Friday, March 29, 2013

10 Reasons We Fail on Wall Street and how to fix it!

10 Reasons We Fail on Wall Street and how to fix it!
We earn 2.56% instead of 10-12% on investments
We end up with $170,128 in retirement, not $500,000
We pay more taxes than most wealthy people
We buy 'safe' investments and lose money
You could have earned 15.3% last year, tax-FREE. That’s the equivalent of 23.3% taxable. Tax-FREE accumulation provides an extra 25% to your investment total. You never pay taxes—no federal, state, capital gains or dividend taxes. You don’t have to fail anymore.

Is the Allstate 'reducing-deductible' policy for you?
You may have seen a TV message about a policy that reduces your deductible over time.  So after four years of accident-free driving, you can end up with a zero deductible. However, you should know you pay more for that benefit. And remember, you must have a claim to “win” your “zero deductible.” Also, this does not guarantee your rates won’t go up too. Consider the policy with a higher deductible and a lower price for years. For instance, most insurers offer many discounts up front AND the benefit of a 25% premium discount at 10 years of safe driving. You can save a lot more than the $500 with discounts. You have to have an accident to save with Allstate. Learn all the ‘tricks of the trade’ of discounts:

Is a nonstandard car insurance policy for you?
This kind of coverage is for special circumstances like your little-driven ‘57 Chevy or really bad drivers. You pay less and you get less. It has limited coverage for repairs, drivers, liability in accidents, etc. Compare policy fine print before you smile at the low premium:

Allstate to partner with Wal-Mart stores in IL
Online car-insurance retailer Esurance (Allstate) is launching a pilot program to highlight coverage within 150 Illinois Wal-Mart stores via Kiosks. You buy coverage online or by phone, not in the store. Instead, compare prices for all the 16 discounts mentioned by our Insider to buy only what you need and save:

Are you paying too much for coverage?’s annual study of car insurance rates in each state shows who’s paying the biggest bills. Overall, when averages of all vehicles are considered. Louisiana and Michigan are the most expensive places to buy auto insurance. Maine residents enjoy the lowest average annual rates. National average - $1,510. Rates are based on insurance for a single 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work each day, with policy limits of 100/300/50 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. The hypothetical driver has a clean record and good credit. The rate includes uninsured motorist coverage. Actual rates will depend on individual driver factors. LA has many damage lawsuits. MI has a guarantee of unlimited, lifetime personal injury protection (PIP) benefits for treatment of injuries from a car accident. The difference between the most expensive and least is $2,200 a year. Shop and compare.

Will you outlive your money or your health?
One out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90. Yet, for 87 percent of our country's middle-income Americans age 55 and older, the idea of one's own longevity is often not contemplated or discussed, according to a new study. There are two primary concerns of respondents: declining health associated with age, and the ability to create a sustainable retirement income that may need to last 20 years or more. Consider the options now while you can do something about it:

Study shows why many investors shun advisors
When asked why they chose to direct their own financial future, only 13% cited a bad experience with an advisor and only 12% said they couldn’t afford to pay an advisor. So why don’t people use advisors? The two leading reasons were “I am more comfortable handling my retirement plan on my own” (57%) and “I don’t need professional advice to plan my retirement” (38%); as the report notes, these responses are really two sides of the same coin. Members also know that they are more likely to stick to the plan they make themselves:

10 most overpaid jobs
According to this industry news service, your financial advisor is the most overpaid occupation. Product pushers and fast talking salespeople promise the world and have it delivered to themselves. Advisors are not needed anymore, investors agree.

Investors going direct and saving more
Lack of trust in traditional advisory firms at least partly explains the growth in the direct channel, according to a new study. Only 27% of respondents said they believed that financial firms were “looking out for their best interests,” and 36% said they did not believe that to be the case. “Direct providers were largely unscathed by the reputation issues facing their advisory counterparts during the market downturn,” said Mr. Smith, director.  “There's only so many times a firm can pay a $100 million fine before people start questioning their integrity.”

Which insurers offer annuities?
Almost every one offers some product. Here are the largest by face amount. Agents may be given extra incentives to sell annuities so you must shop for the best deal for YOU. Most annuities are expensive CDs so there are better alternatives to solve your needs. We help you decide:

Is your pension underfunded?  Is it because your company hides money overseas?
The difference between assets and expected liabilities of the 100 largest U.S. corporate pension plans ballooned to $388.8 billion last year. Nearly 80% of the private pension plans covered by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. are underfunded. Public pension funds are underfunded by at least $1 trillion, according to a report by the State Budget Crisis Task ForceOnly 18 defined benefit pension plans offered by the 500 largest companies are fully funded. Yet companies are stashing more cash abroad as stockpiles hit record $1.45T.U.S. firms keep 58% of their cash, or $840 billion, overseas. Companies are hording cash overseas to avoid paying taxes. And perhaps to avoid paying the pensions they promised.

Study finds Fewer Young Adults without Health Insurance
Uninsurance rates across America’s young adults – one of chronically uninsured groups in the US – dropped without precedent from 33.9% to 27.9% in just one year.  The findings as well as a background material on the recent trend can be found at  “Measured by the adoption rate across young Americans we could count ‘Obamacare’ among the most popular laws in the US History. But they should think twice if they should. It can really pay off for all involved to do the math before embarking on a new trend.” Use every discount available:

Vermont first to offer insurance exchange policies
Vermont will be the first state to see health insurers announce proposed rates that will be offered under the health insurance exchange being set up to comply with the federal health overhaul.

SCAMS           “Deficits don’t matter” GOP grandfather, Dick Cheney, 2002

“Entitlements”—our Social Security and Medicare money—did not produce the deficits. Two tax cuts for the rich and the Chaney/Bush wars cost $3.7 Trillion and counting.

Insurers still holding life benefits are forced to find beneficiaries
Vermont House has passed a bill requiring life insurance companies to make a good faith effort to locate beneficiaries after a policy holder dies. House Speaker Shap Smith says that in too many cases, insurance companies make little or no effort to track down survivors and thereby avoid paying on a policy. Wow. What is the purpose of life insurance if not to help survivors?
The bill awaits Senate action. It would require life insurance companies to maintain and monitor a "Death Master File," a program that matches a person on the file and the social security number, name, or date of birth of an insured annuity owner.

We still have not cleared the mortgage mess
The same structure that led to the Great Recession is still in place. Taxpayers are still paying the $137 BILLION in losses and the legal bills and retirement packets of those that stood by and watched it happen. Taxpayers spent $11 million last year on medical costs for 1,392 Fannie and Freddie retirees. And from September 2008 through 2012, taxpayers also spent $114 million for legal bills racked up by former executives and directors testifying in lawsuits relating to the accounting scandals or financial crisis inquiries. Executives claim we must by their old contracts but most businesses being bailed out cancel their old contracts, as any union person can testify.

Who owns your account now?
Universal Health Care, St. Pete, FL insolvent.

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042

Friday, March 22, 2013

Why pay more taxes than the wealthy do?

Zero Tax Account: Why Pay More Taxes than the Wealthy Do?
What is your fair share? The wealthy pay as little as 13%. 2/3 of corporations pay NOTHING even though the law says they pay 35%. We are paying for US troops in 150 countries so the countries don’t have to. We are still stockpiling missiles and fighters at $80 Billions. We have already spent $3.7 Trillion on these two wars we did not have the money for.  
Now they want to cut our Social Security and Medicare account benefits.
Is it time you started paying your fair share—ZERO tax on all your future investment earnings? With the cuts, you shouldn't pay taxes too. Open your legal account today:

Are you paying more tax than Apple, Google, Facebook?
Yes, you probably are. They pay under 10% using legal tax avoidance tactics you can’t use. Over a four years period from 2008 to 2011, 26 companies managed to avoid paying any American income taxes, even though they earned $ billions during that time, according to research done by Citizens for Tax Justice.

IRS has $917 million in unclaimed 2009 tax refunds
You would think they could give me back my payroll tax hike with all this extra money sitting around. What about 2010 and 2011 refunds?
Also there's currently more than $58 billion in unclaimed money floating around in the form of abandoned bank accounts, stock holdings, insurance payouts and pension benefits. The states have most of that money and they cry about no money too.

Is the IRS cutting audits like the White House is cutting visits?
You bet.
However the IRS computer searches out mismatches in various categories. See if you could be making it easier for them to find you.

Drinking may cost more than your drink
The price of car insurance for a Florida driver will almost double the first year after a driving under the influence conviction and will go up an average of $5,525 over seven years, according to a new study. Just in the first year, Floridians' insurance will jump 86 percent on average after a DUI conviction, with premiums spiraling to $3,072 a year, from $1,650, according to an insurance comparison website. Shopping may help you lower your premium:

US lags other countries in average old age …. due to gun play!
 Life expectancy in the United States is lower than in nearly every other developed country. "We die more at younger ages," says Jessica Y. Ho, whose study of the gap in mortality for those under age 50 was published this month in Health Affairs. For men, those younger deaths accounted for 67 percent of the shortfall in expectancy compared with an average of 16 other high-income nations. For women, it was 41 percent. For men, nearly a fifth of the excess mortality was due to homicide. Transportation injuries, mainly car crashes, was close behind, followed by other injuries -- particularly drug overdoses. Perinatal mortality, such as pregnancy complications and birth trauma, accounted for 13 percent, cardiovascular diseases made up 8 percent, and other chronic conditions, 10 percent. Also contributing: suicide (4 percent), HIV (2 percent), and other communicable diseases (2 percent). Mortality per miles driven is no higher here than in 15 other wealthy countries. Americans simply drive more. Americans who made it through their younger years arrived at old age very, very healthy.

Will teachers help students understand using money?
The new financial literacy standards establish benchmarks for what kids should know by the end of grades 4, 8, and 12. They are broken into six personal finance categories:
  • Earning income This includes collecting rent, stock dividends and interest on bonds. It also includes a discussion of the labor market and how education may lead to higher wages.
  • Buying goods and services This includes planning, comparing, budgeting and making choices.
  • Saving This includes near- and long-term goals and how time, interest rates and inflation affect savings.
  • Using credit This includes borrowing options and how credit history helps determine availability of credit and the rate of interest that you pay.
  • Investing This includes risk, rates of return and diversification.
  • Protecting and insuring This includes potential loss of health, assets, income and identity, and how behavior affects the cost of insurance.
    Read more:

USAA, State Farm Top in Customer Experience
Temkin Experience Ratings includes 14 insurance carriers. It evaluates three areas of customer experience:functional (can customers do what they want to do), accessible (how easy it is to work with the company), and emotional (how consumers feel about their interactions). 21st Century and Liberty Mutual were the lowest rated insurers. The Hartford and 21st Century had the largest decline from 2012, losing seven percentage points.

Do women know more about car insurance than men?
One survey says, “yes” but both know very little about their coverage.

Does your advisor get to keep more of your fees?
Advisers with Raymond James Financial Services who have at least $100 million in discretionary assets under management can choose to retain 100% of their advisory fees and pay a quarterly fee based on assets under management, instead of the traditional payout on fee revenues they produce. Raymond James will charge six basis points 0.06% on the first $100 million under management, three basis points on the next $100 million,one basis point (0.01%) on assets between $200 million and $300 million, and nothing after that, for a maximum of $100,000 per year.
So now we know what it really costs to manage your funds.
Vanguard has fees as low as 0.05% so we can skip the advisor fees of 200 basis points.

Are you in the crossfire of the ETF price wars?
Fidelity allows advisors to trade 65 iShares exchange-traded funds without paying a commission on the Fidelity platform, up from 30. However, in offering the 65, Fido took away the 10 most used by advisors. Another beef is a $7.95-per-trade exit fee Fidelity will charge investors who sell the commission-free ETFs within 30 days of buying them. For advisers, the fee kicks in if an ETF is sold within 60 days. When it says 'FREE' you must look at the mouse print for other fees to make up for it.

Young investors MORE wary of advisors, survey says
“Surprisingly, the millennial generation has emerged from two boom-and-bust cycles even more conservative about investing and more skeptical of financial advice than the generations that were hit hardest by the market,” said Alex Pigliucci, global managing director of Accenture Wealth and Asset Management Services.
“Generation D,” a swath of investors 75 million strong that cuts across so-called millennials, Generation Xers and the baby boomers, poses a “a fundamental challenge” for advisors who want a piece of what has often been called the largest wealth transfer in history, Pigliucci said.
The internet has made investing directly more likely:

How was your advisor trained?
Advisors are trained to make sales to you. You are sold what their firm has to sell when you seek help from your banker, broker, agent or advisor. Salespeople are required by their employers to follow the rules. Sell this, Say that, Do these things. Choices are gone. Their employer wants everyone to fit the mold—for the firm profit and protection. Read how they are trained:

Largest pension fund finds advisors are just not worth the expense?
In the latest sign of the apocalypse for active management, the largest pension fund in the United States is mulling a move to an all-passive portfolio. The California Public Employees Retirement System's investment committee is evaluating whether the fees it pays its active managers are worth it or if paying less fees for passive management will lead to better long-term results. Experts say that at any given time, half the managers are ahead of the market and half are behind. Net result is the average less the fees. Members have already discovered this trend:

What does your retirement budget look like? ACT NOW
57% of U.S. workers have less than $25,000 in total household savings and investments, excluding their homes.  28% said they have no confidence that they will have enough money to retire in comfort, the highest level in the 23-year history of the EBRI study. Only 66% report having any retirement savings, compared to 75%  of workers in 2009.
Many workers (41%) named cost of living and day-to-day expenses as their top reason for not contributing more to their employer’s retirement plans. Only 46% said they have calculated what they would need to save in order to live comfortably in retirement, EBRI says. Average worker incomes have fallen since the 1970s by 7% in real wages. Social Security benefits may last to 2033. “In 2033, incoming revenue and trust fund resources will be insufficient to maintain payment of full benefits,”   . Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, said, referring to Social Security.  “At that point there will only be enough money to cover about  three-fourths of full benefits.”

Big Bang confirmed—the entire universe came from a speck—The First Miracle
New data says the visible portion of the universe was smaller than an atom when, in a split second, it exploded, cooled and expanded faster than the speed of light. The Planck space probe looked back at the afterglow of the Big Bang, and those results have now added about 80 million years to the universe's age, putting it at 13.81 billion years old.
The Second Miracle:
Even Mrs Bachmann was created from that tiny speck: "Let's repeal this failure [ObamaCare] before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens," Bachmann said on the House floor. 
Even Rand Paul who thinks Obama would kill Americans with a drone was created by a Miracle

SCAMS           “Deficits don’t matter” GOP grandfather, Dick Cheney, 2002

“Entitlements”—our Social Security and Medicare money—did not produce the deficits
Chaney/Bush wars cost $3.7 Trillion and counting

Another DANGER sign ignored—taxpayers set to bailout banks again!
U.S. House lawmakers advanced legislation that would ease Dodd-Frank Act derivatives rules and give banks greater ability to trade swaps overseas. It allows trading of almost all types of derivatives by units of banks that hold government-insured deposits. A separate bill would restrict U.S. regulators’ ability to apply rules to overseas transactions.  “It is incredible that less than a week after new JPMorgan Whale hearings detailed how the bank’s London office piled up risk, hid losses, and dodged regulatory oversight, that some House members are again supporting the weakening of derivative safeguards.”

Chase lost $6.2 billion on derivatives but still does not know how
"There's a lot of evidence that they are maybe too big to manage," Sen. Levin said in a press briefing Thursday morning. But "our focus," he said, "is on the danger of derivatives which are not regulated properly." Regulation may not be possible and we may be asked to bail out another disaster.

Big banks cannot be regulated and will cause another bailout—HOW?
The emails presented by the Senate report show that JPMorgan did not follow their own guidelines and limits to control their traders. There is no accountability. Banks can just lie to the regulators and pay a fine if they are caught. Meanwhile they are betting your money in risky ways most regulators don’t even understand. They know we will have to bail them out no matter what happens. No one wants the system to crash. Read and weep.

Investors 'aghast' as Cyprus to siphon cash from retail bank accounts
Levies of up to 12 percent part of bank rescue plan; citizens of divided nation united against scheme. Cyprusvoted down a controversial bank bailout deal.

U.S. Companies Stashing More Cash Abroad As Stockpiles Hit Record $1.45T
U.S. firms keep 58% of their cash, or $840 billion, overseas. Companies are hording cash overseas to avoid paying taxes. They are not using the cash for development, hiring, expansion in the US since it is more profitable to grow in global new markets. Of course they expect US forces to rescue them if their plants or executives are attacked around the world. However, they don’t want to pay their fair share to support USpresence where they are expanding.

Wealthy moving to Puerto Rico—ZERO tax on capital gains
PR’s new tax system allows new residents to pay no local or US federal taxes on capital gains. Hedge fund managers are starting to house hunt in Condado and put their kids in private St. John’s School. We will need to pay for the 23.8% they would have paid here. They will still be protected as US citizens but don’t pay for USmilitary protection. We pay the taxes for them.

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042

Friday, March 15, 2013

Your Investment Edge

Your Investment Edge: A Tax-FREE Growth and Income Account
In these times, you need an Edge to get ahead on investments. Tax-FREE accumulation provides an extra 25% to your investment total. If you earned 15.3% last year, you could have made the equivalent of 23.3%. You never pay taxes—no federal, state, capital gains or dividend taxes.  Start your EDGE today for free.

Why Washington feels free to cut our “entitlements”
Ever wonder how our “representatives” will survive in retirement after all the money they want to take away from hard working Americans. They don’t have to worry since they pay less and receive more than almost any American worker. Plus their health benefits are better than ours. Their retirement package also includes Social Security. Half of them are already millionaires—buying stocks of companies they know will go up because they passed bills making it so. They don't need to worry about benefit cuts. They have $ millions.

Will your long-term care insurance premium go up again?
The cost of a typical U.S. individual long-term care insurance (LTCI) policy increased 20 percent between 2012 and 2013. It increased 16% in 2012. Insurers' LTCI rates vary widely, according to one observer. "For a 55-year-old single policy applicant, the highest-priced policy cost 87 percent more than the comparable lowest-priced policy." There are big variations in benefits also. The insurer may be out of business by the time you need it. Compare alternatives before you commit:  

States profiting from our money
Some states are making money from our rightful assets. Even if you try to claim the assets, they may have been sold and are gone.  In one case, a person bought Apple stock in the 1980s from a broker. The broker must turn them over to the state after a certain time. The state sold the shares for pennies and kept the money. The $20,000 in stock is gone. There is no standard rule when brokers, bankers, other fiduciaries give up our money to the state. According to the SEC, most states declare stocks abandoned in 5 years. If you are a long-term investor, you are at risk unless you do something. Institutions have their own rules about abandonment. Check your stock’s location today. I got no answer when I asked the SEC what we could do about this.

CA turns down Blues increase
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced that the 11.7 percent average rate increase imposed by Blue Shield of California Life and Health Insurance Company is unreasonable.

MN tax filers cautioned about TurboTax
Minnesota Department of Revenue has been advising taxpayers not to use Intuit products, including TurboTax, to file your Minnesota taxes in any form, electronically or on paper. According to the Department of Revenue, Intuit has discovered “multiple issues” with their products affecting 2012 Minnesota tax returns. These problems include errors with property tax refunds, education expenses and political contributions. The Department of Revenue advises taxpayers that these issues could “jeopardize the accuracy of your return or delay your refund.” Tax prep sites listed by the IRS charge nothing for the federal filing. States’ returns can cost $10.

IL wants to cap LTCi rate hikes at 15%??!!!
A bill under consideration in the Illinois legislature would cap long-term care insurance (LTCi) rate hikes at 15 percent annually. An increase of 15% a year would double the annual premium in 5 FIVE years. $2,000 at age 55 would mean $4,000 at age 60 and $8,000 by age 65. There are alternatives:

Kaiser scores top marks from healthy
For the sixth consecutive year, Kaiser Permanente ranked highest in customer satisfaction for health insurance among California policyholders.

Most families overpay for less coverage 
Survey of 600 independent agents finds most families insured by mass-market carriers remain vulnerable to severe financial loss and overlook discounts. Families often do not carry enough liability coverage in a variety of forms. Too often, their homes and contents are not adequately protected. Meanwhile, these families also overlook many savings opportunities, such as higher deductibles and package discounts. By taking advantage of these savings opportunities and strengthening coverage against severe loss, families can often achievemore effective protection without a significant increase in premiums. Pay less for more protection using discounts and smart choices:

Actual paper stocks and bonds going digital
The trade organization representing hundreds of securities firms, banks and asset managers in the U.S.supports the push for dematerialization. (Mr Spock says that means NO MORE HARD COPY PAPER securities.) Even restricted securities would become entries on a statement. That would be your only proof you own any stock, bond, shares, etc. The change will take years. The required holding time for the destruction of non-transferable securities (bankrupt or insolvent) will be reduced from six to four years. But look what happened to the Apple stock owner above who did not have paper shares.

Why is our wealth going in the wrong direction?
While the median net worth decreased for all age groups, older households lost the most money. Among households headed by someone age 65 or older, median net worth decreased in 2010.  Retired couples were worth a median of $307,728 in 2010. For seniors, most of the net worth is in housing, which they can't eat. $170,128 is the amount the average retiree has to carry them through 30 years of retirement.

How does a parking lot attendant accumulate $500,000 in stocks?
Mr Earl Crawley earns less than $20,000 a year. He has paid off his mortgage and has no debts. He raised a family. He doesn't use stock trading, get-rich-quick schemes or pyramid marketing. He invested small amounts each month, reinvested his dividends and held blue chip stocks like Exxon, Bank America, etc.
What can we learn from this guy? 

SCAMS           “Deficits don’t matter” GOP grandfather, Dick Cheney, 2002

Regulators stopped a get-rich-quick scheme for a secret “plasma engine” that took $1.4 million from 100 “investors.” Unfortunately doesn’t work. Sounds good, though. 

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042

Friday, March 8, 2013

Your Tax Haven

Your Tax Haven
The Best Tax-FREE Account for Working Americans: Better than Mit’s Cayman Island tax shelter
Your total return in 2012 could have been 15.3%, better than Warren Buffett’s “poor” 14.4%. Using your Tax-FREE account, that is equivalent to earning 23.3% because you will never pay taxes—no federal, state, capital gains or dividend taxes. Start yours today for free. 

Are prepaid funerals right for you?
"I really don't think prepaid funerals are a good idea." Tom Waggener remembers how pleased his parents were when they told him 15 years ago that they'd prepaid for their own funerals. But after Waggener's mother died in 2006, the funeral home gave his family a bill for more than $10,000. It attributed the extra cost to a special order for the casket she had chosen, which was no longer in stock. There are better alternatives:

Why have health care charges exploded?
It is a tale that defies logic. 

Why pay more?
Vanguard keeps lowering its fees. It is now rated the best fund by Morningstar. Other brands have to pay top salaries, marketing and owner’s shares. Vanguard is owned by its own shareholders like a cooperative. Perhaps it is time to move your retirement funds to Vanguard so you can keep more.

Get paid for saving?
Saving for your retirement can make you eligible for a tax credit worth up to $2,000. If you contribute to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or to an IRA, you may be eligible for the Saver’s Credit. The saver’s credit can be claimed by:
  • Married couples filing jointly with incomes up to $57,500 in 2012 or $59,000 in 2013;
  • Heads of Household with incomes up to $43,125 in 2012 or $44,250 in 2013; and
  • Married individuals filing separately and singles with incomes up to $28,750 in 2012 or $29,500 in 2013.

Do you still have your taxes prepared by paid preparers?
Answer a few questions online and see how easy it is. Tax prep sites listed by the IRS charge nothing for the federal filing. States’ returns can cost $10.

NC homeowners see rate hike
North Carolina insurance companies and the top state regulator have agreed that homeowner's insurance policies can rise by a statewide average of 7 percent starting in July.  Time to shop for value:

Sandy victims still waiting for reimbursement
As of Feb. 28, there were 73,917 flood insurance claims made in New Jersey in connection with Sandy. Four months after the storm, more than 20,000 claims have not been closed. People are living elsewhere or in the cold, some still without money to pay contractors. Banks wait for repair confirmations but contractors wait for payment—Catch 22. Banks profit from victim’s insurance money.

Long-term care coverage sales by GE in California have halted
Genworth Financial GE said it is suspending sales of individual long-term care coverage inCalifornia. Genworth has been requesting rate increases from state regulators on existing policies and said today that it’s working with California’s insurance overseer as it seeks to introduce a new long-term care offering. Alternatives:

States start health exchanges
MichiganNew Hampshire and West Virginia are the final three states to receive conditional federal approval to run state partnership health insurance exchanges under the 2010 health care law.

SCAMS           “Deficits don’t matter” GOP grandfather, Dick Cheney, 2002

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042

Friday, March 1, 2013

Save when you invest for college

Where do you invest for college?
About 60% of all financial advisers send clients to direct-sold plans, according to survey results released Feb. 11 by Financial Research Corp. The survey of 293 advisers is the first to quantify how advisers are contributing to an increase in assets flowing into direct-sold plans. Direct plan 529 are commission free. Some have very low investment fees too. Even paid advisors realize you get more for your money when you don’t pay them for advice you don’t need.

Education Funding: Save up to $20,000 with the right plan
++Most public college students pay less than $10,000.
++Save $20,000 on the cost of private schools.
++Use your Wealth ReserveTM for tax-FREE cash.
++Accumulate $100,000 tax-FREE in 15 years to cover most expenses. 
      Never give up your retirement savings to pay for college. There are no low-cost student loans for retirement. Let a tax-FREE account and the power of compounding help you help your kids pay for their educations. Why not let them provide as much of the cost as they can? After all, they will be the ones that double or triple their lifetime earnings because of this education. And, studies show students get more out of it when they pay for it. Dan Keppel

GE to charge women more for LTCi
Genworth Financial, the largest long-term care insurance company in the United States, will soon implementgender-specific pricing, or charging higher rates for women when applying individually for long-term care insurance coverage. GE plans to start charging women applying for coverage as much as 40% more than men. This reflects the fact that women are paid two out of every three benefit dollars. They live longer and often have no caregivers at home. A few large insurers, including Pru and MetLife have quit selling new policies; others have raised rates dramatically on existing policyholders. There are other reasons families might have to shell out more. "Insurers are eliminating certain discounts, and the underwriting is getting tougher,” one seller said. Consider alternatives before buying—there are no refunds if premiums explode:

Does a traffic ticket always raise your auto premium?
Only 31% of Americans who received a traffic ticket in the past five years are paying more for car insurance as a result, according to new research. Most carriers check young drivers' motor vehicle reports every six months, whereas many carriers do not regularly check older drivers' records. More than one-third of 18- to-29-year olds reported one or more traffic tickets in the past five years, the highest percentage of any age group surveyed. You can go to safety school, ask for legal help, and avoid tickets for 5 years to reduce your points. People who commit several smaller violations are also more likely to face higher car insurance costs. Not all insurers are the same so shop:

Mega Life policy owners to see ‘mega’ rate hike to 47%
About 7,000 Maine customers of Mega Life and Health Insurance will be affected by a rate change set to take effect March 1. While some policyholders will see their health premium costs drop by nearly 33 percent, others will be hit with rate hikes of up to 47 percent, according to Mega's filing with the Maine Bureau of Insurance. The average rate increase across all policyholders amounts to 6.5 percent. Time to shop?

Regulator’s delay costs us every month
A recently released independent study estimates that the SEC delay in promulgating a fiduciary standard is costing investors about $1 billion a month in retirement savings.  More information is available here. This paper found investors earned, on average, 1% more per year by buying mutual funds directly instead of through a broker. We don’t need Wall Street salesmen anymore:

Retirement plan costs going down but still high
The average total plan cost for a small retirement plan (50 participants) declined from 1.47% to 1.46% over the past year, while the average total plan cost for a large retirement plan (1,000 participants) declined from 1.08% to 1.03% over the past year according to the 13th  Edition of the  401k Averages Book. The study shows the small plan average investment expense went from 1.38% to 1.37%, while the large plan average investment expense declined from 1.05% to 1.00%. Since most pension funds pay less than ¼ of 1%, these 401k plans are still too high. Low-cost investments accumulate more for you than high-cost plans. You may be better off to Go TAX-FREE with your own plan free of income taxes forever:

Convert your 401k to the Tax-FREE Forever Roth 401k
Now you can make a Roth conversion as long as your employer plan has a Roth option (i.e. 401(k) to Roth 401(k)). Consider: 1) In-plan Roth conversions CANNOT be recharacterized (reversed); 2) Do you have the money to pay tax on the conversion; 3) Roth employer plans HAVE required minimum distributions (RMDs) when you retire; 4) You can utilize this provision for longer TAX-FREE growth in a Roth plan. Ask your accountant for help in this decision. Perhaps you can convert a little every year. All of your future nest egg could be FREE of taxes.

Is it time to take your benefits?
The assets in the Social Security trust funds are expected to be exhausted in 2033, according to the Social Security Board of Trustees' annual report. After that, incoming tax revenue will provide enough income to pay out about three-quarters of promised benefits. Check your annual statement:

Medicare Advantage plans expand
Nearly 14.6 million people were enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans as of February 2013, 28.5% of the 51.1 million people eligible for Medicare.

Consumer Reports top car brands
Lexus vehicles are rarely sporty, but they earned the top score of 79 points out of 100 because of plush and reliable vehicles, the magazine said Tuesday. Subaru and Mazda were tied for second place with a score of 76. Toyota and Acura, Honda's luxury brand, rounded out the top five tied at 74. Honda and Scion were next at 72, followed by Audi and Nissan's upscale Infiniti brand, both at 70. Mercedes-Benz finished 10th with a score of 69. The ratings of 26 automotive brands, closely watched by consumers, are based on the magazine's average road tests and predicted reliability scores from surveys of subscribers. Detroitautomakers didn't fare very well in the magazine's rankings. Cadillac was the best U.S.-based brand, tying for 14th place with Hyundai, scoring a 63.

OK to arrest any insurer complying with ObamaCare??????????????
Any federal official or corporation employee would be charged with a felony if found to be providing services that comply with the federal Affordable Care Act, according to a bill that won the approval of an Oklahoma legislative committee.

NH bans TALKING about ObamaCare exchanges?????????????????
New Hampshire state law bans officials from discussing, planning or enabling a state-based health insurance exchange, but a bill would end the gag order as a first step to exploring the possibly of a state-run electronic marketplace.

AK to let insurers use credit scores for renewal premiums like other states
Insurers would be able to consider someone's credit score when renewing personal insurance policies under a bill in the Alaska Senate. Forty-seven other states allows insurance companies to look at credit history when reviewing a new policy application, but Alaska is the only one that doesn't allow companies to consider that information when a policy is renewed. "In most cases, most consumers have good enough credit that they either are not going to be affected by their credit score, or they're going to pay less for insurance because they're going to represent a better risk than they would if we didn't use it," a trade group said. Gary Strannigan, Liberty Mutual, told the committee that studies show that credit score is an accurate predictor of risk.

Feds to protect seniors on ObamaCare premiums
The Feds are going ahead with new limits on what health insurers can charge older consumers under the Affordable Care Act. Age rating effectively limits how much premiums can vary based on a person’s age, meaning insurers can no longer charge older individuals proportionately higher rates than younger people. ACA caps the ratio at 3 to 1. The provision, along with the brunt of Affordable Care Act law, goes into effect in 2014. The idea is that the young and insured pay more so that older individuals pay less. Buy only what you need:

ObamaCare five key provisions are applicable to new health plans only:
•           Guaranteed Availability
Nearly all health insurance companies offering coverage to individuals and employers will be required to sell health insurance policies to all consumers. No one can be denied health insurance because they have or had an illness.
•           Fair Health Insurance Premiums
Health insurance companies offering coverage to individuals and small employers will only be allowed to vary premiums based on age, tobacco use, family size, and geography. Basing premiums on other factors will be illegal. The factors that are no longer permitted in 2014 include health status, past insurance claims, gender, occupation, how long an individual has held a policy, or size of the small employer.
•           Guaranteed Renewability
Health insurance companies will no longer refuse to renew coverage because an individual or an employee has become sick. You may renew your coverage at your option.
•           Single Risk Pool
Health insurance companies will no longer be able to charge higher premiums to higher cost enrollees by moving them into separate risk pools. Insurers are required to maintain a single state-wide risk pool for the individual market and single state-wide risk pool for the small group market.
•           Catastrophic Plans
Young adults and people for whom coverage would otherwise be unaffordable will have access to a catastrophic plan in the individual market. Catastrophic plans generally will have lower premiums, protect against high out-of-pocket costs, and cover recommended preventive services without cost sharing.
These guarantees do NOT apply to your existing plan if it was grandfathered by ACA.

SCAMS           “Deficits don’t matter” GOP grandfather, Dick Cheney, 2002

Bernie Madoff urged his firm’s bankruptcy trustee and the U.S attorney concerned with the case to go after JPMorgan Chase. Madoff says he had used the account recurrently to funnel funds between his New Yorkand London offices. Bernie Madoff has mentioned on several occasions that JPMorgan Chase knew of the ponzi scheme, but the bank has in the past denied any knowledge of Madoff’s allegations.

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