Do You Need a Durable Power of Attorney

Posted: Monday, February 23 2015


The Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows a trusted person to act in your place if you’re incapacitated. If you are unable to act on your own due to an accident or illness they can step in to take action for you. They can pay bills or control investments, or even make decisions about health care issues. Many people prefer to keep their medical and financial directives separate.

The Durable Power of Attorney is different from a Power of Attorney. The Durable Power remains in effect after you become incapacitated. The person acting for you is then called your “agent”. Your agent does not have to be a financial expert. They’re just someone you trust completely. They could even take care of daily things for you, like opening mail and making bank deposits. Everyone needs an Estate Plan. And a Durable Power of Attorney is just one of the instruments you’ll need as part of your plan. And be aware, if you do not make preparations for your future, the courts may have to make important decisions for you.

Let us help you prepare for the future. Schedule your free consultation today.

How Can You Take Care of Your Spouse Just in Case Something Should Happen to You?

Posted: Monday, February 9 2015


If you’re like most people, most of the time, you focus your financial efforts on maximizing your current income. But it’s also important to plan ahead for the benefit of your spouse if you should pass away.

Here are some tips for how to do that. First, Carefully consider joint vs. single life payouts from pension and investment distributions. Next, consider Waiting to take Social Security until age 70 instead of age 62, this could increase your survivor benefit by 76%.

As life situations may change, update your beneficiary designations. These designations will take precedence over what’s written in your will or trust, so it’s important to keep these current.

Investments like annuities have a guaranteed lifetime benefit. These can be a great way to ensure that your spouse is taken care of, even after you’re gone. Be sure to Keep your wills and trusts up to date and your assets properly titled. And Keep your spouse fully informed about all financial details. We can help you make sure that your spouse is taken care of. Schedule your free consultation today.

How Do You Create a Simple Retirement Income Plan?

Posted: Monday, January 26 2015


A Retirement Income Plan is needed because life changes in retirement. Your Retirement Plan should account for every year in retirement – even past your life expectancy.

For each year, make a list for you and your spouse that includes your Social Security income, pensions, and annuity income. Also list earnings from investments and working part time.

List any other fixed and regular income sources. For each year list your desired gross retirement income need. Be sure to include taxes, the effects of inflation and potential medical expenses. Then, for each year determine the gap or surplus by subtracting expenses from income. If you see that you have gaps in your retirement plan, give us a call today.

We can help you make sure your retirement years really are golden.

The 3 Stages of Your Financial Life

Posted: Monday, January 12 2015


What are the three stages in your financial life? The first stage is Guarding Against Life’s Uncertainties. The second stage is Growing Your Net Worth, and the third stage is managing retirement and Your Estate. The base of the pyramid is preparing for life’s uncertainties. Insurance is the most cost effective way to deal with this. Insurance can include life and health insurance, disability insurance, long-term care insurance, home and auto insurance, and insurance against other perils. Adequate liquidity in your investments or in cash to cover emergencies, along with a will is important. The next level involves growing your money. Investment strategies should include diversification and risk management. The best option is to review your goals with a professional.

And the top tier addresses retirement and estate planning. The ultimate goal is to insure that you have income and assets for as long as you live. These should be as secure and guaranteed as possible.

Estate planning provides all the documents to ensure a planned distribution to beneficiaries. The three stages sound simple, yet few people adequately prepare for any of them. We can help, so please, give us a call today.

What Is An Annuity And How Does It Guarantee Income?

Posted: Monday, December 15 2014


What are annuities and how do they work? Annuities are both a savings and an income investment that pays out over a period of time. It’s actually a steam of income you can’t outlive.

An annuity is a flexible insurance contract that allows retirement savings to grow income tax deferred and then payout to you in a lump sum, income for life, or income for a certain period of time. There are two basic types: Fixed and Variable. The Fixed Annuity earns a set yield and payout set by the contract. The Variable Annuity is invested in stocks and bonds.

The growth value and potential income stream will depend on the investment returns and losses could occur. In both annuities the growth is income tax deferred and the contract terms control growth and income. In today’s market there has been a blending in the qualities of these two kinds of annuities to generate the best return for investors yet maintain the guarantees needed in retirement.

There are a lot of choices and your personal situation needs to be considered. We can help you develop a plan to meet your specific needs towards a comfortable retirement, so please give us a call today (1-866-609-3232).

Is Estate Planning Only For The Rich?

Posted: Monday, December 1 2014


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. An estate plan will allow you to pass along what you own to whom you want to receive it, the way you want them to receive it, and when you want them to receive it.

A will is a good start. Seventy percent of Americans don’t have wills. If you don’t make a will the courts will decide the distribution 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. Estate and income tax ramifications should always be considered and more planning strategies should be reviewed.

Call us today (1-866-609-3232) to learn how to protect your nest egg.

What are Required Minimum Distributions and How are They Determined

Posted: Thursday, November 20 2014


What are Required Minimum Distributions and how are they determined? Beginning at age 70 1/2, you must begin to withdraw money from your retirement accounts every year. (This does not apply to Roth IRAs). The minimum 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 end by the life expectancy factor. Assuming a husband and wife are about the same age, then this factor at age 70 is 27.4 years.

Alternatively you could multiply your account balance by 3.65%, which is 100 divided by 27.4. The first Required Minimum Distribution must be withdrawn by April 1 of the year following the year that you turn 70 1/2. Subsequent Required Minimum Distributions must be withdrawn by December 31 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.

Learn more about how you can benefit from Required Minimum Distributions by contacting Steve Ross at (866) 609-3232.

How To Maximize Your Social Security Benefits

Posted: Thursday, November 13 2014


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 25% less for 24 years. But if you wait to retire until age 70, you’ll receive 32% more for 16 years.

If your retirement income at age 66 was two thousand dollars per month, this could be a difference of over two hundred thousand dollars 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. Wages and other taxable income could cause Social Security benefits to be taxed at up to 85%.

Proper planning takes all of these factors into account to determine Social Security Maximization. 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 an expert and get it right.

Get your retirement questions answered! Contact Steve Ross today at (1-866) 609-3232.

When is the Best Time to Retire?

Posted: Thursday, October 23 2014

You might be asking yourself, “When should I retire? Should I retire early or defer it?” Deciding when to retire may not be 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 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 at 866-609-3232 to receive a FREE retirement plan that will help you determine the best time for you to retire.

How Are Your Social Security Benefits Calculated?

Posted: Thursday, October 9 2014


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 40 quarters of wages. You can start taking your benefits as early as age 62, but your monthly income will be reduced by 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 source 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 of these details. We call this process “Social Security Maximization”. Give us a call today at (866) 609-3232 to plan on Maximizing Your Social Security.