Presented by Land Rover Des Moines
Land Rover Des Moines

Keith Gredys, chairman and CEO at Ask Kidder–Fuerza Financial Inc.

Wealth Is a Result of Planning and Self-Discipline

To live like a millionaire, it helps to be one. That applies equally when you want to retire like a millionaire, but Doctor X, as we’ll call him, discovered he wasn’t yet there during a meeting with Keith Gredys.

Gredys is chairman and CEO at Ask Kidder–Fuerza Financial Inc. benefits consultants and plan builders in West Des Moines. Gredys quickly saw that the doctor was pretty much spending whatever his top-tier salary brought. He had some habits–like $100 a day for an aquarium of exotic fish, for starters–that were keeping his eye off the money ball.

The doctor wanted to retire. But with just six weeks’ worth of his salary in a retirement account, Gredys advised that his golden years might have to wait a (long) while.

To channel some of his pay into investments, the doctor needed a budget. Bill Gates may not need to worry about the utility bill, but the rest of us don’t get off that easily.

It isn't difficult for Gredys to come up with a budget; the tough part is sticking to it. We all know what our income will be and we can usually predict profits of businesses we own. Bonuses, or big litigation wins, may sway the bar, but those don’t happen overnight and can be factored in. We all should know what it costs to educate our kids, maintain our cars, maintain our homes, go out to dinner, and take a vacation. Investment set-asides play an obvious role. Put the pluses on a spreadsheet, pour in the minuses, and divide by 12 to reach that magic monthly budget.

The key is to live below your means. Warren Buffett still lives in the house in Omaha that he bought in 1958 for $31,000. I was at a convention in Los Angeles in 1998 when Michael Eisner, then-CEO of the Walt Disney Co., drove over to meet us in his late model Buick. This was soon after he had cashed in Disney options valued at $570 million.

No, we need not all drive Buicks. And we can buy a new house more than once in a half century. Even fish are OK. Just do so with a plan in mind.

Writing about the book "The Millionaire Next Door," financial writer and podcast host Paula Pant observed that its authors lobbied the wealthy to make a spending plan. "Operating a household without a budget," they said, "is akin to operating a business without a plan, without goals and without direction."
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Legacy Bridge

Get a Refund on Value Added Tax

If your bags brim with the finely crafted flannel shirts that Portugal is noted for, make sure to visit alfondega–the customs office–on your way out. There, you can claim a refund of the sales taxes that you paid on the merchandise you bought.

Portugal and other EU countries, as well as a few others such as China and Japan, offer foreign tourists a refund of taxes they pay on merchandise they acquire while visiting. Restaurant and hotel charges are not included.
This tax, generally called a VAT, for value added tax, can be considerable. Sweden levies 25 percent on most merchandise. Portugal is at 23 percent, Great Britain at 20 percent.

You may have to meet a minimum threshold. It’s just 30 Euros in Germany, but 175.01 Euros in France. You can add multiple purchases to get to this level.

Make sure that you save receipts, and that they include tax ID numbers issued to the retailers by national governments. Allow extra time at the airport so authorities can process the paperwork. In England, they’ll issue a credit card refund or cash.

Officials at the Milan airport advise packing whatever it is you bought at the top of your suitcase, because inspectors will want to see that you did, in fact, buy what you’re claiming.
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Denton Homes
801 Chophouse

Rise in High-Income Renters Is Bad News for Home Sales

More and more Americans have been renting instead of buying homes over the past decade. According to a study from Apartment List, "during a time when the total population grew by 6 percent and incomes grew by 7 percent, the number of high-income renter households grew by a whopping 48 percent." High-income renters were defined as those earning at least $100,000 per year. There were 3.8 million high-income renters in 2008, compared with 5.7 million in 2017. The shift is hurting the home sales market in the U.S. > FULL ARTICLE

5 Ways to Be the World's Greatest Non-Profit Board Member

Not many things feel as good as being asked to join a non-profit board. The idea that a group of leaders saw something in you that would execute their mission faster, better or more strategically is heady. And that’s part of the problem. > FULL ARTICLE

Is Your Portfolio Tailored to Fit Your Needs, or Just ‘Off-The-Rack’?
SPONSORED BY FOSTER GROUP, Ryan Lamoureux, Investment Analyst

Have you ever wondered how your portfolio is different from that of the market? Learn how slight adjustments to the market portfolio may benefit your portfolio over time. > LEARN MORE

In The District at Prairie Trail
Discover Flavory Bistro in The District in Ankeny because it’s a new year and a new you. Flavory’s will help you get there. Discover the healthy freshness of Mediterranean dining! ... Read more »

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