Author Archives: Aaron J. Clark

About Aaron J. Clark

I am a husband, dad, Kansas State Wildcat and most recently... marathoner!! I have been in the financial services industry since 2001. Being a private pension architect/retirement planning specialist, my passion is assisting individuals in optimizing their assets. If you knew that you could have safety, opportunity for growth and an income you could never outlive, wouldn't you want to know how?? That's exactly what my clients have and I invite you to learn this strategy!!

The Economic Impact of S&P Downgrade

That, is a bad sign!!

 

The world we live in has just come to the realization that America is not as strong as she once was. Spending $2 trillion more than we are taking in annually and our massive debt exceeding $14 trillion are crippling our economy. The rest of the world isn’t helping either, with the European bailouts of Greece, Italy and Spain by the European Central Bank, raising concerns of the financial stability of the European Union.

The headwinds our U.S. stock market is facing are so strong that the market has now turned, and we are heading for a double-dip recession. Remember just a few years ago…

2007                                                                     2011

National Debt: $9 Trillion                              $14 Trillion

Treasury bonds rated AAA                             Declined to AA+ negative outlook

China – largest buyer of U.S. Bonds             U.S. – largest buyer of U.S. treasuries

Low unemployment                                         High unemployment

Your home had equity                                     Lost home equity

Home prices rising                                           Home prices still falling

The market was strong/rising                       Level and now falling

People were spending                                     People are saving

Banks paid respectable interest                    Try living on the interest today

Social Security paid COLAs                           Gone for the past three years

Lower taxes                                                       Higher taxes coming

Individual healthcare                                      Government healthcare coming

Easy credit                                                         Difficult to get credit

May 1st of this year the Dow was at 12,876; today the Dow is at 11,379 (as I type this) and falling. The Dow has already dropped 14% from its high this year. I believe the Dow will fall to below 8,000 within the next 6 months. This would mean a possible 40% loss to your portfolio if you stay in the market unprotected.

Protection from the market’s volatility has become increasingly important as a result of the headwinds we are facing. In 1978, Jimmy Carter announced that the Dow made history because it shot up in one day more than it ever had before. It rose 35 points that historic day. Today that number pales by the wild swings of our current market.

Today’s record increase in a single day is 936 points, and the greatest decrease in a day is 777. The recent flash crash actually erased 1,000 points in 1 hour and 45 minutes but then recovered most of the loss by the end of the day. Protection of principal from volatility in this unprecedented era is critical to your financial well-being.

Do you remember what it felt like in January 2009 when the Dow was at 7,000 and the market had lost 50% of its value from its high in October 2007? Did you tell yourself that if you could just recover some or much of what you had, you would never let this happen again? Well, you have recovered much of what was taken and now the market is poised to take it again for the third time in just over a decade. The American dream of retirement cannot be supported by a volatile market if you don’t have downside protection. Rmember, the market dropped by 49.5% in 2000. It dropped again by 50% in 2008-09. And now in 2011, it’s dropping again perhaps by 40% or more for the third time in approximately ten years.

Warren Buffett said that what we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history. If we allow our principal to be reduced by 50% again, it could easily take a decade or longer just to get back to what you have today. Instead of waiting till 2021 to have the same amount you have today, we offer a safe strategy that, independent from the market, is guaranteed to double your money within the next 10 years.

Fixed indexed annuities have a flawless track record of safety and offer returns that are both respectable and guaranteed. When you never lose principal and each year’s interest is credited to the largest amount you have ever had, not only can you double your account over the next ten years, you get to sleep at night with tremendous peace of mind in some of the most volatile times you and I have lived through.

You may think, “Wow, a fixed indexed annuity can double my money in ten years? I’ve always been under the impression that annuities don’t earn much, but the stock market is the place to be instead.” Consider this: According to a study just released in March of this year by J.P. Morgan, the S&P 500 has delivered annualized gains of 7.7% for the past 20 years –not 10%, or 12%, but 7.7%. The average investor, however, did not earn 7.7%. Due to bad timing and emotions, along with taxes and fees, the average
investor, according to J.P. Morgan, earned 2.6% annually.  Numerous other independent studies come to a similar conclusion. So you put up the capital, take the risk and then earn far less than a safe guaranteed annuity that will double in ten years. At 2.6% it would take 27 years to double.

Don’t delay; the market is making decisions for you right now – decisions that will likely require you to work much longer than you had planned. Stay in control by calling me right now and see how simple it is to get safe and double your safety by doubling your nest egg over the next ten years.

I appreciate the opportunity to answer questions!!  Have a great Wednesday.

Aaron J. Clark

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Nightmare On Wall Street

If you are our client--- the caption in this picture applies to you!!! If you are not, please call me so we can make this caption apply to you!

I read this article a few minutes ago and I wanted to get it out to you as quickly as possible.  During this time of global economic
instability/uncertainty many individuals are making decisions about their current portfolios.  I would be grateful for the opportunity to visit with you and show you how/why none of our clients are experiencing any losses now (or ever) due to the rollercoaster ride on Wall Street.

Please read this article and about mid-way down you will see the volatility in action as a chart shows the recent swings in the market.  As you enjoy retirement or consider retiring, I can imagine this type of volatility is not acceptable to you as you have worked hard your entire life to accumulate your nest egg.

http://money.msn.com/market-news/post.aspx?post=4f026107-2e48-4da7-a938-4b0fc3b9fd34&GT1=33009

In addition, I saw on the news last night an individual being interviewed and he said something to the effect, “the problem is… I don’t know where to put my money where it can be safe but still have the opportunity to grow”.  I wish there would have been a way for me to jump into the TV at that very moment and air my impromptu commercial because I would have said, “WE HAVE THAT STRATEGY—-don’t wait another minute, call my office and book an appointment to come in and learn about it”.

I’m certainly not suggesting that anyone make any radical decisions right now as it relates to their money.  However, the market is
a wicked place to be right now.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could learn how to utilize “Plan B” if your “Plan A” makes you even the least bit nervous?

Although the losses are referred to as “paper losses”, it is real money that is disappearing from your savings.  Did you work hard your entire life to experience any losses, paper or realized?  I invite you to come in and learn why our clients are protected from this Armageddon on Wall Street.  Whether or not you choose to implement the strategy is up to you—but, you will be better off by learning it now rather than having to invest in a parachute to slow this market free fall.


Is it a “gain”? Or is it a “recovery”?

we love the navy blue line!!

Let’s start with this article I read this morning on msnbc.com…

  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43574609/ns/business-stocks_and_economy/deck/msn

The article talks about how the market has been experiencing “gains” this week.  I have a hard time with that type of language because it isn’t entirely accurate when looking at the big picture.  The Wall Street media machine is clever with how they word things and hopeful that folks have short term memories. 

To us, a “gain” is something more than what we originally had.  In addition, it is something that we get to “keep” and not be subjected to potentially giving back at some point in time (paper gains).  If upward movement in the market isn’t getting us above where we once were then I will argue that it IS NOT a gain, but rather a recovery.

When we speak of gains, we prefer “locked in gains”… those are the kind that can never be given back due to market volatility.  Take a look at the above picture.  In short, it represents a story… and is the story that we tell our clients each day.  If you are on the navy blue line, then the above linked article is correct, it is a “gain”.  If you are on the dark red line, then it is not a gain but rather a “recovery”. 

Regardless of what the market is doing–our clients never have to recover!  That is peace of mind and sleep insurance!!  We invite you to come on over to the navy blue line–our clients love it, you should learn about it!!


Taking off the training wheels.

This is Garret… he is my youngest child and will be 5 years old at the end of July.  The picture is a few years old but has tremendous relevance because I am in the process of trying to teach him how to ride his bike without training wheels.

Last night he decided that he wanted to give it another shot.  I broke out my wrench, removed the training wheels, put his helmet on (him not me) and we slowly walked out into the cul-de-sac.  We began to devise our plan of attack on the obstacle in front of us–the open road with no training wheels.

I carefully explained to him the importance of positioning and continuing to peddle but also focusing on his balance.  He understood completely.  So, I stood behind him with my hands on his shoulders (for safety) and he peddled, wobbly up the road.  After he got (or I thought he got) comfortable, I slowly started to remove my hands and give him the freedom to navigate the open road on his own.  When I would let go, the balance wasn’t as strong and he would begin to fall to one side.  Naturally, the little fella got scared.  “Daddy, I don’t want to fall–it will hurt”.  I said, “Garret, I promise I will not let you fall–I will not let you get hurt”.  That reassurance was good enough for him so we continued on with the exercise for awhile with the same results.  Eventually he had enough for one day and we played basketball instead.

What was interesting to me about this whole experience though was how I was also able to relate this situation to our practice.  You see, our clients have a fears.  They fear inflation and reduction in their purchasing power.  They fear the stock market because of volatility and their dollars potentially “falling”.  They fear not being “positioned” adequately or having “balance”.  They fear outliving their money.  There are number of different fears that our clients share, but you get the point.

What we tell our clients and prospective clients is something very similar to what I told Garret last night.  “I promise, I will not let you fall–I will not let you get hurt”.

The choice is yours–you can leave the training wheels on or take them off.  Either way you will have a great ride full of opportunity and you will NEVER fall!!

Have a great day!

Aaron


Life is a marathon, not a sprint!

26.2 Miles!!

The above picture is me crossing a finish line that marked the completion of my first marathon on January 30th, 2011 in Miami, Florida.  It was an amazing experience–one that had meaning in several areas of my life.  It was a journey that started long before the gun went off at 6am that morning and the completion of this marathon started with a goal… a goal that was set years before I ever began running.

Interesting fact: About 2 1/2 years ago, I hated running.  I steal my wife’s quote regarding running and say “I only run when I’m being chased”.  However, what started with a goal of getting in shape and shedding a few extra pounds turned into a new kind of challenge with tremendous self-discipline and constantly “raising the bar”.  This “lifestyle” change has transformed my character and who I am in so many ways.  Who would have thought?

The first time I worked with a personal trainer he beat me to death for 60 minutes lifting weights, doing lunges and all that other stuff that makes you hurt for days.  He also lectured me on my diet and told me of all the changes I needed to make “if” I was going to be successful in my journey.  Then after 60 minutes of torture he told me he wanted me to get on the treadmill (a.k.a “dreadmill”) and run for 10 minutes without stopping.  This was my assignment to satisfy my cardio workout for the day.  It was awful and I thought I was going to die.  I made it through the 10 minutes though and I actually felt great afterward… weird.  How did I do it?  Well, at that time I said to myself, “If I am going to lose 15-20lbs and get in shape, cardio is going to be part of that.  I can do anything for 10 minutes, right?”.  So I set a little mini-challenge for myself.  Ultimately I went from saying, “Ok Aaron, one more mile or you’ve got this–come on, 10 more minutes” to saying, “I’m going to run my first 10k, then half-marathon, then full marathon.  How in the world am I going to do this?

Fast forward 2 years.  I went from not being able to run more than 10 minutes/or one mile to dreading the thought of taking a day off from running.  I LOVE IT.  Why?  Is it because it keeps me in shape?  Is it because I am training for another event?  Is it because I am trying to beat my last time?  Is it because I know that when I am running I will have 45 min – 60 min of time to myself where I can clear my head and think?  Is it because it is a good way to channel stress?  Is it because I want to motivate other people to run?  Is it because I want to inspire people to do things they didn’t think were possible?  Is it because I NEVER give up?  The answer is—-all of the above, and more!

This entry sort of sounds like it should be on a “personal” blog as opposed to a “business” blog, right?  Well, the answer to that is… it could really belong on BOTH.  You see, I have a competitive personality and an inner drive and determination that makes me believe that anything is possible.  In addition, I have a motivational inferno burning inside me and a goal in life to inspire every person I come in contact with.  I want to lead by example and inspire others to take action.  How does that translate to financial services?  I am extremely diligent, highly competitive, a very hard worker who is caring and compassionate for all of my clients.  I am constantly trying to do things that others think are not possible.  You want to see if I can do something?  Tell me it can’t be done–then watch me prove you wrong.  Tell me that it is not possible to have safety, opportunity for growth and a guaranteed lifetime income on all of your dollars at the same time and I will politely show you that it CAN be done!!  I lead by example!

I guess that is just a few more random thoughts as I begin to learn this new blog concept.  I will enjoy this, I think.  And, WE will be back again soon with more information about us, what we do and how we can work for you!!

Lastly, I read this on the wall of the locker room at LifeTime fitness last week one early morning.  I didn’t want to forget it so I took a picture of it with my cell phone and re-typed it here.  I would love to give credit to the original author but it wasn’t listed.  Just know that it isn’t my original work, but it sure is awesome!!  “I am not a born athlete. I am a believer.  I will not listen to the voices in my head.  I will continue to run.  Far and fast.  I live to feel my heart in my chest.  The rush of blood.  The pounding of pavement.  I will not give up.  I will taste the salt of my own victory.  I will win my own race”

Don’t you think that message applies to several areas of life??  Not just fitness.  I agree.

Have a great day,

Aaron


It’s time to be heard!

We are Clark Financial Group!!

Someone once said, “if they wrote a story about your life would it be worth reading?”.  I think about that each time I consider writing because I don’t ever want any of my letters, articles, emails, blog posts, etc. to be either boring or useless information.

It’s time to be heard so we are taking our story to a new format—Wordpress!  We have an incredible story to tell and we want folks to hear it.  From what our clients tell us, YOU want to hear it!! In fact, we typically hear from our clients “I WISH I WOULD HAVE HEARD OF THIS STRATEGY 20 YEARS AGO”!  We will do our best to keep you informed.  In the meantime, this is our first entry so allow me (Aaron) to intoduce us.

Dennis & Aaron Clark–we are Clark Financial Group.  Located in Overland Park, KS (Kansas City Metro).  We have built our practice helping our clients discover “safe money strategies” to protect their profits.  With over 50 years of combined experience in the financial services industry, we have been grateful to show our clients how they can have safety and opportunity on the same dollars at the same time.

This blog is in the development stages but we will try to post often!!  You can also follow us on twitter @ClarkFinGroup and we will soon be on facebook as well.  In addition, you can visit our website (also under construction) at www.theclarkfinancialgroup.com.

Thank you for your interest–

Aaron