Monday, December 31, 2012

One-Minute 2013 Message

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Making 2013 resolutions about your investments or retirement planning? Call us today at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the Web to schedule your complimentary, confidential consultation with experienced financial professionals who can help you make the most of your investments and plan for a secure retirement that takes all the pieces into account.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Season's Greetings

Wishing you, your family, and loved ones all the peace, blessings, and lasting memories of the holiday season.


To continued peace and prosperity in 2013!

Samuel and the staff at Laser Financial Group
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Making 2013 resolutions about your investments or retirement planning? Call us today at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the Web to schedule your complimentary, confidential consultation with experienced financial professionals who can help you make the most of your investments and plan for a secure retirement that takes all the pieces into account.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

3 Simple Tips for Staying Within Your Budget This Holiday Season

3 Simple tips for staying within your budget this holiday season

Around this time of year I get a lot of requests from folks interested in knowing how to make sure that they don’t end up spending “too much money” during the holidays.
Obviously, the definition of “too much money” varies widely, but I think the common thing here is that the majority of the people asking this question have, in the past, ended up spending way beyond what they’d expected. I was in that group many years ago. The good news is that, it can be corrected rather easily.
Set a Specific Limit
Most of the issue with spending beyond our expectations stem from the fact that we don’t have a specific benchmark or target to begin with. Simply not wanting to spend “too much” is not enough to get you there. So set a specific target!
See the Details on Paper (NOT in Your Imagination)
Most of us make some kind of a list. But our lists have only names on them, or names and the gifts we intend we buy. While both are good starts, if you intend to really stay within your expectation, you must take it a bit further by including a dollar amount on your list, because that’s the only way you’ll know how much you’re actually going to be spending. It also happens to be the only credible way to spot any potential red flags so that you can make any necessary tweaks beforehand.
Understand that Gifts are Exactly That – Gifts
One of the things most of us can agree on is that the literal price tag on a gift doesn’t (and indeed shouldn’t) indicate the value of the recipient to us – because people are invaluable. So gifts are meant to be a token of our appreciation, not a total representation of someone’s value to us. The other thing we can agree on is that price, per se, doesn’t make a gift good or bad, does it? That’s why it is not a bright idea to let any third parties determine – either directly or indirectly – what you should be gifting. I learned that when it comes to gifts, it’s not so much about the price tag as it is the thought. Wouldn’t you agree that’s true?
I must admit, though, that one doesn’t have to be a personal finance expert to know these things. Anyway, happy and safe gifting!
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Making 2013 resolutions about your investments or retirement planning? Call us today at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the Web to schedule your complimentary, confidential consultation with experienced financial professionals who can help you make the most of your investments and plan for a secure retirement that takes all the pieces into account.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Greatest Medicare MythConception


The Greatest Medicare MythConception
A recent inquiry we received via the “Submit Your Question” tool on our website highlighted what I believe is the greatest misconception around Medicare coverage. It reads:
My mom is retirement age and will be eligible for Medicare in just a few months. Is it necessary for her to get separate/private long-term care coverage?


This individual thinks that Medicare will help pay for long-term healthcare costs. In fact, according to the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, 54 percent of Americans think the same thing.
However, that’s not the case at all. Medicare was never intended to cover – and never has covered – extended nursing home care or chronic conditions. It will pay for up to a maximum of 100 days of care for qualifying conditions. But beginning Day 21, you’ll be required to pay a significant co-pay. Now here’s the caveat and key point:
Medicare covers only skilled care – not chronic – conditions.

The moment that your condition is diagnosed as chronic (i.e., defined as cognitive impairment or the inability to perform any two of the six activities of daily living, which include bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting, and transferring), Medicare will stop – even if it’s been fewer than 100 days. So what most of us consider long-term care is not covered by Medicare.

Medicaid, a welfare program that reimburses for chronic care, may be an option, but only after you’ve proven that you’re seriously impoverished with nearly nothing in countable assets (around $2,000, depending on the laws of your state).

Be sure you have appropriate coverage for yourself – and your parents or loved ones.
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Retirement planning means planning for ALL aspects of your life after retirement. Call us today at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the Web to schedule your complimentary, confidential consultation with experienced financial professionals who can help you plan for a secure retirement that takes all the pieces into account.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Your Advisor’s Good Intentions Could RUIN Your Life

Your Advisor’s Good Intentions Could Ruin Your Life
Let me begin by saying that I believe the vast majority of professionals in all fields – including finance – are great folks who desire to help their clients achieve the best results. Sure, you have the occasional Bernie Madoff, but that’s not the norm.
However, if your advisor lacks expertise in a specific subject area, good intentions alone won’t make much difference. By expertise, I mean a thorough understanding of the subject, successful real-life outcomes in the specific area, as well as the ability and foresight to address all relevant aspects to prevent a situation where, in the process of fixing your front door, they end up weakening the entire foundation of your house and potentially setting you up for a major disaster. That’s a broad definition, but it’s how I define expertise.
I was recently consulting with a couple on one aspect of the husband’s retirement. In our very first meeting, they told me that upon the advice from several advisors, they’d decided to go the pension maximization route, as opposed to his employer’s survivor annuity.
Under most pensions, you have two basic choices. The first option is income for life, for yourself only. Option two is that when you died, your spouse would continue to receive payments for life; however, it would be a lower income, usually half of what you had been receiving. Income for yourself only would be much higher than the joint-lives scenario. For example, let’s say payment to yourself only is $1,000/month. Or under joint-lives, you'd receive $800/month, and when you died, your surviving spouse would then receive $400/month.
Pension maximization basically proposes – if it makes financial sense – that you take the $1,000 under the yourself only option and purchase enough life insurance to replace the payments your spouse would otherwise be receiving, at a much lower cost than $200/month (the difference between $1,000 and $800). Say you were able to do that for $100/month. You would end up with $900/month (the $1,000 yourself only payment, less the $100 life insurance payment) instead of the $800/month joint-lives payment, and when you died, your spouse would turn the insurance death benefit into an annuity of equal or even higher income.
Sounds like a good plan, doesn’t it? Let the record show that I’m not against pension maximization. In fact, I have recommended it to some of my clients over the years. BUT, like many other strategies, it can sometimes be a terrible idea – and this was one of those occasions.
You see, in this particular situation, the employer in question was the state government, whose healthcare would also cease for the surviving spouse on the death of the husband. Spouses continue to receive healthcare ONLY if they’re receiving a survivor’s annuity, however little it may be. So we must factor the cost of private healthcare into the equation, since the wife is still 10 years from Medicare eligibility. Might the husband die before then? We hope not, but since we don’t have a crystal ball, we can’t rule it out, can we?
Here’s the thing: I don’t believe for a second that the other advisors this couple consulted with were being dishonest. So what else might explain such a huge oversight that could potentially set the couple up for a major disaster? I’m only guessing, but could it be lack of expertise?
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If you have questions you’d like to run by truly experienced financial professionals, or if you'd like common-sense information that will help you ensure that you don't lose a penny in the next market downturn, please contact us for straight, clear answers. Call us at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the web to schedule your complimentary consultation TODAY.

Monday, November 26, 2012

To Congress and Our Media Friends, Regarding America’s Fiscal Cliff

To Congress and Our Media Friends, Regarding America’s Fiscal Cliff

If you’ve paid attention to the news for even just a minute since the presidential election, you’ve likely heard about the so-called “fiscal cliff” which apparently is due to hit us in about a month or so.
Funny thing happened the other day with my teenage daughter, Amy. She watches the gossip – you know, “reality” – channels, about 99 percent of the time. So when it was time for me to catch up on the news (the other 1 percent of the time that I get to watch TV) and Amy heard the newscasters talking about nothing but this dangerous fiscal cliff, she perceived it as an impending storm, perhaps akin to Hurricane Sandy.
It may not be a weather-related storm, but from what we can gather so far from the media experts and our esteemed politicians, it’s going to be very serious! The American economy as we know it is scheduled to completely fall to her knees – something they tell us will be “unacceptable,” which is why there needs to be a “compromise” in Washington DC.
Okay, I comprehend the seriousness of the problem. But what I want to know is: What exactly is this fiscal cliff and what caused it? As our esteemed politicians and media gurus tell us, the culprit is too much spending and a dinosaur of a tax code with loopholes for special interests. These have resulted in a ridiculously unsustainable $16 trillion-plus in debt.
Oh, really? So this cliff didn’t just suddenly show up after the elections? If the problem goes back further than November 5, 2012 – say 10 years or more – where was the urgency over the last decade? Congress has been in charge of both our spending and our tax code, the things at the center of this storm (for Amy’s benefit), and yet we’re just now learning that we’re heading over a cliff? This wild spending and immense debt were acceptable for all that time and just suddenly became problematic?
I tend to wonder whether Washington, D.C. is doing a very good job managing our nation. If something is as bad as this so-called cliff, why wouldn’t they want to fix it while it was still somewhat manageable? Why wait till it became a crisis to decide it needs to be fixed? My leadership instincts keep leading me back to this basic question: How did we get here? And where has the media been all that time?
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If you’d like to learn more wisdom and common-sense information that will help you ensure that you don't lose a penny in the next market downturn, please contact us for straight, clear answers. What you don’t know matters as much as what you know! Call us at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the web to schedule your complimentary consultation TODAY.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Wishes for You and Yours


Thanksgiving wishes for you and yours
Boy did time fly by quickly or what? Feels to me like last Thanksgiving was just last week, but here we are again.  Anyway, despite the challenges we’ve all faced this past year – some obviously more severe than others – the one thing we can all be thankful about is that we’re still breathing today. And if you’re reading these words, you’re obviously of a sound mind.
So on my own behalf and on behalf of my top-notch team of dedicated professionals here at Laser Financial Group, we want to thank you for making us a part of your life. We are truly grateful for your readership and business. May the good Lord continue to bless you and yours and this great nation.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Samuel
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Please feel free to contact us 877.656.9111 or LaserFG.com with any questions or concerns about your retirement planning.

Monday, November 12, 2012

How to Shield Your Nest Egg from Stock Market Dips but Make Money When It Rises


How to Shield Your Nest Egg from Stock Market Dips but Make Money When It Rises
It’s a gross understatement to say that the stock market has been rather chaotic recently. A staggering percentage of Americans (studies put the number above 80 percent) have seen their retirement dreams either seriously curtailed or completely squashed. Some have had to come out of retirement to reenter the workforce just to survive, while an equally frightening number will have to work well beyond their originally intended retirement ages. 
Just this past week, all the major indexes shrank sharply, causing a further fracture of many Americans’ nest eggs.
Financial advisors and media money experts routinely offer explanations as to why investors shouldn’t fret losing some money every now and then. Instead, you should focus on the so-called “long term,” when everything will somehow magically work out. I strongly beg to differ. I believe these Monday morning “quarterbacks” – ahem, alleged money “experts” – are ignoring the real fundamentals of investing, even though the fundamentals never change. January will always precede February, just as planting always precedes harvesting.
Anyone with money invested directly in the stock market must understand a few things:
1.      Whenever the market dips, you lose a portion of everything you’ve accumulated up to that point in time (seed money plus interest).
2.      You’ll need a new gain that is much larger than the loss just to break even and return to your pre-loss balance. For instance, a portfolio that loses 33 percent must gain 50 percent (not simply the same 33 percent it lost) just to break even. It’s therefore incredibly difficult to get back to where you were before a loss – something that many folks sadly discover the hard way, only after it occurs.
3.      No one can accurately predict the movements of the stock market beyond what everyone already knows: it may go up or down at any given time.

Remember, again, that these are fundamental, indisputable facts.
Now I’m going to surmise that you’d love to invest in the stock market only when it’s going up and avoid it entirely when it plummets, right? The great news is that over the past 17 years, our clients have been investing their nest eggs precisely that way. They follow a simple, proven, and in my opinion commonsense investing approach that allows them to make money when the market is up without losing a cent when it drops. Here’s how it works.
For starters, all of your seed money is guaranteed from day one, so you are sure not to lose a penny. Then your portfolio's earnings are tied to the appreciation of a stock market index (e.g., the DOW or S&P 500), up to a certain cap. The most powerful thing is that you actually lock in your gains, so you won’t lose anything when the market/index dips, but you gain – up to your cap – when it increases. Best of all, this is not an exotic deal reserved for a special group of investors – anyone can employ it.
Isn’t this how you should invest the money you can’t afford to lose?
If you’re tired of the investing rollercoaster and would like to explore some proven alternatives that other folks are already using to protect and grow their wealth in this new economy, please contact us today at 877.656.9111 or  LaserFG.com. Your consultation will be complimentary with zero obligation; we don’t expect you to buy a thing from us.
Your retirement is certain – shouldn’t your nest egg be, too?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Exercise your right to VOTE!

Exercise your right to VOTE!



If you havenʼt already done so, I strongly encourage you to vote this Tuesday! Like most average Americans, I havenʼt much enjoyed “the politics” of this campaign season. To be completely honest, I’m thrilled it’s going to be all over – at least for a while – this week. 

However, as someone who grew up in South-Saharan Africa, I can’t even begin to tell you the power we have as Americans – not just by voting, but because our votes actually count. Believe it or not, outside of this country, many political systems don’t even allow their citizens to pick their leaders. While many allow voting, there’s so much fraud that the will of the people doesn’t matter if it runs counter to the desires of those in control.

You likely know these things already, but I don’t think most Americans truly understand the power they have to vote under the Constitution of this great nation, or the system that was put in place by the Founders to ensure that those votes would matter.

If you need help finding your polling location, this link has a contact list for every state.

Let’s go do it, folks! And may God continue to bless America and make it prosperous and strong forever!


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This public service information is brought to you today by Samuel N. Asare and the professional financial strategists at Laser Financial Group. Contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation today! Call us at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the web.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Thing about Loopholes

The Thing about Loopholes

Lately we’ve been hearing a lot about “loopholes” from both sides of the political debate. In my particular instance, it’s not just at the national level but at my state and even local election levels, as well. 
The gist, as I am sure you already know, is that if we vote for him or her, they’d enforce a complete crackdown on those who are using so-called loopholes, which would allegedly result in more revenue flowing into the system so that good things would obviously happen for all of us. That sounds fine. However, I say, “Give us (or more appropriately, me) a big break!” 
If these loopholes are such a terrible thing, why do they exist in the first place? Who made the legislation and rules that created them?
Granted, one could argue that a given loophole might not be the intended goal of our lawmakers. But is anything preventing these politicians from closing them? There’s a Ghanaian saying to the effect that, If you place your finger in my mouth and hit me on the head, don’t wonder or complain when I bite your finger. What else should you expect?
The point I’m trying to drive home here is: Don’t give me a legitimate choice and then accuse me of using it. Doesn’t that sound rather ridiculous? It sure does to me. I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for ways that will legally (the keyword here is legally) maximize my gains, and I don’t feel even slightly guilty about following them to the full extent of the law.
Okay, this is going to sound obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. Instead of telling us about them (which amounts to nothing more than complaining), go ahead and close them. It shouldn’t be that difficult, should it?
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If you’d like to learn more wisdom and common-sense information that will help you ensure that you don't lose a penny in the next market downturn, please contact us for straight, clear answers. What you don’t know matters as much as what you know! Call us at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the web to schedule your complimentary consultation TODAY.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Why Do So FEW Advisors Share a Proven Retirement Strategy?

Why do so few advisors share a proven retirement strategy?

A fairly large number of financial advisors seem to operate with the general hypothesis that when saving for your retirement, you should earlier on (during your working years) directly invest heavily in the stock market, using individual stocks or mutual funds of some sort. Then once you retire, you should switch over to, as they put it, less risky and much safer investments. Many recommend some form of annuity.


While that may sound pretty good on the surface, I believe it’s a major mistake. Here’s a simple reason for my stance. What if the funds you’ve invested via the stock market take a huge plunge right before you’re about to retire? Or what if the market plummets a few years before your retirement and doesn’t bounce back soon enough?

Is what I’m saying here ringing any bells about incidents of recent memory?

The fact of the matter is that the foundation behind this whole idea assumes that during the years of accumulation, the market will do just fine – and hopes that will actually be the case for you. However, my friend, hope has never been – and never will be – a viable strategy for something as vital as your retirement. In my personal practice and through my public speaking, I meet folks almost daily whose retirement finances have been compromised in a big way, due to this approach.

Now let me tell you what I recommend you do. First, it is extremely important to understand and never forget that your retirement is CERTAIN to arrive. As a result, your money must also be certain. One way to ensure that is by utilizing a proven investing approach whereby you link (as opposed to directly investing in) the growth of your assets to a stock market index, up to a certain a cap. This allows you to lock in all of your annual gains so that whenever the market/index drops, you won’t lose anything. If you were to ask me, I’d say this makes a lot more sense, because no one on this planet knows when and by how much the stock market will dip when it inevitably does.

Interesting question here is how come more so-called financial advisors are not exposing their clients to this powerful investing approach? Your guess is as good as mine, but at least now you have a different perspective.
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If you’d like to learn more wisdom and common-sense information that will help you ensure that you don't lose a penny in the next market downturn, please contact us for straight, clear answers. What you don’t know matters as much as what you know! Call us at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the web to schedule your complimentary consultation TODAY.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Calling Out Money Magazine's Investment Advice

Calling Out Money Magazine's Investment Advice

Lately I’ve been making frequent visits to my daughter Amy’s orthodontist’s office. I’m pretty sure most folks understand why – she’s thirteen, so of course we’re doing the braces/retainer thing. Personally, her teeth look fine to me, but the professionals say they’re not done yet. So obviously, I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do and go with the flow.



As many parents might do while waiting for their child’s appointment to conclude, I often thumb through one magazine or other from their huge collection, the topics ranging from home & garden to fashion to travel. Most recently, I picked up a copy of Money Magazine. Interesting, isn’t it? This particular issue was from July 2012, the Annual Readers Choice Edition.

Beyond the fact that I would naturally be inclined to pick up that magazine, the back cover said 101 Ways to Build Wealth. Hey, I am always interested in learning and researching new ideas, so I quickly jumped to page 54 and started reading. To my surprise, the very first – as in, the most important – point the article made was: “In achieving wealth, how you invest isn’t nearly as important as how much you save…”

That’s a word-for-word quote from page 54 of the July 2012 issue of Money Magazine. Please read it again – slowly this time. Now, everyone obviously has their own opinion, and I’m not even going to attempt to get you to subscribe to mine, but here’s what I’ve always thought about that statement: Seriously? You’ve got to be kidding me, right?

“How you invest” – that is, the strategy/investments into which you are pouring your hard-earned dollars – isn’t as important as “how much” you save? So when you’re pouring your money into a big black hole, so to speak, you should just focus on saving more? With all due respect to the esteemed magazine, they got this one totally backward. I know for a fact that it’s possible for someone who saved a lot less but used a better strategy (the “how” in this case) to end up with much more money in the end than the one who saved a lot but used the wrong “how.”

I could go on and on, but I’m pretty certain you get the point I’m trying to make here. I believe that how you’re saving – the strategy/investments you’re pursuing – is far more important than how much you save. You can put a whole lot of water into a leaking container, but it’ll be only a matter of time before everything drains out. Meanwhile, if you put a lot less into a leak-proof container, you’d keep everything wouldn’t you?

In fact, I have written and taught about this very point in the past. Here’s one article I wrote for the Maryland Women’s Journal about it.

I even discussed it in my book, 5 Mistakes Your Financial Advisor is Making, beginning on page 50. If you haven’t read the book, I would strongly encourage you to get a copy. You can purchase the e-book for just $2.99, and it’s readable on pretty much all the e-readers, from Apple to Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, and Palm. You can also get it directly from the iBook or Barnes and Noble e-stores. Or if you’re like me and prefer the hard copy, you can buy it here for just $10.36.

I’d vote for how you invest being far more important than how much. What about you?
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If you’d like to learn more wisdom and common-sense information that will help you have a more strategic "how" so that you can grow YOUR "how much," please contact us for straight, clear answers. What you don’t know matters as much as what you know! Call us at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the web to schedule your complimentary consultation TODAY.

Monday, October 8, 2012

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

My associates and I here at Laser Financial Group do our best to help you protect your financial health, but we know that your financial health won't matter much if you don't have your physical health. To that end, we'd like to remind you that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Throughout the year, but particularly during October, a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies works together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services. For more than 25 years, these groups have been promoting breast cancer awareness and helping further the national conversation about breast cancer. Many great strides have been made in breast cancer awareness and treatment, but there's still a long way to go.

Click this link to find a screening center in your community that is participating in the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.

For further information, including how to create an early detection plan, please visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

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If you’d like to learn more wisdom and common-sense information that will help preserve your FINANCIAL health, please contact us for straight, clear answers. What you don’t know matters as much as what you know! Call us at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the web to schedule your complimentary consultation TODAY.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Software Makes It Easy to Take an Inventory of Your Personal Possessions

Software makes it easy to take an inventory of your personal possessions

Do you have an accurate, up-to-date inventory of all of your personal possessions? That’s a pretty straightforward question, isn’t it? Yes, or…?

Okay I realize this may not be the most flamboyant assumption, but bear with me for just a second and explore the unfortunate scenario that your house were burglarized or destroyed. Would you be able to accurately generate an accounting of all your personal possessions? I think you get the point I’m trying to make.
Why this discussion today? Of course, we are all busy folks. But failure to have an accurate accounting of your personal possessions could have serious consequences (from delays, to being paid less than the items’ worth, to outright denial of claim) in the event that you had to file an insurance claim or report property losses to the IRS. So I’d say a properly substantiated accounting will breed less drama and greater peace of mind. Besides, without knowing the proper value of what you own, you risk being underinsured.
You may want to check out the Insurance Information Institute’s online homeinventory software.  I personally like this software because it literally walks you through your house, room by room (with prompts), helping you document everything you own. Of course, you have to name the rooms. You can upload your receipts, any appraisal reports, or take actual photos of the items and attach them to the inventory. Obviously, since it’s online, you don’t run the risk of having this information lost, destroyed, or stolen. You can also create the inventory with an app on your smartphone, if you’d like. Great thing about it is that it’s totally free.
I must mention that I have no affiliation or agreement with this organization and do not stand to benefit in any way, should you decide to use this application. It’s just that in my professional practice over the years, I have seen enough unintended consequences – some of them pretty devastating when folks were unprepared.

As always, I’m simply looking out for your interests.
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If you’d like to learn more wisdom and common-sense information that will help make life better for you and for those you love, please contact us for the straight, clear answers. What you don’t know matters as much as what you know! Call us at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the Web at LaserFG.com to schedule your complimentary consultation TODAY.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Use Caution When Naming Minor Children as Your Life Insurance Beneficiaries


Use Caution When Naming Minor Children as Your Life Insurance Beneficiaries

In the spirit of September being Life Insurance Awareness Month, I want to point out something that may seem unassuming but could end up having negative unintended consequences: naming minor children (in the legal sense of that definition) as beneficiaries of your life insurance in their own right. Hang on a minute and I’ll explain.

Of course you can name your kids as your beneficiaries! After all, isn’t that why you’re buying that death benefit coverage in the first place? So you see, I get that. However, naming a minor in their own right (as I call it) could create a problem for them down the road. Should the unthinkable happen and you pass away while your child is still younger than legal age, your kid will not be able to access the money until he/she reaches the age of majority (which is 18 or 21, depending on the laws in your state).

Obviously, I am not a lawyer so I can’t go into the legal explanations. However, I can tell you that if your beneficiaries are younger than your state’s age of majority for purposes of receiving life insurance death benefit checks, you’d be wise to revisit your policy and be sure you clearly understand the ramifications involved. You definitely don’t want to be caught unaware and potentially put the very folks you intended to financially support or protect in a situation where they are unable to access the funds for God knows how long.

The good news, though, is that there are fairly simple means (that neither require a lawyer or accountant nor special drafting documents) by which you can name your minor dependents as beneficiaries. Sounds good, right? A knowledgeable (I repeat, knowledgeable) insurance professional, one who really knows what he or she is doing and is not just filling out paperwork, should be able to help you document things properly.

Generally, you’d do that by appointing an adult supervisor, someone you trust implicitly. That adult would be allowed to request (and provide detailed accounting for) some of the money necessary to care for the minor until the minor reached the legal age of majority, at which point they would take over and  assume full control of their money. Of course, you can always consult with your attorney to get his or her blessing, too.

In a nutshell, I’m suggesting that you simply make sure your minor beneficiaries are properly covered. Just because you have indicated their names on the insurance paperwork won’t change the law.

Wishing you a long, happy, healthy, and fulfilled life!
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If you’d like to learn more wisdom and common-sense information that will help guarantee your future and the future of those you love, please contact us for the straight, clear answers. What you don’t know matters as much as what you know! Call us at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the Web at LaserFG.com to schedule your complimentary consultation TODAY.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Taxes, Politics, and Your Retirement Income


Taxes, Politics, and Your Retirement Income
At some point in the very near future, tax rates are likely to increase for all of us – rich, poor, and the famous middle class, alike. Okay, I must admit I’m not expecting everyone to agree with me on this one. For one thing, most of us don’t consider ourselves rich. Besides, politicians on both sides of the debate tell us that because we’re in the coveted middle-class, we should actually expect our taxes to get even lower. Hey, when it comes to taxes, read my lips: Washington, D.C. is in charge, not me.

 However, my fellow middle-class or rich American, I’m going to ask you a huge favor: Let’s take it easy, shelve our politics for just a moment, and look at this from a realistic point of view. Agreed?
Here’s an important fact (the keyword being fact): We are currently being taxed at historically low, albeit temporary, rates which were instituted by politicians from both sides of the debate with the justification that “now” – as in the moment the tax laws were implemented –  wasn’t a good time to raise taxes. Logic therefore dictates that at some future point, that good time will eventually arrive.

While others may see this as an issue of one side increasing taxes and the other reducing them, I see it as a matter of a difference of opinion regarding timing, not whether or not to raise taxes. Think about it. One side says “Let’s do it now,” and the other says “Now’s not a good time,” which is not saying they’ll never raise taxes.

The thing is, a lot of us are talking about taxes perhaps through 2016, max. But I am talking way beyond that – the future, remember? So here’s the question: Would a tax hike ruin your retirement income? If you have a yet-to-be-taxed 401(k) or IRA, I’d seriously encourage you to explore that question with your advisor. And please, please don’t let him or her send you away with the blithe comment that everyone’s in the same boat, because the fact is that’s just not the case.
For instance, did you know that depending on your choice of investment program, you might not have to pay even a cent in taxes now or if/when taxes rise in the future – get this – regardless of how much income you have? It’s absolutely true and it’s perfectly legal under the U.S. Tax Code. Are you sure you’re getting the best financial advice?

Now, just so we’re clear: I don’t want my taxes to go up, either. In fact, I’d like for them to go down – but that’s just a wish isn’t it? Don’t base your retirement plans on a wish – make your decisions based on fact.
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If you’d like to learn more about the options that will guarantee you pay no taxes now or in the future, please contact us for the straight, clear answers. What you don’t know matters as much as what you know! Call us at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the Web at LaserFG.com to schedule your complimentary consultation TODAY.

Monday, September 10, 2012

There’s a 3rd (Little-Known) Approach to Investing

There’s a 3rd (Little-Known) Approach to Investing

Many Americans are under the very wrong impression that when it comes to accumulating retirement money, they have only two basic choices: (1) directly dabbling in the stock market or (2) using fixed-interest instruments like CDs or bonds.

Obviously, investing in the stock market comes with the possibility of making a boatload of money, but also the risk of losing everything. On the other hand, while the popular fixed alternatives don’t have safety issues so to speak, growth opportunities tend to be very limited. Hence the dilemma: How do you grow your nest egg at a decent rate and still protect yourself from the stock market’s risk?

Here’s the thing. Believe it or not, there’s a third approach to investing which solves this problem to a very large extent. I call it the linking strategy. Here’s how it works: First, all of your seed money is protected from Day 1, so you know you won’t lose any of your principle. Then you link the growth of your investment to the appreciation of a given stock market index up to a certain cap. So whenever the stock market/index increases, your portfolio also increases, up to your cap. The thing here is that since your money is not directly in the market, you won’t lose anything (not even a penny) when the market dips for whatever reason.

This would ensure you’re earning competitive stock market-linked returns in the good years, while completely shielding both your seed money and earnings during downturns. Powerful, isn’t it? Looking back at your own portfolio over the years, would things have been much different – in a positive way – if you had been using this approach?

I’m guessing the million dollar question on your mind right about now is: Why haven’t I heard about this option before? In fact, nine out of 10 folks I meet haven’t heard about it either, and I’m not about to start a witch hunt now to determine why that is so. Maybe the fact that a financial company (or advisor) is required to carry a specific license in order to offer this option to their clients has something to do with it.

This much I can tell you: The investment method we’re talking about here is not some fancy, exotic option reserved for a special group of investors. Over the past 17 years or so, millions of Americans from all walks of lives have used (and are still using) it to successfully grow and protect their investments – and I’m pretty sure you can, too.
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If you’d like to learn more or have any questions, please contact us for the straight, clear answers you need to weigh your options. What you don’t know matters as much as what you know! Call us at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the Web at LaserFG.com to schedule your complimentary consultation TODAY.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Folly of Chasing Returns (Part 3)

The Folly of Chasing Returns (Part 3)
 Let’s say that you were looking to invest $10,000 for 3 years and were presented with these two options:
Option A
Option B
Year 1
      + 10%
        +3%
Year 2
      + 10%
        +3%
Year 3
       - 10%
        +3%
Total
       +10%
        +9%
Simple Average
         +3.3
           +3
The obvious question here is: Given the above information and holding everything else constant, which option would you, or more appropriately should you, choose? Pretty simple, right? If I were to guess, I’d bet more likely than not you would go with Option A. After all A’s total return over the 3 years is 10 percent, compared to B’s 9 percent. Also, A’s simple average is 3.3 versus B’s 3 percent.
However, Option B is the much better option than A. YES, really! At the end of the three years, you’d end up with more money if you went with Option B. Money math is a whole different ballgame altogether, isn’t it?
Before we go any further, know that if you thought Option A was better than B, your choice corresponds with the overwhelming majority of folks to whom I’ve posed this question. And I totally understand that choice – but the thing is, money math works differently. Here’s how the math works out.
Option A: the initial $10,000 grows by 10% ($1,000) to $11,000 at the end of year 1. The $11,000 grew by another 10% ($1,100) to end year 2 at $12,100. In year 3, it lost 10% of the $12,100 ($1,210) so the ending amount was $10,890.
Option B: the first year’s interest would be $300 (3% of the initial $10,000) for a year-end balance of $10,300. In year 2 that $10,300 would grow by another 3% ($309), increasing to $10,609, which would then grow by another 3% ($318) to end year 3 with a value of $10,927.
Now it’s crystal clear that Option B would return the most money: $10,927 versus A’s $10,890. Who would have thought that? You see the one thing that a lot of retirement investors seem to lose sight of (and I’m not blaming them as much as I’m faulting their so-called financial advisors) is the consistency of returns. Sure, Option A seemed to have the “higher” interest numbers, but how consistent is or would that return be?
If there’s one thing I hope I’ve effectively communicated to you in this three part series, it is that you understand that things aren’t as obvious as they may seem or made out to be when it comes to interest rates. My sincere hope is that you are connected with a savvy advisor who takes these necessary aspects into consideration before making the critical choices necessary to ensuring you get the most out of your hard-earned money.
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Contact a professional at Laser Financial Group who has the real-world experience to help you answer the most important questions you can ask about your retirement plan. Set up your complimentary, no-obligation consultation and learn about your options for creating a retirement plan that's tailored to your needs and goals. Call us TODAY at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the Web at LaserFG.com.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Folly of Chasing Returns (part 2)

The Folly of Chasing Returns (part 2)
From my last column, we know that three important questions must be asked in comparing returns among various investments. First, we discounted the returns by the costs/fees associated with them.
Question #2 would be:
Is this return/interest before or after any applicable income taxes?

I like to call this the tax efficiency of the return. If you think about it, it is possible for the investment that generates the most money (the largest literal balance) to end up having the lower spendable dollar-for-dollar income after applicable taxes, isn’t it?
By way of a quick example, if the after-cost returns for Investments A and B were 7 and 5.5 percent, respectively, many folks might be tempted to quickly go with A. However, that could end up being a mistake if the investor neglected to look into their tax efficiencies.
Let’s say the investor in question happens to be in a 30 percent marginal tax bracket, and Investment A’s income were taxable, while Investment B’s was income tax free. That would shave off 2.1 percent (7 percent multiplied by the 30 percent tax rate) from Investment A’s return, leaving a net spendable income of 4.9 percent. Obviously with this new information, Investment B’s 5.5 percent would be the superior choice. But you’ve to realize how we got here.
This may seem like a pretty straight-forward, obvious step to take, but I can’t begin to tell you how many retirement investors have been (and are today still being) led to compare return options without considering the applicable taxes. At the end of the day, irrespective of what your financial advisor thinks or believes, the fact of the matter is that what should matter most to you is  how much of your earnings you’d actually get to spend – after taxes.
We’ll discuss the third question in the next column.
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Contact a professional at Laser Financial Group who has the real-world experience to help you answer the most important questions you can ask about your retirement plan. Set up your complimentary, no-obligation consultation and learn about your options for creating a retirement plan that's tailored to your needs and goals. Call us TODAY at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the Web at LaserFG.com.