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Your Retirement

Second Opinions: Are you Confident in Your Financial Plan?

Mark Melkowski

When my son was 10 years old, he needed heart surgery. We understood the risks to his health and the dangers associated with the procedure. So, we decided to look for a second opinion. Luckily, our doctor was very helpful and referred us to a doctor well versed in these types of surgeries. For some reason, few of us ask for second opinions on our financial situations. Most of the time, this occurs because we are friends with our financial advisor and/or we don’t want...

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Don’t Run Out of Money in Retirement

Dolph Janis

Have you ever awoken at night and started worrying about running out of money when you’re in or entering retirement? Does the fear of losing what you have saved for retirement due to changing markets concern you? If so, you’re not alone.  A large number of baby boomers have this feeling on a daily basis. I have been working with clients for over 11 years, and these concerns are brought up in just about every meeting or conversation I have with clients. When looking at...

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The Importance of a Solid Plan for Income During Retirement

Brian Jones

For most of us, it’s very important to have an income or some type of cash flow during retirement, especially if you want to enjoy your retirement years. But how do you plan for this income and where does it come from? For most of us, Social Security is the first source that comes to mind. Yes, I do believe Social Security will be around in some form or fashion for most of us as one of our retirement income sources. If you are one...

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AXA Equitable’s Accumulator “Buyout Offer,” Should You Accept or Not?

Jeremy Reif

AXA Equitable was one of the pioneers of the Guaranteed Minimum Benefits (death or income) or Earning Enhancement benefits. During their heyday, the “Accumulator” was one of the top products available to consumers. Similar products were offered through; Hartford, Transamerica, American Scandia, Prudential, Jackson National, John Hancock, and MetLife to name a few. Of the companies listed, all have changed their current offerings for a wide variety of reasons. John Hancock left this annuity space, Hartford offered a buyout of their own and sold their...

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Why The Popularity of Annuities Can Be a Bad Thing!

Jim Fox

If you’re like many Americans nearing retirement, you’ve been invited to more dinner and lunch seminars than you can count. What might surprise you is that only half a percent of people who receive those invitations actually attend the seminar. Even more shocking is that majority of seminars are geared toward one thing: presenting and soliciting annuities. When I began working as an advisor, almost two decades ago, I was trained that annuities were horrible retirement vehicles sold by seedy salesmen with little regard for...

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Dancing with Your Money: The 2-Step for Tax Free Income and Legacy

Steve Soffer

Ok, cute title… but what the heck is a “2-Step” when it comes to taxes and my money? Well, if you currently have savings in a qualified 401k, 403b or 457 Deferred Compensation Plan, then one of your concerns is probably how taxes will impact your retirement as well as the legacy you leave your family. You might want to consider implementing this simple 2-step financial planning strategy. First of all, you might wonder, “Is it possible to use existing financial tools to create a...

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Are American COWS Being Fattened for the Slaughter?

Robbin Broome

In the last three decades that I have been in the industry, I have never seen change occur as fast and furious as it does today. As a country, we have the highest debt ever with over 19 trillion owed. Our inflation is eating the dollar’s value each year. Unemployment is at its worst, and taxes are increasing at alarming rates. The mortgage industry has just gone through one of the largest bubbles ever, and it is reported that another is on the rise. Our...

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Getting Real: The 4% Rule for Retirement Savings Withdrawals

Todd D. Heckman

If you start talking with anyone – your financial advisor, someone who reads the financial press, maybe even your dog – about how much you can withdraw from your savings when you retire, you’re likely to get an answer revolving around “The 4% Rule.” This rule is not a real rule, just a “rule of thumb.” It’s based on a string of technical studies addressing the question: how much could you safely withdraw every year, with an allowance for inflation, and (probably) not run out...

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How To Take the Most Income Without Ever Running Out

Ron Tetley

While attending classes to become a financial advisor, my teacher said something that completely changed my life. It changed the way I look at financial planning as a whole, and how I have directed my career path to this point. As a result, I’ve had the privilege and the pleasure of helping many people. I was sitting in my class one day, taking notes, and the teacher said: “Someday, you will be sitting at your desk and one of your clients will be sitting across...

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Cat’s in the Cradle…

Todd D. Heckman

There’s a great Number 1 song from 1974 by the late artist Harry Chapin called: “Cat’s in the Cradle.” Written as a poem for Chapin by his wife Sandy, it tells the story of a father’s relationship with his son. More importantly it describes how the march of time robs us of our intent to take care of the things we need to take care of in the here and now. Predictably, as the song’s melody plays on, the father is struck by an observation...

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