We Will Help You Every Step Of The Way
Planning & Creating your Legacy one piece at a time.
Creating a plan can be overwhelming. Often so much we do not know where to start and so we don’t.
Let us help you take steps toward ensuring you are saving and growing your money while you are living and then passing it on to your family in the most tax efficient way.
Insurance is not just a one time transaction, it is for your life and for your family, find someone who understands it is not what happens today when you apply for it, it is what happens when you are not here anymore that the real job of taking care of people begins.
Most of us need to address 3 concerns:
What If I Die Too Soon?
What if I die before I have a chance to build assets and see my children through college and having children of their own.
Life insurance can step in to cover the financial loss of not being able to finish funding a retirement account, social security and children’s college.
What If I Get Very Sick?
Sometimes, the harder thing that happens is not going through cancer and dying, but going through cancer and living.
49% of foreclosures are due to medical problems. 62% of bankruptcies are due to medical bills.
There are multiple plans that can provide income or lumps sums if you become critically ill.
What If I Live A Long Time?
Now people get to look forward to decades in their golden years not just years.
The last thing you want to worry about is running out of money when you retire.
There are multiple plans that can provide lifetime income as well as providing tax efficient ways to pass on a legacy to your family.
“You don't buy life insurance because you are going to die, but because those you love are going to live.”
For most of us, our biggest asset is our home, and mortgage protection can protect your home in the event you get critically ill or when you die. Death & disease are the most common reasons for foreclosure. The sudden death or diagnosis of a life threatening disease causes massive changes in our income and bills. Mortgage protection can help cover mortgage payments to provide time for the family to make decisions. The worst time to make a financial decision is when we are emotional and stressed.
Final expenses are not just the plot or cremation. Final expenses can take care of medical bills, provide financial means for family to travel in to say their good-byes and take care of those final bills that come at the end of every life. This way you know your family will not be stuck with any unnecessary burdens.
You worked hard to provide for your family, let us help you design a plan to make sure that your money is working hard to provide an income for you in your retirement years and make sure it does not run out, no matter how long you live.
Our best laid plans and disciplined savings can dwindle down by rising health care costs and health care needed for a growing and aging family. Health Matching Accounts match the funds paid in on a tax free basis and can be used for health related needs, even for things commonly not covered by health insurance like cosmetic and orthodontia.
Pet Health Matching Accounts can do the same for our furry family.
Income replacement can replace your salary or your social security income to help your family pay for all the things you won’t be able to, such as children’s education and any outstanding debts, so they can continue living the same lifestyle you worked so hard to establish.
The last thing you and your family want to think about if there is a diagnosis of cancer, a heart attack, a hospital stay or a disability is money. It is possible to supplement your income with a critical coverage plan that provides a lump sum on diagnosis, or to receive funds for every day you are in the hospital receiving the care that you need, or to receive monthly checks while on disability.
All parents want to provide a head start for their children. “Grow with Me” plans can help provide an integral part of their financial foundation. It is a tax free savings account that can be used for college, and also versatile enough to grow with the child and be used for a down payment on a house or for anything else needed along the path of life.
Savings as an emergency fund or in a retirement account are all steps that we should be taking as part of our financial plan. As we save there are specific accounts that the IRS allows your money to grow tax free and be withdrawn without penalty at any age. Taxes are a variable we cannot control, diversifying our savings so some of it is tax free and liquid gives you greater control over your future tax obligations.
Which is better for you?
Whole Life or Term Life?
These products and names get tossed around, and most of us are unsure what they fully mean or what protection they provide. We may have heard someone say at some point one was bad and one was good, but what are they and which does your family need?
Term insurance is meant for a specified period of time, to cover a debt or financial obligation that has a fixed term, such as a mortgage, student loan debt, or raising your children to adulthood. It is insurance that is more cost effective because it is meant to expire. People usually have larger amounts of term insurance based on the number of children or the size of your mortgage.
Permanent insurance offers protection for your entire life. It does not matter when or how you die, the permanent insurance is a benefit that is paid to your family. A portion of your monthly premium goes to build the cash value that earns interest every year. Permanent insurance does cost more, and so typically people will have a smaller amount of permanent coverage.
One is not bad or good, it simply depends on your age and needs that determines what makes sense.
why do people get term life?
Children's Education Fund
Why do people get Whole Life?
Cover Final Expenses
Leave a Legacy for family & charities
What are Living Benefits?
What is Hospital Income?
planning for the future
Retirement & Annuities
different retirement accounts
Have you ever looked at the alphabet soup of financial accounts and just tossed up your hands and thought it is too complicated to try and understand?
Would you believe that for tax purposes, a 401(k),403(b), TSP, or traditional IRA are all pretty much the same thing? It just depends on where you started your retirement account. A 403(b) is if you started at a school or hospital, and a 401(k) is if you worked at a private company, TSP is if you were a government worker and if your job doesn’t offer a retirement plan, you can just go open an IRA (Individual Retirement Account). Eventually you will probably roll your old retirement plans into an IRA because you don’t necessarily want to have multiple orphan accounts just sitting with your old jobs.
In all of the plans above, as the funds go in and they are tax deductible, meaning you do not pay taxes on the money now. Then they grow tax deferred, meaning your money grows and you do not pay taxes on the money every year. At some point when you start to withdraw the money, then you have to pay taxes. You have to wait until 59 ½ before you start taking out the money without penalty and you have to take it out when you reach age 72. They have slight variations but this is meant to give you a general understanding of the alphabet soup of our retirement options.
A Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA are different because it allows you to grow the money and take it out tax free. These are after tax dollars that go into a Roth, however the money grows tax free, not tax deferred, and the money can be withdrawn tax free. The same rules apply, where for the most part, you cannot withdraw the money until you are 59 ½ however the IRS does not care if you withdraw the money at 72 or any age because they will not gain any taxes from it.
*Always consult w your tax advisor.
Now, what is an annuity and how can it help me meet my retirement needs?
There are 3 basic types of annuities, variable, indexed, and fixed. You will hear a lot of information, some conflicting information, about annuities because people will lump these 3 very distinct types altogether. These annuities behave very differently, let’s take a look at how they behave.
An annuity does not change what something is, it is simply a vehicle.
For example if you have an orange and you put it in a fruit bowl, is it still an orange? Yes.
If you have an IRA and you put it into an annuity, still an IRA.
If you have a Roth IRA and put it into an annuity, still a Roth IRA.
If it stays the same, why do people roll their funds or retirement money into an annuity?
Let’s first briefly go over what are the characteristics of the 3 vehicles.
Are very much like a 401(k), or mutual funds, they go up with the market and down with the market. They can have extra features like a guaranteed death benefit or a guarantee for income.
If you are familiar with a CD, a fixed annuity is very much like a CD. It is a fixed rate of return for 2 years or 5 years or a set period of time. There are no surprises with a fixed annuity, the rate will remain the same the entire length of time and you can withdraw it or re-roll it once it matures.
Indexed annuities are like a hybrid. They follow market indexes and can go up with the market, however they have a contractual guarantee to never lose money. If the market goes down, then your account will remain the same. There can be a certain peace of mind knowing that your account will never lose money.
Common annuity myths debunked
This may have been true at one point in history but it is very rare now. It was a process called annuitization. Saying annuities of the past act the same as annuities of the present is similar to comparing your cell phone today to a flip phone or even a landline phone. Yes, they both allow you to make phone calls but they definitely do not have the same tools.
There are some annuities that have high fees, those are usually the variable annuities. There are numerous annuities that have no fees at all. And you can opt to pay some fees if you want to address specific concerns.
Reasons people will pay fees are to have an increased benefit if they go into a nursing home, or a more aggressive lifetime income schedule or more aggressive growth. Depending on what you are looking to accomplish it may make sense to pay those fees, but you can have an annuity with no fees at all.
Going back to the cell phone example, years ago, annuities did predominately have low returns. But much has changed as your phone has gone from a flip phone to a mini supercomputer that fits in your hand. You can see participation rates that are equal to market returns and some even higher.
Annuities, like most retirement strategies are designed to be long term. Most annuities are designed to give you certain benefits and in exchange for these benefits, there are some limitations. Most annuities will allow you to access 10% penalty free every year. In essence when you reallocate funds into an annuity you are letting the insurance company know most of that money can stay there most of the time. Some people will argue and make a big fuss over only having access to 10% every year, but when was the last time you took out half of your assets for any reason, emergency or otherwise?
planning for the future
laying the groundwork for your children
Do I save for retirement or do I save for my children’s college?
Most parents want to do something for their children and the rapidly growing costs of college. And while that can be a valuable resource to build, your first step is to build your retirement plan. Please keep in mind, your children can always get student loans, but there is no such thing as a retirement loan.
This is not a discouragement against college savings, this is an encouragement to make sure you are taken care of in order to take care of your children.
Put the right building blocks in place so you do not end up in your child’s basement in what should be your golden years.
Or so you do not end up relying on your children to support you financially in what should be your golden years.
The most common college savings plan is a 529 plan. A 529 plan is an investment account that allows you to save money for your children’s college education. The primary benefit of a 529 plan is that IF it is used for qualifying educational expenses then the funds will be tax free. It is referred to and called a 529 plan because Section 529 was written in the Internal Revenue Code, authorizing tax free status for qualified tuition programs. Just like any account, there are pros and cons to it, so let’s discuss if a 529 plan makes the most sense for you and your family.
As cited above, the primary benefit is that it can be tax free if used for qualifying educational expenses. Qualifying expenses are things such as tuition, fees and books, however there are some expenses the IRS does not consider a qualifying expense, so it is always better to double check than be left paying unnecessary taxes. If your child ends up not needing the funds, the 529 plan can be handed down to the next child.
Another benefit is some states do offer a state income tax deduction and state tax credits for 529 contributions. It also grows like any other mutual fund and will gain and lose money based on the market, and that can be a pro or a con depending on your capacity to handle the volatility of the market.
One of the drawbacks is that it must be used for qualifying educational expenses. We never know what the future holds for our children. And they may join the military, get college scholarships or choose not to attend college and now these funds will be withdrawn and taxes must be paid. Another potential drawback and something to take into consideration is a 529 plan owned by a grandparent or third party could have an impact on financial aid eligibility. And as previously mentioned it can lose value as the stock market goes down or gain value.
An alternative to a 529 plan can be to save money tax free in an insurance policy. You can see a side by side comparison and if the growth time frame you are looking at as a parent is over 15 years, this will typically yield better results.
This option gives you more flexibility because the funds can be used for anything and not just for education. It can be used towards a down payment on a house or purchase a vehicle or anything that comes along the path of life.
Must be used for educational purposes
Can gain or lose money based on the market
Can affect financial aid qualification
Index Universal Life Plan
Can be used for any purpose, not just education
Cannot lose money in the market only gain
Does not affect financial aid
Also has a life insurance component
planning for the future
disability, critical illness, living benefits & hospital stays
income while you are ill
Becoming critically ill or hurt to the point where you cannot work or need to take time off of work can have a dramatic impact on your finances and your future plans.
None of these things are something we want to think about, however if we plan, we can have peace of mind knowing, whatever life throws our way, we have a plan.
Disability Income will provide a monthly income if you are unable to perform your duties at your job. There are customizable short term and long term options to make sure you are protected.
Life insurance has traditionally been referred to as “death insurance,” because it only paid when someone died. The life insurance of today offers living benefits if you are diagnosed with a critical or chronic illness at no additional cost to you.
Do you know someone who has had to go into the hospital for a day or two or seven within the past couple of years? Most of us do. Imagine how helpful it could be to come home not just to medical bills but to receive a check for every day you had to be in the hospital?
Waiting for test results for a diagnosis is one of the defining moments of life, one we never think we will have to go through. Life does happen, if there is a cancer diagnosis or a sudden heart attack or stroke, it offers a lump sum that can be used for medical bills or anything your family needs.
planning for the future
health matching accounts for you & your furry family
tax free matches for health related expenses
With the rising cost of health care, it can be hard to budget what your growing and aging family needs.
What is available to fight these costs?
There are HSA’s (Health Savings Accounts), however you must have a high deductible health insurance plan to qualify and they are not easy to obtain. HSA’s are tax free going in, growing in the account and tax free when used on health care. However, it can gain and lose money in the market, and again, most people will not be able to obtain one.
Thankfully, another option exists, Health Matching Accounts. Health Matching Accounts does exactly that, it matches what you put into the account on a graduating scale. You can change your plan as your family’s health costs change. For example, if you know one or all of your kids will need braces, you can pick the plan that will allow you to gain the most from it and then reduce the plan down after the straightened out teeth are in place. It is quite flexible because it can be used for things even regular health insurance does not cover, such as elective surgery or chiropractic care. You can learn more from this Forbes Magazine article.
Health Matching Accounts
Health Matching Accounts will match the funds put into the account over a 36 month period of time, for example if your schedule is to deposit $10,000 over 36 months your account balance will be $20,000 month 36.
Pet Health Matching Accounts
Most of us will do anything for our furry family. At times, we may like them more than our family. These accounts will allow you to pay for their care with matched tax free dollars. And the balance will roll over to the next pet as long as you the owner are still alive.
planning for the future
Medicare & You
What you need to know
Medicare is an health insurance program for:
– People age 65 or older,
– People under age 65 with certain disabilities, and
– People of all ages with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant).
Medicare is made up of a few parts:
Part A (Hospital Insurance) – Most people don’t pay a premium for Part A because they or a spouse already paid for it through their payroll taxes while working. Medicare Part A helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, including critical access hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care). It also helps cover hospice care and some home health care. Beneficiaries must meet certain conditions to get these benefits.
Part B (Medical Insurance) – Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B. Medicare Part B helps cover doctors’ services and outpatient care. It also covers some other medical services that Part A doesn’t cover, such as physical and occupational therapists, and some home health care. Part B helps pay for these covered services and supplies when they are medically necessary. If you delay applying for your Part B premium when you are first eligible, then there may be a penalty and a gap in your coverage.
Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage) – Most people will pay a monthly premium for this coverage. In January 1, 2006, Medicare prescription drug coverage became available to everyone with Medicare. This coverage is to help you lower prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future. Beneficiaries choose the drug plan and pay a monthly premium. Like Part B, if a beneficiary decides not to enroll in a drug plan when they are first eligible, they may pay a penalty if they choose to join later.
Medicare only covers 80% of our medical bills and so we as individuals are responsible for the other 20%. Under Part A, we are responsible for a $1,600 co-pay for hospitalizations and this resets every 60 days, so we can be responsible for that up to 5 times per year. Under Part B, it is an 80/20 split, so we have an infinite amount that we can be responsible for anything medically related. Since Medicare only covers 80% of our medical costs, there are 2 paths people take to fill those gaps. You cannot have both, you must pick 1 of them to meet your healthcare needs. To join either of these paths, you must still pay your Part B premiums.
This information comes from www.cms.gov
By contacting the phone number on this website you will be directed to a licensed agent.
If you choose a Medicare Supplement plan, this plan literally “supplements” Original Medicare. That means it only covers what Original Medicare covers. Original Medicare does not cover prescription drugs, dental, vision or hearing.
The plans are standardized across the country and between companies by the federal government. If you look at a Plan G, it is the same plan between AARP, Aetna, Humana, Mutual of Omaha or any of them. The ONLY difference is the monthly premium. These plans will cover all, most or some of what Original Medicare does not cover.
There is a monthly premium you will pay in addition to your Part B premium. For a Plan G, the average for a 65 year old is $100/mo. You should still get a Prescription Drug Plan because it is not included with the supplement or Original Medicare.
You will have multiple cards, you will have your Medicare card (red, white & blue card), supplement card, prescription card, dental, etc.
Medicare Advantage/Part C
If you choose a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) you will get all your healthcare coverage through this plan. This plan will include everything Original Medicare covers and some extra benefits, prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing & over-the-counter benefits.
These are not standardized and insurance companies have different benefits to help people depending on what their healthcare needs and concerns are.
These plans do change every fall in September, so you can change or update your plan every Oct. 15 – Dec 7. It is important to review your plans to make sure that you are still in the best plan, and your doctors and drugs are still in network and the best cost for you.
These are typically low cost or no cost plans, ranging from $40 or $0/month.
You will have 1 card for the hospital, the doctor, pharmacy, dentist, optometrist and audiologist.
Questions And Answers
important things you should know
When it comes to naming beneficiaries, we usually will name someone who will experience financial hardship after we die. If you are married, it would probably be the spouse, children, it can be your parents or siblings who end up taking care of your financial obligations and experience financial difficulties.
What happens if you name a minor as your beneficiary? People often want to name their minor children or grandchildren as beneficiaries. And you are allowed to do so, but what is the process that occurs when you die while they are still minors?
This process does depend on your state and the amount of the inheritance, however as a general rule minors cannot inherit funds or enter into financial agreements. Often guardianship must be established by the court during the probate process. (Probate is the legal process that happens after you die for everything you have in your name).
That means that during one of the most difficult times, after you have died, your assets and inheritance can be held up in court for months and perhaps years and the legal fees that would accompany this process, while the executor files a petition for appointment of guardianship. A judge will decide through a court hearing who should be appointed for guardianship, and since you are now gone, it will be something you do not have any control over.
It would make the process smoother and remove a layer of bureaucratic red tape, if you picked the person who would be in charge of the minors to inherit the funds until they reach maturity or you can create a trust and make the trust the beneficiary for your children.
Insurance policies are paid with after tax dollars. Because it is paid with after tax dollars there are no taxes; no income tax, no capital gains tax or any other taxes. It is one of the few things written into IRS tax code that is considered “tax free.”
Also any cash value within the policy can be tax free as well. Having liquid assets that are tax free at almost any point can be an important part of tax planning.
If you have been able to accumulate assets in a savings account, mutual funds or in a retirement account you can choose to self insure. It is possible to reallocate some funds and exponentially grow it into a tax free lump sum for your family without paying monthly insurance premiums.
We live in a very litigious age, where one car accident or one mishap can cause someone to go after your assets. Life insurance and cash built inside life insurance is protected from lawsuits.
You can use a Life Insurance Policy Locator through NAIC.org, eapps.naic,org/life-policy-locator. And register and see if one of these participating companies has an insurance policy. They will contact you if there are funds to be claimed.
- Check bank statements for premium payments and check the mail for a least 1 year for lapse notices/premium notices.
- Check with your state’s unclaimed property office.
- Contact the deceased previous employers or unions.
- Check computers and digital storage, tax returns for interest payments made by insurance companies.
- Order the deceased MIB record at www.mib.com. This is a record of insurance policies they have applied for in the past 10 years, not necessarily existing insurance, but it is a good place to start.
There are basically only 3 reasons why an insurance company will argue paying when someone dies. These are insurance contracts, so in essence, they must follow guidelines of the contract.
One is suicide. Many policies will pay even if suicide is committed after 2 years.
Two is if death is related to illegal activity, they will argue you put yourself in harms way and committing an illegal act.
Three, most policies have a contestability period the first 2 years after you obtain the policy. If the insurance company finds fraud or misrepresentation they can void the policy and refund premiums back to the client.
Typically an insurance claim takes only a few weeks to file. The company will need a copy of the death certificate as well as a few forms. If needed, the funds can be sent directly to the funeral home, with the balance sent to the family. Only under unfortunate circumstances can the claims process be longer if an investigation is needed.
Yes! All insurance companies have different underwriting guidelines on what they will or won’t accept. Please do not be deterred by a decline or a rejection. Your family is too important to ignore this vital piece of your financial future.