Archive for the 'Opinion' Category

Things You Need to Know About Estate Planning

The Necessity of Estate Planning14235921-worried-mature-couple-calculating-their-monthly-expenses-at-home, December 3, 2013

Let’s face it, estate planning is not a fun concept to ponder.  Writing up a will is having to pick and choose who in your life is going to get your various assets, and it can’t always be done in perfect impartiality for all of your heirs.  Because of all of these things, people have a tendency to continually put it off and make excuses as to why they haven’t done it yet.  But make no mistake about it, it’s something that is absolutely imperative to get done if you don’t want any more hardship surrounding your passing than there already will be.

That being said, there are probably some things that you might not have taken into consideration when it comes to this uncomfortable task:  What is the difference between a trust and a will?  When it comes to your property, what is the difference between probate and non-probate?  How can you avoid conflict between your children, or between your spouse and your children?  Do I need to worry about Federal Estate Taxes?  Do I need to appoint a power of attorney (did you know there are more than one kind)?  Read the article at the link below to learn more of the things you need to know about estate planning.

FHA Changes Add Stability to Reverse Mortgages

Reverse Mortgages Gaining Popularity?Financial Documents iStock_000009608865X 129x132

The Wall Street Journal MarketWatch, December 17th, 2013

Those who are acquainted with Reverse Mortgages and have been keeping their eye on the industry are probably aware that the FHA has made some changes to the program in the last year.  While the most noticeable change, being able to access a lower percentage of your home value, is somewhat off-putting, the finer print may surprise you.

Where many people think of a Reverse Mortgage as a desperate move for those facing financial dire-straights, the FHA has molded this program into something to be used more like a planning tool for your retirement finances.  Gone are the days when people had the option to shoot themselves in the foot by cashing out half of the value of their home and immediately blowing it on a trip around the world or a weekend in Las Vegas.  Read the article at the link listed below to learn more about how the FHA has added stability to this program, making it harder for people to default.

Can an Annuity Help You Generate More Retirement Income?

Closing the Retirement Income Gapimg_supplemental_drugs

PBS Newshour, November 2013

The difference between a safe annual retirement income and basic retirement expenses is known as the retirement income gap.  Facing an alarming decrease in American workers who have a pension to count on, many people approaching retirement age are wondering where they are going to be able to find the money to live comfortably.  Where do you turn if you discover your 401k plan and Social Security will not generate enough money for you to enjoy your golden years?

Two good answers to this question, a reverse mortgage or an annuity, unfortunately both seem to have a fairly negative public opinion.  While it’s true that there are plenty of horror stories about either topic, there are likely just as many stories of people utilizing them properly and successfully.  We’ve covered reverse mortgages many times in this blog, so let’s focus on annuities.  For example, have you ever heard of a Single Payment Immediate Annuity before?  Did you even know there are different types of annuities available?  Read the article at the link listed below for more information about the potential benefits of annuities.

How the Wealthy Become, And Stay, Wealthy

Is Frugality the Key to Wealth?facebook_profile_pic- square

Media Post Blogs, October 18th, 2013

As a general statement, there seems to be an explosion of new dollar stores popping up across the country.  It seems that they’re almost as easy to find as a Starbucks these days.  Which raises the question, are there enough people who shop at these kinds of stores to maintain the need for them?

The answer, as recent studies have shown, is yes.  The reason?  The target demographic of people who shop at “these kinds of stores” is apparently, more or less, indiscriminate.  It would be easy to assume that the only people who shop at dollar stores are the people who can’t afford to shop at the more high-end retail stores.  A common misconception about products that dollar stores carry is that they only cost a buck because they’re somehow “inferior”.  If that is the case, why is it that many of the same brands carried at the dollar store on things like cleaning supplies, medical products, or even food and drinks are found at the higher end stores as well?  Studies being done on this phenomenon show us that people of ALL income brackets are shopping at dollar stores.  Read the article at the link listed below to find out more about this surprising development.

Measuring the Importance of Doing What You Want

Success is in the Eye of the Beholderfisherman

The New York Times, November 5th, 2013

A thought for you all to chew on: What is your plan for retirement?  And, for once, try not to think about the financial aspects of it.  Don’t focus on the “get my house paid off”, or the “map out what how I’m going to utilize my social security”.  Try to think about how you want to spend the excess of free time that’s coming to you that you haven’t had since you were young.  How do you measure the importance of doing what you want to do, in practical terms?

Some might aim high and say “I want to travel the world.”  For others, not having to set your alarm clock on a daily basis might seem a worthwhile goal.  Few would probably respond by saying “I want to be a Millennial!”  None the less, read the article listed below to understand what one man meant when he said just that.  It might just change your outlook on your retirement.

Options Available in Assisted Living

Deciding on Assisted Livingolder man on couch with family-Square

The New York Times, October 16th, 2013

If and when a time comes in an elderly person’s life where they are physically incapable of taking proper care of themselves on a day to day basis, steps need to be taken to ensure that, one way or another, the person gets the help that they need.  This can present hardship to all parties involved.  More often than not, it’s the elder person’s children or other family members or friends who want to make sure that the person who took care of them for so long is now properly taken care of.

Often times, that family member or friend’s vision of proper care may differ vastly from the elder person’s vision of the same.  Many of the people in this unfortunate position may be averse to assisted living, even if it’s in their own home.  They may look at it as a stranger coming into their home as opposed to someone who can help.  If moving into an assisted living facility is what looks most beneficial, they may be opposed to that as well, not wanting to leave the only place they’ve called home for so many years.  Read the article at the link listed below to find out for information on the options available to people on both sides of this difficult equation.

Are Women Better Investors Than Men?

Women Smarter in Investment DecisionsSeniorWoman

The Washington Post, October 11, 2013

Is it time for men to have a nice big slice of humble pie?  A new study by a University of California professor is showing that women make more lucrative investment decisions when it comes to the stock market.  Could this be true?  Or is this just another one of the age-old “Anything you can do I can do better” arguments?

Unfortunately for the men, hard facts are a little difficult to dispute.  Over the course of this seven year study, Professor Terry Odean watched over stock picking by gender closely.  Her findings might be surprising to some (We’re talking about you, Warren Buffett!)  According to the study, female investment groups outperformed others by 4.6%, and women in general outperformed their male counterparts by 1.4%.  Read the article at the link listed below to find out more as to why women are

Can You Buy a New House Using a Reverse Mortgage?

Using a Reverse Mortgage for a Home PurchaseReverse Mortgages

The Wall Street Journal, January 29th, 2013

What is a Reverse Mortgage?  Many of us have seen the commercials on TV, Fred Thompson or Henry Winkler singing the praises of the many benefits of the program.  Yet public opinion of Reverse Mortgage still seems to be, as a general statement, negative.  Why is that?  If someone as universally loved as the Fonz thinks that it’s good enough to put his name on it, then why do so many still have a less than positive outlook on it?

It’s probable, in this blogger’s opinion, that it’s a lack of education on exactly how the Reverse Mortgage program works.  For example, did you know that you can get a Reverse Mortgage lump sum or line of credit whether or not your home still has a mortgage balance on it?  Or how about the fact that you can utilize a Reverse Mortgage in the purchase of a new home?  The latter, in particular, seems to be possibly the least well known aspect of the program.  Read the article at the link below to learn more about how you can get yourself into a brand new home in a brand new location, and not have to make any monthly mortgage payments after moving in.

Using a Reverse Mortgage for Purchase

Learning About the Economy

Understanding How the Economy Workswall, September 22, 2013

Almost everyone is aware of how important it is to make a financial plan for your future.  And in most cases, it’s not just your future, but the future of you and your family, and for some, your business.  And while financial planning is a many-headed beast, the hero cannot vanquish the beast without understanding its nature.

It’s important to know how the economy works in order to best determine the financial plan most suited to you and yours.  But there are so many different aspects to the economy that even just the word “economy” can be intimidating.  And although you would have to go to school for years to really understand all of the in’s and the out’s of our economy, it’s still important to have at least a basic understanding of it.  Follow the link listed below to a video that gives a pretty thorough overview of how the economy works, in a way that is easy for almost anyone to understand.

Can You Teach a Young Dog New Tricks Too?

Is Our Youth Finally Learning?

Market Watch, October 24th, 2013

In today’s high expense society, an alarming percentage of seniors are having a difficult time transitioning into their retirement years, financially speaking.  More and more are struggling to make ends meet on their 401K’s and Social Security alone.  And while many people in this age bracket like to talk about the “ignorance of youth,” is it possible that our younger generations are taking notice of the struggles they see their parents and grandparents are going through?  And beyond that, is it conceivable that they are actually taking pro-active steps to make sure they don’t face the same hardships?

A new study conducted by Wells Fargo & Co. says yes.  While 75% of people in their 40’s and 50’s are saying they regret that they have not started saving for retirement sooner, 34% of people in their 30’s stated that they already have a written retirement plan in place.  A pretty impressive number when compared to the 24% of those in their 40’s.  Read the article at the link below to read more about how our young people seem to be wising up to the need to plan ahead.

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