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Financial and Estate Planning
Identity Theft and Cyber Crime
Long Term Care
Women and Money
We all think we know the basics about Social Security, but do we really know how different the benefits can be? The standard retirement age is between 65 and 67, depending on your birthday. Your monthly income, also called your PIA, is determined by your highest 35 years of indexed earnings. You can start taking benefits as early as age 62, but your monthly income will be reduced by at least 25%. Or, you can delay until age 70, and your monthly income will be 32% higher. Your strategy needs to be based upon a number of factors: like how much retirement income you need, other sources of income, income taxes and your general health condition. Other factors also weigh in, like survivor needs, divorce, dependent children, and available liquid assets. Proper planning requires attention to all these details. Give us a call today for help with planning your Social Security strategies.
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.
3. What are Required Minimum Distributions and How Are They Determined? Social Security
What are required minimum distributions and how are they determined? Beginning at age 72 and you must begin to withdraw money from your retirement accounts every year. The amount is determined based on your life expectancy. As contained in the IRS tables, required minimum distributions are computed by dividing the account balance at year’s end by the life expectancy factor. Assuming a husband and wife are about the same age, then this factor at age 72 is 25 point six years. Alternatively, you could multiply your account balance by three point six five percent, which is 100 divided by 25.6. The first required minimum distribution must be withdrawn by April first of the year following the year that you turn 72.
Subsequent required minimum distributions must be withdrawn by December 31st each year. Every year, your required minimum distribution will increase over your lifetime. If you want an estimate of your required minimum distributions each year let us do the math for you and help you develop a winning strategy.
What is the real cost of identity theft? It goes beyond just financial loss.
In the past, identity theft happened when someone stole your wallet or picked through your trash or your mail. Today’s theft is much more sophisticated. Today, it’s cyber crime, and there are over 1.5 million victims daily. The information targeted is your bank account information, Social Security number, or credit card information. Computers, smart hones, and even hacked ATM machines are sources under attack. Sometimes it is beyond your control. Even big, reliable companies have their systems hacked. Beyond the financial costs, there are legal costs and time needed to restore your good credit. It can take years to recover. In the meantime, your credit rating may be affected, disqualifying you for loans, or your employment may be affected. There are several steps you can take to help protect yourself. You need strong online passwords that include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Do not provide financial information on public networks and use only reliable websites to purchase goods. Early detection is critical, so monitor your financial statements weekly. Freeze accounts if you suspect any irregularity and set up alerts when activity falls outside of set parameters. We can help provide you with resources and guidance so that you can protect your accounts from identity theft.
5. How to Allocate Assets Within Your Portfolio When You Retire Investing
If you’re nearing retirement, you may need to consider asset allocation in a different way. Be aware that asset allocation cannot eliminate the risk of fluctuating prices and uncertain returns. When you were younger, you may have invested in stocks and mutual funds for the growth and perhaps the diversification offered. You had time on your side. You invested for the long haul and could weather the ups and downs of the stock market. But when you’re nearing or in retirement, the ground rules change. Losses are difficult to recover and your income stream could suffer just when you’re counting on it. Often, a balance between stocks and bonds is used because these investments usually move in opposite directions. This is where asset allocation comes into play. Because investments may go up and down, and your financial needs may vary, your planning must allow for contingencies. Various types of investments can help accomplish this. By allocating investments for growth potential, guaranteed income, risk management, and taxes, we can develop a strategy to help you meet your financial goals. Please give us a call today to find out how you can allocate your assets for your retirement.
6. What is an Annuity and How Does it Generate Income? Annuities
You’ve worked so hard to build your net worth, but it could fall into a sinkhole if you don’t do estate planning. Estate planning isn’t just for the rich, it is a necessity for everyone, and estate plan will allow you to pass along what you own to whom you want to receive it, the way want them to receive it, and when you want them to receive it. A will is a good start. Seventy percent of Americans with children under 18 in the household don’t have wills. If you don’t make a will, the courts may decide the distributions of your assets for you. The will should take into account all you own and all the potential beneficiaries. One element of the will should be the living will, where you specify medical directions for life support by artificial means.
Another element of the will should be durable power of attorney; this allows someone else to act on your behalf in case you are incapacitated. It’s important that all investment titling and beneficiary designations are working in concert with your will or other estate planning documents. Speak with your estate and tax planning professionals to evaluate any potential tax ramifications and call us today to learn more about strategies and resources that may help you preserve your nest egg.
9. What is a Rider and How Can It Help You Save on Insurance? Insurance
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.
19. Tax Planning: How to Prepare for Taxes at the End of the Year Tax Planning
20. How Dollar Cost Averaging Can Help You Make Smart Investments Investing
Dollar cost averaging is a stock market investing technique where you buy a fixed dollar amount of a particular investment on a regular schedule, regardless of the share price. More shares are purchased when prices are low and fewer shares are bought when prices are high. This can help reduce the impact of volatility or price swings on purchases of financial assets. For instance, say you plan to invest $500 over a five-month period. So that would be $100 per month. Let’s say your stock’s price varies month to month as follows: $5, $8, $5, $3, $5. You would have bought this many shares each month: 20, 12.5, 20, 33.33, 20. Mathematically, the average share price would have been $5.20. With dollar cost averaging, the average per share cost would be $4.72. So you save $0.48 per share despite taking advantage of market variations. This method does not account for the value of time or for long protected trends. Always seek a professional to develop an investment plan that fits you and your circumstances. Periodic investment plans, such as dollar cost averaging, do not assure a profit or protect against a loss in declining markets. This strategy involves continuous investment so the investors should consider his or her ability to continue purchases through periods of low price levels. We can help so give us a call today.
21. Do You Have to Take Your Required Minimum Distribution? Social Security
23. What’s the Best Way to Set Aside Funds for Future College Costs? College Planning
Statistics say there is a seventy percent chance that you or your spouse will experience a need for long-term care! Long-term care includes a range of services and supports you may need to meet your personal care needs. Most long-term care is not medical care, but rather assistance with the basic personal tasks of everyday life, sometimes called Activities of Daily Living (or ADLs). These include Bathing, Dressing, Using the toilet, Transferring to or from bed or chairs, Caring for incontinence, and Eating. Other common long-term care services and supports are assistance with everyday tasks, sometimes called Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (or IADLs) These include Housework, Managing money, Taking medication, Preparing and cleaning up after meals, Shopping for groceries or clothes, Using the telephone or other communication devices, Caring for pets and Responding to emergency alerts such as fire alarms. The cost of Long-Term care varies with the amount of coverage, length of care, and deductibles. The initial premium level will increase based upon the age at which you apply. Like all insurance, most people wait too long before applying. 1 in 4 who apply between the ages of 60 and69, don’t qualify. You owe it to yourself and family to know the options and prepare well today. Call us to find out more.
25. How Will Divorce Affect Your Finances? Divorce
26. What Can Indexed Annuities Do For You? Annuities
27. Why is Laddering a Smart Strategy For Your Finances? Investing
In a “regular” mortgage, you make monthly payments to the lender. In a “reverse” mortgage, you receive monthly payments from the lender, and generally don’t have to pay it back for as long as you live in your home. You are basically taking equity out of your home in the form of monthly payments made to you. The loan is repaid in full when you die, sell your home, or when your home is no longer your primary residence. If you make more money on the sale of your home than was required to pay off your mortgage, you get to keep the proceeds. These proceeds are generally tax-free, and many reverse mortgages have no income restrictions. If you’re 62 years old or older – and looking for money to finance a home improvement, supplement your retirement income, or pay for healthcare expenses – you may want to consider a reverse mortgage. It’s a product that allows you to convert part of the equity in your home into cash without having to sell your home or pay additional monthly bills. These reverse mortgage loan advances are not taxable, and generally don’t affect your Social Security or Medicare benefits. Terms and conditions can vary widely among lenders. A reverse Mortgage may help fill in the gaps of retirement income shortfalls. Give us a call today to find out if a reverse mortgage is right for you.
31. How Do You Create a Simple Retirement Income Plan? Retirement
32. When Does a Roth Conversion Make Sense? Retirement
33. How to be Tax Efficient with Your Investments? Tax Planning
36. When Should You Consider a Life Settlement? Insurance
37. How Would an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust Benefit You? Insurance
38. Are Target Date funds Right for You? Investing
40. How Can Social Security and Retirement Planning Work Together for Your Benefit? Social Security
A question we’re commonly asked is, “Is it possible to drastically reduce taxes in retirement, or even eliminate them? It’s possible, but you must start planning before you retire. Many people don’t realize that Traditional IRAs and 401(K)s are fully taxed upon withdrawal, so the key is to diversify your retirement income. You can do that by saving and investing in tax-advantaged and non-taxable accounts, such as a Roth IRA, while you’re still working. Once you’re retired, it’s all about monitoring your adjusted gross income to control your tax bracket. You can limit the amount of taxable income you need to withdraw by pulling income from your tax-free accounts. Also, by withdrawing from non-taxable accounts, instead of selling investments that trigger taxable income, you reduce the amount of your Social Security benefits subject to income tax. To find out how you can reduce your taxes in your retirement years, call us, or visit our website today.
42. Don’t Let Timing Ruin Your Retirement Retirement
43. Is Tax Planning missing in your Retirement Planning? Tax Planning
Too many retirees believe that they don’t have to do any planning in retirement. They spent years saving for their retirement and now they think they can coast. WRONG! There are hidden tax traps waiting for the unsuspecting. For instance, If you want $75,000 per year in retirement, is that before or after taxes? If it’s after taxes, that could mean withdrawing $90,000 per year before tax. Will your portfolio last for 35 years if you withdraw $90,000 each year adjusted for inflation? After 15 years, to keep your purchasing power of $90,000 at 3% inflation you would need to withdraw $140,217! To find out more about planning during your retirement years, give us a call or visit our website today.
45. How Life Insurance Can Make your Retirement Tax-FreeTax Planning
46. Which Retirement Plan Should I Choose Retirement
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!
47. 5 Important Medicare Facts for Pre-Retirees Medicare
Most Americans who turn 65 are eligible for Medicare, a federal program that covers many health expenses for seniors. But the program is complicated. Here are 5 important facts you need to know: First – Medicare is not free. Of the 4 parts, Part A – Hospital Insurance – is the only one that normally has no premium. Parts B, C and D have premiums that vary. Second – Enrollment is not automatic – you have to sign up for Medicare benefits. The exception is for those already receiving Social Security benefits. If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits, you will automatically receive Medicare Parts A and B. Third – Late enrollment can mean expensive, and permanent, premium penalties. You have 7 months, starting 3 months before your 65th birthday month, to sign up penalty-free. Fourth – Medicare covers a lot, but not everything. Services like long-term care, dental and vision care are not covered. People often purchase additional private coverage for these types of services. And fifth, if you’re rich you’ll pay more. High-income seniors pay surcharges on premiums for both Parts B and D. Let us help you with your important Medicare decisions – give us a call or visit or website today!
48. How Do I Choose Medicare Coverage When I Retire? Medicare
A question we hear often is “Is it possible to increase my Social Security benefits?” The answer is yes, there are 3 basic ways you can boost your benefits; work more years, earn more in annual income, and claim benefits later. [1 – Work More Years]- Social security benefits are based on an average of your 35 highest earning years. By working more years, you can replace any zeros from missed years, or lower wage years, to create a better base for your benefit calculations. [2- Earn More Income] The Social Security formula is based on earnings, up to a designated limit, each year. That limit can change. In 2003, for example, that limit was $87,000. In 2016, the limit was $118,500. If you’re earning less than the annual limit, a higher working income will help you increase your benefit. Working overtime, extra hours, or taking a second job are all ways to boost that annual income. [3- Claim Later] You can claim benefits as early as age 62, but the longer you wait, the higher your monthly benefit will be. The difference in income when added up over a lifetime can be enormous. For more information on how to maximize your Social Security benefits, please call or visit our website today.
Many people overlook the importance of benefits for the surviving spouse when they initially file for Social Security. Postponing collection of benefits can earn workers 8% in delayed retirement credits every year from full retirement age to age 70. Since survivor benefits will reflect any delayed credits, this is a very important strategy for the higher earning spouse.
If the higher earning spouse dies first, the higher benefit transfers to the survivor and continues for the rest of their life. Even if the higher earning spouse dies before ever claiming a benefit, those credits earned will still boost the survivor benefits. To be eligible for survivor benefits, the survivor had to have been married for at least 9 months, or be a caregiver of the deceased’s child under age 16. The surviving spouse can claim survivor benefits as early as age 60, 50 if disabled, but the benefit will be reduced. By waiting until full retirement age, the surviving spouse can collect 100% of the late worker’s benefits, including any delayed credits. Decisions on when to begin receiving Social Security benefits have a lifelong impact for you and your spouse – so call us today for more information.
Small businesses are increasingly under attack from cyber thieves. Adopting cybersecurity policies will help keep your company safe from fraud. First, educate employees on using strong passwords, and avoiding suspicious emails, links and downloads. Second, put up a firewall to protect your network by controlling internet traffic flowing in and out of your business. Third, install anti-virus and anti-malware software. Fourth, consistently update all hardware and software for important security fixes. Fifth, secure company smart phones and laptops with encryption software, password protection and remote wiping capabilities. Sixth, back up company data consistently to a secure off-site location. And lastly, create an incident response plan outlining how staff can detect and contain a cyber breach. For more information on how to protect your business and financial accounts from fraud, call us or visit our website today.
53. Should I Invest in an IRA or 401(k)? Retirement
Too many young people can’t afford college, and many more leave college under a mountain of debt. Here are 5 ways to plan for a debt-free education. First, invest early in college savings plans like 529s or state prepaid tuition plans – parents and grandparents can participate. Second, avoid loans if possible – they’re easy to obtain but difficult to get out from under after graduation. Third, start your scholarship search early – you’ll have time to learn the requirements and boost your chances through academics or other activities. Fourth, dual enroll or take advanced placement courses in high school – you’ll get college credits for free or very low cost. Fifth, stay local – attend a state community college and then transfer. The tuition is lower than most private schools, and you’ll save money if you can live at home for a few years. Also, while relocating may not be an option, keep in mind that some cities and states, like San Francisco and New York, offer free college tuition – although restrictions apply. Everyone should have a chance to attend college – to find out more on how to fund a college education, give us a call or visit our website today.
56. How to Avoid an IRA Rollover Mistake Retirement
If you’re changing jobs or retiring, it’s important to know the rules regarding moving funds from your employer sponsored retirement plan. The wrong move could cost you in income taxes and early withdrawal penalties. You typically have four options, and you may engage in a combination of these options. You can leave the money in your former employer’s plan, if permitted. You can also cash out the account value, but you should research the tax implications first. There are two basic ways to move retirement plan assets from one retirement plan into another with no tax consequence. With a direct rollover, your financial institution or plan directly transfers the payment to another plan or IRA; no taxes are withheld and your account continues to grow tax-deferred. With an indirect rollover, a check is made payable to you. You have 60 days to deposit it into a Rollover IRA – after that the entire amount is considered income, and subject to taxes. You could also face a 10% early withdrawal penalty, depending on your age. And, indirect rollovers are subject to 20% withholding. For example, if you had $10,000 eligible to rollover, your employer would withhold $2000 and you’d get a check for $8,000. The $2000 withheld counts as income taxes paid, but in 60 days you still have to deposit the entire $10,000 in a rollover account _ the $8,000 from your employer plus $2000 from your own resources. To learn more about your retirement plan options, give us a call today.
57. Why is Asset Allocation Important to Investing? Investing
Risk tolerance is the level of risk, or market ups and downs, an investor is willing and able to tolerate. An aggressive investor, one with a high risk tolerance, is willing to risk greater loss to potentially maximize returns, while a conservative investor prefers investments that have a lower risk of negatively impacting the portfolio’s value. It’s important to understand your own risk tolerance when building an investment portfolio so that you won’t over-react during market swings. The first step toward gauging your risk tolerance is to outline your financial goals, such as saving for college, a car or a new home. Then create a timeline for when you’ll need the money – lower-risk investments are best for short-term goals, since there’s little time to recover from loss. Keep in mind that investments with very low risk will grow more slowly, and could even lose purchasing power due to inflation and taxes. Also consider your personal comfort level in investing – can you sleep at night with the choices you’ve made in times of market volatility? To learn more about how risk tolerance affects your investment strategy, please call or visit our website today.
59. Should You Invest In Stocks or Bonds? Investing
Stocks and bonds are two of the most common investment asset categories. When you invest in more than one category, you reduce your overall investment risk, so many people add a mix of both stocks and bonds to diversity their portfolio. The right mix depends largely on your financial goals, because these two asset classes play different roles. Stocks are a form of ownership – a company sells shares to raise money. When you purchase a share of stock, you’re purchasing an ownership stake in the company. Bonds represent debt – a government or company issues a bond, or an I.O.U., to raise money with the promise to pay back your original investment, along with regular interest payments. The volatility of stocks makes them riskier than bonds, but they also offer the greatest potential for growth, especially in the long term. Bonds may offer more modest returns, but are typically less volatile than stocks and are also advantageous for their income from the interest payments. For more information on the right investment mix for your financial goals, please give us a call or visit our website today.
60. Small Cap versus Big Cap Stocks Investing
Spreading your investments over different asset classes like stocks and bonds is one way to diversify your portfolio. But you can also diversify through different types of stocks, such as large cap and small cap. Cap stands for capitalization, or the company’s market value, which is determined by the number of outstanding shares times current share prices. Large cap companies, often called ‘blue chip” are worth $10 billion or more, and tend to be household names like Apple, IBM and Walt Disney. These companies are likely to be more stable, offer conservative growth and usually issue steady dividends. They are often the mainstay of a portfolio. Small cap companies are usually valued at under $2 billion. Often called “growth stocks”, they can gain profit quickly in particular industries, but they also represent greater risk. Adding a mix of both small and large cap stocks can help create a diverse portfolio seeking to conserve capital, provide income and build wealth over the long term. For more information on the right asset mix for your portfolio, give us a call or stop by our website today.
61. Four Basic 1031 Exchange Rules for Real Estate Investors Investing
If you own investment property, you need to know how the IRS Section 1031, commonly referred to as a 1031 exchange, can work for you. A 1031 exchange is a strategy that allows an investor to defer capital gain taxes by selling a property and then reinvesting the proceeds into a new, like-kind property. Here are the basic rules of the 1031 exchange: First, the taxpayer who sells must be the same taxpayer who buys; Second, you must identify the new property within 45 calendar days after closing on the first property; Third,- you must purchase the replacement property within 180 calendar days after closing; and fourth, the replacement property price must be equal to or greater than the old property. If the new property price is less than the old one, the difference may be taxed. A 1031 exchange can be a powerful tax-deferment strategy offering many opportunities to investors. To learn more, give us a call today.
62. 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Retirement Retirement
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.
If you faced sudden evacuation of your home, would you be prepared to grab all your important documents and items on your way out the door? Few of us would be clear headed enough to know what we need, and where to find it, in a time of crisis. Here are two important steps to take well in advance of any possible emergency: First, create an inventory of your home possessions, inside and out. Document this in a formal list, and take photos or videotape for insurance purposes. Include values, model and serial numbers, receipts and appraisals whenever possible.
Second, assemble an Evacuation Box to store key documents and items like cash, wills, bank account numbers, computer backups and medical information. Make sure your box is durable and lockable, and store it near an exit for quick access. Preparing for an emergency can help lessen its financial impact. For more information, call us or drop by our website.
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 additional contributions and must start taking Required Minimum Distributions based on when the deceased would have turned 72. You must also liquidate the account in ten years. 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.
Whether you’re saving for a new car, home or retirement, compound interest is your friend. By definition, compound interest is interest earned on the principal amount plus the interest that was paid earlier. Let’s say you put one thousand dollars into a bank account or investment product offering 5 percent interest per year. By the end of year one you’d have one thousand fifty dollars. At the end of year two you’d earn interest on the entire one thousand fifty dollars, bringing your balance to one thousand one hundred and three dollars. All this happened because your interest received interest – in other words, it compounded. If you left that thousand dollars to compound for ten years – your balance would be one thousand six hundred and twenty nine dollars. And that’s the power of compound interest – you build wealth with very little effort. Another bonus is that the more frequently compounding occurs, the more interest is earned. For instance, if your bank paid interest monthly instead of annually, that year two balance would be one thousand one hundred and five dollars. By year 10? One thousand six hundred and forty seven dollars. While it may not seem like a huge amount, the longer you have to save, the more compounding can help grow even small sums into significant savings. To learn more about how to harness the power of compound interest – give us a call today!
Many people tend to avoid the “b” word – Budget! But a budget is really a spending plan that gives you control over your finances by tracking what comes in and what goes out. It’s that simple, and it doesn’t need to be fancy. It could be just two columns titled Income and Expenses. Start by tracking all your expenses. Include essential costs like rent, groceries and medicine, as well as non-essential expenses, like cable TV, entertainment and travel. Next, add up all your income, such as your salary or paycheck after taxes, and any other income including child support, investment or rental income. Then subtract your expenses from your income. A breakeven or negative number means it’s time to take a closer look at cutting non-essentials, or trimming where you can. With a clear picture of your income and expenses, you can adjust your spending to begin saving for important financial goals like an emergency fund, college or retirement. Review your budget every few months and adjust accordingly. Your budget should be flexible enough to change with your needs.
To learn more about saving for your financial goals, give us a call or stop by our website today.
Roth IRAs are funded with money that you’ve already paid tax on, and then they grow tax-free. This is different than traditional pre-tax funded retirement accounts. Roth IRAs offer many advantages that other traditional retirement accounts don’t. First, you can withdraw your money tax-free during retirement, which allows you to manage your taxable income. And second, with no annual distribution rules, you’re free to take your money out only when you want to. There are two ways to put your funds into a Roth IRA; through contributions and conversions. Contribution rules include contribution limits. And to contribute money to a Roth IRA, you must earn compensation, or income, but remain below IRS mandated income levels. High earners can’t contribute. Conversions have very few limitations. Anyone can convert an account such as an IRA, 401(k) or SEP IRA into a Roth IRA. You don’t need to have income, but if you do, there’s no income limit and there are no restrictions on the size of the conversion. You can convert one million dollars if you like! You will, however, owe income tax on any amount that you convert, so conversions should be scheduled when your tax rate is lowest. To learn more about Roth conversions and contributions, give us a call today.
71. Repayment Plan Offers Relief from Federal Student Loan Debt College Planning
If you’re struggling under a load of federal student loan payments higher than your income, there is some relief. The US government offers four income-driven repayment plans that can change your monthly payments based on your income and family size. Generally, your payment amount under each one of these plans is a percentage of your discretionary income, or income after paying taxes and for personal necessities. With the REPAYE Plan, you pay about 10 percent of your discretionary income. With the PAYE Plan, your payment amount would also be 10 percent of your income, but never more than the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan, which is a basic repayment plan of fixed payments for 10 years. The IBR Plan offers the same payment arrangement as the PAYE if you’re a new borrower starting on or after July 1, 2014, and 15 percent payments if borrowed before that date. With the ICR Plan you pay the lesser of either twenty percent of your discretionary income, or what you would pay on a repayment plan with a fixed payment over 12 years. This plan is also an option for Parent Plus Loans borrowers. Since all plans have different eligibility requirements and payment periods, it’s important to check with your loan servicer to find out which one is right for you. If you would like to learn more about managing your debt, please call our office today.
73. Protect Your Portfolio With Diversification Investing
Just like the old warning against putting all of your eggs in one basket, if you put all your money in one company stock and it dropped like a rock, you’d lose everything. Diversification can help protect your portfolio from that scenario. Diversification is the practice of spreading your money among different investments to reduce your risk of losses. A portfolio should be diversified at two levels; both between asset categories, such as stocks, bonds and cash; and within those asset categories. Ideally, if one investment is losing money, another will be making gains. To diversity between asset categories with stocks holdings, for example, you’d invest in a wide variety of industry sectors, such as energy, technology, financials, health care and utilities. Then you would diversify again, within those sectors. There are many ways to diversify within sectors: invest by company, such as Google or Apple in the tech sector; by geographical market, like domestic or international or by company size, large-cap, mid-cap or small-cap. Many people choose to diversify their portfolios with mutual funds or Exchange Traded Funds. These funds hold shares in a variety of companies, making it easier for investors to own a small portion of many investments. For more information on how to achieve a diversified portfolio, give us a call or stop by our website today!
When looking for cash to cover a major expense such as home improvements, a child’s college education or high interest debt, some people consider tapping into the equity of their home. Home equity is the market value of your home, minus any mortgages outstanding. For example, if your home’s market value is three hundred thousand dollars and you have a mortgage of two hundred thousand dollars, your equity is one hundred thousand dollars. Your home will be used as collateral to secure the financing. This is known as secured debt, and lenders tend to charge lower interest rates than with unsecured debt like credit cards. This makes home equity financing a more attractive source of funds. But, failure to pay the lender puts your home at risk. A lender will offer home equity financing in one of two ways; as a loan or a line of credit. With a home equity loan, the lender advances you a fixed amount of money upfront. You repay the loan with monthly payments over a fixed term, or risk foreclosure on your property. A home equity line of credit, or HELOC is a revolving line of credit, with similar terms to a credit card. You have a credit limit and can borrow what you need, when you need it, and only pay off what you’ve borrowed. A home equity loan or line of credit can be a good source of funds in the right situation, just remember that the loan is secured by your home and puts your home at risk. To learn more, give us a call today.
You may be thinking about making a big purchase in the next few years, like a house or a car. If you’ll need a loan, know that prospective lenders will be checking your credit score. A good score tells lenders and others, like insurance companies, that you’re credit worthy, and it may help the terms you’re offered or the rate you’ll pay for the loan. Scoring systems are complex and vary among lenders, but here are some things they’ll consider: • Do you pay your bills on time? Always pay your bills on time, as late payments could negatively affect your score. • How many accounts do you have? A few established accounts tally in your favor, but too many can hurt your score. • How long have you had credit? Your credit score relies on the number of credit lines you have open in good standing and the length of time they’ve been open. • Are your accounts are maxed out? Try not to carry balances of more than 50 percent of your credit limit on any account or it might lower your credit score. Your credit report is a key part of many credit scoring systems. That’s why it is critical to make sure your credit report is accurate. You can order a free report each year from the three reporting agencies, Equifax, Trans Union and Experian. (access them all at once on annualcreditreport.com) To learn more about credit reports and managing your score, give us a call today.
Medical identity theft is a serious, and growing, business. One study reports that over 2 million cases are identified each year and the number keeps rising. When thieves steal your medical identity it can endanger not only your finances but also threaten your health. They may use your name or health insurance to see a doctor, get prescription drugs, file phony claims with your insurance provider, or illegally acquire government benefits such as Medicare or Medicaid. If their health information is mixed with yours, your medical treatment, insurance and credit report may be adversely affected. Some warning signs of medical identity theft include a bill for services you didn’t receive, a debt collection company calling for money you don’t owe or your insurance company telling you you’ve reached your limit on medical benefits. Here are some steps to avoid medical identity theft: Protect your Medicare and other health insurance cards and review your medical bills regularly for suspicious charges. Beware of offers of free medical goods or services in exchange for your Medicare number. Shred all papers with your medical identity, and, destroy labels on prescription bottles before throwing them away. For more information on how to protect yourself from identity theft, please give our office a call today.
77. Do I Need Life Insurance, and if So, How Much? Insurance
78. What Type of Life Insurance Do I Need?Insurance
A life insurance policy protects your loved ones against the loss of your income after your death, and helps to preserve their standard of living. You’ll name a beneficiary to receive the proceeds, and in exchange, you’ll pay premiums as outlined in the policy terms. Once you’ve determined how much you need, factoring in future expenses and current debts, you need to decide on one of the four types of life insurance: term, whole, universal or variable. Term life insurance covers you for a specific period of time, like one, two, ten or twenty years. The death benefit is paid only if you die within the policy term. Premiums generally start out lower, depending on your age, which allows you to buy more coverage. Whole life or “permanent” insurance covers you as long as you pay your premiums. The policy accrues a cash value that you can collect if you terminate the policy. It pays a fixed amount on death, and premiums are usually higher than for term insurance. Universal life insurance is also “permanent” but this option offers greater flexibility than whole or term. You can increase or decrease the cash value and death benefit if your needs change, with a related rise or drop in premiums. Variable life insurance is another type of permanent life insurance, but with an investment component. The cash value is invested in sub-accounts similar to mutual funds. Variable life is considered a security because of its investment risk. If you’d like to learn more about the pros and cons of different insurance policies, call us or visit our website today.
People buy bonds for three basic reasons: safety, income and diversification of their portfolio. [Safety] Bonds are generally considered to be safe investments, and buyers expect to get their principal back intact. But all bonds carry some risk, with the exception of government Treasury bonds, which are considered default risk free. The investment risk depends on the financial strength of the issuer and current market conditions. [Income] Due to the steady income that comes from a bond’s interest payments, they’re called fixed-income securities. The income is set at time of issue and remains the same, which makes them good investments for planning and budgeting. [Diversification] Purchasing bonds is also a good way to balance out the cash segment of a portfolio. And interest rates can be higher than money-market funds or CDs, making them attractive to investors. Just like with stocks, you don’t have to purchase individual bonds, but can buy a variety through an index or exchange-traded fund, limiting your risk and increasing your diversification. For more information on the role bonds play in a diversified portfolio, visit our website or give us a call today.
Thousands of Baby Boomers are retiring each day, and many are wondering about the possibility of having to pay for expensive long term care. Long term care insurance was created to cover the costs of skilled nursing, assisted living and other types of care as you age. Long term care policies, are expensive and should be considered carefully. The expense is determined by some of the features you choose such as: Inflation protection. One of the main reasons to buy long term care insurance is to protect against rising prices. Inflation riders can be automatic, and are usually 5 percent annually, which is the most expensive. They can also be periodic, which means they’re set at increments of every couple of years. Another factor that determines the cost of long term care insurance is the elimination period – most policies require you to pay for yourself for the first 20 to 100 days of care. The shorter the period, the higher the premium. Medicare pays for up to 100 days of skilled care following a hospital stay, so check to make sure the policy day count includes the days when Medicare pays. Long term care insurance pricing varies with the Level of care provided. The three levels of care, are skilled care, or fulltime nursing care, which is the most expensive; Then there’s intermediate care, which is regular skilled care but not full-time; and lastly is custodial care, or assistance with daily living by non-medical personnel. This is the least expensive type of care. There are many other features to consider when shopping for long term care insurance. Give us a call today or stop by our website to learn more.
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!
For many women, understanding your purpose for your money can be the key to becoming more engaged in managing your investments. While financial goals are important, they are often too linear, impersonal and can feel restrictive. When you understand the purpose for your life, the things that are most important to you, the purpose for your money becomes clear. This clarity creates incredible motivation, inspiring you to become more engaged in your financial life.
Consider this scenario:
If you were given 50 million dollars and you had to spend it all, but you could only spend it in 3 to 4 ways, how would you spend it?
Now list the four ways you would spend your money in order of priority, with #1 being the most important.
This simple list is your foundation to turning your financial affairs into an intentional journey toward living a purposeful life.
We’d love to see what you uncovered, so please give us a call if you’re willing to share.
You don’t have to be a math whiz or know how to pick stocks to become savvy about money. Being savvy about money is more about being engaged, understanding what you want and having a plan designed for your life. And it all starts with your experience with your advisor.
Take this quiz right now to rate your experience with the financial advisor in your life. I’ll read 5 questions, and you write down a score of 1 to 5, with 1 being non-existent, and 5 being absolutely yes. Total the points to determine if you are getting what you need and want from your advisor:
Number one: I understand the purpose for my money and feel totally confident about my progress.
Number two, I am financially organized and know what I have and how it will support me.
Number three, I enjoy meeting with my advisor and am constantly learning more about my money.
Number four, I have a financial plan that is designed around my life and helps me track my progress.
Number five, My financial knowledge has increased measurably since working with my advisor.
If you scored a 25, congratulations! You are fully engaged in planning for your financial life. If you scored less than 25, perhaps it’s time you engaged in a new experience.
Our mission is to help every woman become fully engaged in her financial affairs, understanding the process and enjoying her journey to financial confidence.
86. What is the Infinite Banking Concept? Insurance
You might have heard about the Infinite Banking Concept and wondered what it’s all about.
Infinite Banking Concept isn’t a product or an investment. It’s a cash-flow management system that uses dividend-paying whole life insurance to create your own bank.
Life insurance is a valuable planning tool for families and businesses. It provides a financial safety net for the unknown.It’s a useful financial instrument for preserving your estate or securing the future of your business.
And its tax-favored status and easy accessibility makes it an ideal location to stash cash that you can borrow whenever you need it.To learn more about achieving financial independence through the Infinite Banking Concept, give us a call or visit our website today.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about Social Security. People receive information from a variety of different sources and often don’t know which information applies to their specific scenario. That’s why it’s critical to use a Social Security Optimizer to help you maximize your retirement benefits. It should take into account all applicable Social Security laws, you and your spouse or ex-spouse’s birthdays, and life expectancies. To optimize your custom filing strategy, consider three key variables: First, consider your Primary Insurance Amount, also called your PIA This is calculated from your top 35 years of working at a job that paid into Social Security. Second, consider any non-covered pension amount from working at a job that did not pay into Social Security. Having a non-covered pension amount will reduce the amount of retirement benefits that you receive from the Social Security Administration. And third, consider Delayed Retirement Credits, also called DRC’s. Postponing collection of benefits can earn you an additional 8% in DRC’s every year that you delay filing until age 70. When choosing a filing strategy, we’ll work with you to help bridge the gap in income that may result from a delay in filing. It’s not only about when and how to file, it’s about all the layers of your retirement income working together to get you a tax-smart retirement paycheck.
89. What You Should Know About Your Employer Stock and OptionsInvesting
If you receive employee stock options or restricted stock units from your employer congratulations! These forms of equity compensation can create wealth and help you achieve your financial goals. However, this wealth is at risk due to stock price fluctuations and employment changes. To manage these risks, there are 5 things you should know about your employer stock and options that aren’t included in your stock plan education resources.
Number one is Forfeit Value. This is the current equity value lost by leaving your company to work elsewhere prior to retirement. This amount includes the time value of your vested and unvested options and the value of any restricted shares. Number two is Leverage. This is the upside and downside values of your options and shares at hypothetical price increments. This illustrates potential versus risk. Number three is Option Ratios. These are the time value of your options as a percentage of the full value. They help determine the order and urgency for exercising and selling your stock options. Number four would be Concentration. This shows the values and percentages of your company stock and options holdings compared to your diversified investments. This is important because concentrated equity compensation holdings are risky. And the fifth, Financial Goal Attainment. This is the current status your equity compensation plays in achieving a financial goal. Once you have secured your financial goal in a diversified portfolio, you can take more risk holding your stock and option. Equity compensation is complicated, but we can provide you with these insights and information that aren’t available from your company. Give us a call today. We’ll help you make informed decisions to get the most out of your company stock and option holdings. NOTE: Assisting clients to diversify and reinvest their equity compensation is an extremely lucrative opportunity for financial advisors that can provide unique insights regarding these holdings. The analytics illustrated in this video were calculated by StockOpter.com from Net Worth Strategies, Inc. Unlike general financial planning tools that are designed for retirement planning, StockOpter determines when and why clients should diversify their company stock and options. For more information and a short overview video visit: https://stockopter.com/
To get the most out of your Medicare coverage, it’s important to understand what the different parts of the Medicare program provide and what the cost is to you. The Medicare program consists of three parts: Part A – Hospital Insurance, Part B – Medical Insurance and Part D – Prescription Drug Coverage. Let’s talk about Medicare Part B – Medical Insurance. Part B covers outpatient care like doctor visits and lab tests. The premium for Part B Medicare is $164.90 per month or higher, depending on your income. The amount can change each year and you pay this premium monthly, even if you don’t receive any Part B services. You pay a Part B deductible of $226, once a year, before Medicare begins to pay. Once you’ve met your deductible, you’ll pay 20% of the cost of any Medicare-covered services or items. If you don’t sign up for Part B coverage when you first become eligible for Medicare, usually at age 65, your monthly premium could go up 10% for every 12-month period without Part B coverage. You’ll have to pay this late enrollment penalty each time you pay your premium for as long as you have Part B, and the penalty increases the longer you go without Part B coverage. As you can see, there’s a lot to know about Medicare, so why not get some help with your Medicare plan? Call us today to make sure you get the all the benefits from Medicare that you deserve.
To get the most out of your Medicare coverage, it’s important to understand what the different parts of the Medicare program provide and what the cost is to you. The Medicare program consists of three parts: Part A – Hospital Insurance, Part B – Medical Insurance and Part D – Prescription Drug Coverage. Let’s talk about Medicare Part D – Prescription Drug Coverage. Medicare Part D helps you cover the rising cost of prescription drugs after age 65. Premiums may vary depending on what plan you choose and may change each year. You may also have to pay an extra amount each month based on your income, if your adjusted individual gross income from the two years prior is more than $97,000 or $194,000 if married filing jointly. Social Security will tell you if you must pay this extra amount to Medicare – not to your plan – and the amount will be adjusted each year based on your most recent IRS return. You might pay a penalty if you don’t join a drug plan when you first join Medicare and go 63 days without coverage similar in value to Part D coverage. Most plans do charge a deductible, and the amount that you pay out-of-pocket before the plan begins to pay, as well as the payment amount, will vary. Your actual costs will also depend on the drugs you take, what drugs the plan covers and the pharmacy. As you can see, there’s a lot to know about Medicare, so why not get some help with your Medicare plan? Call us today to make sure you get the all the benefits from Medicare that you deserve.
Medicare Advantage plans are an alternative to basic – or so-called Original – Medicare. Sometimes referred to as Medicare Part C or MA Plans, they are offered by Medicare-approved private companies. They must follow Medicare rules and provide Medicare Part A and B coverage. Most Medicare Advantage Plans also include Part D drug coverage. In many cases, you can obtain the lowest plan rates by using an in-network provider in your area. Some plans do have an out-of-network option, but it will sometimes be at higher cost. An attractive benefit of Medicare Advantage plans is that they set a limit on the amount you pay out-of-pocket for covered services annually, which helps protect you from unexpected expenses. When seeking treatment, you must present your Medicare Advantage card to receive Medicare covered treatment. The most common types of Medicare Advantage plans are: Health Maintenance Organization or HMO Plans; Preferred Provider Organization or PPO Plans; Private-Fee-For-Service or PFFS Plans; Special Needs Plans or SNPs; Each type has its own set of benefits, costs and limitations, so be sure to research your choice carefully. But no matter what plan you choose, do not discard your red, white and blue Medicare card, because you’ll need it if you ever decide to switch back to Original Medicare. Need help deciding on the right Medicare Advantage plan for you? Call us for a no obligation Medicare consultation today.
A reverse mortgage is a unique way for seniors who are looking to generate additional cash flow – beyond their 401K and Social Security payments – to help fund their retirement. It helps relieve the anxiety that seniors may feel about outliving their money by allowing them to tap into the equity in what is likely their most valuable asset – their home. With a reverse mortgage, monthly mortgage and interest payments are not required, and can be replaced by a lump sum payout, a monthly payout, a line of credit or some combination… all while retaining ownership. This additional, non-taxable cash flow can be used for home renovations, funding a grandchild’s education, or taking a long-delayed dream vacation. What makes a reverse mortgage different from any other loan secured by a home is the way it is repaid. A reverse mortgage is repaid when the last borrower leaves the home, the home is sold, or it is refinanced. To qualify, the borrower must be 62 (55 in some instances), live in the home as a primary residence, keep up with loan obligations of maintaining the home, and pay their property taxes and insurance. To find out more about how a reverse mortgage can help you achieve a more secure financial future, call us today.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about reverse mortgages, so let’s separate the facts from the fiction. To qualify for a reverse mortgage, you must own your home outright or have at least 50% equity, but you don’t have to surrender the title… you retain ownership. A reverse mortgage is a way for senior homeowners to generate additional cash flow in retirement by tapping into the equity in their home… and it is not necessarily a lifeline for those in financial straits. Reverse mortgage rates have risen, but depending on the type of loan that you choose, they are often comparable to a traditional mortgage. With a reverse mortgage, monthly mortgage and interest payments become optional, and the resulting savings gives you additional cash flow to fund a more comfortable lifestyle in retirement. Your heirs will have the option to either sell the home or refinance it and utilize the proceeds to repay the loan when the time for a payoff occurs. In fact, depending on how the value of your home appreciates over time, a reverse mortgage could provide a source of equity to those same heirs if they simply choose to sell it. To find out the truth about reverse mortgages, call us today.
One of the most frequently asked questions about reverse mortgages is, “How does it differ from a traditional mortgage?” With a traditional mortgage, you make your payments each month, slowly chipping away at the loan balance a little bit at a time. But with a reverse mortgage, monthly principal and interest payments are not required, so the balance goes up over time. To better understand how a reverse mortgage works, let’s look at a typical scenario. Bob takes out a reverse mortgage for 50% or less of the value of his home, and in the process gains home appreciation averaging 3-4%. That means that his home equity is increasing … even though he’s not making monthly principal and interest payments. The value of his home may be growing faster than his loan balance… turning home equity into retirement cash flow for Bob to use to help fund his retirement while still allowing him to leave a family legacy to his heirs. He can use those funds to renovate his home, fund a grandchild’s education, purchase a new car, or improve his retirement lifestyle. To find out more about how a reverse mortgage can benefit you and your family, call us today.
If you’re considering a reverse mortgage to help fund your retirement, you may be wondering, “How do I qualify?” To be eligible for a typical reverse mortgage, you must be at least 62 years of age, but for a “Jumbo” reverse mortgage – typically used for high end, premium properties – the age limit can be as low as 55. The younger you are, the less equity you’ll be able to borrow.
In both cases, depending on age, the borrower must generally have 50% or more equity in the home, and it must serve as their primary residence. Additionally, they must keep up with the loan obligations of keeping the home well maintained , and paying property taxes and homeowners’ insurance. To assure borrowers fully understand this type of loan, they are required to attend a HUD-mandated counseling session with a certified counselor of their choosing who will answer any concerns or questions the borrower may have. In addition, a financial assessment is conducted to ensure the borrower can meet the loan obligations and has not incurred either a foreclosure or a bankruptcy within a certain period prior to the loan . Also, in order to qualify, they must not be found to be delinquent on any federal debt. To find out more about reverse mortgage qualifications, call us today.
A frequently asked question about reverse mortgage loans is, “When do I have to pay it off?” There are several scenarios regarding when a reverse mortgage would have to be paid off. The first would be when the last borrower passes away or moves out for more than a year, so the home is no longer considered their primary residence. If the home is not maintained properly, or the borrower fails to stay current on either their homeowners’ insurance or property taxes, that would also cause the loan to come due for payoff. Under these circumstances, the borrower or their heirs have two ways to satisfy the HECM reverse mortgage loan. They can simply choose to sell the home, pay off the mortgage and keep any remaining balance. If the loan balance exceeds the value of the home at that time, the heirs can sell the home at 95% of the current appraised value, and FHA Mortgage insurance will make up the difference. The second option is that the heirs refinance the mortgage and either move into the home themselves or turn it into an investment property by renting it out. But one circumstance borrowers don’t have to worry about is outliving a reverse mortgage, because the term of the loan is the youngest borrower’s 150th birthday. To find out more about how reverse mortgages work, call us today.
With financial scams targeting seniors occurring with such frequency, it’s fair for senior homeowners to ask, “Is a reverse mortgage safe?” Since the first FHA-insured reverse mortgage was issued in 1989, many safeguards have been put in place to protect senior homeowners against unscrupulous practices. It begins with a requirement that seniors be counseled by an independent third party, usually by phone, to make sure they fully understand the terms of the loan. There is a “senior friendly” financial assessment that is also required, to determine whether the borrower can meet all the qualifying criteria. They must live in the home as a primary residence, keep up with the loan obligations of keeping the home well maintained, and stay current on their property taxes and homeowners’ insurance. There are also safeguards for eligible spouses of senior borrowers who are either not 62 at the time of the signing or not named on the title. Once a borrower passes or is moved to a care facility, the non-signatory spouse can remain in the home without any principal and interest payment obligation until they pass away or move out. To find out more about the strong consumer safeguards built into reverse mortgages, call us today.
Unlike previous generations, today’s baby boomers face some unique challenges to funding – and maintaining – their current lifestyle in retirement. They can no longer depend on the steady income provided by a company pension as their parents did. Instead, most are left hoping that their savings from an IRA or 401K, combined with Social Security payments, will be enough to fund their retirement. The problem is, although baby boomers are working as long as their parents did, about 40 years, they’re staying in retirement longer – 20 years or more. That means that baby boomers will need additional cash flow to fund their retirement … or risk outliving their money. A reverse mortgage can help baby boomers generate the cash flow they need to bridge those years, by allowing them to tap into the equity in their home. They can choose to receive these funds in the form of monthly payments, a line of credit, a lump sum payout, or a combination… all while retaining ownership. A reverse mortgage is a safe way for baby boomers to improve their cash flow, achieve some financial peace of mind and enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle in retirement. To find out more about reverse mortgages, call us today.
You’re retired – or soon will be – and you’re in the process of planning for the days after you stop working. You’re checking with your financial advisor regularly to make sure your IRA or 401K is performing as you hoped, and you’ve worked long enough that your Social Security payments will be near the maximum…. so, your retirement plans seem to be on track. But as you observe all the market volatility these days and watch the cost of just about everything rise, you’re beginning to wonder whether this approach will provide enough money to fund the retirement lifestyle you and your family desire. Let a reverse mortgage specialist show you how a reverse mortgage – an often-overlooked retirement planning option – can benefit senior homeowners. A reverse mortgage allows you to access the equity in your home – without selling it -and turn it into additional cash flow that you can use to fund a more secure retirement. It eliminates the principal and interest payment requirement, and instead provides payouts as a lump sum, monthly payments, a line of credit, or a combination. You can use the extra cash to renovate your home, fund a grandchild’s education, or function as a “safety fund” should an emergency like an illness or accident occur. To find out more about reverse mortgages and retirement planning, call us today.
108. Financial Advisors and the Reverse Mortgage Line of Credit StrategyReverse Mortgages
As a financial advisor, you may be overlooking a significant planning tool… a reverse mortgage line of credit. The government regulated and insured FHA Home Equity Conversion Mortgage or HECM is designed to help seniors of every economic stratum. As recent peer reviewed studies conclude, it can be an important strategic tool to be incorporated into a mass affluent client’s retirement plan. Its unique Line of Credit provides seniors access to tax free cash flow and can grow significantly over time. For the mass affluent client, this adjustable-rate line of credit can be of great value in mitigating the sequence of returns risk. By implementing a coordinated withdrawal strategy, especially during a down market, clients take needed distributions from the line of credit instead of liquidating assets from their investment portfolio. This greatly reduces the negative potential effects on portfolio size, growth, and longevity by leaving the portfolio intact and invested in the market… poised for the next bull market phase… while preserving the firm’s assets under management. Dormant home equity is now accessible and can serve as a non-correlated portfolio buffer asset supplementing income whenever needed. A HECM Line of Credit provides seniors with the ability to “Age in Place” in the safety, comfort, and freedom of their own home, by providing the funds to replace, remodel or upgrade. It can also be used to cover long term care insurance premiums or pay caregivers directly. A HECM Line of Credit is a kind of insurance policy – with available contingency assets – for a variety of planned and unplanned expenses that many seniors encounter during retirement. Another great feature is the approved line of credit cannot be reduced, frozen or taken away, even if there is a housing correction or sharp market downturn. And because the line of credit is open-ended, they can pay it back and use it again and again. Also, interest is charged only on what your client uses. To find out how partnering with a reverse mortgage professional can help your practice, call us today.
109. Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)Medicare
When is the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period… and why is it important to you? The Medicare Annual Enrollment period runs from October 15th through December 7th each year. The Annual Enrollment Period is only extended beyond December 7th when FEMA declares an emergency or a major disaster in your area that would make sign up difficult. Each September – before the AEP period begins – you’ll receive an Annual Notice of Change letter detailing the changes in your coverage for the following year. Being aware of the Annual Enrollment window is important, because it gives you the opportunity to reevaluate your current coverage and decide whether to change it. Any changes you make during the AEP go into effect on January 1st of the following year. For example, you can switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage program that may provide additional coverage that Original Medicare does not. You also have the option to switch from one Medicare Advantage program to another for increased benefits. If Original Medicare coverage changes, you can even switch back to Original Medicare, or just update your Part D drug plan to take advantage of price changes in prescription drugs.
As you can see, there’s a lot to know about Medicare Annual Enrollment. To make sure you get all the Medicare benefits you deserve, call us today.
110. Medicare Open Enrollment (OEP) and Coverage ChangesMedicare
What is the Medicare Open Enrollment Period… and what coverage changes can you make? If by Open Enrollment you mean the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, from October 15th through December 7th each year, you can make changes to your current Medicare Advantage Program or Part D drug plan. However, if you’re already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, your Open Enrollment window is from January 1 to March 31. During this period, you can switch Medicare Advantage Plans, leave your plan to return to Original Medicare with or without drug coverage, or just change your Medicare Advantage Drug Plan. Finally, there is the Medicare Supplement or Medigap Open Enrollment Period that occurs once in a lifetime, unless you are collecting Social Security Disability Benefits. It begins on your Medicare Part B effective date, usually the first day of the month after you turn 65, and you don’t have to answer any health questions to qualify. Choosing a Medicare Supplement Plan during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period offers you the best chance to find a plan in your area that offers the coverage you need at the lowest cost. After six months, your window of opportunity closes, and you’ll have to answer health questions if you want to apply. Navigating all these different Open Enrollment Periods can be confusing. To make sure you get all the Medicare benefits you deserve, call us today.