Financial Articles of Interest

Would Your Kids Know How To Handle An Inheritance?

making generational wealth last

Many people seek to build financial security and wealth not only for themselves and their families, but also for generations down the line. The unfortunate reality, though, is that 70 percent of rich families lose their wealth by the second generation. And this regrettable scenario is not limited to the affluent.

While it’s impossible to predict the future, there are safeguards you can put in place to help ensure your hard-earned money has a better chance at longevity after you’re gone.

Instill financial literacy from an early age.
A recent study revealed that only 17 percent of wealthy parents planned to disclose their net worth or income to their children by age 18, and another 18 percent said they would never reveal it to their offspring.

Instead of leaving kids in the dark about how to view and handle money, begin talking to them about finances early and slowly build as they mature. Financial literacy helps young people understand their own finances better and may spur wiser financial decisions later on.

Insist younger generations understand the value of hard work.
It’s the classic parable: Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, but teach him to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime. Help youth make the connection between financial security and the vision, work ethic and perseverance it takes to earn it. This will not only help them appreciate the value of money, but it may also encourage them to consider how they can create meaningful change in the world.

Structure an inheritance carefully.
For peace of mind, you may consider protecting your assets in a trust. This fiduciary agreement can insulate your financial legacy from overindulgent spending and help facilitate wealth longevity. Get in touch if you’d like guidance crafting suitable provisions for your family.

“We invest in you.”

Supercharge Your Retirement Savings

 

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Today, each generation can lay claim to unique financial challenges. Millennials are saddled with historic levels of student debt, Gen Xers are called the sandwich generation because many are taking care of their children as well as their aging parents, and the majority of baby boomers feel underprepared for retirement, even as it looms in the near distance.

But one factor is common across all generations: Most people need to save more for retirement. Here are some tips for individuals across all age groups.

Millennials — Early in one’s career, it can be tempting to enjoy all of the income left after bills and student loan payments. But millennials could benefit from learning to resist the temptation to spend entire paychecks early on. Instead, automate the process of paying yourself first. If money never shows up in a “spendable” account, you can learn to live with what’s left over by default.

Gen Xers — For Gen Xers who are behind on their retirement savings, it’s time to get serious about tightening spending habits, which is something that will only get more important over the years. Seemingly insignificant daily expenses, like gourmet coffee and eating out, can quickly add up to surprising amounts. Consider adopting a more mindful DIY approach to consumption routines.

Baby Boomers — Playing catch-up with your savings so close to (or even in) retirement calls for a new lifestyle perspective. Instead of living large, learn to downsize your financial liabilities. A smaller home is easier and more affordable to maintain, and if you’re supporting adult children, it’s time to encourage them to become independent. After all, the more you can amass for retirement, the more likely you’ll be able to leave a legacy to heirs.

“We invest in you.”

Where Is It Safe To Invest?

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With the markets near all time highs, it might be a good time to take some of the gains off the table. The question is where to put them? CD’s are returning 1-2%, and in this environment you can actually lose money in bonds. These past several years in the market have been a rollercoaster and many investors are completely exasperated with how to make a reasonable return with responsible risk.

It could very well be that the returns of the 80’s and 90’s are gone forever (stay tuned for our next blog article about this). If this is the case, we are really looking at a far more modest average annual return than many of us enjoyed in decade’s prior.

In truth, with recent volatility, these days people are content with a steady 3-5% return, especially for retirement funds, which cannot afford to go backwards.

For this we recommend using a well chosen indexed annuity. The benefit of peace of mind knowing these cannot go backwards but still have an opportunity to partake in significant market gains is, well…priceless. Likely there will still be some big years in which you can garnish a double-digit return, and you will also skip the unsightly down years, simply earning zero, but not going backwards. Once the market starts going up again, you will immediately begin to participate in that upside.

It is true there are often penalty periods for withdrawing more than 10% from these products for some years. However, if you are moving IRA funds, it is unlikely you will want to take much more out anyway because you will incur taxes. Furthermore, having a product like this can add synergy to your over all portfolio as when your traded funds are down, you can withdraw from the annuity and when the traded side is up, you can take withdrawals there.

There are many more questions to answer about this investment so if you’d like to discuss this strategy or look more broadly at your overall portfolio, call us today at 303-463-0436.

Brexit And Other Big Issues Facing the Market

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In our last quarterly update, we discussed 4 of the major concerns affecting the market: Energy Prices, Politics, the Fed and China. These 4 concerns were either improving or at least not getting worse and as a result, the stock market had a decent quarter with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 up about 1% to 1.5%.

Brexit: At the end of the quarter however, another concern popped up as the result of an election in the United Kingdom (UK) where they were deciding whether or not to leave the European Union (EU). Referred to as “Brexit,” this election was widely discussed in the financial community and caused a lot of volatility in the last couple of weeks. Most polling suggested the UK would remain in the EU, so it came as a surprise when the election resulted in a vote for the UK to leave.

If there’s one thing the stock market hates, it’s negative surprises and uncertainty.  As a result, stock markets all around the world had a couple of big down days. Fortunately, cooler heads have prevailed and the markets have bounced back, and are generally close to where they were the day before the election. Investors realized that the short-term impact of Brexit is minimal. While the election will begin the process (barring another election) of the UK exiting the EU, it is likely to take several years to implement, so the real impact will not be known for some time.

Looking forward it is difficult to measure exactly what the impact of Brexit will be for the UK, the EU and for the US stock markets. As the UK is the first country to ever leave the EU, we can’t use other examples to see how it went. The biggest financial issue appears to be trade agreements with other countries. Currently under trade agreements through the EU, the UK will have to renegotiate with all countries with which they wish to do business. That should not be a problem with most countries, but the other EU countries might want to penalize the UK in some manner as to dissuade others from leaving the EU, hence once again, creating uncertainty.

Of course, our biggest concern is how this will affect the American economy and the US financial markets. Our research suggests that the impact on the US should be fairly minimal as things stand today, but that could change in the future.  Ben Bernanke wrote one of the better articles we have found on this subject. His analysis suggests that the biggest threat of Brexit is the political risk of other countries leaving the EU. Many of the EU countries have had weak economies in recent years and if things get worse, there could be an increased chance that more of them will decide to leave. Again, while not necessarily a big deal, it would create more uncertainty, and would be a negative for markets at least in the short term.

European Banks: While we are on the subject of Europe, there is another concern bubbling up that could be much bigger than Brexit: the European banks. Right now, nearly every major bank in Europe is down 50% or more over the past year and over 90% from their all time highs.  As an example, the largest bank in Europe is Deutsche Bank (DB), which is a highly respected bank from Germany, and Germany is the strongest country in the EU. DB is trading at about $13 per share and their all time high was in the $150’s back in 2007. Many others, including the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays are in even worse shape. This has to do with the fact that the European economies have been weak and these banks never deleveraged as much as the US banks did after the 2008 recession. As a result, investors are worried that one of these major banks will go bankrupt and begin another financial crisis.

Is this a serious concern? Yes it is. Just as the major banks in the US were tied together during the 2008 financial crisis here, the European banks are also tied together, and our major banks  (to a lesser extent) are tied to the European banks.  This interdependence happens primarily because the banks tend to insure each other. Any time a bank takes on debt, investors that buy the debt want to have some reinsurance to back them up in case the bank goes bankrupt. This is where the CDS or Credit Default Swap market comes in. A CDS allows a bank or a creditor to buy insurance on their debt and allows the purchaser to have reinsurance against the borrowing entity in case they default on their debt.

All of the major banks in the EU and in the US own trillions of dollars worth of credit default swaps. They are all reinsuring each other to varying degrees and are therefore tied together in the event of a default. So, if one major bank defaults on their debt it will affect most, if not all, of the other major banks.

While this is concerning and worth keeping an eye on, we do not feel that it will escalate to the level of the US financial crisis in 2008.  While that could happen and probably would happen absent any intervention, the European Central Bank & the EU governments have had a lot of time to plan for this. The lessons of 2008 should be well known to them so we don’t see them allowing any of these major banks to go bankrupt. Look for one or more of the EU banks to receive bailout money in the near future.  This does not mean that we want to buy the European banks stocks though, as it is likely that any bailout for these banks would come at a high cost to the stock- holders.

Here in the US: At home here in the US, investors are generally more bearish or negative on the stock market. Over the past couple of months, the investor & advisor surveys we follow show a higher than normal percentage of “bears” vs. “bulls.” While this sounds like a bad thing, it is actually a good thing as historically these surveys act as contra indicators. Basically what this means is that when the majority of investors are excited & bullish on the market, it’s time to get more cautious and when the majority are negative or bearish on the market, it’s probably a good time to invest.  It does make some sense when you think about it, because the market can only go up if more money is flowing into the market. If the market is at a high and everyone is already fully invested, then there would be no more money to push it higher.

Today, the market is at its high, with which it has been flirting over the past year and a half.  This time, however, it is near it’s high with the negative sentiment higher than normal. Therefore, there is a higher than normal amount of cash on the sidelines which can be invested to push the market to new highs. While not a guarantee of any sort, it does mean that the odds are greater that it will happen.  Some unexpected good news, or better than expected earnings reports could cause the stock market to new all time highs during the next month or 2.

REIT’s Set To Get Their Own Sector: What’s The Impact?

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HFS has used REIT’s over the years in portfolio’s for multiple reasons. One of the biggest driving factors has been their tendency to throw off good dividends. Secondarily, REIT’s have a tax advantage over other corporations because they do not have to pay taxes on their dividends at the corporate level. However, over the last couple of years REIT’s have not performed as well as they had been in years past.

Historically REIT’s have been lumped in with the Financial Sector. This may have made it more difficult for investors to see the benefits that REITs offer, namely their ability to pay dividends and offer capital appreciation. The article below discusses the news that REIT’s will now have a sector of its own and the possible implications. We agree with the author here that with a separate sector, more investors may be better able to see value in REIT’s.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/stock-markets-new-real-estate-sector-gives-reits-a-home-2016-05-11

Happy Mother’s Day

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There’s no retirement in motherhood
No more 9 to 5 is all well and good

But Mom’s are on call 365 a year
Whether the child is far or near

When they hear a cry of pain
A mother will never refrain

Whenever she hears a yelp of joy
From her girl or her boy

Whatever the child is going through
Regardless of what she can or cannot do

She will feel it all right in her cells
A child’s obstacles or wedding bells

A Mother is never truly allowed to rest
Even after they’ve all left the nest

But a heart that once shared its beat
Should be granted a quiet seat

For the emotional work every day
Whether your kids are close by or far away

We hope you are appreciated
For the miracles you have created

And first hand we know what it is you go through
So in your “retirement,” we’re here for you!

Happy Mother’s Day From Havermann Financial

How The Market Will Handle Its Latest Concerns: Oil, Politics and The Fed

It was an interesting quarter. The stock market had a very poor start to the year; the major indexes down about 12 to 15% by mid February.  In our last update, which coincidentally was sent out right at the bottom in mid February, we stated that “in times like this, it is very tempting to sell out and move to 100% cash, but of course that would only feel good until we have some big up days and we aren’t participating.” Fortunately we did not move to 100% cash as we had a steady climb for the second half of the quarter and the major stock indexes ended up erasing most of their losses, with the S&P 500 and the Dow flat for the quarter and the Nasdaq down about 2%. The big concerns for the market seem to be the Oil market, politics, the Fed and China, so let’s dive in.

Market Concern #1: Oil

The oil market has enjoyed some stabilization in price over the past couple of months as the price per barrel rebounded from a low of about $26 to it’s current levels at around $40/bbl.  The low in oil coincides almost perfectly with the mid February lows in the stock market.   And if you compare a chart of oil next to a chart of the S&P 500 over the past few months, you will see very similar patterns, as the stock market seems to be following the moves in the oil market.

The latest news in the oil market is that the “emergency” OPEC meeting on April 17th did not produce any results.  Investors in the oil market were hoping for an agreement to freeze oil production among the OPEC countries.  However, it seems that Iran decided to skip the meeting and that gave Saudi Arabia an excuse to back out of the proposed agreement.

In fact, Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been quoted as saying that the Saudis could increase production by another 1 million barrels per day.  The Saudi’s seem to be worried about losing market share to Iran and to the US producers.  As a result, they have incentive to keep the price of oil down in an effort to drive some of the US companies into bankruptcy and they also need to undercut prices offered by Iran so that they don’t lose any customers to them.  This makes us believe that there could be more downward pressure on oil prices ahead.

On the positive side for oil though, is that oil production in the US is starting to go down a bit.  If you look at the total oil producing rigs in the US, the drop off is pretty dramatic.  Just over a year ago, the rig count in the US was over 1,600 producing rigs for both oil & gas, and it is now at about 440.  About half of the 1600 rigs were natural gas rigs, so the actual oil producing rigs has dropped from about 750 to 351 as of April 15th.  However, it’s also important to note that some rigs produce much more than others, and most producers have chosen to shut down their lower producing wells first and continue to operate their higher producing wells, and the cost per barrel is usually lower.

As a result, when you compare the drop in rig count vs. the drop in total production, the numbers don’t make sense.  The oil rig count has dropped by more than 50% but total US production has only dropped from about 9.6 million barrels per day to currently just under 9 million barrels per day – less than a 10% drop.

Below is a chart of the Oil Rig count in the US:

oil rig

While the total US production has not dropped very much, the drop in the rig count does give investors hope that the worst is behind us.  Our view is that the worst is likely behind us, but only if Saudi Arabia is not persistent in their desire to drive some competitors into bankruptcy.  Also, if global demand increases enough then prices are not likely to go back into the $20’s/barrel no matter what the Saudi’s do.

Market Concern #2: Politics

On the political front, it seems that the market is tolerating how things are playing out. One of its biggest concerns is always that the Congress remains split so that nothing significant is likely to pass, and no major changes will take place. In addition, I believe the market downturn earlier in the year was partly a concern of Bernie Sanders’ lead at that time, due to his suggested tax policies. While his ideas might be good, they are expensive.  In addition to raising taxes in general, Sanders suggests a .5% tax on stock trades. As an example, this means you would pay $500 on a $100,000 trade. Currently, most investors pay a flat $5-$25 fee for any trade (at TD we pay $9.99 per trade), so it is likely if his proposals were enacted, the market would at least initially, react very poorly. It’s always difficult to predict but currently, it looks like neither of these concerns (the Congress becoming split, or Sanders being elected) will come to fruition.

It always makes our day a little sunnier when political occurrences spur a good buying opportunity. While we are not allowed to talk about specifics on our website, that is a small upside to the political climate we are all being forced to endure – whichever side you are on!

Market Concern #3: China

China was most uncertain when the market was down in January & February, but seems to have stabilized since.  We have discussed China quite a bit in previous newsletters so we won’t go into detail here. Currently the economic data out of China seems to have bottomed out, and is now slightly turning upward. Hopefully this trend will continue.

Market Concern #4: The Fed

Unfortunately, this topic is going to be with us for years to come.  Interest rates are at historic lows and while they could go a little bit lower, we are a long way from having “normalized” rates.  In fact, if the Fed started raising rates in a slow manner as they normally do (1/4 point at a time), they would have to raise rates more times than they ever have in the past (since we are starting at record lows)…an unprecedented situation.

Because we have not see our economy here before, it means we can’t use historical data to make investing decisions going forward. What we do know from studying history is the Fed has an impact on the economy when they adjust interest rates. People tend to borrow more money when rates are lowered and borrow less when rates go up. Many economists believe that most recessions are triggered when rates are too high, causing economic activity to slow.

For now the Fed has convinced the markets that they are not intent on raising rates quickly, but every time investors think that the Fed is about to raise rates, recession chatter will be heard and the market will have more volatility.  Furthermore, our current economic expansion, which started in 2009, is getting long in the tooth at almost 7 years (the longest economic expansion was 10 years, from 1991 to 2000).

As a result, we believe that it’s a good time to reduce risk.

If you have additional questions about the thoughts expressed here (or any other for that matter), please do not hesitate to call us at 303-463-0436.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strike a Balance When It Comes To Investing

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My five-year-old son stepped into the bathroom followed by silence.

“I didn’t hear the toilet seat go up! That seat better be up if you are going pee!” I shouted out to him.

“Mom!” He instantly replied, “I’m trying to challenge myself!”

Isn’t it funny how perspective changes everything? In this example I am fearful and trying to avoid something (a mess), and he is confident, moving toward a goal – striving for greatness as it were.

Investing is no different than anything in life. Taking risks feels good when things are going great, but fear can take over quickly when there is a hiccup in the plan (as he undoubtedly would have felt if he missed his target). It’s important to strike a balance.

Our advice is simple:

  • Make sure you have an overall plan with which you are comfortable. Understand your tolerance for risk, and the choices available to you to build a portfolio that meets those criteria. Make sure you are confident in the investments you choose or at least that you trust the person who is presiding over them for you. The more you understand what you are in, the less fear you will experience if there is a fluctuation.
  • Remind yourself of your overall plan when necessary. If you are invested in a way that leaves you open to things getting rough, remember why you invested the way you did to begin with. Hopefully you have confidence in the companies in which you chose, and can hold on to that perspective and the plan to sell when things are high, not low. Or, perhaps you are lamenting getting more conservative and you missed out on some gains. Remind yourself of what led you to make that decision to begin with.

Emotions in general are not proper fuel for making important decisions, particularly when they are running high, and are the only tool you are using to determine your next step. If you plot through in advance how you will feel should certain things happen, you are more likely to find the balance that will make investing a smoother ride. Obviously in the example above, my son was comfortable with the risks involved. But then again, he wasn’t the one thinking about cleaning up the mess either.

Need help determining the right balance for you? Call us for a free consultation today at 303-463-0436.

 

How Can Life Insurance Be A Better Vehicle For Your Money Than Your IRA?

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What a bizarre question! When most people think about life insurance they think only about a death benefit. If you don’t have heirs or care to leave them too much, you might disregard the notion of life insurance all together. Furthermore, there are many people who have a fundamental dislike of life insurance, and there are plenty of people out there saying it is the devil’s work. However, some life insurance products are used primarily for their investment value, even if there is no need for a death benefit.

We like to evaluate things based on their merits. And yes, there are some extremely crappy life insurance products out there. Furthermore, a major contention with permanent life insurance is the long penalty period attached, often 15 years. We wholeheartedly agree that this can be a major deterrent. However, what if there is not penalty period? Then it becomes more interesting.

But that is not the only reason. Ed Slott is a CPA known as the IRA expert on tax law. Read his compelling article: Your 5 Best Arguments For Life Insurance (other than the death benefit), and decide for yourself.

http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2016/02/05/your-5-best-arguments-for-life-insurance-besides-t

At HFS we advocate for diversity, so there is never one foolproof answer for your entire portfolio. However, we use an Indexed Universal Life insurance product to help smooth out return, guarantee you won’t go backwards, and as an alternative to bonds, which are not performing well right now.

Emotions and Investing: Is It Time To Panic?

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Oh to see this Colorado snowy day the way these dogs do!  They don’t care that it is a snow day and the kids aren’t going to school so the parents can’t work.  They don’t care that the stock market was down almost 300 points yesterday.  They are entirely in the present.

And, if you read the article below by Matthew Frankel and The Montley Fool, perhaps this is the best way to approach this difficult market.  Frankel makes a case for why you should not worry about the market in 2016 citing that whether the market is up or down for 2016, for the long term, in the end, you will be a winner.  As we discussed in our last article, emotion plays a huge role in investing and that is exactly what is happening now as investors panic and sell their positions.

If you are able to take the emotion out of investing you will be much better off.  High emotions cause people to sell when their stocks are low and buy when stocks are high.  Frankel reiterates what Warren Buffet has to say when it comes to buying stocks.  He encourages people to buy companies they believe in, to buy stock because you want to own the business – don’t worry so much about the day to day stock prices.

When you are invested in companies you want to own, you are comfortable with their balance sheets and financials, it makes these types of fluctuations much more tolerable.  Does it ever feel good when your stock prices take a dive? Of course not.  However, if you can step back and refrain from having an emotional reaction, realize that the company is still the company you believe in, it will make these turbulent times far more tolerable.

Read this great article below.  We believe it might enable you to enjoy even the shoveling.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2016/01/30/3-reasons-you-shouldnt-worry-stock-market-2016/79304046/

When It Comes to Investing: Know Thy Self

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Given the last several months on the market, it is an excellent time to review your tolerance for risk. Most people do not take the time to accurately and thoroughly explore their feelings when it comes to investments. After all, emotions are for the weak, right? Wrong! Well, investments are just all about numbers, right? Wrong again!

Our emotions affect every part of our lives and investments are no different. In fact, one of the best reasons to have an adviser is to protect you from … well, yourself. When stocks are going down, people want to sell, get out quick before the ceiling falls in. When they are going up, they feel like they never want to get off the ride. This is the exact opposite of course of the basic philosophy – buy low, sell high. Unfortunately, emotions are a force to be reckoned with and it is difficult to bat them back enough to make well thought out decisions.

It is precisely for this reason that we recommend you take a solid inventory of your emotional self as it relates to your investments and set up your portfolio accordingly.

Many years ago one of our clients was having an awful time with the fluctuations in her variable annuity. Even thought there was a guaranteed income rider on her investment, she couldn’t stand to see the principle fluctuate. It became apparent that she needed to be in something fixed. Years later, she has not participated in the entire upside the market has had the last few years, but this has not bothered her. With last year and the start of this year however, she is actually getting quite a kick out of watching the market volatility and knowing her money is safe!

Recently, a new client came in and declared quite confidently, “I do not want to lose my principle. It will make me very nervous.” We discussed that she did not likely have enough money at this time to retire so she also needed to make some gains, potentially more than the guaranteed investments could give her. Perhaps being in the market would be best. Even with this information, she knew herself, “No, I have to have a bunch of it where I just know it is safe.” Kudo’s to this brave lady! She ended up putting 50% of her money in an insured investment and the other 50% in a conservative portfolio in the market. The market having got off to a harsh start, when we met next a few weeks later, her traded portion was down a percent or so. However, knowing the other part was locked up safely, she felt just fine.

Other times people come in and say they have no problem with the ups and downs of the market and they truly don’t. Many of our clients while not happy about this start to the year, are also not particularly concerned. They have both the time frame to wait and the temperament and short-term fluctuations don’t get to them. They don’t like the limited investment gain offered by the guaranteed investments and the market is really the place for them to be.

However, there is also a group of folks out there who believe they won’t be upset if the market is down, but then learn something very different about themselves when it actually is.

Since it can be difficult to imagine how you will feel in the event the market takes a hit when things are going well, now is a good time to take inventory of your emotional relationship with investing.

Our feeling is that we are not in a 2008 situation, however the market has taken a healthy hit and could perhaps continue. The panic in the investment community right now coupled with the situation with oil could drive prices down further.

Ask yourself these questions to decide if you need to be more conservative overall in your approach to investing:

Is this downturn keeping you up at night? Are you spending time worrying about your investments? How different would you feel right now if your accounts were not suffering? Do you believe you have the time to wait the situation out?

If the answers to the above questions lead you to believe you need to be in something more conservative or guaranteed, then ask yourself this:

How will I feel if the market is going up and I am not able to take full advantage of the upswing? Will I feel okay if I am making a 2,3,4,5% return when others are making 15% in exchange for not going down when others do?

If you answered affirmatively to those questions, then a guaranteed investment is probably where you should be. If you answered negatively however, then you are in a bind. You want to partake in the upside, but you don’t want to lose anything either. In this situation, often the best thing to do is to split your assets up in a way that guarantees some but allows the rest to partake in the potential gains more fully. It is most often possible to balance your portfolio in a way that allows you to sleep at night; the key is being honest with yourself and your adviser!

 Want help making these decisions? We would love to be of service! Call Havermann Financial Services, Inc. at 303-463-0436.

10 Tips For Social Security

Social Security rules are extremely confusing, even for advisors. Rules are constantly changing and very difficult to comprehend. This article delineates 10 tips on how to decide what you should do in your situation.

One upcoming change discussed in this article is the new rule you will no longer be able to file and suspend their benefits in the coming year. To explain this rule and if you might want to take advantage of it before it goes away, let’s use an example.

Donna and her husband Frank are both 66. They don’t want to start their benefits because if they wait until they are 70, they will get more money each month. However, currently there is a way to still get a little something in the meantime. Donna files to take her social security but she suspends, meaning she doesn’t actually take the money yet. Since Donna filed for social security, Frank, as her spouse, is able to take half of her benefit.

In the meantime, he doesn’t file for his own social security as the longer he waits, the more he will get as well. Frank takes half of Donna’s benefit until they are age 70. At this point, Frank turns off the money he is getting from Donna’s social security and they both take their full benefit. In this scenario, they have maximized their social security benefits.

Of course this rule is not the only to consideration when deciding how to take your benefit. Your personal factors come into play, how much income you need right now, how long you guestimate you will live, etc. But, if this scenario sounds like it might fit your situation, you will want to take advantage of this rule before it goes away.

Our firm specializes in taking a holistic view to your retirement. We manage your money with an eye toward your tax consequences as well as helping you take advantage of all the resources available to you.

Click on the link below to hear more about the 10 tips for social security or call us at 303-463-0436 to set up a consultation to discuss your retirement needs!

http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2015/12/04/10-ways-to-maximize-social-security-benefits-under

Low Risk High Return Investments – What is there to choose from?

Forbes wrote a nice article laying out your investment choices to attempt to yield a higher return but take less risk. HFS specializes in two of these options mentioned: Dividend paying stocks and cash value life insurance. In order to optimize your portfolio, we look to find higher yields while taking less risk. As the Forbes article below indicates, there are several options. For HFS, in addition to using REIT’s from the secondary market (see website), we find dividend paying stocks to help smooth out returns. For example, if a stock is getting hit, but there is a nice dividend, you are able to keep better ground. By the same token, if you are diversifying some of your money into insured investments that have a floor but allow you some upside, you are evening out your return and contributing to good sleep at night. Read the Forbes article below to hear more about this topic. Call us today to find out how you can sleep better at night too!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/lawrencelight/2013/01/07/how-to-find-low-risk-high-return-investments/

Cash Value Life Insurance – Cash Flow, Flexibility and Safety?

Did you know there is a way you could get tax-efficient cash flow, flexibility and safety all in one investment? While the lure of a guarantee is powerful, insured investments can be confusing, misleading and may not be right for you. How do you know when to use these types of instruments? At HFS we do detailed research on the the products available and then take the time to both understand your goals and explain your options to you. For example, understood and used properly, Indexed Universal Life policies (one form of cash value life insurance) can be an excellent diversification from bonds, keep your principle safe, and yield more return. Read this article from Investopedia for an initial education and then call us to see if this investment is right for you!

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/insurance/09/indexed-universal-life-insurance.asp

 

Rising Interest Rates and Dividend Paying REITs

This is a nice article that discusses the relationship between rising interest rates and REIT’s, and the short-sightedness of evaluating one solely based on the other. Fundamentals are an important part of any analysis, and REIT’s are no different. This article helps the investor take a longer-term view during a short-term troublesome period, and exemplifies some of the research involved in choosing investments and evaluating strategy. We hope you enjoy it.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/1663292-a-reit-way-to-sleep-well-at-night-when-rates-begin-to-rise

Brad Thomas researches and writes frequently about both traded and non-traded REITs as income-producing alternatives for investment portfolios. You can find his articles through Forbes, SeekingAlpha, The Motley Fool and The Street.

Is the Stock Market Going Up? Read this article by Louis Navellier.

Why Did The Stock Market Explode Upward In 1995 And Can It Happen Again? by Louis Navellier

 

This article makes a bull market case for today’s stock market, pointing out several similarities.  It also points out that over the past year corporations have bought back about $702 billion worth of their own shares and about $2.3 trillion worth over the past 4 years.  This means that there are fewer shares available for investors to buy, which in turn means more potential upside if the economy continues to improve, and investors continue to put more money in the stock market.

 

http://seekingalpha.com/article/1533612-why-did-the-stock-market-explode-upward-in-1995-and-can-it-happen-again

 

REIT’s, Rising Interest Rates and Inflation

How have REIT’s faired in periods of inflation and rising interest rates? When analyzing any asset class, it is important to do so within the context of the current or potential economic climate. This informative article written by Tom Bohjalian of Cohen & Steers is a timely piece about how REIT’s historically have performed during times of rising rates and inflation, as some worry that we may be heading in that direction.

 

http://www.cohenandsteers.com/assets/content/resources/insight/What_History_Tells_Us_About_REITs_Inflation_and_Rising_Rates.pdf

CNBC Report – Jeremy Siegel says Dow 18,000 in 2014

Jeremy Siegel is a professor of finance at Wharton School of business.  In a recent article he predicts that the Dow will hit 18,000 by the end of 2014.