Monday, January 27, 2014

Did You Lose Money in Last Week's Market Drop? You Didn't Have To! Here's Why

Did you lose money in last week's market drop? You didn't have to! Here's why

Last week wasn’t a good one for the stock market, to say the least, with the DOW dipping more than 300 points on Friday alone. But is that really a big deal? I mean, what else should anyone expect the stock market to be doing? Keep going up all the time?

Of course, I understand what it means: some folks are losing hard-earned money that is earmarked for their retirement. But let’s look at reality here. When your money is invested directly in the stock market, is what happened on Friday out of the ordinary?

If you are calling your advisor looking for the exit because you think the market is in some kind of a freefall, I can understand. But the fact of the matter is that you’ve had the wrong investment strategy all along.

It’s rather unfortunate, but many unsuspecting folks have fallen victim to having an unrealistic and completely bogus expectation of how the stock market works. The only expectation you can count on when it comes to the market is that it will either go up or down. So, on the one hand, things could turn out really well and you could make a boatload of money; but there is also the opposite possibility that your investments won’t be very successful, to the point that you could end up losing everything. That’s hard to swallow, but again we are talking reality and the true range of possibilities here.

If you are unwilling to live within those extreme possibilities, perhaps you should consider investing in a way that will enable you to make money up to a certain cap when the market goes up, but will protect you from losing anything when weeks like last week happen – which is entirely likely at some point during your investing life.

Personally, I think we might have a little less drama and people could go about their daily lives more smoothly if so-called financial advisors and media money experts gave folks the straight facts and enabled them to consider the full range of investment possibilities. 
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, January 13, 2014

Do You Have a Realistic Retirement Plan?

Do You Have a Realistic Retirement Plan?

The unfortunate reality in America today is that after years of hard work and investing, a staggering number of retirees continue to face the ugly ordeal of outliving their savings. In fact, studies tell us that the number one fear of Americans, above everything else – even including a terrorist attack – is running out of retirement income. 

What I find even more alarming is that most pundits seem to blame this predicament squarely on the average investor – for, apparently, not saving nearly enough or failing to diversify properly. While that may be true in some instances, based on my eye-witness observations into thousands of retirement plans over the course of my career, I tend to believe the overarching reason preventing millions of folks from enjoying the financially stress-free retirements they envisioned is unrealistic and flawed financial advice. One might expect that, as is usually the case in college and professional sports, as well as almost every other enterprise, the coach (or financial counselor, in this case) would face some intense scrutiny and be held accountable for what is clearly a dismal outcome.

Here’s the bottom line: Is it realistic to leave the money earmarked for your certain-to-arrive retirement at the whim of a stock market whose exact next moves no financial expert on the planet can predict? Of course, we always hope for the best outcome. But will hope ever change the fundamental truth about how the markets work?

For the record, I’m not suggesting that you avoid the stock market. I am, however, suggesting that you have a realistic expectation of how things might turn out and resist the temptation to invest your retirement nest egg as though it were an optional luxury – unless, of course, it really is.

Did you know there is a proven investing strategy that will allow you to make gains up to a certain cap when the markets go up, with the ability to lock in your gains each year so that your retirement won’t be in jeopardy, should the market dip? Additionally, you can guarantee a specific lifetime income for you (and your spouse), regardless of what the stock market does and irrespective of how long you both end up living. What is particularly interesting here is that you may plan in such a way that if the markets outperform your guarantees, you can still benefit from the uptick, but if things don’t turn out so well, you can rest assured of a certain guaranteed lifetime income.

I can only speculate, but might the millions whose retirement lives stand devastated or those who are losing sleep over the possibility of outliving their savings have appreciated knowing about some of these options? While many so-called financial advisors are, quite frankly, in denial and will only tell their clients about the specific products offered by their firms, in the end you must do what you think is best and realistic for you.

Even if you are already retired, an objective and independent Laser Financial Group professional can review your existing plan and offer you suggestions to help ensure your secure retirement. Simply call 877.656.9111 or visit to schedule your complimentary session today!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Want to Assure Savings Success in 2014? Put it on Paper!

Want to assure savings success in 2014? Put it on paper!

Happy New Year! My entire team and I wish you and your family all the best this year. I’m guessing that you probably have a few things you’d like to accomplish this year (a.k.a. resolutions). That’s good! But don’t forget what we already know about resolutions – most of them evaporate without a trace within a couple months, if not weeks.

Obviously, that’s a broad statement and probably does not apply to everyone. So let me narrow it down to my area of specialization. Here are some steps my team has used over the years to help countless folks overcome the ever-challenging task of really following through with their resolution to start saving money – toward retirement, down payment on a home, their children’s college tuition, emergency money, or any other purpose.   

Determine your discretionary surplus – on paper!

Yeah, I know! Like most folks, you probably don’t have anything left over at the end of the month, right? In the more than a decade that we’ve been coaching folks through this exercise, the thing I always find completely mind blowing is that nine of 10 people didn’t think they could afford to save anything. But in the end, they surprised themselves. Notice, though, that my point specifically says “on paper” – not just in your mind. I’m not doubting or challenging you. All I’m suggesting is to let the paper do the talking. As they say, numbers don’t lie.

What this exercise requires is writing down what you spend your money on with as much detail as possible. Ideally, I’d suggest that you work with a financial advisor who has experience in expense/cash-flow management, so they can help you capture everything. Like I mentioned earlier, in almost every case I have personally overseen, we ended up with a surplus on paper, even though these folks didn’t believe they had that much discretionary spending or could save anything.
So what causes the gap between our beliefs and the reality we can see when we write it down? Obviously there may be many causes, but here’s what I have observed in my practice. We are all impulse spenders at some level. Some folks flat-out spend on unnecessary stuff. But for the most part, the trickier issue has to do with the fact that you are probably spending way too much money on stuff you consider to be legitimate.  By penning your spending, you will get a true bird’s eye view, and the rest of the exercise will take its natural course.
At our firm, we simply review these numbers with the client, speaking each line item out loud. What happens as we go down the list is that the client reviews their own spending and makes whichever adjustments they deem necessary. On hearing the expenses read out loud, if they thought they were spending too much in a given area, they reduced it to what they believed to be reasonable.  Try this exercise. I can tell, you without a doubt, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

Commit to saving: “Automatic bank draft, please!”
Let me put it this way: the reason most folks aren’t saving what they could save isn’t because they don’t want to or don’t understand the importance of saving. It’s because they don’t have anything left at the end of the day to save. So here’s the catch! As soon as that money hits your account, it needs to go into savings – automatically – because waiting to see that surplus appear at the end of the mouth might never happen. Remember, the genesis of the problem for most of us is impulse/overspending, although we sometimes find this difficult to admit.
Another interesting observation is that most folks, once they start saving  via bank draft – are pleasantly surprised by the fact that their standards of living don’t take any hits. And if it weren’t for the debits on their bank statements, they wouldn’t even notice that they are saving.

Make yourself accountable
You need to be accountable to someone. Well, technically speaking, it’s your life and money, so you don’t have to. But I’m going to suggest that if you really want to make this resolution a reality, you call a financial advisor who has the right kind of experience in this area and is willing to take the time to work with you.  I’d be glad to refer you to the professionals on my team. Simply call 877.656.9111 or visit to set up your complimentary consultation today.
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!