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At first glance buying life insurance sounds like a straightforward process. For many individuals it involves little more than calling your automotive insurer in response to a letter in the mail offering a “multi-policy” discount or free insurance review. However, determining how much life insurance coverage you should have and which type of policy can best protect you and your family, can and should be more involved than getting an auto insurance quote. Here are some key things you need to know when buying life insurance:

Life insurance comes in many flavors

The basic premise of life insurance is the same. When we die our ability to earn an income goes to zero. Upon death life insurance provides a payment to our designated beneficiaries, often with tax advantages.  Most individuals purchase life insurance to protect their families from a sudden loss of income, their estates from a large tax bill, or to protect a business that relies on key people.

Unfortunately that is the extent of the similarities between life insurance product types. There are myriad policy options, each of which has advantages and


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While our extended longevity should be greeted with gratitude for the possibility of enjoying a longer life with our grandchildren, many retirees are approaching it with trepidation, wondering if their hard earned assets will be sufficient to fulfill their vision of a good life for the rest of their life – however long it should last. At the critical point when assets are to be converted to income and a spend-down plan is launched, retirees need the assurance that they won’t outlive their income, which, to some retirees would be a fate worse than death.

Old Rules of Thumb Have Become Dangerous Assumptions

Unfortunately, the traditional and outdated retirement planning models espoused by the media and the general financial services population only serve to generate more angst among retirees. Not only do many of them still adhere to the old “allocate for your age” asset allocation strategy, they continue to base their spend-down plans on the traditional life expectancy model that requires us to die on time in order for the plan to work. In today’s near-zero-interest rate environment and in the face of life


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This means that some Australians will spend more time in retirement than in the work force. You’ll need money to fund your retirement – and a fair bit of it. The good news is that there are actions you can take while you are working, as you are easing into your retirement and when you are fully retired that may assist you to reach your retirement savings goals and help make your money last you through retirement.

Transitioning into retirement

You no longer have to retire on the day you turn 65. The day you stop working is now in your hands.

By using a Transition To Retirement strategy you can take control of your retirement date, prolong your retirement or use it to turn a redundancy into a time of opportunity.

Managing your retirement

Reaching your retirement is a significant milestone, and it’s important you live the life you want to.

There are still many ways to make the most of this stage of your life and you might have a few questions.

  • Where should I invest my money?



A person’s credit score is based on whether or not an individual is deemed financially responsible. It’s very important because it can determine your future loans, interest rates, and credit limits. The span of a credit score is typically 300 – 850, with the lowest number being the “negative” number and the highest being the “positive” number. The more it increases, the more trustworthy you become in the eyes of a lender.

If you have found yourself in debt, it can be difficult to raise your credit score. In the event that you have accumulated more debt than you can handle and you want to clear it off of your credit report, it would be a good idea to seek help from a qualified third party. There are a lot of groups that can help you when your credit score has gone bad. Miller Stark Klein and Associates are experts in debt management so that you can start raising your credit score again.

If you are unsure about how your credit score may have gotten to the point where it is now, you can learn more about what factors are negatively affecting your credit here:

Factors Affecting Your Credit


No one wants to face financial problem. However, it commonly comes up within people’s life. There are so many causes which make people have such thing. You delay the payment obligation, you have unexpected things that requires money, and so on. Well, it is about the financial management. In order to overcome this situation, there are several ways that people often go for it. You can actually tell to your close ones and ask them to help you lend their money. However, it is something embarrassing so that some of them prefer to hold it up. Meanwhile, going to a bank or any financial institution is a difficult way to go.

Moreover, those who have poor credit background, it would be harder for them. If you are so, then there is only one way to overcome this situation. You can have cash advance loan to solve your financial problem. However, some people still think about it as the bad credit loan. On you can actually see it as the benefit that you can take. Well, it will bring you benefit only if you can use it for a good reason. The very obvious thing is you can


Unless you have a large savings account, many of the important decisions you make in life will be influenced by your credit score. Whether you want to buy your first home, a new car or take out a loan, your credit score will determine whether or not you are accepted for credit and how much you will have to repay. If you have made some bad financial choices in the past, your credit rating may be in need of repair. Thankfully, there are several ways you can improve your credit score to help you qualify for some of the best deals when it comes to mortgages, loans and credit cards.

Check Your Credit Score

Nearly a quarter of all credit reports have some form of mistake on them, so ordering a copy of your report should be your first step. You can get your credit report from a company such as Fico or Equifax, or order a free copy from Simply checking your report will not lower your score but a mistake will, so be sure to order your credit report as soon as possible.

Get a Credit Card

It may seem



Whether you are planning to start a new business or you already have an established business, you want tosee it grow every day. As your business grows, you hire new staff, purchase more inventories, look for a bigger place, and do a lot more things to match the demands of the ever expanding business; this will require a lot of financial planning as well. You can provide the necessary financial backup to your expanding business by means of securing a business loan or SME loan.

Following are the three options available to you to get the loan you need:

  • Traditional bank loans
  • Government-backed loans
  • Loans offered by Alternative lenders

It does not matter which door you knock, you need to keep 5 important points in mind in order to secure the best business loan or SME loan.

  1. The real purpose of getting the loan
  2. The exact amount of money/loan you need
  3. The time you need to pay it off
  4. The current financial health of your business
  5. The urgency of getting the loan

Once you are able to find


Real estate is probably one of the best and safest investments that you can make, because it almost always appreciates. While there are instances in which you can lose money on real estate, it is rare, because in many of the world’s largest cities, good investment properties are getting more difficult to find. Most investment experts believe that the real estate market will remain positive, with these cities being among the best markets in which to invest.

Los Angeles

Many Chinese investors are still bullish on investing in property within the United States. They have invested approximately $5.9 billion in the Los Angeles area alone, and are still looking for good buys in the City of Angels. In addition to making property investments, many Chinese investors are also lending money to property developers.

San Francisco

This northern California city is one of the three top places in the US to invest in properties. Along with private residences, commercial properties like shopping centers, warehouses and office spaces are the types of properties expected to see an increase in investments. San Francisco has always been popular with global capital investors, since it is one


In an interview with Bloomberg, Eileen Serra, card services chief executive officer at JPMorgan Chase, talked about the growth in the bank’s credit card services, this holiday shopping season, and the industry’s digital and mobile transformation. In the same interview, John Stumpf, Wells Fargo CEO, expressed his views concerning the future of payment transaction processing.

The First Quarter of the Year

Based on the information gathered at JPMorgan, Eileen Serra has noticed a 2.5-percent increase in this holiday shopping season spending as compared with the last year’s numbers. When it comes to the estimates provided by the industry, Serra says credit and debit card spending is more than 2.5 percent. As for rates, she notes both the bank business and card business are affected by rate fluctuations.

With this in mind, merchants looking for a proper business funding should apply only to reliable payment processors like First American Merchant (FAM) to get the best for their business wants and needs. FAM specializes in the high risk businesses and offers instant approval credit cards for bad credit. Even if traditional banks and most processors refuse to service you, your credit history is not a problem


Trying to understand what the market will do for the remainder of 2016 a massive task, but it is possible to discuss some of the major points. This will help guide the readers in the right direction and give them enough information to study the issue further. This effort is aided by the small amount of history already at our disposal.

We can predict where the market stands in the wake of a momentous vote by British citizens. A majority of voters on whether Britain should stay in or leave the European Union indicated it would be best to leave. This news caused a major change in world financial markets, with some stating that it was the largest drop since 2008.

And Then?

Aside from this current and very specific event, there are some suggested themes for the year that can help guide the prudent investor. These include signs of stability as the second quarter progressed. Yet fear remains, in spite of less volatile markets and some rebound. Cautious investors also caused a rather slow start to the year, especially for equity markets.

Market observers note that there is still sensitivity to risk affecting


Dealing with banks can be stressful and frustrating. Trying to get a loan from a bank can be a grueling and humiliating process. But you need not undergo the process at all. You can get instant payday loans from a payday lender of your choice.

If you are looking for a way to get ready cash, then payday loan lenders can help. Such companies have helped all kinds of individuals get the cash they need to get through rough spots in their financial lives.

When looking for a loan, you should not be subjected to undue scrutiny and application processes. Nor should you wait for days and months before learning the results of your loan application. Payday loan lenders work quickly and effectively to get you the cash you need.

There are many ways of working with borrows agency in order to resolve the problem you’re facing. However, it is important to have the right help and advice when doing so. Using banks is very complex and involved process; it is not the kind of procedure designed to work to your advantage. Payday lenders are much better in this area. They make it a priority


If you listen to any of the world’s leading investors they will tell you that nothing is more important to long-term investment success than a clear investment philosophy. More important than a sound investment strategy? Yes, they will tell you, because strategy, while important, is nothing more than a manifestation of an investment philosophy. Strategy can evolve as circumstances might warrant; however, an investment philosophy is based on the intractable belief you have in the principles and practices that guide your decision-making. In times of market upheaval and through the dark of uncertainty, your investment philosophy enables you to control your emotions, shut out the noise and focus on the things that really matter over the long term.

Too often investors want to focus on the short-term outcome of their decisions when, in reality, it has very little impact on the long-term results of a well-conceived investment strategy. A random 300 point drop in the market in reaction to the news of some calamitous event, while entertaining and maybe a little disconcerting, will be nothing more than a microscopic blip along the way in a long-term time horizon. Your investment philosophy is in place to remind you


The need for retirement planning didn’t really exist until well into the 1970s. Up to that point, people worked until age 65, spent a few years in leisure through their life expectancy which was about 69. Many retirees of that era were able to coast into retirement with a cushy pension plan. Over the next few decades, as life expectancy continued to expand, as did the number of years in retirement, financial planners came up with simple rules of thumb for determining how much a person would need at retirement in order to maintain his or her lifestyle.

That’s where the 70 percent rule came from. People were told that they would only need 70 to 80 percent of their pre-retirement income to preserve their lifestyle throughout their golden years. While that may have worked for retirees back in the 1970s and 80s, it could spell disaster for today’s retirees.

It’s not your Grandfather’s Retirement Anymore

Today’s retirees face a whole new set of financial challenges. Many are carrying mortgages and other debt into retirement. Health costs have increased nearly ten-fold. And, because we are living longer these days, health care costs will consume an


In the ever changing landscape of life insurance products, there remains one stalwart that has changed very little since the first American life insurance companies emerged in the mid 1800s – the Whole Life plan.

Its longevity can be attributed to the features that have it made it the preferred choice of millions throughout its history.  Designed as life insurance policy that provides guarantees and predictability, the popularity of Whole life insurance seems to ebb and flow in parallel to the volatility and uncertainty of the economic times.

As an example, in the late 1980’s and 1990’s, when the stock market went on its historic bull run, whole life insurance, with its lower, guaranteed yields, fell out of favor and Variable Life insurance plans were much more desirable. More recently, with the volatility and dramatic declines of the stock market, Whole life has had resurgence because of its predictability and guarantees.

For the people who, over the years, have held steadfast with their whole life policies, they have been rewarded with an asset (cash values) that has steadily increased while most financial instruments have either lost value or had some wild swings.  In this instance,


The purchase of a life insurance policy will never make most peoples’ top ten list of favorite things to do. After all, there is a lot not to like in the whole process of buying life insurance. With hundreds of products from which to choose, it can be confusing. Insurance contracts can be complex and mind numbing. Some insurance agents can be annoying. And, for some people, paying premiums can be irritating. Granted, it’s not a picnic, but when given the opportunity to step back and really look at the advantages of owning life insurance, most people will agree that it ranks up there with their very best financial decision.

Anyone who owns a life insurance policy understands the reason why they bought it.  For most people, it is because they want to provide for the financial security of their family in the event that they should die prematurely.  The biggest advantage of life insurance is that it can accomplish just that in a way that no other financial vehicle or strategy can.  As significant as that is, it is sometimes not enough to convince some people of the true value of life insurance.  Some people aren’t


Life insurance plays a crucial role in securing the financial future of a family.  And, while the decision to buy a policy is an easy one, purchasing one can be vexing due to the overwhelming number of choices available. With hundreds of life insurance companies offering thousands of different products, the task of selecting the right plan for you is a daunting one.  Too many choices often lead to confusion and the fear of making the wrong decision, which is one of the reasons why people procrastinate.

As with any decision that involves a lot of choices, the best course is to winnow them down as best as you can using some parameters that can eliminate the ones that are least suitable for your needs.  The key is to have a firm grasp of what your needs are.

Determine Your Life Insurance Need

Life insurance is purchased for the protection it provides against the loss of your income. But, what does that amount to?  Your family was counting on your income to pay the mortgage, save for college, and to maintain a certain life style for a certain period of time.  Will that need continue


The fundamental question of how much life insurance to buy can only be answered when we know what it is exactly we are protecting. While its purpose is to protect your life, only you can determine what that might be worth to your family. Your vision of a “good life” for you and your family doesn’t usually go away after you’re gone. If you are the “golden goose” that lays a certain number of eggs necessary each month to pay the bills and live a good life, it would be important to insure the goose for the value of all of the eggs it would need to lay for a lifetime.

 If it requires $100,000 a year right now to have a good life, how many years would your family count on for that income to continue? 20 years? 30 years? A lifetime?  We often see a personal finance magazine or hear a celebrity financial planning pundit recommend that people have enough life insurance to cover seven to 10 years worth of income. It would seem that they don’t expect for you to be dead for a very long time.

Determining how much life insurance to


One of the most fundamental tenets of financial planning we faithfully apply in our work with our clients is to Plan for the Expected, and Prepare for the Unexpected. Our many years in practice have provided us with continuous reminders that life-unexpected happens with the potential to derail the best laid plans for the expected. So we feel compelled to pass those reminders onto our clients whenever a case arises that illustrates the importance of proper preparation.

A Pension Case Study

Earlier this year, a 57-year old client passed away after an extended battle with cancer. As a long-time employee of a large utility company, he had amassed a fairly decent pension that would have paid him $2,210 a month through a single life annuity; or he and his wife could have received $1,960 a month through a 100% joint and survivor annuity. Alternatively, he was eligible for a lump sum benefit of $442,000 (assuming GATT of 3.28%). As with most pension plans, there were five other options available, however, these three are the more popular.

Had the expected occurred, and he retired as planned, he and his wife would have received the full value


Making investment decisions has never been an exact science, nor is the process the same from one individual to the next. There are many variables that need to be factored, both from the standpoint of your individual situation and in the consideration of specific investments. The objective is to match your needs, priorities, preferences and tolerance for risk with the best investment alternative; not an easy task considering there are literally thousands of investment products from which to choose.  Because it can be both expensive and troublesome if a mistake is made, it is important to exhaust all efforts in avoiding them in the first place. Here are the biggest mistakes people can make with any investment decision, but particularly with annuity investments:

Mistake #1: Not having clearly defined investment objectives

It’s actually the worst mistake you can make with any investment. But, with an annuity, you may have to live with it longer unless you want to pay a hefty surrender fee. Before considering any investment, it is vitally important to know exactly what it is you want to accomplish, including a specific time horizon and an accumulation amount framed in the level of risk


As we age, the odds of incurring an injury or major illness that will prevent us from performing simple daily functions increase substantially. Today, one in three people over the age of 65 will require assisted care of some sort. Past age 75 the odds increase to where one in two will need nursing care. With the average cost of nursing care now surpassing $7000 a month, it’s no wonder that long term care often decimates the savings and assets of the seniors who need it.

While there is a portion of seniors who have amassed the assets to be able to cover long term care, most Americans would use up their savings within a few years.  There is assistance available from the government in the form of Medicare; however, it only provides limited coverage.  When seniors spend all of their assets on long term care, they may qualify for Medicaid, however, it has strict requirements and the quality of care may not be the best.

Long-Term Care Needs

With the odds of needing care so firmly stacked against seniors, long-term care insurance would seem to be a practical solution to protect their assets and