Good Financial Planning Depends on Good Data

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Overview:

Tim Bickmore is Co-Founder and Director of Financial Planning at LBW Wealth Management and Co-Founder at Hyphaway, a modern financial planning software with data at its core.

In this episode, Tim shares why proper data architecture and classification is hard to get, how that impacts financial planning, common mistakes made by advisors and clients in financial planning, tax optimization strategies, the future of AI in financial planning, and more.

Please enjoy our conversation with Tim Bickmore.

Links:

The Investipal Podcast is produced by ⁠⁠www.investipal.co⁠⁠. Past guests include Peter Lazaroff, Douglas Boneparth, Jamie Hopkins, Tyrone Ross and many more.

Follow us on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/investipal⁠⁠ | ⁠⁠www.linkedin.com/in/cameronhowe/; Twitter: www.twitter.com/camhowe16 | www.twitter.com/investipal; Tiktok: www.tiktok.com/@camhowe16 | www.tiktok.com/@investipal; or Instagram: www.instagram.com/investipal/

Find Tim Bickmore at:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/timbickmore/

https://twitter.com/bickmore57

https://twitter.com/LBWWealth

https://www.linkedin.com/company/lbw-wealth-management/

https://www.facebook.com/lbwwealth

https://www.lbw-wealth.com/

https://www.instagram.com/lbwwealth/

https://www.youtube.com/@lbwwealth

https://www.hyphaway.com/

Key Takeaways

  1. Poor data, like data misclassification, leads to poor financial planning.
  2. Personal finance applications have improved data organization and visualization, but they often lack the ability to interpret, utilize and forecast the data effectively.
  3. The future of financial planning involves the integration of AI and generative models, but the accuracy and reliability of these models depend on the quality of the data they source.
  4. Having a good financial plan with the foundations taken care of (emergency fund, etc.) allows you to live and spend more freely, and potentially increase happiness.
  5. Tax optimization strategies should be tailored to individual circumstances, and it is important to consider the long-term impact of financial decisions.
  6. Emergency funds and lines of credit can be used strategically depending on cash flow and interest rates.

Timestamps

00:00 Introduction

00:32 Advisors' Mistakes in Financial Planning

04:33 The Future of Personal Finance Applications

06:34 Data Classification and Analytics in Financial Planning

08:52 The Emotional Reaction to Financial Planning

09:01 Balancing Spending and Saving

10:39 Common Mistakes in Retirement Planning

12:41 Spending and Saving for Different Generations

13:34 The Influence of Digital Payments on Spending Habits

14:03 The Importance of Awareness in Financial Planning

15:53 Tax Optimization Strategies

20:52 Managing Unexpected Windfalls

21:29 Tax Optimization for Small Business Owners

24:13 Managing Tax Refunds

26:53 Mitigating Tax Bills and Positioning Refunds

28:58 Using Emergency Funds and Lines of Credit

31:06 Conclusion

Transcript

Cameron Howe

Hi everyone, welcome back to the Investipal podcast. I have Tim Bickmore with me today. Tim is the co-founder of LBW Wealth Management out of Madison, Wisconsin. And he's also the co-founder of Hyphaway, a financial planning application for advisors so they can better understand their clients' financial picture. Tim, it's nice to see you again.

Tim Bickmore

Good to see you too, Cameron. I appreciate me allowing me to jump on the podcast. So I had to tell it. I said, I'm excited to talk. We got a lot to talk about.

Cameron Howe

We do, we do. So, you know, as a CFP yourself and, you know, building up a, a financial planning tool, you know, maybe a natural starting place. What, what do you think advisors typically get wrong when they're building out a financial plan for their clients?

Tim Bickmore

Great question. And it's very basic and it's kind of the problem in which our financial planning tools have. And a lot of that actually comes down to income and expenses, which is like the most basic thing you can think about. Typically speaking, in order to gather that information, most advisors at this point would just ask, they'd be like, hey, Cameron, how much do you make and how much do you spend? And then I use that and plug it into my financial planning situation or calculator, whatever it may be, to then start trying to produce my results. So if you kind of think about it in a basic way, if you were to start a business, most people have QuickBooks zero, to create a general ledger, which your general ledger is made up of all your transactions on your credit card, bank accounts. So in a sense, we're missing that for clients. And the reason why I think that's such a big deal is that most clients are actually wrong.

Typically on the expense side most clients will come to you and they will know their mortgage They will know reoccurring expenses maybe like a subscription, but they forget that they went and spent on this luxury good They bought a new couch. They have all this other stuff. And so they underestimate their expenses So if you miss that detail, right that little detail and you were to plug it in we are growing Those expenses at a growth rate. So you're compounding that inaccuracy over time

It is a big miss. I will say though, to make sure you clean all of that, make sure you get the accurate, that is a difficult thing to do and it's why it's not typically done today because it's a lot of work to actually clean that up, make sure it's right.

Cameron Howe

So is that an area you think like, I know Mint has been discontinued now, which is very unfortunate, but is that an area you think that like the personal finance applications were able to get right that a traditional advisor didn't have necessarily access to before?

Tim Bickmore

Yeah, I would say yes and no in the sense that my yes is like, sure, you can go ahead and you can upload your stuff. If you talk to anybody, let's say who used mint simplified, uh, rocket money, what the biggest pain point they will say is, I don't want to go clean my transactions because that's what you have to do. In order for that system to work, the transactions need to be categorized appropriately or the information then being visualized in the analytics is incorrect.

So that is a huge pain point for most, you know, PFNs. And it's a pain point for me on how I do my planning. So that's really what we've tried to solve on the Hyphaway end is part of that is having a data pipeline to accurately clean and organize data from different sources. But it is, that is something that's where I would say, no, they have missed. In addition to that, it's like a doctor, right? I was talking to one of our data engineers and she helps in the health tech world.

And she's like, oh, it's like going to getting your A1C test as a doctor. Right. I'm like, I don't even know what an A1C test is. What does that even mean? So like meant in these PFMs may give you good data, but what do you do with it? You're just staring at information that you don't know how to interpret and utilize. In addition to that, it's a static picture. So it's like, OK, Cameron, here's where you're at. But what you're then going to ask is, well, what happens if I do something different? What if I buy that new house? What if I change my apartment?

What if I get a secondary home? Right, and so then that forecasting or micro forecasting or modeling is also not really a part of a lot of these systems, which is really what people want. They don't want to see today and historical. They want to see today and what's happening moving forward in my line of work. So it's a little bit of yes, a little bit of no, in my opinion.

Cameron Howe

So I guess, you know, like the V1 of the personal finance applications were very, you know, current, like this is what you're spending today or what you've spent historically. There wasn't a lot of insights per se. I remember there was insights in how you spent your money, but there wasn't a lot of predictability. So where do you see that going in the future? Do you see, you know, like the rise of AI, it is becoming a lot more forward looking and in helping you plan.

Tim Bickmore

So AI is an interesting topic in itself, like generative AI. So generative AI came out and everyone's like, it's gonna revolutionize what financial planners do. And I agree, it will. I think it's here to stay. I think LLM models and everything, and we are utilizing some of that on the back end, are extremely important. However, what's funny about it is, if you understand LLMs, they are sourcing data from somewhere, and they're only as good as the data that they are sourcing.

So again, if you are not organizing and making sure that data is clean and accurate, the overall output that you'll receive from this LLM may actually cause more harm than good. And it's really difficult that you have to make sure that data architecture and that data that you're sourcing is appropriate and right. In addition, it's kind of a black box. Advisors from a regulatory and compliance issue, like this is actually coming out and coming forward where it's like, I have to prove how that calculation is being used. I have no idea how it's actually happening, but I am reliable for that action. So it's, it's very, it's new, like everything. It's very new and it's coming. Do I think in 10 years that we're going to have some really awesome features that use generative AI 100%, but as our, at the HIFA way end, as our CDO will say is, but it's all about the data. And you have to make sure that your data architecture and your data layer is set up appropriately to make all the fun things that people want happen. So it's something you have to be very conscious of.

Cameron Howe

Yeah, I mean, that's the classic garbage in garbage out, right? If you can't really trust anything, if you're feeding it bad data. So with that, then you guys are, is Hyphaway very much focused in on the, the data classification side, like properly mapping out to your point before on like what Mint might get wrong is I have to go in and manually key all those transactions and map them back to like a category. Is that really like what you guys have been focusing in on with Hyphaway?

Tim Bickmore

Yeah. So, yeah, it would be the cornerstone or the beginning, right? So it's all about making sure that we can get that personal general ledger. The other thing that I think is important is that we are agnostic from a standpoint of where we capture that data, so we could bring it in from any aggregator and or bring it in from as basic as a CSV file. So we've kind of started from the very bottom of what information that we receive to be able to do our own classifications or data model on the backend to organize and clean it.

That's a huge piece to the puzzle. It's hard, it's painful, we're getting pretty good at it. But then the next piece isn't just like, okay, now we have the data, now what do you do with it? So what we have built is then the analytics on top of that. And it's not just to say, hey Cameron, here's where you're at. We've also been able to integrate that data. So like I mentioned, you may have your historical information, but now what we're doing is we're integrating projections on top of that actual historical information.

So it's that integration piece also that's actually really powerful that drives a lot of that helping with decision-making and understanding what's going on, which is nice because we're no longer just relying on what the client thinks or says we are now actually becoming more data-driven and making data-driven decisions instead of just saying like, Oh, I think, and that produces all sorts of things. That's when you start getting into predictive being more predictive, proactive, you're being able to now track certain things.

And the way that you can interact with the information and then also how the client can interact, that's where all of a sudden things start to become more efficient and more scalable, which actually provides more value for the advisor. Because at the end of the day, our job is to interpret information. And that's what I want advisors to do. I want them to interpret it. I don't want them to have to do all the leg work to get it together. It's like, let's just have you, it's like a doctor, show me the sheet and I'll tell you what's good and what's not.I don't want them to have to do all that back end work. So we're trying to take that away.

Cameron Howe

So being a planner yourself, what is the typical emotional reaction to people when they actually see like, if you if I showed you my expenses, I would probably remove my Uber Eats bills and would not want you to look at that.

Tim Bickmore

Yeah. You know, Cameron, it's so funny you bring that up. It's like, it's usually like a taken back. So the first thing that I always get from clients is, Tim, you're gonna tell me I spend too much. My next answer to that is why? Or like, why do you think that? And what's nice is that sometimes people think they're spending too much. And that's not necessarily the case. I'm a very big believer in relative, right? Everyone is relative.

You have to, it depends on what you're trying to achieve. So if someone's like, hey Tim, I'm gonna work till I'm 100. I'm always gonna have an income stream. I don't really care. I'm good, I don't need retirement. Great, spend your money, right? We don't need to necessarily save. And where are you spending it? So it's all kind of aligned to what the client wants, but everybody tells me like, oh, you're gonna get mad at me because I spent too much. To be honest, Cameron, sometimes I'm like, you need to spend. Like I do have some clients where I'm like, you're not spending enough, you actually need to increase your spend. And they're like, okay, I guess I'll go and do that new roof or I'll go do that. And like, you should have done that five years ago. So what it really allows is awareness. Like we talk about that all the time is the first step is being aware. People just aren't even aware because you have Venmo, you have a credit card, you have a bank account, no one's paying attention. And when that awareness kicks in, that then allows for, oh, is this really what I want? Is this really what we should be doing?

And sometimes it's like, look, Cameron, yeah, do the Uber Eats. Like no big deal. It's okay. And then what that allows emotionally is guilt free spend. And that allows for happiness, right? It's an increase in happiness because now you're like, I can actually do this. So instead of it just being intuitive, it's actually now backed by some sort of information that you're comfortable with because you're hitting your cashflow ideas, you're hitting your goals. Like, you know, at the end of the day, we've got to live life too, you know, got to prepare for today and tomorrow. And it's, it's a balance.

Cameron Howe

Yeah, it's very interesting. I guess like when you tell your clients to go spend their money, is that is like you're trying to increase their happiness, essentially.

Tim Bickmore

Well, it's yes, it's what I usually will tell. So like the increase in spend and I have, like I said, I have some clients like this where I say, are you doing everything that you want? Because if you're not, if you are delaying things, right? If you're delaying a purchase, you should not be doing that. You know, and it's funny. If you look at it specifically, I'll say for the United States and our culture, right? Is we are geared to save, okay.

You do that for approximately 65 years. And then one day someone comes to you and goes, okay, now it's time to spend. In literally a day. Now, psychologically speaking, do you think that's an easy transition to actually make? People freak out. They're like, no, but I gotta save. It's like, well, no, you have enough money that you can, but no, I don't. I'm not saving any money. Yeah, you're not supposed to be saving money. You're actually supposed to see your savings account come down. And they're like, no, that's not how I've done it for 65 years. Like,

Cameron Howe

Right.

Tim Bickmore

So it's providing that information that it is okay. And sometimes, to be honest, it takes a while for people to get comfortable with it because it's such a different mental shift and idea to be like, okay, you're right, I think I can do it. And once we get them in the habit, then they do start doing those things and they're not delaying things. Delayed gratification is great, but at some point it can actually be detrimental too. There is a balance.

Cameron Howe

See, I find that very interesting. I wonder if it's a generational thing. Like, would you say your clients are on average a bit older?

Tim Bickmore

No, actually, we do have we have a range, but the vast majority actually are in range from the ages of 30 up to 45, 50 years of age. And I have similar like that one specific conversation was with an elderly client. But what the conversation I have with younger clients is that it's okay, you're spending that much.

Cameron Howe

That's interesting though. I guess like, you know, to hire a planner means like you are taking at least the first step of thinking about your financial future because we had a guest on a while ago, his name's Adam and he had a big TED Talk and it was going viral and he was talking about like monopoly money on like, you know, our perception of to your point earlier, like Venmo or whatever sort of like Apple pay you may have,you're losing the effect of spending your money now, because it's so easy. I'm just like moving my phone six inches. I'm not actually like going to the bank, taking out a thousand dollars for this purchase anymore. So I wonder if, you know, it is interesting. You mentioned like, you do have a younger clientele, because I would have thought that'd be the opposite. But like even the younger generation, the more like digitally native, like the Gen Z's of the world, if they're ending up spending way too much.

Tim Bickmore

Yeah.

Cameron Howe

Like I'm on the younger end of the millennial spectrum and I feel like I spend too much and I like refuse to actually dig into my finances for like the scare factor.

Tim Bickmore

Yeah, scared. Yeah. I mean, and sometimes the answer is, yes, we need to cut back. But sometimes the answer is no, it's okay, because you have the capacity. So I'll use an example of one of my younger clients. And I will say a lot of our clients are what would be considered like high earners, not rich yet, right? So they have a decent amount of income that's coming through. And not everybody has the luxury of that, like just to say that out loud. But some of my clients have that. And what we'll do is we'll assess and it will be like, okay.

Here's what we're spending, but we're saving. We're maxing out our 401ks. We're maxing out our IRAs. We're also putting X in here. And yeah, you're still spending X amount on clothing. That's okay. Where it becomes not okay is, oh, but now you want to off-ramp that high paying job because it's too stressful. Now, how do we figure out to make sure that we off-ramp that? That's where we go and be like, can maybe we need to cut back on our spending to maybe have a level that's not as high because what you're making right now isn't sustainable.

So it comes back to also understanding where you are as an individual and where your goals are aligned. Right. And that's where you can start saying, OK, maybe we cut back. But if they're like, no, I'm secure, I feel good, it's consistent, then I would say, well, then don't stop doing that. Right. Like you need to you need to also spend money. And we are still hitting all of these things to prepare for tomorrow. And here are how and here's why I think I'm not just telling you that to tell you that.

I actually see it in the numbers based off the way that we go about our planet.

Cameron Howe

Interesting. Is there any other, you know, common mess ups by individuals when they're thinking about planning for retirement?

Tim Bickmore

Oh, absolutely. Um, so talking about my, my younger clients, um, the biggest thing I like to tell them is you planning for retirement is, uh, it's very hard because it, I always explain it as an analogy is like, Hey, I'm a sniper, right? And I'm trying to figure out your time, but I'm a sniper and a mile away is my target, AKA their goals. And that target's moving really fast across the space. And I have to anticipate wind obstacles, right? And that's what we're trying to do to retire. Right. And.

What I say is life happens fast. Things change. Everyone always pushes back on me like, no way, Tim, things don't change that quick. No, it does. And I watch it happen daily. Things will change. New kids, all of a sudden we're pregnant. Oh wait, now my job is no longer secure. And so what I always like to say is I don't like to plan. I like to position. How do we position you for the unknowns, right? To make sure that you are secure if you no longer have that job. If this happens, that positioning,

Allows for you to get to your end goal or your quote-unquote plan. So the way I like to articulate it is it's iterative decision-making Over time makes up your financial plan and sometimes people will then pick it take it back So then we're intentful on making decisions today Which will affect tomorrow and being very aware of what that may be. I would also say man People don't understand the value of the dollar. They just don't because what it is it's different forever

Like you may value Uber Eats. Someone else may value cooking their own food. And so that means your spending is looks, your spending patterns are very different. But what is really hard is society, influencers, pushes people to say, you should spend your money here. This is where you're gonna get happiness. And so I always encourage my clients pick, what do I want and what is important to me? Because when we look through budgeting, cutting expenses, they're like, oh, I'll just cut that. And I'm like,

Okay, cut back dining. So how often do you go on a date night with your spouse? Oh yeah, we probably do that like once a week. It's like really important to us. Oh, so that's, we're gonna cut there. Well, that's not cutting food, that's cutting that experience or that relationship-based building. Is that really feasible? Oh, I guess that's a good point. So it's like really understanding what you're doing and why. And then if it's like, oh, actually, we don't really like to go to dinner, we just kinda just do it, got in the habit. Great, cut it away. It's easy, right? So people always want certain things and we just have to kind of break it down and explain. Like the emotional and behavioral side is so important, but then you can back it with again, the data and information.

Cameron Howe

Another interesting question I would love your opinion on is, you know, if I think of myself, like I have money in the stock market, and I have a big expense that comes out, should I be thinking about, you know, I should throw this on a line of credit and finance if I can't, if I don't have the savings for it right now, like I should put it on a some sort of debt vehicle rather than cashing my equity out of the market and losing on, you know, the compound interest effect that builds over time.

Tim Bickmore

Good question. So the way that I would answer that very simply, and this is what we actually, one of the ratios we created at Hyphaway is what I would call an emergency fund sustainability rate or a cash recovery rate. So what I would want to see, right. And this is kind of applying to what we would like a HELOC strategy is what you're saying. Like, let's say I have a home equity line of credit that I could pull off of instead of selling my investment. So to answer that question, you are correct.

Is that the best way to optimize? Well, of course you don't have to take that hit. Maybe the market's down and we're not up. Like it can be beneficial to keep that money in the long term. We always tell clients, we really want to see five plus years in the market. Helps with market cycles. You need to have a long term vision because we don't want to go into the market and have to pull when things are down, right? Long term goes up. Short term, you're doing this (up and down). So what we would say is what is your cash recovery rate? What that rate is how much cash do you have on hand and how quickly with my excess cash flow after everything can I recover it? If it is low, meaning you have high cash flow relative to your savings, then the answer would be yes, because the way you can think about that is we'll take the HELOC and then you can aggressively pay it down with the cash flow that you have. If you are high, meaning you cannot recover your cash, I would say, Cameron, we made a mistake.

We probably need to take it out of the market because what you can't do is your cash will go down. You will then have another bill, which then will get you into more debt and you do not have cash to pay for that going forward. And you're going to get in that debt cycle and you're eventually going to sell out of that account anyways. So that's how we kind of start looking at those specific strategies. Very helpful for people with really strong cashflow, not the greatest when people are not having the strongest cash flows. We have to be a little bit more cash protective. So that's how I would.

Cameron Howe

Right.

Tim Bickmore

That's how we kind of view it.

Cameron Howe

Very interesting. And, you know, I guess, you know, turning gears a little bit, it is tax season now. Let's, if, uh, if an individual listening, they, uh, they can't afford the services of the beloved Tim Bickmore, is there, is there any way, you know, that you, you would speak more generally to an individual about how they can think about tax optimization, you know, maybe small business owners, um, or even just thinking about more of the long-term on how you can mitigate the tax bill at the end of the year. And if you do get a refund, how you can end up positioning that refund for long-term growth.

Tim Bickmore

So our position on taxes is very interesting. And I think that you should always be able to figure out the best ways to reduce your tax bill. I'm on board with that 100%. Where I would say that people need to be conscious. So you mentioned small business owners is we hear a lot. This is actually a real thing that happened over the last couple of years, a couple of years ago. We had a small business owner who did a lot of machine work. So they were doing manufacturing.

And every year their accountant would come to them and say, Hey, go buy a new machine, right, to buy that capital and to be able to reduce our tax bill. And we ended up working with him for a little bit and we were talking to him and he was like, Hey, my accountant should say I should buy this machine. And we're like, well, do you need it? No. Like, okay, well, that's probably not the smartest idea, right? Like we don't necessarily want to buy something that we're investing our capital in that's not liquid that we have to sell that we will have recapturing, you know, recapturing depreciation. So the whole point is that.

People want to be so tax efficient that sometimes they actually become less tax efficient through other means and other ways. Is that investment actually going to make sense? So when we're looking at small business owners, we want to do everything we can to reduce that bill that makes sense. Sometimes it does make sense to pay the tax. It just does. And that's usually sometimes coming from CPAs, but it's just being very aware of what are we really doing? Do we actually need that new trust?

Do we really need it or not? Do we need that cash to be able to support other things going forward? So overall, what I struggle with is that people get so tied up and just wanting to reduce their tax bill that they actually start making mistakes in other ways and it doesn't make sense. So I always cautious people to be like, okay, let's be efficient about it. Or the tax code is very gray. Sometimes you're playing in too much of a gray space, like you have to be aware that sometimes things are promoted and it doesn't apply to you or it doesn't apply to your family or it's a little bit more in the gray area. Some CPAs are aggressive. Some CPAs are conservative. So it's just being very much aware of your situation and what you're doing and doing some of the basics like contributing to an IRA to get your tax deductibility. Great for today. You can maybe argue that depending on your income stream, a Roth may make sense. You may not lower your tax bill today, but in the future is where you're going to see that benefit. So sometimes getting clients to understand of when am I going to receive said tax advantage is also something that is really important. So I just that's what it's my more of a cautionary tale of like paying attention, asking the right questions and knowing what.

Cameron Howe

So you're saying I shouldn't go and buy a G-Wagon for the sake of buying a brand new G-Wagon because I got a tax. All right, I can reduce my tax bill.

Tim Bickmore

Yeah, yeah, and you know, funny you bring up a G-Wagon and why people bring up G-Wagons because it actually fits within a certain tax code where you can write it off within your vehicle because of the weight of said vehicle. And if you need it, great, make sure you also know that it can be applied to your business and all that other fun jazz. But you know, yeah, it can be. But yes, you just have to be aware of it, of what the what it means.

Cameron Howe

And you know, on the on the refund side, I already probably know the answer behind this one. But you know, how would you view a unexpected windfall like getting a tax return on a few thousand bucks back from the government?

Tim Bickmore

Yeah, so tax returns. So this is where our planning really comes into handy. A, we always make sure tax returns are what I would call cherry on top. We always exclude them as income. I don't ever want people to bank on a tax return because it can fluctuate year over year depending on the individual and the family and the household. But let's say it does come through. We are always starting from the basics. Is your emergency fund sustainable for based off where you want? If the answer is no, put it to cash. If the answer is yes, okay.

Do we have any big projects or anything that are coming up that we need to use it for? Remodel, X, Y, and Z. The answer is, nope, we're good, great. Move to the next rung. At that point, then it's like, great. Have we filled up all our qualified accounts? Is there a way that we can add it to a Roth, an IRA, or an individual retirement account? If so, great. Let's say that we've maxed that out, but we haven't maxed out our 401k. We will increase our 401k contributions to suck out of our savings, to move cash from one bucket to the other.

So it kind of is just working through where is somebody in their evolution of their finances and what's going on and then making sure that we use that money as well as we can. Um, there is a big problem with emergency funds. You people need to have some sort of cash on hand. I only like to see three to six months of total spend and it depends on the consistency of income, but that is another big miss where it's like you need to have cash for those unexpected emergencies because what it does is it positions you to not have to dip into the things that you talked about, selling out of my S&P 500 index fund because I no longer can afford said bill because the water heater went out. So that's where we're always making sure we have the short term covered and then we work our way down to the longer term assets and then qualified, non-qualified, making sure we're getting our tax advantages and all of that. So that's how we would apply the framework.

Cameron Howe

Interesting. Okay. And I mean, to go back to that previous point, that we were just discussing, how would you view it? Is there a certain interest bearing? I know you have that ratio built out, but like a certain interest cost where you would say, leave the emergency fund alone, take it from the line of credit, uh, versus, you know, like let's remove taking it out of like selling an investment account, but

Tim Bickmore

Yeah.

Cameron Howe

Should I dip into the emergency fund or should I keep that there earning 5% and like dip into a HELOC that might cost me 7%?

Tim Bickmore

Yeah, that's actually a good question. I think that where you could really answer that is how quickly can we pay it down, right? So it kind of goes back to how fast can we recover it, which goes back to your cash flow, because HELOCs are typically simple interest. So they're being charged on a daily basis. It's not compounded. It's simple. And what's interesting about that is if we could pay off that HELOC quickly just due to our cash flow, right, let's say 5% money market or a money market treasury fund versus the 7%. If you did the math, you actually might squeeze out where the HELOC could make sense. If you're doing paying it off in a quick manner, the hard part when it comes to like true savings accounts versus HELOCs is the interest rates are usually pretty lockstep. And obviously loans are typically higher than what the interest bearing accounts will be. So you're hanging out there longer. You probably wouldn't make sense to do. Even when rates were low because interest for bearing accounts were so low, it didn't make that much sense either. Where it did make more sense is if you start comparing it to investments in the market, things like that, then it's like, okay, yeah, we can do this. But I would only make sure that people do it if we had the ability to really cover that liability in a quick manner where we're not gonna put ourselves into a debt situation and have to sell out anyways. So we're always trying to just balance that out.

Cameron Howe

Yeah, interesting. I always thought about it in my own head. I never had a planner, but I would rather keep that like 20K, let's say in a savings account and draw off my line of credit. And now I know I could pay that line of credit off in like, let's say two, three months, uh, just because I don't know if I'm going to have another expense come through where I would be more cashed up, but you can always flip it around and be like the heat lock will still be around.

Tim Bickmore

Yep. Exactly. I was going to say I could challenge you and be like, it wasn't the same thing if you use cash first then HELOC. However, what you're really hitting on is like, that's really more of a comfortability and stress. And I always stress that, that people want to make finance quantitative, but 100% of the time it's qualitative. Like it is so emotionally based and to rewire yourself on how you think. And sometimes you using that HELOC first makes you feel better and less stress. And I'd be like, we're getting to the same endpoint here. Like, let's do that if that makes you feel better, because you just won't stress about it. And that stress is a real thing. Like money stress is huge. It's one of the top reasons why people get divorced, right? Is money. So playing into that and understand the behavior of individuals and going back to the data point, you learn a lot about people through their data, and you learn a lot about what's going on, what helps us also communicate to our clients.

Like, hey, I get where you're coming from. I get where you're at. That makes sense. Because I can kind of see it. The data tells a story. And what's funny is the client typically tells the very same story. Like, it's very, it's very, it's cool, geeky to be like, oh, I can see what you're saying within the information. Because it creates patterns and stuff, which is fun.

Cameron Howe

Right, you could see like in January, I tried cooking at home more, and then February I'm back to my old self.

Tim Bickmore

Yeah, then we might have a conversation like, Karen, what's going on here? Like, what can we do to help mitigate that? Or if you really want to do it, nor you might be like, Hey, man, I tried. I'm just not going to do it anymore. All right. That's what you got to do. I hear you.

Cameron Howe

Yeah. I'm building a company up here, Tim. I don't have all day for this.

Cameron Howe

That's funny. Tim, maybe we'll park her there. If anyone's interested in learning more, where can they find you?

Tim Bickmore

Okay. So, we're kind of everywhere. We have a website, www.lbw-wealth.com. We're on LinkedIn, we are YouTube, the usual, like right? All of that. And then on the Hyphaway end, it is www.hyphaway.com. And right now, again, we're kind of in getting close to a closed beta, so we're not quite there yet, but we are moving forward on it. And you can follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, try to put things out, just trying to change how advisors interact with information and that data layer through that company.

Cameron Howe

Okay, wonderful. Yeah, we'll leave a link to the show notes and the show notes so we will confine that as well

Tim Bickmore

Awesome. Well, thank you, Cameron. I appreciate you having me on.

Cameron Howe

Of course, Tim's pleasure as always. We'll see you soon.

Tim Bickmore

Thanks.

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