Audit Your Beneficiaries

When you buy insurance or open a bank or investment account, you have to designate one or more beneficiaries.

For many people, that initial moment is the last time they ever look at their beneficiary designations. Has anything changed in your life since you opened that account or bought a policy? If it has been more than a year, the answer for many of us is YES!

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Before You Put Away Your 1040

The April 15th deadline has come and gone so, hopefully, you've either filed your taxes or requested an extension, but don't put away that 1040 just yet...

Your 1040 is full of valuable information that can help you move closer to your financial goals. Your 1040 can tell you how much you earned, how much you spent, how much you paid in taxes, and how much you saved for the future.

Let's start by making 3 columns, "Income", "Savings", and "Taxes".

The first column is easy; just take a look at line 22, your Total Income. Line 22 will tell you how much money you had to work with in 2013. Put that number in the "Income" column.

Then let's see how much you saved. If any of the income from line 22, wages, interest, dividends, rents, IRAs, pensions, Social Security, or any other income, was reinvested – put that amount in the "Savings" column. Take any Capital Gains from investment sales on Schedule D, and any money that was deducted from your paycheck for retirement accounts such as a 401k or a 403b and put that on the "Savings" column too.

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Getting Financially Fit

If you want to feel better about your life, you need to get fit. That doesn't just mean being physically fit but having a healthy financial life. Being financially healthy has some of the same benefits as being physically fit. You can lower your stress level, sleep better, be energized and have more control over your future.

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The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012

The new year began with some political drama, as last-minute negotiations attempted to avert sending the nation over the "fiscal cliff." Technically, we actually did go over the cliff, however briefly, as a host of tax provisions and automatic spending cuts took effect at the stroke of midnight on December 31, 2012. However, January 1, 2013, saw legislation--retroactively effective--pass the U.S. Senate, and then later the House of Representatives. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) permanently extends a number of major tax provisions and temporarily extends many others. Here are the basics.

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Managing & Assessing Risks

Managing investment risk is the most important factor in developing your portfolio. Projected or expected returns are meaningless if not viewed through the lens of potential risks.

Managing investment risk involves several steps:

• Identifying your Risk Profile
• Identifying investment risks
• Matching your investment portfolio risks to your Risk Profile
• Monitoring and adjusting your portfolio to match changes in your Risk Profile, goals and time horizons.

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Myth of the Month - March 2012

"Financial planning is investing"

Although investing is one component of good financial planning, it is not all about investing. Financial planning includes spending & saving (budgeting), risks management, investing, insurance, estate planning and more. While you might not need to get involved with these topics at each point in your life, most people encounter them at some point. Early in life, managing your cash flow to create savings is critical. Without savings, there is nothing to invest. Likewise, managing risk to avoid catastrophic losses will help you retain what your investments have grown. Looking at all parts will help you develop a successful plan.

After You File Your Taxes...

Before you file that copy of your tax form in the back of the drawer, spend a few minutes to see what it can tell you about your finances. You can quickly see how much you are spending, paying in taxes and saving for the future. This is valuable information to see if you are moving closer to your future financial goals. Here is how to do it...

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Who Can Benefit from Financial Advice?

People who are concerned about outliving their assets...
What is your "Number" and how you will manage it?
How much do I need to be able to retire comfortably?
I'm retired - What is the best way to obtain the income I need from my assets?

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It Can’t Happen Here…

A multi-Billion dollar Ponzi scheme based in New York - No surprise; there are lots of questionable financial whizzes on Wall Street.

$350 Million lost to an investment firm in Sarasota - Now that is news! How soon we forget that some advisors, even those close to home, may not be good for our financial health. Remember 2007 when Capital 1st Financial was found to be defrauding seniors? Or some recent real estate investments?

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Reducing your income risk is crucial when investing

When investing and managing your money, you must consider and deal with a number of potential risks.  Some of these are more important at different times in one’s life. If you are relying on your investments to provide income to pay your expenses, you are rightfully concerned about the stability of income.  Regardless of how you use the income, let’s look at how you can manage these risks and improve the reliability of your overall investment income.

Read the rest of the Bradenton Herald Article.

Use your tax forms to boost finances

With the 2016 federal tax return filing deadline of April 18 – yes, that is correct – rapidly approaching, let’s talk about how you can use your tax forms to improve your finances.

Before you file away your 2016 tax forms, spend a few minutes to see how it can help plan your finances and taxes for 2017.

Read the rest of the Bradenton Herald Article.

Investing in a world of negative interest rates 

More than 25 percent of bonds are yielding less than zero percent. That means when the bonds mature, owners will receive less than they paid for them. This is a scary scenario for any bond investor as security of principal and low-risk returns are the main reasons to hold bonds.

Read the rest of the Bradenton Herald Article.