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Five Things You Should Expect From Your Financial Advisor

In the realm of investment advice, value is defined by what you receive from your advisory relationship that meets or exceeds your expectations. For most clients, it has much less to do with pricing or investment performance, than it has to do with the fulfillment of promises and commitments made at the outset of the relationship.  But the commitments will only have value if they are based on your stated needs and expectations.

Should You Have a Living Trust?

A will is the foundation of your estate plan and it is essential if your financial affairs are to be settled in accordance with your wishes. If you die without a will, or “intestate” as the law refers to it, essentially the state becomes your executor and your property will be distributed according to its laws. Drawing up a will has become so easy, and it is relatively inexpensive, leaving very little reason why everyone shouldn’t have one. The question becomes whether you should have a living trust in addition to your will.

What is a Living Trust?

Investing and Emotions: How the Average Investor Stacks Up

A study by Dalbar underscores the importance of controlling emotions and avoiding self-destructive investor behavior. From 1995–2014, the average stock fund returned 9.9% annually while the average investor earned only 2.5%. We call the gap between these results the “investor behavior penalty.”

3 Questions You Must Ask a Financial Advisor

What the Social Security Administration Doesn't Tell You

Kelley Holland, CNBC

Amid all the changes underway with retirement, from disappearing pensions to shrinking matches on company 401(k) plans, one thing – so far – has remained constant: Social Security. Among those age 65 and over, more than half of married couples and 74 percent of those who are not married depend on Social Security for at least half of their income, according to the Social Security Administration. But are Americans leaving Social Security money on the table? And could the Social Security statement provide more information that would help them make better choices?

Five Things You Should Expect From Your Financial Advisor

In the realm of investment advice, value is defined by what you receive from your advisory relationship that meets or exceeds your expectations. For most clients, it has much less to do with pricing or investment performance, than it has to do with the fulfillment of promises and commitments made at the outset of the relationship.  But the commitments will only have value if they are based on your stated needs and expectations.

You should expect your financial advisor to have in place a clearly defined process for working with you to develop and implement your investment strategy. You know you’ve found the right financial advisor when that process includes, at a minimum, these five elements:

The 4 Essential Elements of a Retirement Plan

Until recently, many retirees have been able to rely upon the three-legged stool of retirement income sources: A defined benefit pension plan that guarantees a lifetime income, their own savings, and Social Security. Within the last couple of decades, the first leg of the stool has all but disappeared as many defined benefit plans have been replaced with defined contribution plans such as a 401(k) plan. This has shifted the responsibility for creating a retirement income source to the individual. With expanding life spans and increasing retirement costs, it will require serious retirement planning to ensure that your income will last a lifetime. Here are the four essential elements of a sound retirement plan:

Ponzi schemes still prey on Florida Victims

Robert Trigaux, Tampa Bay Times

Did Floridians learn nothing from Bernie Madoff, the modern master of Ponzi schemes? Did we already forget Orlando boy band producer Lou Pearlman, credited with running one of the longest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history? Did we nap while Sarasota Ponzi schemer Arthur Nadel bilked locals of $162 million?

It seems so, judging from the torrent of financial ripoffs that continue to snare unwary investors across this state. Too many scams bear the distinct signs of fraud first masterminded by Charles Ponzi back in the 1920s. Literally dozens of Ponzi schemes involving scamsters or their victims are proliferating in Florida. Some are in the process of being uncovered by law enforcement, detailed in private lawsuits or being punished by court rulings and jail time. But there are far too many of them.

Who is affected by the new Social Security rules?

By Mary Beth Franklin

Assuming the Senate passes the legislation and President Obama signs it, these are the changes to look out for.

FILE AND SUSPEND

If you have already filed and suspended your benefits approximately May 1, 2016 — you can still request to file and suspend your benefits to trigger spousal or dependent benefits. If you are 66 or older within the first six months after the law is enacted in order to trigger spousal benefits for your wife or husband and/or dependent benefits for a minor or disabled child, your family will continue to receive benefits on your earnings record.

After May 1, 2016 (approximate date), the rules for file and suspend will change. No one will be able to collect benefits when the primary beneficiary files and suspends. And the person who files and suspends will no longer be able to request a lump sum payout of suspended benefits at a later date.

After May 1, 2016, the only use of file and suspend will be for those people who claimed reduced Social Security benefits before full retirement age. They will still be able to suspend benefits in order to earn delayed retirement credits of 8% per year between ages 66 and 70. But no one will be able to collect spousal or dependent benefits; known as auxiliary benefits; while the primary beneficiary suspends benefits. es.

Finance Lessons for Your Teen

The current economic environment has caused most everyone to reconsider their personal finances with many people having to drastically change their spending and savings habits. Out of this economic malaise may come an opportunity to finally instill the right habits in your teens that can carry them into adulthood on the right financial footing. Just as our parents and grandparents of the Great Depression era developed deeply ingrained attitudes about finances from their experience, our teens can share in the lessons of today’s “great recession” generation. The first step is to make your teen a partner with a stake in the family financial enterprise.

For most teens, it’s not about the money. Not yet anyway. It’s more about what the money can get them – weekend entertainment, clothes, toys, cars. Money, no matter its source, is simply the means for what is important to them. When the family goes through a “belt tightening” it may be an opportunity to turn these teen expenditures into teen motivators for learning about budgeting, savings and smart financial management.

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