Financial Intel Monthly

Inflation-Fighting TIP

Feb 18, 2019 2:20:16 PM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in CAM Annuity, hr1stop, In Service Withdrawal, Lump Sum, Monarch, Option 1 withdrawal, Pension, The Retirement Group, The Retirement Group LLC, AT&T Pension, benefit commencement date, Best adviser, Workshops, Verizon Workshop

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It's easy to see how inflation affects your daily life. Gas prices are higher. Electric bills are steeper. Wallets are thinner. But what inflation does to your investments isn't always as obvious. Let's say your money is earning 4% and inflation is running between 3% and 4% (its historical average). That means your so-called "real return"--the stated return minus inflation--is only 1% at best. After you subtract any account fees, taxes, and other expenses, you could actually end up with a negative number. What can you do to keep from losing the race against inflation? One way is to buy investments that are designed to keep pace automatically.

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Lump Sum vs. Dollar Cost Averaging: Which is Better?

Feb 15, 2019 9:01:44 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in CAM Annuity, Chevron, EISP, ExxonMobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, hr1stop, In Service Withdrawal, Monarch, Option 1, Retirement, The Retirement Group LLC, 401K, 401k, Age Penalties, benefit commencement date, Verizon Workshop

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Working During Retirement

Jan 28, 2019 9:00:52 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in ESRO, Financial Planning, hr1stop, In Service Withdrawal, Money, Pension, Retirement, Retirement Planning, savings, SSC, The Retirement Group, The Retirement Group LLC, top rated, 401K, 401k, age penalties, AT&T Pension, att workshop, benefit commencement date, Best adviser

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Municipal Bond Basics

Jan 11, 2019 11:48:06 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in bonds, CAM Annuity, Chevron, cryptocurrency, Economic Report, ERB, ExxonMobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, hr1stop, investing, Money, Northrop Grumman, stocks, tax advantage, taxes, 401K, 72T, 72t, benefit commencement date, bitcoin

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Handling Market Volatility

Jan 10, 2019 10:30:31 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in bonds, CAM Annuity, Early Retirement, Economy, financial freedom, Financial Planning, Hewitt, hr1stop, In Service Withdrawal, Interest, investments, Lump Sum, Money, netbenefits, Northrop Grumman, stock market, stocks, 401k, 72T, Age Penalties, allocation, AT&T Pension, benefit commencement date, Best adviser, wallstreet

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Conventional wisdom says that what goes up must come down. But even if you view market volatility as a normal occurrence, it can be tough to handle when your money is at stake. Though there's no foolproof way to handle the ups and downs of the stock market, the following common-sense tips can help.

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Trusteed IRAs

Aug 22, 2016 8:19:40 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in EISP, ExxonMobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, hr1stop, In Service Withdrawal, netbenefits, Option 1 Withdrawal, Retirement, The Retirement Group LLC, Verizon, Age Penalties, att workshop, benefit commencement date, benefits help, Best adviser, Workshops

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Setting and Targeting Investment Goals

Aug 5, 2016 8:07:17 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in CAM Annuity, EIPP, ERB, Hewitt, hr1stop, Lump Sum, Monarch, Northrop Grumman, Option 1, Pension Options, Retirement, Specialist, The Retirement Group LLC, top rated, 72t, access.att, att workshop, Benefit Commencement Date, Best adviser, Verizon Seminar

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Go out into your yard and dig a big hole. Every month, throw $50 into it, but don't take any money out until you're ready to buy a house, send your child to college, or retire. It sounds a little crazy, doesn't it? But that's what investing without setting clear-cut goals is like. If you're lucky, you may end up with enough money to meet your needs, but you have no way to know for sure.

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Medical Professionals: A Prescription for Your Financial Health

Jul 22, 2016 9:27:54 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in ERB, ESRO, Exxon Mobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, hr1stop, NGC, Northrop Grumman, Option 1, Pension, access.att, ATT, att workshop, benefit commencement date

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The demands on medical practitioners today can seem overwhelming. It's no secret that health-care delivery is changing, and those changes are reflected in the financial issues that health-care professionals face every day. You must continually educate yourself about new research in your chosen specialty, stay current on the latest technology that is transforming health care, and pay attention to business considerations, including ever-changing state and federal insurance regulations.
Like many, you may have transitioned from medical school and residency to being on your own with little formal preparation for the substantial financial issues you now face. Even the day-to-day concerns that affect most people--paying college tuition bills or student loans, planning for retirement, buying a home, insuring yourself and your business--may be complicated by the challenges and rewards of a medical practice. It's no wonder that many medical practitioners look forward to the day when they can relax and enjoy the fruits of their labors.
Unfortunately, substantial demands on your time can make it difficult for you to accurately evaluate your financial plan, or monitor changes that can affect it. That's especially true given ongoing health care reform efforts that will affect the future of the industry as a whole. Just as patients need periodic checkups, you may need to work with a financial professional to make sure your finances receive the proper care.
Maximizing your personal assets
Much like medicine, the field of finance has been the subject of much scientific research and data, and should be approached with the same level of discipline and thoughtfulness. Making the most of your earning years requires a plan for addressing the following issues.
Retirement
Your years of advanced training and perhaps the additional costs of launching and building a practice may have put you behind your peers outside the health-care field by a decade or more in starting to save and invest for retirement. You may have found yourself struggling with debt from years of college, internship, and residency; later, there's the ongoing juggling act between making mortgage payments, caring for your parents, paying for weddings and tuition for your children, and maybe trying to squeeze in a vacation here and there. Because starting to save early is such a powerful ally when it comes to building a nest egg, you may face a real challenge in assuring your own retirement. A solid financial plan can help.
Investments
Getting a late start on saving for retirement can create other problems. For example, you might be tempted to try to make up for lost time by making investment choices that carry an inappropriate level or type of risk for you. Speculating with money you will need in the next year or two could leave you short when you need that money. And once your earnings improve, you may be tempted to overspend on luxuries you were denied during the lean years. One of the benefits of a long-range financial plan is that it can help you protect your assets--and your future--from inappropriate choices.
Tuition
Many medical professionals not only must pay off student loans, but also have a strong desire to help their children with college costs, precisely because they began their own careers saddled with large debts.
Tax considerations
Once the lean years are behind you, your success means you probably need to pay more attention to tax-aware investing strategies that help you keep more of what you earn.
Using preventive care
The nature of your profession requires that you pay special attention to making sure you are protected both personally and professionally from the financial consequences of legal action, a medical emergency of your own, and business difficulties. Having a well-defined protection plan can give you confidence that you can practice your chosen profession without putting your family or future in jeopardy.
Liability insurance
Medical professionals are caught financially between rising premiums for malpractice insurance and fixed reimbursements from managed-care programs, and you may find yourself evaluating a variety of approaches to providing that protection. Some physicians also carry insurance that protects them against unintentional billing errors or omissions. Remember that in addition to potential malpractice claims, you also face the same potential liabilities as other business owners. You might consider an umbrella policy as well as coverage that protects you against business-related exposures such as fire, theft, employee dishonesty, or business interruption.
Disability insurance
Your income depends on your ability to function, especially if you're a solo practitioner, and you may have fixed overhead costs that would need to be covered if your ability to work were impaired. One choice you'll face is how early in your career to purchase disability insurance. Age plays a role in determining premiums, and you may qualify for lower premiums if you are relatively young. When evaluating disability income policies, medical professionals should pay special attention to how the policy defines disability. Look for a liberal definition such as "own occupation," which can help ensure that you're covered in case you can't practice in your chosen specialty.
To protect your business if you become disabled, consider business overhead expense insurance that will cover routine expenses such as payroll, utilities, and equipment rental. An insurance professional can help evaluate your needs.
Practice management and business planning
Is a group practice more advantageous than operating solo, taking in a junior colleague, or working for a managed-care network? If you have an independent practice, should you own or rent your office space? What are the pros and cons of taking over an existing practice compared to starting one from scratch? If you're part of a group practice, is the practice structured financially to accommodate the needs of all partners? Does running a "concierge" or retainer practice appeal to you? If you're considering expansion, how should you finance it?
Questions like these are rarely simple and should be done in the context of an overall financial plan that takes into account both your personal and professional goals.
Many physicians have created processes and products for their own practices, and have then licensed their creations to a corporation. If you are among them, you may need help with legal and financial concerns related to patents, royalties, and the like. And if you have your own practice, you may find that cash flow management, maximizing return on working capital, hiring and managing employees, and financing equipment purchases and maintenance become increasingly complex issues as your practice develops.
Practice valuation
You may have to make tradeoffs between maximizing current income from your practice and maximizing its value as an asset for eventual sale. Also, timing the sale of a practice and minimizing taxes on its proceeds can be complex. If you're planning a business succession, or considering changing practices or even careers, you might benefit from help with evaluating the financial consequences of those decisions.
Estate planning
Estate planning, which can both minimize taxes and further your personal and philanthropic goals, probably will become important to you at some point. Options you might consider include:

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Comparing Bond Yields

Jun 21, 2016 8:32:34 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in CAM Annuity, Early Retirement, Exxon Mobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, hr1stop, Northrop Grumman, Option 1, Option 1 withdrawal, resources.hewitt, 401k, Age Penalties, AT&T 401K, AT&T seminar, Verizon Workshop

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Coupon Rates and Current Yield

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Funding Your Future with a Fixed Annuity

Sep 27, 2013 11:57:56 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in CAM Annuity, Early Retirement, ExxonMobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, hr1stop, Lump Sum, netbenefits, Option 1 withdrawal, Pension, Retirement Planning, Texas Instrument, The Retirement Group, The Retirement Group John Jastremski, The Retirement Group LLC, Verizon, 401K, 401k, 72t, age penalties, Alex Mele, AT&T 401K, AT&T Pension, AT&T seminar, att workshop, benefit commencement date, Best adviser

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Funding Your Future with a Fixed Annuity
A fixed annuity is a contract between you and an annuity issuer, usually an insurance company. In its simplest form, you pay money to the annuity issuer; the issuer invests the funds and pays the principal and its earnings back to you or to your named beneficiary. What's fixed about a fixed annuity? The issuer guarantees (subject to its claims-paying ability) a minimum rate of interest on your investment and a fixed benefit amount if you elect to annuitize.When is an annuity appropriate?

Annuity contributions are made with after-tax dollars and are not tax deductible. That's why it's often advisable to fund other retirement plans first. However, if you've already contributed the maximum allowable amount to other plans and want to save more toward your retirement, an annuity can be an excellent choice. There's no limit to how much you can invest in an annuity, and the funds grow tax deferred until you begin taking distributions.

Once you begin withdrawing from your annuity, you'll pay taxes (at your regular income tax rate) only on the earnings, since your contributions to principal were made with after-tax dollars. Like a qualified retirement plan, a 10% tax penalty may be imposed if you withdraw from an annuity before age 59½.

Annuities are designed to be very-long-term investment vehicles. In most cases, if you take a withdrawal, including a lump-sum distribution of your annuity funds within the first few years after purchasing your annuity, you may be subject to surrender charges imposed by the issuer. However, many companies allow options for withdrawals or distributions without incurring a charge. As long as you're sure you won't need the money until at least age 59½ and you understand the costs (including fees) involved, an annuity is worth considering.

Two distinct phases to an annuity

There are two distinct phases to an annuity contract: the accumulation phase and the distribution phase.

In the accumulation phase, you're putting money into the annuity. You can choose to pay your premiums in one lump sum, or you can make a series of payments over time. These payments can be of equal amounts made at equal intervals, or of variable amounts at irregular intervals, depending on the terms of the contract.

Annuities may be either immediate or deferred; the terms simply refer to when the distribution phase begins. Immediate annuities are typically purchased with a single payment and the distribution phase usually begins within a year of the purchase. While deferred annuities may be purchased with a single lump sum premium payment, they are most often purchased with a series of periodic payments. The distribution period is deferred until some time in the future.

In the distribution phase, you begin taking money out of the annuity. You may withdraw some or all of the money in lump sums, or you may annuitize. Subject to the claims-paying ability of the issuer, annuitization provides a guaranteed income stream for either a specified period or for life.

Why buy an annuity?

  • To provide income to supplement what you receive from Social Security, pension plans, and other employer-sponsored retirement plans.
  • To create a lifetime income stream.
  • To maintain financial independence. For example, you can use annuity funds to pay for long-term care expenses and stay in your own home, rather than rely on your children for care.
  • To invest for any specific purpose or long-term goal, such as providing a legacy for your heirs or making a charitable gift.
  • To grow funds on a tax-deferred basis.

How a Fixed Deferred Annuity Works

  1. In the accumulation phase, you (the annuity owner) send your premium payment(s) (all at once or over time) to the annuity issuer. These payments are made with after-tax funds, and you may invest an unlimited amount.
  2. The annuity issuer places your funds in its general account.* Your annuity contract specifies how your principal will be returned as well as what rate(s) of interest you'll earn during the accumulation phase. Your contract will also state what minimum interest rate applies.**
  3. The compounding interest on your annuity accumulates tax deferred. You won't be taxed on these earnings until funds are withdrawn or distributed.
  4. The issuer may collect fees to manage your annuity account. You may also have to pay the issuer a surrender fee if you withdraw money in the early years of your annuity.
  5. Your annuity contract may contain a guaranteed** death benefit or other provisions for a payout upon the death of the annuitant. (The annuitant provides the measuring life used to determine the amount of the payments if the annuity is annuitized. As the annuity owner, you're most often also the annuitant, although you don't have to be.)
  6. If you make a withdrawal from your deferred annuity before you reach age 59½, you'll not only have to pay tax (at your ordinary income tax rate) on the earnings portion of the withdrawal, but you may also have to pay a 10 percent premature distribution tax, unless an exception applies.
  7. After age 59½, you may make withdrawals from your annuity without incurring any premature distribution tax. Since annuities have no minimum distribution requirements, you don't have to make any withdrawals. You can let the account grow tax deferred for an indefinite period. However, your annuity contract may specifiy an age at which you must begin taking income payments.
  8. To obtain a guaranteed** fixed income stream for life or for a certain number of years, you could annuitize which means exchanging the annuity's cash value for a series of periodic income payments. The amount of these payments will depend on a number of factors including the cash value of your account at the time of annuitization, the age(s) and gender(s) of the annuitant(s), and the payout option chosen. Usually, you can't change the payments once you've begun receiving them.
  9. You'll have to pay taxes (at your ordinary income tax rate) on the earnings portion of any withdrawals or annuitization payments you receive.

* These funds are invested as part of the general assets of the issuer and are therefore subject to the claims of its creditors.

** All guarantees are subject to the claims-paying ability of the issuing company.

This material was prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication, and does not necessarily represent the views of John Jastremski, Jeremy Keating, Erik J Larsen, Frank Esposito, Patrick Ray, Robert Welsch, Michael Reese, Philip Catalan, Brent Wolf, Andy Starostecki and The Retirement Group or FSC Financial Corp. This information should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representatives nor Broker/Dealer gives tax or legal advice. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. If other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information or call 800-900-5867.The Retirement Group is not affiliated with nor endorsed by fidelity.com, netbenefits.fidelity.com, hewitt.com, resources.hewitt.com, access.att.com, ING Retirement, AT&T, Qwest, Chevron, Hughes, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, ExxonMobil, Glaxosmithkline, Merck, Pfizer, Verizon, Bank of America, Alcatel-Lucent or by your employer. We are an independent financial advisory group that specializes in transition planning and lump sum distribution. Please call our office at 800-900-5867 if you have additional questions or need help in the retirement planning process.

John Jastremski is a Representative with FSC Securities and may be reached at www.theretirementgroup.com.

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Securities offered through FSC Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through The Retirement Group, LLC. a registered investment advisor not affiliated with FSC Securities Corporation.
Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2011.
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