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!
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 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.
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 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.
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 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%
Year 2
      + 10%
Year 3
       - 10%
Simple Average
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.
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