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Financial Planning

How to Double Your Money

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People often ask us, “How long will it take to double my money?’ You can find the answer with the rule of 72.

Here’s how it works. Compounding interest is the interest you earn on a growing amount of money.) To find out how long it will take your money to double, take the number 72 and divide it by the interest rate earned. This will give you the number of years it will take to double your money.

For instance, If you can earn 6% it will take 12 years to double. This is because 72 divided by 6 equals 12. If you want your money to double in 9 years you would have to earn 8%, because 72 divided by 9 equals 8. This rule gives you a good rule of thumb to find out what interest rate you need to double your money in the time you want, and it’s easy to calculate.

How fast do you want to double your money? Give us a call and we’ll help you get there.

(719) 597-2179

 

How to Set and Keep Financial Goals

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Written goals are your road map to financial success. Be specific, simple, and realistic and include time frames and dollar amounts. Have some big goals and some small ones.

Include a savings plan and an emergency fund. Pay off high-interest debt and control the amount of your debt. Then, take action to achieve your goals. Review your goals often and remember it takes time to achieve goals so be patient. Without a plan, your path waivers and valuable time is lost.

So don’t wait. Let us help you create an investment plan for your future today.

(719) 597-2179

The 3 Stages of Your Financial Life

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What are the three stages in your financial life?

The first stage is preparing for life’s uncertainties. The second stage is managing your net worth and the third stage is managing retirement and your estate. The base of the pyramid is preparing for life’s uncertainties.

Insurance is the most cost-effective way to deal with this. Insurance can include life and health insurance, disability insurance, long-term care insurance, home and auto insurance and insurance against other perils. Adequate liquidity in your investments or in cash to cover emergencies along with a will is important. The next level involves managing your money. Investment strategies should include diversification and risk management. The best option is to review you goals with a professional. The top tier addresses retirement and estate planning.

The ultimate goal is to ensure that you have income and assets for as long as you live. Your investments should be in line with your specific situation, goals and risk tolerance. An estate planning professional can provide you with documents necessary to ensure a planned distribution to beneficiaries. The three stages sound simple yet few people adequately prepare for any of them.

We can work with your tax and legal professionals to develop a plan to help you reach your financial goals. So please give us a call today.

(719) 597-2179

What is an Annuity and How Does It Guarantee Income?

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What are annuities and how do they work? Annuities are both a savings and an income investment that pays out over a period of time.

It’s actually a steam of income you can’t outlive. An annuity is a flexible insurance contract that allows retirement savings to grow income tax deferred and then payout to you in a lump sum, income for life, or income for a certain period of time.

There are two basic types: Fixed and Variable. The Fixed Annuity earns a set yield and payout set by the contract. The Variable Annuity is invested in stocks and bonds. The growth value and potential income stream will depend on the investment returns and losses could occur. In both annuities the growth is income tax deferred and the contract terms control growth and income.

In today’s market there has been a blending in the qualities of these two kinds of annuities to generate the best return for investors yet maintain the guarantees needed in retirement. There are a lot of choices and your personal situation needs to be considered.

We can help you develop a plan to meet your specific needs towards a comfortable retirement, so please give us a call today.

(719) 597-2179

How To Strategize For Your Social Security Benefits

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As life expectancy has grown, your retirement now can last between 20 and 30 years. So Social Security planning is critical, no matter how much money you have. It can make a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

For example, if you retire at age 62 and pass away at age 86, you’ll receive at least 25% less for 24 years. But, if you wait to retire at age 70, you’ll receive 32% more for 16 years. If your retirement income at age 66 was $2,000 per month, this could be a difference of over $200,000 during your lifetime. Arriving at a decision on when to retire is not easy. If you retire early, it could affect your spouse’s benefits. And wages and other taxable income could cause up to 85% of your Social Security benefits to be exposed to income taxes.

Proper planning takes all of these factors into account to determine a Social Security strategy. For instance, a repositioning of assets could reduce taxable income and provide for more reliable monthly income. With over 500 different combinations of factors affecting benefits, it makes sense to talk to a financial advisor and get it right.

(719) 597-2179

How Are Your Social Security Benefits Calculated?

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We all think we know the basics about Social Security, but do we really know how different the benefits can be?

The standard retirement age is between 65 and 67, depending on your birthday. Your monthly income, also called your PIA, is determined by your highest 35 years of indexed earnings. You can start taking benefits as early as age 62, but your monthly income will be reduced by at least 25%.

Say your full retirement age is exactly 66 years old, then you can delay until age 70 and your monthly income will be 32% higher. Your strategy needs to be based upon a number of factors: how much retirement income you need, other sources of income, income taxes and your general health condition. Other factors also weigh in, like survivor needs, divorce, dependent children, and available liquid assets.

Proper planning requires attention to all these details. Give us a call today for help with planning your Social Security strategies.

(719) 597-2179

 

When Should I Seek Financial Advice?

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Here are some life milestones and events that mark when you should make the call to a financial advisor.

  1. When there’s a new baby in the family.

Parents, grandparents, siblings—everyone is affected when the new baby comes along. Now is the time to plan for what this tiny family member will grow to need in the future—especially college funds. And now is also the time to make sure that you have the right insurance and protections in place to see the child through to adulthood should something unexpectedly happen to you.

  1. When you get married.

Two people joined together in holy matrimony are also going to need to bring their finances together, for better or worse. And if there are any children from a previous marriage involved, it’s doubly important to find and hire a financial advisor that you both like and respect.

A comprehensive financial plan—which includes your mutual goals, time horizon to retirement, and desires for wealth transfer to family members—is a very important way to get started on your life journey together.

  1. When you win the lottery, or inherit.

We all dream of receiving a big financial windfall someday, but when you actually land a large amount of money at one time, studies show that many people squander it away. In fact, nearly a third of lottery winners actually end up declaring bankruptcy, becoming worse off than before they won.

If you receive money, call a financial advisor first, because no matter what the amount, it is actually less than it seems. You need qualified financial advice to ensure you don’t lose 30-90% to the IRS by not understanding tax laws. Financial advisors work as a team with your tax professionals to help you navigate inheritance, winnings, and gift taxes, as well as qualified money (like an inherited IRA account) tax rules so that you can actually end up ahead of the game.

  1. When you start working.

Your first job is an exciting time in your life. Even if you’re trying to pay off student loan debt, don’t miss the chance to achieve your life goals by harnessing the power of compound interest. Putting away even a very small amount each month can snowball through the years. A financial advisor can help you lay a plan to get ahead and reach your goals over the long term.

  1. When you start a new business, or want to sell one.

Small businesses offer many different options for retirement plans for their owners depending on the company structure. Call a financial advisor to help you set up a financial and retirement plan for your business in order to have the best chance of achieving your goals. And don’t forget about an exit strategy. Whether you want to leave your business to a family member or sell it, planning for your own departure from the company is essential to your ultimate financial success.

  1. When you’re starting to get close to retirement.

You should start to save for retirement as early as possible, but as you get closer to your actual retirement day, having a written plan in place to guide you becomes critical. How will you transform that nest egg you’ve saved into monthly income after you’re no longer getting a paycheck—without running out of money? How much money will you need? How will you take money out? Which accounts should you withdraw from first? What kind of taxes will you have to pay? How does Social Security work? How will you live, what will you do? Should you pay off your house first?

There are so many issues and retirement risks to address that retirement planning is absolutely essential. Ideally, you should have a plan in place by age 50—55. If you don’t, call your advisor as soon as possible.

  1. When you’re creating estate planning documents or establishing a trust.

Estate attorneys can create the documents you need, but they may not know about all the ins and outs of investments and insurance that can reduce taxation while helping ensure your final wishes are carried out. Call your financial advisor to get that important piece of the estate and tax planning equation.

  1. If you lose your job midlife, or are getting divorced with a lot of assets.

An adverse life event can hit anyone. If you’ve lost a job or are getting divorced, your financial advisor can help determine your best options for putting an immediate action plan in place.

For instance, if you’ve lost your job, your financial advisor may be able help you position assets in order to be able retire early, or help you draw from certain accounts to get you through until you land your next job.

If you are getting divorced, be sure to get advice from a financial advisor as well as your divorce attorney. They can help you analyze the assets that will most benefit you based on your future goals in order to reach the best settlement split. They can help you see things you might not be able to see clearly, and that divorce attorneys may not know. Like what kind of burden versus advantage keeping the family home might be.

  1. In the final quarter of every year.

Once you do have a financial or retirement plan in place, you should absolutely review it every year. (Most likely you’ll just need to answer the call, since most advisors will reach out to conduct annual reviews with you.) The annual review will allow your advisor adjust the plan as well as make changes to account beneficiaries as your family changes through time.

 

There are three different advisory disciplines you should seek out—tax professionals, legal professionals (like estate attorneys), and financial advisors. We can help you with the financial advice part of the equation. We can help you get set up with a tax professional and estate attorney from our network of contacts, or work as a team with yours.

Call SF Financial in Colorado Springs at (719) 597-2179.