Greetings from Woodward Financial Advisors!

This past Saturday marked the official start of summer. It's likely that this season looks quite different from what you initially planned and imagined at the start of the year. Whatever you find your "new normal" to be, we hope you are well and finding ways to be positive and stay safely connected to others during these challenging and uncertain times. Here at WFA, we continue to serve clients with humble confidence and deep gratitude.

In our June newsletter, we're thrilled to introduce you to our newest colleague, explain why we review tax returns each year, share the latest official WFA podcast episodes and fill you in on several notable events happening this year.
WFA Celebrates Milestone Anniversary!
2020 represents Woodward Financial Advisors 25th year in business!

What started as a small project-based independent planning firm in 1995 has now grown into a well-known wealth management firm that maintains and fosters long term relationships with more than 170 client households throughout the United States. We’ve come a long way since Henry Woodward first opened our doors in 1995 and much has evolved over the years, but one thing has remained the same – our passion for helping people achieve financial independence.

We are thankful that we get to serve the community that we do and that we’ve had the opportunity to get to know so many wonderful folks over the years. To our clients – thank you for trusting us with your finances and for choosing Woodward as your financial partner. To our fellow professionals – thank you for your collaboration on behalf of our mutual clients.

We are excited to be celebrating our 25th year as a firm and look forward to what the next 25 years will bring! If you’d like to stay up to date on how we are celebrating our 25th year, check out WFA’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages throughout the year. 

Written by Veronica Pflueger, CFP ®
Introducing WFA's Newest Team Member: Sean Johnson, Client Experience Specialist
We are excited to announce that Sean Johnson recently joined Woodward Financial Advisors as our dedicated  Client Experience Specialist. In addition to managing various firm projects, Sean will be the go-to team member for anything related to custodial paperwork and assisting clients with distributions and deposits. His presence enables WFA to continue to elevate our level of service to clients.

Please join us in welcoming Sean to WFA! The following "favorites" and questions will help you get to know him a bit better.

What is your favorite band? It's a tie between Pearl Jam and The Allman Brothers. 

You can have lunch with anyone in the world (living or not!), who do you pick? Wayne Gretzky.

What are your favorite weekend activities? Playing golf or watching my daughters, Hannah and Elizabeth, play lacrosse and soccer.

Pepsi or Coke? Coke.

What is your favorite recipe to make? Chicken Piccata.

How long have you lived in NC? Two years this fall.

What is your favorite vacation destination? Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Canada.

What is your favorite sport to play/watch? Ice hockey.

What is your favorite board game? Trivial Pursuit.

You have a (free) round trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world - where do you go? Australia or New Zealand.
Buried Treasure in Tax Returns
The IRS graciously extended the normal filing and payment deadline to July 15 th this year as part of the approach to coronavirus relief. With that deadline fast approaching, it’s time for our annual call for clients (or their tax preparers) to send us their completed returns.

Unlike brokers – who don’t want to or aren’t allowed to look at clients’ tax returns for fear of running afoul of compliance – we eagerly await the chance to dig into our clients’ returns. A tax return is probably the single most telling document in a client’s dossier, as it contains valuable information about the financial year that just passed, as well as what sort of planning we can do going forward.

While we don’t aim to redo the math on anyone’s return, we make use of our continuously refined process to make sure we understand all the numbers on the page, question items that we don’t recognize or don’t make sense, and identify planning opportunities in the coming year. And even though we haven’t yet hit the filing deadline, we’ve already got a great list going for how we’ve been able to help clients through our reviews:

  • While reviewing a client’s 2019 North Carolina tax return we noticed a sizable retirement plan distribution that was counted as taxable income but should have been exempt from state income tax. Our client simply overlooked his tax-exempt status for this pension when providing documents to his tax preparer, but we knew otherwise. By correctly classifying the income, the client was able to lower his state income taxes by around $2,500.

  • Another client has multiple children in college. Our knowledge of their family situation allowed us to suggest an alternative method for paying for college, thereby making more likely that they qualify for the American Opportunity Tuition Credit (AOTC), potentially saving them up to $2,500/child as a result of the tax credits.

  • The CARES Act eliminated Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from retirement accounts in 2020, but some folks are still taking withdrawals for cash flow or other needs. One such client expected to continue taking an RMD, partly for cash flow but mostly to stay eligible for retiree coverage on the North Carolina State Health Plan. By demonstrating a different way to generate the same cash flow, we anticipate a tax savings of around $5,000, while still allowing our client to not jeopardize his health insurance.

We can’t always promise tax savings for everyone. But by reviewing returns, we dramatically increase the odds that we’ll uncover a costly omission or find a valuable planning nugget. If you haven’t already sent us your return, please do so when you get the chance or ask your tax preparer to do the same.

Written by Ben Birken, CFP ®
"Your Money in 20": the Official WFA Podcast
You have probably noticed that we have been talking about our new podcast an awful lot lately, mainly because we have been excited to start a Woodward Financial Advisors podcast for so long!

We love the podcast medium: it enables us to educate and share ideas with anyone who listens, whether they are a client, fellow professional or a member of the community. Additionally, folks get to know us in a way that is more personal and conversational than something like a blog or Twitter post. Few financial planning and investing topics are black and white, and talking things out on a podcast gives us a chance to illustrate the nuance and grey area around some of the most important financial matters we see.

We named our podcast “Your Money in 20” because we wanted to share useful, snackable content, easily digested in 20-minute episodes. Our hope is that you can listen to on the way to work, during a workout, while walking your dog, or just about any other similar time.

We plan on releasing one to two episodes per month, and recommend you subscribe on iTunes (or wherever you listen to podcasts) so that new episodes automatically show up in your feed. You will also see our new episode announcements on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

To find the podcast, you can look either at our website ( or on Apple Podcasts (or any other major podcast provider) by searching “Your Money in 20” by Woodward Financial Advisors

The following episodes are currently available for listening!

We truly hope you enjoy listening, and would love to hear your feedback, questions or suggestions for topics that you might find valuable. We would love nothing more than for our listeners to guide our work!

Written by Victor Colella, CFP ®
What's Happening at Woodward?
We recently celebrated our colleague, Megan, and we're also looking forward to joining many of you online later this week for our live webcast. For more details, keep reading!

  • Our colleague, Megan McManus, recently received her CFP® certification! Megan is now the seventh CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ to round out the team of advisors at WFA. In order to achieve certification, Megan passed the rigorous CFP® examination, met extensive training and experience requirements, and committed to the CFP Board's ethical standards that require her to put her clients' interests first. Please join us in congratulating Megan on her achievement. (Side note: Megan also recently welcomed a new family member: a sweet goldendoodle named Murphey! Find his picture below.)
  • There is still time to register for our live webcast on Thursday, June 25th at 4pmET featuring Dr. Apollo Lupescu, an industry leader in clarifying complex investment concepts to investors. Please join us as Dr. Lupescu addresses recent market volatility, with our very own Jim Miller and Ben Birken moderating this virtual client symposium, exclusively for Woodward Financial Advisors clients and friends. If you wish to register, please click HERE.
Thank you for reading our June newsletter! Please reach out if there is anything we can do for you.

Your Friends at Woodward Financial Advisors
Woodward Financial Advisors
1504 East Franklin Street, Suite 105, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.
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