Monday, March 26, 2012

The Flaw in Relying on "Potential" When It Comes to Your Retirement Planning

The Flaw in Relying on "Potential" When It Comes to Your Retirement Planning

While “potential” is a great thing and for that matter should be encouraged in many aspects of our lives, the one area where it doesn’t carry much weight is in planning for retirement.

Because the clock simply keeps ticking, we don’t have much of a choice – we MUST retire one day, sooner or later. If that’s true, don’t you find it baffling (as I do) that nine out of 10 folks have retirement financial plans that hinge entirely on potential? Things like, the potential that…
·         The stock market will do really well and not plummet just before, or during, their retirements. Or even if it does dip, that it will recover so that they can catch up and have the comfortable lifestyles they dream of.

·         Tax rates will be lower during their retirements so they will get to keep more of their yet-to-be-taxed savings.
Of course, you have the freedom to prepare for retirement as you wish. But judging by what people tell me and the emails I receive from folks all across America, most simply went with their so-called financial advisors’ recommendations, although these recommendations were based entirely on potential outcomes. These folks are now stuck, having learned this unfortunate lesson the hard way.
It is okay to challenge your advisor, because as it turns out, many advisors don’t follow everyday commonsense in their work. Think about it: The definition of potential, when used as a noun is “Latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.” The keyword here being may, which also means may not. But our retirements are not potential, because our biological clocks have no mercy!
So what happens if the stock market doesn’t do well? Or if taxes sky rocket? You still have to retire. Do you want to stake everything on a possibility, or would you rather make a guaranteed plan that will benefit you, regardless of market conditions or tax rates?

Contact a financial professional at Laser Financial Group TODAY to schedule your complimentary consultation. Learn about strategies and plans that won't leave your retirement success up to potential market gains or advantageous tax rates. or 877.656.9111.

Monday, March 19, 2012

One Obvious Red Flag That Your Paid Tax-Preparer Is a Whack Job

One Obvious Red Flag That Your Paid Tax-Preparer Is a Whack Job

Most of us are good, law-abiding citizens and therefore expect that everyone – especially those we deal with businesswise – are of the same breed. Well, as it turns out, that’s not necessarily the reality in tax preparation (or in any other business, for that matter).
According to the IRS, illegitimate tax preparers are increasingly becoming a huge problem. Just because someone claims they have a tax-filing business doesn’t make them legit. In fact, at this moment Federal courts are issuing hundreds of injunctions ordering certain individuals and/or so-called businesses to cease preparing returns, and the Department of Justice has pending complaints against many others.

While many signals can point that you are dealing with a scrupulous return preparer, this single action should serve as a very bright red flag:

Your preparer did not put his/her
information on your tax return.

In 2012, IRS rules require every paid preparer to have a “Preparer Tax Identification Number” (PTIN). And, most importantly, this PTIN must be entered on every return a preparer completes. The only thing I can think of that would keep a preparer from making sure this information was on your return would be that they’re up to something fishy.

Of course, keep in mind that a PTIN in and of itself doesn’t mean “nothing to worry about” – just that the lack of one should cause you immediate concern. Happy tax filing, if there is such a thing.

Contact a financial professional at Laser Financial Group today to schedule your confidential, complementary session. Make sure your money is working for you so that when retirement comes, they really can be golden years. or 877.656.9111.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The DOW, Your Financial Advisor, and Common Sense

The DOW, Your Financial Advisor, and Common Sense

I hope hard-working Americans who are trying to protect and grow their money for better retirements are paying close attention to what happened – AGAIN – this past week, and more importantly, have deduced the right lesson from it.
Tuesday, February 28th saw the “We’re back baby!” huge 13,000 DOW milestone. The inherent message: investors who are not directly invested in the stock market are missing the opportunity of a lifetime to retire wealthy. I’ll bet many received precisely those telephone calls from their brokers urging them that the time had come to dive in a little deeper.
But what was the news exactly 7 days later on March 6th? “DOW falls more than 200; worst day in 2012.”
I know you are smart and most probably know (and understand) this already, but it wouldn’t hurt to hear it again: these talking heads cannot predict the future of any stock market – not today, tomorrow, or any day in the future. The best ANYONE can do is play Monday morning quarterback. So do yourself a huge favor and invest based on reality.
And the reality is that these so-called prediction experts have always gotten it wrong about the stock market – so why should you listen to them now? If my financial advisor seemed to always follow the current trend, I’d be very concerned, because that’s a bright red flag that he or she isn’t sure about exactly how to secure my future. Upon second thought, why should I spend any time being concerned when I could fire them and hire someone with some common sense?
Investing isn’t exactly rocket science, but as it turns out, common sense isn’t so common these days. My hope is that you don’t have to learn the difference the hard way.
If you want a dose of real common sense, contact a financial professional at Laser Financial Group today for proven advice about the best way to secure your financial future. 877.656.9111 or

Monday, March 5, 2012

DOW’s 13,000 Rally – Just More Hype

DOW’s 13,000 Rally Just More Hype

Unless you were literally living under a rock last Tuesday, you probably heard the “breaking news”: We’re back, baby! The DOW reached 13K (13,005.21, to be precise). Granted, any sign that our economy is gaining steam is awesome news, but from the way most of the media talking heads and so-called experts covered it, you might easily get the impression that most investors’ recent stock market woes have been completely reversed. Of course, that’s not the case!

Here’s why your nest egg isn’t where you were expecting it to be, vis-à-vis the DOW:

First off, the DOW isn't the best measure of the stock market. Although media accounts may make it seem that way, the DOW follows only 30 (THIRTY) of America’s largest companies. Sure, these are important companies like American Express, Bank of America, Boeing, Chevron, DuPont, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, AT&T, Walmart, and IBM, but you wouldn’t take the stock prices of just a handful of companies – out of more than 2,000 – as a true proxy for the entire stock market, would you?

Secondly, those numbers you hear about are weighted. Why is this critical? See, the way arithmetic works, all it takes for the DOW to experience a huge jump is a very small change in the price of high-priced stocks. In effect, just a handful of the most expensive stocks carry the most weight. This means that a relatively tiny percentage change in the stock of, say, IBM, which is currently trading at around $198, will swing the DOW much more than a very large change in the stock of Bank of America, which is presently trading at around 8 bucks. Interesting, isn’t it?

Finally – and you might want to pay very close attention – This is not the first time the DOW has clocked 13K. A little less than five years ago, on April 25, 2007, for the first time ever, the DOW closed above 13,000. It kept rising, and would close at 14,164.53 on October 9, 2007. Then, on March 9, 2009 it crashed and closed at 6,547.05.

I don’t know about you, but if my nest egg had experienced that, I wouldn’t be part of last Tuesday’s fanfare because I’d still be in a hole. Let’s do some quick math: Say I had $100,000 on October 9, 2007; it would have been whittled down to just $46,220 by March 9, 2009, only to come back up to $91,811 today (which is still less than the $100,000 I began with almost five years ago).

Of course, every analyst, media outfit, and financial advisor will choose whichever perspective they like. But at the end of the day, shouldn’t your money be growing as the years progress? If that’s true, the recent escalation of the DOW probably doesn’t mean what many people seem to think it means, after all.
Schedule your complimentary appointment today with a financial professional from Laser Financial Group. Explore proven, time-tested ways you can prevent your retirement nest egg from remaining at the whim of the Dow and other market indicators. or 877.656.9111.