RESOURCES

VEHICLES

RETIREMENT

SERVICES DEFINED

LIFE INSURANCE

VEHICLES

What is an annuity?

Answer: An annuity is a contract between you (the purchaser or owner) and an insurance company. In its simplest form, you pay money to an annuity issuer, and the issuer then pays an income stream back to you or to a named beneficiary. Annuities are generally used to...

Fixed vs. Variable Annuities

Fixed Annuities Variable Annuities Minimum guaranteed interest paid Yes No1 Minimum death benefit Yes Yes Possibility of losing principal due to fluctuation in investment values No2 Yes Multiple investment options No Yes 1 Unless fixed account option is available and...

Holding Equities for the Long Term: Time Versus Timing

Legendary investor Warren Buffett is famous for his long-term perspective. He has said that he likes to make investments he would be comfortable holding even if the market shut down for 10 years. Investing with an eye to the long term is particularly important with...

Why Diversification Matters

When investing, particularly for long-term goals, there is one concept you will likely hear about over and over again — diversification. Why is diversification so important? The simple reason is that it helps ensure that your risk of loss is spread among a number...

Should I contribute to my 401(k) plan at work?

Answer: Yes. Unless you absolutely cannot afford to set aside any dollars whatsoever, you should contribute to your employer's 401(k) plan. A 401(k) plan is one of the most powerful tools you can use to save for your retirement. The first benefit is that your pre-tax...

Rollovers 2

Rollovers In general, a rollover is the movement of funds from one retirement savings vehicle to another. You may want, or need, to make a rollover for any number of reasons--your employment situation has changed, you want to switch investments, or you've received...

Advantages of Trusts

Advantages of Trusts What is a trust? A trust is a legal entity that is created for the purpose of transferring property to a trustee for the benefit of a third person (beneficiary). The trustee manages the property for the beneficiary according to the terms...

Should I be investing more aggressively?

Answer: There's no way to know the answer to that without reviewing your individual circumstances and financial goals. However, if you are investing too conservatively, it can have a profound effect on your long-term financial security. That's particularly true for...

True or False: You Are a Retirement Savings Plan Expert

How much do you really know about your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan? If you're like many people, you have many ideas about how your plan works, which may or may not be entirely accurate. To gauge your knowledge, take this brief quiz: Are the following...

How Insurance Preserves Assets

Type of Insurance How Does It Work? Life insurance Provides the beneficiaries of your life insurance policy with funds upon your death so that your assets will not need to be used to pay final expenses and estate taxes. Disability income insurance Pays benefits to...

Delay your RMD

Should You Delay Your First RMD? Remember, you have the option of delaying your first distribution until April 1 following the calendar year in which you reach age 70½ (or April 1 following the calendar year in which you retire, in some cases). You might delay...

Common Annuity Riders

An annuity is a contract between you (the purchaser or owner) and the issuer (an insurance company). In its simplest form, you pay money to the annuity issuer, the issuer invests the money for you, and then the issuer pays out the principal and earnings back to you...

Eleven Ways to Help Yourself Stay Sane in a Crazy Market

  Keeping your cool can be hard to do when the market goes on one of its periodic roller-coaster rides. It's useful to have strategies in place that prepare you both financially and psychologically to handle market volatility. Here are 11 ways to help keep...

Indexed Annuities 2

An indexed annuity (IA) is a contract between you and an insurance company. You pay premiums in a lump sum or periodically, and the issuer promises* to pay you some amount in the future. The IA issuer also provides a minimum guaranteed* interest rate on your premiums...

RMD Calculations

How Are RMDs Calculated? RMDs are calculated by dividing your traditional IRA or retirement plan account balance by a life expectancy factor specified in IRS tables. Your account balance is usually calculated as of December 31 of the year preceding the calendar year...

ESTATE PLANNING

Retirement Planning

Retirement Planning Employee/individual contribution limits Elective deferral limits 2016 2017 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, 457(b) plans, and SAR-SEPs 1 (Includes Roth 401(k) and Roth 403(b) contributions) Lesser of $18,000 or 100% of participant's compensation Lesser...

Funeral Check List

    Death of a Family Member Checklist Losing a loved one can be a difficult experience. Yet, during this time, you must complete a variety of tasks and make important financial decisions. You may need to make final arrangements, notify various businesses and...

Medicaid Planning Goals and Strategies

Medicaid Planning Goals and Strategies Why is Medicaid planning important? Aging is inevitable, and a gradual (or not so gradual) inability to function independently is a great concern for many people. While the prospect of entering a nursing home is a daunting one,...

How to Pay for Nursing Home Care

What is it? Paying for nursing home care is a burden that most Americans bear, whether directly or indirectly. Even if you never need nursing home care yourself, you are already paying for the nursing home care of others by paying income taxes that, in part, finance...

Medicaid and Long-Term Care Insurance

What is long-term care insurance? Long-term care insurance (LTCI) pays a certain dollar amount per day, for a set period, for skilled, intermediate, or custodial care in nursing homes and, sometimes, in alternative care settings, such as home health care. Because...

Maximizing the Estate Planning Value of Life Insurance

Simply put, maximizing the estate planning value of life insurance means getting the most bang for your buck. That is, it involves keeping as much of the proceeds as possible away from the IRS and in the hands of your beneficiaries. When you die, all your worldly...

Death Taxes

My spouse passed away this year. When I file my taxes, what filing status should I claim? Answer: As the surviving spouse, you have several filing choices that may be appropriate. You may be able to choose married filing jointly, married filing separately, qualifying...

Dealing with Periods of Crisis

What is it? By definition, a crisis is a turning point, a time when you have to make crucial decisions (often suddenly) that will affect your future. Although smart planning is the key to effectively dealing with periods of crisis, you may find yourself suddenly...

My spouse passed away this year. When I file my taxes, what filing status should I claim?

Answer: As the surviving spouse, you have several filing choices that may be appropriate. You may be able to choose married filing jointly, married filing separately, qualifying widow(er), or head of household. Married filing jointly: You can usually file a joint...

Medicaid Planning Goals and Strategies

Aging is inevitable, and a gradual (or not so gradual) inability to function independently is a great concern for many people. While the prospect of entering a nursing home is a daunting one, equally frightening is the expense of nursing home care. Although...

I have investment property. What does basis mean, and how do I determine the basis of my property?

To determine your basis in an asset for purposes of calculating capital gain or loss upon the sale or other disposition of the property, you need to understand two terms--initial basis and adjusted basis. Often, your initial tax basis equals your cost--what you paid...

Can I be buried in a national cemetery even though I got out of the Army years ago?

Answer: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (http://www.va.gov), formerly known as the Veterans Administration, sets the rules and guidelines for military burials. In general, you can choose a national cemetery as your final resting place if you were honorably...

Medicare, Medigap, and Medicaid

Medicare, Medigap, and Medicaid Medicare Medigap Medicaid What is it? Federal health insurance program for Social Security recipients. Parts A and B comprise the original Medicare program.Medicare Advantage (also referred to as Part C) plans are also available. They...

Inheriting an IRA or Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan

What is it? When the account owner of a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) or employer-sponsored retirement plan dies, the remaining funds in the account pass to the named beneficiary (or beneficiaries). Unlike many other inherited assets, these IRA or...

RETIREMENT

The Roth 401(k)

The Roth 401(k) Some employers offer 401(k) plan participants the opportunity to make Roth 401(k) contributions. If you're lucky enough to work for an employer who offers this option, Roth contributions could play an important role in helping enhance your retirement...

True or False: You Are a Retirement Savings Plan Expert

How much do you really know about your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan? If you're like many people, you have many ideas about how your plan works, which may or may not be entirely accurate. To gauge your knowledge, take this brief quiz: Are the following...

What is dollar cost averaging and how do I know if it’s right for me?

Dollar cost averaging is a method of accumulating assets by purchasing a fixed dollar amount of securities, at regularly scheduled intervals, over a period of time (for example, $100 per month over the next five years). When the price of the securities is high, your...

Social Security Claiming Strategies for Married Couples

Social Security Claiming Strategies for Married Couples Deciding when to begin receiving Social Security benefits is a major financial issue for anyone approaching retirement because the age at which you apply for benefits will affect the amount you'll receive. If...

How can I gauge my risk tolerance?

Answer: Risk tolerance is an investment term that refers to your ability to endure market volatility. All investments come with some level of risk, and if you're planning to invest your money, it's important to be aware of how much volatility you can endure. Your...

Medicare, Medigap, and Medicaid

Medicare, Medigap, and Medicaid Medicare Medigap Medicaid What is it? Federal health insurance program for Social Security recipients. Parts A and B comprise the original Medicare program.Medicare Advantage (also referred to as Part C) plans are also available. They...

Challenges for Social Security and Medicare

New Reports Highlight Continuing Challenges for Social Security and Medicare Most Americans will receive Social Security and Medicare benefits at some point in their lives. For this reason, workers and retirees are concerned about potential program shortfalls that...

Staying on Track with Your Retirement Investments

Investing for your retirement isn't about getting rich quick. More often, it's about having a game plan that you can live with over a long time. You wouldn't expect to be able to play the piano without learning the basics and practicing. Investing for your retirement...

How Women Are Different from Men, Financially Speaking

How Women Are Different from Men, Financially Speaking We all know men and women are different in some fundamental ways. But is this true when it comes to financial planning? In a word, yes. In the financial world, women often find themselves in very different...

Retirement Plan Considerations at Different Stages of Life

Throughout your career, retirement planning will likely be one of the most important components of your overall financial plan. Whether you have just graduated and taken your first job, are starting a family, are enjoying your peak earning years, or are preparing to...

Why Save for Retirement?

When you envision retirement, you probably see yourself living comfortably, doing what makes you happy. Your dreams could be as lofty as traveling the world or as simple as spending more time with your friends and family. Everyone's vision is unique. Fortunately,...

Caring for an Aging Parent Checklist

Caring for an Aging Parent Checklist General information Yes No N/A 1. Has relevant personal information been gathered? Name, phone number, and address of parent Parent's date of birth Parent's Social Security number Name, phone number, and address of attorney,...

Retirement Planning Key Numbers

Retirement Planning Key Numbers Certain retirement plan and IRA limits are indexed for inflation each year, but only a few of the limits eligible for a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) have increased for 2017. Some of the key numbers for 2017 are listed below, with...

What is a mutual fund prospectus and how do I read it?

What is a mutual fund prospectus and how do I read it? Answer: A mutual fund prospectus is a pamphlet or brochure that provides information about a mutual fund. Mutual fund companies must give potential investors a prospectus, free of charge, before they invest. You...

Balancing a Retirement Portfolio with Asset Allocation

Balancing a Retirement Portfolio with Asset Allocation The combination of investments you choose is as important as the individual investments themselves. In fact, many experts argue that it's even more important, since the mix of various types of investments...

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