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More than Money Newsletter - December 2015

Monday, January 4, 2016

“Christmas”

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,

that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Now that’s a gift. Ties are nice.  Power tools are very cool.  Jewelry may be a woman’s best friend.  A nice bottle of wine – nice.  Tickets to the State Theatre – always appreciated.

Eternal life – now that’s a gift! Joy to the World – indeed!  Joy to you and me.  How would you even wrap a gift this great?  Why in swaddling clothes, of course!

December 5th in the Holy Lands

Please join us for our annual More than Money Holiday Event at the MtM World Headquarters on the morning of December 5th.  Lots of tasty treats, a live radio show, the entire More than Money family and – hopefully – you.  Details on our website.

“Christmas:  Santa’s Making a List . . .and so have We . . . Actually a Few!”

There are too many things for me to remember without writing (nearly) everything down.  When I’m lucky, I can organize my notes into checklists.  These checklists serve as both memory joggers and (if some of the items are new to you) thought stimulators to suggest things you might want to get done for you and those you love. 

If you see some things about which you need more information, or if you feel a need for assistance of any kind – please contact our More than Money office and we’ll be happy to

“You Should Do Before 2015 Ends Checklist”

* Review your 401(k) to see if you should increase your contributions

* Review your gifting plans to see if you should be making gifts to loved ones

* Review your contributions to charities to see if you can/should increase your giving and increase your tax deductions

* Review your stuff to see what you can give away to benefit others

* Review your investment portfolio to see if you need to liquidate any assets to lock in a loss and create a potential tax deduction

* Replace the batteries in your home smoke detectors

* Review your FSAs at work to insure you’re not leaving money on the table

* Review your health insurance coverage and options

“You Should Do If You’re Retiring Checklist”

* Get really clear about your budget.  What income do you need in retirement so your bills are paid; you’re healthy, and happy?  It’s the key to every other question in your retirement.

* Confirm your social security benefit options

* Confirm your pension benefit options

* Project anticipated big expenses (new car, home repairs, etc.)

* Get any debt you may have under control with a plan to be debt free

* Get your home in exactly the kind of condition that will support your worry-free retirement

* Review your life insurance programs

* Work with your financial advisor to review your options to generate the retirement income you need (lots of options – get educated)

* Consult with your income tax professional to avoid painful ‘rookie’ mistakes

* Work with your financial advisor to craft a transition plan from saving (all these years) to generating income (for all these years to come)

“Protecting Your Loved Ones Checklist”

* Review (or finally draft) your estate planning documents using a trusted, experienced estate planning attorney

* Confirm – in detail – all of the beneficiary designations (primary and contingent) you’ve made (or should have made).  Don’t forget life insurance policies, annuity contracts, IRAs, 401(k)s, pension plans, etc.  This is an area of your life that can save your loved ones lots of heartache or . . . sadly, cause them immense grief

* Have your life insurance policies independently reviewed so you understand exactly what they do (and won’t do) for your family.  You may also find you have better options than your current policies provide

* Explore the use of Long Term Care Insurance to protect your life savings from the extreme cost of long term care

* Explore the use of gifting in carrying out your wishes

“Wise Investing Checklist”

* Schedule a meeting with your financial advisor to review your investments

* If you’re unhappy with your financial advisor, schedule a meeting with another advisor for a ‘second opinion’.  Repeat this process until you find and advisor you trust and then immediately transfer your investments to your new advisor

* Get really clear about your financial objectives.  It’s your goals and time frames that drive all thoughtful investment decisions

* Get really clear about your ability to work through the ups and downs of the various investment markets.

* Get educated about your investment options.  Many ‘advisors’ are thinly disguised salesmen who have one product they ‘advise’ everyone they meet to buy.  Trusted advisors have a deep and varied menu of effective investment options to provide their clients and their only concern is to identify the choices that best serve their clients’ needs.

* Ask questions.  There are no stupid questions.  Sadly, there are many stupid answers.  Go right back to the action of working with a trusted advisor.

* Stop looking for the ‘perfect’ investment.  They don’t exist.  Understand the pros and cons and any investment you’re considering for your portfolio

* Don’t forget to review your 401(k) plan investments.  For many people, these plans are the majority of their investment assets

* Don’t lose track of long term investments – CDs, Annuities, Life Insurance, etc.  Maturity dates, exit from surrender charge periods, and long term changes must be evaluated

“Business Owner Checklist”

* Review (or craft) your business plan.  Things change.  Stuff happens.  Business models drift off course.  Adjust.  Adapt.  Prosper.

* Plan for your exit from the business.  You will – someday – exit – either voluntarily (retirement, sale) or involuntarily (death or disability).   Excellent documents and funding tools are available to protect your business during these times of transition.

* Evaluate your employees.  Great employees are hard to find and deserve to be rewarded, protected and even insured.  Less than great employees deserve the opportunity to move on to jobs where they can be great even if that job isn’t with your company.

More than Money Radio and Television

Have Breakfast with Gene every Saturday Morning at 8:06 as 

More than Money with Gene Dickison airs on AM790 WAEB. 
all with your questions live at 610-720-7900 
Two Full Hours – 8:06 through 10:00 AM.

 Who would you like to see interviewed on our radio or television show? 

What topics would you like Gene to discuss?

 Send your suggestions to JoAnne@AskMTM.com

Words are Powerful Tools for American Freedom

I am writing this letter a few days before Thanksgiving.  Naturally, my thoughts turn to the many reasons I have to be thankful.  I am tempted to write out a list, but . . . there just isn’t room for all the reasons I have to be thankful.  God has blessed me in ways far beyond any deserving on my part.  God has even blessed me when I (foolishly) thought he had forgotten me.  I find myself happy, joyful, and grateful.  I confess that it took me far too long to learn to be thankful for everything – even the ‘hard’ stuff.  The truth is my life has grown infinitely happier as I’ve grown significantly more thankful.

“It is not happy people who are thankful.

It is thankful people who are happy.”

I wish for you both gratitude and joy – in that order.

Please allow us to serve you and those you love.

Thank you,

Gene

P.S.  What makes you thankful – and happy - today?

“Your Gratitude Checklist”

Take the time.  Make your list.  Say a prayer of thanks.  Feel the joy!