Shortlink

In the Middle

Remember Jan Brady of the Brady Bunch? She always lamented being the “middle child,” because Cindy got attention for being the littlest and “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha” got attention as the oldest. Much like other children “in the middle,” Jan felt she got lost in the shuffle and no one cared about her.

 

And so the lament continues with America’s middle class. According to a Pew Research report, middle-class Americans feel they are “fewer, poorer, [and] gloomier” after a lost decade marked by stagnant incomes, shrinking wealth, and greater financial stress and uncertainty. The middle class can be seen as facing new challenges in the current economy.

[CLICK HERE to read the report, "The Lost Decade of the Middle Class," at PewResearch.org, August 22, 2012.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "The strange death of the British middle class," at TheSpectator.com, Aug. 24, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Obama returns focus to America's struggling middle class," at PewResearch.org, July 24, 2013.]

 

President Obama proclaims to care about Jan Brady and all of her “in the middle” cohorts. In a recent speech, he declared that prosperity needs to come from the “middle out” rather than the top down. A recent article in the New York Times echoed the administration’s sentiment that a thriving middle class is the path to a stronger economy. In other words, paying attention to Jan Brady may be the key to turning this country’s economic woes into good fortune.

 

To that end, the President has proposed a new higher education plan to make college more affordable for the middle class — and everyone else. The first phase is to create a university rating system that assesses each college’s ability to graduate students and help them get good-paying jobs. The second phase — which is bound to be more controversial — is to financially incentivize colleges with the best track record in these areas.

 

This approach is similar to the one trending in the health care industry: To pay doctors and hospitals based on positive patient outcomes rather than services rendered.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "President Adopts Catchphrase to Describe Proposed Recipe for Economic Revival," at The New York Times, July 22, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Would Obama's higher-ed plan actually make college a better deal?" at MSNBC.com, August 22, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the research report, "Accountable Design for Accountable Care," at McGraw-Hill Research Foundation, March 4, 2013.]

 

Education may well be an important part of our future, as many believe that a renaissance in American manufacturing will not yield a huge increase in jobs for middle Americans. That’s because manufacturing these days is so technologically advanced that machines do most of the work. So-called “blue collar” workers must have the education and experience to operate and troubleshoot sophisticated computer-operated machinery.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "In Manufacturing, Blue-Collar Jobs Need White-Collar Training," at National Journal Magazine, May 29, 2013.]

 

For now, Jan Brady and the rest of the middle class bunch will attempt to adjust to the current circumstances as best as they can. According to the Social Security Administration, the program’s benefits continue to be key to the financial well-being of America’s retirees. So until we all become as well off as the so-called 1 percent, it can be important that we spend each dollar responsibly, understand our financial options, and not mope about wishing we could all be Marsha and Greg.

 

If you could use some assistance developing a financial strategy, we’re here to help.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Social Security is crucial to the middle class," at MarketWatch.com, Aug. 22, 2013.]

 

These articles are being provided to for informational purposes only. While we believe this information to be correct. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included.

 

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.     

By contacting us, you may be offered insurance products that are available for purchase.

1308194

Shortlink

Hidden Fees

Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Our life is frittered away by detail.” It does often seem that way where finances are concerned. For example, despite the consumer protections advanced by the Credit Card Act of 2009, you may still get hit with mystery merchant fees such as “Free-to-paid” and “Zombie” charges.

 

“Free-to-paid” refers to trying out a product or service for free, but then not actively cancelling it after the free period has ended. This is similar to getting free movie channels when you initially buy cable TV service, only to receive substantially increased cable bills when the free period ends.

 

Or worse yet, “Zombie” charges refer to something you signed up to receive and then thought you had cancelled, but the charge continues to show up on your bill. According to a recent study released last month from software company BillGuard and research firm Aite Group, Zombie charges occur 11.9 million times each year for total revenues of more than $826 million.

 

Despite the call for greater fee transparency, another recent study found that the average bank checking account has 30 fees, and many U.S. banks still don’t provide a list of these charges until after a customer applies to open an account.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "5 Common Hidden Credit Card Charges," at FoxBusiness.com, Aug. 7, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "The Hidden Fees Eating Up Your Bank Balance," at Marketwatch.com, Aug. 8, 2013.]

A cursory look at any of your utility bills may also reveal a list of administrative charges beyond your actual consumption, and it can be difficult to discern what these charges are for. Most of us just pay the bill and don’t look back. However in July, a handful of Washington legislators sent letters to Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and CenturyLink requesting justification for these types of extra fees tacked onto consumer bills. We all know that those aggressive cell phone rates touted in TV ads do not represent what we actually pay on a monthly basis. It’s just another way our checking account balances get frittered away. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Democrats investigate hidden fees on internet, cell phone bills," at TheHill.com, July 18, 2013.]

Another area in which Washington has mandated more transparency is in 401(k) fee disclosure statements. The fact is though, that many people won’t read this disclosure no matter how easy it is to understand. After all, your employer is the one who picks the fund choices, so you may not get a whole lot of say in how much is charged in fees. The reality is that your 401(k) plan may offer other similar choices that do not charge as much. It’s worth taking a look. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "How to find 'hidden' 401(k) fees," at CBSnews.com, July 30, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to watch the video, "How to avoid hidden 401(k) fees," at CBSnews.com, July 26, 2013.]

These articles are being provided to for informational purposes only. While we believe this information to be correct. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included.

If you could use some help evaluating what you’re paying for the administration and management of your assets compared to what you receive in return, please give us a call. We’re happy to help in any way we can.

By Contacting us, you may receive information regarding insurance products available for purchase.

For guidance on your securities holdings, please consult with a broker dealer or Registered Investment Advisor.

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

1308188

Shortlink

The Immigration Debate

Alice Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, recently wrote an article supporting immigration reform. According to her article at Marketwatch.com, if the current legislative bill were passed, it would substantially reduce Social Security costs as a result of increased taxable earnings.

 

Her comments are based on an analysis provided by the Social Security Administration, which estimated that the bill would extend the solvency of the program by an additional two years (to 2035).

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Immigration Reform Will Help Social Security," at Marketwatch.com, Aug. 7, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read Social Security's findings in a letter report at SSA.gov, June 28, 2013.]

 

 

Bolstering the Social Security Trust Fund is just one of the issues integral to the ongoing debate about border control. The Senate passed its version of the bill in June, which would make the biggest changes to the immigration system in more than 25 years. Among the changes is to offer citizenship to millions of immigrants now in the U.S. illegally and to establish a mandate for extra security along the border of Mexico.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the report, "Senate OK's Sweeping Immigration Overhaul," at Marketwatch.com, June 27, 2013.]

The technology industry has strongly supported the legislation, citing a shortage of highly-skilled workers. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently spoke in favor of the immigration bill, advocating for the tech industry’s needs for more work visas and a better green card system.

 

 

However, a recent study revealed that some of today’s perceptions of available tech job candidates are flawed. Interestingly, there appears to be a shortage of qualified workers for lower level, computer systems analyst positions, but for higher-skilled positions such as computer programmers, there are more than enough potential candidates in the United States.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Mark Zuckerberg: Immigration stakes high for tech, undocumented immigrants," at Politico.com, Aug. 5, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Silicon Valley Fights for Immigration Talent," at Technology Review, July 26, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Big Data Analysis Adds to Guest Worker Debate," at The New York Times, July 23, 2013.]

 

Opponents of the bill call for a greater need for border enforcement and a defined path to work and citizenship rather than blanket amnesty, including a probationary period with specific requirements before illegal aliens can apply for a legal work permit. In an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) argued that, “Then and only then can that person get a legal work permit, no special path way. And if a person in this situation wants to get in the line to get a green card, like any other immigrant, only at the back of the line, because we need to be fair to that legal immigrant who did everything right in the first place.”

 

 

Furthermore, the U.S. department that represents immigration agents sent a letter to Congress to report that the agency is ill-prepared to handle the tremendous number of visa applications that could result from passage of the bill.

 

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "'Borders First' a Dividing Line in Immigration Debate," at Pew Research, June 23, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read a transcript of the Ryan Face the Nation interview at CBS, Aug. 4, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "USCIS Union Criticizes GOP DREAM Act," at NumbersUSA.com, Aug. 1, 2013.]

 

Much like other economic events, the immigration bill could potentially impact your personal economics. If you’d like to discuss your personal needs, please give us a call.

 

 

These articles are being provided to for informational purposes only. While we believe this information to be correct. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included.

 

By contacting us, you may be offered information regarding the purchase of insurance.

 

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

 

 

1308118

Shortlink

Do Jobs Matter as Much as Engagement?

In July, the U.S. economy added 162,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent from 7.6 percent in June. However, job market numbers are complex. According to The Wall Street Journal, 227,000 more people said they were employed in July compared with June, but concurrently 37,000 dropped out of the overall labor force — a possible sign that those discouraged by being jobless for a long time simply are no longer looking for work.

[CLICK HERE to read the news release at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 2, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Good and Bad News in Unemployment Rate Drop," at The Wall Street Journal, August 2, 2013.]

Interestingly, a lot of folks who have jobs appear to be none-too-happy. There have been significant new studies in the last couple of years regarding “employee engagement” — loosely defined as just how much workers are “in to” their jobs. For example, a February 2013 study by Dale Carnegie Training found that up to 71 percent of employees are not fully engaged.

[CLICK HERE to view the study infographic, "Employee Relations Key to Engaged Employees," at Dale Carnegie, May 10, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the 2012 Global Workforce Study at Towers Watson, July 2012.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Secrets of America's Happiest Companies," at Fast Company, January 10, 2013.]

A new study from Aon Hewitt concludes that employee engagement is one of the key drivers of business success. This would stand to reason, but it’s nice to have some numbers to back it up. The study found that each incremental percentage point of employees who became engaged translated into an additional 0.6 percent growth in sales. Total Shareholder Return (TSR) is also impacted. For businesses that achieve 72 percent employee engagement (the top quartile), their TSR is 50 percent higher than organizations with average engagement.

[CLICK HERE to read the report, "2013 Trends in Global Employee Engagement," at Aon Hewitt, August 2, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "The Proof is in the Profits: America's Happiest Companies Make More Money," at Fast Company, February 22, 2013.]

While it’s good that more Americans are working, it’s disconcerting that there is a sustained high level of people who are not fully engaged in what they do for a living. That factor alone can have far-reaching ramifications, ranging from individual company performance and stock prices, to safety and health concerns for both employees and the consumers they serve, and possibly even down to our education system. After all, how well do students learn if teachers aren’t engaged?

 

By the same token, it’s important that we take responsibility and remain engaged in planning our own financial future. Don’t get lackadaisical and think that the markets or government programs will always provide — make sure you take precautions and plan for possible contingencies. To learn about how our services may be able to help you, please give us a call.

 

By contacting us, you may be offered information regarding the purchase of insurance. The links contained within are for informational purposes only. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed.

 

1308037

Shortlink

Fed Chairman: Economic Influence, Conjecture and Perspective

At first glance, one might think that the president of the United States — arguably the most powerful person in the free world — is the most influential force on economic growth. Recent history has proven otherwise. From Alan Greenspan to Ben Bernanke, it’s become evident that — to paraphrase from an old advertising slogan from the 1970s — when the Fed chairman speaks, people listen.

Since Bernanke’s May 22 Congressional testimony, the S&P 500 Index corrected from its all-time high of 1,687 to a low of 1,560 on June 23. Ten-year Treasury yields also rose about 100 basis points to a high of 2.7 percent, and spreads on corporate bonds widened sharply. Less than a month later, Bernanke relieved the mayhem by stating that monetary easing was likely to continue for some time, which resulted in the financial markets stabilizing and reducing volatility. The S&P 500 soared back to its May highs.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Taper talks: Changes in the Fed's monetary policy, or even talk about change, may stir up the markets," at Fidelity.com, July 21, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "It's time to stop listening to Bernanke," at Marketwatch.com, July 26, 2013.]

 

So now the big debate is over who will take over this immensely powerful positionthe power to move markets, influence global monetary policy, sink ships and leap over tall buildings in a single bound. Or the like.

 

There is (largely Republican) support for former Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers, an aggressive voice who tends to oppose quantitative easing. There is (largely Democratic) support for Janet Yellen, a 20-year Federal bank veteran and recognized consensus builder. She appears to be a proponent for aggressive Fed intervention to help improve unemployment levels, even if that means allowing inflation to increase above target.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Right now, Larry Summers is the front-runner for Fed chair," at WashtingtonPost.com, July 23, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Senate Dems push White House to appoint Janet Yellen (and not Larry Summers) to the Fed," at WashtingtonPost.com, July 26, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Does the Fed Chair Need to Be a Great Manager, or Just a Great Economist?" at Harvard Business Review, July 25, 2013.]


Bernanke’s tour of duty will end early next year. It appears, however, that the debate for his replacement will continue for quite some time. The White House has indicated that it will not name a new chairman of the Federal Reserve until the fall, giving us the rest of the summer to review pundit pros and cons over who is the best candidate for economic superman (or woman) for the next four-year term
.

[CLICK HERE to read about current board members at "About the Fed," at FederalReserve.gov, September 12, 2012.]

 

If you’d like to discuss how economic indicatorsincluding federal decisionscould impact your financial situation, please call us for a meeting.

These articles are being provided to for informational purposes only. While we believe this information to be correct. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included.

 

By contacting us, you may receive information regarding insurance products available for purchase.

 

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

 

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

 

1307116

Shortlink

Health Care Law Updates

Section 3022 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) provided for the creation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). These provider-run organizations are responsible for the overall quality, cost and care of a defined group of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries. Each ACO must serve at least 5,000 beneficiaries per program.

 

ACOs are intended to help curb the ramp up in cost of providing health care, and are rewarded with financial incentive payments when successful. Currently, there are more than 250 ACOs - perhaps minus nine of the original 32 pioneer ACOs that recently announced they may exit the Medicare program. These programs cite the difficulty associated with collecting and reporting required data, accessing claims information and the quality of data benchmarking as some of the reasons they’ve not been successful.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Continued Growth of Public and Private Accountable Care Organizations," at HealthAffairs.org, February 19, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Nine Pioneer ACOs May Leave the Medicare Program," at ExtendHealth.com, July 11, 2013.]

Another challenge the legislation is facing is that 21 states have decided not to expand Medicaid for the impoverished in their jurisdictions (six states are still undecided). It’s estimated that about two thirds of the low-income uninsured who would qualify for Medicaid under the healthcare law live in states that will not expand it.

This means that many lower-income Americans will have to pay high out-of-pocket expenses for medical care and, if unable to pay for emergency room visits, hospitals will have to pick up the tab. This means the hospitals may end up asking those states for more aid. In these scenarios, the law won’t be making much headway in curbing health care costs.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "States' refusal to expand Medicaid complicates health care for many uninsured," at Marketplace.org, July 12, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "What the Affordable Care Act means for vets," at The Chicago Tribune, July 10, 2013.]

Most recently, the administration announced it would delay penalties associated with the mandate that employers with more than 50 employees offer health care insurance to workers. One impact of the delay is that many of these workers will shop for coverage on insurance exchanges available at the end of this year. If prices are low enough and coverage good enough, they may decide to maintain their independent coverage and exempt themselves from corporate coverage, when offered.

 

That’s a big “if” of course, but presumably the more people that participate in the exchange pool, the lower the price should be for insurers to provide them coverage. Bear in mind, however, that while the penalty for employers has been delayed, the mandate has not.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "5 things to know about the delayed PPACA mandate," at BenefitsPro.com, July 8, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Implementing the Affordable Care Act: Why Is This So Complex?" at The Brookings Institution, July 8, 2013.]

There’s no way around it — the health care law is complex. But all you really need to worry about is you and your expenses. If you could use some help figuring out the best financial scenario to pay for health care and other big-ticket expenses, we’re here for you.

 

By contacting us, you may receive information regarding insurance products available for purchase.  By contacting us you may be provided with information regarding the purchase of insurance.

 

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

 

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

 

1307052

Shortlink

Busy in Congress

We thought it might be an interesting summer in Congress, with Republicans still fighting Obamacare, sequestration cuts underway, and more deficit proposals on the table. But Congress has a lot more going on. Read on to see what legislative changes may (or may not) be effective soon.

 

The Marketplace Fairness Act is designed to level the selling ground for online retailers and traditional brick-and-mortar stores, in terms of sales taxes. The act requires that states simplify their sales tax laws, at which point they can require virtual companies selling in their states to collect and remit sales taxes on sold goods. The measure is supported by online giant Amazon — possibly because it has the resources to support the administrative expenses that may squelch much of its competition. Other online retailers oppose the legislation due to its enormous operational burden and because it will increase the cost of ordering online, making them much less competitive.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "What is the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013?" at MarketplaceFairness.org, retrieved July, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "The Marketplace Fairness Act: Should You Join the Fight to Defeat It?" at Forbes.com, June 22, 2013.]

 

The Senate’s recent passage of the immigration bill is projected to prevent between 33 percent and 50 percent more undocumented residents from entering the U.S. over the current law.  However, opponents of the bill point to research indicating that immigrants are more likely to start-up new businesses when they enter the U.S. Obviously, this trend would greatly contribute to our nation’s long-term growth — not to mention our current high unemployment numbers.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "CBO: Senate immigration bill would cut undocumented flow 33% - 50%," at CNN.com, July 3, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Immigration and Entrepreneurship," at The New York Times, July 1, 2013.]

 

Another lesser known bill is the Medicare Better Health Rewards program, introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). While employers now routinely offer rewards programs and discounted health insurance rates to employees who meet health and fitness goals, this proposal offers similar incentives to seniors in an effort to lower Medicare bills.

 

The program would be 100 percent voluntary and is designed to help Medicare beneficiaries get and stay healthy via planned, achievable goals (i.e., tobacco usage, body mass index, diabetes indicators, blood pressure, cholesterol, up-to-date vaccinations and screenings) and offer monetary incentives to do so. In other words, participating seniors who save Medicare money will be given an opportunity to share in the savings — up to $200 by the program’s second year and $400 by its third year. 

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Lowering Medicare Costs by Keeping Seniors Healthy," at Senator Portman's website, retrieved July 5, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "New bill would pay seniors for staying healthy," at TheHill.com, June 26, 2013.]

 

While many of us are vacationing this summer, Congress is hard at work on a number of fronts. It’s a nice change. If you’d like to work on some of your financial goals this summer, please give us a call.

 

#1307012

By contacting us you may be provided with information regarding the purchase of insurance.

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

Shortlink

Long Life Spans – and Retirement Income Strategies

Atlanta resident Jim Peniston is looking to retire in about three years, but his biggest concern is outliving his money. In his words, a longer life is a blessing – but it’s also a curse. In fact, according to a survey by Prudential Retirement, 71% of survey respondents feared they may not have enough retirement income to last their lifetime.

 

[CLICK HERE to watch the video, "The Changing Face of Retirement," at AARP, July 3, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Americans concerned about outliving their money," at JSonline.com, May 22, 2013.]

 

Fortunately for baby boomers, the world often changes to accommodate this massive demographic – or vice versa. Back in the 1960s and 70s, urban life sprawled to the suburbs and more schools were built to educate the masses of baby boomers as they reached school age. When they decided fitness was important, health clubs sprung up all over the country. Whatever their passions – from organic gardening to book clubs to green building initiatives – there is often a vast segment of boomer-aged innovators leading the pack.

 

And now that they’re retiring, longevity and retirement income is one of the nation’s focuses. The health care bill is designed to insure more Americans and decrease expenses associated with Medicare. Washington is taking steps to reform tax law and outsource pension plans.

 

Meanwhile, the financial and insurance industries are working on strategies and new products to provide reliable sources of retirement income. All in the name of ensuring that baby boomers have enough money to live on throughout their longer life spans.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "How to vary spending during retirement," at RetirementWatch.com, retrieved March 4, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "The Most Important Thing to Know about Your 401(k)," at Forbes.com, July 12, 2013.]

 

Apparently, public pension funds are one of the biggest concerns right now. Recently, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced a bill designed to transfer the risk of insuring public pensions to insurance companies.

 

The bill would require a tax-law change that would enable governments to turn their pension plans over to life insurers. That’s because if the money that local governments set aside in public pension funds were instead paid to an insurer, it would not receive its current preferential tax treatment.  

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Pension Proposal Aims to Ease Burden on States and Cities," at The New York Times, July 9, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to calculate your current retirement income stream with the "Lifetime Income Calculator" at the Department of Labor; retrieved July 12, 2013.]

 

While it’s great that so much of American innovation is now focused on how to provide lifetime income for baby boomers, this too is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing that we have so many resources at our disposal, but a curse in having to determine which will work best for each individual situation.

 

That’s why we’re here to help. Please give us a call.

 

These articles are being provided to you for informational purposes only. While we believe this information to be correct, we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included.

  

This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide tax or legal advice.  Consult with a tax advisor or attorney before making a decision about your individual situation.

 

By contacting us you may be provided with information regarding the purchase of insurance.

 

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

 

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

Shortlink

Reshaping Retirement

Visit an established restaurant in your area and you may be struck by the number of gray-haired patrons. In fact, many of the seemingly older seniors are likely to be accompanied by their graying (or otherwise color-coiffed) middle aged children.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "New Aging Statistics," at The Administration on Aging, May 8, 2013.]

 

It’s official: Older people are taking over the earth. The stats have been anticipating this for years, but now it’s unmistakable via casual observation.

 

If you are of advanced age yourself, you may not even notice this phenomenon, because as far as you’re concerned these are just members of your peer group. If you’re accompanied by young children, they probably won’t notice either–a combination of not being particularly observant and the fact that the graying of America is very much a part of their normal, everyday lives.

 

But go to dinner with a young adult, and they may in fact notice how many more older people there are in the restaurant than other age groups. Bear in mind that when millennials go out together, they generally tend to pick newer establishments that cater to their demographic, so the local steakhouse and its older clientele could be an eye-opener.

 

It’s an interesting time to be getting older, with the rapid advance of technology. Much of it is designed to make aging easier–or at least can be purposed for such. For example, Skyping allows families to stay closer together, and adult children to keep an eye on aging parents that they don’t get to see very often.

 

Electronic automation enables retirees who live part of the year a thousand miles away from home to pay bills, change the thermostat, water the lawn or check out who just rang the doorbell (via a security camera at the front door) with a smartphone or tablet.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Dinner by Skype & Other Ways Tech Is Reshaping Retirement" at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "10 iPad Apps To Help Seniors Stay In Touch With Their Family and Friends," at HousingForSeniors.com, April 26, 2013.]

 

Yes, vibrant as ever, older Americans now permeate every aspect of our lives – including those previously reserved for the young. This includes fashion magazines, fitness centers and universities. We’re happy to help discuss ways to position your financial life to accommodate a long and healthy lifestyle in retirement. Please give us a call.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "A single Andie McDowell opens up about dating in her fifties as she poses with stunning daughters in glamorous new shoot," at The Daily Mail, September 20, 2012.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the report, "84-year-old graduate gets his PhD at Edinburgh Napier University," at BBC.org, June 27, 2013.]

 

1307003 – By contacting us, you may be offered information regarding the purchase of insurance.

Shortlink

Interest Rates: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In May, the 10-year Treasury bond yield rose 54 basis points to 2.24 percent in the span of one month. Economists have been predicting the eventual rise in interest rates, but a jump this big in such a short time frame raised a few eyebrows.

 

According to a recent report from Casey Quirk, U.S. investors facing uncertain bond markets will shift about 15 percent of their current fixed-income allocation (an estimated $1 trillion of assets) to strategies designed to help protect them from inflation and rising rates. These defensive strategies may include global and emerging market bonds, high-yield and loan portfolios and alternative fixed-income products.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the report, "When the Tide Turns: Building Next Generation Fixed Income Managers" at Casey Quirk, May 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "A Reset for Bond Markets" at Fidelity.com, June 14, 2013.]

 

On June 19, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke confirmed that the central bank is ready to slow its bond-buying program amid signs of an improving economy and housing market. While there are increased signs of growth in the economy, employment numbers still lag. However, any talk about rising interest rates is generally a good sign of economic growth.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Rising Interest Rates: How Investors Should be Positioned" at CNBC.com, June 18, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Interest rates are rising! Here's why we should be thrilled," at The Washington Post, May 31, 2013.]

 

On the housing front, while higher interest rates put a damper on low-cost mortgages, the news could be good for homebuyers. This prolonged era of low rates and low housing prices has spawned a proliferation of investors outbidding potential homebuyers thanks to cheap money and a robust rental market. Rising interest rates may serve to curb the flurry of investor-driven purchases, allowing more opportunities for homebuyers to live in new homes.

 

Since rates are still historically low, they’re not likely to douse the enthusiasm of pent-up homebuyer demand. When it comes to mortgages, banks are still hesitant about extending credit for both new and refinanced loans. Approval criteria is based on a combination of factors, such as loan-to-value, debt-to-income and credit scores.

 

However, according to Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, there was a 570 percent increase in the number of lenders offering conforming loan quotes with down payments of 3.5 to 5 percent in March 2013, compared with data two years earlier.1 Because the refinance craze has decreased in recent years, banks may need to be more liberal in the future in order to compete for this business.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, "Rising Interest Rates Could Mean Good News for Homebuyers" at mercurynews.com, June 17, 2013.]

 

1 [CLICK HERE to read the article, "Housing Seen Shrugging Off Loan Rate Rise as Banks Loosen," at Bloomberg.com, June 21, 2013.]

 

If you’re wondering how rising interest rates may impact your financial situation, please contact us. We’re happy to give you a mid-year review in consideration of your financial objectives.

 

1306121

 

By contacting us you may be provided with information regarding the purchase of insurance.

 

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

 

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.