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Terry L. Jordan

Nov
09
Trust Basics
Whether you're seeking to manage your own assets, control how your assets are distributed after your death, or plan for incapacity, trusts can help you accomplish your estate planning goals. Their power is in their versatility--many types of trusts exist, each designed for a specific purpose. Although trust law is complex and establishing a trust requires the services of an experienced attorney, mastering the basics isn't hard. What is a trust? A trust is a legal entity that holds assets for the benefit of another. Basically, it's like a container that holds money or property for somebody else. There are three parties in a trust arrangement: The grantor (also called a settlor or trustor): The person(s) who creates and funds the...
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Nov
09
Risk Management and Your Retirement Savings Plan
By investing for retirement through your employer-sponsored plan, you are helping to manage a critically important financial risk: the chance that you will outlive your money. But choosing to participate is just one step in your financial risk management strategy. You also need to manage risk within your account to help it stay on track. Following are steps to consider. Familiarize yourself with the different types of risk All investments, even the most conservative, come with different types of risk. Understanding these risks will help you make educated choices in your retirement savings plan mix. Here are just a few. Market risk: The risk that your investment could lose value due to falling prices caused by outside forces, such...
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Oct
31
Test Your Knowledge of Financial Basics
How well do you understand personal finance? The following brief quiz can help you gauge your knowledge of a few basics. In the answer section, you'll find details to help you learn more. Questions 1. How much should you set aside in liquid, low-risk savings in case of emergencies? a. One to three months worth of expenses b. Three to six months worth of expenses c. Six to 12 months worth of expenses d. It depends 2. Diversification can eliminate risk from your portfolio. a. True b. False 3. Which of the following is a key benefit of a 401(k) plan? a. You can withdraw money at any time for needs such as the purchase of a new car. b. The plan allows you to avoid paying taxes on a portion of your compensation. c....
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Oct
04
Investing as a Couple: Getting to Yes
In a perfect world, both halves of a couple share the same investment goals and agree on the best way to try to reach them. It doesn't always work that way, though; disagreements about money are often a source of friction between couples. You may be risk averse, while your spouse may be comfortable investing more aggressively--or vice versa. How can you bridge that gap? First, define your goals Making good investment decisions is difficult if you don't know what you're investing for. Make sure you're on the same page--or at least reading from the same book--when it comes to financial goal-setting. Knowing where you're headed is the first step toward developing a road map for dealing jointly with investments. In some cases you may...
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Sep
13
Use Your Annuity to Pay for Long-Term Care Insurance
The cost of long-term care can quickly deplete your savings and affect the quality of life for you and your family. Long-term care insurance allows you to share that cost with an insurance company. But premiums for long-term care insurance can be expensive, and cash or income to cover those premiums may not be readily available. One option is to exchange your annuity contract for a long-term care insurance policy. Section 1035 exchange Generally, withdrawals from a nonqualified deferred annuity (premiums paid with after-tax dollars) are considered to come first from earnings, then from your investment (premiums paid) in the contract. The earnings portion of the withdrawal is treated as income to the annuity owner, subject to...
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Sep
07
Getting Help from a Financial Professional
Are you suddenly on your own or forced to assume greater responsibility for your financial future? Unsure about whether you're on the right track with your savings and investments? Finding yourself with new responsibilities, such as the care of a child or an aging parent? Facing other life events, such as marriage, divorce, the sale of a family business, or a career change? Too busy to become a financial expert but needing to make sure your assets are being managed appropriately? Or maybe you simply feel your assets could be invested or protected better than they are now. These are only some of the many circumstances that prompt people to contact someone who can help them address their financial questions and issues. This may be...
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Aug
28
Common Factors Affecting Retirement Income
When it comes to planning for your retirement income, it's easy to overlook some of the common factors that can affect how much you'll have available to spend. If you don't consider how your retirement income can be impacted by investment risk, inflation risk, catastrophic illness or long-term care, and taxes, you may not be able to enjoy the retirement you envision. Investment risk Different types of investments carry with them different risks. Sound retirement income planning involves understanding these risks and how they can influence your available income in retirement. Investment or market risk is the risk that fluctuations in the securities market may result in the reduction and/or depletion of the value of your retirement...
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Aug
20
Balancing Your Investment Choices with Asset Allocation
A chocolate cake. Pasta. A pancake. They're all very different, but they generally involve flour, eggs, and perhaps a liquid. Depending on how much of each ingredient you use, you can get very different outcomes. The same is true of your investments. Balancing a portfolio means combining various types of investments using a recipe that's appropriate for you. Getting an appropriate mix The combination of investments you choose can be as important as your specific investments. The mix of various asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and cash alternatives, accounts for most of the ups and downs of a portfolio's returns. There's another reason to think about the mix of investments in your portfolio. Each type of investment has specific...
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Aug
09
Key Estate Planning Documents You Need
There are five estate planning documents you may need, regardless of your age, health, or wealth: Durable power of attorney Advance medical directives Will Letter of instruction Living trust The last document, a living trust, isn't always necessary, but it's included here because it's a vital component of many estate plans. Durable power of attorney A durable power of attorney (DPOA) can help protect your property in the event you become physically unable or mentally incompetent to handle financial matters. If no one is ready to look after your financial affairs when you can't, your property may be wasted, abused, or lost. A DPOA allows you to authorize someone else to act on your behalf, so he or she can do things like...
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Jul
31
Setting and Targeting Investment Goals
Go out into your yard and dig a big hole. Every month, throw $50 into it, but don't take any money out until you're ready to buy a house, send your child to college, or retire. It sounds a little crazy, doesn't it? But that's what investing without setting clear-cut goals is like. If you're lucky, you may end up with enough money to meet your needs, but you have no way to know for sure. How do you set investment goals? Setting investment goals means defining your dreams for the future. When you're setting goals, it's best to be as specific as possible. For instance, you know you want to retire, but when? You know you want to send your child to college, but to an Ivy League school or to the community college down the street?...
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Jul
12
The Tax Benefits of Your Retirement Savings Plan
Taxes can take a big bite out of your total investment returns, so it's encouraging to know that your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan may offer a variety of tax benefits. Depending on the type of plan your employer offers, you may be able to benefit from current tax savings; tax deferral on any investment returns you earn on the road to retirement; and possibly even tax-free income in retirement. Lower your taxes now When you contribute to a traditional retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), your plan contributions are deducted from your pay before income taxes are assessed. These "pretax contributions" reduce your current taxable income, which in turn reduces the amount of income tax you pay to Uncle Sam...
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Jul
03
I'm about to get married. Should I adjust the asset allocation in my 401k to take my husband's investments into account?
That depends on several factors. Perhaps the first step is to make sure your existing asset allocation is appropriate for your circumstances; if you haven't reviewed it in several years, you should probably take a fresh look at it, whether or not you intend to consider his assets in your investing strategy. Assuming your allocation is appropriate for your current situation, you may want to make sure that any overlap between your accounts doesn't create a portfolio that's too heavily concentrated in a single position. For example, if you have received company stock as part of your compensation plan for many years, you might not have enough diversity in your portfolio; if both of you have worked at the same employer, the problem could be even...
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Jun
13
Planning for Incapacity
What would happen if you were mentally or physically unable to take care of yourself or your day-to-day affairs? You might not be able to make sound decisions about your health or finances. You could lose the ability to pay bills, write checks, make deposits, sell assets, or otherwise conduct your affairs. Unless you're prepared, incapacity could devastate your family, exhaust your savings, and undermine your financial, tax, and estate planning strategies. Planning ahead can ensure that your health-care wishes will be carried out, and that your finances will continue to be competently managed. It could happen to you Incapacity can strike anyone at any time. Advancing age can bring senility, Alzheimer's disease, or other ailments, and...
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May
10
Pay Down Debt or Save for Retirement?
You can use a variety of strategies to pay off debt, many of which can cut not only the amount of time it will take to pay off the debt but also the total interest paid. But like many people, you may be torn between paying off debt and the need to save for retirement. Both are important; both can help give you a more secure future. If you're not sure you can afford to tackle both at the same time, which should you choose? There's no one answer that's right for everyone, but here are some of the factors you should consider when making your decision. Rate of investment return versus interest rate on debt Probably the most common way to decide whether to pay off debt or to make investments is to consider whether you could earn a...
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May
02
Paying the Bills: Potential Sources of Retirement Income
Planning your retirement income is like putting together a puzzle with many different pieces. One of the first steps in the process is to identify all potential income sources and estimate how much you can expect each one to provide. Social Security According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), nearly 9 of 10 people aged 65 or older receive Social Security benefits. However, most retirees also rely on other sources of income. For a rough estimate of the annual benefit to which you would be entitled at various retirement ages, you can use the calculator on the Social Security website, www.ssa.gov. Your Social Security retirement benefit is calculated using a formula that takes into account your 35 highest earnings years....
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Apr
05
Life Insurance at Various Life Stages
Your need for life insurance changes as your life changes. When you're young, you typically have less need for life insurance, but that changes as you take on more responsibility and your family grows. Then, as your responsibilities once again begin to diminish, your need for life insurance may decrease. Let's look at how your life insurance needs change throughout your lifetime. Footloose and fancy-free As a young adult, you become more independent and self-sufficient. You no longer depend on others for your financial well-being. But in most cases, your death would still not create a financial hardship for others. For most young singles, life insurance is not a priority. Some would argue that you should buy life insurance now,...
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Mar
29
Test Your Knowledge of Financial Basics
How well do you understand personal finance? The following brief quiz can help you gauge your knowledge of a few basics. In the answer section, you'll find details to help you learn more. Questions 1. How much should you set aside in liquid, low-risk savings in case of emergencies? a. One to three months worth of expenses b. Three to six months worth of expenses c. Six to 12 months worth of expenses d. It depends 2. Diversification can eliminate risk from your portfolio. a. True b. False 3. Which of the following is a key benefit of a 401(k) plan? a. You can withdraw money at any time for needs such as the purchase of a new car. b. The plan allows you to avoid paying taxes on a portion of your compensation. c....
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Mar
29
Handling Market Volatility
Conventional wisdom says that what goes up must come down. But even if you view market volatility as a normal occurrence, it can be tough to handle when your money is at stake. Though there's no foolproof way to handle the ups and downs of the stock market, the following common-sense tips can help. Don't put your eggs all in one basket Diversifying your investment portfolio is one of the key tools for trying to manage market volatility. Because asset classes often perform differently under different market conditions, spreading your assets across a variety of investments such as stocks, bonds, and cash alternatives has the potential to help reduce your overall risk. Ideally, a decline in one type of asset will be balanced out by a...
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Mar
08
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 retire, your employer-sponsored retirement plan can play a key role in your financial strategies. How should you view and manage your retirement savings plan through various life stages? Following are some points to consider. Just starting out If you are a young adult just starting your first job, chances are you face a number of different challenges. College loans, rent, and car payments all may be competing for your hard-earned yet still entry-level paycheck. How...
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Mar
01
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 over the long term also takes a little knowledge and discipline. Though there can be no guarantee that any investment strategy will be successful and all investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal, there are ways to help yourself build your retirement nest egg. Compounding is your best friend It's the "rolling snowball" effect. Put simply, compounding pays you earnings on your reinvested earnings. Here's how it works: Let's say you invest $100, and...
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Feb
15
Handling Market Volatility
Conventional wisdom says that what goes up must come down. But even if you view market volatility as a normal occurrence, it can be tough to handle when your money is at stake. Though there's no foolproof way to handle the ups and downs of the stock market, the following common-sense tips can help. Don't put your eggs all in one basket Diversifying your investment portfolio is one of the key tools for trying to manage market volatility. Because asset classes often perform differently under different market conditions, spreading your assets across a variety of investments such as stocks, bonds, and cash alternatives has the potential to help reduce your overall risk. Ideally, a decline in one type of asset will be balanced out by a...
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Jan
25
Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage
If you're covered by Medicare, here's some welcome news — Medicare drug coverage can help you handle the rising cost of prescriptions. If you're covered by Original Medicare, some Medicare Cost Plans, Medicare Private Fee-For-Service Plans, or Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans, you can sign up for a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) offered in your area by a private company or insurer that has been approved by Medicare. Although prescription drug plans vary, all provide a standard amount of coverage set by Medicare. Every plan offers a broad choice of brand name and generic drugs at local pharmacies or through the mail. However, some plans cover more drugs or offer a wider selection of pharmacies (for a higher premium) than...
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Jan
18
Four things women need to know about Social Security
Ever since a legal secretary named Ida May Fuller received the first retirement benefit check in 1940, women have been counting on Social Security to provide much-needed retirement income. Social Security provides other important benefits too, including disability and survivor benefits, that can help women of all ages and their family members. 1. How does Social Security protect you and your family? When you work and pay Social Security taxes, you're paying for three types of benefits: retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. Retirement benefits Retirement benefits are the cornerstone of the Social Security program. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), because women are less often covered by retirement...
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Jan
11
What to do after You've been automatically enrolled in your company's retirement plan
At one time, the only way you could join your company's 401(k) plan, 403(b) plan, or 457(b) plan was to put pen to paper and sign yourself up by filling out the appropriate forms. Now, though, in an effort to help participants increase their retirement savings, some employers have begun enrolling their employees automatically. With automatic enrollment, you don't fill out a form to opt into your company's retirement plan; you only fill out a form to opt out of it. At first glance, automatic enrollment sounds like a no-brainer--without doing anything, you're on your way to saving for retirement. But don't just assume that the investment decisions your employer has made on your behalf are right for you. Instead, take charge of your own...
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Jan
04
Robo Advisors have arrived, but life often calls for a human touch.
After years of development, numerous robo advisors have entered the world of investment management. Still, many investors may not fully understand exactly what robos do, or how they do it. A robo advisor is a digital platform that uses advanced algorithms (based on various financial models and assumptions) to select and manage investments. To keep costs relatively low, portfolios are typically composed of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds that track market indexes. The recommended allocations, available strategies, and various other features can differ significantly from one service to another. To start the process, the investor fills out a standard online questionnaire designed to determine his or her risk tolerance and...
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Dec
18
Back to Basics: Diversification and Asset Allocation
When investing, particularly for long-term goals, there are two concepts you will likely hear about over and over again — diversification and asset allocation. Diversification helps limit exposure to loss in any one investment or one type of investment, while asset allocation provides a blueprint to help guide your investment decisions. Understanding how the two work can help you put together a portfolio that targets your specific needs. Diversification: Spreading out risk Diversification refers to the process of investing in a number of different securities to help manage risk. The theory is that if some investments in your portfolio decline in value, others may rise or hold steady. For example, say you wanted to invest in stocks....
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Dec
07
Five Questions about Long-Term Care
1. What is long-term care? Long-term care refers to the ongoing services and support needed by people who have chronic health conditions or disabilities. There are three levels of long-term care: Skilled care: Generally round-the-clock care that's given by professional health care providers such as nurses, therapists, or aides under a doctor's supervision. Intermediate care: Also provided by professional health care providers but on a less frequent basis than skilled care. Custodial care: Personal care that's often given by family caregivers, nurses' aides, or home health workers who provide assistance with what are called "activities of daily living" such as bathing, eating, and dressing. Long-term care is not just provided in...
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Nov
21
10 Years and Counting: Points to Consider as You Approach Retirement
If you're a decade or so away from retirement, you've probably spent at least some time thinking about this major life change. How will you manage the transition? Will you travel, take up a new sport or hobby, or spend more time with friends and family? Should you consider relocating? Will you continue to work in some capacity? Will changes in your income sources affect your standard of living? When you begin to ponder all the issues surrounding the transition, the process can seem downright daunting. However, thinking about a few key points now, while you still have years ahead, can help you focus your efforts and minimize the anxiety that often accompanies the shift. Reassess your living expenses A step you will probably take...
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Nov
09
Social Security claiming strategies for married couples
Prepared for: Save New Client Subtitle: 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 you're married, this decision can be especially complicated because you and your spouse will need to plan together, taking into account the Social Security benefits you may each be entitled to. For example, married couples may qualify for retirement benefits based on their own earnings records, and/or for spousal benefits based on their spouse's earnings record. In addition, a surviving spouse may qualify for widow or widower's...
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Nov
06
Will Social Security retire before you do?
People have traditionally seen Social Security benefits as the foundation of their retirement planning programs. The Social Security contributions deducted from workers' paychecks have, in effect, served as a government-enforced retirement savings plan. However, the Social Security system is under increasing strain. Better health care and longer life spans have resulted in an increasing number of people drawing Social Security benefits. As the baby boom generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) retires, even greater demands are being placed on the system. In 1950, there were 16.5 active workers to support each person receiving Social Security benefits. In 2015, there were only 2.8 workers supporting each Social Security beneficiary....
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Oct
26
What are my options of I inherit an IRA or an employer retirement savings plan account?
If you don't want the money, you can always disclaim (refuse to accept) the inherited IRA or plan funds. But if you're like most people, you will want the money. Your first thought may be to take a lump-sum distribution, but that's usually not the best idea. Although a lump sum provides you with cash to meet expenses or invest elsewhere, it can also result in a huge income tax bill (in most cases, due all in one year). A lump-sum distribution also removes the funds from a tax-deferred environment. Fortunately, you probably have other alternatives. If you are the designated beneficiary (i.e., you are named as beneficiary in the IRA or plan documents), you can take distributions over your remaining life expectancy, which spreads the income...
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Oct
05
Myths and Facts about Social Security
Myth: Social Security will provide most of the income you need in retirement. Fact: It's likely that Social Security will provide a smaller portion of retirement income than you expect. There's no doubt about it--Social Security is an important source of retirement income for most Americans. According to the Social Security Administration, more than nine out of ten individuals age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits. But it may be unwise to rely too heavily on Social Security, because to keep the system solvent, some changes will have to be made to it. The younger and wealthier you are, the more likely these changes will affect you. But whether retirement is years away or just around the corner, keep in mind that Social...
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Sep
27
Elven 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 yourself from making hasty decisions that could have a long-term impact on your ability to achieve your financial goals. 1. Have a game plan Having predetermined guidelines that recognize the potential for turbulent times can help prevent emotion from dictating your decisions. For example, you might take a core-and-satellite approach, combining the use of buy-and-hold principles for the bulk of your portfolio with tactical investing based on a shorter-term market outlook. You also can...
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Sep
07
When I die, what will happen to my retirement plan benefits?
In general, your retirement plan benefits pass to the beneficiaries you designate on the plan beneficiary designation form. It is generally recommended that you designate beneficiaries, the percentage of the total that each will receive, and any backup beneficiaries on the plan beneficiary form. However, if you are married or have been married, your spouse or former spouse may have certain rights in your retirement benefits. If you have a large taxable estate (generally, over $5,490,000 in 2017), your retirement benefits could be subject to estate tax or generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax at your death. The GST tax may apply if you transfer your retirement benefits to someone who is two or more generations younger than you, such as...
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Aug
24
Changing jobs? Know your 401k options
If you've lost your job, or are changing jobs, you may be wondering what to do with your 401(k) plan account. It's important to understand your options. What will I be entitled to? If you leave your job (voluntarily or involuntarily), you'll be entitled to a distribution of your vested balance. Your vested balance always includes your own contributions (pretax, after-tax, and Roth) and typically any investment earnings on those amounts. It also includes employer contributions (and earnings) that have satisfied your plan's vesting schedule. In general, you must be 100% vested in your employer's contributions after 3 years of service ("cliff vesting"), or you must vest gradually, 20% per year until you're fully vested after 6 years...
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Aug
17
Should I buy a home or continue renting?
Most people face this question at some time in their lives. Buying a home is part of the American dream. It's also one of the biggest financial investments you'll ever make. One of the main advantages of buying a home is that you build equity in your property. For example, if you paid rent at $1,000 per month for 10 years, you would have spent $120,000 on rent and have nothing to show for it. However, if you had purchased your home and made $1,000-per-month mortgage payments for 10 years, you would have paid off a sizable portion of your mortgage. And if you decided to sell your home, you might make a profit. Before buying a house, remember that your lending institution will want proof that you have money saved for the down payment...
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Aug
08
Deciding When to Retire: When Timing Becomes Critical
FINRA® Letter Prepared for: Save New Client Subtitle: Deciding When to Retire: When Timing Becomes Critical Deciding when to retire may not be one decision but a series of decisions and calculations. For example, you'll need to estimate not only your anticipated expenses, but also what sources of retirement income you'll have and how long you'll need your retirement savings to last. You'll need to take into account your life expectancy and health as well as when you want to start receiving Social Security or pension benefits, and when you'll start to tap your retirement savings. Each of these factors may affect the others as part of an overall retirement income plan. Thinking about early retirement? Retiring early means fewer...
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Aug
03
My husband is about to receive his pension. We've heard of "pension maximization". What is it?
If your husband is participating in a traditional pension plan (also known as a defined benefit plan), his benefits must normally be paid in the form of a "qualified joint and survivor annuity" (QJSA). A QJSA is an annuity that pays a dollar amount (usually monthly) to your husband while he is alive, with at least 50% of that amount continuing to you after his death, if you survive him. However, if you consent in writing, your husband can waive the QJSA and elect instead to receive a single-life annuity. With a single-life annuity, payments are made over your husband's lifetime but stop upon his death. For example, if your husband receives just one payment after retirement and then dies, the single-life annuity would end and the plan...
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Jul
26
How do I get disability benefits from Social Security?
Getting Social Security disability benefits is a two-step process. First, the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines whether you are eligible to receive benefits. This determination is based on the number of years you have worked and paid Social Security taxes. Second, you apply for disability benefits by furnishing information about your claim, including the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of physicians, hospitals, and clinics that have treated you for your disability. You will also be asked to provide a copy of your most recent W-2 form (or tax return if you're self-employed), as well as your Social Security number and proof of your age. If your claim is approved, don't expect to get your disability benefits right...
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Jul
19
Should I be investing more aggressively?
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 women. According to a U.S. Department of Labor study ("Women and Retirement Savings," October 2008), women often start saving later, save less, and invest more conservatively than men, which decreases their chances of having enough income in retirement. How you should be investing depends on many factors, such as: 1) How able are you to tolerate risk? 2) How soon do you hope to achieve your financial goals? 3) How much will you need to save for important goals such as retirement? 4)...
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Jul
12
I can choose a single life annuity for my pension or a joint and survivor annuity that makes payments to my spouse when I die. Which is better?
It depends on your circumstances. If you're not married, the single life annuity is clearly the best choice (and may be your only option). You'll receive the maximum payout from your pension during your life, and all benefits will cease when you die. This option may even make sense if you're married (assuming that you have other ways to take care of your surviving spouse, such as investments or retirement plan assets), and the difference between the higher-paying single life annuity and the joint and survivor annuity is very great. (The joint and survivor annuity benefits paid to you during your life will be smaller than if you elected a single life annuity, because they are payable as long as either person is alive.) One common...
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Jun
21
Will Social Security be around for me?
With the news full of reports about Social Security's uncertain future, you might wonder whether you will ever benefit from the Social Security taxes you pay. Although this popular social insurance program faces financial challenges, and some reform is certainly likely, Social Security is not only likely to be there for you in the future, it's there for you right now. Social Security is not just for retirees. The program also provides valuable protection to younger people. For example, if you become disabled at any age and can no longer work, you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. If you have a family, your spouse and children may also be eligible to receive certain types of benefits based on your earnings...
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Jun
14
How much money should I save for retirement?
Generally speaking, as much as possible. You need to build a fund that you'll be able to draw on for much of your retirement income. Believe it or not, this may be possible if you start early and make smart choices. Contribute as much as you can to tax-advantaged savings vehicles (e.g., 401(k)s, IRAs, annuities). Then round out your retirement portfolio with other investments (e.g., stocks, bonds, mutual funds). As you're planning and saving, keep in mind that you may have 30 or more years of retirement to fund. So, you probably need an even bigger nest egg than you think. Before investing in a mutual fund, carefully consider its investment objectives, risks, fees, and expenses, which are contained in the prospectus available from the...
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Apr
11
Should I contribute to my 401K plan at work?
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 contributions to a 401(k) plan are not taxed as current income. They come right off the top of your salary before taxes are withheld. This reduces your taxable income, allowing you to pay less in taxes each year. You'll eventually pay taxes on amounts contributed when you withdraw money from the plan, but you may be in a lower tax bracket by then. You may even qualify for a partial tax credit for amounts contributed. Furthermore, money held in a 401(k) plan grows tax deferred....
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Apr
03
Estimating Your Retirement Income Needs
You know how important it is to plan for your retirement, but where do you begin? One of your first steps should be to estimate how much income you'll need to fund your retirement. That's not as easy as it sounds, because retirement planning is not an exact science. Your specific needs depend on your goals and many other factors. Use your current income as a starting point It's common to discuss desired annual retirement income as a percentage of your current income. Depending on who you're talking to, that percentage could be anywhere from 60 to 90 percent, or even more. The appeal of this approach lies in its simplicity, and the fact that there's a fairly common-sense analysis underlying it: Your current income sustains your present...
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Mar
14
Investment Planning: The Basics
Tags: retirement
Why do so many people never obtain the financial independence that they desire? Often it's because they just don't take that first step--getting started. Besides procrastination, other excuses people make are that investing is too risky, too complicated, too time consuming, and only for the rich. The fact is, there's nothing complicated about common investing techniques, and it usually doesn't take much time to understand the basics. One of the biggest risks you face is not educating yourself about which investments may be able to help you pursue your financial goals and how to approach the investing process. Saving versus investing Both saving and investing have a place in your finances. However, don't confuse the two. Saving is the...
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Sep
12
Changing Jobs? Take Your 401(k) and Roll It
Tags: retirement
In some cases, you have no choice--you need to use the funds. If so, try to minimize the tax impact. For example, if you have nontaxable after-tax contributions in your account, keep in mind that you can roll over just the taxable portion of your distribution and keep the nontaxable portion for yourself. If you've lost your job, or are changing jobs, you may be wondering what to do with your 401(k) plan account. It's important to understand your options. What will I be entitled to? If you leave your job (voluntarily or involuntarily), you'll be entitled to a distribution of your vested balance. Your vested balance always includes your own contributions (pretax, after-tax, and Roth) and typically any investment earnings on those...
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May
31
Retirement Plan Is Key to Confidence, Survey Finds
Tags: retirement
Retirees tend to be more confident about having a financially secure retirement than current workers, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Retirement confidence is highest among workers who say they or their spouse have a retirement plan, such as a work-sponsored plan or an individual retirement account (IRA), reports the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). In its 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey, EBRI found that 28% of those with a retirement plan said they were "very confident" about their ability to afford retirement, compared with just 12% of those without a plan. In addition, 34% of workers who said they or their spouse have a retirement plan had saved at least $100,000 for retirement, while 64% of...
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May
04
401(k) Plans: The Basics
Tags: retirement
Retirement plans established under Section 401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code, commonly referred to as "401(k) plans," have become one of the most popular types of employer-sponsored retirement plans. What is a 401(k) plan? A 401(k) plan is a retirement savings plan that offers significant tax benefits while helping you plan for the future. You contribute to the plan via payroll deduction, which can make it easier for you to save for retirement. One important feature of a 401(k) plan is your ability to make pretax contributions to the plan. Pretax means that your contributions are deducted from your pay and transferred to the 401(k) plan before federal (and most state) income taxes are calculated. This reduces your current taxable...
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Apr
06
Net Unrealized Appreciation: The Untold Story
Tags: retirement
All investing involves risk, including the loss of principal. This discussion explains the tax treatment that may be available when employer stock is held in a qualified retirement plan. While the examples used in the discussion show such stock increasing in value over time, it is important to understand that any shares of stock held in a retirement plan, including shares of employer stock, can lose some or all of their value over time. If you're expecting a distribution of employer securities from a qualified retirement plan, make sure you speak with your financial or tax professional before you take any action so that you can fully explore and understand all the options available to you. Only then can you be assured of making the...
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Mar
14
Understanding Investment Terms and Concepts
Tags: retirement
Below are summaries of some basic principles you should understand when evaluating an investment opportunity or making an investment decision. Rest assured, this is not rocket science. In fact, you'll see that the most important principle on which to base your investment education is simply good common sense. You've decided to start investing. If you've had little or no experience, you're probably apprehensive about how to begin. It's always wise to understand what you're investing in. The better you understand the information you receive, the more comfortable you will be with the course you've chosen. Don't be intimidated by jargon Don't worry if you can't understand the experts in the financial media right away. Much of what they say...
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Jan
19
My company has a profit-sharing plan. How do these plans work?
Tags: retirement
Answer: A profit-sharing plan is a defined contribution plan in which your employer has discretion to determine when and how much the company pays into the plan. The amount allocated to each individual account is usually based on the salary level of the participant (employee). Your employer's contributions to your account, and any investment earnings, accumulate on a tax-deferred basis--the IRS will tax these benefits as part of your regular income only when you begin receiving distributions from the plan, typically after you retire or terminate employment. Whether you can make withdrawals while you are still employed depends on the terms of your plan. For example, some plans permit withdrawals after you've attained at 59½, or after...
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Dec
21
Reaching Retirement: Now What?
Tags: retirement
1When considering a rollover, to either an IRA or to another employer's retirement plan, you should consider carefully the investment options, fees and expenses, services, ability to make penalty-free withdrawals, degree of creditor protection, and distribution requirements associated with each option. 2To qualify for tax-free and penalty-free withdrawal of earnings, a Roth IRA must meet a five-year holding requirement and the distribution must take place after age 59½, with certain exceptions. Rule of thumb Many investment professionals recommend you follow this simple rule of thumb when allocating your retirement assets: The percentage of stocks or mutual funds in your portfolio should equal approximately 100% minus your age....
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Nov
17
Six Keys to More Successful Investing
Tags: retirement
A successful investor maximizes gain and minimizes loss. Though there can be no guarantee that any investment strategy will be successful and all investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal, here are six basic principles that may help you invest more successfully. Long-term compounding can help your nest egg grow It's the "rolling snowball" effect. Put simply, compounding pays you earnings on your reinvested earnings. The longer you leave your money at work for you, the more exciting the numbers get. For example, imagine an investment of $10,000 at an annual rate of return of 8 percent. In 20 years, assuming no withdrawals, your $10,000 investment would grow to $46,610. In 25 years, it would grow to $68,485, a 47...
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Oct
19
Pay Down Debt or Save for Retirement?
Tags: retirement
All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful. The most important decision you can make is to take action and get started now. The sooner you decide on a plan, the sooner you can begin to make progress. If you decide to prioritize paying down debt, make sure you put in place a mechanism that automatically directs money toward the debt so you won't be tempted to skip or reduce payments. You can use a variety of strategies to pay off debt, many of which can cut not only the amount of time it will take to pay off the debt but also the total interest paid. But like many people, you may be torn between paying off debt and the need...
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Sep
21
What are required minimum distributions and how are they calculated?
Tags: retirement
Required minimum distributions are the amounts that you must withdraw each year from your traditional IRA, employer-sponsored retirement plan, or tax-sheltered annuity. You must begin to take the annual distributions by April 1 of the year following the year in which you reach age 70½. This is known as your required beginning date. If you work for your employer past age 70½ and are still participating in the employer's retirement plan, you may postpone your first distribution from that plan until April 1 of the year following the year of your retirement (as long as you are not more than a 5 percent owner of the employer). Regardless of your required beginning date, you must take subsequent distributions by December 31 of each calendar...
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Aug
25
Staying on Track with Your Retirement Investments
Tags: retirement
All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal, and there can be no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful. And asset allocation and diversification alone cannot guarantee a profit or eliminate the possibility of loss, including the loss of principal. Note:Before investing in a mutual fund, consider its investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses, all of which are outlined in the prospectus, available from the fund. Consider the information carefully before investing. Remember that an investment in a money market fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although the fund seeks to preserve the value of your investment at...
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Jul
27
In-Service Withdrawals from 401(k) Plans
Tags: retirement
A qualified reservist distribution is a distribution (1) to a reservist or national guardsman ordered or called to active duty after September 11, 2001, for a period in excess of 179 days or for an indefinite period, and (2) that's made during the period beginning on the date of such order or call to duty and ending at the close of the active duty period. Special rules apply to the withdrawal of qualified matching contributions (QMACs) and qualified nonelective contributions (QNECs), which are special employer contributions made to help meet 401(k) plan nondiscrimination requirements. These contributions are generally subject to the same withdrawal restrictions that apply to your own elective deferrals, but are not available for hardship...
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Jun
29
Choosing a Beneficiary for Your IRA or 401(k)
Tags: retirement
Selecting beneficiaries for retirement benefits is different from choosing beneficiaries for other assets such as life insurance. With retirement benefits, you need to know the impact of income tax and estate tax laws in order to select the right beneficiaries. Although taxes shouldn't be the sole determining factor in naming your beneficiaries, ignoring the impact of taxes could lead you to make an incorrect choice. In addition, if you're married, beneficiary designations may affect the size of minimum required distributions to you from your IRAs and retirement plans while you're alive. Paying income tax on most retirement distributions Most inherited assets such as bank accounts, stocks, and real estate pass to your beneficiaries...
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Jun
01
How Much Annual Income Can Your Retirement Portfolio Provide?
Tags: retirement
More ways to help stretch your savings Don't overspend early in your retirement Plan IRA distributions so you can preserve tax-deferred growth as long as possible Postpone taking Social Security benefits to increase payments Adjust your asset allocation Adjust your annual budget during years when returns are low Tax considerations Prolonging your savings may require attention to tax issues. For example, how will higher withdrawal rates affect your tax bracket? And does your withdrawal rate take into account whether you will owe taxes on that money? Also, if you must sell investments to maintain a uniform withdrawal rate, consider the order in which you sell them. Minimizing the long-term tax consequences of withdrawals or the...
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May
05
Holding Equities for the Long Term: Time Versus Timing
Tags: retirement
All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any strategy will be successful. 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 stocks. Historically, equities have typically outperformed bonds, cash, and inflation, though past performance is no guarantee of future results and those returns also have involved higher volatility. It can be challenging to have Buffett-like patience during periods such as 2000-2002, when the stock market fell for 3 years in a...
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Apr
21
What to Do after You've Been Automatically Enrolled in Your Company's Retirement Plan
Tags: retirement
At one time, the only way you could join your company's 401(k) plan, 403(b) plan, or 457(b) plan was to put pen to paper and sign yourself up by filling out the appropriate forms. Now, though, in an effort to help participants increase their retirement savings, some employers have begun enrolling their employees automatically. With automatic enrollment, you don't fill out a form to opt into your company's retirement plan; you only fill out a form to opt out of it. At first glance, automatic enrollment sounds like a no-brainer--without doing anything, you're on your way to saving for retirement. But don't just assume that the investment decisions your employer has made on your behalf are right for you. Instead, take charge of your own...
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Mar
20
Closing a Retirement Income Gap
Tags: retirement
When you determine how much income you'll need in retirement, you may base your projection on the type of lifestyle you plan to have and when you want to retire. However, as you grow closer to retirement, you may discover that your income won't be enough to meet your needs. If you find yourself in this situation, you'll need to adopt a plan to bridge this projected income gap. Delay retirement: 65 is just a number One way of dealing with a projected income shortfall is to stay in the workforce longer than you had planned. This will allow you to continue supporting yourself with a salary rather than dipping into your retirement savings. Depending on your income, this could also increase your Social Security retirement benefit. You'll also...
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Feb
09
Mutual Funds: Building Blocks for a Retirement Portfolio
Diversification--not putting all your eggs in one basket--is one of the most cherished principles of investing. That's one reason why mutual funds have become a popular choice for many investors' workplace retirement accounts. They're an easy way to invest in many different securities at once, and to do so at a lower cost than you might be able to achieve on your own. Though diversification alone can't guarantee a profit or prevent the possibility of loss, it can help minimize how much your portfolio is affected by the problems of a single company or borrower. The basics of mutual funds A mutual fund pools the money of many investors to purchase securities such as stocks or bonds. By investing in the fund, you own a small portion of each...
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Jan
26
Counting on Your Husband's Retirement Income? Three Things Women Should Know
Tags: retirement; women
Women are more likely than men to work in part-time jobs that don't qualify for a retirement plan. And women are more likely to interrupt their careers (or stay out of the workforce altogether) to raise children or take care of other family members. As a result, women generally work fewer years and save less, leaving many to rely on their husbands' savings and benefits to carry them both through retirement.1 Sources 1Family Caregiver Alliance, 2012' U.S. Department of Labor, "Women and Retirement Savings," August 2013 2NCHS Data Brief, Number 168, October 2014 3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013 (provisional data for 2011) 4U.S. Government Accountability Office, "Retirement Security, Women Still Face Challenges"...
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Jan
21
Taking Advantage of Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans
Tags: retirement
Employer-sponsored qualified retirement plans such as 401(k)s are some of the most powerful retirement savings tools available. If your employer offers such a plan and you're not participating in it, you should be. Once you're participating in a plan, try to take full advantage of it. Understand your employer-sponsored plan Before you can take advantage of your employer's plan, you need to understand how these plans work. Read everything you can about the plan and talk to your employer's benefits officer. You can also talk to a financial planner, a tax advisor, and other professionals. Recognize the key features that many employer-sponsored plans share: Your employer automatically deducts your contributions from your paycheck. You may...
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Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual's personal circumstances.

To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.

These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Terry L. Jordan is a Investment Advisor Representative who is a Michigan resident. An Investment Advisor Representative may only discuss/and or transact securities business with residents of the following states: Michigan, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, and Washington.

Securities and advisory services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC. Insurance offered through Jordan Financial & Associates which is not affiliated with Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. 



This communication is strictly intended for individuals residing in the state(s) of AZ, FL, ID, IN, MI and WA. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside the specific states referenced.
 


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