1 year ago

Jeff Roberts wants to talk about YOUR financial New Years resolution

Birmingham, Alabama-based financial guru Jeff Roberts, who was recently named one of the top private wealth advisors in the nation by Barron’s®, came on Yellowhammer Radio to lay out the facts so people can decide for themselves.

The full conversation with Mr. Roberts can be heard on the Yellowhammer Radio podcast or in the video above, and a lightly edited transcript of his interview with Yellowhammer’s Andrea Tice and Scott Chambers can be read below.

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Podcast on iTunes. Learn more about Jeff Roberts’ private wealth advisory practice at JeffRobertsAndAssociates.com.


Good to hear from you, Jeff. We were just wondering, with this New Year underway, 4 days into it what kind of thoughts are in your mind when it comes to financial resolutions that would be helpful for someone?


That’s a great question. What we see is that it’s kind of like gym memberships. If you go to a gym any time at the first of the year. The parking lot is full, everybody is jammed in at the gym. And believe it or not that often times happens in financial advisory offices as well because people during the holidays take time off work and start thinking about their finances and getting things organized for the New Year and so we will sometimes be a little bit hopping around the first of the year. People are doing the same thing with their financial advisor relationship as they do with their gym membership relationship. We always encourage people to spend at least as much time planning your overall financial goals than you do your family vacation for the year. And believe it or not that’s a challenge for many folks.


Is there any one topic that you would like to introduce people to start thinking about when they come to you as part of this New Year’s resolution about finances?


The easy one there is that we are by nature, planners, financial planners. And so my first preference for anyone is get a plan, have a plan. The key there is it starts with determining what is your goal. It’s very simple, you hear it over and over with people whether it’s education of kids or or planning for retirement or gifting out their assets when they’re retired to their family. Whatever it is, listing that goal out specifically and then making sure that you have a plan in place that allows that to happen. What we often times find when working with clients is peoples goals and what they’re actually intending to do are in conflict. That would be their lifestyle or whatever they’re actually doing with their money deviates from what they’re saying they would like to accomplish. As I’ve said for years and years as an advisor, if you ever want to see what people’s values are watch the way they manage their money. So when people say they want to educate their kids, it’s real simple, you have to save a certain amount of money depending on the child’s age and type of school they’re going to go to. And so that planning determines that which gives clarity to people. So to your question, plan, plan, plan.


And unlike those gym memberships you mentioned a few moments ago, people packed in a parking lot early in the year, with financial planning you don’t want it to just be a one time thing. “Oh I need to watch my money.” This is something that is a long term deal. You get a plan together, right?


That’s correct and in fact what our methodology on that is, and I’m speaking in general terms because we work with hundreds and hundreds of clients so each person is a little bit unique, but we generally have clients come in and sit down with us two times a year where we’re reviewing and monitoring their progress. If you just implement a plan or even design out a plan but don’t have the ongoing monitoring of your process then you have no idea whether or not you’re on course or not. And when markets do what markets do, sometimes markets are great sometimes markets aren’t so good. We’re less concerned about what the markets are doing and more concerned about are we still on pace to accomplish our goal? Whatever is happening in the market how do I look relative to wherever I’m trying to get? And so that requires the ongoing relationship, sitting back down, dusting off a plan and kind of figuring out where are we.


It’s great that you mentioned meeting with them two times a year because that seems like you’re not overly controlling them but you’re meeting up with them at just the right time where you tend to get off track around that 6 month mark. But meeting with you would provide more incentive to get back on track and continue on with the plan once it’s established.


Yeah, and again every client is kind of unique. There’s some situations where we have to meet more often and if we’re working with someone new, somebody that has just come to us for the first time we have to meet a little bit more frequently as we’re designing a plan. But you’re right, every 6 months is typically enough to keep people corralled in, paying attention to their finances. I hate to use this comparison but it’s a fair one, most people who go see their dentist two times a year. I’ve got a dental appointment tomorrow actually, it’s my 6 month check up. Well, I don’t think about it other than you brush and floss. It’s kind of the same thing with personal finances, you put a plan in place and as long as people are kind of brushing and flossing their financial goals along the way. And then sit down about every 6 months to make sure there aren’t major adjustments that need to occur. Planning can be very manageable, very reasonable but essential.


You know Jeff, I’m not a financial guru like you and your team are but I would think here at the first of the year, I’m a business owner I’m self-employed which for those of us that are self-employed and own businesses we don’t always plan for retirement very well. This would be the perfect time of year to start really planning out your future because as a self-employed and business owner we don’t do that often. And I think the beginning of the year is a good time to look at your future down the road, your retirement.


That’s true and you bring up an interesting point when you talk about being a small business owner, an entrepreneur. What we find with our small business owner clients is a unique challenge for them when planning for retirement. Small business owners, entrepreneurs typically have one thing in common and that is an unbelievable belief in their business and they’re willing to invest all of their time, energy and resources into making that business grow. And that’s good because as an entrepreneur you almost have to be brainwashed that your idea and your business is going to work. Otherwise you’re not willing to go through the litany of tests, the swamp that you have to go through to become successful. But the challenge in that is when people are planning for their longterm financial goals you need diversification outside of just your business itself. Sure, if your business becomes extremely successful that can be your nest egg but if for whatever reason it’s not or it doesn’t achieve the success levels you need then you’ve spent a lot of time, energy and money tied up in the business that doesn’t quite produce what you need form a retirement planning standpoint. So we look at having our clients or small business owners diversify outside of their business into financial assets as well that they can accumulate before their retirement. It’s a challenge, it’s a big challenge.


Absolutely, and I have friends that are young in their early 30’s late 20’s and they’re like, “Ahh it’s kind of early to be thinking about retirement”, but what do you say to that?


We had a show and I don’t remember how long ago it was but I did an example on “Rule 72”. The simple example is this, obviously the early you start the better because what this is about is the doubling. I think the analogy I’ve done is which would you rather have, $100,000 right now or a lump sum that you can get at the end of one month if you take a penny today and double the amount every single day for a month? At the end of 31 days you can have that amount of money or $100,000. Well, most people know to take the amount at the end of 31 days but they don’t know how much it is. At the end of 31 days if you take a penny and double it every single day, it’s over $10 Million and the idea on that is the compounding of money. Most people fail to get the last double of their money that they need in their lifetime or actually it’s close to two doubles. Think about it, if you have $500,000 can you retire with financial independence for the rest of your life? Probably not. Well double that to $1M, could you retire comfortably for the rest of your life? You’ll say, “Well should be.” Double that to $2M, “Hey I should be able to figure that out.” Of course it varies on each person and lifestyle but the point is, take that number and that last double is the biggest piece. If you start sooner in life that means it gives you more chances to get doubles because you have more time. If you don’t take advantage of starting early you’re likely not to have enough time to get the doubles that you need. And remember, it’s the last doubles that count the most.


That’s a great analogy, that whole idea of compounding and if you can drill that into people’s heads early, like with your analogy which is excellent, then the likelihood of action being taken to be in a position to make that final double count, that is very good advice.


And the sobering part of that is at times is financial planning because when you’re doing forecasting and projecting you can begin to see based on where I am right now, my age, my goal to retirement , what I have saved up and what I’m currently saving, where are my projected to be at the point of arrival at whatever age that is. And is that a good picture or a bad picture just kind of depends but that’s information you have to know. As I’ve said hundreds and hundreds of times to people, if I tell you exactly how much you need to be saving to wind up at your particular goal down the road are you willing to do it? Usually the answer is, “It depends. It depends on how much money it’s going to require.” The interesting thing about retirement planning is that you don’t get a second shot. You only get one shot at it because eventually you’re going to run out of time and the ability to save and you might not have a job at some point.


And in today’s economy and who knows what economy when it will be retirement time, you plan early. Those are great points there, Jeff, really good. So what else is on your mind before we wrap up today?


Nothing in particular, I like to talk about things that I see with clients from time to time. Issues that we see clients doing incorrectly or things that clients are doing extremely well and I think next week we’re going to come in and talk about an issue we see with longterm care. I’ve had a lot of clients come in and ask about longterm care and how that is a risk for them in retirement. That’ll be our topic for next week.

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6 hours ago

The Hollywood Conservative shares her views on the celebrities moving because of Trump

The Hollywood Conservative, Amanda Head, tunes in for “The Final 30” to talk about how she’s been lately and updating The Ford Faction on the places she’s been to.  Amanda sheds light on the list of celebrities moving away from America due to President Trump winning the 2016 Election.  Amanda talks about social media titans Snapchat and Instagram dumping the GIF site Giphy because of one user being offended by her search results.

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Presents The Ford Faction podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

7 hours ago

Nancy Collat Goedecke is a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact

Nancy Collat Goedecke is a powerhouse not just in the business world, but the philanthropic sphere, as well.

She also is a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact.


Goedecke, who serves as CEO of Mayer Electric Supply in Birmingham, became the first-ever woman to chair the United Way of Central Alabama fundraising campaign in 2015. Under her leadership, the charity raised $38.8 million, about $600,000 more than the previous year.

Business and philanthropy both run in the family. Her grandfather, Ben Weil, founded Mayer Electric Supply in 1930, and her parents took over the business in 1979. Their philanthropy includes $25 million in contributions to the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business, which took on the name Collat School of Business in 2013.

“I grew up watching my mom and dad give back to the community — first with their time, and then with their money and their time,” Goedecke told AL.com in 2015.

Goedecke told the website that she recalled her parents going door to door soliciting donations for the United Way. Community service, she said, is “just in my DNA.”

Goedecke worked her way up the company, starting with summer jobs in high school. After college, she worked as a sales associate in Tampa, Florida, before returning to Birmingham. She became vice chairwoman of the board in 2005 and chairwoman and CEO three years later.

The UAB Commission on the Status of Women honored Goedecke as one of seven Outstanding Women for 2015.

The list of Goedecke’s charitable activities is long. In addition to the United Way, she has supported the Collat School of Business and has contributed to the school’s Women and Infants Center. She has volunteered with the Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama and Pathways of Birmingham. She has led more than a dozen fundraising campaigns, including the YWCA, the American Red Cross and Collat Jewish Family Services.

“You know how they say, you give a busy person something to do and they find a way to do it?” she told AL.com. “I don’t waste a lot of time.”

Brendan Kirby is senior political reporter at LifeZette.com and a Yellowhammer contributor. He also is the author of “Wicked Mobile.” Follow him on Twitter.

8 hours ago

Sexton, Petty lead Alabama by Virginia Tech 86-83

Avery Johnson has spent plenty of time trying to convince Alabama freshman star Collin Sexton to take ownership of his play and the Crimson Tide, a message the coach has repeated frequently during his team’s uneven season.

It finally seems to be getting through. The fact it took until March hardly matters.

“(Sexton’s) giving more speeches to our team, which is showing leadership,” Johnson said.

Make no mistake, however. It’s the point guard’s play — and not his talk — that sent the Crimson Tide into the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Sexton shook off a shaky and foul-marred first half to score 21 of his team-high 24 points after the break as Alabama took control late in an 86-83 victory over Virginia Tech on Thursday night.


“The coaches prepare us for stuff like this,” Sexton said. “They do so many hours of film, and they tell us all the answers to the test.”

The proof came during the second half.

Sexton made six of 10 field goals and 10 of 14 free throws over the final 20 minutes, including a jumper that got a friendly bounce off the back of the rim and a turnaround that gave the Crimson Tide a bit of breathing room in a game that featured 10 lead changes and never saw either club go in front by more than seven points.

No. 9 seed Alabama will face top-seeded Villanova in the East Region’s second round on Saturday. The Wildcats had little trouble dispatching Radford earlier Thursday.

Things weren’t nearly as easy for the Crimson Tide, who needed Sexton and freshman backcourt mate John Petty — and a serious uptick in defensive intensity in the late going — to reach the round 32 for the first time since 2006.

Sexton and Petty were in elementary school back then. Now they’re the centerpiece of Johnson’s dynamic attack with the Crimson Tide (20-15). Alabama shot 60 percent (30 of 50) from the floor. Petty, mired in a serious slump near the end of the regular season, finished with 20 points while making six of eight 3-pointers, including three in the first half to help the Crimson Tide hang around until Sexton got going.

“When I get in that type of mode, I feel like no one can stop me from shooting the ball,” Petty said. “I always have my eyes locked on my target and I’m going to hit it.”


Point guard Justin Robinson led the eighth-seeded Hokies (21-12) with 19 points but fouled out after being whistled for a charge with 48 seconds remaining and Virginia Tech down 78-74. Hokies coach Buzz Williams got a technical foul after erupting in frustration. Sexton made one of two free throws and then added two more on Alabama’s ensuing possession to give the Crimson Tide just enough of a cushion.

“I shouldn’t have had a towel in my hand,” Williams said. “That made it look worse.”

The bigger issue for Virginia Tech was an inability to keep Alabama in check. The Hokies forced 17 turnovers but couldn’t slow down Petty and had trouble whenever Sexton got into the lane. Alabama made 20 of 30 2-point shots, including 11 of 14 in the second half.


Johnson paid tribute to New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson, who died on Thursday at age 90. Benson gave Johnson, a New Orleans native, a Super Bowl ring after the Saints won their only title in February 2010 after Johnson served as a consultant and honorary ambassador for the club.

“He meant so much to the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana and so many people,” Johnson said.


Alabama: Sexton might be the thinking man’s version of Oklahoma star point guard Trae Young. Sexton lacks Young’s shooting touch, but his quickness makes it nearly impossible to keep him out of the lane. And rather than force shots late, Sexton tried to get to the rim.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies are on the rise in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but success in March remains elusive. Virginia Tech has just one NCAA Tournament win in the last 21 years.


Alabama will try to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2004 when it takes on Villanova.

(Image: Collin Sexton, Alabama Men’s Basketball/Twitter)

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

8 hours ago

Alabama sheriff pocketing $750,000 in jail-food money draws new attention to old law

A recent report about the more than $750,000 that Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin has pocketed over the last three years in extra “Food Provisions” money has reinvigorated attention into a state law that allows sheriffs to keep leftover money not used to feed inmates.

The report, authored by Birmingham News reporter Connor Sheets, details how Entrekin used the money to purchase a $740,000 home in Orange Beach last September, raising questions of whether the sheriff is doing right by inmates and taxpayers by keeping the money.

Entrekin has defended himself against insinuations of illegality or misconduct, saying he has followed the law.


“The Food Bill is a controversial issue that’s used every election cycle to attack the Sheriff’s Office,” Entrekin told NPR News. “Alabama Law is clear regarding my personal financial responsibilities of feeding inmates. Until the legislature acts otherwise, the Sheriff must follow the current law.”

The chief argument against the law used to justify such behavior was summarized by Aaron Littman, a staff attorney at the Southern Center for Human Rights who in conjunction with the Alabama Appleseed Center has sued 49 Alabama sheriffs for access to records dealing with inmate feeding funds.

“This archaic system is based on a dubious interpretation of state law that has been rejected by two different Attorneys General of Alabama, who concluded that the law merely allows sheriffs to manage the money and use it for official purposes–not to line their own pockets,” Littman said in a statement in January. “It also raises grave ethical concerns, invites public corruption, and creates a perverse incentive to spend as little as possible on feeding people who are in jail.”

Critics cite the case of former Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett, who was ordered by a federal judge to stop personally taking money from the inmate-food account when prisoners testified to receiving inadequate meals.

Some sheriffs have told a different story about their responsibilities to feed inmates.

Colbert County Sheriff Frank Williamson, one of the sheriffs on the lawsuit, told WAAY 31 in January that he had to take out a $10,000 loan to help pay for meals because the $1.75 per diem per inmate wasn’t covering the bill.

“I had to borrow money to do this on my own personal social security number and I still owe money on that,” Williamson told WAAY 31.

8 hours ago

Licensing away economic prosperity in Alabama

Do you want to alleviate poverty in Alabama? Do you want to curb the power of special interest groups over government agencies? Do you want more affordable goods and services in basic industries?  Do you want to help disadvantaged groups find good jobs and become productive citizens? Do you want to reduce the population of our overcrowded prisons?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should read a new report published by the Alabama Policy Institute titled “The Costs of Occupational Licensing in Alabama.”


Coauthored by Daniel Smith (Troy University), Courtney Michaluk (Troy University), David Hall (Troy University), and Alex Kanode (George Mason University), the report details the effects of occupational licensure on our state.

What is occupational licensure? In short, it’s governmental regulation requiring people to obtain a license before entering into certain trades or fields.

Sounds harmless, right? Aren’t these regulations in place to protect consumers from exploitation and inexpert practices? Such reasoning led to the rise in occupational licensure, which today extends to several zones of economic activity.

However well-meaning, occupational licensure has had unintended consequences on the people it’s designed to protect. Instead of helping average consumers, it lines the pockets of industries that have lobbied to regulate away entrepreneurial forces that drive down costs.

If you’re poor and trying to find low-skilled work as a barber, manicurist, eyebrow threader, hair stylist, school bus driver, or shampoo assistant, you must obtain a license first. This license may be prohibitively expensive because of renewal fees, coursework, continuing education, and so forth.

“Alabama licenses a total of 151 occupations,” according to the report, “covering over 432,000 Alabama workers, which represents over 21 percent of the labor force.” Think about that: more than two of every 10 people working in Alabama need a license to do what they do for a living. Licensing boards governing admission standards and prerequisites can mandate expensive training and dues that don’t affect the quality of industry services.

Economists refer to occupational licensure as a barrier to entry. Barriers to entry ensure that those already within a profession or trade can raise prices to artificially high levels, in effect squeezing out competition by using the mechanisms of government to control the market.

Inflated prices harm low-income families who cannot afford to buy what they could have bought if the market had set prices based on natural supply and demand. Spouses of military service members often suffer from occupational licensure because, when they move from state to state, they must jump through hoops to enter the licensed profession in which they practiced in other jurisdictions.

Occupational licensure is, in short, a net burden on the economy, escalating prices, limiting consumer choice, and restricting economic mobility.  The API report estimates that the overall costs of occupational licensure in Alabama exceed $122 million. That’s a lot of money. What can be done to keep some of it in the hands of the ordinary people who need it most?

The report proposes five reforms for Alabama policymakers:

1. “[T]hey can reform current procedures for extending occupational licensing to new occupations and mandate thorough review processes to ensure that licensing is not extended to new occupations without a demonstrable and severe threat to consumer safety that cannot be overcome with the market mechanisms, such as consumer or expert reviews, reputation, guarantees, or private certification, or the already existing government laws, such as those dealing with liability, fraud, misrepresentation, and false advertising.”

2. “[T]hey can establish procedures to systematically review all licensure requirements for currently licensed occupations to ensure that they do not require unnecessary or excessive requirements or costs for licensure.

3. “[T]hey can systematically review all currently licensed occupations to determine, individually, whether a demonstrable severe threat to consumer safety exists. If not, they can remove occupation licensing entirely for those occupations.”

4. “[They] can explore licensure reforms that specifically target ex-offenders” to reduce the prison population and criminal recidivism.

5. “[They] can … explore occupational licensing reform with military members and their families in mind.”
A short article cannot capture the nuance and particulars of the entire report; readers should view the report for themselves to make up their own minds.

During this time of partisan divide and political rancor, people of good faith on both the left and the right can agree that something needs to be done about occupational licensure. The problem cannot continue to grow. It presents a unique opportunity for Republican and Democratic lawmakers to come together to ease economic burdens on the people of Alabama. Let’s hope they seize it.

(Image: Pixabay)

Allen Mendenhall is associate dean at Faulkner University Thomas Goode Jones School of Law and executive director of the Blackstone & Burke Center for Law & Liberty.