NFL Draft – Building wealth

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NFL Draft – wise financial advice for prospects

Your End-of-the-Year Financial To-Do List

By Noel LaMontagne

As we are finally bringing this year to a close, take some time to check off a few important items before year-end:

1. Check your overall portfolio allocation

    • 2020 has been a record-setting, volatile year, and it is not over yet, so, have you harvested enough liquidity to capture opportunities moving into 2021?
    • Have you adjusted your holdings for where the market is now or are you still holding onto pre-COVID assets that are no longer viable long-term?
    • What is your advisor’s projected 2021 plan and beyond—long-term horizon 2-5 years into the future— and how will your allocation continue to adapt?

2. Make sure your portfolio is tax-efficient

    • All of the 2020 volatility can create options to capture some losses that will help you offset your gains. Has your advisor analyzed your portfolio and updated you?
    • Have you discussed your 2020 tax situation with your tax professionals to understand projected tax burdens prior to the close of the year?
    • Have you finalized and confirmed any planned donations or tax-efficient contributions before the close of the calendar year?

3. Review your risk-management and overall insurance

    • If 2020 has taught us all anything, it is that uncertainty and the unexpected are always around the corner, so make sure that all of the defensive mechanisms you have in place are current and at the proper levels
    • Insurance needs change all the time, personally and professionally, so there is no better way to tidy up your life than making sure that you are properly protected
    • Verify all your premiums are paid in full and that your policies are in good standing

4. Review your estate plan

    • The close of any year is a wonderful time to focus on family and friends, so as you enjoy your legacy, when is the last time you checked on your estate plan?
    • Unfortunately, even when life is good, you have to be prepared for the inevitable, so make sure that your estate plan reflects any recent changes in your life
    • Family additions, property additions, business adjustments, liquidity events, health changes…any number of events can trigger needs to review and adapt your estate plan

5. Reflect on your year and set goals for next year

    • Despite 2020 and all it has challenged us with, many have fought against the flow to achieve, maintain, or adjust and everyone should take stock of what they have been able to learn from this year
    • If 2020 was up or down, always plan to rise in the future, and where will that plan take you? How can 2021 be your best year, what are your goals, what will you do to get the year kicked off quickly and in the right direction?
    • Always celebrate something. Positivity is infectious, and the best among us chase success, not hide from failure


Your teen’s…retirement?

By Michael Hoffman CFP® and Michele Welsh

Roth IRA strategy for teens offers a jump start on long-term savings.
And it could provide a gifting opportunity
for parents or grandparents to chip in, too.

Yes, retirement.

Let’s start with the basics.

IRA: “Individual Retirement Account” (or “Individual Retirement Agreement”)

There are two main types of IRAs:

  • Traditional
  • Roth

While both are beneficial, one can be more advantageous than the other based on your age, years until retirement, and tax situation.

The two biggest differences between the types of IRA are:

  1. when you pay taxes on your investments and
  2. the potential tax deductions along the way

Traditional IRAs give an immediate benefit to the owner by offering a tax deduction up to the amount of the contribution in the year it is made. While advantageous immediately, the downside is that in retirement when funds are withdrawn, the contributions and all the earnings are taxed at your current income tax rate.

Roth IRAs do not offer the immediate benefit of a tax deduction, however, during retirement when funds are withdrawn, the contributions and all the earnings are tax-free. This is a massive advantage for those who are younger and have more years until retirement because those earnings will compound greatly over time, and the benefit of tax-free earnings will far outweigh any initial deduction.

Roth IRAs can also benefit in estate planning because they can be left untouched for the remainder of your life if you so choose or left to your heirs for a tax-free transfer of wealth.

Teenage Roth IRA – Part-time jobs/long-term savings

Although retirement is the last thing on the mind of your teen, starting a Roth IRA early is a smart way to accelerate savings, and it only requires modest contributions to make a significant future impact.

For example, Grayson is a 16-year-old with a part-time job who meets the requirements for a Roth IRA. Namely, she:

  • is single
  • is employed and receives a W-2 or 1099 tax form
  • earns less than $139,000 per year

Grayson is eligible to deposit up to the lesser of her total earnings or $6,000 each year into a Roth IRA. She can elect to make the entire deposit herself, or she can make a partial deposit, then her parents and grandparents can contribute to make up the difference. To encourage her, they may offer her a savings match for every dollar Grayson saves — think of it as a 401-Kid plan — as long as the total annual amount deposited is equal to or less than her earnings, up to $6,000 maximum.

Fast forward 49 years to age 65. If Grayson had made that one-time $6,000 contribution and simply ignored it, she will have amassed an estimated $104,000-$165,000 tax-free at age 65.1 Taken a step further: If Grayson had made one $6000 contribution every year, she will have accumulated approximately $1.53 million – $2.18 million by retirement age!1

For Grayson, charting a path for savings and visualizing its potential can help motivate her toward a lifetime of prudent financial decisions. She may not fully grasp the benefits of the Roth right away, but over time she is learning the concept of a disciplined, long-term investment horizon, and she’s getting an incredible leg up on her future.

As always, our financial planners and advisors are available anytime you have questions.


1 Calculated estimate assuming an average 6-7% interest earned per year age 16 till age 65


Getting Your Financial House in Order

Pro Careers on Hold?

Advising Pro Athletes With Their Seasons, Careers On Hold

By Noel LaMontagne, Director, Verdence Capital Advisors

While the cancellation of live sporting events would not make it into a top 20 list of coronavirus-related hardships, it has nonetheless removed what would have been a major source of distraction for these shelter-at-home times. More than half of all scheduled sporting events have been or will be cancelled this year, by some estimates, and more cancellations are likely on the way. Major League Baseball, the Masters, the NCAA basketball tournament, all gone or pushed into an indeterminate future.

This is a big hole to fill. According to Nielson, over the past 10 years more than half of the 199 most-watched primetime programs were sports telecasts. NFL games alone accounted for a full third of list, 67 telecasts in all.

Nature may abhor a vacuum but for financial scammers it looks more like an opportunity. Professional athletes are especially attractive targets. They have assets and are suddenly left with a lot of time on their hands. Like the rest of us, they are alarmed by the market volatility and concerned about the direction of the economy. More than most, they recognize that they have a finite working life, with sometimes only a few years to achieve financial security. They have families, dependents, and staff that depend on them to provide. Their careers have taught them they are in control of things and their split-second decision at the right moment will determine their ultimate success or failure.

Entertainers have the same obligations away from the stage and face similar professional challenges caused by social distancing rules that force new productions of movies and television shows to be postponed or cancelled outright. But, while athletes may have long-term contracts, entertainers are often more like members of the gig economy – they’re only paid when they work.

These specialized individuals are unique when it comes to talent but like everyone else in most other aspects of life. They’re susceptible to the stress of isolation and the uncertainty about what comes next, two prominent ramifications of the current pandemic. They worry about their immediate future. They stress over their friends and family who are struggling with them. But unlike many of us, they are public figures, and their stories often play out for all to see and judge. Their employment contracts are often the source of headlines, missteps ridiculed by all manner of media, and insecurities ridiculed as weakness or immaturity. Outside the relevance of this being fair or reasonably expected, fully understanding a life in the spotlight can make anyone appreciate the benefits of a more traditional existence.

Away from the glitz and glamour, in their financial lives, celebrities may also have a history of participating in private investments. They may own shares of restaurants, car dealerships, or other businesses that leverage their status and notoriety. All this can make them more susceptible to new pitches. The truth is that it’s hard to say “no,” especially during times of crisis when typical means do not provide their usual safe-haven. Scammers know this, too, and pitch their deals accordingly.

In considering how to advise a client who finds him- or herself in this situation, it’s worth keeping in mind the words of Warren Buffett’s long-time business partner, Charlie Munger. Referring to Berkshire Hathaway, he recently told The Wall Street Journal, “We’re like the captain of a ship when the worst typhoon that’s ever happened comes. We just want to get through the typhoon, and we’d rather come out of it with a whole lot of liquidity.”

There are a few best practices to keep in mind for periods like this. First, sometimes doing nothing is the best action you can take. That can be hard for an athlete and entertainers to hear. These are people used to taking charge of their situations on set, the field or in the arena. They are generally highly self-motivated people, but sometimes taking control can specifically mean self-control or sitting still.

Second, the numbers still matter. Valuations may be down for everything from real estate to boat dealerships, and assets may appear cheap, but sometimes they’re cheap for a reason. Run the numbers and rely on experienced due diligence. Deals that include unrealistic assumptions about the pace of an economic recovery should get particularly close scrutiny to verify their validity.

Third, watch for the misdirection; if it looks too good to be true it probably is. The Financial Times reported earlier this year that the City of London police saw a 400 percent increase in Covid-19 related fraud in just a month. In the U.S., we have the example of the Great Recession which resulted in a major increase in financial crimes involving private placements, non-public real estate, and even certificates of deposit, among other frauds, many of these structured as Ponzi schemes. Most probably seemed attractive when pitched.

A recent private real estate investment opportunity was pitched to several highly paid professional athletes directly in the locker room. The deal was organized and backed by the son of a successful real estate developer and another professional athlete. The locker room representative for the presentation to players was another well-known and wealthy veteran player. The investment was described as a “can’t lose” deal with minimal risk. The investment targeted the need for post-career income.

After professional due diligence was conducted on the investment, it revealed several inconsistencies. The pitch described the deal as minimal risk and a cash-flowing property. What investors were receiving was a high-risk, ground-up real estate development, with no cash flow for 4 of more years. Additionally, the perception that investors could receive their money back at any time, which was inherently false. The deal was highly illiquid to investors. Due diligence also showed those same individuals pitching the deal would not be investing their own money in the investment. They in fact intended to utilize the proceeds raised through the locker room in order to have the fund purchase some of their own personal properties and eliminate their risk and debt. This deal was nothing close to what it was described to unknowing investors, and at this time, only a few years after it was presented to potential investors, the fund is nowhere to be found.

As noted earlier by Mr. Munger, liquidity is good. In the wake of a crash, everyone talks about how they got back in at the bottom. No one brags about how they jumped in too soon, or lost money in a can’t miss idea that later turned out to be a scam. There will be good opportunities again once the crisis recedes.

Everyone likes to win; everybody loves a good comeback story. But for now, it’s not necessary to be a hero. Pick the sports metaphor that resonates best with you – don’t score any “own goals”, avoid unforced errors – just don’t let extra downtime make you any more susceptible to taking a swing at a bad pitch.

# # #


As seen in Financial Advisor:
Go to article link here.


Noel LaMontagne is a former NFL player and a Director with Verdence/PRO, the division of Verdence Capital Advisors focused on professional athletes and entertainers.

You made it first. Now make it last.

/PRO Webinar Redefining the game 5-14-2020

Noel LaMontagne joins Bloomberg Radio

COVID-19 Impact on Sports and Entertainmnet

To Defy a King

By Noel LaMontagne, Director, Verdence Capital Advisors

In 776 BC, Greek King Iphitos infamously established that sports stop for no one, declaring that for seven days prior and seven following the ancient Olympic games there was to be no conflict (1). This allowed the great soldiers and athletes of the day to return from battle and compete against their peers for eternal Olympic glory. In the modern era, the day before and after the Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star game remain the only two days per year without a major professional sporting event (2). When you include all the additional types of competition available that fall outside the realm of major professional sports, in a regular year, every new day provides fans some type of event to help them experience the exhilaration of sports.

Routinely and effortlessly, real-life superheroes surpass personal bests, unify regional biases, fuel generational rivalries, and entertain onlookers worldwide. Crowds assemble to see what remarkable play, unpredictable performance, or unparalleled physical feat will occur to influence the future of the game. Living vicariously through sports and undergoing the euphoria of success or the bitterness of defeat alongside their champions makes fans feel like an integral part of their favorite team. The uplifting and inspiring nature of competition renders it an essential component of our society. Sports transcend the rigors, issues, and prejudices of regular life and revolve solely around the idea of performance, competition, and achievement. Elite athletes and their unique abilities provide everyone a window to childhood dreams in an idyllic setting and a glimpse at the extreme capabilities of the human body, mind, and spirit. Sports inspire people to believe in the extraordinary and to reach beyond what they know as normal to achieve what they thought was impossible.

The first quarter of 2020 has made a clear statement that this year intends to be remembered as a distressing one. As the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic engulfed the globe, the consequences were felt in every aspect of human life. By early March, National Basketball Association (NBA) suspended play on March 11th, and the NCAA and its member institutions began canceling conference basketball tournaments and eventually the NCAA National Basketball Championship tournament; one of the greatest sources of work distraction in America was canceled and gone in a flash (3). One by one, every amateur and professional event fell prey to COVID-19. All sports activity halted abruptly, postponed indefinitely, or canceled. An abundance of unknowns spilled into a void so massive that no other world event in modern history could compare.

Sports dominates the attention of American viewers like no other type of entertainment, boasting most of the viewership for the top 50 all-time ranked broadcasts (4). Sports give many people a temporary release from their daily rituals. Bars, restaurants, stadiums, and arenas are packed with sports fans. Even living rooms are filled with large high-def televisions and crowd-mimicking sound systems allowing fans to experience the feeling of being part of the live game. Streaming services and subscription options allow even the most obscure or regionalized fan bases to gain access to their favorite event. The wide world of sports offers an entertainment outlet that our country consumes more than any other option, and as of March 2020, sports closed the door on itself and indefinitely locked all of us out.

According to Lisa M. Shulman, MD in an article about emotional trauma for The Johns Hopkins University Press (5), the mind acts as a filter to aid in recovery after experiencing a traumatic loss. This filter helps gradually diminish the mental and physical consequences of loss such as stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, confusion, and disorientation.  The mind’s restoration reorients the brain and fills its voids with other happier distractions, like memories, activities, and experiences. Today, much of the world is collectively experiencing traumatic loss. Today’s restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic require everyone to manage the stress of isolation, sickness, cramped quarters, the loss of loved ones, jobs, income, and any number of other issues. And they do so without one of their most coveted distractions: the excitement and amusement of professional sports and entertainment.

The replay of past sporting events—like the 1980 Miracle on Ice victory by the USA Olympic hockey team over the USSR, or the greatest comeback in NFL Super Bowl history in 2017 when the New England Patriots overcame a 25 point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons—may provide a temporary solution to this problem. The absence of any live sporting events has simply never occurred. The nostalgia of the past balances itself with the expectation of the future and without one of these perspectives, the mind can be impaired. Professor Donna Rose Addis discussed this concept in an interview for The Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience stating that human memory links the past and future to help interpret and predict what will come, and without the link, depression can worsen as perspectives shift more dire (6). As with many things in life, balance proves essential, and when imbalance prevails, consequences like depression can result.

As the top 50 all-time ranked broadcasts show, of course, sports don’t completely dominate our lack of entertainment. Scripted and unscripted television, movies, music, podcasts, books, and many others, play an important role in diversifying our attention spans. All these forms of entertainment rely on production and distribution.  COVID-19 has cut off current and future access to these sources indefinitely. Viewers of non-sports content have some experience with season and series finales, lag time between book releases, and the general concept of hiatus as it applies to produced entertainment, but eventually, as the restrictions surrounding this pandemic drag on, all new entertainment content will diminish or cease for a time.

The past provides few glimpses of insight into current and future types of loss. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11th, we experienced a temporary loss of sports and entertainment. In the days following the attacks, the National Football League (NFL) pushed its entire season back a week after postponing games, Major League Baseball (MLB) called off games for nearly a week and moved many to later in the season, NCAA College football followed suit and postponed games for a week. Additionally, the broader spectrum of entertainment postponed premiers, adjusted scripts, reshot footage that included the World Trade Center towers, rerecorded scenes to eliminate references to bombings or tragedies, and digitally altered past productions to honor what and who was lost. These represent only a few of the immediate adjustments made by the sports and entertainment industries as they took pause to allow the nation to grieve and regroup.

The effects of the terrorist attacks on September 11th forever altered our lives, however, in the days and weeks immediately following, a new sense of normality returned. Sports and entertainment helped our nation to heal. When the NFL returned a week after the attacks, the performances of the national anthem had renewed meaning, with flag bearers leading their teams onto the field and symbolizing the strength and resiliency of America. Team sidelines displayed hats and attire representing the nation, New York City, firefighters, and police. The entertainment world utilized the logos and names of New York City fire, police and first responder personnel as parts of their cast wardrobes and stage sets. Heartfelt messages dedicated television shows and movies to the brave lives from all over the country that were lost and the heroism of those who saved so many others.

As a signal of our resilience and recovery, President George W. Bush threw a near-perfect ceremonial first pitch to open game 3 of the MLB World Series in New York’s Yankee Stadium. Nearly six weeks after the attacks that temporarily halted the nation, the standing-room-only crowd stood together in deafening response to his effort, a symbolic moment for the collective support of New York City and the strength of the entire nation.

This historical example speaks to how important sports and entertainment is to our society but still fails to provide much context to the loss of sports and entertainment for an extended period. September of 2001 brought a brief halt, but amateur and professional sports quickly played on, movie theaters, Broadway performances, televised broadcasts aired essentially as scheduled and everyone had someone to root for and something to watch with little delay. Until March of 2020, our nation had avoided permanent cancellations of huge swaths of events and undetermined postponement of all the rest. The lasting impact of 2001, beyond the memories of the brave and innocent lives lost, came in the form of heightened security in almost every aspect of our lives. Law enforcement and government agencies altered their procedures, forever changed how they communicate, politics at the local, state and federal level-shifted, and along with numerous other tweaks to life, everyone got back to business and what they loved. COVID-19 will tragically lead to the loss of loved ones, and it will certainly bring about heightened awareness and another political shift, but its most permanent effect may come from how we all adapt to life beyond the constant presence of sports and entertainment.

The role that sports and entertainment played during that historic and painful time was an important coping mechanism for many of us. Watching our heroes rise to challenges on the field, courts, and stage and to resume the excitement and enjoyment they provide us was cathartic.

We are left with an important question: What will the long-lasting impact be after COVID-19? How will it change us and our experiences? Our propensity toward large gatherings, public hygiene, and communal spread may affect stadiums and venues in ways we can’t imagine. In the years leading up to March 2020, professional organizations had battled the ever-present threat of the “stay-at-home fan” (7). Empty stadiums and arenas will eventually allow games to occur but consider the effect on the broadcast viewer without crowd noise and the energy that a packed venue presents.

The absence of sports and entertainment echoes in the hunger pangs of our voracious appetite to consume content as soon as it becomes available. Before Netflix, TV sports fans were the original “binge-watchers”, relishing every second of every game the moment it happened, putting everything else on hold until the sound of the final horn. Saturdays full of college football games, Sundays full of professional football games, the madness of NCAA National Basketball Tournament each year, opening day for Major League Baseball, will all remain ghosts that haunt millions of people. Once performers return to stadiums, fields, arenas, and airwaves, we will all seek to find normalcy again, to live vicariously again, to be a fan again and willingly ride the thrilling and emotional rollercoaster that only sports and entertainment can architect.  COVID-19 will have forever changed many lives and life as the world has known it, but its greatest impact may ultimately come from how it devastatingly defied a king.


You made it first. Now make it last.