Entries by jbergner

6 Strategies for Tax-Efficient Investing

It’s tax season again and this often prompts a variety of feelings including procrastination and intimidation. It’s no fun knowing that after factoring in federal income and capital gains taxes, the alternative minimum tax, and any applicable state and local taxes, your investments’ returns in any given year may be reduced significantly.

But for some people, tax time can actually be a very happy time. That’s because they have put into place some effective strategies to decrease their income tax bite.

Here are several Strategies & Tips to potentially help lower your tax bill.

5 Benefits to Getting a Portfolio Second Opinion from a Financial Planner

Do you worry about your current or future financial situation? Perhaps you have these questions float through your mind periodically:

Will my money last as long as I do?
Will I have enough to live comfortably?
Should I be doing something different with my investments to improve my outlook?
Do I have the right advisor to help me achieve my goals?
Should I get a second opinion from a financial planner to see if my investments are positioned correctly to achieve my goals?

4 Signs it is Time to Break Up with Your Financial Advisor

It is not uncommon to have second thoughts about your financial advisor even if you have been together for years. Often small irritations fester over time until you get to a point where you feel compelled to make a change. Pulling the eject trigger is not an easy one since this person has had access to the inner circle of your life knowing your complete financial picture.

How to Prepare Your Financial Documents for Your First Financial Planning Meeting with a Fee-Only Durham, NC Financial Advisor

If you are planning to meet with a Fee-Only Financial Planner, you may be a bit uncertain as to what to expect and what you’ll discover about your financial status today and in the future. To ease your mind and make the best use of your time together, there are some standard pieces of documentation that you should bring with you. Coming prepared to the first meeting will enable your Financial Advisor to get a clear initial overview of your financial health.

Here are the most important financial documents to bring to your first Durham, NC Financial Advisor Meeting:

How to Prepare for Your Meeting with Your Fee-Only Financial Planner

If you are planning to meet with a Durham, NC, Fee-Only Financial Planner, you may feel excited or nervous about what you may discover when talking about your personal finances.
To ease your mind and make the best use of your time together, do a bit of preparation as outlined below. This will enable you to come with enough information to make the first consultation valuable and productive for both of you.

How to Choose one of the Best Fee-Only Financial Planners

Hiring a financial advisor can provide you with confidence and peace of mind knowing that you have a plan for your money that will benefit you and your family for years to come. At any phase in life, but more importantly as you approach retirement age, a financial planner can be of benefit to you. That’s because research shows that people who have financial planners tend to generate considerably better returns for retirement that people who don’t.**

Tax Efficient Financial Planning

It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep!
This is one of the key focuses of tax efficient planning.
It’s about the bottom line, or what you actually keep after you have paid your taxes!
So, how can you plan properly and give yourself the highest probability of having a plan that will create tax efficient cash flow for you and your family for the rest of your life?

A Path to Productivity

    For some the word productivity brings on thoughts along the lines of budgeting, dieting or exercise. Perhaps they are worthwhile ventures, perhaps the result is something they want to achieve. In my experience, most people stop at the prospect of some type of behavior change. The goal does not seem doable, or the […]

Living in Your Sweet Spot

Somewhere around 2005 or so I was introduced to the image above, The Hedgehog Concept. It comes from the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. When I first saw it, and it was explained to me, it did not make sense. The wording was a bit too business oriented and I had trouble with the economic engine term and the best in the world idea! It was just too large for me to wrap by head around.

Since my first exposure to this diagram, and the concepts that drive it, I participated in my first class based on the book “If Your Life Were a Business, Would You Invest In It?, John Eckblad and David Kiel, McGraw Hill.

The class, gave me to ground work to turn this image into a guiding force in my life. Discover the things you are passionate about, things you are skillful in, things for which you can well compensated. Engage in these activities as frequently as possible (The hedgehog above, or your sweet spot) and at the same time eliminate activities that do not fit!!! It really is quite simple in concept. It can be a bit more complex in execution. (More on that later in my next article)

Now, with a bit of revision, this alternative visual makes a bit more sense to me:

Sweet Spot

Sweet Spot

For me this began as a realization that I love to teach, I love to help others simplify their lives and create more satisfaction in their daily activities. For many people, making these changes involves dealing with some “financial reality”! Often the first thought that comes after the realization of “your sweet spot” is “How on earth can I do that ?!?” “How can I support myself, or my family, if I attempt to make these changes ?”

This can be where having the support of a person who has:

• Accomplished this himself,
• Successfully coached people in this way since 2007,
• Practicing Financial Advisor since 1994.

could be helpful in guiding you along this path!

For me, the gradual shift came as I realized I was most satisfied working with clients who wanted assistance in shaping their lives in this way, and wanted help with the financial planning work to support these changes.

As I slowly shifted my practice in this direction:

  • I reduced my business size from roughly 500 households (clients) to 100,
  • At the same time just about doubled my income.
  • I was living in my sweet spot!
  • Enjoying the work I was engaged in to the fullest,
    • had eliminated or delegate mostly all of the work I did not enjoy or did not need to do,
    • and reduced my work week from roughly 70 hours a week to under 30.

Now I have created time to teach, coach, set up a wood working shop in my home, walk my dog Lambchop in the early mornings in the woods behind our house (this is when I come up with my best ideas), and enjoy my life to its fullest.

If you would like to explore creating some of these results for yourself, feel free to use my online schedule to set a time for us to talk.



Jerry Bergner is a productivity and life satisfaction coach. His company is Integrated Life and Financial Planning.  Jerry has been coaching since 2008.  His sweet spot is working with business owners and salespeople to assist them in focusing on the activities they enjoy and love to engage in while increasing their results and overall satisfaction at the same time.   Contact Jerry to book a consultative strategy session to learn how he can help you work toward your goals.