The term “asset protection” has many connotations. For most people it means shielding assets from claims of creditors. Because we live in a very litigious society, it’s probably wise to consider creating a minimum level of wealth that no one can take away from you.   There are essentially three different ways to protect assets:…

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It’s not uncommon for new clients to ask me how I think the market will perform. I guess some people expect their financial advisers to have a unique ability to predict the future. Many advisers will actually offer their opinion about how they believe the stock market will perform in the near future, either because…

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Throughout the financial planning process we must address numerous concerns. Is there ample liquidity? Is there a growth strategy? How can we mitigate risk? How can we create sufficient lifetime income? How can we plan for potential future long-term-care needs? How can we maximize the inheritance we leave our heirs? Finally, how can we reduce…

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When planning for retirement, it’s important to make several assumptions concerning expected investment returns, life expectancy and inflation. If you utilize conservative assumptions regarding these factors, your chances of not running out of money will improve. However, according to David Blanchett, the head of retirement research for Morningstar, stocks are likely to return in the…

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For those looking for conservative growth with higher yields than bank products, fixed annuities can be an attractive option. Fixed annuities are contracts with insurance companies that provide for tax-deferred interest payments that go into the contract owner’s account.   The term of a fixed deferred annuity can vary but it is typically between three…

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Many deferred annuity owners have seen their accounts appreciate over the years without having to pay any taxes. However, at some point someone is going to have to pay taxes. The question is, how does one mitigate the impact of taxes?   When a deferred annuity owner takes withdrawals from his or her account, the…

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Many investors have been increasing their allocations to index annuities as a way to reduce market risk while still maintaining reasonable growth expectations. As numerous insurance carriers have recently started offering “uncapped” index annuities, there are now several attractive alternatives to choose from.   Most uncapped index annuities will allow participation in a percentage of…

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I recently attended a lecture with Roger Ibbotson, an emeritus finance professor from Yale business school, and had the opportunity to speak with him afterward. Ibbotson recently completed extensive historical research on the performance of bonds versus uncapped index annuities. Traditionally, index annuities placed caps or limits on upside performance. Uncapped index annuities do not…

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Although tax-deferred annuities will delay the due date of tax liability, taxes will eventually be due at some point because eventually the non-spousal beneficiaries will be required to take the money out of the contract and pay taxes. Modified endowment contracts (MECs) are life insurance contracts that were created by an act of Congress in…

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