Author: Dr. Daniel Levine

Start Your Estate Plan with These 4 Tips

One area many investors overlook is estate planning. Proper estate planning is an essential component of your financial plan because it can help your loved ones avoid a difficult and expensive process once you pass away. Here are four easy steps to help you plan for the distribution of your assets by creating and maintaining an estate plan that provides your heirs with financial confidence. 1. Make an Inventory Before you can make a plan, you have to know exactly what you have. Take some time to document your holdings. This will include your home, other real estate you may own, vehicles, jewelry, and any other personal property that has monetary value. Make a list of your bank, brokerage, and retirement accounts, noting the funds held by each. Also document all insurance policies, and note their cash values and death benefits. It’s also important to list all your liabilities, such as mortgages and any lines of credit or other debt that needs to be resolved. 2. Conceptualize Your Plan It’s always best to work with an experienced professional such as a financial planner or attorney. Be prepared for your first meeting by knowing the answers to these important questions: a. If you become incapacitated or pass away, who do you want to manage your estate or its distribution? b. Who do you select as your heir or heirs, and...

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The Blueprint for Your Investment Success

Being a successful investor is not an easy accomplishment, requiring knowledge, experience, and the wisdom to know when to enter a trade, how the trade will affect the rest of your portfolio, and when to exit. This is simplistic, of course, but one sign of a successful investor is having a plan of what to do and when. Plans that achieve the best results have an underlying structure. We call this the Investment Policy Statement. Imagine yourself building a house without a set of blueprints. On a section of barren land you would dig a foundation for a house whose square footage you didn’t know, pour concrete and set studs for the wooden framework you haven’t designed, add walls with windows and doors … all according to a mental plan in your head. Can it be done? Yes, but can it be done well? Would results be more compatible if you had first created blueprints? Similarly, investing your financial resources can be greatly expedited and more secure once you’ve developed your investment policy statement (IPS). The main purpose of your IPS is to help serve your financial analysis process with a specific set of rules that guide your decision-making. Here are the components of a good investment policy statement: 1. Identify the person responsible for creating the investment policy, executing the policy, monitoring the policy’s results, and making changes...

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Eye On Retirement? Focus On Your Exit Plan!

If you’re thinking about someday selling your business, as most owners are, you need to plan ahead and start your process early. It often takes a long time to find the right buyer for your business. You should always be thinking about exit planning. Some owners think they can sell their business within a few months, but the chance of that happening would be miraculous. Other business owners think a 3 – 5 year window is a reasonable range of time to plan the exit of their business, but this is also very shortsighted. What’s even more astonishing is that about 70% of business owners surveyed do not have an exit plan. Instead of getting a sales check, business owners may be getting a reality check. As early as possible, business owners should begin picturing exactly what they want when it comes time to exit their business. Do they plan to close their business, sell it to a third-party, sell it to an insider, or stay in business part-time or remain as an advisor? Owners should also bring together their team of professionals…their accountant, attorney, and business broker, quarterbacked by their financial planner, to make sure everyone is focused on the same outcome. If you want to sell your business, you should be looking to maximize the value of your business years ahead…in fact, as soon as you purchase...

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4 Important Retirement Savings Tips for Women

Women face additional challenges when planning for retirement. By being aware of these concerns, women can take steps to overcome them. 1. Longer Retirement Women usually have a longer retirement than men because they outlive their husbands by about five years, according to the National Center for Health. This means women must save more because they will have more years in retirement due to their increased lifespans. As people age, they typically reduce the ratio of stocks to bonds in their investments; women should discuss with their financial advisor how much of their resources should stay in stock investments during retirement to diminish the effect of inflation. 2. A Woman’s Retirement Is More Expensive Because women live longer, it is wise to expect higher expenses such as additional medical costs, or the increased possibility of having to stay in a nursing home, an assisted living community, or employing home-care which can be very expensive. While Medicare may cover some of these expenses, now is a good time to look into long-term care insurance or other forms of insurance protection. 3. Women Earn Less so They Must Save More It is well-known that women do not earn as much as their male counterparts. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a woman earns about 80 cents for every $1 a man earns. In addition, women sometimes miss some of their working...

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Are Financial Advisors Worth the Money?

Low-fee investing can be a two-edged sword because while no one likes to pay fees that compromise their portfolio’s continued growth, there is also wisdom with having an experienced and trained financial advisor. The money you spend in fees could very well result in returns that replace your good investments with great investments and change your retirement lifestyle from sufficient to comfortable. When it comes to deciding whether or not to hire a financial advisor, there are two main factors to consider. 1. First, you have to decide on the kind of financial advice you need. Research shows that advisors can add value in two different ways: they can be very helpful with managing your investments, and they can provide expertise with financial planning. Of course, the value of these benefits depends largely on each investor’s individual situation, experience, and knowledge.  The quality of the advisor you select is critical because there are a wide range of abilities, qualifications, and costs.     Working with an investment advisor makes sense if any of these fit your circumstances: ·         You have a large amount of money in your investment portfolio ·         Your finances are complicated in the areas of retirement, taxes, and estate issues ·         You lack a sophisticated knowledge of investing ·         Your time is limited or you prefer to spend your time on other tasks and pleasures 2....

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