Although the stock prices are trading near their all-time highs, it hasn’t exactly been a joy ride for retirees who are counting on their retirement plans for a lifetime of income. The type of unruly market action that we have seen over the last few months always unleashes a flurry of “expert” commentary that seems to be directed at those who are most vulnerable to flash declines. Specifically, the pundits are talking to those investors...
Joseph Kubic |
Let’s state up front that you don’t need a credit monitoring service to stay on top of your credit status. For people who are diligent and deliberate in monitoring their own credit, they can do so by accessing a free credit report from each of the credit bureaus once per year. And, for the credit monitoring critics who will tell you that these services do little to actually prevent identity theft or credit fraud, let’s...
No one could have foreseen the convergence of two of the most consequential economic events in our history – the mass migration of the Baby Boom generation into their final life stage and the tectonic shift of a declining global economy. Unhinged stock market volatility, rising health care costs and historically low interest rates on savings have caused millions of pre-retirees to rethink their plans and their vision, especially as they consider the prospect of...
Amidst the more obvious lingering effects of a sluggish economy, such as slow job growth, decreasing incomes, low interest rates and shaky consumer confidence, there lurks a more insidious threat which, thus far, has largely been ignored. Inflation or the prospect of its resurgence has somehow remained under the radar; perhaps because the official measure, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), is still below historical averages, or perhaps because the government has done such a good...
You may be aware of some of the more prevalent fraudster activities, such as “phishing” which fraudsters use to trick you out of sensitive information. Now we are learning about a new and even more audacious ploy called “email spoofing” in which the fraudsters not only steal your information, they then send counterfeit emails that mimic your email account to your financial advisor requesting wire transfers. While we haven’t personally seen any incidents of email...
CEOs do it’ athletes do it; in fact, anyone who needs to be able to achieve a certain level of performance in order to achieve a specific goal constantly assesses where they are in relation to where they want to be. This is to ensure that available resources are being utilized optimally at all time. It may seem OK to overshoot the goal, but if resources are being utilized in the wrong way – too...
The quick answer is “it depends.” But, for the 33 percent of retirees who now rely more heavily on their Social Security benefits to sustain their lifestyle, the answer takes on even more significance. Generally, your income from Social Security is not taxable on its own; but when it’s combined with other sources of income for tax reporting purposes, a portion of your Social Security benefits, up to 85 percent, could be includable as taxable...
By now it shouldn’t be news to anyone that identity theft is on the rise. Between computer hackers, garbage scroungers, ATM skimmers, phishers and cell phone thieves, our identities are under constant assault. Some experts say that it is nearly impossible to absolutely prevent identity theft, but there are some key areas of vulnerability can be protected by taking some simple measures. The first step is to identify your areas of vulnerability and then take...
Until recently, many retirees have been able to rely upon the three-legged stool of retirement income sources: A defined benefit pension plan that guarantees a lifetime income, their own savings, and Social Security. Within the last couple of decades, the first leg of the stool has all but disappeared as many defined benefit plans have been replaced with defined contribution plans such as a 401(k) plan. This has shifted the responsibility for creating a retirement...
Many investors, especially those still reeling from the 2008 – 2011 stock market roller coaster ride, have developed a low tolerance for volatility. As a result they have moved a significant portion of their investments into bonds or other fixed yield vehicles. What many investors may not realize is that wholesale switches from one asset class to another in order to avoid volatility can actually increase it. Secondly, for investors with a long-term perspective on...
In the realm of investing, few financial instruments have garnered more controversy than annuities. Unquestionably, annuities have their share of critics, especially when they are applied improperly, but, in the right situation, their benefits may be unmatched. Annuities are complex products with many moving parts, so it’s important to do your own due diligence. The key is to understand how they can work in the context of your particular financial situation and to consider both...
In many respects, people can be their own worst enemies in their quest for financial security. When you consider that our lives are nothing more than a culmination of the decisions we make each day, if we tend to make more bad decisions than good decisions, or worse, if we can’t make decisions at all, it’s should be no surprise when financial security remains elusive. When it comes to finances and investment decisions, many people...

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