University of Houston
Friends of Women’s Studies
Living Archives Series
Women and Money
Introduction – Elizabeth Gregory: This campus facility houses the papers of Houston area women’s organizations and sponsors research on women by scholars and people interested in women’s history. The friends of women studies support the work and if you are not a member of the friends, you are very welcome to become one. There are forms outside at the desk and one of the member benefits is free admission to the series. Tonight’s panel on women and money looks at an area that has seen enormous changes for women in the past twenty years or so as they have assumed more control of their own finances, maybe even more than twenty years. We will hear about that. The changes have effected the way that women think about and prepare for their financial future and it has also increased the involvement of women on the professional sides of investments and banking and tonight I expect we will hear about both of those issues.
Our panelists this evening represent a range of experience in banking and investment. Janet Casstevens has been a vice-president and trust officer at Chase Private Bank for the past two years. Before that she was with First City Texas for twenty years and she is active on several boards and business councils and all of their experience is described in greater detail in your program. Elizabeth Rockwell is an Executive Director, Private Client Division of CIBC Oppenheimer Corp. and is widely recognized as an expert in retirement, estate, investment and tax planning. I am going to show my ignorance here. She was an early proponent of the Keogh and IRA plans for which she has been nationally recognized and she is an active philanthropist and serves on many boards. She also writes a monthly column for the Houston Chronicle. She has received the distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Houston Alumni Association. Barbara Ellis Stanley is an attorney and is the odd women out on this panel. She is a partner in a local firm. She is a graduate of the UH law school and she is active in politics. She is here because she is a member of a women investment club. So she is our nonprofessional speaker to the issues. Debra White Stephens is a certified financial planner with Houston Asset Management. She specialized in serving the needs of small business owners in Houston since 1975. She is active in several financial planning associations and she speaks widely on financial subjects. Our interviewer is Pamela Yip who is the personal finance writer and financial columnist for the chronicle where she has worked for nine years. Before that she worked for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, USA Today and the Stockton California Record. She attended the program for financial reporters at Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and she has completed the University of Houston’s certified financial planners program as well. So we have a very distinguished panel here and we are honored to have all of you with us. After the interviews we are going to have an opportunity for people in the audience to ask questions and you should have received a little card, because we are going to be videotaping we can’t have people standing up since everyone is not on microphone. We will collect the cards and Pamela will read them to the audience at that point. So if you don’t have a card we will distribute some more toward the end but you might have received a little pink card or something. Then after that we will have a reception outside for which you are welcome to stay. I am just going to unhook here.
Moderator- Pamela Yip, Thank you, it is very nice to be here. I always like to meet people who read my column. I spend far too much time in the office with a phone surgically grafted to my ear. So it’s nice to be out here. I am going to start with some questions regarding women and money management and women investing. The majority of the readers who call me are women and their experience’s range from beginner to intermediate to advanced and there is a thirst for knowledge for knowledge in money management. So I am very glad that this program is being put on. The first question that I am going to ask and I’ll give each panelist a chance to answer is that women traditionally invest more conservatively than men and ends up hurting them financially. How can women overcome this fear of risk with their money and their investments?
Debra White Stephens-- Well, I think the best way to begin is just one step at a time and if I am working with a female client who is insecure and very protective of the asset that she has and does not want to risk it at all, what I generally try to convince her to do is possibly instead of risking the principle is to just begin by risking the earning off the principle. Until you can get comfortable, until you can learn about how a stock market works. Until you put your foot in the water, you know you are always going to be afraid. I am usually pretty successful with getting them to commit to just taking their earnings and that over time we develop a relationship where there is a better understanding of investments, of investment risks and a better comfort level. Then we may in the future start moving pieces of the principle over. But I don’t try to do it before they are comfortable. So I would say if you are not comfortable yet, don’t force yourself cause it is a process, just one step at a time.
Elizabeth Rockwell--Well I think they lack confidence and the confidence comes from not knowing. It’s all a new word. I’ve heard the word mutual funds. I’ve heard the word stock. I’ve heard CD’s and I don’t know anything. So it goes back to being very basic and helping them understand what it is. What are their goals? What’s the purpose of it and building confidence that way before you actually get into talking to them about a stock or a bond or anything else. Those are just words. But until they understand who they are and what they are trying to accomplish. Really the whole thing is a confidence builder from start to finish. Once they get that then they sort of smile and say “Isn’t it great?”
Janet Casstevens—I’ll just add to that. I really think it starts with education and experience and just gaining a little bit of the basic tools and understanding some of the theories of risk versus return. So many times you hear people say I’m really disappointed in my return. But yet they have their money invested so safely that they really are missing out on returns. So it begins with a slow process of understanding some of the basic theories. Like she said before it’s step by step.
Barbara Stanley—Part of the hard part of learning how to take the risks is learning what is an acceptable level of risk for you. You’re only going to be able to determine that acceptable level of risk when you have some confidence as to what you are doing. It seems like you can get that in one of two ways. Either you can find somebody that you trust like the professionals on the panel and just kind of turn it over to them and go with them or you can go out and try and learn on your own about how this works and what the relationships of all these strange numbers and vocabulary words that generally are not in your every day life and how they impact this. That’s what one of the reasons is that I was delighted to have an opportunity to participate in an investment club or an investment partnership because it is an educational tool and an opportunity to learn for a very modest sum. That is another part of it is trying to identify some money that if you loose it’s okay. Just identify that amount and start with that amount and just have to figure out a place to jump in. Pamela, I heard Diane Sawyer talking on the Today Show the other day and she came up with two interesting statistics that I thought were of great concern as to why women need to learn to take these risks and to get the education. That is the average age of widowhood is something like fifty-six. That seventy percent of all the elderly poor are women. So it’s just very important that you learn how to get into planning for the future and for your retirement.
P. Yip—Women often leave their jobs to take care of loved ones and because they do that they interupt their income stream and that effects how much money they get in retirement. Is there any way that a women can save for that time so that she doesn’t fall behind?
D. Stephens—Yes, most certainly. I think that, you know, to have a little nest egg put aside is a good idea and most individuals have some money that they can fall back on for emergencies or should have. That’s an investment that is liquid and safe that they can just draw upon if they need to. I generally recommend six months worth of your living expenses be put aside so you could take up to six months off to do something like that. Also another thing you might want to consider is long term care coverage for your parent. Many individuals, who believe that the financial impact might be harmful to them if they had to take care of a parent, look at long-term care coverage so that they can afford to bring someone in to care for them. Also there is coverage available that may even pay you as a lay person to care for your own relative. So that’s another option.
E. Rockwell—Well, I sort of follow with what she is saying and I’m trying to not be too much of a copycat so I think I’ll let another totally different idea embellish.
J. Casstevens—Well, my idea would be to start as soon as possible. Start early whenever you’re starting working if you are. I think most of the time when people are young and, you know there are different seasons of life their not thinking about retirement. It’s the last thing on your mind. It’s always something I’ll do later. The other thing would be just to be very, very consistent, disciplined approach to saving. No matter what amount of money that is. The disciplined approach would be something every week, every month and just stay consistent with it and it is just amazing of how much that will over time increase. The other issue would be to focus on equities in your long-term time horizon.
B. Stanley—That’s sort of beyond my expertise and I was listening with great interest what the panelists had to say.
P. Yip—Often, I being the daughter of a banker, knew very early about money management. My father taught me how to read the magnetic coding on a check. So this is what bank it belongs to, this is your account number. A lot of young people don’t have that advantage. How can women teach their daughters to be more financial independent and not to have the, what I call the Prince Charming Syndrome, so that they can grow up and get married and be taken care.
Debra—Well I think that the best way that you can teach your children is by example. If you are out running up your credit cards and complaining about how you are going to make ends meet; they are going to model that behavior. But if you take them to the bank and say I’m making my savings deposit or if you have your investments portfolio come in and say here is my investments. Or here is what I am investing for you for college. Get them involved in the process of knowing that saving and investing for your future is important and that you are doing that. Also I have two daughters so I do have some specifics for when they are younger. I don’t know if you want me to go into that much detail. But I started both my girls out when they were, you know, yea high with the star system. Many of you may have heard about this before where they have to earn stars and I’d post it on the refrigerator for different chores and when so many accumulated they could get a prize that was maybe a doll that they really wanted. My youngest daughter actually got one of those huge barbie dolls that was like a hundred and forty dollars. She worked an entire summer to get enough stars to get that doll. That just gave them the incentive, gave them the idea that things are not just handed to you by “prince charming” to use your words Pamela. I mean that you need to set your sights on a goal and that you need to be willing to work towards that goal and that there is a wonderful sweet feeling when you accomplish something that you set out to do.
E. Rockwell—Well, I think by example but also by involvement. I have a friend and at fifteen she was paying all the family bills. I thought that was very interesting. It can be done with supervision and so find something. You also have to look at the aptitude of, the daughter or whoever it may be. Some are not interested in figures; they are more interested in other things. So you sort of have to approach them through there side, their vein that is nearest to something that is going to appeal to them. Once you win them over that way, then you can work harder in other directions.
J. Casstevens—Just to reiterate the same thing would be education, exposure early. The simple thing of an allowance starts teaching a child responsibility, budgeting, and those other things. The involvement I hear so much going on in the jr. high and high schools that would encourage any child to go to. Junior achievements doing some fantastic things. Teaching children from opening a bank account to interviewing for a job to handling some basic investment money concepts. So I think there are some things out there. There are some community seminars and many times I think that there are some benefits to involving children in some family planning. A lot of time Parents seem to hide that but yet I think they understand a little bit better if you involve them early and feel part of it rather than just saying no you can’t have that specific toy or whatever for whatever reason. So I think there are some benefits in involving them as a whole family.
? —You create discipline too. That’s a great thing. I mean about spending money
B. Stanley—I think other options are to kind of make sure that the girls in the family see that the women in the family are involved in financial planning decisions and financial planning concepts. That the women in the family read the business section and you know, bring it up and talk about it and involve their kids in it. Seems like it might be a good idea. Although this is not something I have practiced, I will preach it. You might consider giving the child a couple shares of stock and allow them to watch it and just see what happens on the market. See if it, particularly if it is something that they are interested in, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, something like that,
where they might have a real interest in watching it.
P. Yip—One of the issues that have come up for me is that some readers have called and they’ve asked how I can teach my daughter more about money management. A lot of times they will say well she just isn’t into numbers. Or one of them will say you know she thinks that’s the area of her brother, the male area of numbers. Is
There a way that you can get your daughter interested in that way? One other point that I wanted to raise was role models are very, very important. How much are we seeing women in the financial services industries? Have we made progress in terms of upper mobility?
D. Stephens—Well, I think we definitely have made progress. I’ve been in the industry since 1975 and I’d say that probably back them it was maybe one or two percent. I guess some of you ladies can maybe concur with me. Its getting more to be like ten to fifteen percent of the industry is women. That’s just kind of a general feel that I have for it. Another thing that crossed my mind when Barbara mentioned the stocks that the children might enjoy using. There’s a mutual fund family that gears a newsletter towards kids. It’s written at their level and it’s written to get them excited about stocks. They can actually go on line with a mutual fund manager and talk to him and give him ideas on what stores they are shopping at. That is maybe a way that you can get them involved at their level. Also from a third party, not just from you.
Chatter – That’s Stein-Rowe? Yes, Stein-Rowe. They have the young investor’s fund that is geared towards young people that invest in McDonalds. Let me think of other companies that kids, Disney, that relate to.
D. Stephens – Another thing that I did for my daughters is that I would have them save a dollar and I would match a dollar. Then when it got to so much I’d say well we have enough now to buy a stock. Then I’d talk to them about McDonalds and Disney and kind of let them pick something. But I always had a goal. What we were investing for. We’re investing for your first car and you are going to have that when you are sixteen. You need to pick some good stock so that it’ll grow and what do you think the car will cost? How much do you think we need to save between now and then to get that car? Kind of get them involved early but do it in a way that will get their attention. If you talk about the Limited and the stores that they shop in, that kind of thing. Don’t try to go over their heads.
E. Rockwell –People would say, How did you ever get to do what you do? I mean nobody but a man has ever done it. I’d say, well I didn’t know any better, and I just did it and nobody has denied me anything. I never been denied access to doing certain things or holding positions. I work for a financial organization years ago and we had only one man in the whole business and that was not the janitor either. So they said how do you get so many women? I said well we had the job opening and whoever comes in with the qualifications that most fills the bill is the one that gets the job. It could be a man. It could be a woman. So I never was an advocate for women with such a sharp tongue as some people have because I was there and it seemed my place and I just stayed there. I remember I was a roll model one time at The Women and Management out at the University and they had heard me say that I spoke frequently to groups. So this lady spoke up and she said who do you speak to, who is in your audience? I said mostly men. Will they listen to you? I said that they didn’t come to hear a man or woman, they came to learn something and there is nobody else that can tell them that at the moment. So I said that it was no problem. She was shocked.
J. Casstevens – Well I’ve seen really significant changes over the last twenty plus years in banking. I’d say just in the past few years it’s grown exponentially. The one thing that I really, really see is women breaking through that glass ceiling. We have a woman in New York that manages all the global private banking. So we now think you have women in management rolls and senior positions. Things change dramatically as for as how men and women work together. So I have seen significant changes in anything you want to do. Your gender is not going to stop you.
P. Yip – Barbara, Have you seen any experience as an investor on the investors side with women in the financial services?
B. Stanley – As we vote on directors for companies, we try to make sure that they have found at least one women that they can put on their boards. In fact in my own personal votes on these I have written them back saying to the board of directors, I would support your nominees had you found but one woman to offer on that. Otherwise I am voting no. In terms of women becoming more and more visible and I think that the glass ceiling is giving way. I am delighted to see that but I think that one of the interesting spin-offs of having the glass ceiling is the number of women saying, excuse me I don’t need this kink of trouble, I can just start my own business.
So they are starting them and they are doing a really fine job. Pretty soon these women that couldn’t find room at the pot previously are going to be the major competition of the folks that didn’t have room for them and I will be very pleased to see that.
P. Yip—That is a very good point. Thank you. What is the single most important aspect of financial planning you think women needs to remember?
D. Stephens—I think that the single most important thing is to know your own needs. To really be able to look at yourself and say this is what I need, this is what I want; this is what my specific goals are. Because I think that if you try to plan when you have no idea where you want to go, you are going to get lost along the way. So before doing any investments of any kind I would just sit down and say okay what do I want my investments to do for me? Where do I want to be five years from now? Where do I want to be at retirement? Where are my priorities? Is educating my child as important than my retirement? Is it more important? Is buying a house more important? Get that in order first.
E. Stanley—Well, so often you ask people what do you want your money to do for you and they will come back, well I like to dabble and I’d like for it to be a million dollars. Well the next question is what time frame are we talking about and what do you have to start with? So you really have to zero in targets or goals and with the timing element and the tools you have to work with. It’s just the basic start before we get into anything sophisticated or high powered or long term.
J. Casstevens—I’d say do not procrastinate until you have a crisis. Fear and procrastination tend to paralyze us. I’d say don’t hesitate to seek assistance. You think I know I can do this but yet you never have time. You put it off. So those are the things that I think that if you can just get started, if you can seek assistance. Those are the most important things.
B. Stanley—I was going to say exactly that that get started and don’t be convinced that there is one right way to do it. That there are a variety of ways and that if you get started you will not have made a mistake even if you change you mind about something that you’ve done previously, but get started.
Chatter—I think that everybody wants to wait for prince charming and there is no prince charming. Or know the perfect plan. I know, what is the perfect plan?
P. Yip—Janet you mentioned, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. How do you pick a financial advisor and secondly, how much money do you have to have before you should seek a financial advisor?
D. Stephens—Well I think that you have to have some discretionary income or some lump sum. Perhaps through an inheritance or maybe even through an employer sponsored plan that you need assistance with. How do I invest this where it will get me where I want to go. So I think on of those two things. I think if you’re in a situation where you are not living within your means more appropriate than consulting a financial planner would be perhaps be consumer credit counseling or that kind of thing. But once you are living within your means, you have some extra money and you want to know what to do with it that I believe is the time to consult with a professional advisor.
P. Yip—How do you pick one?
D. Stephens—I think that it has to be someone you feel comfortable with and someone that feels comfortable working with you. There has to be an excellent level of communication and you have to trust that person. So I would start by looking to either one of the major associations for a referral, a list of professionals in your area which is very easily accessible to you. You may even want to start with some of your friends who are using financial planners or other professional advisors that they are very, very pleased with. That they feel have been successful and have long term relationships with. I would suggest interviewing more than one to see, you know, who best meets your specific needs.
E. Rockwell—Well I have to embellish on that. I think most people will find a friend that they trust and you are not divulging how much money you have or anything to talk to a friend but who helps you with your money. Do you feel comfortable? Do you trust them? Then as you said, interview several and it may be that one persons temperament won’t work for their friends financial affairs so you want to talk to several. We find that most of ours is referral business. That way somebody has already tested and found out that it does or does not work or that you do or don’t do a good job and go on from there.
J. Casstevens—The things ask a million questions. Just ask and ask and ask. Number one how are they compensated? Are they going to be acting in your best interest? There is a lot of ways to be compensated and if you think that you are getting investment advice for free you are probably not because it costs something. So just carefully evaluate how you are being paid and that way you can truly compare. You have got to judge their experience, their competency, and their performance over a long period of time not just a short period of time. Just keep asking questions. As far as the amount of money, obviously you have got to start somewhere. Mutual funds are a great place to start. There are all kinds of combinations out there from stockbrokers to financial planners to moving on to professional investment advice. I think the amounts really vary on what your experience is what you are doing but less than a million dollars. You are going to be looking at utilizing mutual funds to some extent or within a portfolio may be a combination of some individual issues. It’s going to vary a lot. Over a million, most of the time, people will seek some sort of professional investment management where someone is handling it for them or many times.
B. Stanley—It’s not my area. Again I’ve listened with great interest.
P. Yip—It’s just that I would like for you to talk a little bit more about different ways financial advisors are compensated. That’s a very common question that I get and what’s the difference between a financial consultant, a broker, an investment advisor, financial planner, there is so many experts out there. People are confused.
D. Stephens—Well, probably I am best suited to tell a little bit about what a financial planner does since that is what I do. A financial planner is more of a general practitioner and we look at the whole picture. We don’t just look at how do you accumulate wealth; we also look at how do you preserve it, which translates to insurance. I mean, is your income protected. Pam and I were just talking about disability income and how important it is to women that need a pay check if they can’t work for a couple of years due to an illness or accident. So I financial planner looks at those kinds of things as well as how do we best invest the money, how do we best make the money grow to achieve your long term goals. As far as compensation, there are a number of ways for the planner to be best compensated. You can go to a planner who will just charge you an hourly fee, you can go to a planner that won’t charge any fees but if you invest with them, you invest in commissioned based products and they earn a commission on that. You can go to a planner who does a combination of both or gives you a choice. You can go to a planner who just charges a percentage of you assets. So if you come in with a million dollars to invest they may charge you one percent of that amount to give you ongoing advice and invest the assets for you. So there are a lot of different ways to do it and many planners will give you a choice as to what you are more comfortable with. If you have small amounts of money to start out with you are probably going to lean towards a commissioned based planner because it can get expensive to run up fees on an hourly basis. But, you know if you have larger sums you are probably very sensitive to the fact that you don’t want to be paying commissions and you’d prefer to be with a fee only planner. So it just depends on what your needs are.
E. Rockwell—Well, being a broker, we look with people. We don’t wait to get a million dollars. It may be fifty thousand or something much less. We disclose up front always whether it’s just the commission for the purchase of the shares of stock or when the accounts get up into the six figures, we use professional money managers who more or less call the shots. So we disclose to them exactly what the fee is for the money manager and the volume that we have, the money managers are paid in the rear so they have to perform before they get paid. So if their fee is one percent a year paid quarterly or a quarter at a time, they are going to be much happier to have your balances go up than they are to have them go down. It is an incentive for them to be more cautious about what they purchase. How reckless they may be and then there would be an addition to the one percent management for a money manager. There would be the commission. So the first year it generally may run, to get started if you start from scratch with all cash, maybe two and a half percent. But once you’ve purchased the stocks, then there is not that cost. I know that it is not unusual for us to have managed accounts. I know last year we had one that was a million-dollar account. We made a hundred dollars in commission for a whole year. So you don’t get rich on commissions and everything. Some of the money managers use what they call the rat fee which is a set fee. You don’t have a commission or anything. Some people like the idea. We feel it is a disincentive for them to really perform. Because they get their money and they can just buy and sell or trade or churn your account but it is not considered churning because it is a forgone conclusion that you’ll pay three percent a year.
J. Casstevens—It really is hard to evaluate these different things and it really does involve asking a lot of questions and you have got to be comfortable with how they are being compensated and if they are acting in your best interest. Professional money managers like Chase and our group charges an annual management fee to manage those moneys. That is pretty typical of any professional money manager and its you know approximately one percent annually. You just got to ask a lot of questions and to be able to distinguish if there is a true conflict in the advice that you are being given versus what’s going to be happening later. I think that is the real key; if there are really any inherent conflicts if interests there.
B. Stanley—Let me say one thing on that. The question of how financial planners are compensated, then again, you know a tangent of that is do you want to pay a financial planner. Or do you want to try to do it on your own and the temptation with all of the electronic trading and you know fifteen bucks to buy stock or sell stock or whatever. That there really are an increasing number of options for just doing it yourself. Of course when these options and temptations are there, there are also the opportunities to really hurting yourself when you are doing it because you read about these people that spend all day in front of their computer just pointing and clicking on what they are buying and selling. At the end of the day, feel like they have made a zillion dollars. Which isn’t this kind of bull market you can do on paper. If you are not aware of the basics and you don’t have a sound plan, I would think that you could hurt yourself a whole lot doing that. So it is probably a good idea even if you are going to do some of the buying and selling on your own to make sure that you have consulted with a professional. Find out and make sure that you do have a sound plan for what you are doing with E-trade at fifteen bucks a pop.
P. Yip—I think that’s a good example what Barbara is telling you about is the situation be given that stocks where the values have just soared and if you want your stock to go up just put “.com” at the end of your name. It is automatically up. I think my feelings and the experts that I have talked to is that the trading of the Internet stocks has caused a lot of people to loose sight of the fundamentals of investing. To loose perspective of the importance of doing your homework, studying the company, getting to know the company. Are they making money? I mean a lot of these companies have not made money yet so you can’t use the standard ratio like a price earnings ratio to value the company. There are no earnings on that side. So I think that it is very important to maintain the fundamentals. When you’re thinking about getting a financial advisor, the people who call me are very skeptical of people who just call them out of the blue or people they have met. They get this feeling that something just doesn’t sound right with them. Where do you go to check out whether your financial advisor is legitimate, new, have they been in trouble with the regulators, what are some of the sources they can go to?
D. Stephens—Well, I’d say that gut feeling is probably a real good indication. I think that one of the assets that women have over men is that we do have a highly developed intuition. If you are feeling uneasy, I’d cross them off the list even if they had a pristine record and had never been in trouble. There are places you can go. I believe you can contact the national association of security dealers and the security and exchange commission and can request records on the brokers.
E. Rockwell—I think that you are back to the point of communicating with your friends and finding out who they use or at least to get references. To say you know, and particularly, if there somebody new to Houston, boy, that’s a red flag right there. But just say well, have you been here a long time? Would you give me some names of people that you have worked with? I don’t need to know the dollars, but I just need to speak to them to see whether this really is how their experience has been. So again I think you are back to wanting to communicate with some friend that you trust that you feel has good financial judgment and asking them what their experience has been. Sort of checking out theirs first before, I certainly would not go to the telephone book and start looking there for a financial planner.
J. Casstevens—I think that many times referrals are the way that people choose and invest right or at least start out. Banks are very, very highly regulated and we probably operate under more stringent type constraints than other financial organizations. We’ve been under them for many, many years so at least those sort of things give you a comfort level but the intuition part is very, very important in your interview process. Certifications, experience, all these numbers of being able to prove your performance history of what you have done. Those are the things that you have got to evaluate.
Chatter—I think the word impulsive is something we have not used. Don’t do anything impulsive when you go to meet somebody. Just don’t get carried away with the sweet talk, the nice talk or the compliments or whatever. Sleep on it. Come back later or come back two or three times before you make a financial decision with them.
P. Yip—Barbara, as a lawyer, have you run into that situation. If you have any questions on the index cards would you start passing them up and I will go through them. One questions I get a lot is what are the best books cause I am just starting to learn about financial planning and investments. What are the best books you recommend?
D. Stephens—I believe Suze Orme has a book out that’s a basic financial planning book and it’s on the best seller’s list. Thank you very much. Nice tips too, financial planning success.
Chatter—What’s the correct spelling on that last name is. Is it Orme? I believe so. Suzi, is it? Suze. I think that since it is on the best seller’s, that if you went into any of the major bookstores they would know what you were talking about.
E. Rockwell—Well I think we have to remember that everybody that writes a book is really interested in just selling books and making a profit so it may or may not be good. So again I make referrals of books when I find out that they are really on target. I think you again have to rely on talking to someone before you just go and buy a book and don’t just talk to the book seller because they want to sell books too as well as the author does. There is as many that have bad information as there that has good information. So I think you need to do a little investigation on who this person is and how qualified they are. Sometimes there will be a recommendation inside. The first page will be an endorsement maybe by a certain group.
J. Casstevens—I think there is a tremendous amount of books out there and it is what you are comfortable with. Many times it’s just getting started because there is a fair amount of vocabulary to all this. Once you sort of get the vocabulary down and different things then you will all of a sudden start seeing the trends and you will start seeing these things. I’ve heard about this best seller book and I think it is good but as I say the library is a world of good choices out there and a lot of good books on the subject.
B. Stanley—One of the good ones is “The Beardstown Ladies,” despite the fact that their portfolio ran into some snags. What they are talking about is fundamentally sound and does start with vocabulary because you are right these are concepts that you have to work to acquire and work to become familiar with. But it’s a good readable place to start and a good first step.
P. Yip—Thank you. A question from the audience is a good question, how do we find investments groups, investment clubs?
B. Stanley—Ah, I can answer that. The NAIC, National Association of Investors Corporation has an office here and I will be glad to make the phone number available. I am not sure I brought that with me, but I can find it and get it to you. They have a web site that you can pull up. They have referrals for people that are looking for club members or clubs that have openings or other people that you might want to join with to form an investment club. And just by way of explanation, the investment club, essentially what you do is you meet and you learn about the stock market. It is focused on stocks. It is expanding a little bit more into mutual funds. It’s doing the very basics. Learning what a price earnings ratio is and the different kinds of price earnings ratios and the variables that go into it. Doing the homework, learning how to do the homework on various companies so that you do understand the fundamentals and you understand whether or not if the price is X, is that a good buy or not. The focus is on investing for growth. That it’s not get in, get out, it’s finding good companies to own a part of and being in for the long term. It is primarily an opportunity to learn and to make some money while your doing it. It’s a great way to take first steps and to learn.
P. Yip—Anybody else?
Chatter—They have that address in that book They have all kinds of addresses in it. Some of your community associations have some of those clubs too.
P. Yip—What is the rule of ’72?
?—It will tell you how long it’ll take your money to double. So if you have five percent CD, divide 5 into 72 and that tells you how long before your money will double. Or you can do it in reverse. People say in three years I want to have X dollars and so you divide 3 into that and whey you tell them that they have got to be making 35% a year on there money, why they say you know maybe that’s not such a good idea. So it can work with either interest rates or with years.
P. Yip—What proportion of your companies clients are women?
D.Stephens—Well, it’s a smaller percentage than there are men. That’s for sure. I can’t give you an exact number, but personally I think less than half of my clients are women.
?—I think that’s a good thing, but on the other hand we are involving the wives when there’s a couple. So when you add in the couples and the women from that equation plus the single women, why I think that it is a whole lot more than we realize. So it might be maybe two-thirds and one-third when you consider the husband and wife as two people instead of one.
Chatter—Didn’t you ask about the percentage in the company? No. Oh, the number of clients.
?—Well I’ve just seen an incredible increase. I think women are educating themselves. The are becoming involved in the financial affairs. I see these investment clubs. I see women becoming much, much more sophisticated. We work with clients on a total financial planning basis and the wife is always involved. Almost always.
?—Well you ask them to be involved. I am the same way. If you are working with me, I prefer for both spouses to be present. I’ve noticed an increase in how often the female spouse wants to be involved over say fifteen years ago.
P. Yip—Please state the advantages and the disadvantages of the ROTH IRA.
?—The advantage of the ROTH is that it accumulates tax deferred and when you withdraw monies from it they are totally tax free. The disadvantage is the money that gets deposited into the ROTH is not tax deductible. So you don’t get a deduction up front like you would with your 401K or your traditional IRA, but you get it tax free on the other end.
?—Well, there is another aspect that I consider important and that is that the ROTH is subject to creditor seizure where your IRA is protected. I would hate to be saving a ROTH for twenty years and have a wreck and be sued for my assets and there goes my retirement. It’s because they are in different sections of the tax law. Now some states, I understand have made it so that it is creditor proof. But we in Texas as in most states have not done that and that is not always talked about. But it is a fact.
See Janet agree too.
J. Casstevens—It is something that I think they are going to be trying to correct long term. You also have to think, I mean as far as your total financial plan in these sort of things, you’ve got to cover your risk. You have got to have good insurance coverage and evaluate your risk. We have talked primarily about investments tonight but you really need to look at your whole financial plan and evaluate things. So that you are not caught in just primarily concentrating on purely investing. That’s a side part of ROTH IRA’s.
?—Well if we have someone who just insists they can’t live without having a ROTH, then we try to use it. Invest it with deferred annuities, the variable annuities. Because in the state of Texas you have a one hundred percent protection of your insurance products are protected from creditor seizure. So it’s a little halfway protection for the ROTH.
Chatter—Participation in a ROTH is restricted to certain income levels as well. Is it not? Yes.
P. Yip—falling from that, how would you decide whether it’s worth it to convert your traditional IRA to a ROTH or stay where you are.
D. Stephens—Well there’s some general rules of thumb that are out there but I think every individual has to put the pencil to there specific situation to get an answer. The general rule of thumb is that if you have over ten years until retirement that it is probably worth it to get the tax free income on the other end to go ahead and pay taxes on it now. But as many of you probably know at the end of 1998 they closed the window for spreading the tax on the conversion over four tax years. So now if you want to do a conversion you have to ante up and pay that full income tax on the amount that you convert and in the same year that you make the conversion or actually April 15 following that year. Sometimes it’s tough to come up with that kind of cash. So many clients are looking, that weren’t able to do it within the window of maybe doing a piece each year as far as converting over.
E. Rockwell—Pamela, there is another aspect and that is that they haven’t finished writing all the regulations for ROTH. You know we can all remember when they said no tax on your social security. Well guess what, it’s here and so I think it is really premature to give a final decision on the ROTH until they get a little more settled on what the regulations are going to be.
J. Castevens—I don’t have anything else to add to that.
P. Yip—That’s a good question. How do you protect your estate from taxes when you dye so that you can pass more onto your children?
D. Stephens—Well the first thing you do is have a good will and a tax plan will if that’s necessary. If your net worth is substantial enough that it is necessary and typically if you are worth over two million dollars it’s a no brainer to go get a tax plan will. That’s a way to minimize the inheritance taxes. Then you have to look for how will those taxes be paid. If you are concerned that you don’t have a lot of liquidity in your estate, for example if most of your assets are tied up in a business or perhaps in a personal residence that’s worth a lot of money or other non liquid things. You may want to go ahead and buy life insurance to pay the tax if that is a concern. If you’d like to pass that family business or that family farm on to the kids and not have to have them sell it to come up with the cash then you would look at purchasing a life insurance policy to pay the tax.
E. Rockwell—Well we have so many people who are retired, have big IRA accounts and presents a big problem because they may have two-thirds of you estate may be in IRA and very little is liquid cash. We have encouraged many of our clients to have what they call irrevocable trust and this removes existing insurance from your estate because you would not be the trustee of an irrevocable trust. Then if you have to buy insurance, you buy what they call permanent insurance, which is very inexpensive. Upon your death it handles the taxes and the excess taxation, the state tax or income tax and then would pass on to your heirs according to your will.
J. Casstevens—An estate plan really encompasses a lot of things from doing your tax planning wills or getting that will done, to gifting, to utilizing charitable remainder trust. There are numerous, numerous ways. It takes an evaluation and it takes working with somebody who is experienced in this area of knowing all the different things that are out there and are available. Every person in this room has different feelings about what should happen and how your money should be handled later. So, you really need to work with somebody who is familiar with all these various techniques and there are many of them and it would take us another hour to go through all of them. So you really need to seek some advice there too.
Chatter—I’m still working on that becoming a problem. It doesn’t take a whole lot.
E. Rockwell—We had a couple and he had just worked so hard to get to be age fifty-nine and a half. He had early retirement and he had just gotten there. His wife called me one day and said Elizabeth Jimmy just died. She said what do I do now and I thought oh, I hope you have called the undertaker. Fortunately she had. We said well Barbara as I remember Jimmy had a small insurance policy. Take that down there and let them endorse it and pay the funeral expenses and give you the residual. The next phone call, Elizabeth, I’m not the beneficiary. He had named his estate, which was the very worse thing he could have done. So we said the next thing we need is for you to bring us the death certificate when you get that we’ll put the IRA in your name. So she comes in and she brings the death certificate and also the beneficiary and guess what she is only half, fifty percent the beneficiary and his son by a prior marriage is the other fifty- percent. So then she brings in the will with her and it says in there upon settlement of my estate you are to pay my mother thirty thousand dollars cash, my three children twenty five thousand dollars cash and the residual to my widow. This was a will that was done by the man next door that was probably a pipe line lawyer and did not know all the nuances of the will. Really, if you ever wanted to be compassionate, this took every bit of compassion. So just don’t except what you think. Be sure a professional has reviewed it before it is too late. She didn’t know that she had such problems.
?—We see disasters like this everyday. It is absolutely amazing we think that everything is okay. Get it out and read it. See what’s really there.
E. Rockwell—Another thing people think are we have everything in joint names. So I know of a case where a husband and wife were out one Saturday night, everything they had no children but everything was in joint names. There was a wreck and the wife was killed at the scene. That meant that all the joint things were now in his name and in three days he died and then it went to his parents. Now her parents got nothing. So little money is important to having the right kind of legal documents. It’s a whole lot. Now I am not belittling anybody but everything pertaining to your inheritance is important as your next paycheck.
Chatter—Just because somebody is a lawyer doesn’t mean they know how to write wills. You really do need to find somebody that focuses in that area. And there are a lot of people in this city. You didn�����t write that will for that man did you? I will never write a will. If you need a referral, call us we can give you the names of three good people. We are blessed with fantastic estate planning lawyers in this city. That’s right.
P. Yip—What are the benefits and liabilities of an individual holding onto stocks versus opening a conventional brokerage account?
E. Rockwell—First of all it doesn’t cost anything to have a brokerage account. Secondly, that if in the case we were talking about death you know if you have fifteen stocks then at the point of death there is one death certificate needed for that brokerage account. So it keeps you from loosing it and it also keeps it very orderly and helps at the point of death or divorce or whatever may occur.
?—There’s really no risk in holding securities in street name anymore. Everything is handled out of one firm and its called Depository Trust Company in New York. Every bank, every brokerage firm, everything handles everything through that one organization. So there really is no risk involved.
?—I think there is a liability in holding it personally is that you might loose it or misplace it which happens from time to time. It is very difficult and cost money to try to prove that you lost it and to get it replaced.
P. Yip—Do you have any advice for how to invest money especially for those who are single women and over fifty?
?—You got to design an investment plan that fits that individual persons needs. You can’t even take age or married status or anything. You really have to totally evaluate everything.
?—Well I second the motion there is just too many variables that’s to general of a question for us to give a specific answer to unfortunately.
?—I think we are back to the things we spoke about earlier in getting educated and finding where you are and what you need whether you are fifty years old or seventy years old or thirty years old. Age is not really an issue. You have just got to get into it and understand what you are doing.
P. Yip—If you receive options as part of your benefit package. I presume some stock options. When is the best time to purchase the stock to exercise your options? Does one hold on to options for as long as possible?
Chatter—You have to look also at the tax, it’s just not that simple. You also have to look at cash flow. You have to look at tax liability. So it’s a very complex issue to get into. And whether you want to own stock in that company. Or how about you have already into your retirement plan or whatever. If they are looking for a very basic answer you probably want to wait until it is profitable. Until there is a profit in it you probably wouldn’t want to exercise the option. If there was at that time the price of the stock was such that you wouldn’t make any money. Well exercise usually has a price attached to it though. Yeah. Two exercises at fifty dollars or whatever. But if you exercise it at fifty and the stock is selling at thirty, it is not a swift move is what I am saying. So maybe I don’t know whose question that was, if it was that basic that you wanted to know that you do pay a price for that. You want to make sure that the stock price is at least higher than the price you are going to pay so that there is some profit to pay tax on. But I don’t believe that options are usually a part of the actual qualified retirement plan. They are something that comes to you as a senior member of the organization who is separating from service. So I don’t think we want to infer that it is a part of the actual retirement package of qualified benefits. I didn’t mean that. I meant you may have already owned a certain percentage within your plan. Yeah but still it would not be a part of the qualified plan. No. No. No
P. Yip—What is your opinion about the issues of privatizing social security?
D. Stephens—What are the issues? Obviously I think that it’s working in some other countries. I think that they are doing it in Chili and they are having some success over there. I think the issues are going to be can we get the government and the bureaucrats to get out of the middle. I mean that’s the biggest issue. If we didn’t have a middleman I think that obviously there’d be more money in the till.
E. Rockwell—Well I don’t think I can really comment too much on it.
J. Casstevens—I think the issues are huge. There are so many things to evaluate. Our government getting into the stock market, if you understand the basics of investing and know that our social security is going to eventually run out. Yes it makes some sense to involve them. But how do you do that? It’s the most difficult part of so many issues. I know that this program in Chili has worked well and it’s really saved their fund. But I think it’s going to take a long time of evaluation about how it’s done.
?—Well I think really the California plan has worked best. The California, they call it Calpers and it’s the California State employees is what it is. And they actually invest in the stock market but you as an employee of the state do not do it, it is done. So it is just an investment of the money by the management of the plan. And it has worked very successfully, much more so than what they are trying to do in Washington.
?—Well the Texas state employees retirement system is also a stock based and there is certain fundamental requirements as to what you can or cannot invest in for that plan. But I would really be concerned about separating the politics from the investment procedure. I’m not sure that I am ready for social policy to be determined by stock market decisions.
?—I am also not comfortable with each of these people picking and choosing what they do with the stock for their social security. I mean that I am not picking on anybody individually, but I think we have been talking about not being comfortable with investing. Who would want to do that with their social security?
?—Sure that’s right. If you make wrong choices does that mean that you have no income at all and what do you do then?
P. Yip���The Internet stocks, if I understand this question, are the same way as with the oil companies, a tremendous risk. Women have looked out before. Why should we look out now? New companies are always risky. I think what they are asking if I am clear about this question is; is there some worth in the Internet stocks? If I understand it correctly, is it worth investing in them.
D. Stephen’s—It is worth investigating and seeing you know part of the problem is you don’t have much history and NAIC you try to make sure you have five years of history of a companies performance to look at. That really slows you down on some of these brand new Internet stocks. You know you still can’t ignore the fundamentals as you had said earlier and somebody earlier had said you do want the company to have some earnings, have some profits. So again, its go back to the fundamentals, the basics. Do your homework and investigate and determine whether or not that is a sound company in which you want to invest.
J. Casstevens—You can also utilize an asset class which small cap fund. You can utilize that through a mutual fund. Which obviously diversification spreads your risk over new small cap companies. Whether Tex stocks are going to be in that most likely they are going to have some. But that’s a way to participate in a more very, very risky, very, very volatile part of the equity market rather than trying purchase your own individual stock. Try to participate in a very small amount.
P. Yip—The designations financial planner, financial analyst, CFA are the same.
Chatter—No, No, They are not. All the designations are different. Different tests. Different certifications. CFA is rather tough.
P. Yip—Could you elaborate on the differences a CFP, CFA? What does a CFA actually do?
C. Stephens—Certified Financial Analyst is a CFA. It’s the most difficult test. Most portfolio managers are required to have it like all or our portfolio managers. It’s a minimum requirement. It takes a minimum of three years to complete and most people don’t pass those first three years test then it takes longer to get. CFP, Certified Financial Planner, I obtained that designation in the early eighties and I think you also have the CFP designation. What else did they ask?
?—CFP is given out by the institute for certified financial planners. It was started in the seventies. There is a college for financial planning and the institute grew out of that college as far as where the certification comes from.
Chatter—Is that a state agency? No, It is nationally recognized. It’s also CLU, certified life underwriter. Right, and the CFHC also in the life underwriter area. Certified financial planner within the insurance. Okay.
P. Yip—Can you speak to preplanning for tax problems with the basic issues that you need to remember? Do you understand that question? It is a very general question, but they mention capital gain so I sort of think that they are talking about selling stock and preplanning for that. It doesn’t say.
?—If you are talking about looking at having to pay capital gain tax, maybe you want to do that in the same year that you are taking some losses in some other stocks so that would off set the gain and you would end up not paying tax. I don’t know if that is the answer you are looking for but it is best to take your gains in the same year that you take your losses.
P. Yip—This is a pretty good question. This particular person is recently retired. Has four annuities that she doesn’t need now. What are the pros and cons tax wise and estate wise in cashing them in now or should she leave them alone?
?—That’s a good question.
E. Rockwell—The advantage that an annuity has it that it is tax deferred. So that would be an ideal way of doing tax planning in pulling out what you need in a year to either supply just the income you need or pull out enough to keep you in the fifteen- percent or a particular tax bracket that you are in. So that if you pulled it all out at one time you’d have to pay tax. You would also, the money that you are not spending, you would have to invest then you’d be paying tax on that. So why not leave it tax deferred and only pull what you need per year to keep it within a reasonable tax bracket.
?—I think the second part of that question was the estate tax aspect and certainly I agree with Elizabeth. It’s a big income tax advantage to keeping it where it is but from an inheritance tax viewpoint that money is going to be taxed at your death. The income tax will have to be paid on the game by your beneficiaries. So I think you have to decide what’s more important to you. Is it for you to not have to pay tax now and the kids pay it later or would you prefer to pay it for them now or have them pay it later?
E. Rockwell—Or an annuity could have a charity as the beneficiary and then it reduces the estate tax and there is no income tax on the growth of the annuity.