One of the hardest things to deal with after the passing of a loved one is handling money matters that come with such a loss. Those who are left behind must know the right financial management approaches to avoid putting themselves in even bigger hardships. Exploring everything you need to know about this matter with Tina Fornwald is Financial Coach Jesus Gonzales of PFS Investments. He discusses the importance of having life insurance and an emergency fund, especially for those with family members who are not generating income yet. Jesus also presents some tips on investing your money, navigating the stock market, and dealing with interest rates.
Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach.
I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.
Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide.
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
Understanding Financial Management With Jesus Gonzales
In this episode, our guest is Mr. Jesus Gonzales and he’s going to educate us on the money aspect of life. One thing we have all learned even though someone has passed is the part that we have to handle the remaining loved ones, the widow, the widower, and the children. There are always financial aspects of things that have to take place. For some of us, this will be a conversation because you’re a friend of someone who has passed and you’re leaning in to say, “What should I be aware of when I’m in that position?” Some people may say, “I’m past that,” but there are some things that you may need to put in place so that when your demise happens, your loved ones already have things in place. I am grateful for him being here, being part of this conversation, and being able to share information with us. Welcome.
Thank you for having me and for your time.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Jesus Gonzales. I am a Financial Coach for PFS Investments. I help educate people on how money works. I teach people how to earn money, save money, and get out of there and become financially independent.
How did you get into this line of work?
I worked at the shipyard. I received a friend request through Facebook. One of the people who used to work at the shipyard invited me to her office to show me what she does. Once I saw what she did, I was very interested in learning about finances myself and educating other people about finances.
What did you realize you didn’t know beforehand?
I realized a whole lot of things. Having some income protection or what we normally know as life insurance is very important. Our parents had taught me how to save money but didn’t tell me the proper ways of saving money. We all understood that saving money in a bank was efficient but I learned that it’s not efficient enough because saving money in a bank is not going to help us grow our money as fast as we need it.
Tell us a little bit about that organization, PFS Investments.
That organization was founded in 1977 by a man named Art Williams. He found it because when he was a teenager, he was living with his parents. His father had a whole life insurance. When his father passed away, his mom thought that they were going to be taken care of but came to find out that the insurance that he had was not sufficient to take care of them and be able to supply them the lifestyle that they were living with. Ever since then, he got into a crusade to educate people on finances and showed them the proper way of protecting their income and teaching people the real way money works.
You mentioned something very interesting there. Life insurance existed and the widow found out that that was not enough money to be able to sustain life. What should someone think about when they’re considering life insurance?
Life insurance should be looked at as a way of replacing somebody’s income, being able to pay off the debt that they have, or going to leave to their loved ones. If they buy a house, also being able to pay the mortgage. The final expense is their funeral. Life insurance is more than just the final expense. It is a way to replace somebody’s income and be able to pay off debt so that way that person can be debt-free.
How do I find out how much life insurance I need?
The way we do that is called DIME, which stands for Debt, Income, Mortgage, and Education. The first question we going to ask is, “If a person is paying for a house, how much money they will need to be able to pay off the house?” We will ask about income replacement. In the case of a marriage, husband, and wife, if the husband passes away, how much money he will need to be able to replace his income? What we do is find out how much money he needs.
Let’s say it’s $4,000, $5,000, or $3,000 a month. We find out the age of the youngest child and how much longer that child is going to live before they can become grownups and leave the house. Let’s say it’s $4,000. We multiply the $4,000 by 12 because it’s 12 months in a year. Let’s say it is ten more years before the child becomes an adult. We multiply that by ten and that gives you the amount of income that that person needs to be able to live comfortably to replace that income.
How much money that person will need to pay off all the debt? It’s if that person wants to leave money for a child’s education so that way that child can pay for education and not have to find himself in another debt. College debt is eating up America. A lot of Americans have to find multiple jobs to be able to pay off college debt. The last thing we ask is how much they will need for the final expenses and funeral expenses.
That is a very good way of looking at everything. Thank you for that breakdown. What if I’m concerned or thinking I can’t afford life insurance every month?
We will ask a person how much money would they be able to compromise or put aside for a financial program. Once we find out how much money that person is willing to commit to that program, then I would find a life insurance policy that may not meet all their needs but at least will give them something to start. We have this thing that’s called AIP, which is an Automatic Increase of Policy.
What it does is you start with a small policy that increases gradually. It will increase your premium so gradually that it is not affecting your finances so that way you can give what you can afford. At least you have something that increases gradually to where it’s not hurting your finances. For example, when I first started, I had a $50,000 policy and was paying $50 a month but after 5 years, my policy is worth $70,000 and all I’m paying is $64 a month, which is not that much.
You also mentioned something about protecting income. What does that mean?
When you have somebody depending on your income, that person cannot produce an income for themselves, even if you’re a single parent but your kids are too young to produce income. If you happen to pass away, how did that dependent replace your income? In the case of spouses, a husband and wife both bring in an income to buy the house. If one of them passes away, you’re not just losing that person. You’re losing that income also. Life insurance will kick in to replace that income.
It becomes a very complicated scenario when you are dealing with the loss of a significant other and then the idea of the income deficit. Have you ever spoken with people where the conversation, their mortality, and the need for life insurance become very complicated? If so, how have some of those conversations gone for you?
Most of the time when I talk to people, they don’t realize the importance of income because they look at life insurance as something that they don’t need because it’s not an expense. Once I point out the idea that if you have loved ones and they cannot produce an income, by you not being on earth anymore, it’s going to produce a hardship on them. A light bulb goes off in their mind. They say, “You are right. I should do something. If I say I love my loved ones that much, then I should have something in place to replace my income. They’re going to miss me but at least I know for sure they’ve been taken care of even after I’m gone.”
What are some of the hurdles that you’ve experienced with people in establishing life insurance?
Some of it is that they believe that they cannot afford it. Some of them believe that they don’t need it. Those are the two main ones. They say, “I cannot afford it. I don’t need it. It’s not something that important.”
Other items besides life insurance, what other ways should people look as far as what they should do?
People should have what is called an emergency fund, which is an investment on account where you have 3 to 6 months of money in case life happens, which we know a lot of times, life happens. A car could break down. You might need repairs on your home. Without that account or emergency fund, you go to a bank or a lending place to borrow money. That might solve the problem for the time being but you acquire a debt but if you have that emergency fund and you have an account set up to where you have 3 to 6 months of money that you can use, then something happens. You don’t have to acquire a debt. You have your money. You use it as you need it and then continue to replace it and grow.
How do I find out what I need for 3 or 6 months? How do I go about determining that?
It was based on how much your income is. To start with anybody, we do what is called a Financial Need Analysis which is an in-depth look at your finances. We look at how much you bring in like your assets and liabilities. We put it all in the computer and it will show you whether you need life insurance or some investment, and how much you need. If you have debt, it will show you a quicker way to get out of debt.
You provide a service to help someone reduce their debt. Is that piecemealed as far as your services or is that all-inclusive package?
It’s an all-inclusive package. Once a person becomes a client, the FNA or Financial Need Analysis is complimentary.
How do I become a client?
You schedule an appointment with us, which takes 25 to 30 minutes, maybe 45 minutes, depending on your questions. From there, we will sit down and fill out a financial analysis questionnaire. I will take that and put that into my computer. We will set up another appointment so I can get back to you and show you your whole Financial Need Analysis breakdown. From there, we will continue to ask financial questions to see what kind of financial program you need.
Have you dealt with many people who have survived the loss of a loved one?
God has blessed me to where nobody has had a death in their family yet but I know that that day is coming.
For the people that you know that day is coming, what are some things that you’re trying to help them in the idea of being prepared for that?
I reach out to all of my clients every so often, either between every six months or every year. I ask them the question to see if they are still on the correct path or if they need some adjustments.
If I were to come to you and I’m ready to do something but my spouse isn’t, what advice would you give to us as far as looking at what our long-term financial needs are? How does that work?
I would talk to both of you guys and ask the spouse who is having doubts, I will continue asking questions to see why is that spouse not on board and see what is it that I can help them understand better.
You talked about also the 3 to 6 months of income. When you started this process, did you have 3 to 6 months of income in reserves?
Before PFS, I didn’t. I started once I understood the need for it.
How did you go from having no savings to being able to create that? You have your regular everyday expenses and your life. 3 to 6 months of income seems like a large amount of money to have to put aside. How does one go from not having it to getting there? How long did it take you to accomplish that?
Once we create that Financial Need Analysis, it’s going to show people that a lot of times, some of the money that they are spending is for spending. It changes people’s mindset and thinking about needs versus wants. They’re thinking, “I can do without this and that.” They start cutting back. Cable is a good example. Most people have Cox cable but nowadays, we know that we don’t even need Cox cable anymore because they have the fire stick and other instruments that people can use to watch TV. You can say, “Let me get rid of that Cox cable bill that I don’t need and get this fire stick. I can pay for whatever service I’m going to use at the time. If I don’t want that service, I can cut back.”
I’ll say not so much about Cox but cable in general. Our show is all over the world and people have different cable services. You start identifying where to cut back and what to do. How long did it take you to accomplish to get to the 3-month or 6-month income goal?
It didn’t take me that long because once I made the decision, it was just to find the right investment product that was going to increase my money and help grow my money.
I’m looking for real numbers. When you first started doing this, how much money did you start taking out of your regular money and start putting aside to accomplish this on a monthly, weekly, or whatever basis?
I started putting in $50 a month in PFS Investments, which I’m getting a 10% interest rate.
It’s not just the idea of taking money out of my regular spending but also having a financial instrument that’s going to help that money grow at an accelerated rate instead of just being in a savings account.
When we put our money in a bank on our savings account, and I looked it up, the average interest rate of return that banks would give to Americans is a 0.25% interest rate. Anybody understands that with the interest rate, a snail is faster than that. The important is finding an investment. We know that our inflation is about 9%. If you were to put your money in anything that’s going to give you less than 9%, you are dollar shorts. To break even, you have to have at least a 9% interest rate of return or more. If you want to stay ahead, you have at least a 10% or 12% interest rate of return.To keep your finances in order, you want to have at least 9% interest rate of return or more. If you want to stay ahead, you need to have at least 10%-12%. Click To Tweet
What is the risk factor when I’m looking at investing, understanding that when I put my money in a bank or a credit union, FDIC has insurance as far as the loss of my funds? What are the risk factors involved when I’m looking at investing outside of something that’s controlled by a savings account, even though it’s a lower interest rate of return?
Just like the banks have the FDIC, investments have the SDIC. It’s the equivalence of the FDIC. The risk factor is all dependent on that person. When I sit down with a person, we don’t have the one-size-fits-all because everybody’s investment risk factors are different. When I sit down with a person who’s interested in investment, I find out what they need the money for and what their risk tolerance is. I asked them whether they were aggressive, medium, or conservative. I also asked them how fast would they want that money to be available to them. From there, I find a product that best matches the individual.
If you can explain a little bit more. The SPIC, I don’t think that covers against market loss. When you’re talking about someone’s risk level, if I understand you correctly, when you put your money in the financial market, the concept of loss exists because you’re dealing with the ups and downs of the stock market.
We don’t just do regular. What we use is mutual funds. Mutual funds are different than the regular stock market because mutual funds are a pool of different investments. For instance, one of our mutual funds might have Coca-Cola, Pepsi, or different products. Let’s say the Coca-Cola market is going down but Pepsi’s going up. Pepsi will catch whatever’s going down. There might be some loss but because it’s a mutual fund, the percentage of loss is less depending on one security or investment.
Thank you for speaking about that. You’re not working with people in a single type of investment, more of a mutual fund. Help me make sure we’re explaining what a mutual fund is because there may be some people who have never heard of that. A mutual fund is a financial instrument that has a conglomerate of different, smaller investments inside of it under a particular title.
You were speaking about a mutual fund under soft drinks or medical support. All the different medical companies and the things that they sell are underneath our healthcare. They take a group of like-type items, create an analysis of those, and provide them for people to see. Do you provide 3, 5, or 10-year analyses on the different mutual funds that are available? How is that displayed or available?
We provide up to ten years of analysis. When it comes to the world of securities, you have equity, which is a stock. If you’re a stockholder, then you own a percentage of that company. When you have bonds, you become the lender to that company. Whenever you buy a bond from that company, that means that the company is borrowing your money and they’re going to pay you back in X amount of times plus interest. When you get a mutual fund that has equity, bonds are all mixed in. Bonds have an inverse relationship with interest rates.
Can you talk about that a little bit more for some clarity on what a bond is for people?
I’m with PFS and let’s say that they offered me a bond. They’re borrowing $100,000. They’re going to promise me that in ten years, they’re going to pay me back the $100,000 plus interest and whatever interest we agreed to. The way the bond works when it comes to cost prices, bonds have what is called an inverse relationship. Whenever interest rates are going up, bond prices go down. Whenever interest rates are going down, bond prices go up.Whenever interest rates go up, bond prices go down. Whenever interest rates go down, bond prices go up. Click To Tweet
A lot of times when people hear bonds, they only think of that in relation to the federal government. Are you speaking of bonds as it relates to a private company?
You have private company bonds, federal bonds, and municipal bonds too.
How are those different?
When it comes to bonds, the safest bonds out there are government bonds and municipal bonds. The government doesn’t like to default.
Your mutual funds, are there some bonds in them? How does that correlate to the idea of the mutual funds that you brought in?
We have mutual funds that are nothing but equity only. We have equity and bonds. We have ones that are mostly equity and fewer bonds. We have some that are most bonds and less equity. It all depends on that person’s risk factor and how comfortable they are with risk.
If I’ve never been into investments, I’ve only saved money at home, and I’ve not even used a bank to get my paycheck and pay my bills, what are some things that I should start researching to educate myself before our first conversation?
There’s a website for those people who don’t know much about investments. It’s called Investopedia. Once you log into it, it will give you $100,000 of fake money. You can go and do different investments. It has all the lingo or vocabulary that we use when investing. You can find it at this so you can read on that and it gives you a better understanding of different investments.
It’s like a mock investment account to be able to pick some stocks or mutual funds that you think you would be interested in and then watch the highs and lows of that. That’s a very good way to start in that investment arena and not just throw your money into the process and get a feel for it.
Anybody can use it. It has a place where you can click on it and it says education. All the lingo, vocabulary, or words that people use in investments are right there and they make it clear.
That is very helpful. Thank you. We hear about this person’s an investor and then you hear about people being ripped off because someone took their funds and invested them in something that wasn’t honest. How does one keep themself from having that happening to them?
Research that company and person. On my podcast, I had a gentleman who deals with bitcoins. He said that if anybody will ever tell you that they’re going to send you some money but you have to send them money first, don’t do it. If it doesn’t sound true in real life, then it’s not. For investments, you have to do research and see whether a company is growing or not. In my case, if somebody wanted to check my credentials, you can go to FINRA Broker Check and put my name. Click on the very first Jesus Gonzales and it shows you all my credentials.
What are your credentials?
It shows you all the tests that I passed for my license and if I have any disclosures but I have no disclosures.
You mentioned your podcast. Talk about that a little bit more, what topics are covered topics, and where it is found.
My podcast name is called Rogue Finances & Life. It’s found on YouTube and also on Spotify. Most of my topics are on finances. I also talk about scripture and biblicals. I have one of my interviews with another pastor. We talk about finances from a biblical perspective.
What made you start doing the podcast? How long have you been doing it?
I did it for about a year. I’m thinking about different ways of putting myself out there. I didn’t want to do it to the point where I was just talking about myself. I wanted to, like you, introduce all the business owners and all the people who are experts in their topic.
I’ve read this episode and I am a widow. Let’s say I have $70,000. My home is already paid off. My children are adults. I already am retired. I have my income. I’m thinking, “I’m good with my $70,000 in the bank. I have my income. I’m going to retire. I don’t think this is for me and this would benefit me.” What would you say to me if we were having a conversation?
Even though you’re going to retire, let’s say you still have 10, 15, or 20 years left to live with that $70,000. Will you be able to spread that across 10 to 15 years, maybe even 20 years of living or you might have to need some extra income?
I’m retired from my job because I work so I have a retirement income that’s going to take care of my quality of life. The $70,000 is what’s remaining from the life insurance after paying off my late husband’s funeral. I have this 70,000 that doesn’t change my life one way or another but it’s money that I have.
Have you taken into consideration inflation, cost of living, and interest rates? Things are a lot more expensive than years ago. Years from now, things are going to cost even more. Would that $70,000 of your income be able to match the inflation, cost of living, and interest rate?In financial management, always consider inflation, cost of living, and interest rates. Those things will cost more years from now. Click To Tweet
Thank you. How has your family been part of this process or educating people that you know like your friends?
My wife and I both are in the same business so we do it together.
How is that working with your wife?
It works well because we both understand that if I have to go and meet another person, it’s all business-related. We speak to each other. We keep the conversation to the point where we know what’s going on. We do have to live a scheduled life because of it. A lot of times, we cannot just get up and do something because we have to make sure that either one of us doesn’t have an appointment. We tell each other, “Don’t schedule anything. No appointments during this time. We’re going to use this for family time.”
How long ago did you get introduced to PFS?
You started putting $50 away but how long did it take you to get to that 3-month income reserve?
It took me about a year or so.
How did it feel to have that put aside?
It feels great to be able to know that we don’t have to go to a financial institution to become indebted to them. We can go ahead and take out our business for ourselves.
It removes some stress that exists. Knowing that when life happens, like a washer machine breaks or the dishwasher, all those different things happen, we’ll be able to have something put aside. Was there a mind shift that had to change, not just the physical part of changing money? If so, how did you work through that, you and your family?
When I first started, I was by myself. I met my wife afterward. Even with her, it is a mind shift because you have to prioritize your needs and wants. Even within your needs, it’s like, “Do I need all these channels? I might need the one channel because all these other channels and stuff are not necessary. Do I need X, Y, and Z?” Even when you’re thinking about eating or anything, you’re like, “Is this really what I need or do I just need this much and I can live without?”
What if somebody feels like their quality of life is going to be reduced because they’re trying to save for this 3 or 6 months’ worth of income revenue?
It all depends on what they’re looking at for their quality of life. You have to know that sometimes you might have to make a few sacrifices to achieve the ultimate goal.
That is very true. It’s the need to sacrifice and realize what that goal looks like. Everyone’s financial gold is different. The ability to identify what that is sounds like you give a lot of personalized service, not something very generic. My goals are different than someone else.
We understand that every individual has a different view of life. Your financial needs are different than mine and so on. When I sit down with a person, I’m trying to find out who that person is financially and products that match that person. All my clients have different needs.
When you mentioned clients, what states are you able to work with? Is PFS a national company? How does one connect?
PFS is all over North America, Canada, and Puerto Rico territories. I’m licensed in the state of Virginia when it comes to investments but when it comes to life insurance, it’s in Virginia and Florida.
How would one get in contact with you if they wanted to discuss your services?
They can call me by phone, which is (948) 202-0593.
You spoke about investments, savings accounts, and having that 3 to 6 months reserve. Are there other different things that a person could expect to speak about when you’re helping with their finances? Do you speak about how Social Security is part of that process?
Do not depend on Social Security. It’s going to be a point where Social Security will no longer be there. We do offer for those who are looking for smart home security. They can get great discounts from us. We are partnering up with Vivint. For senior citizens, we do help them with senior healthcare. We do offer legal. We are partnered with LegalShield.
What is LegalShield? How could a person benefit from them?
LegalShield is a company that offers a small membership of $20 or $30 a month. They have plenty of lawyers who people can use in case they even need a lawyer for any legal issue. They also help you write a will. Most people think that wills are just for property and material stuff but people do not understand the importance of having a will even for your kids.
Speak about that a little bit. The idea of that instrument having a will, how does that benefit you?
In the case of somebody having young kids and they happen to pass away. Before they pass away, in their mind, they might be like, “I want them to go to Auntie So-And-So or go with my brother.” Without the will being written, the kids, the system, and the family members will have to go to probate court until the judge finally says the kids are going with so-and-so but before that, they are being battled for. If you have a will, the kids can go to the person that you have written for your kids to go to and they won’t have to go to a battle.
Speak a little bit more about what probate is.
It’s a court where family members go and dispute different areas. It could be any kind of material possessions, estate, or in this case, kids.
The idea of probate, if I understand you correctly, is where you have to go publicly and be challenged for decisions that were not identified and laid out legally before you passed. You also spoke about the material. If someone passes and it’s not written out, someone else could challenge a decision that you didn’t make identified. If you pass, you have several children, and you have no remaining spouse, then your means between adult children could be challenged. If you’re having a minor child as you’re speaking about and determining who would care for that minor child in your absence, if you don’t have a will and have that laid out, it can be very complicated upon your demise.
Wills are very important. Thank you for bringing that up because that also goes back to the idea that someone may feel like, “I don’t have enough money to get a lawyer to write a will,” but if they were using a service such as what you recommended as a very small cost per month, that would provide them the documentation they need to make sure that their affairs were in place. You said you haven’t dealt with a customer that’s passed. The idea of dealing with somebody who’s had to challenge probate and what that looks like is not an area you’ve experienced thus far.
Not yet but I have experienced this. I have LegalShield and I needed advice on divorce from my prior spouse. All I had to do was call up the number. They put me with a lawyer, asked the questions that I needed, and gave me the legal advice that I needed to pursue the divorce.
A phone call like that could have been very costly.
I had a total call. I went to talk to a lawyer and the lawyer told me, “I’m going to give you some nuggets on what to do but I’m telling you not to retain me because the cost to pay me off will be more than what your cost is.” Lawyers can be super expensive. If you don’t have the money but you have LegalShield, the cost will be cut dramatically because all of this is a phone call. Even if you have to return to a lawyer, the cost is going to be a lot less than going to a lawyer. There are lawyer’s fees.
We could contact you to also get LegalShield services. Thank you for your time. Are there some other points or anything else you feel we need to cover or discuss before we wrap up?
Other than that, we also help people with car and house insurance. PFS Investments is like Amazon when it comes to financial services.
That’s a pretty good analogy. Thank you.
Thank you for being here.
Thank you for your time.