Business Owners Forum Video

We recently invited local business owners to Ballast for a discussion on topics important to them. This is the video from our meeting. Topics Include: What makes businesses attractive to buyers? What is the current state of the private equity market? How to separate finances between business and personal? How should owners prepare now for […]


The Ballast Atheneum is a collection of our thoughts on the twelve most important topics in financial planning. Today, the focus is on Insurance.   Insurance may be the most common form of financial protection out there. From protecting your loved ones from financial hardship after an untimely loss to protecting your income stream or […]

Fed Rates, Inflation, Yields

What a difference a couple of years makes.  Even the casual fan has likely heard the talk about interest rates and felt inflation during these past twenty-four months.  Two years ago, in February 2021, the Federal Funds target rate was 0 – 0.25%.  It remained there until just over a year ago in March 2022.  […]

Planning Opportunities with SECURE Act 2.0

SECURE Act 2.0 is good for retirement savers. Key Takeaways:   RMD Age Delayed from 72 to 73, then 75 for those born in 1960 & later Expanded Roth savings opportunities Expanded savings opportunities, especially for pre-retirees   It’s becoming a holiday tradition.  On the morning of Christmas eve, I sat down to a cup […]

2022 Market Recap and 2023 Outlook

To kick off the new year, John Boardman (CEO, Founder) and Andy Reynolds (COO, Partner) sat down to recap the economic environment in 2022 and discuss the 2023 outlook. Click the play button below to watch.     Topics include: Recent economic data and performance The 1% of market volatility on trading days Market fundaments […]

Evaluating a Pension Buyout

Key Takeaways:   Calculating the “hurdle rate” of return is an important first step in determining whether staying in the pension or taking a lump sum is the best option for you. Beyond the math, there are other big-picture variables that should be considered before deciding. The pension vs. lump sum decision should be made […]

Zero-Based Budgeting for Individuals and Households

Key Takeaways: In Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB), you start your budget from zero, then only add in what is truly needed. ZBB is not only useful in a business environment, but also for individuals and households. ZBB is a great way to determine whether your spending is aligned with your goals, priorities, and values.     […]

Evaluation of a Job Offer

Key Takeaways – The following considerations must be made when reviewing an opportunity to take a new job or leave a W2 salary to start a business.   Nearly 93% of Americans earn income outside their primary job1. What are all the aspects of my compensation package?  This includes salary and other benefits such as […]

Most Couples Shouldn’t BOTH Delay Social Security

Key Takeaways: Two-income households have more complex Social Security timing decisions The higher-earning spouse generally benefits from delaying payments The lower-earning spouse generally benefits from starting payments early We’ve written a previous breakdown on the Social Security timing decision.  Briefly, between ages 62-70, if you delay taking income, your monthly benefit grows.  We discussed that […]

Tax Savings on Company Stock

If you work for a publicly traded company, chances are you can own company stock inside your 401(k) retirement plan.  We’ve seen many workers nearing retirement who have accumulated substantial shares of company stock.  These workers are often unaware that they have an option with the tax treatment of these shares that could potentially result […]

Educating Your Next Generation

Key Takeaways: Our most successful planning relationships are those in which we work with our client’s other professional advisors – and their children and heirs as well. Involving heirs in your financial and estate planning makes the next generation’s estate administration job much easier. You do not have to tell them every detail, but at […]

Pre-RMD & Social Security Roth Conversions

Key Takeaways: Roth conversions should be especially considered if retired and not yet 70 years old. Withdrawing pre-tax funds and paying taxes before Social Security and Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) may result in less tax paid on those funds over the long term. Careful retirement income tax planning prior to age 70 may present significant […]