The Why and How of Leadership Compensation

There’s no denying that there’s quite a conversation going on in the United States right now regarding pay. While others are spending their time discussing minimum wages for workers- including Amazon that just recently raised their minimum wage to $15/ hour- we’re more concerned with why a leadership team deserves to be compensated differently and how to do so without breaking the bank.


More Responsibility

It really isn’t rocket science- on a routine basis the people that make up your leadership team are responsible for more than an everyday employee. This is not to say that your other employees don’t earn their pay, but the fact remains that their burden of responsibility is far lower than supervisors, managers and CEO’s. There has to be enough incentive for someone to want to take on the extra tasks, paperwork and decisions- otherwise, why would anyone vie for the position in the first place?

Pay Them to Keep Them

One of the biggest mistakes companies can make is assuming their employees will stick around no matter what. It’s true that today’s generation of Millennials do seek out employment for reasons outside of compensation exclusively, but that still doesn’t mean they won’t be tempted by another equally impressive company offering more money. To keep the leaders that are fundamental to your success happy- and around- pay them enough to close the gap of opportunity elsewhere.

Earned Bonuses

Anyone in a sales position knows that Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are crucial to driving results. By setting up a bonus structure that only pays out when measurable success has been achieved, both the company and the employees benefit. For leaders, KPIs can be given for the success of their whole team, ensuring that they are actively working towards helping everyone within the organization accomplish more on a daily basis.

Out-of-the-Box Perks

While of course 401ks and health benefits don’t directly help pay the bills, compensation doesn’t always have to be in the form of money. With a higher base salary for your leadership team already established, the following perks are great ways to additionally motivate and reward employees of all levels:

  • Company Equity: Difficult but doable (especially for the employee that values ownership)

  • Fitness Memberships: To help them better themselves without coming out of pocket (and healthier people tend to mean less sick days. Hello productivity!)

  • Travel Reimbursements: Commutes, parking expenses, bridge tolls, etc.

  • Flexible Schedules: Allowing teams to work from home, saving time and money on travel, child care, etc.

  • Paid Volunteer Time Off: For those that value giving back to organizations important to them.

  • Tuition Reimbursement: To help alleviate the financial burden of past college expenses or current professional development.

Any opinions are those of Paul Snow and not necessarily those of Raymond James. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing is accurate or complete.

Running a Company 101: The Value of a Written Business Plan


In today’s world of instant everything, it seems that businesses often forget the value of preparation. While everyone wants to start quick and react later, there’s good reason to slow down to plan out the critical steps, values and expectations of a company. It’s when businesses fail to recognize the importance of a written strategic business plan that they will find themselves quickly falling behind the eight ball.

Put It Down On Paper

Writing ideas down on paper, at the very least, gives you a starting point. Whether or not these ideas materialize into what you envisioned them to be is not the point. It’s ok- and frankly, it’s expected- for plans to shift throughout the initial stages. However, it’s essential to have a foundation to start with rather than nothing at all.

Physically writing out the business plan helps you to work through and foresee any pending obstacles, providing a visual instead of unorganized ideas likely to be forgotten. Furthermore, it’s your business plan that you can turn to for answers when problems that arise; when done right, it allows for learning, growth, and adaptation.

Determine Your Values

If you take a look at the top companies in the world you’ll find that the common denominator is often a set of deeply rooted values. Acting as the pillars to their culture, these values represent everything the company stands for and provides a clear picture of what their customers- and employees- can expect from them.

As for the culture of a company, taking the time to incorporate your values into the business plan, allows you to hire people that fit within your organization. Not only is this beneficial for those seeking a workplace that fits their needs but it allows employers to hire more effectively saving time, money and frustration.


Think Past the Short Term

Finally, assuming you’re on board with writing your business plan out- to which we applaud you- there’s one thing to keep in mind: you must think big picture for both the short term and long. While there’s no doubt many aspects to starting a business that need daily, immediate attention, it’s the long term plan that also needs to be addressed. Far too often businesses concern themselves with how they’ll survive the next 6, 12, and 18 months only to unravel once they’ve hit those milestones. Understanding the goals that you have a few years down the road helps to ensure that your everyday decisions cultivate that trajectory.

While every business is different, the one thing that remains the same is the need to plan ahead. As cliche as it may sound, failing to plan truly is planning to fail- and not at all the reason you got into business in the first place.

Any opinions are those of Paul Snow and not necessarily those of Raymond James. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing is accurate or complete.

From Crawling to College Funds: How Saving For Your Child’s Future Can Start In Infancy

Congratulations on bringing your biggest- and most expensive- bundle of joy home.

Now comes the fun part: dirty diapers, 3 AM feedings, first words, and yes, even planning for their future. In fact, according to many recent studies, by the time a child reaches adulthood at the age of 18, they will have cost their parents upwards of $250,000- ever before spending a dime on college.


Thankfully, there are effective ways to save for your child’s future that when done correctly- and started early- allow for both the child and parents to have a stress free transition into the next phase of life.

Here are 4 ways to get ahead financially for their futures:

Educational Savings Account

An Educational Savings Account (ESA) is a go to source of financial preparation for parents looking to save money for their child’s future- no matter when that future may be. Unlike other products on the market, ESA’s allow parents to begin using the money during the Kindergarten years, as opposed to waiting until post-secondary education. Additionally, the “qualified expenses” are more loosely defined than other options, allowing the money to be used for things such as Internet packages, necessary technology and books.

The downside to an ESA, however, is the household income restrictions of  $220,000 a year per married couple or less and the $2,000 annual cap for contributions.

529 Plans

Likely one of the more prominent options for college savings specifically, a 529 plan is a state sponsored savings that goes directly towards the expenses associated with obtaining a college education. This is a great option for those that know unequivocally that the money being saved will be used for college related expenses- and nothing else- due to the penalties assessed should this money be spent otherwise. Still, for an option that allows tax free growth and larger annual investments than a ESA, you can’t go wrong with a 529 for your child’s future.


Prepaid Tuition

Within the same vein, these prepaid 529 plans help parents to lock in tuition costs at today’s rates as opposed to the cost at the time of the child’s enrollment. Just like a regular 529, your investment will grow tax free without penalty upon withdrawal as long as the funds are being used for college. Unlike a 529 however- that allows expenses associated with college- prepaid tutions are typically only used for the direct payment of tuition costs.

And while it’s true that prepaid plans are meant to be paid to one school specifically, you will not lose the saved funds should your child decide to go elsewhere. For schools that accept prepaid tuitions, the funds can be easily transferred to the school of your child’s choice without penalty.

Think Outside the Box

Saving money for college isn’t always about taking traditional routes, however. When it comes down to pinching pennies and getting ahead, there are unconventional ideas to keep in mind as well. UPromise by Sallie Mae allows you to get money back on everyday purchases such as groceries, travel and eating out; while other options include the Gerber Life College Plan that though the name commands an expectation to use towards college, allows your child to put the guaranteed funds of $10,000 to $150,000 towards other life expenses once the plan reaches maturity.

No matter which direction you decide on, the most important step is swift action. Waiting until your child is in grade school or later sets them back sometimes tens of thousands of dollars in savings- something that neither you or they should have to experience. With proper planning the years following highschool can be significantly accounted for- if not paid for entirely- just by getting started before they ever take their very first steps.

The sooner you start, the more prepared you will be. Call us today to get started. (985) 792-5232.

Any opinions are those of Paul Snow and not necessarily those of Raymond James. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a complete description, not is it a recommendation. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.

Bad Moves can be Costly for Loved Ones

5 Things to Consider When Naming a Beneficiary

When it comes to effectively transferring wealth, naming a beneficiary should not be simply overlooked. Through deep consideration when choosing  beneficiary, you can reap the benefits of time, frustration, and money saved. But, on the other hand, unthoughtful selections can have potentially serious consequences.

Consider the potential consequences when making decisions:

  1. Naming a minor - Clients should determine whether an 18-year-old with access to large sums of funds is what they want since minors inherit at the age of 18.
  2. Naming a special needs individual- A large inheritance could unintentionally disqualify that person from receiving future aid if someone receives government aid because of a disability.
  3. Naming an estate - Distributions to an estate go through probate and carry greater tax burdens than naming an individual beneficiary. A spouse has the option to roll over inherited retirement accounts into an IRA, while a non spousal beneficiary could establish a stretch IRA.
  4. Letting it ride - Just because someone named a person the beneficiary years ago, does not mean they would name that person today. Encourage your clients to review all beneficiaries regularly to make sure they reflect their current wishes.
  5. Leaving it blank - Encourage your clients to name a beneficiary for each of their accounts. Not naming a beneficiary assures the assets will go through probate, so they may not end up where your clients would have wanted.

There are several other strategies to consider when it comes to transferring wealth. To help with bill-paying and cash management tasks, adding a trusted child to a bank account will create a co-ownership arrangement that turns half of the account’s value into a gift and exposes it a child’s creditors. Also, due to balances being able to vary at anytime of inheritance, clients with more than one child should be cautious of naming each child as an individual beneficiary on separate accounts as a way of distributing wealth.

It is very important to consider all options when distributing wealth.

As always, we're here to answer any questions you may have when transferring wealth. Give us a call today!

*Material created by Raymond James for use by its advisors.

Know Your NOLA!

It is no mystery that the French Quarter of New Orleans is a paramount piece of history when considering the start of our amazing city. The establishment of this neighborhood in 1718 was the very beginning of what is arguably the most culturally rich city in the United States. While strolling through the French Quarter on foot, by bicycle, or by horse-drawn carriage, visitors can see many buildings and other establishments that date back centuries to the roots of the city. While viewing an old slideshow, we discovered forgotten photos of several historic landmarks that make up our beloved New Orleans.

A primary New Orleans attraction for locals and visitors alike is the unique cuisine and fresh seafood found throughout the old city. Many high-end dining establishments such as Antoine’s have been around for over a century and a half. Located right in the heart of the French Quarter at 713 Rue St. Louis, Antoine’s was established in 1840 by Antoine Alciatore and remains known as one of the oldest family-run restaurants in the United States. The classic French-Creole dishes available from Antoine’s specialized menu have been around for many decades, and the restaurant is credited to be the founder of famous dishes such as Oyster Rockefeller and Eggs Sardou. During its 177 years of existence, Antoine’s has solidified its place as a classic New Orleans dining destination that is deeply rooted in New Orleans’ culture. Antoine’s is the ultimate fine dining destination of the historic French Quarter.

Anyone who is familiar with New Orleans has most likely heard of the famous French Market located at the end of Decatur Street. This market has occupied the same location along the Mississippi River for over 200 years. Originally established as a trading post between the French settlers and the Native Americans, the Crescent City proudly endorses the vitality of this thriving local market as a reminder of its historic origins. Whether you are on the search for the perfect locally grown vegetables or simply shopping for handmade items such as jewelry, arts, crafts or clothes, the French Market has hosted local vendors for centuries and represents the origins of commerce in the Crescent City.

If you have ever visited Canal Street then you have most likely seen the Hyatt French Quarter Hotel. An often forgotten fact about the Hyatt is that the building used to be the site of the first D.H Holmes department store. Initially started by Daniel Henry Holmes in 1842, Holmes established the first department store on Canal Street as seen in the photo above in 1849. The Canal Street location served as the largest department store in the South and was commonly considered a New Orleans landmark. The clock that previously hung on the outside of the old building often served as a meet-up spot for shoppers visiting the store. The building was eventually remodeled to become the Chateau Sonesta Hotel in 1955, and eventually, in 2012 it was once again remodeled to become the Hyatt French Quarter Hotel as it remains today.

One of the most popular destinations in the New Orleans French Quarter is the original Cafe Du Monde Coffee & Beignet Shop nestled against the Mississippi River not far from the French Market on Decatur Street. As the French began to settle the New Orleans area in the 1700’s, they brought with them their coffee products and other pastry traditions such as the powdered sugar beignets. During the mid-1800’s they also developed chicory-mixed coffee products that would remain in high demand for the years to come. Cafe Du Monde was established in 1862 to provide coffee and beignets to the city’s inhabitants. There are now 9 Cafe Du Monde locations scattered across South Louisiana, but none can provide the true Cafe Du Monde experience like the original French Quarter location. If your French Quarter explorations have you dragging your feet, stop on by the original Cafe Du Monde for an afternoon coffee pick-me-up and experience a true New Orleans style coffee house.

Those who are familiar with the Greater New Orleans Area have likely traversed the famous Causeway Bridge that spans the length of Lake Pontchartrain. Spanning over 24 miles from the South Shore of Metairie to the North Shore of Mandeville, the Causeway Bridge has become famous for retaining the Guinness World Record title as the world’s longest continuous bridge over water.

Prior to the bridge’s construction, Bernard de Marigny, the founder of Mandeville, operated a ferry service that transported residents across the lake well into the 1930’s. With the establishment of the Causeway Commission in the late 1940’s, a plan to construct a bridge that would connect the North and South Shores of the lake began to form. The project was completed and opened to the public as a single, two-lane bridge traveling bi-directionally in 1956, and in 1969 the structure was upgraded with the construction of a second bridge adjacent to the original in order to accommodate a greater amount of traffic. Since opening to the public, tolls have increased from $1.50 north and southbound to $3 southbound, and the most recent 2017 change to $5 southbound. The toll fee helps the Causeway Commission maintain the two bridges, and provides payroll for Causeway workers and patrol officers. For 62 years, the Causeway Bridge has been the transportation heart line connecting north and south shore residents and commuters and has survived every major hurricane during its lifetime, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005.





5 Tips For Teaching Children About Money

1.    The Promise Stays the Same

The first and oldest rule about money can be the most difficult for young children to understand. The act of sacrificing the present moment for the future can be difficult even for adults to do, but make no mistake that above all else, money is a promise in abstract form.  This abstracted promise means that the work you are doing right now in the present moment will pay off in the future. Society would not be able to function without this promise.

Teaching children this concept will help them to better understand why we work so hard for the money we earn, and why it is so important to have a plan for managing this hard earned money. Technology will continue to affect the ways that we make and spend money, but the promise implied by the currency itself will always remain the same.  

2.    Develop A Plan

What are your goals, and how can your money help you achieve them? Money is a resource that is most wisely used in conjunction with a plan. Teaching children to develop a plan based on their needs or wants will ensure that they become more sophisticated about how they plan to manage the money they do not yet have. Have your kids come up with a toy or a game that they would like to buy for themselves and then work from there. This can be an effective method to combat impulsive spending.

3.    Teach Them To Save


Now that your children have planned to aim for something, help them hit their target by teaching them how to save their money. Whether it’s allowance, birthday money or other means, help your kids keep track of the money they earn and where they stand in relation to the goal they have set.

4.    Develop Budgeting Skills

By now your kids have learned how to plan to use their money and how to save their money so that their plan can be acted out. This is quite similar to the concept of budgeting, and although your children may not yet have enough responsibilities to put budgeting into practice, this point provides you with an appropriate time to introduce them to how you budget for certain necessities like bills or groceries. Giving your children a picture of how you budget your money will give them something applicable that they can learn from.

5.    Exemplify

One of the best things you can do for your children is to set a good example. When your children become independent and find themselves in an uncertain situation, it is quite likely that they will unconsciously default to whatever it is that they learned from you as a parent. A parent who is serious about teaching their children about money will be mindful about the patterns that they are acting out, because these routines and actions will be passed on in one form or another. A surefire way to get your children to reject the money skills you have been trying to teach them is act in the opposite way.    

What's Next for College Graduates?

Marc Robertson, a recent graduate of Millsaps College, shares his thoughts on "What's Next for College Graduates?"

Paul Snow, Snow Financial Group

Graduating from college is one of the major milestones in one’s lifetime. Many students feel the challenging part is surviving the pressure college presents along with figuring out what to do after graduation. Graduating college is a major accomplishment and becomes another stepping stone to future endeavors. The struggle becomes figuring out who you are and who you want to be as you move into adulthood.


Not all students have to worry about paying back student loans, but for most, debt is something we must deal with for several years after college. Before graduation, students are typically contacted by a loan servicer to discuss the repayment process. While school debt is always looming, it is nice to have the chance to get prepared and plan how to pay down the loans instead of being thrown to the financial burdens right out of college.


When it comes to getting noticed by potential employers or internships, students use a variety of useful methods. Resumes are still the most popular way because students can outline their education, experience, and accomplishments. Other methods, such as on-campus job fairs, word-of-mouth, or online job sites are also useful in making the search process easier for students. Schools have been making the process simpler and less stressful by bringing the employers to schools. Word-of-mouth is very effective when you have connections to people that are already in their careers and could help push start your career or offer you an opportunity. In my experience, word-of-mouth networking has been the most. I have been fortunate to run into people that were willing to offer me a chance or help me gain experience.


Not all students go straight into their careers after graduation. Many, like myself, pursue further education or simply do not know what they want to do in life yet. So, many graduates find themselves moving into an apartment or moving BACK home with parents. If the option is available, moving back home has become a smart way to save up money, especially when you are pursuing further education. It is good to start building a financial foundation for your life so that when it is time to find a career or job, you have a little something to support yourself. But, a little warning; moving back in with your parents may come with some parental stresses you left behind when you initially left for college.


Everyone has their reason for attending college. For me and like many others, my parents made it a point to drive the importance of school in my life. I always knew college was in my future, but the only difference for me was that choosing a college was based on furthering my basketball career more than finding a school that fit my academic desires. Basketball has been my passion since I was little, so being able to continue in college was the ultimate blessing. With that, I still had the principles my parents instilled in me about how doing well in school will ultimately lead you to better opportunities in life. At first, I can admit that college was a means to get a degree to get a job, but while I was in my studies, I found my interest in marketing and that changed my perspective on my purpose for being in college. At that point, I wanted to learn more about something that became interesting to me. My interest in marketing is what led to me to now attending graduate school. School may be stressful at times, but now that I am in school to learn more about marketing, I have found my passion, drive, and purpose of furthering my education.

Any opinions are those of Paul Snow and not necessarily those of Raymond James. 

Beating the Odds!

Talladega Super Speedway

As a fan of racing and a race car enthusiast, I want to give a quick shout out to Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in the way that he defeated the odds. Growing up in Jackson, there was only one name from Mississippi that I knew was involved in racing, and that was Lake Speed, retired American stock car driving. Being so close to NASCAR and other racing venues, you’d think there would be more sports racing professionals coming out of the state of Mississippi.

Photo May 06.jpeg

With this win, Stenhouse is the only other person, since Lake Speed in 1997, from Mississippi that has made a full-time presence in racing. In 2010, he was the Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year and won Nationwide championships in 2011 and 2012. He was also the Spring Cup Series Rookie of the Year in 2013. And on May 7, 2017, he earned his first Monster Energy Series win at Talladega.

In the end, always good to see someone beat the odds, even at such a young age. Congrats to Stenhouse on your most recent win.

Any opinions are those of Paul Snow and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Raymond James is not affiliated with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. or NASCAR.

Has Trump Already Started His Role of President?

For the second time since 2006, the federal reserve raised interest rates. Don’t worry, it’s not all that bad. As policymakers have stated, this rate hike could be an opportunity for strengthening of our economy. Trumps influence on the federal reserve has resulted in a .25 rate increase before his presidency has official begun. So, what does this mean for you?

Here’s a look at potential positives outcomes from this rate increase:


For savers, this increase may be a positive move for their investments. Anything from a checking account, savings account, CD, treasury bills, municipal or corporate bonds, just to name a few, may see an increase in yield over time.


The federal reserve monitors the CPI (Consumer Price Index) and PPI (Producer Price Index) in order to keep inflation manageable. When any of these indicators start showing movement, the federal reserve will raise or lower rates to keep the economy in a stable environment. Higher interest rates result in lower prices for consumer goods, and a higher exchange in value on domestic dollar rates. Lower price for consumer goods can help boost GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and consumer spending.


Current lending practices are a direct result of the financial crisis of the past. Although many lenders and banking institutions have tougher lending requirements, overall lending has resumed with competitive interest rates. Banks will have more funds available to lend. With this being said, banks have a greater incentive at higher interest rates which may increase additional credit and boost the economy.


When the Federal Reserve raises interest rates. People who are living off of their nest egg or income from savings typically benefit from higher interest rates. Having a significant amount of money in savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CD) or money market accounts is a good thing when the interest rates increase. When you depend on the monthly income from your investments, higher interest rates create a higher return. Retirees who are risk-averse typically put a portion of their cash in other products, such as saving accounts or CDs which may also see a higher interest income with an increase in interest rates.


The impact of higher interest rates for those who love travel abroad is always positive. The increase in rates creates a stronger US dollar making buying foreign currency and traveling to other countries much cheaper. The rate hike allows travelers to have more money to spend on hotels, food, and transportation abroad.


Any change in the federal funds rate will cause a reaction in the stock market. Typically, when the federal fund rates increase, investors will view government securities, treasury bills and bonds as more safe investment options. In the past, the focus was on the federal reserve and what interest rates will do going forward. Now that the rates are starting to increase, the stock market will now reflect the true fundamentals and not how future interest rates will affect the market.


If you’ve been considering buying a primary residence or second home, now is the time to consider the decision to move forward or not. The rates are not going to go lower anytime soon, which means making a decision on purchasing property or a home needs to be made sooner than later. Lower interest rates mean lower mortgages, which is positive for buyers. Alternatively, increased rates are always a plus for lending institutions, so acting now is better than later when you are looking to purchase a home or property.

Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Paul D. Snow, IV and Snow Financial Group, LLC and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Every investor’s situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. There is an inverse relationship between interest rate movements and fixed income prices. Generally, when interest rates rise, fixed income prices fall and when interest rates fall, fixed income prices generally rise.



Financial Planning for Professional Athletes


The earning potential for professional athletes can range from hundreds of thousands to millions, but instead of being financially secure for life, many athletes face tax challenges, short career lengths, lavish lifestyles and limited financial knowledge. Without the right planning and advice from an experienced and trusted financial advisor, an athlete can encounter financial difficulties very early on in their career.


Educating rookie and young professional athletes on proper financial management and spending habits is key to the overall financial success of their future. Listening to an athlete’s financial goals is one of the first conversations to have with your client. Financial advisors should work closely with an athlete to set spending and saving budgets, and review these budgets with the athlete often. Young athletes will most likely be inclined to allow their family or friends to manage their finances, but it seems in the majority of these cases, the individuals do not have the necessary financial education and experience to handle the management of large assets. A trusted and experienced financial advisor’s goal is to guide an athlete on the proper management of their finances, to educate them on the wide range of options available to preserve their income, and the overall well-being of the athlete.

Paul Snow and Stefan Moody, Ole Miss Rebels Guard & Professional Basketball Player.


Guidance from a financial advisor on investment and retirement options is key to proper portfolio management, which may also limit the amount of risk to an athlete’s current income and future retirement income. Due to the uncertainty of the length of an athlete’s career, it is important to take every opportunity to begin saving and investing early on in their career.  Early saving and investing can allow an athlete to accumulate a significant amount of money, providing the opportunity for financial security during retirement. 


Setting practical goals and managing an athlete’s earnings and expenses are crucial to the stability of current and future income. With expectations from society, family and friends, many athletes experience financial pressure, which can have damaging outcomes to their earning and potential retirement income. Advising and guiding an athlete to maintain their financial goals during the early years of their career will provide a greater opportunity for life long income and financial security. Likewise, employing a transition plan for the athlete’s post-playing career is important. Some professional athletes face substantial financial hurdles or bankruptcy, in just two to five years after retirement. As a financial advisor to professional athletes, the goal is to work together to create and manage a plan that is in the best interest of their current and future financial security.