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Posts Tagged ‘ lifestyle ’

With advances in medical treatment and technology, many people now survive critical illnesses that would have been fatal in the past.  As a result of this increased life expectancy senior Americans have the opportunity to watch grandkids grow into adulthood and start families of their own.  Enjoying some great grandkids is a real possibility.

Some unhappy news; many retirees will at some point become critically ill as the following statistics demonstrate.  The need for planning in order to avoid becoming destitute is more important than ever.

Cancer:

  • Men have a slightly less than 1 in 2 lifetime risk of developing some form of cancer. For women, the lifetime risk is a little more than 1 in 3.
  • Between 2002 and 2008, the 5-year relative survival rate for all cancers was 68%, up from 49% in 1975 – 1977.
  • It is estimated that over 1.6 million new cancer cases were diagnosed in 2013.

(Source: Cancer Facts and Figures 2013; American Cancer Society)

Heart Disease:

  • An estimated 80 million Americans have one or more types of heart disease.
  • Each year, an American will suffer a heart attack about every 34 seconds.
  • The lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease at age 40 is 2 in 3 for men and more than 1 in 2 for women.
  • It is estimated that the total costs of cardiovascular diseases in the U.S. was over $448 billion in 2008.

(Source: Heart Disease Facts, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 2013)

Stroke:

  • Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the U.S.
  • It is estimated that Americans paid about $38.6 billion in 2010 for stroke-related medical costs and lost productivity.

(Source: Stroke Fact Sheet, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 2013)

Will you have sufficient funds available to pay for:

  • Any insurance co-payments and deductibles;
  • Alterations to your home and/or automobile to meet any special needs;
  • Out-of-town transportation and lodging for medical treatment;
  • Treatments not covered by traditional health insurance; and/or
  • Shorter-term home health care during your recuperation?

Surviving critical illnesses increase our life expectancies, we will live longer than ever before.  At the same time, fortunately annuity ownership is rising  An annuity is the only guaranteed financial  hedge against longevity.  More than ever a retiree’s goal should be lifetime income not just income for 20-30 years.

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The Estate Tax Bill

February 25, 2014 by

The federal government will not accept a percentage of your estate as payment for your estate tax bill. Instead, your estate tax bill must be paid in cash, and it must be paid within nine months after your death.

If your estate is subject to the federal estate tax, there are FOUR ways to provide your estate with the cash needed to pay your estate tax bill:

100% METHOD

  • You could accumulate enough cash in your estate to pay your estate tax bill outright. Rarely, however, does a successful person accumulate such large sums of cash. Instead, the reason for financial success is usually due to the investment of cash in appreciating assets, rather than accumulating it in a bank.

100% PLUS METHOD

  • Your estate could borrow the cash needed to pay your estate tax bill. This, however, only defers the problem, since the money will then have to be repaid with interest.

ASSET LIQUIDATION METHOD

  • Your estate could liquidate sufficient assets to pay your estate tax bill. This choice may make sense if your estate owns considerable assets that can be readily sold for a gain following your death. Keep in mind, however, that if a forced liquidation is necessary, it may bring only a small fraction of the true value of your assets. In addition, sales expenses are bound to be incurred.

DISCOUNT METHOD

  • Assuming you qualify, you can arrange now to pay your estate tax bill with life insurance dollars. For every dollar your estate needs, you can give an insurance company from approximately one to seven cents a year, depending on your age and health. No matter how long you live, it is unlikely you will ever give the insurance company more than 100 cents on the dollar. In addition, the life insurance policy can frequently be structured to accommodate your unique premium payment requirements.
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Naming an IRA Beneficiary

February 13, 2014 by

What Are the Options Available in Naming an IRA Beneficiary?

When you open an IRA account, you are asked to name a beneficiary or beneficiaries to receive the value of the IRA at your death. You can also change beneficiaries during your lifetime. There are generally three classes of beneficiaries:

  • Primary Beneficiaries: A primary beneficiary is your first choice of who you want to receive the IRA value at your death.
  • Secondary Beneficiaries: A secondary beneficiary receives the IRA value if your primary beneficiary does not survive you.
  • Final Beneficiaries: A final beneficiary receives the IRA value if none of your primary or secondary beneficiaries survive you.

If you do not have a named beneficiary who survives you, your estate becomes the beneficiary and will be taxed on the value of your IRA at your death.

If you’re married, you can name your spouse as your IRA beneficiary. Alternatively, you can name multiple beneficiaries. If, for example, you have three children, you could name them as the three primary beneficiaries, specifying the percentage of the IRA each will receive. Or, you could name your spouse as the primary beneficiary and your children as the secondary beneficiaries.

 

If you have several IRAs, you can name different beneficiaries for each IRA. If you have both a regular IRA and a Roth IRA, however, keep in mind the different income tax treatment of these two types of IRAs: the beneficiary of a regular IRA will have to pay income tax on IRA distributions, while the beneficiary of a Roth IRA will receive distributions income tax free.

 

Caution:

Certain situations require special care in designating IRA beneficiaries. These include marriages in which one or both spouses have children from a prior marriage, as well as a child or grandchild with a disability or a drug or alcohol problem that might impair their judgment or use of funds from the IRA. In this situation, naming a trust as beneficiary can establish some control over how the funds are used after your death.

 

 

 

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How Can an Income Annuity Protect Against the
Risk of Living Too Long?

The purpose of an annuity is to protect against the financial risk of living too long…the risk of outliving retirement income…by providing an income guaranteed* for life.

In fact, an annuity is the ONLY financial vehicle that can systematically liquidate a sum of money in such a way that income can be guaranteed for as long as you live!

Here’s How an Income Annuity Works:

The annuity owner pays a single premium to an insurance company.

  • Beginning immediately or shortly after the single premium is paid, the insurance company pays the owner/ annuitant an income guaranteed to continue for as long as the annuitant is alive. There are other payout options also available.
  • With a cash refund provision the insurance company pays any remaining funds to the designated beneficiary after the annuitant’s death.

Seeking a secure life long retirement income?  Click the video box to left of this post.

 

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You better pay attention because there is going to be a quiz and you might have to take it.  This quiz  must be  passed before some tax refunds are sent out.  In order to protect taxpayers expecting refunds some of them  will be sent a letter from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue directing them to take a 4 question multiple choice quiz.  This quiz should confirm the taxpayers identity.

 

What if the taxpayer fails the quiz?

  • They get one do over.
  • If the second quiz fails then the taxpayer must send identification proof to verify their identity.
  • A taxpayer who refuses to take the quiz  must  send proof of identity.

Why a Quiz?

  • The IRS estimates the current earned income tax credit fraud is about 23-28%.
  • According the latest stats from the IRS identity theft is up 78% for tax years 2011 to 2012.

Wisconsin does not anticipate any more fraud prosecutions instead they hope for a reduction in identity theft and refund fraud.

Wisconsin Department of Revenue http://www.revenue.wi.gov/individuals/id_verification.html

I wonder how many state revenue departments will pick up on this idea.  Or other government departments.  Perhaps a quiz for a driver license, hunting or fishing license, dog license…

Identity theft is a growing problem so on a more serious note I hope this quiz helps.  In meantime while you’re waiting for your tax refund if you think of any good one liners post them in the comments.

 

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8FACEBOOK PROFILES RAISE USERS’ SELF-ESTEEM AND AFFECT BEHAVIORa study by UW-Madison

Facebook profiles are a version of self; it is tailored for the eyes of family and acquaintances through the use of photos and posts. A new study by UW-Madison assistant professor  Catalina Toma finds beneficial psychological effects and influenced behavior. Ms. Toma used the Implicit Association Test to measure Facebook users’ self-esteem.   The test showed in 5 minutes of viewing their own Facebook profile participants experienced a significant boost in self-esteem.  This is the first time this test has been

done on Facebook users.

Catalina Toma said-

“If you have high self-esteem, then you can very quickly associate words related to yourself with positive evaluations but have a difficult time associating words related to yourself with negative evaluations. But if you have low self-esteem, the opposite is true.”

“Our culture places great value on having high self-esteem. For this reason, people typically inflate their level of self-esteem in self-report questionnaires,” she says. “The Implicit Association Test removes this bias.”

In addition, Ms. Toma studied whether or not exposure to one’s own Facebook profile affects behavior.

“We wanted to know if there are any additional psychological effects that stem from viewing your own self-enhancing profile,” says Toma, whose work will be published in the June issue of Media Psychology. “Does engaging with your own Facebook profile affect behavior?”

After the subjects spent time viewing their own profile they attempted fewer answers during the allotted time than people in a control group, but their error rate was not any worse. Toma says the results are consistent with self-affirmation theory, which claims that people constantly try to manage their feelings of self-worth.

“Performing well in a task can boost feelings of self-worth,” Toma says. “However, if you already feel good about yourself because you looked at your Facebook profile, there is no psychological need to increase your self-worth by doing well in a laboratory task.”

Assistant Professor Toma discourages drawing broad conclusions about Facebook’s impact on motivation and performance based on this particular study because it examines only one facet of Facebook use.

“This study shows that exposure to your own Facebook profile reduces motivation to perform well in a simple, hypothetical task,” she says. “It does not show that Facebook use negatively affects college students’ grades, for example. Future work is necessary to investigate the psychological effects of other Facebook activities, such as examining others’ profiles or reading the newsfeed.”

Gerontology professionals have been concerned for a long time about the negative effects of senior’s feelings of isolation and consider social media a good health improving endeavor.  This study seems to support this view.  Also consider that medical staffs usually do whatever they can to keep a  patience’s attitude and self esteem high in order  to promote healing.

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While most anything can be given to charity, these are the more common forms of donated property:

Cash:  Cash gifts are the easiest to give to a charity, both in terms of substantiating the deduction and in determining the value of the gift.

Real Estate: Real estate that is owned outright and which has appreciated in value can be given to a charity. The donor can generally deduct the fair market value of the property, up to an adjusted gross income (AGI) percentage limitation. When a charity sells donated appreciated property, the capital gain then escapes taxation, up to AGI percentage limits.

Securities: The best securities to donate tend to be those that have increased substantially in value. As with real estate, the donor can generally deduct the fair market value of the security and the capital gain escapes taxation when the security is sold by the charity.

Charitable Gift Tax Implications:

  • Gifts of cash and ordinary income property are generally deductible up to 50% of the donor’s adjusted gross income (AGI).
  • The fair market value of gifts of long-term capital gains property (e.g., real estate, stock) is deductible up to 30% of AGI. There is, however, a special election through which a donor may deduct up to 50% of AGI if the donor values the property at the lesser of fair market value or adjusted cost basis.
  • Charitable contributions in excess of the percentage limitations can be carried over and deducted for up to five succeeding years.
  • The donor must itemize income tax deductions in order to claim a charitable deduction. A portion of itemized deductions is phased out for taxpayers with an AGI above certain limits.

Life Insurance: If a charitable organization is made the owner and beneficiary of an existing life insurance policy, the donor can deduct the value of the policy as of the date of the transfer of ownership. The donor may then deduct all future amounts given to the charity to pay the premiums. If a charity is named just the beneficiary of an insurance policy on the donor’s life, no current income tax deduction is available. At the donor’s death, however, the donor’s estate receives an estate tax charitable deduction for the full amount of the policy death benefit.

For help you may ask questions in the comments

Or contact me privately: Tim Barton Chartered Financial Consultant

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Americans are uncomfortable with their financial situation and don’t want to talk about it.

According to AVIVA USA and the Mayo Clinic wellness survey.  Aviva and Mayo Clinic surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults on their financial preparations and health habits to determine the affects on their overall well being.

 

“Many people choose to ignore rather than address their financial wellness” said Mike Miller, Aviva vice president.

Key Wellness Survey results:

  • 2 in 3 are uncomfortable with their financial situation
  • Only 1 of 3 think they are or will be prepared of retirement
  • Only 1 out of 5 work with a financial advisor
  • Twice as many who consult with a financial advisor feel comfortable with their finances

Survey results

Why two thirds of American feel so much stress and choose silence rather than seeking help on one hand is a  mystery and on the other a little understandable.   This survey clearly finds that those who discuss their financial situation with a professional feel much better and this makes the rest of their lives more enjoyable too; some even lose weight.

For help you may ask questions in the comments

Or contact me privately: Tim Barton Chartered Financial Consultant

 

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Government regulations dictate senior’s retirement income plans.  The question; Is this government “retirement plan” the best option?

If they have a traditional IRA, 401(k) and/or any other qualified retirement plan they must take Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) upon reaching age 70- 1/2.  If they do not take RMD as required the penalty is a harsh 50%.  Most seniors follow the RMD plan so it must be the optimal way to receive retirement income… Right?

The new reality is nothing could be further from the truth.  Expected longevity continues to increase well past the I.R.S. life tables used to calculate RMD withdrawals.  This could  set up a dangerous financial situation later in life.

The alternative solution and one most seniors have not considered  is a Life Income Annuity.  Rollovers from IRAs and 401(k)s are easy and there are no taxes due or 10% penalty even if income is started before age 59.

Advantages of Life Income Annuities are significant and perform better than RMD plans:

  1. After enduring a decade of sub economic performance, low interest rates,  disappearing pensions and a decreasing Social Security trust fund seniors need protection from steep market swings. Income annuities eliminate market risk by providing a steady monthly pay check.
  2. Saves the golden decade of retirement; the 10 years from age 70 – 80.  RMDs are scheduled to be lower during this time and increase later.  The lifetime annuity has on average a 60% higher payout  during the golden decade and guarantees these payments for life with any remaining principal paid to beneficiaries.
  3. Prevents the RMD crash.   A typical life income annuity starts payments at age 70 about 60% higher than RMD withdrawals.  It is true RMDs increase with age but assuming a 3% growth rate at their peak they  will provide an income 15% lower than the annuity.  After the RMD’s peak withdrawal years the  annual income begins decreasing until the money runs out.

Lifetime annuities take the RMD drop off  and longevity risk away while offering a higher payout.

For help you may ask questions in the comments

Or contact me privately: Tim Barton Chartered Financial Consultant

 

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Despite Growing Status as Primary Breadwinner and Household CFO, Women Still Fear Becoming “Bag Lady” a new  2013 Allianz Life Women, Money & Power Study Reveals.  

This is a surprise considering 60% of women say they are the primary breadwinner in their household

  • 54% of respondents describe themselves as the household CFO.
  • 49% sometimes fear becoming a “bag lady”.
  • 27% of those earning more than $200,000 per year share that fear.

Inside the study

  • More than 2,200 women ages 25-75
  • Minimum household income of $30,000 a year
  • “Bag Lady” fear extends to all corners of life and affluence
  • Was highest among single respondents at 56%
  • Significant concern for divorced women 54%
  • Widows 47%
  • Married women 43%

Despite feeling more empowered about financial planning

  •  Forty-two percent said they believe financially independent women are intimidating to men and often end up alone
  • (31%) said those women are hard to relate to and often don’t have many friends.
  •  This feeling was even higher among single women at 47% and 32%, respectively.

Allianz Life Vice President of Consumer Insights Katie Libbe comments-

“When Allianz Life conducted the initial wave of the Women, Money & Power Study seven years ago, we discovered that women everywhere – even well-educated, successful, financially independent women – have major gaps and unmet needs when it comes to achieving comfort and confidence with money,”  “Today, women clearly feel more invested in financial planning, however, fears of fiscal failure still persist. The real message here is that the financial services industry needs to help women learn about money and prepare for their retirement.”

In the Age of the Financially Empowered Woman

  •  57% of all women surveyed said they both “have more earning power than ever before” and also “handle major investment decisions and retirement planning.”
  • 55%  noted they take the lead in suggesting new investing or retirement ideas.
  •  60% said they were responsible for handling tax preparation and planning.
  • 90%  of women surveyed agreed that in today’s world, women need to be significantly more involved in financial planning than in the past
  • 96% of divorced women felt this way.
  • 67% of women surveyed said that becoming more knowledgeable and involved in managing their finances has improved the quality of their life, 71% of  single women agreed.

“Allianz Life is dedicated to the mission of achieving financial literacy and independence for every American, so we’re especially keen to design solutions that are relevant, responsive, and sensitive to helping women accomplish greater financial security,” noted Libbe.

Financial Crisis of 2008-2009 Drives Behavior Change

  •  68% say they have increased their financial involvement since the crisis
  • Women ages 45-54 (72%) and widows (75%).
  •  43% of women surveyed said they don’t feel any smarter about how to manage their money than before the crash. That feeling was shared by 36% of women with the highest income (household income of $200,000+).

When asked what key issues will have the greatest effect on their retirement outlook

  • “lack of adequate retirement savings”
  •  ”the future of Social Security,”
  •  ”rising health care costs,”
  •  ”unemployment,”
  • “tax changes.”

Retirement is the worry that keeps most women up at night.

Second only to loss of spouse/significant other. “Running out of money in retirement” is a worry that keeps 57% of women up at night and is the number one worry for single and divorced women.

 Full study available here.

For help you may ask questions in the comments

Or click here to contact me privately: Tim Barton Chartered Financial Consultant

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At one time, there were only two ways to tap into the value of your home:

Sell your home

BUT… then you would have to move somewhere else.

Borrow against the equity in your home

BUT… then you would have to make monthly loan repayments.

Many people have retired with what they assumed would be a comfortable retirement income into the future, only to find that inflation, rising health care costs and unexpected expenses have worked to make their retirement less secure. These people may have substantial equity in their homes…equity they would like to convert to cash without having to move or assume debt that has to be repaid.

A reverse mortgage, which converts a portion of a home’s equity into cash without requiring that the home be sold or that the equity be repaid currently, may provide the answer.

What Is a Reverse Mortgage?

A reverse mortgage is a loan against the value of your home that does not have to be paid back for as long as you live in the home. Simply put, a reverse mortgage converts some of the equity in your home into income.

The proceeds from a reverse mortgage can be paid to you:
•In a single lump sum;
•As a regularly monthly income; or
•At times and in amounts of your choosing.

While reverse mortgages typically require no repayment while you are living in your home, they must be repaid in full, including interest and any other charges, at the earliest of:
•The death of the last living borrower (meaning that a surviving spouse may continue to live in the home without repaying the reverse mortgage);
•The sale of the home; or
•The last living borrower moves permanently away from the home, such as to an assisted living facility or nursing home.

Think long and hard before moving forward on a reverse mortgage while exploring other options such as an out right sale or finding a less expensive place to live.

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Horseshoe crabs have a protein that tags bacteria and tells their body to destroy it.  This led 15 year old sophomore Riley Ennis to ask this question.  “If we could take their name tag, a bit of the patients tumor mix them together and stick them back in the patient will you be able to teach the body to recognize and destroy the cancer?”

Because Riley Ennis was interested in the ocean as a kid he watched a Nova TV special about horseshoe crabs which caused him to ask the question above and led him to this research-

He mixed a vaccine, the bad stuff, cancer and protein, red dye (immune system tracker) to see how the immune system responds.  This mix was injected into an octopi to see if the red dot would show where all the immune cells moved to.

If there was a red dot it would show the octopus was attacking the cancer.  Watch this astounding video to see what happens.

The Red Dot | Boston McConnaughey & Andrew Hancock from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

Too many times the news focuses on young adults who get in trouble while ignoring those are setting out to bring a better life to all of us.  Riley Ennis is clearly on a noble mission.  With his success and that of many others we may all live quality lives of 100 years or more.

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Throughout history many of the greatest discoveries and inventions happened by accident, someone trying to solve an unrelated problem.

Imagine if we had a battery in all of our devices that charged in seconds rather than hours or days. Well actually its a capacitor not a battery but I’ll let the video explain the difference.

 

Think of the freedom you’d have to travel and explore if a car powered by a capacitor could be charged back up within a couple minutes.

If this graphene capacitor can be developed for a broad spectrum of applications we are looking at a real lifestyle changer.

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Snow in Arizona?!

February 21, 2013 by

Last night large sections of Arizona received significant snowfall.  What the heck?  My Arizona clients were expressing at the start of our conversations this morning; some used a slightly stronger version of that expression.  After all, we should feel sympathy for those who pulled up their Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota roots choosing to move to Arizona in order to enjoy their endless sunny days of retirement.

Here is a news video from an Arizona news station.

The definition of “significant snow” differs by region. Arizonians apparently define it as .30 to 1.26 inches.

When many of us are feeling the pangs of spring fever while staring at snow outside our doors measured in feet rather than inches and the wind howling out a sub-zero windchill…

How much sympathy do you feel?

Do you know anyone in Arizona?  What will say to them?

Anyway, try and be polite when you speak with your friends in Arizona.

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The horse (Mariska) in this video has been dubbed “Houdini Horse”. What’s not like about a horse or anyone else’s desire for freedom?

The lust for freedom is a natural yearning programmed right into the core of our DNA. Over time life experiences such as raising a family and career may have dulled this desire. However, I don’t think the desire to be free and do what you want on your own schedule ever goes away.

When I am asked “What is number one motivation to retire?” The soon to be retirees I work with express a desire to get off the treadmill, stop producing for someone else, travel when they want or to simply reassert control of their daily schedule. Everyone who works has a vision of their perfect retirement which almost always includes maximum personal freedom.

Apparently Mariska A.K.A. Houdini Horse not only wants personal freedom she wants freedom for all her companion horses as well.

The market crashes and low interest rates during the last decade have put serious crimps in many retirees’ personal retirement freedom. Some have had to work part time jobs others have had to cut back their spending in order to keep the household budget balanced, crimps to retirement freedom.

Unfortunately many financial planners are still using outdated retirement income models from the 90’s and because these models do not work in the “new normal” they are exposing their client’s retirement freedom to unnecessary risk. As I have written in several posts it does not have to be this way. The tools are available to help retirees maintain retirement freedom.

Comment below or privately Contact Tim Barton

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The following IRI survey comes as no surprise to retirement income planners who witnessed their annuity client’s relief and security while they heard stories of large losses from their friends and associates in the aftermath of 2008’s financial meltdown.   Not only did these clients not lose any money or income; they experienced strong growth as the market indexes slowly recovered.

Insured Retirement Institute survey, by IALC

According to a recent survey by the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI)  of Americans aged 50-66, a majority (53%) of annuity owners are extremely or very confident that they will have adequate income in retirement, compared to less than a third (31%) of non-annuity owners who say the same.

And not only are these consumers more confident, they are also satisfied with their annuity purchases. A recent LIMRA study found that 83% of fixed indexed annuity buyers reported being satisfied with their annuities and five in six would recommend annuities to others.

So what’s driving people to buy fixed annuities, in particular? Certainly the 2008 crash taught consumers that their foundations are not as sturdy as they once thought. So in order to regain a sense of stability they are looking for sources that provide some minimum guaranteed income. In fact, when asked about the intended uses for indexed annuities in another recent LIMRA survey, respondents’ top three responses involved retirement planning, including supplementing Social Security or pension income, accumulating assets for retirement, and receiving guaranteed lifetime income.

For help you may ask questions in the comments

Or click here to contact me privately: Tim Barton Chartered Financial Consultant

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Outliving one’s assets is a major concern for today’s retirees. One common approach to address this concern has been the “4% rule,” which is a generally accepted rule of thumb in financial planning for retirement income. It says to withdraw no more than 4% of an asset in retirement annually, and then increase the withdrawn amount by 3% each year to help offset the effects of inflation. Many believe the 4% rule provides a strong likelihood for retirement assets to last 30 or more years.

One problem with the 4% rule is that it does NOT GUARANTEE you won’t run out of money. In fact, with today’s historic market volatility and longer life expectancies, it’s predicted that up to 18 out of 100 people WILL RUN OUT OF MONEY in retirement using the 4% rule.

What if there was a different strategy that could provide the same amount of retirement income as the 4% rule and might even require fewer assets to do so? Additionally, this strategy would protect your income from market loss and GUARANTEE that income would last throughout your lifetime.

This strategy exists today and can be implemented using a fixed index annuity with a guaranteed lifetime income benefit or a secure lifetime retirement income annuity.

For help you may ask questions in the comments

Or contact me privately here: Tim Barton Chartered Financial Consultant

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Most people perceive the items they place in bank safety deposit boxes as valuable, hard to replace documents or that are significant part of family history, money, jewels, you name it.  

Safety deposit boxes are safe right? 

Certainly the items sealed in the boxes are safe from hazards such as theft, rain, fire, etc.  But what happens when the owner forgets about the box and its contents? 

In WI as with all states there are laws regarding the disposition of abandoned property.  In WI the Office of State Treasurer has the responsibility to return property to its rightful owner after 5 years of missed rental payments.  Last year they returned about $35,000,000 to the owners.  So far the 2013 total is at $4,188,844 and counting.

Sometimes they cannot find the owners or heirs to return the property.  In other cases the contents of the safety deposit box is not worth the back rent payments to the person so the State Treasurer will destroy and dispose of documents such as insurance policies, marriage licenses, birth certificates, passports, etc. 

Search for unclaimed property here 

Items that have value will be sold at auction; this is where EBay enters the process.  Kurt Scheller State Treasurer has setup an EBay account for the state of Wisconsin and auctions off unclaimed items monthly.

Right now there is a “Be My Valentine” auction.  All things related to Valentine’s day are being auctioned.  Bids start at a penny.

Here some photos of other items sold at previous EBay auctions.

 

   

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Once upon a time retirement was simple you could count on money from a pension and Social Security with bit of personal savings.  Not any more.  Pensions have mostly gone away causing you to depend on Social Security and personal savings more than in previous generations.

Personal savings

  • 401(k)
  • IRA
  • Stocks

In the last few years people have found these to be risky and have lost a significant portion of their retirement savings forcing them to postpone retirement and work longer.

Retirement Realities

  • Save more you may need to save more than you think because we are living longer than ever before you may live 20 years or more in retirement. So you have to make sure your money lasts as long as you do.
  • You may need to retire earlier than you plan due to a job loss or poor health.

Longer retirement means higher living expenses

  • More leisure expenses
  • Increased medical cost
  • Inflation

Active money management is required

  • Seek clarity determine how much money you have saved and how much money you’ll need each month
  • Access your comfort level.  How worried are you about thought of losing money?  If it keeps you awake consider protecting part of it.
  • Think about the cost of living and how increases over time.
  • Plan for certainty make sure you will not run out of money no matter how long you live.

To help learn and think about the new retirement realities watch this short educational video.

For help you may ask questions in the comments

Or click here to contact me privately: Tim Barton Chartered Financial Consultant

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How and when is a Roth IRA taxed?  This is one of the frequently asked questions of the 2013 tax season.   Many are wondering if the “Fiscal Cliff Tax Fix” had any effect on Roth IRAs.  Here is a  Roth IRA Taxation Chart to help you understand how a Roth IRA is taxed and how it avoids income taxes.

Due to the continuing low interest/yield environment we find yourselves in cutting edge Retirement Income Planners are recommending their clients purchase  a Roth fixed index annuity with one of the new generation lifetime income riders attached.  The idea is to hold the annuity for 5 years or until age 59 1/2 whichever is longer then start the guaranteed tax free lifetime withdrawal.  During the holding period the annuity owner earns a guaranteed income base roll-up rate, typically 5-7%.

By starting the Roth lifetime income payments early in retirement or even before retirement they would likely receive all their Roth funds plus interest in about 15 years and then they would continue receiving “company money” for the rest of their lives.   Some of these plans have cost of living increases built in so the potential for a large sum of tax free income is certainly available.

In many cases it is not wise to leave your Roth Funds – just “sit” there.

For help you may ask questions in the comments

Or contact me privately here: Tim Barton Chartered Financial Consultant

 

 

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