On Saturday, May the 4th, we had the opportunity and privilege to participate in a fundraising event for St. Judes Hospital. West Financial Group had the pleasure of sponsoring the dinner joined by over 20 clients all with hopes of raising money for a worthy cause.
There comes a time in everyone's life when it is time to hang up the briefcase or work boots in exchange for a more relaxing and carefree living. You've worked your whole life, and now you deserve to live life the way you have always wanted, where you have always wanted.
So what makes The Villages® Community the perfect place to retire?
It was a fantastic event including music by Scooter The DJ as well as The Sunset Band and entertainment by Disc-Connected K9’s – the World Famous Frisbee dogs. The day was filled with exciting and fun activities such as the world-famous champion frisbee dogs, a best dog costume, educational talks including Sergeant David Clark of the Sheriff’s department of Sumter County who discussed criminal apprehension, a wildlife exhibit, special guest “Derek Campana” of the popular show Animal Planet discussed designing prosthesis for all kinds of animals and of course many animals received application requests for adoption!
The Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County, Inc. is a non-profit, no-kill organization helping animals in need throughout Sumter County, Florida.
The Villages® Community here in Central Florida is well known for being the largest retirement community in the US. It's also very well known for the number of golf courses that are scattered throughout The Villages 32 square mile hub. While it's possible to golf on their courses even though you may not be a member of The Villages® community, it's nice to have other options nearby. Thankfully with The Villages® Community being smack in the middle of Florida, it's not that far of a trip to destination locations like Orlando or big open towns like Lakeland.
Lakeland is home to several amazing golfing spots for those starting out and seasoned veterans. The Club At Eaglebrook is one of the best-rated golf courses in Lakeland. Golf Advisor's rating system has Eaglebrook at a 4.6 out of 5 stars. It's as easy as logging in to set up your tee times and get your day of golf ready and raring to go. The holes are challenging but not impossible and will help those new to the game get a good feel for the sport.
Recently Skip at West Financial Group was given the opportunity to participate in something special as a way to give back to the community while also encouraging people to come out and experience an incredible, faith-based move called Faith, Hope & Love. This opportunity included Skip giving away 500 FREE tickets to The Villages premiere, with a special appearance by the director of the film, Robert Krantz. Krantz spoke about how and why he developed such a beautiful love story that was faith-based and did a phenomenal Q&A with the audience as well.
Paying off all of your debt before retirement and entering your golden years debt-free comes with a certain level of comfort. Making the most out of your limited retirement income is what every retiree hopes to accomplish and becoming debt-free is the first step.
Here are a few ways you can begin to eliminate debt and be on your way to a much more relaxing, anxiety-free retirement:
Saving for retirement seems like a daunting task, and we are always looking for ways to make it a little easier on ourselves. With the cost of living increasing every day and wages seemingly at a standstill every little bit of advice helps when it comes to making sure you will have money to live on in your golden years.
Here are four smart ways to a happier retirement:
Ideally, your golden years are a time to relax and enjoy your grandkids and the fun you've worked your whole life to have. You want to keep things simple in every area, including your finances. Often, a successful financial retirement portfolio is best gained by just that: simplicity.
One way to make your retirement more straightforward and successful is through annuities. Annuities work as a buffer, helping to build tax-deferred savings to cover retirement costs like living expenses and healthcare.
Retirement is a glorious time that we look forward to our whole lives. However, with retirement comes a lot of extra time on our hands; sometimes we don't know what to do with it. We may realize we weren't as ready to retire from working as we thought we were. Some retirees decide to get a part-time job to fill in their time.
Retirees decide to go back to work for many different reasons, such as boredom, extra income, a need to be around people or to be needed in general.
At West Financial Group our approach to helping our clients with their financial future is a little more involved than most financial advisors. We understand that every person has had their unique journey in life and that their financial planning needs to be customized to fit their needs and goals. For example, a farmer will have different retirement goals than a tax accountant. We all have our hopes and dreams for the future, and we want to fine-tune your portfolio just for you.
That's why it is so important to sit down with every one of our clients and get to know them. We want to find out your story, where you came from and where you are headed. By getting to know you, we can provide financial planning that fits your individual needs. We want you to be in the driver's seat, so to speak, so you can achieve the retirement goals you have set for yourself.
You might be at retirement age, eligible for Social Security, and eligible for a pension, but that doesn't always mean you're ready to retire. Retiring comfortably means different things to different people. The question is not whether it's possible to retire, but how much money you need to have saved to live the retirement you really want?
The only number that matters is the amount you need to reach your own personal desired retirement. That number is reached in a few ways:
When it comes to investment advisors, one name routinely comes to the top of the list over and over again, Warren Buffett. His reputation and sound financial advice have led him to be known as one of the most influential investors in the world. He not only talks the talk, but most surely walks the walk, and is on the list of the top five wealthiest people in the world. He has helped many companies to prosper, including his own, Berkshire Hathaway Corporation.
Many financial advisors looked to Warren Buffett's "Buffett Indicator" when making significant investments. This indicator can help them decide if they want to invest in a particular country's stock market.
There's no denying it, the stock market, overall, has performed remarkably well over the last several years - to the point where some find stocks too expensive to afford. Some believe we're due for a natural market correction, or worse: a crash.
Unfortunately, predicting when stocks will drop or when/if the market will crash is impossible. But rest assured, it will come as the markets are cyclical and we are overdue for a bit of a recession. That doesn't mean, however, that we can't stay prepared for the next crash.
As minor retirement expenses accumulate, you have to consider the bigger picture. Will your nest egg last through your entire lifetime? On average, most Americans retire by the age of 62, which means many retirees must cover living expenses for around 17 years.
An annuity is a long-term investment that you purchase from your insurance company. They are designed specifically to protect you from outliving your income. For many senior citizens or people over 50, annuities are an integral part of a successful financial retirement portfolio. Annuities help build tax-deferred savings to cover retirement costs like living expenses and healthcare.
There are more women in the workplace than ever before, and many are in charge of their household financial management. With longer lifespan expectancies and lower average lifetime earnings than men, women often face a significant retirement funding gap.
Financial advisors are increasingly seeing the concept of women in control of household finances as the norm. The common factor both young professional women and retirees is that both groups want to plan better and know they can, with access to a competent financial advisor.
Investing can be a complicated game, and you want to make sure you get your money's worth. One topic people always want to talk about is the Standards & Poor's 500 Index or S&P 500 for short.
The S&P 500 is made up of 500 of the world largest and most profitable companies whose market capitalization is worth an estimated 6.1 billion. People see it as the leading indicator of equities in the United States and is a direct reflection of how well the large-cap universe is doing at the current time. It sets the bar for market value weighted index for the U.S. stock market and other S&P indexes. The five companies with the highest weights are Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook.
After many years of hard work, retirement is something many look forward to. Most see their retirement beginning in their 60's, but it is very possible to retire earlier than that! In some cases, you may be left with no choice but to retire, or you work that little extra, and it adds up in the end to your favor. Whatever the case may be, early retirement is more feasible than you'd think. Here you will find the top tips on reaching your retirement mark sooner than later!
The incentive to retire early is great, from spending quality time with the ones you care about most, to chasing dreams you never had the time for. It can open up a whole new world, and if you like to travel that can be very literal! Another big plus to early retirement is being able to take care of yourself and make sure you're in great health. The best part of all is that during this entire process, you've been through the struggle of saving and budgeting that it will now come naturally to you and will no longer feel like a terrible chore.
Working towards your retirement can be an incredibly rewarding achievement. Even more so when your 401(k) reaches upwards and over $1 million! Recently, the number of retirees that have reached that million dollar mark has increased from 89,000 to 133,000 in just the third quarter of 2017. Women also seem to be the ones bringing home the bacon, or in this case, saving the bacon. Over the past decade, the percentage of female 401(k) millionaires has doubled; going from 10% to 20% according to Fidelity reports.
So how does one come about being a 401(k) millionaire? The answers may be simple, but it requires a lot of work.
Designed as a security net for seniors, Social Security simply does not work alone as a retirement plan. If you've decided to rely solely on Social Security benefits in your elderly years, you're most certainly bound to find yourself in dire financial straits.
At the time of this writing, the average monthly benefit payment from Social Security is currently $1404. Some seniors would receive a larger benefit if they paid more into the system, while others receive much less. Social Security alone puts nearly all seniors who depend on it solely, very close to the individual poverty level.
In this day and age saving for retirement seems to get harder and harder and is increasingly becoming a goal that is put on the back burner for many Americans. With lower wages and higher housing cost, much of the middle class are struggling just to get by. Even with these obstacles in life, there are still ways to save for a prosperous retirement.
Start today. Many people make the mistake of thinking it's either too early or too late to start saving for retirement. The truth is you can start saving at any time, of course, the earlier you start, the more money you will have when the time comes. Compounding interest is a beautiful thing. On the other hand, it is better late than never, because even later in life those savings will add up.
President Donald Trump signed the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) into existence last month. Financial experts Ryan Krueger, a securities analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., and Sean Dargan, an analyst at Wells Fargo researched and reported the following ideas about the effects of TCJA provisions on annuity issuers:
1. Annuity issuers' finances will look different. Dargan's team at Wells Fargo predicts that many issuers will end up with lower capitalization levels because the TCJA will reduce life insurers' ability to deduct reserves from taxable income. The Walls Fargo team predicts that the rating agencies and state insurance regulators will adjust their risk-based capital rules and formulas to reflect the new tax rules.
Annuities have become common place, especially among retirees. Not many know the tax benefits of having an annuity. Here you’ll find out what an annuity can be, how it protects you, and the huge tax benefit an annuity holds.
In most cases, an annuity is typically offered by an insurance company to protect the buyer at risk of outliving their income. Something such as this is very beneficial to a retired person, keeping an insured steady flow of income without continuing to work. You pay into the annuity, and when the time comes to start receiving it back, it can be a high sum (upwards into the 100,000’s).
Retiring comfortably and helping your child go to college are two common, yet challenging, goals. With some smart choices made now, they are also two goals that you can achieve.
First, understand your current financial needs. For retirement, figure out how many years you have left until you retire. Estimate what your retirement account balance will be by the time you retire. Find out how much you can expect to receive in Social Security benefits. Know what standard of living you hope to have during retirement. Will you travel extensively, or live more simply?
When it comes to our financial futures, we all want to plan well and "get it right," and it seems few people have gotten it as right as Warren Buffett. So, what advice does Warren give that "makes sense practically all of the time?"
Warren Buffett says it's consistently buying shares of a single mutual fund.
As minor retirement expenses accumulate, you have to consider the bigger picture. Will your nest egg last through your entire lifetime? On average, most Americans retire by the age of 62, which means many retirees must cover living expenses for around 17 years. An annuity is a long-term investment that you purchase from your insurance company. They are designed specifically to protect you from outliving your income. For many senior citizens or people over 50, annuities are an integral part of a successful financial retirement portfolio. Annuities help build tax-deferred savings to cover retirement costs like living expenses and healthcare.
Specific annuity benefits can be tailored for individuals over 50. These benefits include receiving guaranteed payments, delaying Social Security and covering the cost of increasing medical expenses. In choosing the right financial product for your needs, you can better provide for the health and well-being of yourself and your family. Plan ahead by purchasing an annuity that provides periodic payments which may cover changes in your living costs and provide you with a buffer during the golden years.
What are the pros and cons of paying premiums for mortgage protection?
A potential “helping hand” for a homeowner’s heirs. No one wants to saddle their heirs with the hard choice of paying off an unsettled mortgage or selling or losing a home. A mortgage term life insurance policy can provide relief in such a dilemma.
Here’s why it can be a good idea.
You may have read that you don’t need to buy life insurance early in life. That’s not necessarily true. In fact, getting a policy before midlife may prove wise. Relatively few people opt for life insurance coverage between the ages of 18 and 45, yet there are compelling reasons to get life insurance within this window of time.
If you’re just starting to look into life insurance, the myriad of choices can be confusing.
Man is Mortal. That makes life insurance a little unique and interesting, doesn’t it? We purchase things like health insurance, car insurance and home insurance, then hope we never have a need to use them. Life insurance is different, because it’s a widely accepted fact that sooner or later, each one of us will die.
Baby Boomers are a very diverse group with varying backgrounds and, therefore, have many concerns and expectations related to preparing for retirement. Using IRI’s Retirement Expectations Checklist with your financial professional can help determine your individual set of needs, and prioritize them in order to build a retirement income plan for your future.
*Guarantees are subject to the claims paying ability of the issuer.
Why do people choose an annuity over a certificate of deposit?
Do you have a CD down at your local bank? Do you consider yourself conservative with your savings? If so, you may want to take a look at a tax-deferred fixed annuity – a popular choice for many retirees and pre-retirees.
These conservative products have become a popular alternative to bonds.
Fixed indexed annuities can be very useful accumulation and distribution tools. As the name implies, FIAs are fixed annuities linked to the performance of a stock market index (often the S&P 500). Because of this stock market exposure, they can sometimes bring conservative investors very nice returns – often, considerably better returns than CDs, bonds, or money market accounts. They really aren’t designed to outperform the stock markets; they are designed to outperform the fixed markets.
A great way to assist your favorite theatre, dance troupe, symphony, museum…
The downturn has forced many of your favorite theatre companies, opera companies, symphonies and ballets to amend their programming. They need your help.
It just might be. Here’s why baby boomers are choosing immediate annuities.
Nobody wants to outlive their money. In fact, somebody recently asked me, “How do I organize my money so that I spend my last dollar on my last day of life?”
An estate planning option more families ought to know about.
You may think of life insurance in very simple terms: you buy a policy so that your loved ones will have some financial assistance when you die. But if you have assets of $1 million or more, you should view life insurance as a tool – kind of a Swiss army knife, in fact. Life insurance has many potential uses in estate planning, and a life insurance trust can certainly help a family.
You can thank the Pension Protection Act.
On January 1, 2010, owners of certain nonqualified annuities were allowed some new tax benefits. On that date, the Pension Protection Act (PPA) of 2006 was fully implemented and brought about dramatic and interesting changes for those who had started annuities with after-tax dollars.
NAIC Buyer’s Guide for Fixed Deferred Annuities
It’s important that you understand how annuities can be different from each other so you can choose the type of annuity that’s best for you. The purpose of this Buyer’s Guide is to help you do that. This Buyer’s Guide isn’t meant to offer legal, financial, or tax advice. You may want to consult independent advisors that specialize in these areas.
Just 28 percent of Americans received a passing grade (60 percent or higher) when asked basic Social Security questions, a new study from MassMutual finds. Moreover, from a pool of 1,500 respondents ages 18 to 65, just one person answered all 10 true/false questions correctly.
The quiz touched on a range of topics, including the national retirement age, spousal benefits and eligibility for benefits. The high failure rate suggests what a number of advisors already know: Too many Americans are lacking the knowledge and tools that will allow their retirement reality to match their retirement dreams.
By Bart Astor, Next Avenue Contributor
How do pre-retirees and retirees feel about retirement these days? Glad you asked.
Pay for long term care without paying taxes on an annuity withdrawal.
A tax perk that needs to be publicized. In 2010, you will be allowed to withdraw money from a certain kind of annuity without paying taxes as long as you use it to pay for qualified long term care coverage. All baby boomers – especially those in the highest tax bracket – can thank the Pension Protection Act of 2006 for this new, fortunate development.1
Why might the wealthy be directing more money into this middle-class bedrock?
For generations, Americans have thought of life insurance as a midlife purchase of the middle class. Today, that perception is less accurate.