Monday, November 14, 2016
“Election 2016 – What Will It Mean for You?”
As I write these words Election 2016 is days away. The results of the election – likely known to you as you’re reading this – will likely have implications for generations to come. Putting political rhetoric aside, one of the most common questions we’ve been fielding for months is, ‘How should we change our investments after the election?’
For the vast majority of folks asking that question the simple answer is – you shouldn’t. If you have a thoughtfully constructed investment plan; if your investment plan is aligned with your goals and timeframes; if your investments are well selected and regularly reviewed – stay the course. The result of this election and every other major event in our lifetimes has had an
impact on the markets. A rational investor doesn’t base his/her long term investment strategy on short term – unknowable – outcomes.
If your investment approach (strategy, process, allocation – they all fit as well) is based on the impossible task of predicting and responding to unknowable events – please reconsider and build an approach based on hard work and regular adjustments.
“Do You Have a Plan for When Your Health Fails?”
‘If you lose your health – will you lose your wealth?’ This was the question driving one of the most impactful workshops we’ve hosted in recent memory. Mike Pompei and Bryan Langdan – recognized experts in the area of Long Term Care Planning spoke to two large audiences sharing multiple ideas and options folks should consider when crafting their own Long Term Care Plan.
The plan for many is to select the child living closest and ask them for care. We wonder if that child knows what’s heading their way. Some think that Medicare will cover the expense of long term care (now $10,000 or more per month for many) – sadly it won’t. Some believe Medicaid will help. It will, but only after you’ve spent your life savings down to less than $4,000.
Many of the people who joined us found some interesting new ideas and options for the Long Term Care Plan. Life insurance-long term care hybrid plans are one. Annuity-long term care hybrid plans were discussed as well. Using life insurance with long term care riders were highlighted as well.
Our speakers were very clear – while the options for responding to the loss of health are many the most important action is one. Everyone needs a Long Term Care Plan. That plan may include a number of different options used together. That plan must be communicated with children and/or grandchildren. A plan and good communication are the keys to creating the best possible outcome should your health depart.
Everyone attending our workshops received a free Long Term Care Plan consultation. We provide those consultations in our More than Money World Headquarters – in the Holy Lands – between Bethlehem and Nazareth. If you haven’t yet crafted your Long Term Care plan – contact our office and schedule your time today.
“Is Your Retirement Income Guaranteed?”
Do you want it to be?
The volatility of the equity/stock markets can be unnerving. If you’re in the portion of your life when you’re adding more and more to your life savings and investments the wild market swings are annoying, but not necessarily a problem. If you’re in the phase of your life where you rely on the income generate by your life savings to pay bills and provide a comfortable retirement stock market swings can be very tough to handle.
We recently hosted a workshop where we explored numerous ways to create pension-like income – guaranteed income you cannot out live. Some of the strategies we looked at:
One of the most important lessons we learned was that guaranteed is sometimes a really bad thing. You can get guaranteed income at your bank, but the interest rates are so low that after paying income taxes and adjusting for inflation you’re losing money.
We also learned that guaranteed can be a quite wonderful thing. How do you know if guaranteed is really bad or really wonderful for you? It depends. It depends on your goals, your income needs, your other sources of income (social security, pensions, rents, etc.). As always – it’s all about you. Be sure you have a solid analysis of your specific situation to see where guaranteed retirement income might fit for you.
One of the most important factors in determining what strategy(ies) is right for your retirement plan is – what is your monthly budget? How much do you need each month to pay your bills and be happy and healthy? With that number in had we can answer almost every question. Without a solid budget number – we’ll all be guessing.
If you would like to examine your retirement income plan we are happy to help. There’s absolutely no fees or obligation – just contact our office to schedule a time to meet with one of our More than Money advisors.
“What Are the New Estate Tax Rules?”
At the moment . . . there aren’t any, but next year . . .
It depends. Hilary Clinton has announced her intent to cut the estate tax credit from about $5.5 million to $3.5 million. If she is elected and if this change goes into effect the increased tax liability for a family settling a $5.5 million dollar estate could be upwards of $800,000.
Clinton’s tax policy will have the most negative effect on owners of small family businesses. Though family businesses are labor intensive, challenging at best, and difficult to grow they can carry large values. It is not unusual for a ‘small’ family business to be worth $5 million to $10 million. Should the founder of the business die and have the entire business value in their estate the family might face a tax bill as high as $3.5 million. For most family businesses paying a tax bill of $3.5 million would bankrupt the business and put everyone out of work.
Obviously, we oppose this proposal. We encourage you to oppose it as well.
“Thank You for Your Kind Words and Prayers”
So many of you kindly follow the growth of our family with warm words and prayers – it means the world to Diane and me. Our oldest daughter, Ali, celebrates her wedding the first week of December. Her husband, Mike, is a wonderful, hardworking, and patient young man. We are so blessed to have him in our lives. Mike and Ali have decided to also become entrepreneurs. They have opened a Coffee House in Los Angeles. Please keep them and their new venture in your thoughts.
Our middle daughter, Alyssa, continues to work hard in her junior year at Lebanon Valley College. Alyssa is majoring in chemistry, was named a captain of the LVC track team, and has found wonderful friendships with some great young women at LVC. She is exploring graduate programs in forensic science.
Our youngest, Megan, is a freshman at Susquehanna University. She is studying writing and business. As she has entered this exciting phase of her life, Diane and I have officially become ‘empty nesters’. Your prayers are greatly appreciated.
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Words are Powerful Tools for American Freedom
If you’ve been part of the More than Money family for a while you know of my respect for the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. In Jefferson’s time the only path to liberty was through rebellion and war. In Jefferson’s time men took power and abused the citizens and become tyrants. The only way – then – to eliminate a tyrant was through bloodshed – often at the cost of the lives of good and honorable people – patriots. Jefferson did not foresee even the possibility that tyrants could not be overthrown without bloodshed when he said:
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time
with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
Today the good citizens of the United States of America are oppressed by the tyranny of a government left too long to its own best interests. Americans have been abused and enslaved by decades of politicians intent on only their own increased wealth and power. Good people – patriots – know the system is broken and cannot – will not – be fixed by those in power.
I pray every day that our nation is rescued from the tyranny of a government by any means possible short of bloodshed. I pray that our liberties will be restored not by blood, but by the will of the people.
Please allow us to serve you and those you love.
P.S. Please pray for the United States of America, all its citizens, and particularly the future of our children and grandchildren.