6 minutes | Jul 15, 2014
Living Well In Retirement: Be Optimistic, But Prepare
Just this morning I was reading about a phone survey conducted in March by the National Council on Aging, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, UnitedHealthcare and USA TODAY. It involved 2000 participants, half of whom were over 60 with the other half being 18 to 59. I found the results interesting and honestly, baffling. Baffling because it's just not what we see day in and day out. Maybe our practice is outside the norm. Maybe the survey participants are exceptionally optimistic. Or maybe they're just crazy. 89% of older adults and 84% of younger adults say they're confident they can maintain a high quality of life throughout their senior years" It's the first number that surprised me the most. But I'm pretty happy about it actually. Pessimism isn't a fun or profitable way to go through life. Support of friends and family topped the chart in reasons why people felt this way. Being happy about their living situation, being well-prepared financially, being in good health and generally being optimistic were among the other top 5 reasons offered. When you look more closely you begin to see optimism being tempered. About 45% of the older participants of the survey said they wish they had saved more. The reality is that Social Security and other pension benefits aren't going to provide the safety and security many Americans once thought they would. About 31% of the older participants admitted they wish they had made better investments. It seems there are new survey results published daily. We don't lack data or information. We may lack accuracy and objectivity, but it's still interesting to see how people view retirement and their financial future. Another survey conducted by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies discovered an increase in financial optimism over a year ago, but still almost half (49%) of the 60-and-older respondents are concerned that their savings and income may be insufficient for their future. In 2013, 53% of them felt that way. We all realize that the current economic climate often dictates how people feel about the future. So it makes sense that as our economy lumbers out of the recession, optimism lumbers forward, too. Except for the extremely wealthy, I think many older Americans are fearful they don't have enough. Some will likely never feel they have enough, no matter how much they have. Others are in a riskier position because they didn't act sooner. Preparing for the future is best done today. Eventually
7 minutes | Jul 8, 2014
Living Well In Retirement: Avoiding Financial Infidelity In Your Marriage
When you were a kid did anybody ever crack open your piggy bank? Or steal your wallet? Surely you've lost some money before. And it made you sick at your stomach. To think of how much you lost. Knowing you wouldn't likely ever get it back. The older you are, the worse it is. It's one thing to lose some money when you're 6. It's something quite different when you're 60. Over ten years ago I encountered an elderly lady who had a confession to make. My husband has cheated on me. He's opened up so many credit cards without my knowledge...I don't know how bad it is." When I heard the phrase, "cheated on me" financial infidelity wasn't exactly the first thing that popped into my mind. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. He had indeed cheated on his wife of over 50 years. Their financial welfare was now at risk all because he didn't have enough restraint to stop buying stuff they couldn't afford. It seems his answer to the lack-of-cash problem was to get more credit. Namely, to open up more credit cards. His wife was angry, hurt and scared. For good reason. Her husband had busted open their proverbial piggy bank and pilfered their retirement. I'm not a marriage counselor, but the betrayal that occurred in this marriage likely needed an injection of wisdom. This wife had an advantage that too many spouses don't. She knew what had happened. So many times money goes missing and the other spouse has no clue what happened. I guess she had a bit of a head start because she knew what was happening and began to take immediate steps to confront the problem, her husband. With the help of some adult children this family had a bit of an intervention and they stopped the flow of money (and piling debt). The damage was bad, but I thought of families where this is happening and one spouse hasn't a clue! Ignorance isn't bliss. There are some steps you can take to insure your marriage avoids financial infidelity. 1. Don't hide money matters from your spouse. This includes income or expenses. I'm not suggesting a control-freak arrangements where neither of you can buy a cup of coffee without the expressed, written permission of your partner. I am suggesting - strongly - that you avoid sneaking and hiding money issues. Be open with each other. Make decisions together by agreeing on how you'll handle your money issues. This is an individual (okay, a couples') kind of a decision. One size doesn't fit all. Through the years I've encountered a number o
7 minutes | Jul 1, 2014
Living Well In Retirement: Is There An Upside Of Aging?
Eric Clapton is tired. He turns 70 next year. In a recent interview with Uncut magazine, Clapton said he was thinking of reducing his road trips. "The road has become unbearable," he said. Clapton, known by many as the world's finest guitarist, said he'd likely spend more time in the studio, but he indicated he's looking at retirement. It's the touring that's grueling and Clapton is at a point in life where he can make that call. He's earned the right to do what he wants. Clapton isn't the only aging rocker making decisions based on their age, health and preferences. Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac - the list is growing longer every year of rock stars who are embracing life with a different approach than when they were younger. There's an upside to growing older. There's an upside to being older. In April, 2014 a book was published entitled, "The Upside Of Aging: How Long Life Is Changing The World Of Health, Work, Innovation, Policy and Purpose." So much focus is given in some circles to the downside of older age, we're beginning to see the tide turn, at least in book publishing. The titles alone indicate the shift: The Encore Handbook by Marci Alboher Encore: Finding Work That Matters In The Second Half Of Life by Marc Freedman The Big Shift: Navigating The New Stage Beyond MidLife by Marc Freedman Life Reimagined: Discovering Your New Life Possibilities by Richard J. Leider Second Act Careers: 50+ Ways To Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement by Nancy Collamer Claiming Your Place At The Fire: Living The Second Half Of Your Life On Purpose by Richard J. Leider The Wonder Of Aging: A New Approach To Embracing Life After Fifty by Michael Gurian The list goes on. These books prove a few things. One, the aging population cares about these topics. Older Americans are looking for information and assistance to find their way toward more fulfilling ways of life. Eric Clapton doesn't look like he's almost 70. His age isn't preventing him from playing the guitar, singing or recording. However, he no longer loves being on the road. That grind just doesn't suit him as it once did. Two, publishers recognize that readers want to read about these things. They continue to publish scads of new titles each year. People are obviously buying these books. Some are likely even reading them. Three, growing older isn't what it once was. Americans are staying active longer. That means they've got options and they're investigating th
15 minutes | Jun 5, 2014
Well, I Rest My Case
King Solomon said, “The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him.” - (Proverbs 18:17) A few weeks ago Todd and I discussed an article that appeared in AARP by Allan Roth. The article criticized several legitimate and viable options that people have for their money. We called that show Philosophy or Propaganda. Recently, NAFA (National Association of Fixed Annuities) submitted a letter to the editor in AARP’s periodical. The letter answers Mr. Roth’s arguments. We thought this deserved more space and attention. Find a link to both articles below. We hope you enjoy the show. Links: 5 Bad Money Moves - AARP NAFA's Response To The AARP Article
9 minutes | May 29, 2014
Like The Jeffersons, We’re Movin’ On Up
Todd and I wish to announce our new location at 1795 Alysheba Way Suite 3106 (Douglas Hawkins Law, PLLC) and Suite 3206 (Accelerated Wealth Advisors) Lexington, KY 40509. We recently purchased an office condominium in the Stonecrest Office Complex just off I-75 at exit 108 (Man-O-War) and have both the main level and upstairs’ suites. The move demonstrated to us the transitions of life – already, in less than a year, our business is transitioning. Today, Todd and I talk about the phases of life and the transitions that we undergo financially from our early adult lives until death. This relates to LIFE STAGE FINANCIAL PLANNING™ and emphasizes THE FIVE BASKETS OF WEALTH™. We hope you enjoy the show.
11 minutes | May 15, 2014
Call Your Reserves Up To Active Duty
In a few weeks we will celebrate “memorial day.” A part of that celebration involves remembering soldiers who have sacrificed so much (they gave their lives) for us to enjoy the freedoms and privileges that we have in this Country. The military has both active duty military and the reserves. The reserves are occasionally called up to active duty in times of war or national crisis. A part of financial planning includes educating people about the importance of having money in reserves. We call it the sleep at night basket. Today, Todd and I discuss our five baskets of wealth emphasizing the cash reserves and how you can make one dollar do the work of three. Learn how a reserve account can provide a living benefit of long-term care and a death benefit for legacy. Enjoy the show.
14 minutes | May 13, 2014
The Certainty of Uncertainty And The Uncertainty of Certainty
We’ve heard the saying about the “best laid plans of mice and men.” That implies that things don’t always go as planned or even hoped for. Life challenges us with the unexpected – flat tires, water leaks, miscommunication, bad weather…you get the picture. Is your money stable enough to withstand the uncertainties of life? Today Todd and I discuss the new ROI (Reliability of Income); Preparing for Emergencies, and the “X” factors like inflation, taxes, life and death, interest rates and rates of return, health status and condition, politics and the economy. Life is uncertain, isn’t it? Thus the certainty of uncertainty and the uncertainty of certainty. Enjoy the show.
12 minutes | May 8, 2014
Propaganda or Philosophy?
You commonly hear a little of everything. Such rumors lend themselves to creating urban legend. This is really true in the financial world. One periodical says safe accounts are bad and another says they are good. Depending upon a representative’s background and experience, one may advocate one type of investment over another or they may speak negatively about one type of investment over another. Interestingly, biases and prejudices influence these opinions and sometimes these pundits find it difficult to be objective in their analysis. There is a lot of propaganda in the financial world. Look beyond the hype and quit listening to the propaganda. Evaluate philosophies. Today, Todd and I invite you to think along these lines and consider the philosophy of LIFE STAGE FINANCIAL PLANNING TM and the FIVE BASKETS OF WEALTH™. This philosophy (not propaganda) sets us apart from others in the industry. We fully believe that you will agree. Enjoy the show.
12 minutes | May 6, 2014
The Wall Street Derby: Will Your Money Will The Race?
This past Saturday (5/3/14) marked the 140th Kentucky Derby. California Chrome met the expectations of all the horse racing pundits by winning by 1¾ lengths. Most people associate horse racing with betting and odds makers assign the odds of each horse being able to win the race. Many of the horses in the field are a “long shot.” What about your financial plan? Your retirement plan? Will your money win the race? Is it favored in the field? In this current financial environment where the rules of investing are changing, what sort of track is your money running on? Are you betting the entire field or do you have your plan narrowed to more certain odds? Today, Todd and I discuss the similarities of horse racing at the Kentucky Derby and your money. Enjoy the show.
10 minutes | Apr 24, 2014
Life Insurance vs. RMD’s
Talk about survival of the fittest. Life insurance has survived many tax code changes with very little modifications – a few changes here and there of course, but even still, life insurance remains one of the most powerful tools to help avoid (not evade) taxes. The death benefit passes tax free (in most cases), the cash value grows tax deferred, and you can access the money by loan provisions without tax implications. Today, Todd and I discuss some comparisons between IRA accounts, especially the RMD (required minimum distributions) provision, and how life insurance can help you plan your finances. Enjoy the show.
11 minutes | Apr 22, 2014
The Emotions of Money: “I Think My Dollar Is Bi-Polar”
Emotions affect all normal health people; and that is none more true than when it comes to our money. Fear and greed predominately influence us when making decisions about money, especially when it comes to “the market.” We don’t seem to know when to get out or when to stay in because we are affected by the fear of loss or the greed of gain. Accelerated Wealth’s common sense diversification strategy called “life stage financial planning” helps to insulate you from such erratic behaviors that are fueled by emotion. This balanced approach and allocation to guaranteed income, to growing money, to providing liquidity, to guarding against the risks of failing health or long-term care and to leaving a legacy helps to remove the emotion from financial decisions. Clients find it therapeutic to their finances. Today Todd and I discuss the emotions of money. Enjoy the show.
14 minutes | Apr 17, 2014
Tax Time And The Timing Of Tax
April 15th causes concern for many Americans because it means that it is “tax time." Time for all of us to file our return or file our extension. We can file an extension providing that all of our taxes owed to the IRS are paid. Uncle Sam does not care how long you take to file for your refund. He simply wants to ensure that you have paid your taxes. Lots and lots has been said about taxes and their effects on our bottom line. Depending on our level of income and type of investments, taxes are not to be ignored. They play a big part of our finances. Today, Todd and I discuss this issue as it relates to the timing of withdrawing your money and the impact that such withdrawals will have on our overall tax burden. Enjoy the show.
10 minutes | Apr 15, 2014
Social Security: Do You Know How To Maximize It And Are These Options For Filing In Danger?
Do you know how to make the most of Social Security and maximize your benefits? A recent article appearing in the Investment News informed the public that Congress has proposed changing the filing options for married couples. They buried the proposal in one of its pieces of legislation on page 150. Currently, a married couple has the option of filing and suspending, filing a restricted application, or filing merely on their own record. With all the combinations and different months from ages 62 to age 70 that a couple can file, there are thousands and thousands of filing scenarios. Today, Todd and I discuss this issue. Enjoy the show.
14 minutes | Apr 2, 2014
THE LEGACY BASKET: You Can’t Take It With You
When he learned of his wealthy neighbor’s death, a man said, “I wonder how much he left behind.” To that another said, “All of it.” No matter how much or little we have, we can’t take it with us. Estate planning allows us to prepare, protect, and provide in the exact manner that we intend regarding our possessions and for those we love. A number of issues face the aging in this area and at this stage of their life. Among these issues are: death, incapacity, taxes, and tort. Today I discuss the various legal documents needed to help in this area of planning. I discuss Living Trusts, Financial Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogates, Testamentary Wills, and Advanced Directives (Living Wills). Listen to learn more. Enjoy the show.
9 minutes | Mar 31, 2014
THE FIVE BASKETS OF WEALTH: THE LONG TERM CARE BASKET
Developing a disability concerns most aging adults. Statistics show that 2/3 of the aging population will need some form of Long Term Care for some period of time. Even though statistically most of us will need skilled-care, only a small percentage of families have insured themselves and their assets against this risk. An extended stay in the nursing home could devastate your finances. With the average cost of care ranging between $6,000 and $8,000 per month, even a substantial amount of money could be lost in a few years. Today, Todd and I discuss how leveraging your money properly can give you liquidity (if needed), a long-term care benefit (if needed), and if not, how those same dollars can produce a death benefit (legacy). Enjoy the show.
9 minutes | Mar 19, 2014
THE CASH RESERVE BASKET: Never forget, “Cash Is King!”
Essential to financial planning, smart money management allocates the right portion of savings to the cash reserves basket (financial liquidity). Todd’s wife likes to call it “her sleep at night basket.” Many wives agree. As a rule of thumb, most financial experts recommend having three to six months living expenses in a cash account or cash equivalent account. Why? Because Cash is King. Emergencies inevitably arise. Unforeseen events are certain to come. Without having this common sense diversification, a family could find themselves vulnerable to Murphy’s laws and suffer the financial consequences as a result. Listen to today’s podcast to learn how your cash reserves can be leveraged to provide you the financial security that your plan deserves. Find out how $1 can be made to do the work of $2 or $3. Enjoy the show.
13 minutes | Mar 17, 2014
THE FIVE BASKETS OF WEALTH: THE INVESTMENT BASKET
We all want our money to grow. How rapidly we can grow our money depends on the type of risks we assume. Risks come in different forms – from inflationary risks where the value can gradually decline to capital losses where the value can quickly decline. Risk should correspond to reward. As you consider the placement of assets with the eye toward the future, financially, you should carefully gauge what types of risks you are confronting. Measuring such risks involve a little more than simply identifying yourself as conservative or aggressive or somewhere in between. In this installment, Todd discusses growing money in the investment basket as a part of the FIVE BASKETS OF WEALTH philosophy. Enjoy the show.
4 minutes | Feb 26, 2014
DEBT: IT CAN BE AN ASSET IN KENTUCKY MEDICAID PLANNING
As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ I instruct people to become debt free as soon as possible. That is a good rule of thumb, but as a Kentucky Elder Law Attorney, the use of debt can actually help a family protect more of their estate against the spend down of Kentucky Medicaid. In Medicaid planning in Kentucky, in some instances, clients could be benefitted by taking out a Home Equity line of credit on a protected or exempt resource, like their home. When you have a community spouse, Kentucky Medicaid will count all the available resources and divide them in half. Let’s say that you have a family with $75,000 in countable resources and an exempt home valued at $100,000. The family could mortgage the house at 80% LTV for “cash” which would now give the family $155,000 in cash as countable resources. The resource assessment (PA-22) would require that the family “spend down” $77,500 to qualify the institutionalized spouse for Medicaid. After the resource assessment, the family pays back the mortgage and the community spouse’s $75,000 is protected as a lump sum. Otherwise, without this maneuver, the family would have had to divide the $75,000 in half and spend it down before qualifying, leaving the community spouse with only $37,500. Make sure you work with a capable Medicaid planner or Kentucky Elder Law Attorney. Enjoy the show.
13 minutes | Feb 24, 2014
GUARANTEED INCOME: “Rain or snow, or shine or sleet, we deliver your mail”
According to Wikipedia the postal service has no motto or creed, but the foregoing statement has become associated with the USPS nonetheless. The motto indicates that the postal service is reliable and dutiful. I personally have had enough experience with the USPS that I’ll choose to leave that to your own opinion. Experience has taught me that the more time sensitive and important the document or item, the higher the percentage of having it “lost in the mail.” When it comes to your money, however, you definitely need a plan based upon the reliability of income. It’s the new ROI. As you make financial decisions about your money, you need to consider the importance of creating and maintaining a source of reliable income. Today, Todd and I discuss the Guaranteed Income Basket and its importance. Enjoy the show.
8 minutes | Feb 21, 2014
Caregiver Stress: “Someone Shoot Up Here Amongst Us Because One Of Us Needs Some Relief”
This week a client expressed her increasing desperation of feeling tired, overwhelmed, and confined. Her husband is showing greater signs of aging and is becoming increasingly dependent. She can’t leave the home for very long and she has to attend to his growing needs. Sometimes a qualified facility is the best choice loved one’s care because trained personnel provide the physical care and attention and you are able to give the emotional nurturing and love. When a spouse or a family member bears the burden of caring for the disabled person physically, they often are depleted and lack the energy to nurture them as much as they would like. The work is just too demanding. Don’t let the fear of nursing home spend down or the financial risks of needing help through Kentucky Medicaid’s adult long term care, keep you from exploring your options.