Monthly Archives: May 2013

Are You Prepared to Retire?

Retirement used to conjure up images of lazy days spent in a rocking chair. Today’s retirement is very different. You might plan to open a business of your own. Or perhaps you’ll return to school for that degree you never had the chance to complete. So what does this redefined retirement mean to you? There is no one answer. In the coming decades, “retirement” will mean something different to each of us. Regardless of your decision, you’ll need to design a financial plan suited to your specific vision of the future. Income Is Key A good starting point might be to examine your sources of retirement income. If you pay attention to the financial press, you’ve probably come across at … Continue reading

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Four Steps to a Simpler Financial Life

For many Americans, financial life seems to be getting more and more complicated. Perhaps that’s because more workers bear responsibility for their own retirement savings thanks to the proliferation of 401(k) and other plans. Or maybe it’s because there’s so much information and so many investment choices to sort through. Whatever the case, here are some suggestions that may help to simplify your financial life. 1. Start with a Plan A little time spent planning now can benefit you later. First, determine short-term financial goals. Do you want to purchase a home in five years? Are your kids heading off to college soon? Is buying a car a top priority next year? Next, think about long-term goals, such as saving … Continue reading

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May Independent Investor

Home Refinancing Basics In recent years, Americans seeking to capitalize on low interest rates have lined up to refinance their mortgages–often resulting in significantly lower monthly payments. While it’s true that refinancing has the potential to help reduce the costs associated with borrowing money to own a home, it is not necessarily a strategy that makes sense for every individual in every situation. So before you make a commitment to refinance your mortgage, take some time to do your homework and determine whether such a move is the right one for you. To Refinance or Not The old and arbitrary rule of thumb said that refinancing only makes sense if you can lower your interest rate by at least two … Continue reading

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Questions to Ask When Drafting an Estate Plan

Because you’ve worked hard to create a secure and comfortable lifestyle for your family, you’ll want to ensure that you have a sound financial plan that includes trust and estate planning. With some forethought, you may be able to minimize gift and estate taxes and preserve more of your assets for those you care about. A qualified financial professional and tax professional can help ensure you are minimizing taxes and maximizing gains for your heirs. You can bring this four-part checklist to your initial meeting to discuss how to make your plan comprehensive and up-to-date. Part 1: Communicating Your Wishes Do you have a will? Are you comfortable with the executor(s) and trustee(s) you have selected? Have you executed a … Continue reading

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