Monday, December 9, 2013

Could Lightning Strike the Stock Market Twice?

Could lightning strike the stock market twice? 

Here’s a rather simple question for you to answer about your retirement portfolio: What happens in the worst-case scenario that the stock market takes a rather huge plunge, like it did in September 2008?
Of course, like many in the financial planning community/press would have you believe, that’s highly unlikely, right? But how unlikely is it?
In my defense, I did describe it as the worst-case scenario. More likely than not, that’s not going to happen again, but isn’t such a suggestion pure speculation on my part? The thing is, simply hoping – or even strongly believing, as many financial experts apparently do – that the stock market will only move in a certain direction isn’t a sensible retirement strategy. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that prior to the 2008 market crash, many of those whose retirement dreams were completely dismantled or seriously damaged didn’t think anything of such a magnitude could happen, especially to their hard-earned nest eggs.
Five years have passed since the infamous crash, and while many in the financial planning community seem to have forgotten or moved beyond what happened, I personally think that any retirement investor who doesn’t take a hard look at their portfolio, and simply goes with conventional wisdom flow, is making a rather unfortunate mistake. 
Please don’t take this as a caution about not investing in the stock market, because that’s not my point here. Not to mention that I couldn’t make such a recommendation without having had any consultations with you. What I’m hoping to do here is encourage you to thoroughly understand both the best and worst possible outcomes for whichever strategy you are using. And, most important of all, make sure that your assumptions and those of your financial advisor or the media money guru you’re following belong in the real world and not fantasyland.
Perhaps you have heard that the market has fully recovered and the outlook is great. But that still begs my very simple question: What might happen to your retirement livelihood if the market were to tank? Could it happen again? Since the nature of the stock market is to go up AND down, of course it could. It might be a while till we see such a severe crash again, but if lightning can strike the same spot twice, another big market crash is always possible.
By the way, ask any of those retirees (or those who were nearing retirement) whose portfolios took a beating after the 2008 crash if they have recovered – as in, earned back all of the seed money + interest that they lost – and let me know you can find anyone who has.
Here's the bottom line. Ask the hard questions before it's too late, because the price could be unbearable. Remember, it's your money and your retirement that are at stake here.
Want to learn how you can KEEP more of your retirement money, even if the market crashes again? Call 877.656.9111 or visit to talk with an experienced retirement professional with a proven track record TODAY!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pulling Back the Curtain on the Real Reason for Unsuccessful Retirements

Pulling back the curtain on the real reason for unsuccessful retirements

It’s no secret that the vast majority of Americans arrive at retirement significantly short of their intended financial dreams. In fact, the number one fear among Americans, above everything else, is the fear of running out of money in retirement. The most recent Retirement Confidence Survey numbers, published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, put the percentage of retirees who are confident about having enough money to live comfortably in retirement at around 18 percent. 

That’s extremely alarming, to say the least! But here’s what I find even more sickening. Pundits are quick to run down the list of factors responsible for this unfortunate situation and every one of those reasons has to do with something that the American investor did wrong: 
  • They didn’t save enough money.
  • They chose the wrong funds to invest in.
  • They didn’t diversify properly. 
Of course, these may well be part of the problem, but why isn’t anyone questioning the financial advice/guidance that these Americans receive and follow?

The fact of the matter is that if the financial advice vis-à-vis retirement strategy that you follow is flawed, simply saving a whole lot of money will not magically help you retire successfully. And I’m willing to bet that most of these folks followed some kind of financial advice – strangely enough, along the exact same lines that some of these so-called money gurus are espousing.

So why don’t we take a step back and dig deeper into the real underlying issues that are driving more than 80 percent of folks to spend their retirement in financial nervousness? Are we ignoring this obvious question because we don’t really want to know the answer? Are we afraid we might discover that impractical, unhelpful, and/or unrealistic financial advice is ruining more retirements than any other thing?
Want to learn how you can KEEP more of your retirement money? Call 877.656.9111 or visit to talk with an experienced retirement professional with a proven track record TODAY!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Are You Truly Maximizing Your Retirement Assets?

Are You Truly Maximizing Your Retirement Assets?

Everyone would like to believe they’re getting the absolute best bang for their investments. But the unfortunate reality is that unbeknownst to a large number of folks, and sadly enough to their so-called financial advisors, their hard-earned assets are simply not being maximized.

Ted was certain that the strategy that he had in place for protecting the inheritance he intended to leave his beloved granddaughter was second to none. He’d had enough of the stock market’s fluctuations and would like to assure that his granddaughter will receive a set amount. Ted’s long-time financial advisor recommended he buy a CD with the $100,000 he intended to leave his granddaughter. This would offer him the needed assurance, plus roughly $2,000 in interest a year.

It’s not a surprising recommendation, but is that the best way for Ted to achieve his goal? Will that move maximize his hard-earned money? Obviously, he and his advisor thought so – until after Ted’s meeting with advisors on my team. Here’s what we recommended:

Ted invests his $100,000 in a contract that guarantees him an income of $7,128 a year for life. It is important to note here that because this contract is not an annuitization of his investment, if Ted dies before depleting his original $100,000 investment (which will be in about 14 years), the remaining balance will be turned over to his beneficiary (granddaughter, in this case). His yearly $7,128 payments will continue for as long as he is alive, whether that’s for two more years or 55 more years. With those lifetime payments, Ted then purchases a no-lapse-guarantee life insurance policy with a $100,000 death benefit, naming his granddaughter as beneficiary. Despite some health challenges, we were able to secure that coverage from a highly-rated insurer for $2,772 a year.

Now let’s take a look at the two approaches. The CD strategy brings in $2,000 a year, compared to a net of $4,356, after paying for the life insurance from his $7,128 lifetime income under our recommendation. Assuming Ted dies after 10 years, the CD route would have yielded $20,000 in interest payments. In addition, his granddaughter will receive the $100,000 inheritance. Alternatively, with our approach, he would have netted $43,650 (after receiving $71,280 in lifetime payments and paying $27,720 in premiums). What’s more, not only will Ted’s granddaughter receive the $100,000 insurance benefit, but also the remaining balance from his lifetime income contract (roughly $28,000+).

The difference is clear. It’s pretty much a no-brainer at this point that Ted will be much better off with our approach, isn’t it? Of course, your situation is different. But the question remains: Could you be doing better? Although Ted could not have possibly fathomed anything better than what he already had in place, his curiosity uncovered a whole new world and changed the course of his retirement beyond his wildest imagination. What might you discover with similar research?

For a thorough review of your financial situation to ensure that you are getting the most out of your hard-earned assets, call 877.656.9111 or visit to request your complimentary, no-obligation session today!
Want to learn how you can KEEP more of your retirement money? Call 877.656.9111 or visit to talk with an experienced retirement professional with a proven track record TODAY!

Monday, November 4, 2013

How Could 401(k) Income be Toxic for Social Security Recipients?

One of the most shocking things that many retirees discover - after the fact - is how their other sources of income directly affect the taxes they must pay on their Social Security checks. While most of us are aware that we must pay income tax on tax-deferred assets (like 401(k)s, and 403(b)s), many are under the erroneous impression that that's where things end.

Here is how things REALLY work under the U.S. Tax Code and how you can legally keep more of your hard-earned money:

Want to learn how you can KEEP more of your retirement money? Call 877.656.9111 or visit to talk with an experienced retirement professional with a proven track record TODAY!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Want to Learn More about How to Build Long-Lasting Retirement Wealth?

You’re in luck! I will be one of 13 experts for the awesome Your VibrantBusiness Virtual Summit. Coming up October 22, 23, and 24, the seminars in this virtual event will cover topics ranging from Building Long-Lasting Retirement Wealth  to health to relationships to finance to feng shui and more. 

Each of the presenters will help you change your life by giving you tips, tools, and techniques that can truly help you achieve work/life balance. My presentation will be Tuesday, October 22, 9:00 a.m Pacific Daylight time. This is an online presentation, so all you need is a phone and/or computer to participate. 

This is your chance to learn how to maximize your time, reduce your stress, rekindle your passion for your work, and live more authentically. Register HERE!

Monday, October 14, 2013


Now that I have your attention, I want to ask you a favor. Take a big, deep, relaxing breath. Seriously, right now. Take a breath. Then another. Then one more.

How do you feel now? And – be honest – when was the last time you slowed down long enough to take real time for yourself? Come to think of it, when did you last stop to take just a few deep breaths?

If you’re like most people, you’re juggling a LOT in your life. From kids to parents to spouses to work, home, chores, church, volunteering, and community involvements, we are BUSY people. So much so, that we sometimes forget to breathe. So much so that the very idea of work/life balance may often seem an impossibility.

I invite you to set aside a few hours to get some perspective, recharge your batteries, and learn tools you can apply so that work/life balance can be a meaningful, realistic , and achievable goal for your life.

I am privileged to be part of an exciting new virtual summit, coming up October 22, 23, and 24 and would love you to be a part of it, too. Your Vibrant Business is a 3-day webinar event that features 13 experts on topics from health to relationships to finance to feng shui and more.

My presentation, How to Build Long-Lasting Retirement Wealth, will be Tuesday, October 22 at 9 a.m. Pacific Daylight time. This is an online presentation, so all you need is a phone and/or computer to participate.

Join me and 12 other fantastic experts to learn tips, tools, and techniques that will help you maximize your time, reduce your stress, rekindle your passion for your work, and live more authentically. There are three opportunities for you to get on board - all of which are detailed out on the website:

Visit the Your Vibrant Business website to reserve your seat for the virtual summit TODAY! While you’re there, sign up to receive a complimentary copy of our immensely useful Life Balance Assessment. This short assessment will help you determine how well 10 primary aspects of your life are working.

I really hope you will take this opportunity to potentially change your life – FOREVER! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Are You Falling for the BIG Lie about Your Retirement Tax Situation?

Are You Falling for the BIG Lie about Your Retirement Tax Situation?

Perhaps you haven’t noticed this, but the group in our society that, for lack of a better word, complains most vocally about paying too much in taxes is retirees. How can that be, when it doesn’t match one bit with what conventional financial planners teach us? Aren’t we supposed to magically fall into a much lower tax bracket during retirement because we would be bringing in less income, compared to when we were working? In fact, isn’t this the number one principle at 401(k)/IRA seminars?

 In my practice, hardly a day goes by without my meeting with an already retired person who is experiencing what I call “retirement shock” in my books, Is Your 401(k) a Trap? and 5 Mistakes Your Financial Advisor is MakingThe interesting thing in all of this is that these are folks who have indeed experienced significant drops in their incomes but are actually being clobbered with taxes because their effective tax rates have increased – yes, gone up – after retirement!

So the question remains: How is this possible? You see, what many of these so-called financial advisors are ignoring, or may be unaware of, is that under our tax laws, your income tax bracket is based on your “taxable” income – notice the keyword here is taxable, not gross income. Far too often, what happens is that although your gross income might be lower when you retire, your taxable income will not automatically follow if you also experience a significant drop in certain deductions, like the pre-tax contributions you used to put into your retirement account and your home mortgage interest.

Here’s the bottom line. In reality, at least from what I hear and see on a daily basis, nine out of 10 retirees in this country find themselves in an undesirable, unexpected tax hell, simply because of short-sighted financial advice that, quite frankly, does them more harm than good. You might find this surprising, but the fact is that there are retirees whose income in retirement is much higher compared to when they were working but who pay much less in taxes. The key is whether your income is taxable or not – and fortunately, are there simple things you can do to inoculate your income from the tax man.

Are you following the right financial advice? 
Would you like to talk with an experienced professional with a proven-track record to learn how to preserve more money in retirement  whether you're about to retire or have already stopped working? Call 877.656.9111 or visit to schedule a no-obligation consultation RIGHT NOW!

Monday, September 23, 2013

What Is the Value of Paying for Financial Advice?

The value of paying for financial advice?

One issue that seems extremely popular in the financial media is whether or not investors should 
pay a financial professional to help them manage/plan their retirements. It seems to me that many folks respond very well to the viewpoint that you would be smart to pay nothing or almost nothing to hire a financial advisor. The underlying belief appears to be that all the information you need to do it yourself is readily available – so why pay anyone to tell you what you can get, free of charge, from “experts” in the financial press.

From your perspective as a retirement investor, this may sound like a good idea – even a great plan. But here are a couple of questions to ponder:
  1. How many retired folks have you met who did it on their own (i.e., with the help of the financial media via radio/TV/print/Internet money gurus) and are actually leading the kind of retirement lifestyle you envision, financially speaking?
  2. On the other hand, do you know any financially successful retirees who did not work with a team of experienced financial professionals?
Most of us would not expect to receive top-notch service from a dentist, a lawyer, or a professional in almost any other field free of charge, yet for some strange reason, we allow ourselves to be convinced that it's unnecessary to pay for good financial advice. How much sense does that make? The reality is, if you want top-notch financial advice, you will need to come to the realization that those professionals do not work for free. Every day, I meet with folks from all across America whose financial situations could have been much, much better if they’d applied the same mindset to their financial affairs that they apply to other areas of their lives.

Of course, I’m not advocating for paying an arm and a leg for financial advice; nor am I saying that you always get substandard service if you don’t pay anything. In fact, I offer many complimentary sessions in my own practice. But isn’t it time we did some straight talking? 
Would you like to talk with an experienced professional with a proven-track record about how you can have the peace of mind of knowing you have a retirement plan that will actually work for you? Call 877.656.9111 or visit to schedule a no-obligation consultation RIGHT NOW!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Are You Really Serious About Your Retirement?

Are You Really Serious About Your Retirement?

It’s no secret that one of the greatest problems facing America is the fact that an increasing percentage of our nation’s retirees are not financially ready to retire – a number that is getting worse with time. In my opinion, though, that is not the real crux of the matter. The most maddening thing is that most of these folks are not becoming aware of their dire situation until they have either already retired or are pretty close to it.

Of course, various reasons may account for this, but my first-hand observation from working with retirees on a daily basis is that an overwhelming number of people, for one reason or the other, do not give any serious thought – at least not to the degree that they should – to their retirement income until they are about to walk out the door.

Understand, I am not placing the entire blame on these hard-working folks. We live in an environment where the financial press and so-called money gurus lead us to believe that all it will take to succeed in retirement is making sure that you are consistently saving money in a 401(k), an IRA, or some other plan.

To state the obvious, this type of messaging is not working – or we wouldn’t have such a vast number of seniors facing enormous financial challenges after all those years of hard work and saving. Could it be that many are saving, but in the wrong places? Is it a good idea to assume that the general, one-size-fits-all financial instruction we are receiving is indeed what will work for us? How many Americans have a real retirement plan specifically crafted for them by an experienced financial professional? How often do you review/assess the progress of your retirement investments?

The thing is, most of the challenges that are destroying the retirement dreams of many are problems that could have been corrected years ago, had these individuals sought the right help. Maybe you need to get a real plan today? Food for thought!
Would you like to talk with an experienced professional with a proven-track record about how you can have the peace of mind of knowing you have a retirement plan that will actually work for you? Call 877.656.9111 or visit to schedule a no-obligation consultation RIGHT NOW!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Exposing the Fallacy of "Long-Term" Investing

Many financial advisors tell investors who are concerned about the ups and downs of the stock market to simply focus on the "long-term." Question is: When exactly is this "long-term" when apparently there will be no such fluctuations?

Here's why that explanation is completely bogus - and what you can do to secure your investments.

Would you like to talk to an experienced professional with a proven-track record about how you can have the peace of mind in knowing that your retirement is set? Call 877.656.9111 or visit to schedule a no-obligation consultation RIGHT NOW!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Is a Roth IRA Your Absolute Best Option?

Is a Roth IRA Your Absolute Best Option?
Compared to their traditional counterparts, Roth IRAs allow you to make after-tax contributions and withdraw your proceeds tax-free (provided that you’ve owned your account for at least five years and are at least 59 ½ years old). Therefore, all things being equal, in a rising tax environment, you could end up with a lot more income if you used a Roth IRA. They are also friendlier, in terms of allowing you to access your original contributions at any time, without triggering taxes or penalties.
Another superb but often unmentioned benefit is that income from a Roth IRA is not counted in the calculation of Provisional Income, thereby effectively reducing or completely eliminating any potential federal tax on your Social Security retirement checks. Additionally, unless you inherited the account from a deceased owner, there are no IRS-mandated required distributions to deal with beyond age 70 ½ leaving you in full control.
Some Roth IRA limitations
Most notable is the limit on the maximum amount you can contribute in any given tax year. In 2013, the cap is $5,500, or $6,500 if you are past age 50.
In addition, there are limitations on who can own a Roth IRA and who can make maximum contributions. Currently, your Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) must be less than $112,000 (single) or $178,000 (joint return) to make the maximum contributions to your Roth IRA. Those earning between $112,000 and $127,000 (single) or $178,000 and $188,000 (joint return) are allowed reduced contributions but if your MAGI exceeds either of these upper limits ($127,000 and $188,000), you are disqualified from contributing to a Roth IRA at all.
Similar benefits without the restrictions
By and large, anyone irrespective of their income level can enjoy similar, if not superior, tax advantages by maximally funding (note the important word maximally) a life insurance contract up to, but not beyond, the IRS-mandated modified endowment contract (MEC) limit.
With this approach, there are no MAGI limitations or any of the stringent dollar caps associated with IRAs, so you are essentially able to set your own “limits” by simply customizing your contract to hold the exact amount you intend to save. Another powerful feature is that if for any reason you contribute less than your intended amount in a particular year, you may contribute the shortfall anytime going forward, in addition to that year’s amount. So unlike a Roth IRA, your opportunity to contribute in a given year does not evaporate as the calendar hits April 15.
You also are able to access some of your accumulated cash, including any gains, via wash loans (where the interest charged equals the interest credited, for a zero net effect), without creating taxable income and without having it counted as part of your Provisional Income. At death, the remaining funds are paid to your beneficiary under Section 101 of the Internal Revenue Code completely income-tax free.
Here’s an important caution
Be sure to seek counsel from a licensed professional who is familiar with the requirements surrounding these contracts as set out in the U.S. Tax Code (particularly sections 7702, 72(e), and 101) and who has real-life experience in designing such contracts that are complaint and cost effective. If you’d like more information or simply need a second opinion about your financial plan, please call 877.656.9111 or visit to schedule an absolutely no-strings-attached consultation with an experienced, thoughtful professional. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Debunking the False Investing Dilemma

There seems to be this -wrong - notion out there that in order for you to make decent returns on your investments you must invest directly in the stock market. Or else, your only other alternative would be to turn to fixed instruments (like, CDs and bonds), which pay next to nothing in terms of growth.

Here's the problem, though: 

This entire hypothesis leaves out a third investing strategy that will enable you to make money, up to a certain cap, when the stock market goes up, but don't lose anything (absolutely, nothing) when the market goes down. Watch this 2-minute video....

It's YOUR retirement and hard-earned money! Get the facts you need from experienced professionals with real-life success stories. Call 877.656.9111 or visit us online to schedule a no-obligation private consultation today!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Experts Say Such-and-Such…But Who Exactly Are These Experts?

Experts Say Such-and-Such…But Who Exactly Are These Experts?

By all accounts, following expert advice when it comes to your retirement investments is a good thing, especially in this day and age. And boy do we have a barrage of expert opinions about how to ensure a financially comfortable retirement, don’t we? So why is it, as the years go by, that the percentage of Americans who are missing the mark – and we’re talking significantly missing the mark – is on the rise and getting worse?

Of course, there may be a number of reasons why only a few Americans succeed at retirement planning. But here’s what nobody seems to be addressing, yet may well be the root cause of the financial nightmares of millions of retirees and soon-to-be retirees: The “expert advice” they’re following may be completely wrong and out of touch with reality.

Let me explain. Every day we hear the experts tell us what we should be doing to hit home runs with our retirement nest eggs. Just turn on the news, pick up a financial magazine, or visit a financial website. The experts have spoken and continue to speak in no uncertain terms.

On the other hand, however, many of the folks I have personally met in my practice have more or less followed the experts’ advice to the T. Yet they are achieving the exact opposite results than the retirement lifestyles they envisioned. Rather than retiring comfortably, they are afraid of outliving their savings, don’t have enough money to do or purchase many of the things they want, and are being clobbered with taxes, when all those experts said their taxes would be much lower as they approached retirement.

The thing is, if someone told you to do something to achieve a specific result, and you followed their advice but ended up with a completely different outcome, it can mean only one thing: their recommendations were wrong. Does it really matter who the advice-giver is or what they advised? Whether they refer to themselves as an expert, a master, a consultant, or a specialist? Of course, not.  

Please don’t mistake me – I am not saying that you shouldn't follow expert advice. I’ll always personally prefer an expert to a non-expert. But I’d also like to know who exactly this expert is that I’m going to be listening to and, most importantly, to learn of the real-life (notice the keyword here is real-life) success stories associated with his/her recommendations, not just their theories. The interesting thing is that in many cases, we don’t have the slightest clue about who the expert is because all we hear are things like “according to experts,” “experts recommend,” “experts say,” or “retirement experts suggest.” Next time you hear advice from an expert, ask yourself this simple question: Who exactly is this expert that I am about to follow?
It's YOUR money! Be sure to get the SOLID, proven, common-sense advice that will help you navigate all that big-media expert advice and protect your future. Call us today at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the web to schedule your no-strings-attached consultation!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Media Expert Financial Advisor vs. The Others

What do you do when your financial advisor's recommends are completely different from what your favorite media financial guru says? Here's my simple (yet most effective) criteria for deciding whom you should go with:

Need straightforward recommendations from an experienced professional with a PROVEN track record? Call us on 877.656.9111 or visit to schedule your no-strings-attached private consultation.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Why Bank Mutual Funds Are No Safer than Wall Street’s

Why Bank Mutual Funds Are No Safer than Wall Street’s

It is no secret that most of us – including yours truly – like the idea that bank deposits are insured by the FDIC. Hey, any assurance of protection, however small, is welcome when it comes to my hard-earned money, especially given the history of banks in America. However, I have noticed a very troubling misunderstanding in the area of securities (which I refer to as “mutual funds” in this forum) that are sold by bank-affiliated companies.

Easily 9 out of 10 folks are under the impression that the mutual funds they buy through their banks are also FIDIC insured, and therefore safer than those on Wall Street (or those purchased from a non-bank brokerage or investment company). The fact of the matter is, no mutual fund in America – regardless of whom you bought it from – is insured by the FDIC. The FDIC insures up to $250,000 of your checking, savings, CD, and bank money market savings accounts only.

When you buy mutual funds of any kind (even money market mutual funds), you do not have any further protection – when it comes to FDIC coverage – than someone who buys the same mutual fund from a non-bank-affiliated investment company or broker, because no such protection exists.

Interestingly enough, federal law mandates that this fact be disclosed on all documentation that relates to these bank-affiliated investment accounts. And to their credit, these institutions do disclose that the underlying securities are “not FDIC insured”. But for some reason, many fail to read the “not” or simply conclude that all bank accounts come with FDIC protection, in spite of the notice.

Of course, not all mutual funds or general securities are the same, in terms of riskiness. That is why it is imperative that you carefully consider your situation and also understand the exact ramifications of your choices. The one thing you can count on for sure is that FDIC protection has absolutely nothing to do with securities.

It's YOUR money! Be sure to get the SOLID, proven, common-sense advice that will help you protect your future. Call us today at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the web to schedule your no-strings-attached consultation!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Should You Have a 401(k) or a Retirement Plan?

Should You Have a 401(k) or a Retirement Plan?

One could safely argue that nearly every American worker contributes to a 401(k) or similar plan.
In fact, that is exactly what so-called financial experts recommend we all do in order to ensure that we’ll have a financially successful retirement, isn’t it? So why, then, do an ever-increasing number of folks who are retiring (or nearing retirement) fall significantly short when it comes to their financial readiness?

Of course, several reasons may account for this unfortunate situation. Maybe folks aren’t saving enough money in their 401(k)s? Or maybe they are choosing the wrong funds in which to invest their money? Or maybe their particular 401(k)s aren’t that great? And so forth. In my humble opinion, however, every reason you can name really amounts to a symptom of one underlying issue: the absence of a real retirement plan.

Although many equate signing up for a 401(k) at work as retirement planning, in the true sense of the term, it’s not. Retirement planning starts with understanding and clarifying your goals, evaluating alternate courses of action, and coming up with the most effective means to get you to your intended destination. Then, on an ongoing basis, reevaluating those choices to ensure that things are moving on schedule and/or doing any needed fine tuning. In my experience – from the folks I have spoken with – this doesn’t usually happen when people sign up for 401(k)s.

Am I suggesting that contributing to your 401(k) is a bad idea? Obviously, it would be irresponsible for me to make that definitive statement without first examining your specific 401(k) plan. On the other hand, are you sure that your 401(k) is what will deliver the retirement you desire? How did you reach that determination? Was it through careful consideration – or a guess? I think you get my point.

Happy retirement!

It's YOUR retirement! Be sure to get the SOLID advice that will help you protect the rest of your future. Call us today at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the web to schedule your no-strings-attached consultation!

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Danger of Luck-Based Retirement Planning (and How to Avoid It)

Think About It: Should the success or otherwise of your retirement plan be based entirely on how well the stock market does? Here's a proven, common-sense way to gain some certainty in your planning:

It's YOUR retirement! Be sure to get the SOLID advice that will help you protect the rest of our future. Call us today at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the web to schedule your no-strings-attached consultation!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Do Retirees Need Life Insurance?

Do Retirees Need Life Insurance?

“Conventional wisdom” seems to overwhelmingly support the view that it would be a terrible financial
move for a retiree to buy or continue to own his/her existing life insurance. But is this conventional wisdom a savvy move in YOUR particular situation? Obviously, common sense would dictate that the answer to this question should – just as in any other realm of retirement planning – depend on your particular needs, rather than so-called conventional wisdom.

Income Replacement

Traditionally, financial advisors have recommended life insurance as a means to replace the income of a breadwinner in the event of sudden death until dependents – usually minor children – are able to financially fend for themselves. If this is your main focus and the reason you bought life insurance in the first place, it would only make sense that whenever that “risk” no longer exists, you’d have no need for that life insurance coverage. Why pay for something you don’t need? This, by the way, is the reasoning – and justification – behind the school of thought that retirees do not need life insurance. But does it always make sense?

Financial Inheritance/Legacy

Not everyone purchases life insurance solely for the purpose of replacing income. In certain instances, a retiree may want to leave behind a specific amount of financial inheritance to loved ones beyond what would be left of their nest eggs, if any. In such a case, life insurance could become an excellent tool for providing the desired amount – for virtually pennies on the dollar. 

Of course, deciding whether or not you might need life insurance as a retiree requires careful planning and consultation with a savvy financial advisor – whom I’m guessing has no preconceived stance on this issue, one way or the other, so that you can expect an unbiased, realistic, and factual assessment from them in order to make a sound financial move. 

In the interest of fairness and full disclosure, I must mention that when it comes to this particular subject, I am not a straight yes-or-no vote. Instead, I am 100 percent in the corner of common sense and personal case-by-case consideration.

It’s your financial future, no one else’s. Be sure to get the professional advice that will help you protect YOUR money from unforeseen challenges. Call us today at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the Web to schedule your no-strings-attached consultation!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Surprise Benefit? Did You Know You Can Collect Social Security Benefits for a Former Spouse?

Surprise benefit? Did you know you can collect Social Security benefits for a former spouse?

When it comes to collecting Social Security benefits, one of the last things that most of us would
consider among the range of options is the possibility of claiming benefits based on the earnings record of an ex-spouse. Believe it or not, however, Social Security rules provide for such an option, which works beautifully if your ex-spouse made/makes a lot more money than you.

General Requirements

In order to be eligible to collect benefits based on your ex-spouse’s earnings record, your marriage must have lasted 10 or more years, and you must be at least age 62 ̶ although, ideally, you’d want to be at your full retirement age as determined under Social Security guidelines so that you can receive the full amount. Your ex-spouse only needs to be eligible for his or her benefit, meaning he or she doesn't have to be receiving benefits for you to collect. Additionally, you must be unmarried to claim using this route. The other thing is that unless your ex-spouse is already receiving social security benefits, you’d need to wait two years after your divorce before applying.

The good news is that your ex-spouse does not have to be unmarried. In fact, the benefit paid out to you as an ex-spouse will not impact the amount that your ex-spouse and his or her new spouse (if they choose to remarry) receive. By most accounts, this is a good thing.

Angela’s Surprise Benefit

Angela’s social security benefit, based on her own earnings record, would be approximately $580/month when she reaches her full retirement age of 66 later this year. Prior to our conversation, she was under the impression that was her best option, compared to about $414, based on her late husband’s earnings record. Angela lost her husband a little less than 3 years ago, but in my interview with her, I discovered that this was her second marriage. Prior to meeting her second husband, she was married to a now-retired top business executive for nearly 19 years. That changes everything! Because she is currently unmarried and had a prior marriage to someone who made a lot more money than she did. 

After some research and calculations, it became apparent that Angela could collect about $1,053/month in ex-spouse benefit. Remember, not only is this an incredibly good situation for her, but this benefit is not going to reduce the amount that her ex-husband (and/or his wife) is receiving. So everyone on both sides of the equation should be happy – at least theoretically speaking.

Are you sure that your Social Security strategy will get you the most that is legally due you? For more about this and other powerful strategies that could boost yours and your loved ones' Social Security income, download a complimentary copy of SECURE YOUR FUTURE special report.

It’s your financial future, no one else’s. Be sure to get the professional advice that will help you protect YOUR money from unforeseen challenges. Call us today at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the Web to schedule your no-strings-attached consultation!

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Word of Caution About the “Backdoor” Roth IRA Strategy

A Word of Caution About the “Backdoor” Roth IRA Strategy

By all accounts the “Backdoor” Roth IRA strategy that I laid out in my previous column is a terrific means through which an otherwise ineligible individual may fund a Roth IRA – legally. But if you already have any other traditional IRAs with pretax contributions, there is a very important caveat to be mindful of.

That is, under IRS rules, all traditional IRA money must be distributed on a pro rata basis. I know we’re getting a bit technical here, but just hang on a moment as I explain how this works using Kimberly’s scenario as an example.

Although Kimberly’s income makes her ineligible to contribute directly to a Roth IRA, she has just discovered that she can still do so, using the “backdoor” strategy. So she makes a $6,500 nondeductible traditional IRA contribution (since she’s over age 50) which she intends to immediately convert to a Roth IRA. However, Kimberly has an existing traditional IRA worth $50,000 from rolling over an old 401(k) – and this completely changes things because of the pro rata rule:

As it stands now, her total traditional IRA assets ($56,500) are made up of $6,500 nondeductible funds plus $50,000 deductible funds. As a result Kimberly’s nondeductible ratio of every dollar that comes out of her total IRA assets is 11.5 percent ($6,500/$56,500). What exactly does this mean for Kimberly?

If she tries to immediately convert the $6,500 to a Roth IRA, thinking that all her contributions are nondeductible (and therefore will be tax-free), she’d be mistaken. The IRS will consider only 11.5 percent of the $6,500 (which amounts to $747.50) as tax-free, meaning the other 88.5 percent (or $5,752.50) will be fully taxable. Remember, the IRS considers ALL traditional IRA money (whether deductible or nondeductible) as a single pot of money.

Nevertheless, Kimberly could get around this rule if her current employer’s retirement plan would allow her to transfer her $50,000 deductible IRA to her 401(k). That would leave her with $6,500 IRA money, 100 percent of which is nondeductible, and therefore everything would qualify for a tax-free Roth conversion.

Just another reason why it is usually a good idea to talk with an experienced financial adviser before actually making any moves – however popular and seemingly straightforward or easy they might sound.
It’s your financial future, no one else’s. Be sure to get the professional advice that will help you protect YOUR money from unforeseen challenges. Call us today at 877.656.9111 or visit us on the Web to schedule your no-strings-attached consultation!