Michael D. Madden, CFA
609 N Llano Street, Suite C
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
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Building a Strong Financial Foundation

Today, many people are concerned about saving for retirement or paying for a large ticket item, such as a child’s college education. If you belong to this group, now may be the time to organize your finances. It is never too early to begin, and the sooner you start, the better.

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Setting a Price for Buying or Selling a Business

In the overall U.S. business landscape, mergers, takeovers, and buyouts are occurring at a steady rate. If you were to place your business on the market, would you know what it is worth? Setting the price is often the most important aspect of the transaction.

Many business owners tend to base their companies’ worth on “sweat equity.” However, that does not have much to do with market value. To learn the true value of your business, you need a more scientific approach, starting with a valuation method.

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Exit Strategies for Business Owners

After years spent launching and growing your business, the day will finally arrive when you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. But, just as starting your business involved hard work and planning, the process of exiting your firm can be a long and challenging process.

Many entrepreneurs put off making decisions about the disposition of the business until their departure is imminent. Waiting until the last minute to put together an exit strategy can, however, prove to be an expensive mistake. Unanticipated events—such as a health crisis, a divorce, or the death of a business partner—may force you to dispose of the business quickly, and at a loss. Having a transition plan in place will greatly improve the chances that you will be able to draw income from the business to support your retirement needs, and ensure that the business is passed on as you had intended.

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College Admissions: Making the Grade

College applicants are often faced with apprehension and, to some degree, fear about getting into the college of their choice. Often, attending the right college or university can make the difference between average earnings and great career prospects in the future. While it is common for colleges and universities to look first at a student’s high school academic record and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores, beyond that there are many other factors that enter into the equation as possible indicators of a student’s ability and potential for future success.

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Reduce Future Uncertainty with Advance Directives

Estate planning has traditionally focused on how to minimize estate taxes and designate “who gets what” when you die. However, managing your affairs in today’s modern world has become more complicated. Quality of life issues involving personal finances, health care, and how critical decisions are to be made are becoming increasingly more important.

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Financing Options for Homebuyers and Homeowners

For first-time homebuyers and homeowners who are considering refinancing their current mortgages, trying to decide between a fixed or an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) can be a bit puzzling. The future is relatively unpredictable, and it’s nearly impossible to try to guess whether interest rates will rise, stay level, or decrease in the coming years. However, a matter of a few interest rate points can make a big difference in the amount you will pay over the life of your mortgage, depending on the type of mortgage you choose.

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Teaching Kids About Cashless and Online Finances

In an increasingly digital world, your kids will need to know how to handle their finances online and how to responsibly use debit cards.

Start teaching with cash

More and more consumers use cards and mobile devices to conduct everyday financial transactions. Start lessons with real money and work into the online world. By the time kids are five years old, they can have an allowance, and you should open a joint savings account. Kids should learn to make change, so pay allowances in cash.

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Time to Get Real about Family Money

Instead of debating about politics or sports whenever they get together, what if families spent some time having candid discussions about their finances and plans for the future?

We know money is a hard topic for many families to broach. For the older generation, it can bring up the issue of aging and might signal the loss of independence. Younger family members may also have difficulty accepting that their parents may need their help and worry that they’re not up to the task.

Whatever the reason, know this: without a plan for finances, a family could run the risk of giving up control of health care and inheritance.

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Financial Independence: What is "the number"?

By Michael D. Madden, CFA

How much of what you own today will you consume during your lifetime? Do your advisors know the number?

Even those who have done extremely well in life can worry about the answer to the age old question - how much is enough? The nature of having amassed wealth doesn't insulate us from wondering if what we have will cover every contingency that life may present.

In addition, each individual's financial independence number is unique to their value systems and life experiences. If you've lived to see major economic downturns, your number may - as a result - be lower, or even higher. If you grew up experiencing or observing scarcity, this will likely have a profound impact on your very own very personal number.

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Investment Management for the Next Generation

By John P. Schlatter, CFP®

After spending decades carefully accumulating and protecting wealth, will the recipients know how to manage it?

You've done a careful job of building wealth and you've put meticulous measures in place to preserve it. You've chosen money managers carefully and checked their progress. What will happen when heirs receive the assets?

For many affluent families, a great deal of emphasis has been placed on the selection of investments and the stewardship of hard-earned assets. This is the traditional focus of wealth planning and management - so much so, that we forget that our sons and daughters and grandchildren will one day have full control over the selection of advisors and the selection of investment vehicles. If we plan for continuity of management now, we can help ensure that they don't wind up scrambling to make decisions when crisis hits.

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Mentors in Life & Money: Adding a Human Element to the Passing of Wealth

By Michael D. Madden, CFA

Trusts and charitable structures are key elements of passing wealth. However they have a far greater impact if supplemented by a document or process that addresses how adult heirs can practice, and ultimately succeed, as wealth holders. We have been mentors to our children all their lives. Why do so many families allow wealth to pass without the human element that can safeguard its preservation?

A system of checks and balances

Legal documents carry certain intentions typically arrived at without heirs present. By nature of being a written document, they can't totally represent who you are and what you intended at the point of attaching certain allocations or limitations to the quantity or use of inheritance.

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One Goal – Many Hats: The Importance of Having an Advisory Team

By John P. Schlatter, CFP®

The completeness and accuracy of planning provided to high wealth families is often threatened by a lack of adequate communication. Spouses and families must communicate amongst themselves. But of equal importance is the level and quality of communication that occurs between various members of the family's planning team.

Competent professionals operating in silos

Most affluent families have an existing team of advisors which may include: one or several CPAs, several attorneys, a stock broker, money manager, investment banker, and an insurance provider. There is no shortage of quality counsel. At the same time, most of the family's advisors communicate directly to the client and not necessarily to each other. Consider the family that agrees to execute a particular estate strategy with the help of a top notch attorney, but the planning is done in a vacuum without comprehensive analysis about the strategy's impact on the client's tax or investment situation. The best intentions can create a tremendous disservice when there's a dearth of communication across the various members of a planning team.

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