What do you get when you combine a wealth consultant, a tax structure guru, a family trust advisor, a legacy and family wealth planner, and a real estate investment strategist with a room full of investors? The answer is an unbeatable educational experience called InvestX. On Saturday, March 11, dozens of attendees listened and learned, while five experts from a cross section of financial and investment backgrounds spouted facts, figures and inspiring anecdotes during Hughes Capital’s first investor education summit.
The day kicked off with financial planner Craig Martin’s discussion of “The Volatility in Your Investments & the Loss It Creates.” Craig, alongside his wife and fellow speaker, Peggy, assist clients in coordinating tax planning with investments and cash flow. He delved into the pros and cons of volatility in investments, the importance of diversifying a portfolio, and how he uses volatility to his clients’ advantage. He elaborated, “If we add alternatives – something besides stocks and bonds… we have increased the returns…but we’ve reduced the risk…We call that an efficient portfolio.”
Following Martin, Hughes Private Capital CEO, Greg Hughes, shared his secrets on “How to be the Bank.” He explained that the first step is to take advantage of the lack of competition in inefficient markets. He said of his own experience, “What looked like chaos was just chaos to the untrained eye. But that’s where the gold mine was.” He went on to describe Hughes Capital’s new fund, Guardian. The Guardian fund offers private mortgages on homes in the Midwest and Southeast, empowering hard-working families to achieve the American dream of homeownership, while producing targeted returns of 11-14% for investors. He explained, “If we can marry an inefficient market and an appropriate non-traditional investment, then we get what we call excess returns…You can actually bring your return up, and your volatility and risk down.”
“Who wants to be part of an inefficient market? [They] are illiquid, data-inefficient, and chaotic. But then it dawned on me: what looked like chaos was just chaos to the untrained eye. That’s where the gold mine was.” – Greg Hughes, CEO and Co-Founder, Hughes Private Capital
Next, Marty Jensen, Managing Director of Alliance Trust Company of Nevada, walked listeners through the intricacies of trust design. During his talk, “Protecting Your Assets Through Trusts,” he continually stressed the importance of using creativity to craft a trust that will solve personal goals. “The great thing about a trust is it’s a blank canvas, and you’ve got the crayons. You can just write and color it any way that you want. It’s your money; it’s your trust…you can condition the language to satisfy any concern that you have,” he explained. He went on to say that Nevadans, especially, have one of the most progressive jurisdictions for trusts in the U.S.
InvestX attendees took a quick break for lunch before reconvening for CPA Tim Nelson’s lively presentation on “Tax Structuring for the High Net Worth Individual.” In between cracking jokes, Nelson relayed some of the most commonly missed tax write-offs, some 2017 tax changes that will hit bank accounts, and the top three tax advantages every investor should know. One attendee, Cindy Tietjen, commented that “He [Nelson] was informative and enlightening, and the way he delivered his information was clear and precise enough that any level – from business owner to beginner – could understand why it was important.”
“If you don’t have some sort of an LLC or corporation, get one. Not only can they save taxes, but [they can also] decrease your audit rate.” – Tim Nelson, President, Evans, Nelson & Company CPAs
The final presentation of the day came from Wealth Manager, Peggy Martin, on what she called the “soft side” of investing and financial planning. Her talk, titled “Legacy Planning: The Transfer of Values, Beliefs and Wealth” dove into the importance of leaving a legacy of stories and values for future generations, in addition to wealth. Martin cited a study done by Allianz Insurance Company of North America in 2012 that revealed 86 percent of boomers rated family stories as the most important aspect of their legacy. She explained that “sharing the stories of our unique experiences, life lessons, and nuggets of wisdom provides a touchstone for our loved ones and future generations.” At one point, Martin had audience members in tears as she read aloud a piece from her own ethical will. She explained that these ethical wills are “very much an enhancement to helping people manage their wealth.”
After wrapping up their presentations, all five speakers resumed their places at the front of the room for an open-forum panel discussion. Questions from the audience bounced from panelist to panelist, growing and evolving with each panelist’s unique contribution. Cindy Tietjen expressed her appreciation for this opportunity, explaining “All of the speakers were engaging and experienced. We aren’t all experts, so being able to have questions answered by experts in so many fields at once – how they look at the questions, what they bring to the table, how they view the advantages and disadvantages – that was the best part of the day.” Speaker Craig Martin even learned something from fellow panelist Marti Jensen. He asked us, “Did you see me with my mouth open while he was talking? I’ve got a client base that fits [Marti’s] model and I didn’t know – I just learned something. Great panel.”
“We aren’t all experts, so being able to have questions answered by experts in so many fields at once – that was the best part of the day.” — Cindy Tietjen, InvestX attendee
At the end of the afternoon, cocktails were served as guests and speakers mingled and connected one-on-one. On the day as a whole, attendee Joe Healy commented, “InvestX provided useable information on investment ideas as well as estate tax rules. The program reminded that it is important to stay current on investment opportunities.”