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Welcome and thank you for stopping by. Our blog sets the heading to separate financial fiction from financial fact to help keep you afloat and stay the course. From 401(k) IRA Rollovers to Life Insurance, Living Trusts, Social Security, Annuity Rates and everything in between, we are here to educate the community about important financial topics that affect your estate and retirement plans.

Income Matters More Than Savings in Retirement

A recent poll of pre-retirees affirms income is key to retirement. Steady income or a lump sum? Last year, financial services firm TIAA asked working Americans: if you could choose between a lump sum of $500,000 or a monthly income of $2,700 at retirement, which choice would you make?1 Sixty-two percent said that they would take the $2,700 per month. Figuring on a 20-year retirement for today’s 65-year-olds, $2,700 per month comes to $648,000 by age 85. So, why did nearly 40% of the survey respondents pick the lump sum over the stable monthly income?1 Maybe the instant gratification psychology common to lottery winners played a part. Maybe they ran some numbers and figured that the $500,000

Weekly Economic Update for January 29, 2018

WEEKLY QUOTE “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” - Aristotle THE ECONOMY EXPANDED 2.6% in Q4 The Department of Commerce’s first estimate of fourth-quarter gross domestic product was 0.6% below the Q3 number, but still well above the 2.1% rate the nation has averaged in the recovery from the Great Recession. America saw 2.3% economic growth in 2017, according to the report.1 HOME SALES RETREATED DURING THE HOLIDAYS Winter chill possibly encouraged the decline as much as high prices and low inventory. The National Association of Realtors noted a 3.6% slump in resales in December, while the Census Bureau said that new home purchases fell

Top 10 Bad Money Habits to Break in 2018

Behaviors worth changing for the New Year. Do bad money habits constrain your financial progress? Many people fall into the same financial behavior patterns year after year. If you sometimes succumb to these financial tendencies, the New Year is as good an occasion as any to alter your behavior. #1: Lending money to family & friends. You may know someone who has lent a few thousand to a sister or brother, a few hundred to an old buddy, and so on. Generosity is a virtue, but personal loans can easily transform into personal financial losses for the lender. If you must loan money to a friend or family member, mention that you will charge interest and set a repayment plan with deadlines. Better

Weekly Economic Update for January 22, 2018

WEEKLY QUOTE "The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” - Okakura Kakuzo CONSUMER SENTIMENT READING COOLS The initial January University of Michigan consumer sentiment index came in at 94.4 last week, 1.5 points beneath its final reading of 2017 and 4.1 points under its level of one year ago. Without prompting, 34% of respondents to the latest UMich survey brought up the subject of the recent federal tax reforms; 70% of them felt the reforms would have a positive effect on their lives; 18%, a negative effect.1 WINTER WEAKENS HOUSING STARTS New Census Bureau data shows groundbreaking decreased 8.2% in December after a (revised) 3.0% November gain. Building permits

Weekly Economic Update for January 15, 2018

WEEKLY QUOTE “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” - Mark Twain RETAIL SALES ROSE IN DECEMBER Consumers spent freely during the holidays: the latest Census Bureau report shows a nice advance for retail purchases. They improved 0.4% last month, with core retail sales up by the same amount.1 PRODUCER PRICES UNEXPECTEDLY RETREAT In December, wholesale inflation declined for the first time in 18 months. Even with that 0.1% dip, the Producer Price Index advanced 2.6% for 2017, compared with 1.7% in 2016. Households contended with 2.1% inflation during 2017 according to the Consumer Price Index, which ticked up 0.1% last month. Core consumer prices rose 0.3% in De

Do You Have Enough in Reserve for 2018?

Build your emergency fund this year. How much does the average American household have in the bank? Estimates vary, but the short answer to this question is “not enough.” Last year, a GoBankingRates poll discovered that 57% of U.S. households had less than $1,000 in deposit accounts (although, 25% reported having at least $10,000). A 2017 analysis from Moebs Services, a research firm consulting banks and credit unions, noted that the average U.S. checking account contained around $3,600.1,2 Eyeing these numbers, you get the sense that – in an emergency – most households have less than a month before their liquid savings run out. Is this true for your household? Hopefully, your cash reserve i

Weekly Economic Update for January 8, 2018

WEEKLY QUOTE “Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want; whatever you feel, be sure that is what you feel.” - T.S. Eliot LOW UNEMPLOYMENT, BUT LESS HIRING The Department of Labor’s latest jobs report announced a headline unemployment rate of only 4.1% in December, but it also showed companies adding just 148,000 net new workers last month. Even so, net payroll growth averaged 204,000 during the last three months. In hiring terms, the health care sector grew more than any other industry in 2017, expanding by 300,000 jobs. Wages rose 2.5% last year. The broader U-6 jobless rate, encompassing the underemployed, ticked up a tenth of a poin

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You’ve probably been planning for retirement in some way, shape, or form for many years. Maybe you participate in your company’s 401(k) plan or set aside money in a traditional or Roth IRA. Maybe your employer offers a pension plan. As you get closer to retirement, it’s important to plan for your retirement income in specific detail.

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