MONTH-2-MONTH is intended to provide you with updates on AFP and timely financial planning and investment information on a variety of topics. 

If you find our content useful, please forward this e-mail to a friend.
Enjoying Fall
The gateway month to fall arrived a bit steamy but is closing with a sudden blast of crisp, cool air. It is bittersweet as the long days come to an end. We can still find ourselves looking ahead in appreciation of what is to come. Shorter days and cooler nights with the smell of wood fires wafting in the air. Of all seasons, fall seems to invoke wonderful memories of time spent together outdoors and opportunities to create new memories.


  • Covid Policy Update – Given the current surge in the Delta variant of Covid-19 and safety concerns, we have decided to revert to virtual Zoom meetings for the time being. If you are fully vaccinated and would prefer to meet in person, please let us know. We'll do our best to accommodate your needs.

  • Adding a new program: Right Capital - We will be adding a new financial planning software program to our toolbox. We are currently using eMoney as our primary financial planning program, also referred to as the Wealth Management Navigator. Due to the discovery of some critical limitations within eMoney and their desire not to address these issues, we were surprised to find Right Capital checking all the boxes and exceeding our expectations. Right Capital will initially be used with new clients later this year and we will begin to transition some existing clients where it makes sense. We will continue to use eMoney for the foreseeable future as well.

  • Seeking a New Hire – We are still seeking a qualified candidate to join our team as a Communication & Client Service Administrator. If you know of anyone whom you think might be a good fit for us, please forward the attached job description.

  • Grandview Chocolate Walk - We will be participating in the 7th Annual Grandview Chocolate Walk on Thursday, October 7th. This is to benefit the Grandview Heights Public Library Foundation's Endowment Fund. If you would like to take a walk while enjoying some chocolate treats, this event is for you! We'd love to see you. Click here for ticket information.

  • Grandview Pumpkin Run - We are one of the sponsors of the 42nd Annual Great Pumpkin Run 5K scheduled for Saturday, October 23rd. Registration is open for those interested in participating. Click here for registration information.

  • Tracey attended the Orion conference in Scottsdale, AZ earlier this month while Teri attended virtually from the office. A variety of programs were presented related to our Orion portfolio management software as well as updates on the current markets.

  • Orion Portal Reminder - If you cannot access your Orion Portal, contact Tracey to request a password reset. The Orion Portal requires a password reset every 4 months (120 days) and becomes Inactive after 8 months (240 days).
Click below to read our September 2021 Blog edition.

We would enjoy receiving your feedback on our Blog. Please share any comments or suggestions for future topics with us via email.

+ Teri's World
The weather finally feels like autumn these past few days which has been a welcome change. Gene and I got away the first weekend this month to do some hiking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park and then we spent the evening listening to the Cleveland Orchestra play the music of John Williams at Blossom Music Center. Wonderful evening! Of course, I couldn’t leave without purchasing lightsabers for the grandsons. Our family had the annual apple picking at Legend Hills followed by a trip to Velvet Ice Cream outing. After all, it’s tradition! The little ones are learning to participate in who can throw a rotten apple the farthest contest while in the orchard. We let them think they won, this year! Next month my garage is finally coming down and hopefully, a new one will emerge in its place. Stay tuned.
+ What about Bob
Other than getting one year closer to the big 60, September has been an eventful and good month. 

My birthday celebration was fantastic with family and dear friends!

I had outpatient sinus surgery earlier in the month. The surgery went extremely well and recovery is almost fully complete. It has been so great being able to breathe, and I can smell things like never before. Christine is thankful that my snoring has ceased.

Layla’s fall volleyball season is in full swing, they are doing quite well with a 5-0 record. Christine and I are both helping with coaching and refereeing the games. Club Volleyball try-outs are quickly approaching for their season. 

We spent a Saturday at Van Buren Acres with Ashley and Lowell. We watched the pig races, rode the mini cow train, ate some great kettle corn, and had a delicious apple cider slushy. We also went through their 9-acre “Dolly Parton” themed corn maze. It was pretty challenging. Oh yea, we also tried to milk the faux cow. 

Last but not least, we have a new addition to the fam, he is a kitten we named Milo. He is about 12-week-old and I found him on the side of the road not far from our house. He is all black with a white spot on his chest. Not sure how long he was out there but he was quite hungry, skinny and flea-bitten when I got him. Got the flees taken care of but they left him with a nasty blood parasite that has him severely anemic. We just started his meds and think it will be a bit before he bounces back completely. He is so sweet and he has to be in whatever room we are in.
Bovine Barrel Train
Faux Cow
+ Tracey's Time
My daughter, Cass, needed a few days away and accompanied me to the Orion Conference. It was nice to spend time together.

We did indulge in our 1st In and Out Burger. It reminded me of a Burger King Whopper but assembled meticulously. My son, Carlin, later informed me of "secret" menu items that make In and Out one of his favorites. I will have to try it again if an opportunity exists.

Having previously worked as a designer, I admire architectural spaces. I wasn't leaving Scottsdale without visiting Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesen West. Wright was ahead of his time (except for his opinions on the importance of kitchens and bathrooms in modern homes). I've visited some of his works that are open to the public, but several locations remain on my bucket list. If you haven't visited but have interest, consider starting with the Westcott House in Springfield Ohio.
Current Economic and Investment Information
LARGEST DEFICIT - The largest budget deficit in US history was the $3.13 trillion deficit from fiscal year 2020, i.e., the 12 months ending 9/30/20 (source: Treasury Department).

RED INK - With just the month of September yet to be counted in fiscal year 2021, the government has taken in $3.59 trillion of tax receipts while spending $6.30 trillion, netting to a $2.71 trillion budget deficit. The US has had 23 consecutive months of deficits, its longest deficit stretch since March 2012 (source: Treasury Department).

POPULATION - The US may have the 3rd largest population of any country in the world, but # 1 China and # 2 India each have more than 4 times the number of people the US has (source:

FACING EVICTION - When the Supreme Court ruled on 8/26/21 that the CDC had no legal authority to issue an eviction moratorium, just 6% of 43.6 million US renters were behind on their rent (source: Goldman Sachs).

PRICES - Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, was up +5.3% over the 1-year ending 8/31/21. The last year when inflation was up at least +5% was 1990 or 31 years ago (source: Department of Labor).

BUYERS ARE LOOKING FOR A PERFECT HOME - Real estate investors were involved in 17% of the home purchases (1 out of every 6 sales) during the 2nd quarter of 2021. The investors have taken advantage of historically low interest rates to finance upgrades on their purchases, and then realize a profit by reselling to a pandemic-weary buyer who is looking for specific features in his/her new home (source: Redfin).

HONESTLY? - The US government projected on 9/07/21 that 53% of our nation’s “tax gap” are taxes not paid by the top 5% of US taxpayers. The “tax gap” is the difference between what all taxpayers should have paid each year compared to what they actually paid (source: Treasury Department).

PENSION FUNDING - Kansas has the # 1 “funding ratio” of any state retirement plan, i.e., the present value of assets set aside divided by the present value of pension obligations. At the other extreme, Connecticut is ranked 50th among US states with the lowest “funding ratio” for its state retirement plan (source:

WORKER SHORTAGE - An estimated 20% of workers in the hotel and restaurant business globally have permanently exited the industry during the pandemic, electing instead to seek employment within industries that may provide greater job stability going forward (source: Tony Capuano, Marriott CEO).

HIT THE ROAD - Average occupancy at US hotels fell to a pandemic-low of 22% on 3/28/20. Average hotel occupancy bounced back during the 2021 summer months, peaking at 71% as of 7/24/21 (source: STR).
Visualizing the Critical Metals in a Smartphone

By Bruno Venditti
Visual Capitalist
In an increasingly connected world, smartphones have become an inseparable part of our lives.

Over 60% of the world’s population owns a mobile phone and smartphone adoption continues to rise in developing countries around the world.

While each brand has its own mix of components, whether it’s a Samsung or an iPhone, most smartphones can carry roughly 80% of the stable elements on the periodic table.

But some of the vital metals to build these devices are considered at risk due to geological scarcity, geopolitical issues, and other factors.

Click here to continue reading this article.

There seem to be a lot of people buying and selling their primary place of living these days. If you are in the middle of this transition or you are thinking about making this change, Beth DeCarbo’s article, The Biggest Mistakes Home Buyers and Sellers Make”, has some great advice.
The Biggest Mistakes Home Buyer and Sellers Make

By Beth DeCarbo
Source: The Wall Street Journal
When people say they “fell in love with a house,” they would do well to remember another common saying: Love is blind.

Overcome by strong emotions, potential buyers of the biggest investments of their lives overlook things like a lousy view, choppy floor plan or ancient mechanical systems. Likewise, would-be sellers are often so eager to sell—or so in love with the homes they’re leaving—that they are blind to the house’s fixable flaws, or to the need to plan for capital gains taxes.

And that’s how it goes in normal times. The current frenzied real-estate market is only exacerbating those emotion-driven mistakes—with buyers feeling they need to do anything to get a house, and sellers cutting corners to take advantage of a hot market. The result is that some buyers are overpaying for the house they’re buying, while some sellers are leaving money on the table.

To help restore some common sense to potential buyers and sellers, we asked financial planners, real-estate agents, interior designers and other professionals to name the five biggest mistakes buyers and sellers make with real estate.

As Matt Celenza, a financial adviser in Beverly Hills, Calif., reminds his clients: “Buying a house is an emotional purchase, but it’s an investment, too.”

Buying Mistakes
1. Picking a so-so location

Too often, real-estate experts say, people may fall in love with the house, and forgive it for the company it keeps. Maybe it surrounds itself with a lot of noise. Or unsavory characters. Or few places to get out and find peace. In other words, they violate the first rule of real estate: location, location, location.

That has rarely been more true than today, as desperate buyers find themselves pushed out of coveted neighborhoods because of a shortage of available houses.

“Today, in Miami Beach, people don’t care if a house is next to a bridge or if airplanes are flying over,” says Dina Goldentayer, executive director of sales at Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Miami Beach.

Out-of-state buyers have been flocking to Florida in recent years for economic reasons— the state has no income tax or estate tax. Then last year, the pandemic brought in waves of corporate executives who could work remotely from the beach. The inventory of available homes got so low that 
some buyers felt they had no choice but to make compromises.

Sometimes buyers knowingly purchase homes in poor locations because of economic reasons, Ms. Goldentayer says. Perhaps they’re selling a property in California and want to quickly establish Florida residency for the tax benefits. A new school year compels some buyers to purchase in their desired school district, even if the home’s location is less than ideal. And in a supercharged real-estate market, sometimes a home in an inferior location is the only option.

A poor location could haunt today’s buyers when they decide to sell. “You can change your floor plan,” Ms. Goldentayer says. “You can always add a bathroom. You can never change your view exposure or your placement on a street. You may be a seller someday when the market isn’t as hot. Buyers will be more particular in that market.”
2. Buying a house sight unseen

An online listing may include professional photography, 3-D floor plans and virtual walk- throughs, but nothing can replace an in-person visit, says Cindy Stanton, an agent with Parks Real Estate in Brentwood, Tenn.

Such listings can look too good to be true. And, as anybody who has followed up with an in-person visit knows, they often are. How did they make that tiny room look so spacious?

And yet a lot of buyers—especially these days with people buying out of state or not wanting to visit a stranger’s house because of the pandemic—are satisfied with the online presentation. Ms. Stanton’s firm recently had a client from California who bought a house based solely on the listing photos. The agent toured the property “live” with the client via FaceTime, pointing out carpet stains and other flaws along the way. Nonetheless, the client waived an inspection and skipped the pre-closing walk-through. After the sale, when the client walked through the house for the first time, she was disappointed, Ms.Stanton says. The house is currently undergoing repairs and upgrades, after which the new owner 
will put it back on the market.

Buyers’ remorse can also set in when only one person in a couple tours a home, leading to panicked “front-yard decisions,” says Learka Bosnak, a real-estate agent of Heather & Learka at Douglas Elliman in Beverly Hills, Calif. “The last thing you want is to be standing in the front yard of a house you just toured, trying to call your partner who is not picking up because they are in the middle of a work dinner in London,” Ms. Bosnak says. “That’s not the time to decide if it’s OK for you to submit an offer.”
3. Waiving the inspection

In this hypercompetitive housing market, many buyers have been skipping preliminary home inspections to make their offers more enticing to sellers. That’s a big mistake, says Vincent Deorio, an executive with Altas, a real-estate investment and management firm based in Denver.

One of his clients wanted to skip a sewer-line inspection that would assess the piping and identify any blockages. Mr. Deorio persuaded the client to have the pipes professionally scoped with a small camera, which revealed a large crack in a pipe under the street and driveway. Because it was detected early, the sellers were responsible for the $15,000 to $20,000 repair.

In other cases, inspections have revealed layers of improperly laid roofing materials, faulty foundations, and subpar wiring and plumbing concealed by wood paneling. What you can’t see can be costly to repair. Mr. Deorio tells clients to never “judge a book by its cover and to always dig as deep as possible when assessing a potential property.”

Inspections are important even if potential buyers want to raze an existing house to build a new one, says Judy Zeder, an agent with the Jills Zeder Group in Miami. “In an old house, you can have a buried septic tank in the yard or asbestos in the roof or air- conditioning system. Competent inspections are the only way buyers can be sure they can proceed with the teardown and build what they want to build,” Ms. Zeder says.
4. Getting a high-maintenance vacation home

When buying a weekend retreat or vacation home, most people focus on properties they “dream about” and not the cost of ownership, says Will Rogers, a private wealth adviser with Ameriprise Financial in Augusta, Ga. “They often don’t realize that renovations, repairs and ongoing maintenance costs can drain their bank accounts and sap the fun right out of a pleasure property.”

He recently talked a client out of buying a lake house north of Minneapolis that was listed for just under $300,000. It was an older home in need of big-ticket upgrades in the coming years—electrical wiring, the heating system and the roof. It also had a big yard with lots of grass. Buyers don’t want their second home to become a second job, Mr. Rogers told his client.
5. Tying your own hands

Are you prepared to be told what color to paint your house, where to park your car and how often to mow your lawn? For some people, the answer is no.

That’s why buyers planning to purchase a home in any community controlled by a homeowners association should be sure to review the association’s regulations and restrictions, says Kristi Nelson, a Los Angeles-based interior designer. “Otherwise, you’re in for a very rough experience on top of what’s already a mentally and emotionally challenging journey,” she says.

Selling Mistakes

1. Showing the house at its worst

People are so in love with their own homes that they sometimes don’t see its flaws. But buyers do.

“I’m a big believer in the presentation of a house,” says John Manning of Re/Max On Market in Seattle. “We’re emotional creatures. When we walk into an untidy house, we don’t see the house. We see the stuff—dirty laundry, uncleaned Kitty Litter, dishes in the sink.” An unkempt house affects the seller’s bottom line, even in a red-hot real-estate market. “If it’s a $1 million house, you could go down $50,000,” Mr. Manning says. “That’s just leaving money on the table.”

Ideally, he says, the homeowners will move out of the house, which is then staged to highlight its best features. “For a seller, the listing is only the beginning of the process. They need to be prepared to show their home throughout the process.”

2. Not planning for capital-gains taxes

If the sellers’ home has appreciated in value, the profit could be subject to capital-gains taxes. Certain home improvements can potentially reduce the tax bill—but only if the sellers have documentation showing that improvements increased the home’s market value, prolonged its useful life or adapted it to new uses, says Mr. Rogers, the financial adviser in Augusta.

He recently worked with a widowed client who sold her home and moved into an assisted- living facility. Her home had been purchased decades ago for $64,000, and it sold for $457,000. The profit exceeded the IRS’s capital-gains exemption of $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for married couples, meaning the client faced a hefty tax bill.

The client, who had Alzheimer’s disease, had scanty records on improvements that had been made over the years. Luckily, Mr. Rogers had financial records that documented a new roof, a remodeling project and deck extension—and that proof allowed his client to avoid capital-gains taxes entirely.
3. Mishandling the sale of an estate

The impact of a mistake isn’t felt just when the owner is alive. If a homeowner doesn’t provide a detailed estate plan—and have clear communications with heirs—disputes over the estate can delay or even scrub a home sale after the owner dies.

Mr. Manning says his firm recently worked with clients who wanted to buy a rural property listed for about $500,000. But in investigating the title, the firm realized that the property was involved in a legal dispute among siblings. “There was a strong chance that our client could find himself in a lawsuit fighting claims that the sale to him was improper,” Mr. Manning says. As a result, the potential buyer walked away from the deal.

Similarly, homeowners who bequeath a home to heirs in hopes of keeping it in the family often fail to provide funds to cover the annual costs of maintaining it, says Frank Riviezzo, a New York-based CPA. As a result, the heirs may feel pressured to sell—even if a down market prevents the house from getting top dollar.

4. Fudging facts and flaws

Maybe they won’t notice.

How many sellers have said that to themselves, hoping that buyers won’t see the problem with the roof, or the signs of former water damage—even though sellers are required by law to disclose any known deficiencies in a home.

“When you’re selling a home, you have to establish some degree of trust between yourself and the buyer,” says Mr. Manning. “That’s how you get the highest price for your home.” But, he says, “when you withhold information about the condition of a house, the buyer might get more aggressive if they think you’re hiding something.”

That trust is also eroded when sellers withhold or provide incorrect information that could affect a potential buyer’s offer price. Cindy Cole, a real-estate agent in Destin, Fla., has seen sellers who exaggerated the amount of rental income generated by a vacation property.
5. Steamrolling your significant other

There’s nothing that hurts a relationship like a spouse who buys a surprise house for their beloved. Except perhaps a spouse who sells a beloved’s house. Tim Gorter, an architect in Santa Barbara, Calif., recalls a case in which the husband sold a vacation house without first consulting his wife, who cherished the property. The wife was upset, so the husband hired Mr. Gorter to design 
her a “dream vacation home” on a property they owned next door.

It took two years to design the home and obtain proper permits. Shortly after construction began, the husband chatted with the owners who had purchased his vacation home—and they were willing to sell it back to him for a profit. In short, says Mr. Gorter, “my client sold his vacation home without consulting his wife, only to buy the property back at a higher price two years later, while paying a handsome architectural commission to design a project on the neighboring property that he never built. Still, the wife was happy she got her house back, and that made the husband happy.”
The World's Most Used Apps,
by Downstream Traffic

By Omri Wallach
Graphics/Design By Pernia Jamshed
Source: Visual Capitalist
Of the millions of apps available around the world, just a small handful of the most used apps dominate global internet traffic.

Everything connected to the internet takes bandwidth to view. When you look at something on your smartphone—whether it’s a new message on Instagram or the next few seconds of a YouTube video—your device is downloading the data in the background.

And the bigger the files, the more bandwidth is utilized. In this chart, we break down the most used apps by category, using Sandvine’s global mobile traffic report for 2021 Q1.

Click here to continue reading this article.

“The windows are open, admitting the September breeze: a month that smells like notepaper and pencil shavings, autumn leaves and car oil. A month that smells like progress, like moving on.”

- Lauren Oliver
Alexander Financial Planning
1621 W. First Avenue
Grandview Heights, OH 43212

Registered Investment Advisor
This material is distributed by Alexander Financial Planning, Inc., (AFPI) and is for information purposes only. Although information has been obtained from sources to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy. It is provided with the understanding that no fiduciary relationship exists because of this report. Opinions expressed in this report are not necessarily the opinions of AFPI and are subject to change without notice. AFPI assumes no liability for the interpretation or use of this report. Financial planning, investment conclusions and strategies suggested in this report may not be suitable for all investors and consultation with a qualified advisor is recommended prior to executing any investment strategy. All rights reserved.