Category Archives: Agents

Americans have a record $248 billion in 529 college savings accounts

college costs

They amount of money in the savings plans grew to a record $248 billion in 2014, about 9% more than the previous year.

People are starting to save for their children earlier than ever. About 31% of the savings plans are opened by parents when their child is barely a year old, or before, according to the College Savings Plans Network.

That’s smart, given the skyrocketing cost of college tuition and fees in recent years.

“You really should be starting to save for college as soon as your child is born,” said Betty Lochner, chair of the College Savings Plans Network.

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How to Save for Retirement Without a 401(k)

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A 401(k) plan makes it convenient to save for retirement. The money is automatically withheld from your paychecks before you ever get a chance to spend it. You immediately get a tax break on your traditional 401(k) contributions, and sometimes your employer contributes money to the account as well. Some workers are even automatically enrolled in the plan without having to fill out any paperwork or make saving and investment decisions.

Saving for retirement without a 401(k) plan takes a little more effort. But if you are willing to take some initiative, you can still enjoy many of the tax breaks and investment gains that workers with 401(k) plans enjoy. Here’s how to save for retirement when you don’t have a 401(k) plan.

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Determining a Realistic Retirement Figure for Gen X and Millennials

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Calculating a realistic figure on how much Gen X-ers and Millennials need to save for their retirement can be an unnerving task.

Many financial advisors recommend saving at least $1 million since life spans are increasing, but even half of that amount appears to be daunting and unattainable for many people who are saddled with both student loans and credit card debt.

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Watch an Elite Financial Adviser Hack His Own Retirement

Michael Kitces could drive a hot new car, work out in a high-end gym, and relax in a sprawling house. He can afford it. He just doesn’t want it.

What does the 37-year-old financial planner, a partner and director of research atPinnacle Advisory Group, want? To save enough so that he doesn’t need to earn any income from his work.

And when he reaches that point, he’ll probably just keep working—and driving his Kia Spectra, which just turned 10.

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Effective Investment Diversification Is Not As Simple As Most Think

Bruce McCain

We have long been told that diversification eliminates unnecessary risk from our portfolios, but how many investors know how diversification works or how to do it effectively? Is it simply enough to distribute assets across a range of investments, or is the process more complicated than that? Diversification, when it is done well, does have some complexities, so a better understanding of the tradeoffs and pitfalls can be helpful in diversifying more effectively.

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Article By: Bruce McCain

Top Tips for a Tax-Conscious Retirement

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President Obama’s American Taxpayer Relief Act introduced a whole new set of rules for high-net-worth clients beginning in 2013. Among other things, the law raised the highest marginal tax rate from 35% to 39.6% as well as increased the tax rate on long-term capital gains and dividend income from 15% to 20%. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions were also pruned under the new law for couples making over $250,000 per year.

Certified Financial Planners and Certified Public Accountants have begun implementing a number of strategies designed to mitigate these higher tax rates on high-net-worth individuals. From managing tax brackets to timing IRA conversions, these strategies can help extend the life of a nest egg. These strategies have been evolving over time as the tax code changes, while becoming increasingly necessary due to higher tax burdens on the wealthy. (For more, see: Asset Protection for High-Net-Worth Individuals.)

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Understanding The Longevity Calculation!

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We all know that Americans are living longer than in generations past and that this impacts retirement planning.  An ongoing debate rages about how much money is needed for retirement, at what age we should start taking social security benefits, and when or if we should retire at all.

How long we will live is, of course, a great unknown.  Many clients don’t like thinking about it, but it has a tremendous impact on how we should plan and how much needs to be saved.  Yet even though we likely haven’t considered exactly how long we will live, companies that manage retirement dollars have and so has the government which oversees our social security payouts.  And guess what, they may have it all wrong.

First, some statistics on longevity in America which may surprise you.

  • Since 1900, the average life expectancy has increased by 31 years, so the average American can now expect to live past age 78.
  • The number of Americans 100 or older has risen by an astounding 2,200% since 1950.  More than 53,000 centenarians call the United States home.
  • 47% of baby boomers are at risk of outliving their retirement savings.

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A Rated Carriers

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The Independent Agent Network represents a multitude of top-rated carriers, which allows our agents to offer a diverse portfolio of products and maintain a competitive edge in the industry. Our agents are independent and energized by a clear sense of purpose. When you get contracted with us, you’ll be working in a team environment, with the training and support systems you will need to be successful.

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