Is Your Money Slipping Through the Cracks?

Around the holidays, money is one of the largest topics on anyone’s mind.  Whether you’re lamenting the sum total of your holiday gift expenses or outlining your budget for 2013, end of the year finances are an important subject.  I’m no stranger to these money concerns, as I’ve built a business on helping clients conquer their money fears and learn to get the most out of their investments.

As a Financial Advisor, I’m responsible for a lot of big-ticket financial worries.  People come into my office looking for long term investing solutions, but the long term is only part of retirement planning.  It’s important to look at the places in your life where money could be slipping through the cracks.  Money that could help boost your retirement. Here are a just a few things that might be slowing stealing your hard earned income:

  • Mutual funds can seem like a great investment to aid your retirement, but the fees associated with managing mutual funds can eat away a great deal of your returns. Investment advisory fees, 12b-1 distribution fees, and administrative costs can really add up. So check your expense ratios on Morningstar or use the FINRA Fund Analyzer. If they’re pushing 1.5% or 2%, it may be time to reevaluate your investment.
  • Planning for retirement can take so much thought and effort that people often overlook the biggest place they can save money every year: taxes. I’m not talking about the big income tax fight going on right now, but rather the “stealth taxes” that are sneaking by while the focus is directed elsewhere. Medicare payroll tax and the taxation of Social Security are bad enough, but the biggest hit will come from the new 3.8% Medicare tax on investment income. With all these changes happening, it’s time to take a good hard look at your taxes and investments to make sure you’re not losing out on thousands of dollars because of these silent money killers.
  • If you have cash in your money-market fund then you’re probably only earning a measly 0.01%.  This means for every $10,000 you have in savings, you’re only getting $100 in returns.  Savings accounts aren’t much better with the best rates not even reaching 1%. With inflation increasing at an average of 2.42% a year over the last decade, leaving money in these accounts is a recipe for money loss.

Staying aware of where your money is and how you’re spending it can shield you from these costs.  Don’t be complacent with your savings, and always make sure you’re staying on top of what is the best option instead of what is most convenient.  Let me help advise you in all of your investment decisions. The biggest gift I can give my clients is the financial knowledge necessary to be the most savvy consumer and investor in the marketplace.  Happy Holidays!

Make sure you have all the facts necessary to make the right decision with your financial future by calling us today! Speak with us now at 877-476-5051, email Warren at warren@warrenelkin.com, or go to www.warrenelkin.com to learn more about Warren Elkin and his unique process to make sure your financial decisions are made in your best interest.

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Fewer Stocks: The Secret to Retirement Success?

I look at an online issue of USA Today, the Money section shows stocks’ performances and words like “plunge,” “slump” and “slide.” Not what you want to see when it’s your money in the market especially if you are about to walk away from a steady paycheck and live solely on your savings.

We all want our retirement funds to grow, but without stress and sleepless nights wondering if they’ll topple. We’ve seen in recent years that investing in the stock market can feel like rolling the dice in Vegas. It’s a gamble that most people can’t afford to take.

So where should you invest your money? This week, I spotted an article on smartmoney.com that says annuities should be considered by middle-income households and those without traditional pension plans. In the article, Sri Reddy, a senior vice president at Prudential Retirement, says that time and energy should be spent educating workers about how much they need to save for retirement and that annuities can provide “protection against investment losses and guarantees the percent and total amount a person can withdraw from the annuity.”

So comparing the return from the stock market to an annuity is like comparing a gamble to a guarantee.

An annuity acts like a traditional pension plan, but it’s an individual, not a company, that provides the funding to make future payments possible. The money contributed is invested by a government-regulated insurance company. But no matter how it performs, the insurance company is under a binding, legal contract to pay the pre-agreed income at the schedule agreed upon under the contract.

There are many annuities out there, so choosing the right one for you is crucial. I’d be happy to give you advice garnered from my 30-plus years of experience and countless satisfied clients. You can reach me at 877-476-5051 and put your fears to rest knowing that your financial future is guaranteed, safe and secure.