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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.

Medicare premiums set to rise in 2016

Sharon Epperson, Judy Gee, CNBC: The year 2016 will send shockwaves to about 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries, or roughly 7 million Americans. They're going to be paying a lot more for their monthly Medicare Part B premium. Individuals affected will see their monthly premiums rise from about $104.90 to $159.30, and $318.60 for married couples. Those whose income exceeds the threshold, as defined by individuals making more than $214,000 or couples making more than $428,000 per year, the projected increase is anywhere from $223 per month up to $509.80 per month. For high-earning married couples, their premiums can increase from $446 to $1,019.60 per month.

Using technology to engage with our clients

An integral part of managing client assets is meeting with our clients at least annually to review their current financial situation and adjust expectations and assumptions for their portfolio. With clients in 22 states, and many traveling during retirement we are always looking for new ways to connect and engage in a convenient manner.

Determining Your Risk Tolerance

Perhaps the most important factor in formulating your investment plan is your risk tolerance; that is, the amount of risk you’re willing to assume in order to achieve your most important objectives. More precisely, your risk tolerance is based on the your financial and emotional ability to withstand negative returns on your investment portfolio.  Before embarking on any investment strategy it is important to know your risk tolerance to ensure that you select the right kind of investments and you are able to set clear objectives. More importantly, when your investments are aligned with the proper risk-reward continuum, you’re assured of many more restful nights.  So, how do you go about determining your risk tolerance?

Look at Your Time Horizon

The most important determinant is time; that is, how much time you have before you will need to access the money being invested. Younger people, those with more than 30 years before retirement, are more able to withstand the swings and the cycles of the stock market because of the tendency for the market to increase over time. When the stock market declines by 20% or more in one year, as it has a few times over the last couple of decades, a younger investor has the time to allow the market to recoup its losses and forge ahead for a couple of years. Therefore, they could take a more aggressive posture towards investing by increasing their exposure to stocks.

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