John Goddard’s Blog – May 11, 2016

I’ve been retired for a bit more than a year now. I’m stunned to write this. Where did the time go? Time moves at the same pace, of course, but it seems to be zipping by faster now than in earlier stages of my life. I think becoming more sensitive to time goes along with nearing 70 and appreciating how precious each day has become. So, what have I done with my time since I moved out of my office at Goddard Financial Planning (Blue Canoe) at the end of February in 2015?

First, there’s the time I devoted to my “loves.” I love the freedom that retirement has provided. Each day is all mine! I love having lunch with my wife Sandy. After 47 years, we still have an awful lot to communicate and share. I love walking a few miles with our dog Lucy every day. Being outside is a tonic. I love hour-long phone calls with my children and grandchildren. I have time for real conversations and not just the usual family updates. I love the chance to learn about things like photography and fishing that up to now I had a lot more interest in than I had time to practice.

Along with these everyday pleasures I dedicated a lot of time to two major endeavors. The first was the New Bethlehem Project (NBP). Organized by volunteers within Holy Family Parish in Kirkland, NBP committed to becoming a driving force for the development of an Eastside day center and a 12-month emergency shelter for families dealing with homelessness. Beyond a winter shelter open from October to April, there were no resources for families on the Eastside living in their cars or on the streets. NBP spent a year analyzing the problem, studying other shelters and day centers, and winning the support of key players like Catholic Community Services and the City of Kirkland. A critical step was establishing a partnership with Salt House, a Lutheran congregation, also in Kirkland, that agreed to convert the basement of their church into the day center. NBP raised $500,000 to modify the space and pay for its operating expenses. Families that are homeless on the Eastside will therefore soon have a place to rest, eat, shower, store some belongings, and get professional help. By the end of the year, NBP should also be able to extend the availability of the night-time emergency shelter to a year-round resource for these families as well.

My other big undertaking has been relocating to Colorado Springs, CO. Sandy and I lived in Seattle for 25 years and expected to remain there after I retired. Sure, I would like more sun but winter vacations to sunny spots could help with that. So why did we move? In Kirkland we lived a few minutes from Kris, the oldest of our four children and Mike, her husband, and their four children. Our lives intertwined with theirs seamlessly. We treasured them and all the activities we shared. Imagine the look on our faces when Kris and Mike told us they were moving to Colorado Springs last fall! They decided to move for better weather, less traffic and a lower cost of living. We faced a dilemma: stay in Seattle or move somewhere else. We decided living close to one of our kids’ families was our top priority. Okay, but where? We have one in London, another in Minneapolis, a third in San Luis Obispo on the Central Coast of California, and now Kris and Mike in Colorado Springs. Our initial thought was to move to the Central Coast. Beautiful area with a perfect climate. But, we discovered, a cost-of-living that might make even Seattle blush. The decision eventually brought the financial planner out in me and it did not take too many calculations to conclude that a move to Colorado Springs would not only keep us near our family but would also be far better for our retirement plan. So, we now reside at 6,000 feet with Cheyenne Mountain and Pikes Peak keeping an eye on us. We miss Seattle, of course, but we view the change as a new adventure and are eagerly exploring all the beauty of a different but equally amazing part of the country.

Sandy and I continue to follow our financial plan. I just turned 69 and have another year to go to start collecting my Social Security retirement benefits. Our investments are primarily in low-cost index funds organized into a portfolio that has a target stock allocation of 50%. I rebalance it annually but make no other changes. Sound familiar? The case for market-tracking index funds becomes stronger each year. A recent example is Warren Buffet’s comments on the foolishness of paying investment advisors to manage assets with the expectation that they will be able to beat the market. Evidence to the contrary is overwhelming.

What’s coming up? Lot of visitors. We’re looking forward to most of our family coming to see us and spending some time meandering among the mountains. More photography. More fishing. More hiking. More work on homelessness. More gardening. And more writing.

John Goddard’s Blog – May 11, 20162017-06-30T18:40:24+00:00

Beware of unsolicited offers to buy your home ‘cash, as is’

By Connie Thompson

Komo News

“If you own a home in a popular community, buyers could be about to make you a cash offer- even if you have no plans to sell. The offers may sound good, but there can be a major downside. Demand for homes is so high- some buyers don’t wait for houses to go on the market. If your home fits what they’re looking for- you get what’s know as a cold call offer by card or letter.

Jim LaCour has been getting offers from strangers who want to buy his view home in Seattle.

“Initially I thought that’s probably a good idea,” said LaCour. “You know, someone is interested in our home and wanted to pay cash for it. I didn’t think about the fact that someone might not give you what it’s worth.”

Certified Financial Planner Nancy Dienes urges caution. She says unsolicited cash offers are typically far below market value.

“When they offer you these cash offers, they’re generally at a discount,” said Dienes, Principal at Blue Canoe Financial Planning. “Some of the information I’ve read indicates that a cash offer is going to be somewhere between 70 and 80 percent of what the fair market value would be.”

Remember, a lot of these solicitations are from investors looking to turn a profit. Don’t make their gain be at your expense. Before you say yes, do your “home” work. Compare online value estimates for your address. Have a real estate office do a value analysis. Or consider paying for an independent appraisal.”

Read Full Story on KomoNews.com

Beware of unsolicited offers to buy your home ‘cash, as is’2016-04-13T23:39:35+00:00

Aspiring School Counselor Struggles with Debt

“Like many young adults, Tacoma graduate student Taylor Reyes is pursuing her dreams of a career and a home while college debt piles up around her.

She’s worried whether she can earn enough money as a school counselor to buy a house and pay off student loans that could hit $50,000 by the time she graduates in May. “I had felt so weighed down by these things,” the 25-year-old Fircrest resident said.

But two volunteer financial planners showed Reyes that her ambitions can become reality. They also gave Reyes a plan for starting her career, managing her student loans and owning a home. Reyes could achieve all of those things by the time she’s 30.

Her story is also a case study of how young people can navigate the treacherous path from school to career and homeownership without getting swamped by debt.

The Puget Sound Chapter of the Financial Planning Association voluntarily connected Reyes with two pro bono advisers at Blue Canoe Financial Planning in Seattle. They were reassuring about Reyes’ financial condition. “It’s generally good, given that she knows where she wants to go,” said Nancy Dienes, a registered financial adviser and Blue Canoe’s CEO. “She’s taken some risks, but it’s reasonable.”

Dienes and her colleague, financial planner Holly Davis, developed a road map for Reyes that has tips for other young adults in similar circumstances…..”

[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Aspiring School Counselor Struggles with Debt2017-06-23T22:11:01+00:00

Powerball windfall: Strategies for the suddenly wealthy (Komo News)

By Connie Thompson

Komo News

The mere thought of sudden wealth triggers lofty visions. Virtually everyone has a plan.

But whether it’s 1.5 Billion, or several hundred thousand- money experts say the first thing to do- is nothing.

“Don’t quit your job right away.” , said Certified Financial Planner Ted White. “Don’t go out and make a big purchase right away. Don’t alter your lifestyle right away.”

White and his colleagues at Blue Canoe Financial Planning in Seattle are used to helping clients people who come in to big money. They say the key to coming out ahead in any big money game is to think like a coach- and assemble a strong team to that has your back….

 

Read entire story at Komo News

Powerball windfall: Strategies for the suddenly wealthy (Komo News)2017-06-23T22:11:01+00:00

Paying for Son’s College weighs on Serious Kenmore Savers (The Seattle Times)

By George Erb
Special to The Seattle Times

“Jennifer Ferdinand and Todd Parker have steady jobs, pensions and retirement accounts. They keep their spending in check and expect to pay off their home mortgage after 15 years.

In short, the Kenmore couple are well positioned for the future, with a notable exception: paying for their son’s college education.
Jonah, who turns 7 this month, could enroll as a college freshman as soon as 2027, or 12 years from now.

His parents are committed to paying for his college, yet they had not set aside any money to do so.
Ferdinand, 42, and Parker, 46, were stopped by several things. They found the complexities of college-savings plans daunting. For a while, the couple thought they could cover the cost with their household cash flow. Then their own retirement savings seemed threatened by dramatic increases in the cost of a four-year college degree.

Tuition and fees at Washington state’s public-research universities jumped an average 9.5 percent a year for the 10 years ending in 2014, according to the state Guaranteed Education Tuition program, or GET.

To find out how to finance their retirement and their son’s education, the couple turned to the Puget Sound Chapter of the Financial Planning Association. It referred them to Ted White, a financial planner with Goddard Financial Planning in Seattle…”

Click here for complete story on the Seattle Times website


Paying for Son’s College weighs on Serious Kenmore Savers (The Seattle Times)2017-06-23T22:11:01+00:00