The Van Wie Financial Hour has entered into its fifth year on WBOB, 600AM and 101.1 FM radio. Where the time goes is a mystery, but how much we have learned and the fun we’ve had is tangible. Both the fun and the learning are products not of what we say and teach, but rather what we hear from live callers, coupled with the discussions that follow.
We envisioned the Van Wie Financial Hour radio show over four years ago. The format for the Van Wie Financial Hour had to be a live, call-in show encouraging listeners to participate. Content had to be current, and it had to be educational.
Over the years we have taken calls on a wide variety of topics. The most memorable calls were those which could never be reproduced by doing a pre-recorded radio monologue. Among our most memorable moments:
- Our favorites (these have happened a few times) are when callers tell us they are inheriting money, and they want to know how much tax they will owe.With these callers, we say something like, “You’d better sit down. Do you take good news on Saturdays?” Of course, they do, and we tell them there will be no tax due. The reason is that estate tax, if any, is paid by the estate prior to asset distribution. It doesn’t get any better than that; spreading happiness creates happiness.
- Virtually nothing compares to the annuity-related calls we get periodically. The best of these happened when a caller (we’ll call him “Dad”) was about 40 years old. He was beginning to explore investing options to help with expenses of post-secondary education for his 12-year-old son. He had recently discussed the subject with an “advisor,” who had suggested a Variable Annuity (VA) as the ultimate investment tool for the occasion. Dad sounded uncomfortable with the (so-called) advice. Here is an outline of our response:
- VAs carry the highest commissions of virtually all financial products
- VAs carry a Surrender Charge on withdrawals during what is generally a several-year period while the commission is being amortized
- All distributions of investment gains from annuities are taxable as ordinary income
- VAs have among the highest internal costs in the investment world
- VA performance is general underwhelming, partly because of high internal fees
- Most VAs require paying a separate fee if you want to ensure that your heirs get your unused money back (otherwise, it stays with the insurance company when you die)
- Depending on the VA and the age of the owner, there may be a 10% penalty tax on withdrawals
- A 529 College Savings Plan (our advice) has low internal costs, grows tax-free, and is not subject to any taxation when withdrawals are used for qualified expenses
Through hundreds of live phone calls over many years, the inter-reaction between callers and hosts is what drives interest in the program. Listening to pre-recorded shows doesn’t have the same impact.
Do you have any questions about your own financial situation, either now or upcoming? We invite any and all calls during the show, and if we don’t know the answer, we will get it for the next weekly show. For a strictly confidential answer to your question, you can email us through the website or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, we provide a complementary meeting in our office, which can be scheduled by calling us at (904)-685-1505, or directly through our website.
Look for an independent, fiduciary, qualified Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). That company should be owned and operated by a Certified Financial Planner™, or CFP® . (We would suggest finding a CFP® that is proficient and willing to answer questions during a live phone call.) A good place to start is www.vanwiefinancial.com.
Van Wie Financial is fee-only. For a reason.