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Shane Flait's Articles in Finance

  • Are Government Inflation Bonds Called I-Bonds For You?
    I-Bonds are government savings bonds sold to you by the U.S. Treasury. They're not the old savings bonds bought for you when you were kids. But they're a way to invest money for the conservative part of your portfolio. Let's check out what they have to offer you...
  • Disclaim Your Spouse's IRA In Favor Of His Or Her Secondary Beneficiary
    If your husband has a large IRA and you're well off, consider disclaiming part or all of his IRA at his death. Doing so can leave more for your children. This is an estate tax avoidance strategy to be aware of.
  • Don't Transfer Your Company Stock To An IRA
    If you've acquired company stock within your company plan fund (like a 401(k)), transferring that stock to an IRA will cost you a lot more taxes later when you take a distribution from your IRA. There's a better way to save taxes on that stock. Here's how...
  • An Overview Of Annuities' Names and Terms, Comparisons and Types
    Annuity names and terms can be confusing. Here is an overview of how annuities are compared among each other and the meaning of their terms and names used.
  • Get Non-Itemized Medical Deductions With A HSA Before Medicare Eligibility
    If you're not yet eligible for Medicare (age 65) you can get a tax break paying for you medical costs. But you need to use Health Savings Account (HSA) in conjunction with a high deductible health insurance plan to do so. Let's see how it works...
  • Asset Transfer Considerations In Your Medicaid Planning
    Long term care costs are very high and some of us will require long term care near the end of our lives. Medicaid covers the cost of your long term care for free. But, Medicaid is for those who are impoverished. So, if you have any assets, Medicaid will use up all but a few thousand dollars' worth of your assets first to pay for its costs to care for you before picking up additional costs for free.
  • Bonds With Higher Interest Rates Come With Higher Risks
    Retirees seek interest income either directly from bonds they own or from income funds invested in bonds. But investments that pay higher rates of interest do so because they present higher risks. Let's review how this works...
  • Should a Retiree Buy a Fixed or Variable Annuity?
    As a retiree you want an income you can count on in the future. You probably have Social Security and, possibly, a pension too. Both are lifetime incomes with your Social Security indexed for inflation. But perhaps you've decided to invest some of your savings in an annuity to guarantee additional lifetime income. Should you go with a fixed or variable annuity?
  • Stay Alert To Prevent Identity Thieves From Stealing Your Money Or Identity
    Thieves make money using identity information of other people. They're out there finding ways to steal whatever ID information they can get from you. Elderly are often easy prey for them. Your best defense is to be aware of when your identity information is vulnerable to be stolen.
  • How To Apply for Social Security Online
    No, you don't have to go to your local Social Security office to apply for your Social Security Benefits. You can do it from anywhere - because you can do it online. That can be a benefit if you're vacationing in Europe or live in Utah when you want to apply - or whatever your circumstance.
  • Several Ways You Can Buy Gold for Diversifying Your Portfolio
    Should gold be a part of a retiree's portfolio? I would say yes, as long as he understands his purpose for buying gold. Gold is a volatile investment. People buy it as a hedge against declining purchasing power of their money - i.e. inflations; and speculators try to profit on expected moves in currency values. But over the long run it has shown an upward trend and that's what's good about it for the 'buy and hold' crowd.
  • A Few Reasons For Creating An Estate Plan
    Estate planning essentially makes provision for your beneficiaries when you die. Not having made an estate plan can produce a lot of problems later when you aren't there to fix or clarify them. It's easy to put planning off with day-to-day cares, but don't. Here some reasons to push you to get going.
  • Spouse's SS Entitlement Is Reduced for Taking Her Working Benefits Early
    Be careful not to undermine the Social Security benefits you expected. It's easy to be confused by all the ramifications the Social Security system puts on benefits. Here's an example of how a spouse who begins her own Social Security benefits early undermines her later 'spousal' Social Security entitlement.
  • Different Qualified Plans Have Different Minimum Required Distributions Rules
    Qualified plans were created to help workers save for their retirement. Most plans allow tax-deferred growth of tax-deductible contribution made during your working career. And most plans require an annual minimum required distribution (RMD) after age 701/2. All RMDs are taxed as ordinary income. But what rules apply for different qualified plan distributions?
  • Take an 'In Kind' IRA Distribution of Depressed Equities for Future Tax Benefits
    Once you've reached age 701/2, you must begin making minimum required distributions (MRDs) from your IRAs each year. But if you don't need the cash to live on and you expect your IRA stock to increase in the future, consider taking an 'in kind' distribution for improved tax benefits.
  • Is It Worth Donating Your Life Insurance to a Charity?
    The benefits of donating your life insurance policy to charity can be varied and, perhaps, dubious. To see the ramifications of doing so, first check out what you'll be accomplishing for yourself - and for the charity. It all depends on the circumstances: your circumstance and the charity's. Here's the scoop...
  • Know How to Fund Your Trust
    Trusts serve many uses; they're important estate planning devices, too. But the majority of trust must be funded with your assets for them to fulfil their purpose. The apparent hassle of funding a trust delays many people from doing so. Unfortunately, not funding them properly defeats their purpose. Here's the lowdown on trusts and how to fund them.
  • What Type of Annuity Is Safe for You?
    Retirees who want to supplement their Social Security and pension income can look to their savings. They can invest those savings to generate an income or they can annuitize all or part of them. The annuity - as an insurance product - can offer a lifetime income. But are annuities safe? Well, that all depends on what you need to be safe from?
  • What to Withdraw From and When To Maintain Your Wealth
    Retirees are interested in preserving their wealth as long as possible. But because different assets are taxed differently, sometimes yearly where required, the order in which you withdraw income from your assets can significantly affect how fast you'll deplete your wealth. So, in what order should you withdraw from each type of asset?
  • Provide For Your Heirs But Let Them Live Their Own Lives
    Estate planning allows you to decide how to provide for your loved ones after you die with what you've accumulated. And, you want to transfer your assets to those you intend efficiently. But be sure to transfer your wisdom to them and not your power over them. That's part of estate planning, too. Here are some points to consider...
  • You Can Unconvert Your IRA-to-Roth Conversion to Offset Investment Loss
    The taxation that accompanies converting your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA can be substantial. Presumably, you determined that you'll eventually gain more benefits from making the conversion to a Roth than keeping that money in your traditional IRA. However, if those converted funds 'go south' in value as the market falls, you can 'unconvert' your Roth to recover the conversion tax you paid. Here's how it works...
  • A Fixed Annuity Offers You Many Protection
    Asset protection is an important consideration when deciding on retirement investments. One investment of particular interest to retirees is the annuity. Annuities are geared to protect you from running out of income while you're living.
  • Use Solid Equity Investments to Offset Inflation
    Offsetting inflation's effect on your portfolio requires you to seek higher returns than conservative income investments can offer. That means moving your money into equities and that often means assuming more risk. Here's why...
  • Make Your Investments Consistent With Your Risk Tolerance
    A retiree necessarily has a different approach to investing than a young person. Each is in different financial circumstance. They've got different goals, prospects, and, most importantly, different timelines to achieve what they want. These differences support different risk tolerances for each - and therefore different investment choices for each.
  • How to Convert an Inherited Company 401(k) Plan to a Roth IRA
    The Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) permits you to convert your company retirement plan assets, including a 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans, directly to a Roth IRA. Of course, you must pay the income tax on the conversion of a deductible company plan to the Roth IRA. You can do this if you're the owner, the owner's spousal beneficiary or the owner's non-spousal beneficiary.
  • A 1035 Exchange Offers a 'Tax Free' Way to Change Life Insurance Policies or Switch to an Annuity
    When preparing for retirement, you need to re-evaluate your insurance needs. Perhaps, you may have a cash value life insurance policy that doesn't offer what you need now. You may decide to cash it in or sell it so you can buy another insurance product. But you'd have to pay taxes on any gain you make on your policy. But with a 1035 exchange, you can bypass any immediate taxes while converting your policy to something better suited to you.
  • Recognize That Wills and Trusts Differ in Their Attributes and Implications
    A Will and Trusts can both play a part in many estate plans. Both govern assets and their distribution. Often it's best to use both to achieve what you want. This article alerts you to basics about how they differ.
  • Having a Will or Not - What's the Difference
    It's easy to put off making your will. Thinking about your death is depressing and, besides, you're not sure of all that you have and what happens to it anyway. This article introduces you to just these issues.
  • Allocate for Purpose then Diversify to an Acceptable Risk
    Everyone needs an investment approach that serves his situation. Your situation determines both the purpose and associated risk your choice of investments must achieve. This article provides an understanding about how to choose investment types for your situation.
  • Get More Income and Tax Breaks from Your Other Home
    If you're looking for more income, why not let your other home help you out? You may have been using it just for yourself, but now you need more income. If you turn it into an investment property you'll not only bring in some income but increase your tax breaks for holding it.
  • Retirees Should Consider Investing More in Real estate
    If you're starting your retirement, consider your portfolio allocation strategy - i.e. how to split your money among different asset categories. You'll want investment income to cover living expenses but you'll also need long term investments to maintain your portfolio's value against inflation damage. Here's why real estate investments can deliver both of these.
  • Use a Roth IRA If You Must Buy Real Estate Within Your IRA
    You can buy real-estate within your IRA, but it's best to have enough IRA money to buy without a mortgage. Some retirees can do this. This article explains why they should use a Roth IRA rather than a traditional (i.e. deductible contribution) IRA to do this.
  • Should Retirees Consider Real Estate Investing With Their IRA Money
    Yes, you can buy real estate with your IRA money. And retirees often have a lot of IRA money and are wondering how they can use it for real estate investing. This article overviews the advantages and disadvantages of real estate with IRAs.
  • An Ultra-Short Bond Fund Can Give You the High Income You Need
    You may be getting your earnings income from CDs or money market funds but you're still looking for even higher interest earnings.Try an Ultra-Short Bond (USB) fund for higher interest rates but at a somewhat greater risk. A USB fund invests only in fixed-income instruments with very short maturityies - about 1 year. It seeks higher yields than money market funds but with less price fluctuations than a typical short-term (1-3 years) bond fund.
  • Let Your IRA Fund Your Young Beneficiary's Retirement
    Leaving some or all of your IRA to your young child or grandchild can enormously help fund his own retirement. Today, young people are already burdened with high taxation, perhaps poor job prospects, and many living costs that make it difficult to fund their retirement. But the tax-deferred or tax-free growth over many years of their inherited IRA from you may solve much of their retirement concerns. Here's how.
  • Use High Income Investments in Your IRAs for Retirement Income
    The tax-deferred and tax-free nature of IRAs makes high income investments attractive for retirees especially if they're looking for income to live on. Here's why.
  • When Can You Buy or Own Life Insurance on Someone Else's Life?
    A person generally buys a life insurance on his life to supply the death benefit - cash - to his beneficiary when he dies. But can anyone buy or own life insurance on someone else's life. That's what this article addresses.
  • Problems Naming Persons as Beneficiaries of Your Life Insurance
    You have to be aware of problems you can have when you name a person as beneficiary of your life insurance. This article presents circumstances that can produce problems you didn't intend to happen.
  • Use Trusts to Get Your Life Insurance Proceeds to the Beneficiaries You Intend
    Naming individuals as beneficiaries of your life insurance can produce problems getting your death benefit used as you intended. This article overviews who you should avoid designating as beneficiaries and devices you can use to assure your intentions for those benefits.
  • Avoid Irreversible Decisions Before You Create a Good Retirement Plan
    Irreversible decisions are those retirement options you choose that cause significant loss of your money to taxes or restrict how you can receive your money. Don't make such decisions until you're comfortable with how you'll move through your retirement years. This article points out what to watch out for.
  • Husband's Early Retirement Will Lower Wife's SS Entitlement Benefits
    Usually, about 50% of people eligible to collect Social Security at 62 begin to collect it then. But collecting your Social Security benefits (i.e. income) before your full retirement age (FRA) will permanently reduce your benefits. That reduction is about 25% if you begin at age 62. This article explains how beginning your Social Security benefits early will limit your spouse's Social Security marriage entitlement benefits.
  • Retirees Can Use Fixed Term SPIAs to Keep in Control of Their Money
    Today's retirees often don't have a company pension. Their only steady source of income is their Social Security benefits (SSB). But often that's not enough and they want to count on an income that'll cover their living expenses. If they've acquired a decent amount of savings they can use an annuity to assure them an adequate income without losing control of their money. Here's how.
  • Withdraw from Taxable Accounts First and Let Tax-Deferred Accounts Compound to Best Maintain Savings
    Retirees who need to dip into savings to pay their yearly expenses should first take from their taxable accounts (i.e. not IRAs, etc). Let the tax-deferral help your tax-deferred accounts grow faster for greater future savings. This article explains why.
  • How to Accomplish Complete Diversification with Mutual Funds
    Diversifying your portfolio reduces the risk that the demise of any one company, investment area or market will rob much of your portfolio's value. But how do you approach diversification especially if you have a limited amount of money. Here's an approach using mutual funds.
  • Create a Supplemental Needs Trust to Help Your Disabled Adult Child When You Die
    If you're caring for an adult child who is permanently disabled, you may worry about how well he'll be cared for after you're gone. He or she may be mentally, physically, or emotionally disabled and able to qualify for Medicaid. But you may want to help him with your money for those 'extra needs and care' that can make a big difference in his life. Here's what to do...
  • Failing Health during Retirement Brings You through 3 Distinct Financial Stages
    Determining how much income you'll need to get you through retirement can be tricky. We can't predict how long we'll live nor how our health will fare over the duration. It's wise to consider how failing health may bring you through different financial stages - each with its own income demands. That's what this article is about.
  • Strategies for Retirees to Create Their Retirement Income and a Legacy
    About-to-be retirees wonder how they can arrange a retirement income for themselves yet still maintain a legacy for their kids. Here are a few strategies to consider based on their pre-retirement income and savings. Use them to fashion your own approach.
  • Strategies for a Spousal Beneficiary of an IRA to Take Her Distributions
    If your spouse dies with you assigned as sole beneficiary of his IRA, then you have a few ways to take distributions from it. Depending on your age and earnings, you may find one way is the best option for you. Here's how it works....
  • Switching Life Insurance Policies - Keep This in Mind
    As you approach retirement, your life circumstance is geared to change. Because your life insurance needs depend on your circumstance, it's geared to change too. So switching life insurance polices becomes a consideration. But here's what to keep in mind.
  • What are the Tax Consequences to the Beneficiary of My Annuity
    Retirees especially like annuities because annuities can assure them an income for life. But some retirees will die before beginning their annuity or receiving all their guaranteed annuity benefits. Their beneficiaries will then receive those benefits. This article explains how those beneficiaries are taxed on those benefits.
  • What You Should Know about Level Term Life Insurance
    As you approach retirement, you may still have reasons to own life insurance at least for a while.
    You might consider 'level term' life insurance as an option. Here's what you should know.
  • Key Considerations for Retirees Seeking to Sell Their Life Insurance Policies
    If you need more cash, look to the value of your life insurance policy. But you must determine if you're willing to forego the policy's death benefit for your beneficiaries and what amount of cash you can get for it. This article shows you some simple things to consider.
  • Your 2011 'Means Testing' Cost of Medicare Part B and Drug Premiums
    Your Medicare premiums now increase depending on your income. This is called 'Means Testing'. This article shows what the premiums are for 2011 for both your Part B and Drug Premiums.
  • Ways to Handle the 5 Year Transfer Rule in your Medicaid Planning
    'Medicaid Planning' refers to transferring your assets out of your control so you can qualify for Medicaid coverage of your long term care (LTC) costs as an impoverished person. This article orients you to this process and suggests ways to handle it.
  • How to Keep Control of Your Elderly Parent's or Spouse's Assets
    Often, an elderly parent or spouse may have always solely owned and controlled his assets for the benefit of himself or a spouse. But his sudden death or incapacity can prevent those assets from being used by the very people he wanted to help. This article explores what's in jeopardy and how to quickly remedy the situation.
  • Ways for Soon-to-be Retirees to Protect and Preserve Their Assets
    If you're in the 62 to 65 year old range, you're getting ready to retire. And you have a remaining life expectancy that's statistically about 20 years or more - still a long way to go. Be sure to prepare to preserve your assets for the long haul. Here are a few things to work on.
  • How Does a Viatical Differ From a Life Settlement?
    If you have a life insurance policy with cash value assigned to it, you can probably sell it. Both Life Settlements and Viaticals involve selling a life insurance policy. This article explains how they differ.
  • How Lost Insurance Policies are Handled When the Insured Dies
    Getting older makes it easy to forget things like where your insurance policy is. So if an insured dies, what can a beneficiary - if he knows he's a beneficiary of a lost policy - do, and what happens to the insurance policy in the mean time? This article answers these questions.
  • Hedge Funds Are Risky for a Reason
    Hedge funds pool investors' money to invest those funds in financial instruments to make a significant positive return in all kinds of markets. This isn't easy, but hedge fund managers use a wide set of investment practices that may increase the risk of investment loss. Here's how they work...
  • Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) Offer Flexible Investment Approaches
    Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) offer low expense ratios and high trading flexibility. That makes them attractive alternatives to traditional mutual funds. And they can serve as part of both long-term and short-term investment strategy. Here's the scoop...
  • Why Trusts Help You in Estate Planning
    You do estate planning to handle your affairs when you no longer can and to distribute your estate to your beneficiaries. Transferring your wealth effectively and efficiently is important so it goes to the beneficiary you choose and minimizes tax losses. Using a trust can help you accomplish this. Here's why...
  • How Does Asset Protection Differ from Estate and Financial Planning
    You may hear the mention of asset protection when you're discussing estate planning, but realize that asset protection has a distinctly different goal. Let's consider what each does and doesn't do to clear our conceptions of each.
  • A 'Defective' Trust Can Help You Avoid Gift Tax
    Transferring some of your wealth while you're alive will trigger a gift tax when you die. You also have to pay an estate tax on the value of your estate when you die, too. These are hefty taxes that lower what you can ultimately leave to your beneficiaries. You can use a 'defective' trust to help reduce them. Here's how...
  • How Can Retirees Benefit from a Weakening Dollar
    Since June 2010, the dollar has been weakening with respect to the euro. The euro is the currency of countries in the European Union and because of that it, carries a good deal of weight in global economics. In June 2010 alone, one euro started out costing $1.26 and has more or less risen to $1.46 as of April 2011. What does this mean to retirees and travelers - and how can they benefit?
  • How to Determine Which IRA You Should Contribute To
    As you approach retirement, you may still be contributing to an IRA plan. Both your income and whether or not you (or your spouse) have a qualified plan associated with work will determine which of the three IRA types - the traditional (deductible) IRA, the non-deductible IRA, and the Roth IRA - you should contribute to. However, when circumstances occur that give you a choice of contributing to two or more IRAs, here's how to decide what to do.
  • Use a Life Insurance Trust to Achieve Some Estate Planning Goals
    Life insurance creates money in the form of a death benefit when you die. A couple or reasons to hold an insurance policy during retirement include helping to pay estate taxes and ensuring a specific legacy to your heirs. But estate taxes can take a big chunk of your estate - and that includes any proceeds of your life insurance. Using a life insurance trust can bypass estate taxes and help in other ways. Here's how.
  • Diversifying and Laddering Are Two Ways to Protect Your Retirement Income
    Assuring yourself a steady yearly income is important during your retirement. Your pension and social security income do just that. But if you also want to smooth out the income fluctuations that your investments produce, you can do so using two strategies - diversifying and laddering your investments. This article shows how you'd do just that.
  • The Generation Skipping Tax - A Loophole Cover of Estate and Gift Taxes
    The generation-skipping (transfer) tax (GST) taxes anything you directly leave or gift to a person two or more generations below you - typically your grandchildren. Why it's there and its 2011, 2012 taxation rates are what this article addresses.
  • What Makes Up Your Taxable Estate?
    Estate taxes can rob a chunk of your legacy from your beneficiaries. But this tax is imposed on your net estate value. That's the value of your estate after you've taken allowable deductions from your gross estate. What makes up your gross estate is the value of all property in which you have any interest at your death plus some gift items you made within 3 years of death. This article overviews the deductions you can take.
  • Your Probated Estate versus Federal Estate - What's the Difference?
    One of the concerns that estate planning addresses is the problem of probate. This is your state's legal process of settling a decedent's affairs supervised by your local probate court in your county. It's a public, time-consuming, and often costly process.
  • The Tools to Deal with Your Estate Planning Concerns
    You can use a variety of tools to address the five major concerns of estate planning. This article overviews which tools are typically used for which concerns.
  • How to Ladder Annuities for More Income than CDs
    Retirees who want to count on a reliable income may be better off using annuities than CDs. The advantage of using an annuity over a CD is that a deferred annuity grows tax-deferred, and immediate annuity payouts are only partially taxed. All a CD's income is taxed as earned. Here's a way to take advantage of the annuity's tax break to give you more income throughout your retirement years.
  • Reasons Why and When You Should Have an Estate Plan
    Estate planning is arranging your affairs so that you and your assets will be handled the way you'd want when you no longer can. Such planning generally anticipates our death as well as the mental and physical deterioration of old age that leaves us incapable of handling our affairs. This article overviews the concerns that estate planning addresses and the strategies used to solve them.
  • The 2010 Estate Tax Relief Act Doesn't Negate the Importance of the Bypass Trust
    One purpose of the bypass trust is to use the first-to-die spouse's personal estate tax exemption to save part of his estate from paying estate taxes.But the 2010 Tax Relief has changed that need. But that doesn't wipe out the importance of setting up a bypass trust. Here's why....
  • You Can Create a Charitable Remainder Trust either as a CRAT or a CRUT
    Charitable remainder trusts (CRTs) can give you income now or a legacy for your beneficiaries at your death while you contribute to charity. You, of course, get a chartable deduction that helps you too. And of course you get income and eventual estate tax breaks for your charitable donation. This article shows you how it works.
  • Most Tax Rates and Breaks Remain the Same for 2011 and 2012
    The 2010 Tax Relief Act has set the tax rates and breaks for 2011 and 2012. Personal income tax rates and investment rates will remain unchanged. Seniors will see a charitable tax break for their IRA holdings. Here's the detail...
  • Estate Tax for 2010, 2011 and 2012 Is Finally Settled
    Finalization of our estate, gift and generation skipping tax took place on Dec. 17, 2010 when the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 was enacted. Its provisions settle our death-related taxes from 2010 to the end of 2012 - but not beyond that. Here are the provisions…
  • Retirees Need to Take Charge of Their Retirement Income and Expenses
    To get the most for your buck, you need to take charge of your income and expenses - maximize the former and minimize the latter. Knowing the statistics of retirement incomes can help you understand where you stand compared to others. This article shows how retirement income breaksdown among retirees overall. Then I warn you to take action to reduce your expenses so you can go farther on less income.
  • How Much Social Security Can You Get If You're Married?
    Part of your retirement income will come from Social Security. But how much social security income can you expect as a married couple? As a spouse, you get the better of two Social Security incomes. That's what this article is about.
  • How to Project Your Financial Status at Retirement
    If you're within 5 years of retirement, you can make a good projection of what your retirement financial status will be; and that means how your retirement income compares to your retirement expenses. You need to know that so you can take some quick steps if you're in bad shape. This article shows you how to project your financial status.
  • Know Your Income Options in Retirement
    This article helps you strategize how you'll produce your retirement income, realize the array of income options you're presented with in retirement. Then choose which combination of income options suits you according to your aversion to risk and your remaining life expectancy.
  • You Can Save Faster with Tax-deductible Qualified Plans in 3 Ways
    If you're trying to beef-up your retirement savings in just a few years, use tax-deductible qualified plans (including IRAs) to do so. In this article I outline why they can give you the most benefit for your contribution efforts.
  • How Much Is Your IRA or Qualified Plan Deduction Worth To You?
    Government-regulated retirement plans - such as your IRA or your company plan at work - offer you tax-deductible contributions as an incentive to use them to save for your retirement. But how much is that tax-deductible contribution really worth to you? That's what this article is all about.
  • How Do Government-regulated Retirement Plans Benefits Differ from Regular Savings Benefits?
    Government-regulated retirement savings plans such as IRAs and 401(k)s are often called 'qualified plans' for short. The have a specific taxation scheme that's not based on the investments you put into these 'plans'. The taxation of your regular savings or investments depends on the nature (or type) of the investment itself. In this article, I compare these two in terms their taxation benefits.
  • A Guarantee of Lifetime Payments Is Itself a Return of an Annuity
    You measure an investment by its risk and return. Generally, the less the risk, the less return you should expect. Unlike other investments, a life annuity offers you a unique opportunity of an almost riskless investment with a possibly high return. This article shows you how to view the return that an immediate life annuity can give you.
  • Know the Benefits and Disbenefits of Annuities
    You choose an annuity, like any investment, to achieve a goal. Knowing the benefits and disbenefits of an annuity is important to devising your strategy. This article outlines some of each.
  • How Are Annuities Categorized?
    Annuities may seem confusing. That's due to all the options and fees some carry. This article explains the three ways all annuities are categorized to get you oriented.
  • An Immediate Life Annuity Returns Assurance and Potential Earnings
    An immediate life annuity can be a good investment against outliving your money - a very real issue for retirees. That's because it offers two returns - assurance of an income for the remainder of your life, and the possibility of earnings higher than you could get elsewhere if you live long enough. This article shows you how to figure your possible earnings aside from the assurance of never running out of money.
  • Tips To Save You Money
    Reducing your living expenses allows you to save more for retirement or makes your current retirement income go further for what you really want. But even if income is not that tight, saving money by eliminating unnecessary expenses is a way to pay for special treats - like trips and gifts - that can brighten up retirement. Here's some tips to save money.
  • Make a Tax-based Profit on Your IRA Contribution If You're Retiring Soon
    Government-regulated retirement plans, like IRAs and 401(k)s, offer you a tax-advantage. Your contributions are tax-deductible whose earnings then grow tax-deferred. Withdrawals are taxed as income. With no investment gain - or loss - you can make a tax-based profit by contributing at high income tax rates, and then withdraw at a low income tax rates. This article shows you why.
  • Four Ways to Use Your Home Equity for Retirement Income
    If you own a house, you can use its equity to improve your retirement income. This article summarizes 4 ways to generate income from your home's equity.
  • What Benefits Are Available from Social Security for You
    If you're considering when you should retire, you'll need to know just when your Social Security benefits (i.e. monthly income) kicks in for you - and how much you'll get. This article summarizes when and who gets Social Security benefits, how much, and what affects how much you get. You can get all your information at the Social Security Administration's website: ssa.gov
  • IRAs, Roths, and 401(k)s with Taxed and Untaxed Minimum Required Distributions (MRDs)
    IRA and Roth IRAs are two examples of government-regulated retirement savings plans - called qualified plans. Both are generally personal plans you set up that you can contribute to and withdraw from. Other examples of qualified plans associated with work are 401(k), 403(b) and their Roth versions- like Roth 401(k). This article explains which qualified plans have minimum required distributions (MRDs) associated with them and some strategy.
  • Making Yourself Financially Independent Isn't Lucky - It's Planning
    If you want to accomplish something, you'll invariably need a plan - an effective plan. Most people think becoming financially independent is a pie-in-the-sky happenstance for those with high incomes, lottery winners, and lucky investors. They're wrong. With commitment and a mindset, it's within reach of most. In this article I'll map out a way that almost everybody can achieve financial independence if they put their mind to it.
  • Government Asset Protection - Too Much and None Where There Should Be
    Government laws and its legal system play a part in asset protection. In some venues they may protect too much, while in others, they're the villain that we should be protected from. This article examines when and where.
  • Coming to Terms with Asset Protection Strategies
    Asset protection deals with protecting your assets from others who may make a claim on them through a court action. Developing an approach to what asset protection strategy you need requires you to understand which assets of yours are vulnerable to be claimed, when, and from whom. This article outlines these points and the boundaries and limitations that affect your choice of asset protection device.
  • Retirement Phase Questions to Answer
    Retirement brings a whole new set of considerations to our lives. It's our third - and last - phase of life. In this article I'll outline the sequential stages of our retirement years and the issues you should address - ideally, early in the first stage.
  • Manage Your Retirement Income with the Critical Ages in Mind
    Certain ages are critical when managing our retirement plans. Failure to plan with those ages in mind can produce lost benefits. In this article I outline those dates and explain how they affect your retirement benefits.
  • Annuities Help Retirees Secure An Income for Later in Retirement
    One aspect to living is that we never know when we'll die. Having saved money for their retirement income, retirees often worry that they'll outlive their savings since life expectancies are increasing. An annuity is an investment that is uniquely addressed to providing income for life. This article shows how you can use an annuity to assure yourself a future income if you live longer than you planned.
  • Income Taxation of Annuities, When and On What?
    An annuity is both a contract with an insurance company and an investment. Your contributions (often called premium payments) to it are invested to produce earnings. This article explains when and what is taxed as income under annuitization, withdrawals, and gifts of your annuity.

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