In Perspectives

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. The truth is that while saving an additional $100 of every paycheck, paying down credit card debt and allocating a couple percent more to your 401k are all great things, the very first step in the process needs to be: knowing where you stand. Anyone can try to check off the boxes on a financial to do list with the items listed above but does that necessarily provide the most benefit?

At Legacy Trust we believe the best approach to personal financial planning is to first assess your balance sheet. I liken this process to going to a doctor for the first time. The doctor more than likely is not going to start by just giving you prescriptions for anything that could make you feel better, instead he will ask questions and make an assessment. From there the best course of action will surface and you will have a plan tailored to your specific health needs. This same premise applies to personal finances and is different for everybody, no matter the amount of wealth they have accumulated.

The single greatest benefit to assessing your personal balance sheet is that you will be able to quickly see your financial strengths and weaknesses. You will be able to answer the all-important question “Am I living within my means?” Once that question is answered you may realize that changes need to be made, whether that means paying down debt or allocating more to a retirement account. The interesting thing about this question is that it is not dependent on your asset size; rather it is dependent on your net worth and lifestyle needs. For example, take a retired executive with $3 million of assets consisting of expensive homes and cars. Odds are good that this executive has a significantly lower income stream than they did while working. Therefore, if those homes and cars are not paid off they could be in some real danger financially (think 2008), not to mention trying to meet the same lifestyle needs as when they were fully employed (entertainment, vacations, property taxes and even maintenance on multiple homes). On the flip side, take a retired school teacher who has accumulated $500k in assets with minimal liabilities. They are probably used to living a more modest lifestyle and if they continue to do so will have little to worry about in retirement. In these examples, you can see that despite having a large pool of assets the retired executive could actually face more financial danger than the retired teacher.

All of this can be illustrated by assessing your personal balance sheet. From that assessment you will be able to key in on which of the boxes, if checked, will provide the most benefit to your unique situation. We are well-versed at reviewing balance sheets and uncovering the hidden risks to reaching financial goals so please do not hesitate to call with any questions and have a great 2016!

Legacy Trust and Your Right to Financial Privacy

At Legacy Trust we have established policies and practices that respect the financial privacy of all individuals who use our trust company. We believe it is critical to comply with the laws and regulations designed to secure your financial privacy. Your relationship with us as our client is very important to us, and we want you to understand our policies and practices about handling your information.

This Policy applies to you – This Policy applies to our relationships with individual clients who inquire about or obtain products or services from us for personal, family and household purposes.

Strict security measures – We take the security of information very seriously. We have established security standards and procedures to prevent access to client information. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to guard client information.

Limited employee access – We have established procedures to limit employee access to information to only those employees with a business reason for accessing such information. We educate our employees about the importance of confidentiality and client privacy. We take appropriate disciplinary measures to enforce employee responsibilities regarding client information.

Why we collect information – We collect information about you to:

  • accurately identify you;
  • protect and administer your records, accounts and funds;
  • help us design or improve our products and services;
  • understand your financial needs;
  • save you time when you apply for new products and services; offer you quality products and services; and comply with certain laws and regulations;

We collect information – We collect and maintain your personal information so that we can provide investment management and other services to you. The types and categories of information that we collect and maintain about you include:

  • Information we receive from you to open an account or provide investment advice or other services to you (such as your home address, social security number, telephone, financial information and investment objectives).
  • Information that we generate to service your account or from our transactions with you (such as account statements and other financial information).
  • Information on your transactions with nonaffiliated third parties.

We have established procedures so that the financial information we collect is accurate, current and complete. We are committed to work with you to promptly correct any inaccurate information.

Our selective sharing of information – In order for us to provide investment management and other services to you, we do disclose your personal information in very limited instances, which include:

  • Disclosures to nonaffiliated companies as permitted by law, including those who help us service your account (such as providing account information to brokers and custodians).
  • Other limited disclosures as permitted by law, for example, required reports to government entities.

We do not share your information with third parties for marketing purposes. We do not sell your information.

Former clients – If you end your relationship with us, we will continue to adhere to the privacy policies and practices described in this notice.


Important Information About Procedures For Opening A New Account

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify and record information that identifies each person who opens an account.

What this means for you: When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver’s license or other identifying documents.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause; however, federal law prohibits us from waiving these requirements.

You are leaving the Legacy Trust website

Legacy Trust makes no representation concerning nor is it responsible for the quality, content, nature, or security of any hyperlinked site. This link is provided as a convenience and does not imply any investigation or endorsement of the site.


Do not send sensitive information over email. If you need to communicate sensitive information, please call us at 616.454.2852


The views expressed on Linkedin do not necessarily reflect the views of Legacy Trust