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.