Let’s Talk Money, May Edition

On the move?

If you’re planning on buying and/or selling a home this summer, you want your move to be as smooth as possible. Since a house may be your largest financial investment, you’ll want to make the best decisions possible for you and your family.

Working for a living this summer

A summer job for your teen may offer more benefits than just earning money. A working teen may learn responsibility, build self-confidence and gain real world experience.

By the numbers: this new house

Here’s a snapshot of the housing market during the second quarter of 2016 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Travel tips

These suggestions may help you enjoy your vacation without busting your budget this summer.

Up we go

Even a relatively low rate of inflation could affect your future buying power. Your financial professional can help you factor inflation into your financial strategy and retirement budget.

Insurance:

Make it easy on your beneficiaries

You can help ensure that your life insurance benefits go to the people you want to receive them by updating contact information, keeping beneficiaries informed and providing detailed information to the insurance company.

Let’s talk insurance Q&A

• What are the differences between term life and whole life insurance?

Retirement Planning:

Converting from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA

You can convert a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) to a Roth IRA regardless of income or tax-filing status. While you may have to pay income taxes on the amount you convert, this can be a good strategy. Your financial professional can help you determine if a Roth conversion is right for your situation.

Let’s talk retirement Q&A

• Which accounts should I tap first for retirement income after I stop working?

Small Business:

Retirement plans for small businesses

If your small business doesn’t have a retirement plan in place, consider establishing one. A retirement plan can be a key part of your business’s ability to attract and retain talent. And offering tax-favored retirement benefits can provide greater retirement security for you and your employees.

Let’s talk business Q&A

• Can I fund a supplemental retirement plan with cash value life insurance? • What are some inexpensive but meaningful fringe benefits I can offer employees?

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Investing for the years ahead

Setting aside money for goals that are far in the future often takes a back seat to spending on current needs. However, investing for retirement should be one of your financial priorities. Talk to your financial professional about strategies that can help you pursue your long-term goals.

Let’s talk investing Q&A

• What are target date funds and how do they work?

Insurance Fraud Costing Every Family $500

We are questioned daily by customers asking why their insurance premiums increased more than the rate of inflation. The answer generally has just 2 parts: First, the insurance company taking the rate increase paid more in claims and expenses than it collected in premium and in order to make the 5% to 7% profit necessary to stay in business they have to raise prices. Second, insurance fraud has increased substantially since the financial crisis of 2008. This second reason for insurance premium hikes is something we all can help get rid of. The statement issued this week by Jeff Atwater, the head of Florida’s Department of Financial Services, describes the problem and what can be done about it: “The FBI estimates that the total annual cost of insurance fraud in our country tops $40 billion, and that doesn’t even include health insurance fraud. When you break that number down, it comes out to roughly $500 per family per year in increased premiums. There are as many types of insurance fraud as there are types of insurance, and crooks seem to always find a way to cheat the system. Our insurance fraud and arson investigators recently ran across an outrageous case that outlines just how bold some of these criminals can be and just how quickly thousands of dollars can be stolen. Late last year, a man from Orange County reported that his car, a 2016 Toyota Camry, had been stolen in the state of New York. A terrible ordeal, but it happens and that’s what insurance is for. Imagine the man’s surprise when just a few months later, his car is found on fire near Orlando. He’d already filed an insurance claim worth $10,000, and when the local fire department asked our arson investigators to look into the cause of the blaze, they quickly became suspicious. As the story unfolded, the man ultimately confessed that he paid someone $300 to destroy his car and to make sure it was never seen again. Why would anyone do that? Maybe he was tired of making his payments or perhaps he wanted a different car to drive. Whatever the reason, the fact remains: By stealing from his insurance company, he’s causing all of our insurance rates to rise.  Now he faces 20 years in jail, but the reality is that this sort of thing happens frequently.  It happens when people intentionally inflict damage to their homes or when they stage automobile accidents. It happens when employers cheat their way out of paying proper premiums for workers’ compensation. It even happens when people fake injuries to get out of going to work. Insurance is a business just like any other, and insurance companies can’t afford to absorb $40 billion in fraud without raising prices. I think we can all agree that no one enjoys paying more for their policies, and we must all do our part to help stop this cost driver.  If you see something that looks suspicious, say something. Our investigators are doing a great job, but they can’t be everywhere all the time. If you think there’s something they should look into, give us a call.”

If you see or know of fraud happening, call the appropriate number on this list if it is occuring in Massachusetts. Each state has their own fraud hotlines, check the website of your states attorney general.

Massachusetts fraud reporting numbers:

  • Identify Theft – call the Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division at 617.727.7780
  • Welfare Fraud – call the Department of Transitional Assistance at 617.727.6950 or 1.800.FRAUD.99
  • Unemployment Fraud – call the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s Division of Unemployment Assistance at 1.800.354.9927
  • MassHealth Fraud – call their hotline at 877.437.2830
  • Medicare/Medicaid Fraud – call the Inspector General’s Office at 1.800.HHS.TIPS
  • Workers’ Compensation complaints about companies that do not have workers’ compensation insurance coverage – call the Department of Industrial Accidents at 617.727.4900 or 877.965.2267 (877.96.LABOR)

 

July/August Edition of “Let’s Talk Money”

Find the entire newsletter here: http://www.ltmonline.com/jerrysiver

Individual articles include:

General Interest:

A project that pays off

A home improvement project can add value and comfort to your house. But before you start the demo, you need to do your homework. We offer a few tips to help make your remodeling dream a reality.

Saving money this summer

You don’t need to break the bank to have fun this summer. We suggest some ways you can save money on your summer activities.

By the numbers: marketable makeovers

How much value will that kitchen remodel really add to your home? Here’s a look at some home improvement costs versus value statistics from Remodeling Magazine.

Part-time passion or a career?

Turning your favorite hobby into a business may seem like a great way to earn money while doing something you love. But you have to be careful when it comes to the IRS’s tax rules. If the IRS views your activity as a hobby rather than a business, you may not be able to deduct all of your business type expenses.

Taxing teens

Will your teen have to pay taxes on the income earned at a summer job? We review the federal tax rules you and your teen should know.

Insurance:

What will your legacy be?

Are you looking for a way to have a lasting impact on the people and the causes that matter most to you? Life insurance may be the answer. It can help provide the financial legacy or charitable gift you desire.

Let’s talk insurance Q&A

• Do younger workers need to purchase life insurance early in their careers? • Is a person’s will the place to designate someone to handle the estate?

Retirement Planning:

Summer school — learn about RMDs

Contributing to a 401(k) retirement plan or a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) can be a tax-smart thing to do. Eventually, though, you’re required to take taxable minimum distributions from your account or face stiff penalties.

Let’s talk retirement Q&A

• Can life insurance be used to help children make up for a shortfall in their retirement and other savings?

Small Business:

Soft benefits that won’t bust your budget

To attract and retain top-notch employees, you need to offer a competitive benefits package. But that can be expensive. Adding some “soft” benefits, such as flexible work arrangements and employee recognition awards, can help enhance your traditional benefits package while helping to control benefit costs.

Let’s talk business Q&A

• What are the basics of group-term life insurance?

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Survival strategies for volatile markets

One day the markets are up and then the next day they’re down. While you can’t control the markets, you can create an investment strategy to help protect your portfolio from market fluctuations. We offer some steps to help minimize the effect of market volatility on your portfolio’s returns.

Let’s talk investing Q&A

• What should be included in an investment diary? • How can an individual manage multiple retirement plan accounts? Standard Financial Topics is also available in Spanish.

 

 

 

Newsletter for May-June

Check out our latest newsletter here: http://www.ltmonline.com/jerrysiver
Helpful information on all these subjects:
Estate Planning:
Let’s Talk Estate Strategy Q&A
 • What tax-efficient strategies can individuals use to pass assets to adult children?
 • How can individuals let family members know where to access important documents in case of disability or death?
Protecting your child:
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day give us the opportunity to show Mom and Dad how much we appreciate them. But could moms and dads be doing more to protect their children? If you’re the parent of a minor child, you can help ensure your child’s future by naming a legal guardian and having sufficient life insurance.
General Interest:
A moving experience
 • Moving to a new home can be both physically and financially draining. We offer some tips to help make the move less stressful.
Lost and found
 • If a loved one dies and no life insurance policy is found, how can you determine if one exists? We list some strategies legal representatives can use to find the answer.
By the numbers: total annual college charges
How much does it cost to go to college? Here’s a look at some 2014 statistics from the   College Board.
 • The smart way to pay for college
Borrowing to pay for college is sometimes unavoidable. But a smarter and less expensive way to pay for your child`s education is to build a college fund through investing.
 • Thoroughly modern money
Technology has made managing finances a lot easier. There are now many options that can help you budget, deposit checks and pay bills more efficiently.
Insurance:
Good health = lower premiums
Looking for a way to lower your life insurance premiums? By making a few healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, exercising and quitting smoking, you may be able to qualify for lower insurance rates.
Let’s Talk Insurance Q&A
• Should first-time homeowners buy life insurance?
• Why are life insurance premiums generally higher for men than for women?
Retirement Planning:
Get your retirement account in shape
Is your retirement account as healthy as you’d like it to be? To help you get your investments in shape, we list some common mistakes to avoid.
Let’s Talk Retirement Q&A
• How much do retirement plan contributions reduce an individual’s income taxes?

Seniors:
Let’s Talk Retirement Q&A
• What is the difference between an assisted living facility and a nursing home?
• Why is the term” activities of daily living” important to understand when searching for a long-term care facility?
When what you leave behind matters
May is Older Americans Month. It’s the time we celebrate the accomplishments of individuals ages 65 and older. As a member of that generation, what’s important to you? Is it leaving your loved ones a financial legacy? You may not be able to if you haven’t factored medical and long-term care expenses into your retirement strategy.
Small Business:
Let’s Talk Business Q&A
• Are individual retirement accounts still protected by federal bankruptcy laws?
• How can employers increase participation in their retirement plans?
Spring into May with a healthy outlook
If it’s been a while since you reviewed your finances, now would be a good time for a checkup. We discuss some items that can get both your business and personal finances on the right track.
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Is your investing strategy fiscally fit?
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. You know exercise and a healthy lifestyle can help keep you physically fit. But what can you do to ensure you’re fiscally fit? A review of your investments can help you determine if your current investing strategy is still in line with your goals.
Let’s Talk Investments Q&A
 • What is a target date retirement fund’s glide path?
Womens:
Pamper yourself with a secure retirement
 • Mother’s Day is the day your children recognize you for all you do. But sometimes the things you do, such as taking time out of the work force to care for children or an elderly parent, can affect your ability to invest for retirement. By starting early, maxing out your contributions and opening a spousal IRA, you can help build a financially secure retirement.

DO NOT CALL

Have you registered your phone numbers on your state federal “Do not call” list but you still get sales calls offering lower interest loans, replacement windows….or whatever?

You can sue the offending caller if you’ve asked them to stop calling and they don’t, or you file your complaint with these organization who work on behalf of consumers:

https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#&panel1-1
https://esupport.fcc.gov/ccmsforms/form1088.action
https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx?panel=2

By State DNC lists:
http://www.donotcallprotection.com/do_not_call_chart.shtml

FCC Abandoned Calls Complaint form:
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/1088D-R.pdf
email: fccinfo@fcc.gov