Educating Heirs About Beneficiary Designations

The types of benefits or accounts that might be transferred by beneficiary designation would include (but are not limited to):

    • Employer-provided life insurance
    • Individual life insurance
    • Annuities
    • Employer-provided retirement benefits
    • IRAs or Roth IRAs
    • Payable-at-death financial accounts

This could be as simple as indicating that a payable-at-death financial account can be transferred to the heir with the presentation of a death certificate. Or, in the case of life insurance, that the benefit can be received by filling out a claim form and mailing it back to the company with a death certificate.

Life insurance can provide a variety of settlement options, such as a lump-sum payment, life annuity or period certain annuity. In addition, qualified retirement accounts or nonqualified annuities provide choices with respect to the timing of the receipt and form of benefits. These choices could have a dramatic impact on the financial security of the beneficiary and the federal income tax liability. Additionally, the beneficiary of an IRA or other qualified retirement might have to deal with required minimum distributions.

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Extra Tip:

Get free reads. Thousands of e-books can be downloaded for free to your Kindle, iPad, smartphone or other device through project Gutenberg or, if you have a library card, via OverDrive.

Six Questions

John Wooden, UCLA basketball coach, led his team to 10 NCAA championships in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

When they asked him how he was so successful without having superstars on his team, he replied: After teaching the boys the fundamentals he asked them to answer 2 questions each night before putting their heads on their pillow. If they could answer “yes” to both of them, then, they would be successful on the court and in life.

    (1) Did I do what was right today?
    (2) Did I do my best today?

Carrying forward on the coach here are some other questions to ask yourself daily.

Did I do my best to:

    Set clear goals?
    Make progress toward goal achievement?
    Be happy?
    Find meaning?
    Build positive relationships?
    Be fully engaged?

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Extra Tip:

Don’t dump that old iPhone. Sell it. First generation iPhones that sold for $599 in 2007 are now collectibles and, if in mint condition, worth big bucks. The recent asking price on eBay for an 8GB iPhone in its original packaging was $10,000.

Stock Market Signal

What will cause this next stock market major correction? In 20-20 hindsight the market always will tell you in advance what will happen. Markets always move from an overpriced position to an underpriced position. Alan Greenspan, in early 1998, shouted “Irrational Exuberance” to describe the market. Two years later the market dropped almost 50%. In 2007 “no doc” home loans peaked which led to the 40% market drop in 2008.

Recently, this market has been fueled by a non sustainable “binge drinking” liquidity flood. Some of the signals of a pending market correction are: (1) The Fed printing money and buying back bonds while greatly expanding their balance sheet. (2) Money has to find a home, either, into to money market accounts (no rate of return), or, real estate (near impossible to get a mortgage), or into the stock market (easiest route). It has been going into the market. (3) Companies are having a difficult time making a profit so they are fictitiously boosting earnings by buying back their own stocks. This puts money back into people’s hands, so, they then buy more stock. (4) The price people are paying for a company’s earnings is not sustainable. As James Donald, who played the doctor in “Bridge on the River Kwai” ended the movie with this line… “Madness, madness… madness!” This is what I see now in the market is madness. True, over the long run the market will do fine, but watch out below. Here are some additional factors for you to consider of why the market is overpriced.

There is a 50% decline in bearish sentiment which should all but guarantee a major market top. In fact, history in the form of a 40-year cycle, suggests a major market top is at hand. A 48% retracement of the advance from 1974-2015 would put the Dow at the 10,000 level by 2017, 2018, or 2019. This would match the 40-year retracement percentage for the 1973-74 bear market and be close to the 41% retracement for the 1937-42 bear market. The good news is that this would lay the groundwork for the next super-bull market, which could top out in the area of 150,000 on the Dow.

Please get into a hedged position, or, structure your investments that link to the market instead of being in the market. That is, when the markets rise you obtain the gain, when the markets crater… you do not lose a penny.

Contact us if you need assistance.

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Extra Tip:

Get free reads. Thousands of e-books can be downloaded for free to your Kindle, iPad, smartphone or other device through Project Gutenberg or, if you have a library card, via OverDrive.

New Diagnosis 6 Parts

Part Six

People are living longer. This has been due to breakthroughs in medicine. In this series I will present just six (6) new revolutionary changes in medicine. If it is not for you, then, possibly a family member, coworker or friend could benefit. Pass it on…

6. Your personal ECG

AliveCor Heart Monitor (about $75), ECG Check by Cardiac Designs (about $129) and similar monitors use your smartphone to record an accu¬rate electrocardiogram (ECG) and send it to your doctor. You simply attach a thin device with built-in sensors onto the back of your phone and download a free app. Traditional, strap-on heart monitors have been around for decades, but, says Timothy Dutta, M.D., of Weill Cornell Medical College, “Murphy’s Law says that people will wear a monitor 24/7 for several weeks, and experience no symptoms. Once they take it off, they do.” With a smart¬phone handy, you can whip it out at the first sign of light-headedness or heart palpitations and simply rest your fingers on the sensors.

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Extra Tip:

Budget Better. Free online tools like Mint and Level Money help you better track your spending, save money and figure out where you can make cuts.

Family Checklist

In a previous blog I wrote about Sally Balch Hurme’s ABA/AARP Checklist for Family Survivors. This was a to do list when someone dies.
Recently the second book in the “Checklist” series has been published, Checklist for my Family: A Guide to my History, Financial Plans, and Final Wishes. This book is for estate planning. You do not have to be “old” for this to benefit you and your family. This will lighten the load for all your survivors.

Unlike the first book all of the checklists from the second book can be downloaded for free from the ABA. The website is at www.ambar.org/AARPforms.

Buy the book anyway. For the $16 price the narratives to each chapter are priceless. Examples: How to get a certified copy of your birth or marriage certificate; Not sure about your Social Security Benefits; How to confirm if your savings are covered by FDIC insurance; Medical Power of Attorney mistakes and much more. One other helpful book (now out of print, but you can get used copies) is At your Fingertips! A Household Filing System that Works for you.

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Extra Tip:

Don’t get stuck picking up the tab. When friends are short of cash, free payment services such as Square Cash and Google Wallet allow them to move money from their account to yours as easily as sending an email.