In The News
Policygenius / July 19, 2018
Insurance blog Policygenius covers the need-to-know planning aspects for prospective parents, and Steve weighs in with further detail:
Child care, health care and education are three of the biggest expenses a prospective parent faces, according to Steve Branton of Mosaic Financial in San Francisco, California.
“Developing a policy for each as a couple is a must,” he says.
AP News / July 9, 2018
Can you afford to help your kid start a business?
NerdWallet writer Liz Weston reports for Associated Press on how parents have supported many a grown child's business, only to be repaid by endangering their own retirements and darkened family dynamics. Steve notes that estate planning can help lighten the relationships between siblings down the line:
Parents don’t have to make equal distributions to each child, but may want to consider accounting for money in their wills or other estate plans. If a loan isn’t paid back, for example, it could be deducted from that child’s inheritance, says Steve Branton, a CFP® in San Francisco.
This article has been syndicated to ABC News, SF Gate, Market Watch, The Washington Post, NerdWallet, The Spokesman-Review, and New Orleans City Business.
InvestmentNews / June 28, 2018
LGBTQ advisers and clients would welcome this approach
Writer Ryan Neal offers a wealth of tips for fostering an inclusive workplace, and many of the suggestions in his article are cited to our own Steve Branton. From offering training and outreach marketing, to celebrating LGBTQ-specific events, and targeted networking with local advocacy groups, Steve's viewpoint takes both advisor and client into account.
Insurance News Net / June 12, 2018
Consumers comfortable yet terrified of risk
It's not unheard of for the level of investment-related anxiety to reach soaring heights when anticipating falling markets after a long period of growth, notes Cyril Tuohy for InsuranceNewsNet. Steve, quoted in Cyril's piece on risk, has even coined a phrase to describe it: the barbell syndrome. And it doesn't sound like a very comfortable barbell to carry:
That’s where the client, looking to capture gains before the window closes and the market falls, has too much exposure to individual stocks, but also keeps a cash hoard as a hedge against collapse.
“The person is in the middle and on either side are uneven elements,” he said.
USA Today / May 16, 2018
5 steps to ease fears over money, health in retirement
Steve is quoted throughout this article, delivering several smart ways to ease future money and health worries with a little retirement planning. Among others, this article was syndicated to MSN.
Here’s a highlight:
For his part, Branton recommends using a program that allows for sustained money withdrawals, even in a recession. “Some reductions may be recommended during a prolonged recession, but in general this type of plan should be able to sustain and provide for ongoing withdrawals despite what is happening in the larger economy,” he says.
One other tactic to consider to ease worries about withdrawing money during a bear market is to set aside 15 to 18 months of cash to cover expected portfolio withdrawals during the length of a typical recession, Branton says.
Financial Advisor IQ / May 7, 2018
Like it or not, crowdfunding is becoming a real thing—and clients want it
Interested in crowdfunding? Measure it against your personal capacity for risk tolerance. Advisors note that crowdfunding, though a hot topic, can get investors into hot water if you don’t analyze its potential risks as you would any speculative investment. Steve elaborates:
Given the newness of crowdfunding, advisor Steve Branton of San Francisco-based Mosaic Financial Partners takes a similar stance, even if he couches it in warier terms.
“We consider it a speculative investment, so it’s relevant to have a discussion as to whether or not this sort of investment is appropriate for each individual client,” Branton, whose employer manages $623 million, tells FA-IQ. “Usually this discussion involves their personal tolerance for risk, their capacity for loss of the investment and the effect of a potential loss on their other long-term goals.”
NerdWallet / May 3, 2018
New grads, this strategy could mean retiring sooner
Even if the rewards are delayed, they are more powerful if new grads start saving for retirement earlier. It’s tough to think long-term with your paycheck if you have immediate needs, but our own Steve Branton emphasizes how the investment horizon of a younger person automatically puts them on a winning path to retirement.
“Time is a huge factor,” says Steve Branton, a certified financial planner with Mosaic Financial Partners in San Francisco. “Assuming an 8% return, a 35-year-old would have to save twice as much as a 25-year-old and still wouldn’t catch up.”
PrimeRates Blog / March 5, 2018
How to get a personal loan
Steve cautions writer Emily Starbuck Gerson that personal loans are only smart financial moves for people with specific short-term, cash-need circumstances, who have the income to cover ongoing monthly payments. Here’s a highlight:
While you may be able to qualify for a loan with less-than-stellar credit, your interest rate can be extremely high — sometimes upwards of 30%. If you want to qualify for a low rate, you typically need a high credit score, generally 750 or higher, Branton says.
It’s also wise to add up your monthly rent or mortgage costs, any other monthly loan payments (like student or auto loans) and any monthly minimum credit card payment amounts, Branton says. Divide that by your monthly income to calculate your debt-to-income ratio.
“The lower the DTI ratio, the easier it is to both qualify for a personal loan and the lower the rate you will be given,” says Branton.
Associated Press / November 29, 2017
Plan, give and spend smart to avoid holiday debt
Don't jingle all the way into holiday debt. Reporter Sean Pyles quoted Steve in his AP article, which
syndicated to the Seattle Times, Nasdaq, Lubbock Online, and NerdWallet. Here’s a highlight:
“Give yourself the gift of a stress-free start to the year by not waking up to a bunch of credit card bills,” says Steve Branton, a certified financial planner in San Francisco. “Once you know the amount you can actually spend without going into credit card debt and who you need to give a gift to, you can work back from there to determine who are the most important people, how much to spend on them.”
Financial Advisor Magazine / September 19, 2017
When a Lawsuit Says You and Your Spouse were ‘Just Friends’
Join writer Tracey Longo for FA to hear about the first legal case to “assert that common law marriage should exist for same-sex couples just as marriage by license does, and that such marriages established in one jurisdiction should be seen as valid in every other state, as it is for heterosexual couples.”
Steve weighs in on the financial and tax implications of marriage, including how assets are titled and how they’ll pass at death:
“For instance, I have a couple who owns an apartment building in the pricey Castro neighborhood here who didn’t want to get married. I showed them how the building would be reassessed with a $20,000 tax increase if one of them died. There’s no reassessment for married couples.They got married the next month,” he says. He also underscores for clients how surviving unmarried partners are not entitled to their partner’s defined benefit retirement plan assets unless designated as a beneficiary and won’t get a survivor’s benefit from their partner’s Social Security at all.
Investor’s Business Daily / September 1, 2017
Stop These Little Mistakes from Blossoming into Big Problems
A tiny mistake can have huge repercussions, so financial planners triple-check details, build automated reminders into their process, and perform other methods of due diligence, as Steve explained to reporter Morey Stettner for Investor's Business Daily.
“My experience is (that) little mistakes can balloon into big problems,” said Steve Branton, a certified financial planner in San Francisco. “Having a structure in place to make sure you check all the details” can minimize the odds of errors, omissions or oversights.
Branton has conducted annual client reviews of all listed beneficiaries. He checks account titling and transfer capabilities, especially between tax-deferred retirement accounts and trusts. He also participates in monthly meetings with nine other advisors at his firm, Mosaic Financial Partners, to review best practices, assess processes and propose new ways to improve operations.
Thomson Reuters / August 21, 2017
Doubling Down: Levaraged ETFs Offer Promise - and Danger
If individual investors are tempted to dabble in speculative investments, Reuters notes that they should follow Steve's practical advice and place a cap on use as a percentage of their total portfolio:
If you limit it to 10 percent, suggests San Francisco financial planner Steve Branton, then you contain any potential damage. Then, even if you lose it all in a worst-case scenario, the rest of your retirement funds would remain on course.
InvestmentNews / August 17, 2017
More Than a Decade Later, Housing Bust Still Hurts
National home prices have yet to rise above their 2006 peak, and advisors are still working to address the aftereffects of the housing collapse. Locally, it’s a different story. Steve notes that Bay Area prices have soared, but that he still works with clients who have second homes in other states that will never recover.
NerdWallet / July 18, 2017
How Immigrants Can Plan a Comfortable Retirement
NerdWallet editors interviewed Steve on the main challenges immigrants face when planning for retirement, including contributing to social security, compliance reporting, and estate planning.
Syndicated to the Ft. Leavenworth Lamp.
FinancialPlanning / July 5, 2017
Should I... Report Elder Abuse?
What happens if you notice signs that your client is experiencing symptoms of elder abuse? What if this treatment is from a family member? Writer Ingrid Case ponders these questions and more, quoting Steve in the process:
Steve Branton, a senior planner at Mosaic Financial Partners in San Francisco, California, found out when a client’s best friend told him that she thought her son was trying to take control of her funds. Branton’s client called Adult Protective Services about the situation, and the agency interviewed the woman’s son. “That put the son on notice that he was on someone’s radar, and they’ve had no problems since,” Branton says.
MassMutual / June 21, 2017
Cultural Competency: How Advisors Can Gain
In order to demonstrate cultural competency and cultivate a genuine connection with clients, advisors need to establish and maintain an authentic link with the communities they serve. Steve has been quoted extensively by Shelly Gigante in MassMutual's industry-facing blog:
“We have a large number of clients who are LGBT couples and/or Jewish, and in any practice the danger is that an advisor might say something like, ‘I have a Jewish friend,” or “I have a gay neighbor in my building,” which is done to make the client feel at ease, but it ends up making everyone feel awkward,” said Branton. “Our approach [instead] is to donate to various organizations and get involved.”
“There’s an opportunity there to build out your marketing plan and Internet presence in a way that shows the demographic you want to reach that you’re doing something meaningful, not just surfacy,” he said, noting such outreach initiatives yield a secondary benefit as well. “You learn a lot about the culture as you interact with members of that community, so when you meet with your clients it helps to deepen that connection.”
“Most financial planners are really in this business to help people,” said Branton. “If we really want to do that we need to spend the time and energy to get into our client’s shoes; to make them feel more comfortable.”
NerdWallet / March 31, 2017
How to Pay for Expensive Transgender Surgeries
There are approximately 1.4 million transgender people in the United States, and if they choose to have gender confirmation surgeries as part of their transition, they will likely be facing steep medical bills that may not be covered by their health insurance. Steve offers advice on financing options in this article by Emily Starbuck Crone published on the International Transgender Day of Visibility.
Syndicated to CBS News, The Oklahoman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WHIO, and the Palm Beach Post.
NerdWallet / March 3, 2017
6 Tips for Buying a Starter Home in the Bay Area
Looking for your first home? Let your budget and minimum requirements guide your expectations, develop criteria about when to make offers, and don’t forget your goals. Steve Branton understands the drivers impacting the real estate market in the San Francisco Bay Area, and he has 6 tips for the uninitiated.
Syndicated to Metro New York, SFGate, San Antonio Express-News, Atlanta Journal-Consitution, the Palm Beach Post, and The Ledger.
Financial Advisor / August 24, 2016
Advisors Find Value In Hedge Funds Despite Bad Press
Financial advisors cite diversification and alpha as two important reasons to add select hedge funds to a client's portfolio, despite the bad press hedge funds have been receiving in general. They stress that risk tolerance must be analysed. Steve is quoted in this article by Juliette Fairley, stressing due diligence:
“We do a Finametrica survey to try and gauge the risk appetite of our risk-aggressive clients, then incorporate it into their investment policy statement.”
Zing! Blog / August 19, 2016
5 Financial Moves to Make Before Turning 30
“To ensure you enter your 30s on the right track with your money, consider these five expert-recommended moves before you blow out your birthday candles.” Emily Starbuck Crone writes about money moves for the late twenties for Zing! Blog by Quicken Loans; the expert she consulted and quotes throughout the piece is Mosaic’s Steve Branton.
Financial Advisor IQ / August 3, 2016
Tips on Cost-Effective (and Smart) Marketing
Doing a little pro bono work for friends can lead to enthusiastic referrals, Steve tells writer Thomas Coyle. “Beneficiaries of pro bono work see your passion and desire to help.” Not only does this method strengthen Steve’s business practice, but it enhances his personal relationships as well.
NerdWallet / July 27, 2016
Money Crossing Borders Requires Special Planning
If you move between countries, your money will have to, too. Steve offers a primer on the topic areas associated with cross-border planning, and notes that the “potential pitfalls associated with cross-border financial transactions can range from severe penalties for failing to pay taxes properly, to banks simply refusing to move money between domestic and foreign accounts without draconian levels of verification.” If you’re thinking of moving to another part of the world, consult a professional to properly protect your financial interests, and to avoid as many headaches as possible during your transition.
Syndicated to SF Gate, My San Antonio, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Palm Beach Daily News, Austin-American Statesman, WHIO, Journal News, and NewsOK.
Time.com / June 25, 2016
LGBT Americans Feel Worse About Their Finances Than They Did 4 Years Ago
A year ago, the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal throughout the United States. Over 120,000 couples have wed since the landmark decision, but as Alexandra Mondalek writes in Money Magazine, a section of Time.com:
“There's one big area where LGBT Americans ...lag: their finances.” Steve Branton, Senior Financial Planner at Mosaic, weighs in on what factors may influence this data.
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance / May 2016
New Rules Let Investors Buy Shares of Crowdfunded Startup Firms
Would-be investors considering crowdfunding a startup should think less about hitting the jackpot and more about their financial plan, notes Steve to Anne Kates Smith. This article was originally published in the May issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine; it syndicated to Kiplinger's website.
Nerdwallet / February 10, 2016
Equity Crowdfunding: Cool Concept, But Should You Invest?
Crowdfunding is the current hot way to source funding from the public collective. But is it right for your portfolio? Steve weighs the pros and cons.
The article syndicated to Nasdaq, CS Monitor, NewsOK, and the Chicago Tribune.
Medical Economics / January 25, 2016
Not Married? Protect your finances, STAT!
Steve Branton weighs in on pro forma tax returns, and how they might benefit unmarried individuals in long-term, committed relationships who are close to retirement. By Janet Kidd Stewart for Medical Economics.
Don’t Let Holiday Gift Giving Derail Your Financial Plan
Although delighting your loved ones with gifts can be exciting, no one likes a credit card hangover in January, or the feeling of having overextended yourself at the expense of your own long-term planning goals. Learn ways to set cash aside for gifts.
This article syndicated to Nasdaq.
Nerdwallet / September 15, 2015
Expecting Kids in Bay Area? Understand the Real Costs
Steve Branton discusses the real cost of raising a child in the Bay area.
Millennial Bait: What Financial Advisors Use
Steve Branton talked about millennials and the importance of utilizing communication methods that speak to their unique view in today's financial market.
Steve Branton chimes on why you shouldn’t have too much of your company stock.
Financial implications of the same-sex ruling for older couples
Implications of same-sex decision for older couples
Steve Branton is quoted on the impact of a recent ruling and its impact on a variety of couples.