News Release: Steve Booren Leads Session at LPL Financial National Conference

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. – Aug. 31, 2016 – Steve Booren, owner and founder of Prosperion Financial Advisors, recently attended LPL Financial’s Focus 2016, one of the financial industry’s premier events and the largest annual conference hosted by LPL, the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer.

Booren was among a select group of top-tier LPL financial advisors invited to lead sessions at the conference, which was hosted in San Diego from Aug. 21 to 24.

In Booren’s session, “Mentorship and Family in Your Practice,” he shared best practices for working in a family practice environment, including how to lead and train the next generation and the opportunities for the business and for clients with an established family succession plan.

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The Unfair Advantage of Dividend Tax Rates

We believe investing in companies that pay dividends is wise and has advantages over many other types of investments. Did you know that if you file jointly and have taxable income of under $75k, you are in the 15% tax bracket? This means that if your income is made up of Social Security income of $25k and dividends of $50k, you pay next to nothing in income taxes. Only a portion of your Social Security is taxable, and at only 5%. In this example, none of the dividend income is taxable.

Dividends have several unfair advantages we are going to discuss. Today I want to focus on the tax rates.

Dividend tax rates are an opportunity for investors. The favored status of qualified dividends means they are taxed at a lower rate than standard income, by anywhere from 10-20% less.

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The Role of a Fiduciary – Putting Your Interests First

Starting my career with a large very well-known investment firm some 38 years ago taught me valuable lessons we use to counsel and advise clients. During that 18 year period of disappointing (biased) research and proprietary investment products that were actually manufactured by that company, I continuously asked the question: “What about my clients?” You see, inherently I felt I worked for my clients, not some financial services firm. It was by my nature and core that I cared about clients first and always sought to put their interests above that of my own or the company that wrote me my paycheck.

As many of you have undoubtedly heard, regulatory changes are coming to the finance industry pertaining to “fiduciary standards” and the obligations we have as financial professionals with respect to retirement accounts.

Let me be clear: we embrace these changes as we serve as a fiduciary for your money in advisory relationships, just as I believe we always have.

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Our Dividend Focused Investment Strategy: An Introduction

As many of you know, I spent the first 26 years of my working life as corporate pilot. It was an exciting profession and I loved going to my “office” at 43,000 feet. Getting people to and from places safely was always the focus of the job.

As a financial advisor I spend my days navigating quite different terrain. But the job is the same: helping people get from here to there safely. So today I’d like to cover our Dividend Focus Strategy, and why we think it’s a smart fit for our clients young and old.

Since a picture tells a thousand words, let me draw you a picture. It will be readily apparent why I thankfully did not choose to be an artist – but it will illustrate a few important points.

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Brexit – What Is It and What Should I Do?

All the news about Brexit reminds me of how the media spins stories, how bad investor behavior can cause investors to hurt themselves, and how wise investors should be grateful for volatility. It reminds me of the uncertainty in 1987, when financial markets fell “due to computers”. Brexit, Ebola, Sarin, you name the scare – volatility can create opportunity for wise investors.

That brings us to the latest panic: Brexit. The real question is what does it mean, how will it impact me, and what should I do?

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The 3 Principles of Retirement

There are millions of words written every day about the economy, the direction of the financial markets, investment advice, and so on, yet no other topic gets as much attention as the concept of “retirement”. When you think about it, it should get attention.

Investors spend their entire working career saving and planning for this phase in life. While we prefer the phrase, “making work a choice” (no one likes thinking about reaching the end of their usefulness) we know many people struggle to understand key issues of retirement. So today we want to cover three main areas.

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The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

To celebrate my 60th birthday my team gave me an incredible gift, a book of New York Times front pages from each of the past 60 years. A great gift indeed, but also a reminder of the words from Jean-Babtise Alphonse Karr, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Indeed, the more we think things have changed, the more we are reminded they are the same.

Reading through the headlines of the past 60 years I was struck by the familiarity of the messages. Frankly, I thought the headlines were from just yesterday, not five or six decades ago. The patterns seem all too familiar:    

  • The media openly criticizing and bashing the president
  • Muck-raking political journalism (does this sound familiar in today’s political season?)
  • Hand wringing over the unemployment rate, and welfare beneficiaries not willing or interested in work
  • Negative comments related to business trade with countries we may not be friendly with such as the Russia
  • European economy in a slump
  • Israel peace talks
  • Testing of atomic blasts
  • Enemies firing at our naval vessels (Russian MiGs firing at naval boats near Cuba)
  • Embassy bombings

Another way of phrasing this point: history repeats.

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Social Media – Helping or Hurting Your Investment Behavior?

During a recent client meeting we ended up on the subject of social media, and the effect it can have on a business. Unfavorable press coverage led to an echo of bad news on social media among this client’s customers, and it was continuing to harm his business with no end in sight.

I was curious about the public’s persistent reaction, and why he believed the story was still in the news cycle many weeks later. Was his customer base being fickle? Were competitors spreading false and redundant stories? His response: social media. Once a key marketing strategy for his company, social media has quickly turned into a sore spot.

He explained that as the public hears about small incidents, they turn to social networks to share the information, which is then amplified and repeated, creating a snowball effect. Suddenly isolated incidents create nation-wide panic. The small problems become bigger than expected and a stampede occurs.

As a financial advisor I started thinking about how this applies to investors. Consider both DIYers and new investors, those who are not deeply grounded, long-term, experienced investors. Could social media be driving investors toward short-term thinking? Could it be the volume and loudness of media in general? Could this be pushing investors to make choices detrimental to the longevity of their wealth?

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