Managing Your Finances Expert Panel

By: Network Lead Exchange

The pandemic has impacted everyone’s finances, so a discussion and getting tips to manage finances is especially timely. In this discussion, Al Beam, Michael Athmer, and Ravi Culbertson joined the Network Lead Exchange team to provide some tips to get the financial health needed to stabilize finances and get in a growth position for when the economy gets back on track. Each of these experts arrives from a different area of finance and can provide unique perspective helping people in all areas of economic strata.

Here is a short intro on Al, Michael, and Ravi:

Al Beam is a certified financial planner and is the managing director at Dunamis Capital Consulting.

Michael Athmer is the President of the Leadership Business Council and also manages sales for United Tech Employee Management

Ravi Culbertson is the Vice President/Private Banker at Professional Bank in Wellington, FL.

The meeting started with each of the experts introducing themselves and providing a short bio of their accomplishments and how they found their way into the finance sector.

The discussion started with a focus on new businesses and young business owners. Specifically, the panelists were asked what these professionals needed to know when just starting out. Ravi gave a specific, detailed answer echoed by the other panelists. She discussed the need for a business plan, assessing the plan, and having a good relationship with a CPA. It was emphasized by everyone about how important it is for business owners to pay themselves. In fact, many new businesses were destroyed by the pandemic because they reinvested so much into the business which rendered them unable to get PPP funding.

Next, the panel talked about Millennial business owners and some advice. The biggest piece of advice was about savings. It was noted that if someone saves for just the first ten years of their employment, those savings will turn Millennials into folks with very solid retirement accounts. However, it was cautioned that there should be a distribution between liquid and illiquid assets. Life cycles were discussed as well, along with the different role financial planning takes in each of those different life events, such as marriage and children.

Michael then discussed the importance of having workers comp insurance when starting a business. The key is when a business is employing anyone, this insurance needs to be purchased immediately. He discussed the benefits of the insurance and how it helps business owners mitigate losses along with avoiding punishments arising from regulatory non-compliance. It’s clear how important this insurance is for any type of business.

Ravi was asked about how to improve credit. She delineated a bunch of different best practices, including the importance of keeping credit balances at or below 30% of the credit limit. She provided strategies for using cards that rarely have balances, and also gave some hope for folks who may have credit cards that are high or maxed out. Thanks to this advice, the burdens of credit are less onerous for people who may be overleveraged.

The next topic was taken up by Al, and that is the topic of how politics influences finances. Al noted that financial planners aren’t interested in the colors red or blue, just the color green. He discussed the different trends planners would notice based on who is in power, and how politics always has a correcting mechanism with the markets. Each of the experts noted how they were born in other countries, and that the opportunity provided by America is what makes our country, and by extension our economy, so great.

Outsourcing was discussed next by Michael. He noted how outsourcing provides opportunities for business owners – especially those starting out – to reduce expenses while getting high levels of professional services. The savings allows these business owners to invest in their infrastructure and create a system in which their business is on stable footing without having to commit as much capital to gain those professional services.

Ravi tackled the last subject, which is fraud. She discussed the problems debit cards present with fraud, and how business owners are subject to different rules than regular customers. She described one of the different check fraud methods as well. Her advice about using credit cards and paying them off was re-emphasized, as the credit card companies have more tools to fight fraud than those with debit cards.

At this point, all participants provided closing remarks. To learn more about how to connect with financial services, check out  NETWORKLEADEXCHANGE.COM. To see the panel’s entire discussion, click here.