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Financal Planning Blog | Simon Financial Group

Financial Strategies as We Work from Home

Stop putting yourself last on your “to do” list. Take the appropriate steps to prepare for your financial future now.

We’re living thru challenging times & we’re continuing to wear many hats. We all live hectic lives. But consider women who, more often than not, juggle the demands of work, child care, and maintaining a household. While it’s good for each individual and family to have a sound financial plan for the future, women may be more inclined than others to put financial planning at the bottom of a giant heap of daily activities and responsibilities. And they may need a plan more than men: there are many studies that provide statistics illustrating that women earn something like 20% less than men in comparable jobs.

Why else is planning important? It’s not only to fund a comfortable retirement or to help your kids pay for college, it’s also about doing some of the fun and adventurous things you’ve always dreamed of or working toward a specific goal, such as getting an advanced degree, that you may have put off when your children came along.

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The Successful Person and Self Doubts

Author: Anubhav Srivastava

You are already a successful person in your field however we all go through times of self doubts, it is during times such as these steps can be invaluable.

Surround Yourself With The Right People

Be around the right people. When you are around people who are negative and always pessimistic, sooner or later their energy will pull you down as well. When you are around positive people, sooner or later their energy will rub off on you as well and you will become much more positive with your life also. If you can't meet them for some reason, read their books, watch videos on them. If they have a Blog, read it religiously. The bottom line is, in the age of the internet, you have no excuses.

Focus on Your Strengths

When you focus on your weaknesses all the time, your self esteem is bound to be very low. The reason is that if you only focus on your weaknesses, soon you will be convinced that you are good at nothing, even when you have had times in your business and career that have been spectacular. But the truth is there is always one thing or a group of few things that we are all immensely talented at. As I usually say, the root of low self esteem is when people focus on all the things they suck at, when you figure out the one thing you are amazing at, and there always is that one thing, you will realize how blessed you are, there is no one like you.

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Walking Through Challenges that Surround Us

I hope this finds each of you safe and healthy as we walk through the challenges that surround us. I have sent communications surrounding investments, giving historical perspective as well as reassurance during these volatile times in the market, but that isn’t the purpose of this e-mail. What I would like to spend a few minutes discussing is your “why”.

I have been privileged to walk beside each of you over the past 35 years. Some of you I have known most of that length of time, others I have met more recently. The one constant in the financial planning work we do…that I see over and over again…is each person has at least one “why”, and many of you have more than one that drives you daily. Your passions, your beliefs, influencing all the seconds that make up each day.

I have been fortunate to listen to tales of taking grandchildren to Disney and dream vacations. Being able to retire and live with financial freedom. Of children and grandchildren born and adopted to graduating high school….college…and even further. Of seeing dreams fulfilled as well as the paths of life change. Of the legacy of passing your professional passion down to your children…and even grandchildren. Of knowing your spouse and children will be ok financially if you weren’t here. Of kids sports all the way to last breaths.

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The Stock Market Volatility. Now, What Happens to Asset Allocation?

The stock market soared to record highs in 2019, despite ongoing concerns of volatility. Those investors, who confidently weathered the ups and downs of 2018, were rewarded by the performance of the market in 2019. Some of the stocks, which took a big dive in 2018, were the highest performers last year.  A strong reminder to investors that altering portfolios based solely on apprehension or other feelings can be a mistake. There are so many factors at play in the market, that it’s important to work with a knowledgeable financial planner who can help an investor make informed and confident decisions.  Knee jerk and emotional decision making regarding the stock market should be avoided for a portfolio’s greatest performance over time.

There are two big factors that attributed to the growth of the stock market. The technology industry was the big winner in 2019. Its growth alone boosted the overall performance of the major stock indexes. The second factor was that the Federal Reserve reduced interest rates & recently again, which drove investments in the market. Not all sectors of the market had a good year, however. Energy performed the worst of all the S&P sectors, although even its experienced growth. A booming stock market is great for the economy and investors alike. However, after the strong S & P 500 stock market returns last year, many investors will find themselves with an unbalanced asset allocation in their portfolio.

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Top 5 Reasons Why Clients Should Update Beneficiaries

You’ve all heard the cautionary tales.

An ex-spouse collects a death benefit that was intended for the current spouse. Along the way, fights break out. Lawsuits happen. Family members stop talking. And the biggest irony? The person who left behind the money, did so as an act of love. They never imagined that such chaos would ensue. Or maybe they mistakenly believed that their will would take of who gets what in the end.

It’s this simple. Simon Says to annually review your beneficiary designations & unnecessary hardship and misunderstanding can be avoided.

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Medicare Open Enrollment is Underway!

Medicare Open Enrollment Period is October 15th, 2019 – December 7th, 2019
The new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is from January 1 to March 31

Many people look forward to their golden years of early retirement as "a second childhood without parental supervision, potentially the most wonderful time in a person's life." (Michael K. Stein). This transition in life can be both exhilarating and frightening, as we encounter challenges that we have never faced before. One of the most impactful changes is transitioning from employer provided or subsidized health insurance to Medicare.

Let’s start by emphasizing that choosing the right Medicare & supplemental plans can be incredibly complex and often times, overwhelming. Throughout this blog, I want to try to simplify as much as possible, but some of the best advice I can provide you is to seek the assistance of a trusted professional.

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Life Insurance: What You Should Know

In its most basic form, life insurance can protect your loved ones from a financial burden or even ruin should you die unexpectedly. However, a well-planned life insurance policy has the potential to ensure your children can pay for college; your mortgage is cleared, or even allows your spouse to live at the same comfort level once your income is gone. Even if you do not have a spouse or dependents, a life insurance payout can be given as a charitable gift to a favorite organization.

Working with a knowledgeable and trusted financial advisor is essential if you want to make sure your life insurance policy can protect your family and legacy. He or she can make sure you are paying the premium that is tailored to your financial situation, help you determine whether you should refinance (the mortality tables have been modified because we are living longer and the costs have decreased), discuss ownership & proper beneficiary arrangements and determine if your policy should be placed in a trust. A trusted financial planner can help you create a life insurance policy that encompasses so much more than just death benefits.

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Student Loan Debt

It’s Back to School Season: What Every Student (and Parent) Should Know about Student Loans

In the United States, there is a total of 1.6 trillion dollars owed in student loan debt. Of those student loans, 5.2 million borrowers are in default because they are unable to make their payments.¹

As a high school senior sits down and looks at the terms of a student loan, the interest rate and payment schedules are complex and difficult to understand. Even a college graduate considering loan options for graduate school may not realize the complexities of what they are signing up for long term.

Student loans are offered because they generate income. I am passionate that parents and students should be better-educated and guided in regard to student loans and options to pay for college to avoid being taken advantage of. Of course, there are benefits of student loans as they may allow dreams to come true for some students. But, it is critical that they are not used recklessly. For example, while a student may be able to live exclusively on student loans during college, it may be wiser to work a part- time job and borrow less when possible. A student who intends to pursue a low paying field may be wise to attend an in-state public university instead of a private or for-profit school. Similarly, a student who chooses to live at home or with family during college will also lower the amount they need to borrow.

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It’s Back to School Season

What Every Student (and Parent) Should Know about Student Loans

In the United States, there is a total of 1.6 trillion dollars owed in student loan debt. Of those student loans, 5.2 million borrowers are in default because they are unable to make their payments.¹

As a high school senior sits down and looks at the terms of a student loan, the interest rate and payment schedules are complex and difficult to understand. Even a college graduate considering loan options for graduate school may not realize the complexities of what they are signing up for long term.

Student loans are offered because they generate income. I am passionate that parents and students should be better-educated and guided in regard to student loans and options to pay for college to avoid being taken advantage of. Of course, there are benefits of student loans as they may allow dreams to come true for some students. But, it is critical that they are not used recklessly. For example, while a student may be able to live exclusively on student loans during college, it may be wiser to work a part- time job and borrow less when possible. A student who intends to pursue a low paying field may be wise to attend an in-state public university instead of a private or for-profit school. Similarly, a student who chooses to live at home or with family during college will also lower the amount they need to borrow.

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Women and Finances

Money is one of the top stressors of women; in fact a study found that more than half of women wish they were more confident about their decision-making regarding their finances¹. Women have many reasons to stress about money. First and foremost, on average women earn less than men. Women are also more likely to take time off for care for family, and or downshift their career for the best interest of their family. These career interruptions may significantly impact the earning potential of many women. On top of a lessened earning potential, women generally live longer than men, which means they need to save more money for retirement than most men.⁴ So, this boils down to the fact that women earn less but need to save more money in order to retire comfortably. As it turns out, women are twice as likely to live below the poverty line post retirement, especially single women and minorities.²

The most important action women can take to shed stress over money is to take control of their finances, whether single or married. If your partner manages your finances, it is time to sit down and review in detail. It’s likely that a woman will end up having to manage her own finances at some point in her life, whether through divorce, or becoming a widow. Its important women play an active role in understanding their financial situation and progress towards retirement. It’s never too late to learn about finances, and the internet has a wealth of resources available to empower women.

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Financial Protection for Disabled Loved Ones

Caring for the disabled can be a demanding task, especially when you are handling a loved one. Not only are you trying to prevent any future complications, but you are trying to protect them financially.

Nearly 58 million people nationwide over the age of five identify themselves as disabled — the largest single minority in the country1. Millions of Americans would like to reach out and assist them.  Unfortunately, without in-depth knowledge - these positive intentions can produce adverse financial results for the disabled due to the complexity of federal and state benefit programs.

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National Disability Insurance Awareness Month

If you were in an accident tomorrow and could no longer earn a paycheck, what would happen to the life you’ve built for you and loved ones? All too often, people only consider the ramifications of being unable to work until it happens to them. Protecting your income with disability insurance is an often overlooked but very wise financial decision.

May is nationally recognized as Disability Insurance Awareness Month in order to raise awareness about the importance of protecting your income. The risk is real—“statistics say that that if you’re at the age forty, prior to reaching age sixty-five you have a 43% chance of becoming disabled for ninety days or more.” (GenRe Research, Disability Fact Book, Sixth Edition, 2010.) Disability insurance can replace a large chunk of your monthly income, and even be the difference between paying your mortgage and losing your home.

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Financial End of Life

Upon my departure, how do I preserve and protect my financial wealth?

Essentially, the act of creating a strong financial plan means that you are helping take care of yourself and those you love. Unfortunately, it also means having conversations that no one enjoys: how to be best prepared in case of illness, sudden death or the loss of a loved one.

I personally understand the fears and concerns that my clients have as we discuss healthcare plans, long-term care insurance and end of life financial planning.

I understand these worries because I have experienced them.

My grandmother, Mollie, was my main squeeze and I absolutely adored her. At the age of 91, her kidneys stopped functioning and she needed dialysis. Six months after starting dialysis, she looked at me and said, “This is not the way I want to live my life.” As hard as it was for me, I understood her wishes. We spoke to her doctor, who confirmed her mental wellbeing and allowed her to choose the end of her dialysis.

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Making College More Affordable with 529 Plans

When you were younger, you may have had aspirations to be a pop star, a professional athlete, maybe even a superhero. Most of us adjusted our expectations as we grew older, ultimately pursuing careers in areas such as education, law, medicine or financial services instead. Your child is no different, and a college education may be an important part of making their goals a reality. Unfortunately, the affordability of a college education is seemingly out of reach for many Americans: in-state tuition and fees at public universities have increased by a staggering 237 percent over the course of the past 20 years.1 Choosing an appropriate savings plan may make a big difference.

What is a 529 plan?

A 529 plan is an investment account that allows for tax-deferred growth to help pay for future college costs such as tuition, textbooks, and room and board as well as other educational expenses. One of the many benefits of the 529 plan is that the earnings are not subject to federal income tax and, in most cases, state income tax if used for qualified educational expenses.2 In addition to the federal tax savings, currently more than 30 states offer a full or partial tax deduction or credit on state tax returns for 529 contributions.3 Another notable provision of 529 plans is that there are no income limits, or age limits, so participation in a plan is available to almost everyone interested in saving money for college.

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Simon Says: Gain Control of Your Financial Life

click hereDear Friend,

I hope this message finds you and your family healthy and happy.

Each week I provide an e-mail communication that covers a wide variety of financial related topics. The content is educational in nature and considered "general information" which I hope you continue to find interesting and helpful.

However, your specific needs might require more detail and depth. Click on the informational brochure to the right. It "dives a little deeper," and speaks more specifically to coordinating the different pieces of your financial life.

Even in today's digital era, there is no substitute for one-on-one conversation. If/when convenient for you, I would love to schedule a time to talk, address any financial questions, issues or concerns you may have.

Please reply to this email with a few dates and times that work for you - I look forward to catching up.

Best,

Saul

 

 

 

Charitable Bequests: Strategies for Supporting a Charitable Cause and Your Heirs

Are there causes and charities that you would like to fund or donate to while also helping to ensure that your family is taken care of after you’re gone? Fortunately, leaving a charitable legacy doesn’t have to mean that you’d be short-changing your family. With the help of certain estate planning strategies, you can create an income stream during retirement, or provide for your heirs, while also supporting a charity of your choice.

Very simply, a charitable bequest is the giving of personal property to an organization through the provisions of a will or an estate plan, and donations can be made in many forms including cash, stocks, bonds, or real estate. Many people make charitable contributions prior to their death because, typically, they can benefit from an income tax deduction in the year that the gift was made. If you’re planning to leave a gift once you’re gone, however, there are different strategies that you may wish to consider.

One simple strategy is to bequeath the asset to the charity under the terms of your will. In this scenario, the donor’s estate may benefit from a tax deduction while the charity would benefit from the gifted assets once the donor’s estate has been settled. For those of higher net worth, or who plan on leaving a very generous bequest to charity, however, a charitable trust may offer some significant benefits.

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How to Be Aware of Long-Term Care

Each decade, American lifespans increase. Today, some 2 million people are 90 years of age and older, and that population is expected to quadruple by 2050. While most welcome the chance at longer life, fewer are ready to deal with the ailments and chronic conditions that often accompany the latter years. That’s why understanding long-term care services is an important part of planning for the future.

The majority of people 90 and older have some type of disability or chronic condition. The cost of care for these people can be staggering. A private room in a nursing home costs around $97,000 a year (national average). For those who prefer to receive care at home, the national average hourly rate for a home health aide is nearly $22 per hour, while skilled home health care rates are significantly greater, with the national average fee for a registered nurse at $79 per hour.

As eye opening as these figures can be, there are several other important factors to consider when thinking about long-term care.

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