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Setting and Making Realistic Financial New Year’s Resolutions

It is almost that time of season when you will begin to ponder your new year’s resolution.  Will it be exercise?  Will it be a new diet? Or will it have something to do with improving your family finances.  Making resolutions (or goals) can be a very difficult process because it often makes you face some of your own realities like it or not.   When you decide to set goals that are realistic, I have been a big cheerleader over the years to use the S-M-A-R-T goal setting system.  Here is how it works. *S is for Specific– Be very specific about what you are trying to accomplish.  Don’t tell yourself you want to pay down debt.  Instead, give yourself a specific goal such as paying off $10,000 of debt. *M is for Measurable– Have a way to track your progress.   In the last example, make a chart for paying off $833 a month and cross it off each month ...

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Your 2013 Year End Smart Money Moves

Believe it or not, 2013 will be a footnote in the history books in just three weeks.   As you scurry around to shopping malls and local outlet stores to find presents and stocking stuffers; make sure you don’t forget important money items, that can be worth a lot more than a plate of cookies on the fireplace mantle.  We often overlook some of these items, because we simply run out of time or they just pass by us because we don’t know about them at all.  Here are some year end ideas from the Your Smart Money Moves Column. Do you have a will/living trust? If they don’t have a written one, then the state they live in will have one for them.  My guess is that you don’t want the state to decide how your parent’s assets should be distributed.    The will has many features to it, but most importantly it allows for your parents to essentially say which ...

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Should you buy a ‘combined’ insurance policy?

As technology changes, we are always looking for the latest and best upgrades so we are on the cutting edge.  Just like the technology sector,  the world of insurance policy design and implementation is constantly changing.  One of the most recent designs to hit the market is buying something called a combined insurance policy.    This kind of insurance policy is typically a cash value type life insurance policy combined with a long-term care rider.    Is this a good idea to combine both into one policy, or should you be looking at two separate policies to cover these risk management needs within your financial plan? Families have always bought life insurance (term or permanent insurance) over the years to cover for the short and long term needs in the event of a premature death of one of the partners our spouses in a family unit.  The amount of insurance a family needs has been long debated, but it’s best to use ...

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Personal Finance 101 – Your Benefits Package At Work: The Extras

One of the most overlooked parts of an overall financial plan is the benefits package you receive from your employer.   Last week I reviewed the area of disability insurance and how to best protect your overall income.    Depending on the size of the company where you are employed, you will find many different types of unique benefits.   Each of these benefits can be easy to gloss over come open enrollment season, but analyzing your overall budget and how these benefits fit in with your plan can be paramount to reaching overall success.  Here are handful extra benefits you may have that should be examined. Legal Plan – A basic legal plan through your employee benefits package can cover many items including legal consultations, wills (including certain types of trusts), living wills, powers of attorneys, deeds, and potentially more based upon the type of overall plan.   If you carefully consider the years you may need these types of legal services, it ...

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5 Important Financial Questions To Ask Your Parents

Talking about money is never an easy subject.  Let alone discussing it with your partner or your kids, it can be incredibly uncomfortable to talk about money and estate planning with your parents. As you watch your parents get into their 60’s, 70’s, or 80’s, there are some key questions that you will want to talk about with them to ensure your parents finances are in good shape.  Good or bad, you will have to deal with these issues down the road. 1. Do you have a will? If they don’t have a written one, then the state they live in will have one for them.  My guess is that you don’t want the state to decide how your parent’s assets should be distributed.  The will has many features to it, but most importantly it allows for your parent’s to essentially say which personal items go to which children along with an orderly administration of the estate.  Depending on the ...

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Major Tax Change To Life Insurance And Annuities

As people in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, consider their overall retirement plan, a recent tax change may affect the way they think about their retirement strategy.   It may also affect other decisions about managing the risk of needed long term care down the road.   This is one change for the positive that you absolutely will want to pay attention to for your retirement, risk management, and overall financial plan. According to Jessie Stone of the American Association Of Long Term Care, the approved changes to the Pension Protection Act included some key provisions that took effect January 1, 2010. The changes provide significant enhancements to nonqualified annuities that are coupled with tax-qualified long-term care riders. Starting with the New Year, benefits paid out of these plans are received income tax-free when used for long term care. This is unprecedented, and is expected to make long-term care planning highly attractive for an increased number of individuals. Prior to the new ...

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Health Care Reform Details

I have been asked over the past few weeks on what the heath care reform will mean to you over the next number of years.  Here is a great chart put together by healthinsuranceproviders.com showing the details.  If you need a quote on health insurance, you can always go to oXYGen Financial Insurance Agency to get your FREE insurance quote. Related Insurance Articles – Life Insurance For My Children?, Do you need disability insurance?, Top 5 Insurance Policies To Avoid, Health Savings Account Limits For 2010, Be wary of “hypotheticals” in insurance policies! , Long Term Care Insurance . . How Does It Work? , Is a Health Savings Account the best medical plan option for you? oXYGen Financial, Inc. co-CEO Ted Jenkin  is one of the foremost knowledgeable professionals in giving financial advice to the X and Y Generation.  Unless sources are noted, the information is the opinion of the author. Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS® ...

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Update Your Beneficiary Designations

Many people today are experiencing significant and sometimes sweeping changes in their family situations. Perhaps a recent divorce, separation, or marriage. Or, your children have moved out on their own and perhaps have a new relationship of their own. Maybe someone in your family recently passed away. Changes in any type of family situation could be a very important trigger to review your beneficiary designations. ...

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Long Term Care Insurance . . How Does It Work?

Understanding Long-Term Care Insurance- It's a fact: People today are living longer. Although that's good news, the odds of requiring some sort of long-term care increase as you get older. And as the costs of home care, nursing homes, and assisted living escalate, you probably wonder how you're ever going to be able to afford long-term care. One solution that is gaining in popularity is long-term care insurance (LTCI). ...

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