow, and generations to come.
Q: What kind of liability protection should I ask about when hiring home improvement contractors?
A: Here are several specifics you should inquire about when selecting a suitable contractor:
- Request that a current Certificate of General Liability and Workers’ Compensation be sent to you from their agent, rather than just showing you a copy.
- Ask if they carry Broad Form Property Damage Liability, and make sure it’s noted on your certificate.
- Make sure you have their agent’s contact information, in case your project will be completed beyond their current policy dates.
Being an educated consumer can protect you from financial peril, and help you identify quality contractors!
Q: Natural vs. synthetic diamonds — what’s the best choice?
A: Synthetic, or lab-grown, diamonds have hit the marketplace. But before you buy, consider these differences:
- Are wonders formed below the earth’s surface
- Increase in value over time and can be resold, and
- Are the ultimate representation of love and commitment.
- Mimic the properties of a diamond and are mass produced in a factory
- Are expensive, marketed and priced comparable to a natural diamond, and
- Have no inherent value; your jeweler will never buy back a synthetic diamond.
At Redford Jewelry & Coin, we sell only natural diamonds, in all their beauty and splendor!
Q: My home décor is modern and contemporary. How do I mix in some antique pieces?
A: Combining various décor styles is an area that requires expertise. Adding antique or vintage pieces to a modern interior adds depth and dimension, and juxtaposing various styles is a great way to showcase your taste, unique interests, and family heirlooms.
One of the simplest ways to mix styles is to group them by color. A display of blue-and-white pottery can include Japanese Imari, traditional Delft, your grandmother’s old platter, and a modern, white porcelain teapot. Texture and materials also can be unifying, so don’t be afraid to create accessory groups that have some metal, glass, or wood.
You can combine pieces from opposite ends of the spectrum, too. Hang an antique Italian iron and giltwood chandelier over a sleek, modern dining table, or reupholster a formal camelback sofa in a graphic, modern print to create instant impact. Let your eye be your guide. Surround yourself with furniture, lighting, and accessories that delight you, and don’t be afraid to mix it up.
Q: How do I maximize estate planning opportunities?
A: Families are often looking for ways to maximize gifting opportunities and reduce estate taxes. There are four “tools” you can use to minimize these taxes:
- Make annual exclusion gifts
- Make gifts that use the gift tax exemption
- Take advantage of discounts by restructuring the ownership of your assets, and
- Give to charity, either during your life and/or upon death.
If these are your objectives, now’s the time to enhance your estate plan. A properly created and funded estate plan, including well-drafted irrevocable trusts, can:
- Provide an income-tax and estate-tax-free inheritance for your beneficiaries
- Benefit charity
- Avoid gift, estate, or generation-skipping taxes, and
- Ensure you maintain ownership and control of all assets, other than those given to the trust.
In most cases, assets owned by an irrevocable trust aren’t subject to estate taxes, including appreciated assets (e.g., real estate, stocks, business interests) and life insurance proceeds.
This arrangement often increases the amount of wealth available to your family and other beneficiaries. Consult with Northwestern Mutual’s financial team to maximize your estate planning opportunities.
Q: We’ve been thinking about selling our home. Is this a good time to sell?
A: There’s never been a better time to sell or buy a house in Michigan. Michigan’s real estate market in 2017 showed some robust price gains in many areas, and 2018 is shaping up to be another “seller’s market.” The biggest obstacle holding back homebuyers, not only in numerous markets throughout Michigan but everywhere else, is the lack of product inventory.
On average, For Sale inventory is down 27 percent and the average purchase price is up 17 percent, yet interest rates are still very low and buyer demand is high. If you’re considering selling your home, you shouldn’t miss out on this opportunity to cash in on what has proven to be an unparalleled market in favor of sellers.
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services has many “exclusive” programs for both sellers and buyers, such as the Buy Before You Sell 100-percent Money-back Guarantee and Apartment Dwellers Trade-in, along with an aggressive, targeted action plan for sellers to sell their home and buyers to find the dream home that fits their needs.
So don’t wait to sell — there’s never been a better time.
Q: Why do you need to hire a professional real estate broker when you can buy and sell real estate on your own?
A: A real estate broker can handle the following:
- Provide access to an exclusive database that includes off-market listings not seen on sites such as Zillow or Realtor.com.
- Navigate confusing paperwork such as disclosures and technical documents, to avoid delays and costly mistakes.
- Draw up purchase agreements to allow time for inspections, mortgage contingencies, and anything else that’s critical for your needs.
- Negotiate both the sale and purchase of a home.
- Guide sellers to competitively price their home based on market trends.
- Advise buyers to provide a competitive offer to secure a deal.
- Offer marketing tools such as digital and print advertising, to reach a wider database of potential buyers.
Real estate broker fees are easily justified by the numerous advantages outlined above and will lead to an overall savings in money. A real estate broker’s full-time job is to be your representative by providing support and expertise. The bottom line is that it pays to have a professional on your side.