Friday, April 26, 2013

Retire with tax-FREE income: Avoid tax increases

How to Retire with Tax-FREE Income: Avoid tax increases to reduce the debt
Your total return in 2012 could have been 15.3%.
Unfortunately, you will eventually have to pay tax on those earnings if they are in your retirement accounts. They could be tax-FREE.

Isn't it time you started using the tax laws to your benefit? Why not pay your fair share? 
Warren Buffett pays only 17% total tax. Mitt Romney and John Kerry pay less than 15%.
I will show you how to set up your account in one hour:

Long-term care insurance premiums up for women
Genworth, the largest producer of long-term care policies, will start rolling out gender-based pricing next month for women who apply for coverage individually, and the company’s competitors are expected to follow suit. Genworth declined to specify the amount by which affected policies will rise; industry estimates put theincrease between 20% and 40%. Women live longer and thus have more claims than men. Industrywide, women represent 60% of long-term care insurance policyholders, and account for 70% to 80% of claims. Overall, premiums have risen between 30% and 50% over the past five years as the industry corrects for miscalculations that carriers made before the financial crisis. 
Women need to understand the alternatives before paying more:

Investment plans of academics do better than corporate plans
Retirement plans for academic faculties and staffs working at higher education institutions outperform the corporate sector due to lower costs, automatic enrollments, default contribution rates and plan changes in plan design, according to a new study.
Now you can use one of the best plans available for academics:

ObamaCare subsidies to middle class without insurance--qualify
The majority of tax subsidies to help Americans pay for health insurance starting in January will go to working families, according to a nationwide study to be released Thursday and obtained by USA TODAY. About 25.7 million people who fall between 138% and 400% of the poverty level — or below $46,000 for a single adult and $94,000 for a family of four — will be eligible for funds that will go directly to an insurance plan that they choose. According to the Congressional Budget Office, those subsidies will cost about $350 billion from 2010 to 2019, but taxes and savings built into the law will offset them. For more information about the exchanges, visit

Are prepaid debit cards for you?
Many credit-weary people are picking this type of money today because general aversion to credit, lack of credit available due to stringent lending standards and lower demand due to a decline in the number of credit-eligible borrowers. Other folks baulk at the new bank fees to maintain a relationship. 89 percent of the checking accounts offered at the 12 largest U.S. institutions involve bank fees. Some like the ease of use: buy and load at any big retailer. BEWARE FEES: Shop around. Fees vary. Some banks are setting a fixed monthly fee. Activation fees can be waived if done online. ATM fees can be $3. Check this survey to match your needs:

Are low-initial deposit annuities for you?
Insurers are hyping fee-laden low-minimum annuities to induce younger people to start making payments early. Using cool names like Guaranteed Future IncomeIncome EliteChoice Index 10, and Deferred Income, insurers are salivating over consumer fears of market turmoil and the flight to guarantees. However, annuities lock away your money for 20 years or longer. Tax-deferral can be gained in an IRA. Both require taxes to be paid when tax rates may be higher. Tax-FREE Roth IRAs can be a better alternative. Despite government support for funding annuities inside employer pensions, this can be costly. You are supporting the insurer, the mutual fund complex, the plan administrator and the employer bookkeeping. All these middlemen need to eat so you may pay more than you earn on your contributions during these low-interest periods.
NJ, NY homeowner rates up
Rates are going up. Policy language is getting stricter. Some insurers are pulling back from the coast. But they’re not leaving the Garden State. The most obvious change is the price of some private insurance. Insurance brokers say have seen some flood-prone properties get hit with double-digit percentage point rate hikes. But less obvious is the fact that insurers are also re-tooling their policies to limit exposures, earn more money for extra coverage and create greater clarity about what is and is not covered. Insurers are starting to define a storm surge as flooding, rather than a phenomena caused by a “named storm,” such as Sandy or Irene. This reduces their responsibility. Flood insurance may run $500-$2,000 depending on the area. 

Women want more financial help but professionals “not responsive”
More than six in ten women (62%) said they have an interest in learning about financial planning, retirement planning and investing according to the 2013 Women, Money & Power Study* from Allianz Life, nearly double the amount (35%) who indicated interest in these topics during the original study conducted in 2006. However, despite innovations within the financial services industry, 70% of all women said they believe financial information is hard to understand, up significantly from the 44% who felt that way during the initial Women, Money & Power Study. Women are asking for clear and simple-to-understand financial information that is available on the Internet.
The vast majority of women surveyed noted they are more concerned about attaining a retirement lifestyle than gaining specific investment guidance. Members start here:

Is a reverse mortgage right for you?
First, you need to qualify. To be eligible for a FHA HECM, the FHA requires that you be a homeowner 62 years of age or older, own your home outright, or have a low mortgage balance that can be paid off at closing with proceeds from the reverse loan, and you must live in the home. You are also required to receive consumer information free or at very low cost from a HECM counselor prior to obtaining the loan. You can find a HECM counselor online or by phoning (800) 569-4287.
The amount you may borrower will depend on your age (youngest borrower), Current interest rate, Lesser of appraised value or the HECM FHA mortgage limit of $625,500 or the sales price; and Initial Mortgage Insurance Premium--your choices are HECM Standard or HECM SAVER. In addition, the more valuable your home is, the older you are, and the lower the interest rate, the more you can borrow.  If there is more than one borrower, the age of the youngest borrower is used to determine the amount you can borrow.  For an estimate of HECM cash benefits, select the online calculator from the HECM Home Page. Many online reverse mortgage calculators can provide you with an estimate of the amount of funds you can borrow.
Less expensive home equity loans are alternative.

Rich get richer; everyone else got poorer
During the first two years of the nation’s economic recovery, the average net worth of households in the upper 7% of the wealth distribution rose by an estimated 28%, while the mean net worth of households in the lower 93% dropped by 4%, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly released Census Bureau data.
From 2009 to 2011, the mean wealth of the 8 million households in the more affluent group rose to an estimated $3,173,895 from an estimated $2,476,244, while the mean wealth of the 111 million households in the less affluent group fell to an estimated $133,817 from an estimated $139,896. 
We need help to build wealth. Try: Your Investment Edge

Is your advisor trying to get rid of you?
Here are the signs:
When your advisor starts your financial review conversations by shifting the responsibility to the firm, he may say, “we’re not doing much for you” or “the cost of doing this is probably not appropriate for you.” He may try to transition you to some sort of platform outside—such as Schwab, Vanguard or Fidelity. Some advisors with long relationships find it difficult, so the ‘boss’ might take over the conversation. Remember, advisors are paid by commissions on sales or quarterly fees from your account. If your account is not producing at least $5,000 every year, you are not profitable. You will probably receive a nice follow-up letter after the conversation.
On the other hand, Vanguard may welcome you with a nice follow-up phone call. You can probably make good use of that $5,000! Advice from licensed advisors is free and you may just need confirmation of what you are already doing:

Brokers stop Regulators from making it easy to find brokers’ records
FIRNRA withdrew a proposal that would have required brokers to post a link on their websites and social media to a database containing information about their disciplinary history. Finra proposed the rule as a way to increase investor usage of BrokerCheck. Finra spokeswoman Michelle Ong said the agency withdrew the rule due to feedback it received in 24 comment letters.
Investors will have to search on their own to check out bad brokers. Members avoid Wall Street and earn more:

See if your advisor is robbing you blind

Great graduation gift idea
Get your graduate off to a great investment plan using our iTunes app:

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

Here we go again?
Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley preach caution, even as their bankers return to pre-crisis deals.Recently, Citi has made big bucks pushing a type of bond deal that packages together risky loans and sells them off to investors as highly rated investments. In the first quarter of the year, the bank was the biggest underwriter of collateralized loan obligations. Citi is also back in subprime -- earlier this month, it was one of the lead bankers on a $1.1 billion bond deal backed by auto loans to borrowers with low credit scores. Wall Street firms have sold nearly $30 billion in CLOs this year, more than triple what they sold in the same period a year ago. These banks are still insured by us the taxpayers. More:

FL considers canceling tax breaks for financial firms
The Florida Senate is advancing plans this spring to eliminate a pair of decades-old tax breaks for banks and insurance companies. One measure would repeal a tax deduction for international banking, which critics say has become a gaping loophole that does nothing to encourage investment in Florida and primarily benefits big, multistate banks such as Citigroup and Bank of America. The other gives insurers $30 million extra for car registrations. Who knew?

American terrorists buy all their bombs from same store—no license required!
Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev walked into a New Hampshire fireworks store two months before his deadly attack and asked for the “biggest and loudest” kit — then got another set for free, the Daily News has learned. The company that sold Tamerlan the fireworks is the same one that sold Times Squarebomber Faisal Shahzad the firecrackers he used to build his failed car bomb. Tam bought the “lock and load” kit of 24 shells of gunpowder. Buy one get one FREE. Wow!

Should doctors/hospitals charge victims over $20,000 to amputate leg?
Are bombing victims really getting hit with the full price? If you have ever had a procedure, you know the insurer is billed many $ thousands and pays about $ 500 because they have a contract with the provider. Luckily, MA requires insurers to cover almost all expenses so residents have help but only the “medically necessary.” Out of state residents are out of luck. Will they sue bombers? Their families? Bomb sale store?
Insurers don’t cover all artificial limbs. One victim "got a call from the insurance company and the person on the other end said, 'How long are you going to need the prosthetic hands?'

West TX blast victims are suing the fertilizer plant which is family owned.
TX gov wants to abolish all regulations in this country. Plants will explode and kill more people since this plant was just given violations but never complied.
41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042

Friday, April 19, 2013

Best Graduation Gift?

Best Graduation gift? Help them start investing early!
Parking lot attendant Earl Crawley started early with $100 and now has $500,000:
Starting early is the easiest way to assure your grad of living well.
All it takes is $9 a day and 1 hour to set up a tax-FREE account.
Accumulate $1,000,000 with NO taxes EVER.
Compounding stock dividends is how millionaires double their money.

Tax deadline advice
The IRS has some advice for taxpayers who missed the tax filing deadline. File as soon as possible.  If you owe federal income tax, you should file and pay as soon as you can to minimize any penalty and interest charges. There is no penalty for filing a late return if you are due a refund. Free File is still working.

Will Obama’s budget change your retirement plan?

You have to make up for cuts in Social Security benefits. We need to grow our tax-FREE income NOW while we can:

What will the “CPI in chains” do to your SS benefits?
Over time, the new increases will NOT keep up with inflation since most older folks need to buy medication and health care. These items have been increasing at twice the rate of inflation NOT less. The loss of benefits is estimated to grow quickly:

401k fee disclosure just as undisclosed as before—fees can cost 40% of nest egg?
Most employees were supposed to learn in clear English, how much they were paying for administration, record-keeping and accounting as well as investment and operating expenses. The disclosures have been problematic for investors while creating more paperwork for employers and plan-management companies. Regulators are tracking claims to see if we are still intentionally misled. However, the point is that we still don’t know how much in total is taken from our money. We can learn a lot from Brightscope’s ratings of plans: EG Google:

Long-term care costs rise: is insurance right for you?
Study shows a continued upward trajectory when it comes to the cost of obtaining long term care services. The cost of receiving care in a setting such as an assisted living facility or nursing home is dramatically increasing, while the cost to receive care at home through homemaker services or a home health aide is rising at a much more gradual pace. The median annual costs have gone up from $65,200 to $83,950, increasing at more than four percent a year. The better news is that costs for homemaker services and home health aides have remained relatively flat. Since 70% of Genworth's first time long term care claimants choose in-home care, these costs have remained more manageable. Learn what the alternatives to insurance are:

GAO says some pension plans in trouble: Can you prepare?
Government Accountability Office acknowledged that the most severely distressed multiemployer plans have taken significant steps to address their funding problems. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's financial assistance to multiemployer plans continues to increase, and plan insolvencies threaten PBGC's insurance fund's ability to pay pension guarantees for retirees, the GAO noted. Since 2009, the PBGC's financial assistance to plans has increased significantly, primarily due to a growing number of plan insolvencies. The PBGC estimated that the insurance fund would be exhausted in about two to three years if the projected insolvencies of either of two large plans occur in the next 10 to 20 years. By 2017, the PBGC anticipates the number of insolvencies to more than double, further stressing the insurance fund. Build your own guarantee fund:

Are you prepared for medical costs in retirement?
While a man retiring in 2020 will have a 50-50 chance of having all his future out-of-pocket medical expenses exceed $109,000, a new study found that men's median estimate of those costs is just $60,000. For women, the median estimate of out-of-pocket costs is just $30,000. But partly because they tend to live longer, they have a 50 percent chance of having their future expenses exceed $156,000.
"Medicare only covers 60 percent of health care in retirement," study director Hoffman said. "Even with a Medigap policy or an employer sponsored retiree plan, people are still going to have out of pocket expenses. The hardest thing for people to plan for is to find the balance between the right level of coverage and the right level of what they might spend out of pocket." Retirees do have the option of a high-end Medigap policy that covers more, but that can be expensive protection. Premiums aren’t refundable.

Why are employers picking high-deductible plans?
Mercer report says the number of employers switching to high-deductible health plans increased from 12% in 2010 to 26% last year. Moving even a small number of employees out of a more expensive plan into a CDHP can result in significant savings for an employer. The cost of coverage in a CDHP with a health savings account is about 20% lower, on average, than the cost of PPO coverage – $7,833 per employee compared to $10,007. Employers are also looking at “self-insuring” their plans to control costs and benefit from cost reductions directly. Large employers have been self-insured for years, saving the capital insurers take from premiums. Use our Guide to buy only what you need:

Congress hides its stock trades AGAIN—only bill GOP and DEMS agree on!
Congress rushed through a bill to exempt federal government employees from having to disclose their financial dealings online. Critics said this law eviscerates part of last year's Stock Act, designed to stop insider trading by federal officials. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced the bill on Thursday and had the chamber vote on it late that evening. The House took the bill up on Friday afternoon and passed it by unanimous consent, with no members objecting.
Most Congress people get richer by investing in firms they know will benefit from laws they pass. It is illegal for Americans to use insider information but Congress was exempt until last year. Now, no one will know if they do illegal trading. The median net worth of a U.S. senator was $2.63 million in 2010, the most recent year for which financial data are available. That was up 11% from the year before. Studies by Alan Ziobrowski at Georgia State University conclude that our ‘reps’ regularly outperform the markets by large amounts due to the “significant information advantage” they derive from their jobs. 

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

Gas prices remain high despite US producing more oil/gas here--No energy independence pay off!
American refiners export more than 3 million barrels per day to other countries, which are willing to pay more than we are. Also, U.S. shipping interests have made it more costly to move fuel between U.S. ports. This in particular hurts the Northeast, which is struggling to meet its fuel needs after several refineries closed in the last two years. As a result, it’s often cheaper for a Gulf Coast refiner to send gasoline to Brazilthan to New York. Despite the hype, Venezuela doubled its imports in 2012.

Bank America sued for taking kickbacks from insurers
Bank of America must face claims by homeowners that it took kickbacks from private insurers. Three Pennsylvania homeowners sued the bank last year claiming its pay-to-play reinsurance scheme cost borrowers $284.7 million between 2004 and the end of 2011. That’s the amount Bank of America allegedly collected from private mortgage insurers as its share of insurance premiums for referring borrowers, according to the complaint.  Home buyers who take out mortgages with less than 20 percent down payments are typicallyrequired to purchase private mortgage insurance at closing. The premium paid by the borrower protects the lender in the event of a default. Bank collects twice with no risk.

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042

Friday, April 12, 2013

How will you make up the cuts in Social Security benefits?

How will you make up the cuts in Social Security benefits?
With Washington set on cutting our benefits in retirement, perhaps you should grow your own Tax-FREE Income supplement. You know taxes will go up and benefits will go down. Our representatives want us to pay for their previous mistakes—two wars, two tax cuts and two bank bailouts. “Only the little people pay taxes,” according to millionaire Helmsley. We need to grow our tax-FREE income NOW while we can:

Obama gives in to GOP on our current SS benefits
Switching to the chained CPI, as recommended in Obama's budget, would close about 25% of Social Security's 75-year shortfall and would be a significant down payment on bringing that program into long-term balance. The existing CPI already under compensates Social Security beneficiaries because it does not fully reflecttheir out-of-pocket health care expenses, which tend to be higher than those of younger Americans. “To shift to the chained CPI would appear to under compensate them even further,” according to the NASI's fact sheet “Should Social Security's Cost-of-Living Adjustment Be Changed?” Although most proposed changes to Social Security benefits in inevitable reform discussions — such as increasing the normal retirement age — would affect future beneficiaries, a change in the way benefits are indexed to inflation would affect everyone — including current retirees.
What are chained CPI? A trick to pay fewer benefits. You can’t switch drugs like you can food so the example beef to chicken doesn’t apply:|headline|other|text|&par=yahoo

CR best autos under $20,000 and $25,000
Good, reliable, safe vehicles. Many models can be bought for under $25,000.  Each model is a good all-around choice that meets CR requirements for being recommended.
Poor, unreliable, overpriced. Some cars lose over 60% of their value in 5 years:

LA tax plan to attract business from TX
Gov Jindal's proposal to eliminate the state income tax shifts to poor. His detailed plan would do away with all state personal and corporate income taxes. It also calls for a 56-percent increase in the state sales tax, a much higher cigarette tax, and the elimination of some tax loopholes to make up the $3 billion shortfall from scrapping the income taxes. To allay fears that the plan would hurt the poor, Jindal has proposed a rebate for low-income residents and some retirees. The governor says the change would attract business by makingLouisiana competitive with states such as oil-rich neighbor Texas, which has no income tax. You can avoid income taxes no matter where you live:

Lawsuit Claims Bankers Life Denies Long Term Care Benefits
Law firm Williams Love O’Leary & Powers alleges Bankers Life and Casualty, a Chicago-based firm, is denying benefits to those who paid for long term health care insurance so they would have security in their old age. A class action lawsuit against the insurance company was filed today in U.S. District Court in Portland. “She paid their premiums for years, counting on having support if she became ill. That time came and all she got from Bankers Life was a cold shoulder, rejection and red tape. It was a total rip off.” “My mother trusted this company,” Grants Pass resident Dennis Fallow explained at a Portland news conference this morning. “She paid their premiums for years, counting on having support if she became ill. That time came and all she got from Bankers Life was a cold shoulder, rejection and red tape. It was a total rip off.” In 2011, Bankers Life ranked worst in the Oregon consumer complaint index. Consider the LTCi alternatives:

Problems with reverse mortgages
Some buyers took the cash but lost their homes too.

Is life insurance for seniors right for you?
Approximately 40 percent of seniors have lapsed or surrendered their life insurance policies, according to a study cited in Conning Research. The number reflects a tragic, long-accepted truth in the life insurance industry. An overwhelming number of beneficiaries will never claim the death benefit. In fact, life insurance companies rely on the high probability that they will never pay out a customer’s policy; they reap most of their profit from lapsed, unclaimed policies. There are better alternatives:

SEC requires brokers/advisors to protect our identities …. finally
The regulator approved rules requiring brokers and investment advisors to adopt identity-theft prevention programs.

Is your bank treating you poorly?
The new Consumer Protection Bureau is collecting data on banks to help us make better choices. Some banks are actually paying attention. Some have stopped charging fees. Read how bad your bank really is to its customers:

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

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

Regulator becomes lobbyist—revolving door of government
Mary Schapiro, who led the Securities and Exchange Commission in the four years following the financial crisis, has landed at a Washington consulting firm. Now we know why she never went after big banks.

State Farm caught cheating on Katrina claims—finally, jury nails it
A federal jury has found State Farm committed fraud against the federal government and submitted a false record to support fraud after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The verdict came after the eight-member jury deliberated for three hours Monday afternoon in a whistle-blower lawsuit, Rigsby vs. State Farm. The decision potentially opens for examination thousands of post-Katrina flood claims State Farm adjusted and paid before reimbursement by the National Flood Insurance Program.

Banks misused small business recovery money
A new report shows community banks used our tax money to pay back our money for bailouts -- instead of lending the money to small businesses as originally intended. The watchdog report released Tuesday found that $2.1 billion of the administration's $4 billion Small Business Lending Fund went to repaying bailouts. Many community banks were bailed out by the government in 2008 and 2009 under the Troubled Asset Relief Fund. The small business fund had failed to take off -- disbursing only $4 billion of the $30 billion it had originally carved out. The fund was established in 2011 to funnel cash to small firms, who were facing a borrowing crunch.

Who owns your account now?
MetLife’s Tower Square Securities and Walnut Street Securities to Cetera Financial
Old policies of MONY Life Insurance to Protective Life

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042

Friday, April 5, 2013

Is it not time you paid your fair share?

7,000 millionaires did not pay income tax in 2011—How about you?
Over 275,000 returns showed adjusted gross incomes of $1 million or more. Roughly 7,000 millionaires didn't pay any income tax in 2011. More than 11,000 individual tax returns reported adjusted gross income above $10 million yet most pay LESS than us.

Is it not time you paid your fair share?
Use your refund to create a tax-FREE income. The average tax refund was $2,953. Start your account today.
Your Retirement Portfolio: Tax-FREE Income for Life
+Earn 10-12% on your retirement money with no taxes or fees.
+Use a tax-FREE account to protect all your earnings and gains.
+Spend 8% of your nest egg FREE of income tax annually.
+Avoid tax on up to 85% of your Social Security benefits.
+Turn your taxable pension or IRA into tax-FREE income.

Obama will trade our contributions for a sound retirement for GOP support
President Obama next week will take the political risk of formally proposing cuts to Social Security andMedicare in his annual budget in an effort to demonstrate his willingness to compromise with Republicans and revive prospects for a long-term deficit-reduction deal, administration officials say. Compromise never worked with GOP before.
Perhaps we should start building our own sound retirement.

Housing growth spurs economy
The price of U.S. homes rose by 8.1% in January from a year earlier, the biggest annual price gain in six and a half years. The main drag on sales contracts was a shortage of properties for sale. NAR predicts that housing starts would have to rise 50% to resolve the inventory shortage. 

New insurers and rates with ObamaCare exchanges
California chastised Anthem Blue Cross for levying a 5.2 percent health premium increase on its small business customers. CT has a new nonprofit health insurance company sponsored by state physicians' groups and intended mainly to provide coverage for individuals and small businesses.

Are you paying higher premiums due to DMV errors?
Car insurance companies make millions from us paying higher premiums than we should, due to errors existing on our driving record. A survey of driving records conducted by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) showed that one in five convictions for traffic violations may contain errors from motor vehicle records. The IRC looked at driving records in four states, ConnecticutFloridaOhio, and Washington. The study showed that convictions for driving infractions were either incorrectly entered or were missing from driving records. Errors can boost an average policyholder’s auto insurance premiums by as much as 22 percent. One insurance quote company provides free information about fixing your record:
There is only one way to find out if you are paying too much. Use our Insiders’ Guide to buy only what you need with discounts:

Do you have an insurance question?
You have a question but you don’t want to call your agent or insurer. Try this free site.

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.

We never learn
The House Agriculture Committee debated and passed seven bills designed to roll back derivatives regulations that were created by Congress three years ago in the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill. Derivatives allow banks to place leverage bets on anything that can be measured. Last year, Morgan Chase lost $8 billions of deposits on derivatives. Buffett called derivatives "weapons of mass destruction." 

Who owns your account now?
Genworth Wealth Management, Altegris, to Aquiline Capital Partners and Genstar Capital. 

American Family policies to Kansas City Life Insurance 

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042