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December 27th, 2012 by

cash management discipline for retirement planningAs with virtually all money matters, the easiest way to be successful with a cash management program is to develop a systematic and disciplined approach. By spending a few minutes each week to maintain your cash management program, you not only have the opportunity to enhance your current financial position, but you can save yourself some money in preparation, time, and fees when tax season arrives. A good cash management system revolves around these 4 areas:

1. Accounting quite simply involves gathering all your relevant money related information together and keeping it close at hand for future reference.

2. Analysis boils down to reviewing the situation once you have accounted for all your income and expenses. You will almost invariably find yourself with either a shortfall or a surplus. One of the key elements in analyzing your financial situation is to look for ways to reduce your expenses. This can help to free up cash that can either be put into your nest egg for the long term.

3. Allocation involves determining your financial commitments and spending your income accordingly. One of the most important factors in allocation is to distinguish between your real needs and your wants.

4. Adjustment involves reviewing your income and expenses periodically and making the changes that your situation demands. For example, as a new parent, you might be wise to shift some money around in order to start a college education fund for your child.

life_guide_retirementMonitoring your financial situation will ensure that you are on the right track to meet your long-term retirement goals. By making a cash management system part of your lifestyle, you can prepare yourself early for a well established retirement strategy.

Check out my free life guides to help you with your money management.
And, give me a call at 833-313-7233 to discuss your retirement planning needs. My consultation is FREE.

December 18th, 2012 by

retirement_planning_aheadAs the year draws to a close and we all gather for our holiday celebrations, it’s that time of year when we can wind down, relax and reflect. Reflection is to consider what has transpired in your life during 2012. And, in a relaxed state of mind, you’re able to fully reflect without distraction.

So, here is my holiday wish for you.

Take this holiday time to enjoy the presence of family and friends. Think about your retirement planning strategy and make some plans for 2013.  According to the Employment Benefit Research from 2011, most American’s start planning for retirement 20 or more years before retirement. But, if you are one of those that did not take strides to protect your nest egg, don’t be alarmed. It’s never too late to start planning for retirement.

I want to help you make the best of your retirement dollars during 2013. Give me a call at 833-313-7233 . My consultation is FREE.

 

December 14th, 2012 by

assessing_disability_insurance
Although most of us are aware of the need for health insurance coverage when determining our risk-management needs, many of us fail to consider the possibility that we could become disabled. A disability income insurance policy can help replace income lost because of an injury or illness.  Unfortunately, many of us will need disability income protection before we retire. Without the appropriate coverage, a disability could spell financial disaster. Disability at any age can disrupt income while medical expenses mount. Unless you have a solid strategy, the effects of even a short-term disability could be financially debilitating and emotionally devastating.

Disability Protection

In the event that you become disabled and are unable to work, the benefits provided by disability insurance can help replace a portion of your earned income. The appropriate amount of disability coverage will depend on your particular situation. However, there are a few issues you may want to consider.

First, consider carrying enough coverage to replace at least 60 percent of your earnings. Many companies limit benefits to between 50 percent and 80 percent from all sources of disability income prior to the disability. This would mean, for example, that the amount of any Social Security disability payments you receive could be deducted from your benefit amount.

If you are concerned about the cost of a private disability insurance policy, consider extending the waiting period, which is the time between when the disability occurs and when you start receiving benefits. Choosing a 90-day or 180-day waiting period (instead of 30 days) may help lower your premium.

life_guide_retirementBe sure to compare and review policy benefits carefully. Disability insurance can be an affordable way to help protect your assets in the event of a disability. Get my free life guide “Retirement and Medicare” to help you with your planning.

My consultation is always free: 833-313-7233

December 11th, 2012 by

In a 2012 study, more than 80% of respondents cited financial reasons for not having enough life insurance coverage to meet their needs, yet they overestimated the cost of life insurance by almost three times the actual price.1

Considering these perceptions, it may not be surprising that life insurance ownership is at an all-time low, with many people believing they need more coverage2–3
This is one situation in which a little information might go a long way. Over the last decade, the cost of basic term life insurance has dropped by almost 50%, so this may be a good time to consider purchasing additional protection for your family.4

Preparing for a Certainty

There’s an old saying that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Most people are forced to think about taxes every year, but it can be easy to ignore the inevitability of death, especially when you’re young and healthy. Yet this is typically the time when life insurance is most affordable. Even if you are older or facing medical challenges, you may be surprised by how cost-effective a policy could be.

Think for a moment about what could happen if you were no longer able to provide for your family. Would they face a significant change in lifestyle? Would they be able to pursue long-term goals such as a college education for your children or a comfortable retirement for your spouse? A life insurance policy with the appropriate level of coverage could help them live the way you would like them to live.

Types of Life Insurance

Term life insurance — which offers a death benefit if the insured dies within a specified time period — is usually the least expensive and may offer low-cost coverage during the years when you are most concerned about providing for your dependents’ needs.
Permanent life insurance typically offers a lifetime benefit as long as you keep the policy in force by paying the premiums.

life_guide_retirement_medicareAlthough you may have term life insurance through work, group plans generally limit the coverage amount to a multiple of your salary. And, of course, your group coverage usually would end if you leave your employer. An individual policy could provide more consistent protection regardless of changes in your career.

life_guide_retirementRetirement planning is best done before you’re in your retirement years. So, if you haven’t reviewed your options for life insurance in a while, it might be time to reconsider it.  Get my free life guide “Retirement and Medicare” or “Thinking of Retirement” to help you with your planning.

My consultation is always free: 833-313-7233

Sources:
(1, 3, 4) LIFE Foundation, 2012
(2) LIMRA, 2011

December 6th, 2012 by

planning for college chart

One study by a Washington, D.C., think-tank concluded that the long-term benefits of a four-year college degree are equivalent to a financial instrument with a 15.2% average annual return. In calculating the cost/return, researchers included typical college tuition and fees plus the wages that students often forego while attending classes. Room and board were not considered because people must eat and sleep whether they are in school or not.

Fortunately, researchers found that college graduates often begin to recover the costs right away. At age 22, the average college graduate earns about 70% more than the average worker with only a high school diploma. And at age 50, a college graduate earns roughly $46,000 more per year than someone with only a high school diploma.

life_guide_paying_for_collegeOf course, the up-front cost of a four-year degree is substantial (calculated at $102,000 for this study), so families may want to start saving as early as possible to help their kids pay for college.

Planning for your child’s college education should not conflict with your retirement goals. Planning early will prevent anxiety and stress. Use my free life guide “Paying For College” to help you with your planning.

Source:  CNNMoney, June 30, 2011

December 3, 2012
December 3rd, 2012 by

End of Year TipsNow may be a good time to start thinking about steps that could help reduce your 2012 income tax liability.

Of course, before you take any specific action, be sure to consult with your tax professional.

Consider income timing.
Some tax experts recommend deferring income to the next tax year, if possible, to help lower gross income. The situation this year is more complicated because federal income tax rates are scheduled to be higher in 2013. Congressional action on taxes may not become clear until the new Congress takes office after the first of the year.

Examine your interest earned. The favorable tax rates on interest earned is scheduled to expire after 2012. Because the future of these provisions is uncertain, you may want to reconsider your strategy before the end of the year.

Make your January mortgage payment early. If you make next year’s first payment on or before December 31, you might be able to take an additional interest deduction this year.

Give to charity. If you itemize deductions, you typically are able to deduct the value of both cash and non-cash charitable contributions from your taxable income. Be sure to keep receipts and other records required by the IRS.

Use up your flexible spending account (FSA) funds. Although this action may not reduce your taxes, you risk losing the money if you don’t use the funds in a medical FSA before the end of the plan year. You can use these funds for qualified, unreimbursed medical expenses, including insulin and some over-the-counter items such as bandages, contact lens solution, and self-diagnostic tests. Over-the-counter medicines are not reimbursable without a doctor’s prescription.

Your Safe Money KitPlanning for retirement is about keeping your money safe. Download my FREE resource : safe money kit. Then, let’s talk about your retirement planning strategy 833-313-7233. It’s a free consultation.