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The Risks Of Traveling Home

I love seeing my family and friends when I return to my hometown for a visit....

William Walker
June 28, 2016

Planning a Wedding? Don’t Forget the Unromantic Stuff!

Now that the big day is just over a couple months away, we have a lot of the wedding plans set – we have a reception hall, a church, a priest, music, etc.  This is the fun stuff that most people think about, but how many people think about the not-so-fun and totally unromantic stuff?

Jessica Schilling
June 21, 2016

Legacy Trust Investment Process

Ever wonder what the investment process looks like at Legacy Trust?  In this video, Laina Mills explains how Legacy Trust’s advisory team comes together to tailor customize strategies for each person’s unique situation.

Tom Werkman
June 14, 2016


Someone or something is trying to send me a message....

Tom Blower
June 07, 2016


You know what is said about change; that it is inevitable....

Joanie Reminga
May 31, 2016

Financial Advice For Young Professionals

As a young professional still in my 20’s, I thought I would shed some light on what I am doing to better my financial position.

Brian Balke
May 24, 2016

The News Of The Day Usually Does Not Tell The Full Story

When we meet with our clients to discuss their portfolio positioning and performance, an important part of the conversation is a review of current economic conditions.

Laina Mills
May 17, 2016

Your Tax Return And Its Relationship To Your Investments

At Legacy Trust, we believe it is possible we will be in a low return environment for some time to come....

Brian Moore
May 10, 2016

Prince Didn't Have A Will - Don't Be Prince

Being a Minnesota native, my first thought on hearing about Prince’s passing was “how can this be?! Is it a horrible hoax?”

Jessica Schilling
May 03, 2016

Legacy Trust Announces Celebrity Judges for Art Competition. Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein Will Speak at the May 11 Event

Five Michigan celebrities will serve as judges for the Legacy Trust Award Collection, a statewide competition for adult artists with disabilities in advance of ArtPrize.

Legacy Trust
April 28, 2016

The Government Takes Fiduciary Standard to Main Street

Some of you may or may not be aware that the Department of Labor just published the final rules of an important piece of regulation called “Fiduciary”; Conflict of Interest Rule—Retirement Investment Advice.

Tom Werkman
April 26, 2016

Thinking Long Term

One of the most important aspects of investment success....

Hunter Lewis
April 19, 2016

Your Life Online – What Happens To It When You’re Gone? New Law In Michigan Answers This Question

Michigan legislators just recently passed the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act.  This new law provides you with the ability to name someone that can have access to your digital assets....

Jessica Schilling
April 12, 2016

Institutional Investment Management For Foundations And Endowments

Investors can be broadly broken down in to two classes:  individuals and institutions.  While the distinction between individuals and institutions is self-evident, the category of “institutional investor” is quite diverse....

Laina Mills
April 05, 2016

Local Lunch Extravaganza: The Downtown Market

In an effort to broaden our restaurant options, I have decided to switch our monthly “Burger Blog” to be focused on local, unique cuisine.

Brian Balke
March 29, 2016

A Personal Perspective on LTAC

As the registration period for the seventh annual Legacy Trust Award Collection (LTAC) competition is now underway, we felt it would be timely to bring forward our CEO’s original post from 2015 providing his motivation behind the creation of LTAC.

William Walker
March 28, 2016

What Do You Do And For Whom?

At Legacy Trust, we provide wealth management, trust and family office services to individuals and families in West Michigan, designed to meet the needs of our current and prospective clients.

Tom Blower
March 22, 2016

Meeting Financial Goals In Today's Challenging Fixed Income Environment

In the years following the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, central banks around the globe....

Laina Mills
March 15, 2016

Fido Gets The Family Fortune - Are Pet Trusts For Real?

I’m sure you’ve heard the stories or have seen the headlines about the eccentric multi-millionaire that left their $13M fortune to their beloved cat Tommaso....

Jessica Schilling
March 08, 2016

It Is Prime Phishing Season

Around tax time each year we are reminded about how critical it is to be vigilant in protecting confidential personal information.

Melanie VanderHoff
March 01, 2016

Lemonade Out Of Lemons

With the recent decline in the equity market, the time is ripe to discuss how to take this opportunity to turn a “lemon into lemonade”.  

Tom Blower
February 23, 2016

Know Where You Stand in 2016

As we begin 2016, you will undoubtedly see many publications on the internet, in the news, in the paper and so forth talking about how to get your finances in order for the New Year.

Brian Balke
January 19, 2016

Investment Update on China and Market Volatility

The New Year has begun with a broad-based selloff in global equities. A few key points to bear in mind as we weather these events . . .

Laina Mills
January 08, 2016

Burger Blog 2015 Recap

As 2015 comes to a close let’s take a look at a few of the most memorable burger joints we visited throughout the year. Before we get into the winners for this year, I want to give an update on the burger blog for 2016. 

Brian Balke
December 30, 2015

What Makes Us Happy . . .

It's not what you think. 

Tom Werkman
December 29, 2015

Act Quickly – Qualified Charitable Distributions Newly Approved for Tax Savings in 2015

On December 18, 2015 President Obama completed the federal government’s Christmas gift to U.S. tax payers by signing the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015.  The PATH Act extended, many permanently, several temporary tax breaks that expired at the end of 2014 and made them retroactive to January 1, 2015.

Brian Moore
December 22, 2015

Robo-Advisor Redux

Last year at this time, I wrote a short blog titled “The Robot will see you now!”  A year later, I have revisited the robo-advisor topic, and changes within the automated financial advising space. While technology-centered robo-advisor platforms are likely to continue growing in the coming years, they are likely to never replace the value of the personal service advisory model. 

William Walker
December 22, 2015

Giving Back

We believe in giving back to our local community. As a business, we recognize we have a social responsibility to support non-profit organizations in West Michigan. Our contributions and volunteer efforts help create stronger, healthier places for West Michiganders to live and work.

Randii Smith
December 21, 2015

Red Tape is a Good Thing ... When It’s on the Corporate Trustee of Your Trust

When you name an individual to act as the trustee, whether it is a friend, family member, or a person claiming they specialize in acting as a trustee, you often times are getting one person in charge of everything without much oversight.

Jessica Schilling
December 15, 2015

Carl Jandernoa Joins the Legacy Trust Board of Directors

Carl Jandernoa, vice president of 42 North Partners, has joined the board of directors for Legacy Trust and Legacy Trust Holding Company.

William Walker
December 14, 2015

An Attitude of Gratitude

As the Thanksgiving holiday passes and we enter the Christmas season, I typically like to take time to reflect.  I, for one, feel like I have much to be thankful for.

Tom Blower
December 01, 2015

Support Local Businesses by Participating in Small Business Saturday

November 28 is Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country. Founded in 2010, this day is celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Legacy Trust
November 25, 2015

Investment Roller Coaster: Protecting Yourself from Emotional Decisions with an Investment Policy Statement

Periods of market volatility such as we experienced in August and September often bring with them a chorus of advice, reminding investors to stick with their long-term strategy rather than to make rash, emotional decisions.  (In fact, I was one such chorister on this very blog.)  Now that markets have calmed somewhat in recent weeks, I thought this would be a good opportunity to revisit the process for laying out that long-term investment strategy in the first place, and the critical factors that should drive it.

Laina Mills
November 17, 2015

Michigan ABLE Act

Another Tool in the Toolbox to Help the Family of a Loved One with Special Needs.

Jessica Schilling
November 11, 2015

The Uncertain World of Qualified IRA Charitable Gifts

It is that time of year when many people start to think about their charitable giving.  This probably explains why I have received so many recent questions about the status of the Qualified IRA Charitable Distribution (QCD) rules that have been such a source of confusion over the last several years.

Brian Moore
November 02, 2015

Wills, Trusts and Probate – Oh My!

Breaking Down an Estate Plan from Drafting to Administration.

Jessica Schilling
October 28, 2015

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

President Obama designated October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month to raise awareness of threats to the data systems that have become part of our everyday lives and to encourage each of us to take steps to safeguard those systems.

Curtis Ballast
October 22, 2015

Quan Mac Recognized as Grand Rapids Business Journal's "40 Under Forty" Class of 2015

Quan Mac has been recognized as Grand Rapids Business Journal's "40 Under Forty" Class of 2015, honoring young business and community leaders making a difference in West Michigan.

William Walker
October 14, 2015

Volatility is Not Risk

Too often these days’ market pundits, academics, and other media outlets define risk as volatility.

Hunter Lewis
October 13, 2015

Board Member Rallies Business Community to Save Downtown Christmas Tree

Charlie Secchia and John Inhulsen rallied over 40 local businesses to donate the funds needed to display this year's Christmas tree at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids. 

Legacy Trust
October 08, 2015

Laina Mills Joins Catholic Charities West Michigan Board of Directors

Legacy Trust Senior Portfolio Manager Laina Mills has joined the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities West Michigan.

Legacy Trust
October 07, 2015

Beyond the Black and White: Wealth Management is Much More than Numbers

Numbers equate to black and white. They represent the quantitative side of decision-making and only tell half of the story. At Legacy Trust, we do not shy away from the softer, intangible side of wealth planning. We embrace the human element of our work in this highly technical and sometimes complicated wealth management field. We call this qualitative data, which in many cases, is the true driver behind decision-making. True wealth management recognizes that the quantitative and the qualitative data are intertwined.

Tom Blower
September 28, 2015

Legacy Trust Promotes from Within

Brian M. Balke receives a promotion to Associate Portfolio Manager, and Hunter E. Lewis receives a promotion to Senior Research Analyst, and earns CFA® Designation.

William Walker
September 21, 2015

Burger Blog: The Winchester

The Winchester has been considered one of the main leaders in the growth of the Wealthy Street area and offers a unique dining experience with interesting food options, a rotating menu, and a fantastic selection of craft beers.

Brian Balke
September 08, 2015

Employees Donate Backpacks and Supplies to Children in Need

Legacy Trust employees participated in the Family Promise’s Back to School Backpack Campaign again this year!

Randii Smith
September 01, 2015

Senior Portfolio Manager Laina Mills in Grand Rapids Business Journal

In the news: Laina Mills joins two local professionals in a Grand Rapids Business Journal article to offer insight into recent stock market activity.

Legacy Trust
August 31, 2015

Curtis D. Ballast Joins Legacy Trust as Vice President & Operations and Compliance Manager

Ballast will have primary responsibility for all operational functions for the corporation and family office, including bank operations, compliance, technology, and oversight of third party vendors.

Melanie VanderHoff
August 27, 2015

Thoughts on Recent Market Volatility

As you know, August has brought significant volatility to the stock market with both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping 5.8% last week and another 4% on Monday. While the speed of the stock market decline has been unquestionably abrupt and difficult to stomach, we believe there are still many reasons to feel cautiously optimistic.

Laina Mills
August 25, 2015

Virginia Umlor Joins Legacy Trust as Accounting Associate

Umlor is responsible for the administration of all accounting based activity for the corporation and family office clients. 

Legacy Trust
August 25, 2015

Carl Erickson Joins the Legacy Trust Board of Directors

Carl Erickson, CEO of Atomic Object, has joined the board of directors for Legacy Trust and the Legacy Trust Holding Co.

William Walker
August 11, 2015

Using the Value in Life Insurance Policies to Manage Retirement Risk

For anyone who relies on an investment portfolio for a significant amount of their retirement income, volatility control is critical to ensuring that the portfolio will survive a long retirement.  On average, a retiree will experience 5 down years in the market during any given 20 year period.

Brian Moore
August 04, 2015

C-Connect: A New Online System for Clients

We are excited to announce a new online system for our clients. To keep pace with your expectations, Legacy Trust is offering a new web experience called C-Connect.

Melanie VanderHoff
July 29, 2015

Burger Blog Takes a Trip Up North: Art's Tavern

In the spirit of summer, I have decided to do this month’s blog on a burger joint that is located Up North on the Lake Michigan shoreline. 

Brian Balke
July 29, 2015

Don’t Let Biases Drive Your Investment Strategy

The tendency to invest disproportionately in your own country is known as home country bias and is a common inclination for investors all around the world. Note: this tendency is referred to as a bias for a reason – it can lead investors to make decisions that are in conflict with fundamentals. It is easy to understand how this bias occurs as it’s natural to be more familiar and comfortable with market conditions, political issues and public companies in your own home country. 

Laina Mills
July 22, 2015

Legacy Trust Employees Volunteer at Kids’ Food Basket

As part of our community initiative, Legacy Trust employees volunteered at Kids’ Food Basket making sacked suppers.

Randii Smith
July 20, 2015

Burger Blog: Blue Dog Tavern

This month's installment of the Burger Blog features a newer restaurant in Grand Rapid's historic Westside neighborhood. 

Brian Balke
July 01, 2015

Stephanie Erhardt Joins Legacy Trust as Sales and Marketing Manager

Erhardt will be responsible for facilitating business development activities, building company brand and market awareness, overseeing lead generation and other sales, marketing and public relations activities.

William Walker
June 24, 2015

Thomas M. Blower Joins Legacy Trust as Senior Wealth Planner

In his new role with the Grand Rapids investment and wealth-management services provider, Blower will provide sophisticated financial planning solutions, retirement income strategies, estate planning, investment portfolio management and related services for individuals and through employer-sponsored programs.

William Walker
June 18, 2015

Now It's My Turn

In this blog post, we would like to personally thank Legacy Trust co-founder, Bob Prevette. After eleven successful years, Bob will be retiring at the end of June. Please enjoy the following blog written by Bob, which reflects on his unique position in helping others plan for their futures mirrored by his own transition into retirement.

Bob Prevette
June 15, 2015

Supplemental Retirement Income: Is it Right for You?

We sat down with Tom Blower, a Senior Wealth Planner at Legacy Trust, to talk about retirement planning and supplemental retirement income.

Tom Blower
June 12, 2015

Quan Mac Joins Legacy Trust as Managing Director of Family Office Services

In her new role with the Grand Rapids investment and wealth-management services provider, Mac will primarily be responsible for managing the anchor relationships of Legacy’s Family Office platform. She will provide thought leadership in the areas of investment, estate and income tax planning strategies while collaborating in the delivery of fiduciary, philanthropic and administrative services to the firm’s current and future Family Office clients.

William Walker
June 08, 2015

Burger Blog: Logan's Alley

This month a group of Legacy Trust employees enjoyed burgers at Logan’s Alley, with a portion of the proceeds going to support the Children's Assessment Center.

Brian Balke
May 26, 2015

Cash Flow Planning: Will Your Inflows Support Your Outflows?

What was once an outlandish word became an extremely important question; what are my living expenses and can I support them?

Tom Blower
May 19, 2015

What is a Supplemental Needs Trust? Do I Need One?

Are you caring for someone that was born with a disability, or a person that has been injured in an accident and requires some extra care? Is there someone in your life that will need ongoing assistance that you would like to help provide for? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, a supplemental needs trust, sometimes referred to as a special needs trust, may be right for you and your loved one.

Jessica Schilling
May 07, 2015

Working Together to Coordinate Your Advisor Team

Are you getting the most out of your wealth management advisor? Investment Associate Brian Balke examines client-focused advisor teams vs. the 'one man show'.

Brian Balke
April 28, 2015

Are Your Heirs Prepared to Receive Your Wealth?

If passing your assets to your heirs is important to you, I recommend that you consider reading the book Preparing Heirs:  Five Steps to a Successful Transition of Wealth and Values”, by Roy Williams and Vic Priesser.  I had the pleasure of reading it recently and found the book to be a very interesting study of the factors that determined the success or failure of 3,250 different family wealth transfer plans from across the globe.  The authors spent significant time interviewing each of the families about their planning and defined plan success as the ability to keep the family wealth under the control of future generations?

Brian Moore
April 22, 2015

"All In"

Both gamblers and investors share some similarities. Both risk capital in hopes or expectations of a larger sum in return. Both must also weigh the amount of capital they are willing to put at risk based upon the odds of winning and losing. 

Hunter Lewis
April 14, 2015


Legacy Trust wishes to congratulate board members Micki Benz, Steve Heacock and Bonnie Miller for being recognized for 30 years of leadership by the Center for Community Leadership.

Tom Werkman
April 09, 2015

The Short Road to Profits

In my line of work I spend a fair amount of time consuming information about the financial markets and the economy from a broad range of sources, and I am continually impressed at how this team can take what is often regarded as a dry or very technical topic and make it fun and approachable.  

Laina Mills
April 07, 2015

Burger Blog: JD Reardon’s

JD Reardon’s is a unique restaurant located on the north end of Monroe Ave. It is inside the Boardwalk Condominiums, adjacent to the courtyard and pool. Reardon’s is the home of a fantastic team trivia event on Wednesday nights that regularly attracts a number of Legacy Trust staff members.

Brian Balke
March 31, 2015

From Shirt Tails to Shirt Tails . . . What Will Your Kids Do When They Get Their Inheritance?

If you will be leaving your children a substantial sum of money, are they prepared to take on the responsibility?  Are you confident that they would be able to make it last and even make it grow to pass to future generations?  Have you shared with them how you feel about charitable giving?  

Jessica Schilling
March 24, 2015

Retirement Savings Burden of High Wage Earners

Given the experience that I have had working with high wage earners, I have uncovered a less discussed truth: they have a difficult task in order to continue their lifestyle throughout retirement.  

Tom Blower
March 17, 2015

Terri Land Joins the Legacy Trust Board of Directors

West Michigan business leader Terri Land has joined the board of directors for Legacy Trust and the Legacy Trust Holding Company.

William Walker
March 12, 2015

Some Important Investment Truths

As much as we hear talk of the "new normal" from prominent investment personalities, we believe that it's just another version of that fateful proclamation heard just before the tech bubble burst in the late 90s - "it's different this time".  The fact of the matter is that the same fundamental principles that have governed prudent investing over the long run are just as important today as ever.  Perhaps even more so.

Bob Prevette
March 10, 2015

Phishing Scams on the Rise

Phishing is the act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be a legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that could be used for identity theft.

Randii Smith & Melanie VanderHoff
March 03, 2015

Burger Blog: GP Sports

GP Sports offers a large menu sure to satisfy any craving, from sweet potato fries to Buffalo wings to a homemade pizza. They also offer a fantastic burger selection, made specifically to your liking with toppings ranging from the traditional olive mix to jalapenos and even pineapple chunks.

Brian Balke
February 25, 2015

The strategy of family extracurricular activities

Do families have the opportunity to reduce the college debt burden on their children by rethinking and redirecting some of their "priorities?"

Brian Moore
February 17, 2015

Diversification, revisited

Diversification remains a cornerstone of portfolio risk control even in years when the most traditional asset classes do the best.

Laina Mills
February 11, 2015

The Realities of Student Loan Debt

$1,200,000,000,000. That’s a lot of zeros. That’s also our country’s nationwide student loan debt. Student loan debt has recently passed both auto loans and credit card debt, but this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. 

Laura Drabczyk
February 04, 2015

Jessica M. Schilling joins Legacy Trust as Account Executive

Jessica M. Schilling has joined Legacy Trust as an account executive.

William Walker
January 29, 2015

Burger Blog: J. Gardella's Tavern

Gardella’s is home to a fantastic lunch and dinner menu, carrying a range of food options making it nearly impossible to leave hungry.

Brian Balke
January 27, 2015

"You're not the boss of me!"... What you need to consider when naming a family member as the trustee of your trust

Have you thought about how your family might treat each other when you’re gone?  It’s not a fun topic to consider, but a necessary one.  They may get along great now, but I speak from experience that when it comes to dividing up your stuff after you are gone, all bets are off.  This is reason number one that you should consider naming a professional trustee. 

Jessica Schilling
January 20, 2015

Keep Your Eye on the Long-Term Strategy

The hallmark of a diversified portfolio is that at any given time, some asset classes will be in favor and some will be out.  Well-crafted economic and market forecasts play a key role in identifying opportunities and risks that skilled investment managers can tactically utilize, but the foundation of a high-quality diversified portfolio remains crucial to long-term success.

Laina Mills
January 13, 2015

Burger Blog: 2014 Recap

As 2014 draws to an end, I thought it would be fun to retrace our steps and highlight some of our favorite burger joints from throughout the year. I have broken out three categories: best atmosphere, most eccentric burger and favorite burger.

Brian Balke
December 30, 2014

How is a Great Investment Manager Like a Great Chef?

Legacy Trust designs and implements high quality, well-diversified portfolios and employs great investment managers to assure that only the best ingredients are brought to the table.

Bob Prevette
December 17, 2014

Legacy Staff Stocks Family Promise Christmas Store

The Legacy Staff stepped up to provide over 60 stockings and stocking stuffers to the Family Promise Christmas Store, where parents can shop for Christmas presents for their children.

Randii Smith
December 12, 2014

The Robot will see you now!

The evolution of technology over the past decade is drastically changing the landscape for advice-centered businesses. And now those who peek into the future of financial services are warning that advisors must evolve their business models in order to compete with the emergence of online portfolio management platforms, commonly referred to as “Robo-Advisors.” 

William Walker
December 09, 2014

Putting It All Together

I have been with Legacy Trust now for just over two years and thought I would share some of what I have learned. I will walk you through what I experienced with the first client relationship that I’ve had the opportunity to serve since the beginning of their engagement with Legacy Trust. 

Brian Balke
December 04, 2014

Burger Blog: HopCat

The bar is best known for its beer, but the food will also put a smile on your face.

Brian Balke
November 25, 2014

One Man's View on Money

When it comes to wealth planning, it is easy for some of us to become consumed with the preservation and accumulation of assets, rates of return and cash flows.  We perceive the more we accumulate, the better prepared and happier our will future be.

Tom Werkman
November 20, 2014

Important Considerations for a Trustee

It seems that I have had an unusually large number of conversations recently about how to choose a trustee for a trust.  Therefore, I felt this might be a good time to discuss some important considerations when faced with this decision.  Since the trustee will manage your assets when you are no longer able, it is a decision that should come with significant thought.  The trustee will need a broad set of skills to be successful and they must be someone who will always act in the best interest of your beneficiaries.  

Brian Moore
November 12, 2014

The Changing World of Payments

The recent wave of mobile payments on smart phones should be welcomed by those worried about security. Unlike traditional plastic credit cards, most mobile payment apps do not store your personal information in the application itself. Instead, they are able to generate a unique code that is related to each transaction and/or your device, which is then relayed to your credit card company so that you are charged the appropriate amount. The card and personal information is never exposed and if your phone is lost or stolen all payments can be halted remotely so no damage is done.

Hunter Lewis
November 04, 2014

Burger Blog: Bagger Dave's

Bagger Dave’s is famous for burgers, from turkey burgers to double patty behemoths to whatever burger your imagination can fathom. 

Brian Balke
October 28, 2014

Don't Overlook This Tax Saving Opportunity

Twice in the past several weeks I have encountered a tax planning opportunity that was missed by families caring for a parent with diminished mental ability or confronting other life changes. 

Bob Prevette
October 23, 2014

Active vs. Passive Investing

It seems like all we hear about today from the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and other market media outlets is the attack on active management and the support for passive management (indexing). This conversation really took off last year when the S&P 500, Russell 2000, and other major indices hit record highs while in some cases active management just did not keep up. That trend has continued over the better part of this year, despite the recent volatility we have experienced over the last month. So the question “Why shouldn’t I use index funds?” has become a question on every investor’s mind.

Brian Balke
October 14, 2014

The U.S. Remains an Economic Bright Spot

While we are undoubtedly in a global recovery, it is slow and uneven, with conditions varying significantly by country. A notable bright spot in the recent IMF report, however, was the updated outlook for the United States.  While many of the world’s advanced economies saw downward revisions to their growth projections, the U.S. output estimate for 2014 was actually raised by 0.5%. 

Laina Mills
October 08, 2014

Burger Blog: Z's Bar & Restaurant

What separates this burger from the rest is the BBQ sauce, it is fantastic!

Brian Balke
September 30, 2014

The Outsider in the Family

It has been almost 6 months since I joined the Legacy Trust team and I’d like to reflect on that time for my blog post, and how my role in the company is not unlike the role of running a family office.

Tom Werkman
September 25, 2014

Understanding and Managing Investment Risk

In the investment world, risk generally is related to uncertainty. It refers to the possibility that you might lose your investment, or that an investment will yield less than its anticipated return. Every investment carries some degree of risk because its returns are unpredictable. The more unpredictable its returns—the riskier the investment is considered to be.

William Walker
September 17, 2014

Lessons From Hollywood

I read an article recently about the premier episode of “Celebrity Legacies”, a television show on the Reelz channel that investigates the legacy of a different departed celebrity each week.  I was first concerned about my choice in reading material, but later realized that the discussion had some value.  This episode explored the case of James Gandolfini, who died suddenly at the age of 51, with an estimated estate of 70 to 80 million dollars. 

Brian Moore
September 09, 2014

Looking Past the Headlines

The state of the U.S. jobs market has always been watched closely by economists and financial professionals, and the current economic recovery has only served to draw closer scrutiny to the employment situation.  Although the headline unemployment number has gradually dropped to a more palatable 6% from its peak of 10% in 2009, there remains a great deal of anecdotal evidence that many potential workers continue to struggle to find opportunities, leading observers to dig deeper into the labor market to find out what’s really taking place in the U.S. economy today.

Laina Mills
September 02, 2014

Burger Blog: The Cottage Bar & Restaurant

Both the burgers and the chili are what brings people back to The Cottage because they are both truly one of a kind.

Brian Balke
August 26, 2014

Con Men, Scam Artists and Crooks, Oh My!

Judging from the number of well publicized investment swindles in recent history, it seems safe to conclude that one cannot be too careful when selecting investments or the financial advisor who will recommend them.  Despite the labyrinth of Federal and state laws designed to protect investors from illegal and unethical investment schemes, these laws have not been as successful in protecting investors from themselves.

Bob Prevette
August 19, 2014

The Walmart CPI and the Spending Power Gap

While the U.S. economic picture continues to show broad improvement, some concerning trends are emerging that could eventually lead into the next recession.  When will the next recession happen?  No one can know for sure, but my guess is it will come as a result of the continued decline in income of the middle class and working poor and the ability for their wages to keep up with inflation.

Tom Werkman
August 12, 2014

CNYK Technology and Penny Stocks

From the beginning of June 2014 to mid-July 2014 shares of CYNK Technology Corp (CYNK), a penny stock, ran up by approximately 25,000%. The run up and what caused it is still under investigation, but it was most likely due to a modern day pump and dump strategy in which a small number of shareholders market the stock as being the next hottest pick to entice traders to buy. While pump and dump schemes are nothing new, the avenues by which those committing and/or benefiting from the scheme are able to pump up the stock are changing at an exponential rate.

Hunter Lewis
August 05, 2014

Burger Blog: Stella's Lounge

Stella’s was named home of the “Best Burger in America” by GQ Magazine back in 2012, but the entire menu will make your mouth water.

Brian Balke
July 29, 2014

The Changing Face of Retirement - Some Emerging Trends

As they have with nearly every aspect of our economy and culture, the baby boomers will also rewrite the book on what retirement will look like in the foreseeable future. There is ample evidence that coping with new the retirement reality is a matter of increasing urgency in this country.

Bob Prevette
July 22, 2014

Retirement Risks You May Not Be Thinking About

In my last post I wrote about one method to protect retirement portfolios from the long term impact of market volatility, an often feared retirement risk.  However, there are other sometimes forgotten risks that can be just as devastating to a secure retirement.

Brian Moore
July 15, 2014

Understanding Benchmarks - Part 1

Benchmarks are indices used for measuring the performance of a particular strategy or total portfolio. The goal of most money managers and investors is to outperform their respective benchmark. However, caution should be exercised so as not to rely too heavily on benchmark comparisons especially over short-term investment periods.  

William Walker
July 08, 2014

The Halfway Point

In my role as investment manager I am acutely aware of market and economic milestones that mark the passage of the year.  Perhaps that is why the close of the first half of 2014 seemed to sneak up on me more than in recent years, because much of this year has so far been marked by….a lack of major events in the markets.  

Laina Mills
July 01, 2014

Legacy Trust Signs Long-Term Lease for New Office Space

Fueled by growth demands, Legacy Trust has signed a long-term lease for new office space that will double its footprint in downtown Grand Rapids and provide a more collaborative work environment for its expanding team.

William Walker
June 30, 2014

Burger Blog: Louis Benton Lounge

LB’s Lounge has a fantastic menu if you are looking for an upscale meal that won’t break the bank.

Brian Balke
June 24, 2014

Protection Against Identity Theft

Please remember the next time it takes you much longer than you feel it should to log in, it is a necessary step in today's world.  Remember, the extra time and frustration far outweighs the alternative, the theft of your identity and compromise of personal information.

Melanie VanderHoff
June 17, 2014

Portfolio Structure in the “Decumulation” Phase

59% of Americans surveyed by Gallup were worried about the sufficiency of their retirement savings.  Disappearing pension plans and concerns for Social Security have forced a reliance on 401(k)’s, IRA’s and personal savings for retirement security.  This thrusts the investment risk on to the retiree and leaves their nest egg exposed to market downturns during the critical “portfolio decumulation” period, a time when retirement savings must be turned in to an income source.

Brian Moore
June 11, 2014

Welcome to the Family: Part 1

All that we do at Legacy Trust to protect our reputation should also hold true to families with significant wealth.   Just as Legacy Trust has a brand and name that needs to be protected, so do wealthy families.

Tom Werkman
June 03, 2014

Burger Blog: Bull's Head Tavern

If you like a unique burger that might make you reach for a couple extra napkins, then this is one to try.

Brian Balke
May 27, 2014

Who Moved The Finish Line? Baby Boomers and Retirement

The baby boomer generation defies any simple description, except to say that it includes the massive number of people born after World War II, between 1946 and 1964, about 25% of the U.S. total population.  As the “boomers” have passed through each stage of life, this demographic juggernaut has had a profound effect on nearly every institution and aspect of our culture. Now the baby boomers are at it again. As the first of the baby boomers enter retirement, it comes as no surprise that the very notion of what it means to retire is being redefined.  With 10,000 boomers turning 65 every day, it appears that the traditional retirement “contract” is in the process of being rewritten.  As one of the first crop of baby boomers, I have a particularly strong interest in trying to understand and prepare for the changes to come.

Bob Prevette
May 20, 2014

Putting Investors First

The CFA Institute, a group of global leaders that work to raise the standard of professional excellence in the investment industry, recently conducted a survey that confirmed a strong need to rebuild trust in finance.  This wide-ranging study surveyed more than 2,100 individual and institutional investors in the U.S. and abroad, and found that although 73% of investors believe they have fair opportunity to profit by investing in capital markets, only 53% of investors trust investment firms to do what is right.  In response to these findings, the Institute recently launched the Future of Finance initiative as a global effort to shape a trustworthy, forward-thinking financial industry that better serves society.  

Laina Mills
May 14, 2014

Special Needs Trusts - A Personal Perspective

My wife Deborah and I are the parents of a special needs child.  Lillian, our only child, was born with significant physical and mental limitations and we have devoted our lives to assuring she is provided the highest quality of care and given all the opportunity to maximize her potential. When she turned eighteen last fall, it became apparent that we needed to be more deliberate in the planning for Lillian’s care in the event she were to outlive us.  With the guidance of a highly-qualified attorney, we established a Special Needs Trust to be funded at our death from life insurance and other estate assets.


William Walker
May 06, 2014

Burger Blog: The Cheshire Grill

"Sure to end your productivity early on a Friday."

Brian Balke
April 29, 2014

When the IRS "Likes" Your Facebook Update

The IRS may now be using sophisticated algorithms to mine for data about what you are posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media sites to make a determination if you fit the economic profile of a tax dodger. 

Tom Werkman
April 24, 2014

Legacy Staff Donates Cleaning Supplies to Family Promise

On Friday, we brought 14 buckets filled with cleaning supplies to the Family Promise office that will be distributed to families as they leave temporary housing and move onto permanent housing. We had 100% participation from our staff, which was challenged to each donate their own bucket and materials.

Randii Smith
April 21, 2014

Tom Werkman Joins Legacy Trust as Chief Operating Officer

Legacy Trust today announced that Tom Werkman has joined the organization as its first chief operating officer. 

William Walker
April 17, 2014

Things You May Not Know About Taxes

As the tax deadline approaches, I started wondering how taxation in the United States has evolved and how it compares to that of other countries.  I did a few simple internet searches and came up with the following information that I found interesting.

Brian Moore
April 15, 2014

Behavioral Finance: The Nature of Losses

So often our natural human emotions lead us to respond to negative events quickly and often rashly rather than to apply our rational side and anticipate the events that are likely to come next.  This tendency points to a key reason why it can be so advantageous to partner with an adviser when making financial decisions.

Laina Mills
April 08, 2014

Planning for Retirement - Part 1

Part one of a multi-part series on the many facets of retirement planning for financial security. 

Brian Moore & Robert Prevette
April 01, 2014

Managing Social Security - and your lottery jackpot

I was interviewed by Pete Daly of the Grand Rapids Business Journal on the pressing topic of managing Social Security. You can read my thoughts and the entire article here.

Bob Prevette
March 28, 2014

Burger Blog:The Broadway Bar & Grill

"Something that you won't soon forget." 

Brian Balke
March 25, 2014

Five years from the bottom, markets continue to look up

This week, investors are crossing a notable milestone.  March 9, 2009 proved to be the bottom of the months-long market selloff that accompanied the Great Recession.  In the five years since hitting that bottom, equity markets have rewarded persistent investors by regaining their 2007 levels and in recent months have begun to climb to new record highs.  These market gains have accompanied a climate of broadly improving economic conditions in the U.S. and abroad.

Laina Mills
March 11, 2014

Welcome to LaughFest 2014

LaughFest 2014 begins this week in Grand Rapids. As Chairperson on the Gilda's Club Board of Directors, I invite you to come out and enjoy all the events that LaughFest has to offer and get your laugh on. 

Bob Prevette
March 04, 2014

Burger Blogging and Fat Boy Burgers

As promised, the monthly burger blog has arrived. Check back the last week of each month for a review of a local burger joint. This week - Fat Boy on Plainfield Ave. 

Brian Balke
February 25, 2014

Social Security and the Time Value of Money

There are few decisions at retirement more difficult than choosing the right strategy for collecting Social Security retirement benefits. No matter their level of wealth, most of my clients start with a common goal:  “Maximize the amount I can collect over my lifetime”.  Developing a strategy to meet this goal would be easier if they could tell me exactly how long they will live, but their goal is not surprising.  Most of what we read on the topic and many of the available analytical tools are based on a similar goal.  However, I wonder if a better goal would be to develop a strategy that maximizes wealth over one’s lifetime?  For those with significant retirement resources outside of Social Security, I have found that the two goals are not always the same.

Brian Moore
February 18, 2014

Legacy Trust's Laina Mills Promoted to Vice President and Senior Investment Manager

Laina Mills has been promoted to vice president and senior investment manager of Legacy Trust.

William Walker
February 12, 2014

A journey through today’s global economy

At Legacy Trust, we often talk with our clients about the importance of a global perspective when it comes to their portfolios.  New economies continue to emerge and develop and technology has served to accelerate the cycle, creating many new investment opportunities for growth investors.  While it is easy to understand the logic behind this concept, it can be difficult to gain first-hand perspective on the realities.  I would like to share something I recently experienced that helped turn the abstract idea of the “global economy” into a flesh and blood reality for me.

Laina Mills
February 12, 2014

Legacy Staff Celebrates 10th Anniversary

The Legacy Trust staff celebrated the company's 10th Anniversary in high stakes fashion - in the kitchen. 

Legacy Trust
February 04, 2014

Welcome to our new Website

Welcome to the Legacy Trust website. The launch of this new website coincides with the 10 year anniversary of Legacy Trust. For those who have frequented our website over the past five years, you may have noted the winter image of the skier’s victory pose atop the snowy mountaintop. Given the extraordinary winter we have experienced, I find it appropriate to now be casting this image aside and replacing with new indoor images that represent the quality of our company and service team.

William Walker
January 31, 2014

Legacy Trust Celebrates 10th Anniversary

A decade ago on Feb. 4, the New England Patriots had just won the Super Bowl, two new elements were added to the periodic table and a little company called Facebook got its cyber start.

William Walker
January 28, 2014

Legacy Staff Plays Santa

Members of the Legacy staff played Santa today for a family in Grand Rapids. Brian Balke, Randii, Melanie, Sandy, Hilary and Laura loaded up two SUV’s with presents and food to deliver just in time to celebrate Christmas.

Christi Powers
December 18, 2013

Legacy Stocks Family Promise Freezers

The Legacy staff spent Veteran’s Day in their aprons volunteering at Family Promise in Grand Rapids. Melanie, Hilary, Sandy, Laura and I visited in the morning to cook up some chili and bake and frost sugar cookies.

Randii Smith
November 11, 2013

Family Promise Backpack Drive

Hardly able to see out my van windows, Laura, Brian and I delivered 18 backpacks to Family Promise in Grand Rapids today.

Randii Smith
August 14, 2013

Legacy Trust Welcomes Two New Team Members

To better serve the needs of its growing client base, Legacy Trust today welcomed two new team members.

William Walker
February 22, 2013

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