Monday, March 31, 2014

Will your Self-Directed IRA Self-Destruct?

Self-directed IRAs can be very complicated and are the most common type of IRAs where prohibited transactions occur. You must be extraordinarily careful if you have or plan to have a self-directed IRA.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Where Did It Go?

Bond Funds Bleed $61.7 Billion

Battered by rising interest rates and falling prices, investors have yanked out a record $61.7 billion from bond funds in June, according to

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Investors flee U.S. stocks at fastest pace since 2008

Tapering talk, disbelief in rally leads big move out of equities

Domestic stock funds last week suffered their worst week since before the financial crisis as investors' fears over the Federal Reserve's plan to cut its asset- purchasing program spread to stocks.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bank Sales of FIAs Reach Record Highs

Advisors Are Being Outflanked by Bankers

Indexed annuity sales through banks and credit unions reached a record high of over $1.06 billion in 2013. For the first time, indexed annuities
accounted for one-third of bank sold fixed annuities.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

70 is the New 65!!

Social Security Update

When Social Security was first instituted in 1935, the retirement age was set a65. Some cynics have argued that 65 was chosen as the age at which benefits would begin because life expectancy in 1935 was only 61.7.
But life expectancy at birth took into account the high rate of infant mortality in the early 20th century.

In 1935, men who made it to age 65 could look forward to another 13 years, women another 15 years, on average.

The German retirement system, which preceded ours, initially set 70 as the retirement age; later it was lowered to 65. By 1935, the Committee on Economic Security (CES) proposed age 65 as the retirement age under Social Security, partly because many public and private pension systems were using it, and partly because it would produce an actuarially sound system that would require only modest levels of payroll taxation.

In the 1950s and 1960s, first women, and then men, were allowed to start benefits at 62. An adjustment was made in the benefit amount to account for the fact that early claimers would receive benefits over a longer period of time.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring IRA Season

Contributing To An IRA for Your Child or Grandchild

Now that spring is finally here, have you ever thought about contributing to an IRA for your child or grandchild this year? It’s possible as long as certain rules are followed.

Friday, March 7, 2014

5 Reasons Life Insurance Benefits Your Clients

Using the Unique Power of Life Insurance

Here are five reasons why life insurance benefits your clients: 

1.  Living benefits

Life insurance death benefits can be unlocked by adding living benefit riders. Activate the death benefit for long-term care, chronic illness and even critical illness coverage.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Who Gets Your IRA

The Battles Over Retirement Accounts.

Do you have a will, a trust, and retirement accounts? Who will get your retirement assets?

Let’s say that your will says that everything goes to your spouse, your trust says that everything goes to your children, and the beneficiary form for your IRA says that everything goes to your spouse and your children equally. Who gets your IRA?

Monday, March 3, 2014

More is Better- It’s Not Rocket Science

Contributing To More Than One Retirement Plan for the Year

While many Americans aren't saving enough for retirement, there are others who are saving a lot (true story). In fact, some of you have asked whether it's possible to contribute to more than one retirement plan for the same year. The answer is generally yes, but there are certain traps you need to be aware of during jumping in to the savings game feet first.

If you are making an IRA contribution for 2014, the maximum contribution you can make is $5,500 (or $6,500 if you’re age 50 or older this year). This limit applies to both IRAs and Roth IRAs. Although you can contribute to both an IRA and Roth IRA, the combined limit is $5,500 or $6,500 depending on your age. You can’t contribute the maximum to both an IRA and a Roth IRA. For example, if you are age 50 or older this year, the maximum combined IRA and Roth IRA contribution you can make is $6,500. You could choose to make a $3,000 contribution to your IRA and the remaining $3,500 to a Roth IRA. As long as you don’t exceed your $6,500 limit, you can split the IRA contribution any way you want.

If you also participate in a retirement plan with your employer that allows you to make salary deferral contributions, you can do that in addition to your IRA contributions. For example, if you participate in your employer’s 401(k) plan for the year, the maximum amount you can defer is $17,500 if you are under age 50. If you’re age 50 or older, the maximum deferral is $5,500 more, for a total of $23,000 for the year. The IRS calls this the “annual deferral limit.”

Note that your plan may set a lower dollar limit. If you happen to participate in more than one employer retirement plan during the year, the annual limit must be combined for plans such as 401(k)s, SIMPLE IRAs, and 403(b)s. The annual limit applies no matter how many plans you participate in during the year. So, if you switched jobs during the year, and participated in more than one plan, you have to keep track of the annual deferral limit to make sure you don’t exceed the limit. If you do exceed the annual deferral limit, you will have to remove the excess and the interest it earned from the plan by April 15th to avoid tax problems.