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Happy Advicegiving

November 20, 2016 — 2 Comments

The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are, by far, my favorite time of the year. There is cheer in the air and an overall feeling of generosity. Being in the financial field for the past 20 years I have also learned that this is the time of the year when advice is handed out most freely.

So take this as a word of caution for this “Advicegiving Season.”

Most of this advice is well intentioned however often unsolicited. It typically happens when the large meal of the day is finished, politics has been exhausted and the football games are winding down. Now enter the “rich uncle”, you know the one, everybody has one. (And they aren’t always rich) I can say everybody has one regardless of your economic situation or even knowing you. The rich uncle or relative is the guy that likes to tell you all of his huge successes throughout the year, whether they are real or not.

It almost always starts with a philanthropic tone of, “you should get into _________.” It starts this way so that everyone in the room feels like, wow! he is looking out for me or I am getting an inside tip. Then this person drones on and on about how well it has done. If it were to stop there I probably wouldn’t be even mentioning this non-event. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always stop there.

As I mentioned being in the financial field; Now I get to hear about all of these huge successes in the weeks following each of the holidays. It has happened repeatedly for the past 20 years. Which is both great and unfortunate?

It’s great to hear about these ideas/investments because I love to hear new ideas. Great because there are things out there that genuinely successful people do that I want to know about and be involved. Trust me, I certainly don’t claim to know it all and I also spend a great deal of time each year researching and learning anyways.

The unfortunate part is when it derails a financial plan that was totally on the right track. Unfortunately many of these proclaimed investment ideas aren’t always entirely true or even understood. Never does the afore mentioned rich uncle take the time to understand if his idea, be it good or bad, is appropriate for the season of life of the recipient or fits in to their overall goals.

So this holiday season take the advice and be gracious. However, I would caution you to think through who is giving the advice. Have they been successful? Are they in a different phase of life than you? Are their values in line with yours? Most importantly make sure that you overlay this advice with your well-coordinated plan to ensure that it fits into your families’ hopes and dreams.

Best of luck this Advicegiving season! I would encourage you to stick with throwing the football with the kids after lunch.

 

Do you have that Uncle? Let us know, maybe it would be even be fun to tag them on twitter or facebook as you respond:) 

 

Happy Holidays!

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life insurance imageIn my role as a Consultant with DDS Financial I have been conducting Life Insurance Audits, now a routine part of the firms practice. There have been a number of mistakes that the Audit process has brought to light and that we have since corrected. There are 3 most commonly made mistakes that I wanted to highlight so that you may be spurred to take action and engage in a Life Insurance Audit.

The Wrong Amount of Insurance

Insurance Agents are often accused of overselling or encouraging more coverage than people feel that they need. So it begs the question, what is the right amount of Life Insurance? There is a simple answer to a question that seems to bewilder many advisors; insure something for what it is worth. So as to not debate the value of a human life we should consider the Economic Value that someone has to the ones that they love. There are calculators that can assist in this measure, but for a good rule of thumb consider:

  • A person between ages 25 and 45 should have 20 to 30 times their income.
  • A person between ages 45 and 55 should have 15 times their income.
  • A person between ages 55 to 60 should own 10 times their income.
  • Someone in retirement should have an amount equal to their assets.

Style

Many of the individuals that I have seen lately have missed this in a major way. There are basically two broad categories in the style or type of Life Insurance that exist.

  • Term – As the name indicates, this insures you for a term or period of time and will then expire without value at the end of the term.
  • Permanent – As the name indicates, this insures you for your entire life. It lasts as long as you do.

Again to not be accused of oversimplifying there are many nuances to each of these that should be considered. One of the newest and most attractive features are living benefits that pay for Long Term Care coverage should it be needed during life.

It seems that the lure of a low cost term insurance has caused many to not consider the ramifications of entering into retirement without life insurance coverage. The ramifications typically result in a lower retirement income or withdrawal rate from retirement plans…. Not fun and often can’t be reversed if you wait to late! At the very least going through life with term insurance only can result in a loss of security and financial flexibility.

Beneficiary Designation

The mistakes that are made with Beneficiary Designations are subtle but can potentially have major ramifications. Insurance Agents are often in the role of a salesperson and not that of an advisor or planner. This sometimes causes a lack of coordination between beneficiary designations and wills and or trusts. In full disclosure, I am not an attorney and yours should be consulted when reviewing your beneficiary designations. The most common mistake that I see here is when a married person names their spouse as the primary beneficiary or a parent/grandparent names a minor/young adult. You may say, “What’s wrong with that?” Potentially nothing, but properly structured testamentary trusts with the surviving spouse/child as the beneficiary gives greater protection for he/she actually getting the proceeds that were intended for them. This proper wording can provide a layer of protection against litigation, maybe even future spouses etc. Bottom line is that you should pay close attention to your beneficiary designations!

These 3 Mistakes in Life Insurance: 1) the wrong amount of coverage. 2) the wrong type of coverage and 3) improper beneficiaries were the three that were most commonly found problems in our recent Audits. There were many other errors and oversights that surfaced.

Take the time to have your policies reviewed so that you have a greater peace of mind. Contact me to set up a free consultation.

 

Three Legged Stool GraphicMost people are looking for a Lazy Boy when they think of retirement; that comes later! While planning for retirement I like taking the three legged stool approach.  There is a time and place for getting into the complexities but first consider simplicity. Providing for an income, healthcare costs and leaving a legacy. This three pronged approach will reduce a lot of the stress if you are wondering whether you have covered all the bases in retirement planning.

 

 

 

Lifetime Income

Numerous surveys of retired people indicate that their number one concern is running out of money. So it makes sense that eliminating the number one concern will make for a more fulfilling retirement.  As we have discussed in other posts contractual wealth for at least a portion of your investments and properly structured growth vehicles is a good mix. This mix of investments and investment vehicles also allows for an income that will increase to keep pace with the rising costs of retirement living.

 

Long Term Care Benefits

This important leg of the stool protects the income that we discussed above from being eaten up by healthcare costs associated with an extended or chronic illness. The landscape for how to provide this protection is ever changing or even evolving. This evolution is due to the fact that our life expectancy is increasing, however our quality of life during that time really isn’t. So, planning ahead for this time can really protect your income and assets; ultimately your quality of life.

 

 

Legacy

I did all on my own, so they can do it all on their own!!! Have you ever heard anyone say that? Have you ever made that statement? Well I hear that all of the time from parents in the 30’s 40’s and sometimes 50’s; but rarely to never do you hear that from grandparents. Fact is that we change over time and often those who thought nothing about leaving a legacy begin wanting to leave their mark on their family or the world.  This isn’t just a pitch for life insurance, though that is a great tool; there are multiple ways to create a lasting legacy. Regardless of how you choose to create your impression the earlier you get started planning on it the better.

 

Don’t be the guy who is trying to prop up on a rickety stool. Create a solid foundation by addressing the three legged stool; because one day when you are reclined in your Lazy-Boy…..you’ll be glad that you did!