What’s the Difference Between a Will and a Living Trust?

A “Living Trust” is a trust you created that is active while you are alive versus a Testamentary Trust which becomes active at your death. When you create a Living Trust, you ensure that your assets will be disbursed efficiently to the people you choose after your death. The big advantage to a Living Trust is that the trust doesn’t have to go through probate court like a will does. Probate can be expensive in attorney and court costs while also causing long and frustrating delays. A Living trust is an arrangement under which one person, called a trustee, holds legal title to property for another person, called a beneficiary. You can even act as your own Trustee if you’d like. When you create a trust, the titling of assets is changed into the trust’s name, as if it was a living entity. Specific details of your wishes upon death can be provided for in the trust. But not everyone needs a trust. Transfer of assets at death may be handled through a beneficiary designation on some holdings and investments. If you’re using beneficiary designations, make sure all your paperwork is up to date. For instance, if you get divorced, be sure to remove your ex-spouse as a beneficiary. For more information about how to plan well for your family’s future, give us a call today.

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What Can Indexed Annuities Do For You?

Video Transcript:

A fixed index annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company that may help you reach your long-term financial goals. In exchange for your premium payment, the insurance company provides you with income, either starting immediately or at some time in the future.

Most fixed index annuities have two phases. First, there’s an accumulation phase, during which you let your money earn interest. This is followed by a distribution or payout phase, during which you receive money from your annuity. Your annuity can earn a fixed rate of interest that is guaranteed by the insurance company or an interest rate based on the growth of an external index.

With a fixed index annuity, you defer paying taxes on your contract’s interest until you receive money from the contract. This tax deferred growth in your asset can really add up. These annuities provide for additional growth in value by sharing in stock market growth, often without market risk. Fixed index annuities vary in their benefits depending on the company offering them.

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Impact of Inflation in Retirement



Video Transcript:

The medical profession refers to high blood pressure as the silent killer. In investing, the silent killer is INFLATION.

The minimum return on any retirement investment must be at least equal to inflation. Here’s why.

Suppose your retirement goal is to withdraw $90,000 per year from your IRA. To maintain your purchasing power you must adjust your withdrawal amount for the inflation factor.

That means that to get $90,000 per year at an inflation rate of 3%, your withdrawal amount in year 15 would be $140,217.

Are you on track to manage inflation during your retirement?
To learn more, give us a call today, or visit our website.

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You have what it takes to manage your money

Video Transcript:

As a woman, you may feel you lack the confidence to manage your money, but in reality you have all the skills and tools you need. Since the beginning of time women have been caring for others, managing families, paying bills, building careers and making life altering decisions. All of these skills add to your ability to make smart financial decisions with your money. The key is understanding what you want your money to do for you. Being able to define your purpose for your money and recognize how your money can help you live the life you want is the first step.

Let us help you use your natural skills to create a purposeful plan for your money.

We look forward to talking with you!

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How to Plan Ahead in Caring for Aging Parents

Video Transcript:

Today’s longer lifespans have left some baby boomers in the difficult position of planning for retirement, helping their children and caring for aging parents simultaneously.

Giving advice to aging parents on their finances and other matters can cause conflict.

To ease the way, start the conversation long before a crisis occurs by asking for copies of documents you might need someday such as property deeds, birth certificates and insurance policies.

Also keep updated information on retirement plans and pensions, Social Security and health insurance.

Ask your parents to create a living will, outlining their health care wishes, and appoint a health care proxy, or person, to carry out those wishes in case they’re unable to communicate.

They may want to also have a living trust, which is a legal document that places their assets into a trust for their benefit while alive, and transfers them to beneficiaries when they die.
If your parents become ill or incapacitated, the trustee can immediately take over financial decisions.

For more information on caring for aging parents, call us or stop by our website.

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Why is Asset Allocation Important to Investing?

Video Transcript:

To keep your investment portfolio on target for financial goals, you want to balance risk and diversify your assets.

That’s the purpose of asset allocation – the process of dividing your portfolio among major categories like cash, stocks and bonds.

Historically, the returns of these three major asset categories have not moved up and down at the same time – so including a mix of these assets in your portfolio can protect against losses.

There is no perfect formula for asset allocation – it differs with each individual depending on their risk tolerance and time horizon.

Risk tolerance is the amount of your investment you’re willing, or able, to lose in exchange for greater possible returns.

Risk tolerance is closely tied to time horizon, or the amount of time you have to invest.

An investor saving to make a down payment on a home in 5 years might choose less risky investments than someone saving for retirement in 20 years. A longer time horizon allows more time to recover from loss.

Asset allocation may be one of the most important investment decisions you make with your portfolio – call us today to learn more.

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Which Retirement Plan Should I Choose

Video Transcript:

Choosing a retirement plan is a great step toward financial security.

There are several types available, but here are the most common:
401(k)s and 403(b)s are plans offered by employers. 401(k)s are offered by for-profit companies, and 403(b)s are offered by public schools and some non-profit organizations.

Contributions are deducted from your paycheck, and are often matched by employers. They’re deducted pre-tax, grow tax-deferred and are taxable on withdrawal.

Traditional IRAs, or Individual Retirement Accounts, are opened by individuals through an investment firm or bank. They may be tax deductible, grow tax-deferred and you pay tax when you take the money out.

A SIMPLE IRA plan is similar to a traditional IRA, but these accounts are set up by a small business owner, and usually permit larger contribution amounts.

And lastly, when you open a Roth IRA, you contribute after-tax dollars, the money grows tax-free, and you pay no tax on withdrawals.

All these types of accounts have their own set of rules on eligibility, contribution amounts and withdrawals.

For more information on retirement plans – give us a call today, or visit our website!

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How To Strategize for Your Social Security Benefits



Video Transcript:

As life expectancy has grown, your retirement now can last between 20 and 30 years. So Social Security planning is critical, no matter how much money you have. It can make a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, if you retire at age 62 and pass away at age 86, you’ll receive at least 25% less for 24 years. But, if you wait to retire at age 70, you’ll receive 32% more for 16 years.

If your retirement income at age 66 was $2,000 per month, this could be a difference of over $200,000 during your lifetime. Arriving at a decision on when to retire is not easy. If you retire early, it could affect your spouse’s benefits. And wages and other taxable income could cause up to 85% of your Social Security benefits to be exposed to income taxes. Proper planning takes all of these factors into account to determine a Social Security strategy. For instance, a repositioning of assets could reduce taxable income and provide for more reliable monthly income.

With over 500 different combinations of factors affecting benefits, it makes sense to talk to a financial advisor and get it right.

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When is the Best Time to Retire?


Video Transcript:

You might be asking yourself, “When should I retire? Should I retire early or defer it?” Deciding when to retire may not be just one decision, but a series of decisions and calculations. For example, you’ll need to estimate not only your anticipated expenses but also what sources of retirement income you’ll have and how long you’ll need your retirement savings to last.

You’ll need to take into account your life expectancy and health, as well as when you’ll want to start receiving Social Security or pension benefits. You’ll also want to consider when you’ll start to tap your retirement savings. Each of these factors may affect the others as part of an overall retirement income plan.

Contact us today to get help to determine the best time for you to retire.

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What Can You Do With an Inherited IRA?

Video Transcript:

If you’ve become the beneficiary of an IRA or other retirement account, it’s important to know your options.

You can take the money out in one lump sum. This requires opening an account called an Inherited IRA in your name for correct IRS reporting.

That lump sum may be taxable depending on whether the original contributions were pre or post-tax .

Or you can open an Inherited IRA and leave it alone to grow tax-deferred. You can’t make any additional contributions and must take Required Minimum Distributions based on when the deceased would have turned 70 ½. With this option, you can name your own beneficiary to pass it on.

If your spouse left you the account, you’re allowed to roll those assets into your own retirement account and follow your account’s distribution rules.

You could also disclaim the account, or not accept it. The assets can then pass on to alternate beneficiaries.

If you disclaim, it must be done before taking possession of the account, and within nine months of the original owner’s death.

To learn more about what to do with an inherited retirement account, please give us a call today.

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