Planning for Today, Sooner or Later or…..Your Next Chapter!

How many times have you said, “I will take care of that later?”  Later can mean different time periods to each individual; but when I hear my husband say, “I will do that later,” I know he is putting off doing the task, and I realize that task may not get done.   Most of us realize Life Happens when we least expect it.  During and after the critical illness, death or nursing home stay, I usually hear the words:  “I should have taken care of that” or “I never dreamed that this event would happen.” The fact is critical Life Events happen that change people’s lives when it is least expected.   

Life events can be memorable and celebrated, but there are also those life events, which change a family’s life.  Most of you know that we need to prepare for any life event, but somehow all of us feel we can take care of those things later even though we know that pre-planning before the life event happens eliminates “the could have or should have” regret.   To rectify the problem, I propose that the now, sooner later plan be amended to include the following change: “Now, Sooner, Later or Life Happens!”   This new plan will cover the “What Ifs” in a person or couple’s life.   Planning for the “What Ifs” in life can help you “Have Your Wishes Your Way” regarding any health or life event. 

We have been gathering feedback from women and men over the past three years during client appointments and a series of roundtable discussions.   We have looked at 50+ adults to get their perspective regarding living alone, life changes and how and where they would like to be treated if they are unable to care for themselves.  Interestingly enough, 100% of these people want to stay in control of their decisions and be involved in social activities.  Thus, I have created another division of The Milestone Center for Retirement & Estate Planning LLC called Milestone’s Next Chapter. 

Milestone’s Next Chapter will focus on collaboration with Public and Private Agencies, Legal and Tax providers to assist in planning and later dealing with life events.  Social Activities will also be provided through various sources, which will allow people to meet others who have experienced a life change.  One of my favorite television shows to this day is “Golden Girls.” These ladies knew how to stay independent, share resources and live their own lives.   Milestone’s Next Chapter’s purpose is much broader than creating many “Golden Girl” or “Golden Guy” get-togethers, but also to provide education, tips, resources and planning services which will allow anyone to be in control of their decisions, connect with appropriate service providers and develop a “Now, Sooner, Later and Life Change” plan for the rest of your lives.  The Milestone Center has created Milestone’s Next Chapter to help anyone be better prepared for Life Change while continuing to provide a comprehensive financial, retirement, tax and estate plan to ensure that every individual can have “Their Wishes –Their Way.”

I look forward to your feedback regarding Now, Sooner, Later-Life Happens Plans. 

You can email me at education@themilestonecenter.com or call 330-644-0284 to set up your free telephone or face to face meeting or to request more information about Milestone’s Next Chapter.  The Milestone Center for Retirement & Estate Planning is a Full-Service Financial, Tax, Medicare Supplement, Insurance and Estate Planning Firm. 

Dee Siegferth, MA, RR, MA Gerontology. Certified Senior Advisor, and Charter member Ed Slott IRA Group.  www.irahelp.com  and Certified Estate Planner.   

Securities offered by Wall Street Strategies, Inc.  362 N. Main Street, Huron, OH 44839 – Member FINRA & SIPC   

 

First Things First

In 2016, ask yourself what are your “first things?”  In Stephen Covey’s book, “First Things First,” he challenges readers “to live, to love, to learn and to leave a legacy.”   I challenge you to think ahead and live this year thinking of three or four things that matter most to you?  

Of the three or four things that matter, this year, take the “First Thing First Challenge.”  At Milestone, we have assisted more than a few of our valuable clients/ friends through serious illnesses and eventual passing this past year.  Each of their stories is quite different, but when critical illness happens, we strive to ensure that their wishes are met.   This year, make it the year that you can feel safe and confident that you have taken care of important matters such as (1) what you want to do with your “stuff;” (2) how and where you want care; and (3) how you would like to leave your own legacy!  It is also important to ask yourself or loved ones some important questions:

When is the last time you looked at your beneficiary forms for all of your accounts?

1.   Remember, your IRA/401k passes by contract, not based on your Will; which continues to cause problems for heirs due to the fact that IRA distributions are 100% taxable unless you set up lifetime distributions or Stretch IRAs.

2.   Have you updated your Durable Power of Attorney, Durable Power of Health and Living will along with your Will or Trust?  

3.   Are your life insurance policies up to date?   Do your family a favor and take out Final Expense Insurance with your final wishes completed for your funeral or celebration.

4.   Complete your yearly Estate Plan Up-date along with all of your insurance, annuity, bonds, stocks, and your real estate.

In this New Year, take the time to seek professional advice for yourself and those you take care of and get your personal financial, retirement, and risk protection houses in order.   It may take time to organize your savings, income and investments, life insurance, and Long Term Care and Estate Planning documents, but you will have already put “First Things First!”   Mistakes happen every day.  The wrong person, such as a spouse’s new husband or wife or your children’s husband or wife, could inherit your assets instead of your children or grandchildren.   

Stephen Covey states:  “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”  (p. 72).   You can create your own legacy and reality the way you want it to be by “Putting First Things First.”  Once you have completed your “Things that Matter” list, you will have the peace of mind knowing that you have created your own legacy the way you wanted it to be! 

Call 330-644-0284 or email me at dee@themilestonecenter.com to take advantage of a Complimentary Life Review meeting to help you or your loved ones get the documents and professional assistance you may need to check off your “Things that Matter” list.  At Milestone, we work with Estate Planning Attorneys, Companion Services, Crossroads Hospice, and a CPA to meet all of your Safe Money and Risk Protection Needs.   

Dee is a Charter Member of Ed Slott’s Masters Elite IRA Group, which requires completion of intensive training each year.  See www.irahelp.com for more information

Stephen Covey, A. Roger Merrill, Rebecca R. Merrill, “First Things First” 1995.

Medicare Open Enrollment

Medicare Open Enrollment Period Begins October 15, 2015 Now is a good time to review your current Medicare plan during this Open enrollment period. You may want to ask yourself some “What if” questions if you are currently receiving Medicare!   The Medicare open enrollment period is the time during which people with Medicare can make new choices and pick plans that work best for them. Each year, Medicare plans typically change what they cost and cover.  If you are receiving Medicare, now is a good time to review your current Medicare plan. Most people do not worry about their plan until they need to utilize medical, hospital, testing, or prescription drug services.

The Medicare open enrollment period begins on October 15 and runs through December 7. The open enrollment period is your opportunity to switch Medicare health and prescription drug plans to better suit your needs.   During the open enrollment period, you can:

  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) Plan
  • Switch from one Part D Prescription plan to another Part D  prescription plan
  • Drop your Part D coverage altogether
  • Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare
  • Change from one Medicare Advantage Plan to a different Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Supplement Plan.
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer prescription drug coverage
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that does offer prescription drug coverage

What's new in 2015?

Most Part D plans have a temporary limit on what a particular plan will cover for prescription drugs. In 2015, this gap in coverage (also called the "donut hole") will begin after you and your drug plan have spent $2,960 on covered drugs. It is set to end after you have spent $4,700 out-of-pocket, after which catastrophic coverage begins. However, part of the Affordable Care Act gradually closes this gap by reducing your out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions purchased in the coverage gap. In 2015, you'll pay 45% of the cost for brand-name drugs in the coverage gap and 65% of the cost for generic drugs in the coverage gap. Each succeeding year, out-of-pocket prescription drug costs in the coverage gap will continue to decrease until 2020, when you'll pay 25% for covered brand-name and generic drugs in the gap.

Where can you get more information?

Determining what coverage you have now and comparing it to other Medicare plans can be confusing and complicated. Pay attention to notices you receive from Medicare and from your plan, and take advantage of help available by calling 1-800-MEDICARE or by visiting the Medicare website, www.medicare.gov. Your financial professional can also help you find the information you need to make decisions about Medicare.

You may contact Dee with questions or comments at 330-644-0284 or email: dee@themilestonecenter.com Check out Dee’s Blog at www.themilestonecenter.com

A Story of How Life Insurance Saved My Family.

We all have a story...some are fun, some are sad, but we always manager to get through especially when we have the help of others.

A 27-year-old new mother, Bridgette, suddenly became a widow as her husband was killed in a car accident. Making it even worse, she had to borrow money from her parents to pay for her husband's funeral. He had no life insurance.

She was not looking for a relationship, but in six months friends introduced her to Anthony. He was persistent and eventually they married and opened a business.

With three children to care for, they bought small life insurance policies. Eventually, they purchased considerably more life insurance.

Within a year, Anthony found a bump on his chin. He had recently walked through a spider web at a job site and assumed it was a bite. But it didn’t go away. He learned it was melanoma, a cancer he had battled as a teenager. It soon spread to his lungs, brain and bones.

Still wanting to provide for his family, Anthony invoked a provision in one of his life insurance policies that allowed for an early payout to a terminally ill policyholder, and used part of his death benefit to buy a nicer home for his family. He oversaw renovations and was able to spend a month in the house before he died at 34.

The remaining money from Anthony’s policies helped Bridgette pay off medical bills and meet her household expenses. It also kept the business afloat. She could make payroll and pay vendors while she and her foreman reassured clients that the business would continue. Without that money she would have had to close the business.

September is life insurance month be prepared and protected,

-Dee


Life Insurance Awareness Month!

 The perfect time to take stock of your life insurance needs. We work with the Top-rated insurance companies to find you the best rates to fit your needs. It’s easy to get a quote! 

 


· 

Holding Hands

Each of us has our own experiences holding hands.  As a mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, teacher, administrator, and now an advisor; I think of how I took for granted holding hands until I lost my mother.   When we are very young, we were instructed to hold hands before crossing the street, shopping, at school, or anytime we were in crowds.  As we grew older, there was no need to hold hands with our parents, teachers or significant people in our lives, but we found ourselves shaking hands as a courtesy when we signed the loan for our first house or first job.   Holding or shaking hands had a new meaning as grownups; but holding hands with loved ones, the sick, lonely or friends have never changed.     

Today, I am working with individuals whose parents or loved ones may no longer be able to go places on their own, or they need a helping hand in daily living.   When my mother became less able to drive; our favorite times were trips to the grocery store, her favorite restaurants, or other necessary trips.  As soon as we got in the car, I took her hand and we held hands again; and I would say, “We are a good team, mom.”  Holding hands had a whole new meaning at this stage of my life than it did when I was a child.  During those times, I felt that we were joined heart to heart!     

You may have your own experiences with holding hands, and I am sure you will have many more in your lifetime.    I suggest that holding hands still works today for whatever reason.   Some of you may remember the Beatles Song, “I want to hold your hand” that was so popular in the 60s and is still sung today.   Maybe, you are even humming the song as you read my blog as I am now.   As you go through your week, and you hold hands, enjoy the moment!  You have just made someone’s day!

- Dee

 

Tax Season is Over!

Now is the time for your 2016 Retirement Tax,
Income, and Estate Plan


I have heard many people remark this year,

"I didn't know that my interest, capital gains, dividends or IRA withdrawals would cause my Social Security to be taxed."

"I thought it was a good idea to start my Social Security at 62.   I wish I would have known."  


"You mean I could have paid less tax if I.............?"

"What do you mean my IRA withdrawals go up every year because of Required Minimum Distributions?"

"I was going to seek help for the best way to handle my dad's money before he becomes sick, but.... I put it off."

"I didn't know my savings bonds withdrawals were going to cause my tax bill to go up."


The bottom line is your retirement plan needs to work even for the unexpected turn of events in your life.  Think of visiting your Doctor for a health check-up and keeping your body healthy in the same way as your annual "retirement plan" check-up to save you more money and prevent losses in the future.

~Dee

If you missed my Ed Slott Retirement Road Map Recap class, Don't fret!! I will repeat the class in May.    

How Much Money Do You Need in Retirement?

Your answer usually depends on your yearly expenses and spending.  You can make your own Retirement Savings Plan by following these easy steps:  

(1) Add up your monthly bill payments, including debit and credit withdrawals! 

(2) Multiply your monthly sum by 12.   

(3) To factor in the effects of inflation, you could use an online inflation calculator.

(4) Add in Your future projected Social Security and/or pension amount.  To check your Social Security estimate, visit SSA.gov

(5) Estimate how many years your income will have to last. Remember we are living longer.  

(6) Now, you can set your monthly savings goal.  

(7) Even if you start with small amounts at first, your savings will add up when you use the magic of “compound interest!”  Compound interest is interest you earn not only on your first contribution, but also on accumulated amounts each year!   For example, if you saved $20.00 a week, you will have $1,326 by year’s end.  In 15 years, you will have $36,000 because of compound interest.  Imagine how saving $100 or more each week could affect your future!

To start your automatic savings plan, consider opening an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) this year.  To qualify, you will need to have earned at least this amount in salary or self-employment income. 

The max contribution is based your age: (under age 50 - $5500) and over age 50 - $6500).   

Why contribute to an IRA?  You can deduct your full IRA contribution if your AGI in 2014 is $60,000 –single, or is less than 96,000 -married filing jointly.    

Source Ed Slott’s “Decision Guide,” 2012.  www.irahelp.com.   To find out more about starting Your Own automatic savings IRA plan, email education@themilestonecenter.com or call 330-644-0284.

 

Securities offered through Wall Street Strategies, Inc.

362 N Main St, Huron, OH 44839 (419) 433-5291

Member FINRA & SIPC

A New Year – A Chance to Get it Right!

2015 gives all of us another chance to get it right!   For each of you this resolution may have a different meaning.   As a financial, retirement, and asset protection planner; I see everyday evidence of the good things that happen to those who plan; and I witness the disasters for those who do not plan. Every milestone and every event whether it be taking Social Security, retiring, rolling your 401k, turning 70 ½, suffering a medical event, needing assistance, or experiencing a loved one’s death triggers the need to plan.

For those individuals who are about to retire, you are joined by about 78 million Baby Boomers, who turned age 65 New Years Day.   After age 65, people may find that their resolutions, income, retirement experiences, and risk protection needs are beginning to change; and this period of time is when mistakes begin to happen!   Getting it Right in 2015 will help any age prevent mistakes by making a plan with the help of an adviser to guide you to do what you want with the resources you have acquired; and secondly to protect your assets from any catastrophe whether financial, tax, medical, accidental, or death. 

In 2015, “Your Chance to Get it Right” may include:
1. Taking Control – Having Tax-free or Tax-favored Income for Life.   You can make the right decisions by applying tax strategies, laddering and/or repositioning your income and investments to maximize your income.  You also may take advantage of tax-free strategies using tax-free Roth IRAs or Cash Value Life Insurance. 
2.  Consider continuing Income after you Retire, by choosing a new profession, starting a business or going back to work for yourself.  Think about retiring as a chance to do something you love doing that generates an income.   
3. Stay Active by Moving Every Day in 2015 –It is a proven fact that you can Avoid Disease by drinking healthy water, avoiding junk food, walking, yoga, swimming or exercising.   
4.  Develop your own Asset Protection Plan to protect your Home and Assets from losses to long-term medical care or nursing home stays.  Help your loved ones or parents by making sure they have an asset protection plan also. 
5.   Get important documents done to legally provide your wishes or your parent’s wishes.  Don’t put it off.   You cannot count on anyone being healthy forever.   Without planning, your children, your spouse or caretaker will be making the decisions without your wishes being followed.
6.  Research where are the best places to live for the rest of your lives.   Plan early, get educated, do your research.  It is important to consider your annual cost of living, expenses, taxes and future plans in case you need assistance.   
7.   Enjoy Travel Adventures at different times of the year to investigate the potential best new location for your next stage of life.
8. Enjoy doing what you have always dreamed of doing when you were working! 

-Dee

You may email education@themilestonecenter.com or call 330-644-0284 for more information.

Securities offered through Wall Street Strategies, Inc.

362 N Main St, Huron, OH 44839 (419) 433-5291

Member FINRA & SIPC

HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED BEING A ROOMMATE AGAIN?

Does the thought sound appealing to you?    Remember Felix and Oscar, Friends, or The Golden Girls television shows?  I am still watching all of those shows today.  In these shows, each roommate has a different personality, but they made it work!

I watched the original Felix and Oscar, “The Odd Couple” movie, over Christmas vacation and I was amazed at how opposite the two men were, but their arrangement worked in its own way.  With Felix and Oscar, Friends, and The Golden Girls, their living arrangements began as a cost savings move.  

Today, these arrangements could be cost savings and also provide companionship instead of loneliness!

I think most people will agree that it costs much more than it did to live alone in our parents’ generation than it would cost today.   We are living longer and the chances of being alone is greater.  It is a known fact that baby boomers are living longer, but not necessarily healthier according to the Federal Administration on Aging; and by 2030, one out of every five Americans will be 65 years old or older as reported in this ABC News Report.  The big question is where and how would we all rather live if we’re left alone.

My big questions to readers:

1.    Would you consider living with roommates or in a shared housing arrangement?

Yes or No

2. Would you like to live in a Senior Village with your own apartment or mobile home?

Yes or No

3. Would you like to stay in your own home and have a “visiting friend” check in on you?

Yes or No

4. Would you like to move in with your children?

Yes or No

5. Would you rather share a room with a stranger in a nursing home?

Yes or No

6. Do you think you could benefit from a living arrangement plan in place before decisions may be made for you by someone else?

Yes or No

 Most statistics show that few make their decisions ahead of time, but I wonder if people had access to these options ahead of time would they make their choices ahead of time? What do you think?

I am working on having a venue for you to have Your Options or Your Choices completed ahead of time before decisions are made for you.  What do you think?

 -Dee

I would appreciate your response in the comment section below!!

ABC News report cited from http://abcnews.go.com/Business/againg-baby-boomers-roommates/  5/5/2014

 

Securities offered through Wall Street Strategies, Inc.

362 N Main St, Huron, OH 44839 (419) 433-5291

Member FINRA & SIPC

 

Give Away a Tax-Free Gift for Christmas Before Year-End!

It is almost Christmas, and some grandparents, aunt, uncles or even parents would rather give gifts of meaning.  I have discussed giving contributions for education using life insurance, Coverdell, or 529 plans in a previous blog.   Since writing that particular article, I discovered that many of my clients, staff, and readers did not know about one of the easiest and probably the most popular year-end tax planning idea of using gift tax exemptions for gift giving.   Any taxpayer can use this tax- free gift idea for tuition or other gift ideas for loved ones. 

The big question is how much can a taxpayer gift?  According to the IRS, a married couple has the right to donate up to $28,000 together and $14,000 for a single person to as many deserving beneficiaries as they can find.   The recipient of the gift receives this gift tax-free!  If the donor stays within the gifting limits for that particular year, the gift is tax-free to the donor as well.  Movie Stars, and wealthy people have continued to take advantage of this gift exemption strategy to move assets out of their estates. 

The IRS website covers the most common questions asked, www.irs.gov, which I have included below:

What is considered a gift? Any transfer to an individual, either directly or indirectly, where full consideration (measured in money or money's worth) is not received in return.

What can be excluded from gifts? The general rule is that any gift is a taxable gift. However, there are many exceptions to this rule. Generally, the following gifts are not taxable gifts.

1. Gifts that are NOT more than the annual exclusion for the calendar year.  (2013 Annual Gift Tax Exclusion is $14,000).

2. Tuition or medical expenses you pay for someone (the educational and medical exclusions).

3. Gifts to your spouse or loved ones. 

4. Gifts to a political organization for its use.  In addition to this, gifts to qualifying charities are deductible from the value of the gift(s) made.

May I deduct gifts on my income tax return? Making a gift or leaving your estate to your heirs does not ordinarily affect your federal income tax. You cannot deduct the value of gifts you make (other than gifts that are deductible charitable contributions). If you are not sure whether the gift tax or the estate tax applies to your situation, refer to Publication 950, Introduction to Estate and Gift Taxes.  Source:  irs.gov

Giving a gift to loved ones before the year-ends may be something that readers may want to consider.  I have found some of my clients who are grandparents or aunts have taken advantage of gifting to their younger loved ones; especially since it is has become quite difficult for high school or college graduates to support themselves and pay off student loans at the same time that they are trying to pursue their careers, get married, or raise families.      

-Dee

 

Securities offered through Wall Street Strategies, Inc.

362 N Main St, Huron, OH 44839 (419) 433-5291

Member FINRA & SIPC

Will Income Tax Planning Become More Important in 2015?

What is Stealth Tax, and how can I plan for it?

At our recent Charter Masters Training in November, Ed Slott, predicts that income tax rates for many Americans could exceed estate tax rates, especially when state taxes are considered.

What is a Stealth Tax?  Ed Slott maintains these taxes are below the radar. These taxes raise taxes without raising your tax rates, and they began in 2013.

Who will Stealth Taxes Affect?

Most of Us!

The 5 New and Returning Stealth Taxes include:

1.  The Phase Out of personal exemptions

2.  The reduction of itemized deductions

3.  Increased tax on net investment income

4.  Increased tax on earned income including salary and self-employment income.

5. The decrease in deductible medical expenses.  

There is no Quick Fix to this problem.  Ed Slott maintains that your key strategy should be to create a long-term solution.

To plan for the long term, it becomes more important to plan with the end in mind, which will allow you to have more money in your pocket than in Uncle Sam’s.

Visit www.irahelp.com for more information.  Ask your questions, and I will find the answers you need to help you maximize your retirement income and lower the effects of Stealth Taxes!

I am interested in your feedback.  Send your comments back to me in the space below.

Dee

Dee is a Charter Masters IRA Advisor with Ed Slott's IRA Advisory Group since 2004.   

2014 Year End Reminders

Year End 2014 Reminders
by Dee Siegferth

It seems like the beginning of 2014 was just a short time ago, and here it is the end of the year already.  How many of you feel the same way?   Now, we have to try to get things done before 2015 begins. As we prepare for the Holiday Season and New Year, I wanted to help you be prepared for 2015 with the following: Year End 2014 Reminders.

 #1 Check your Credit Report.   Once a year, you can get a free credit report through the big three nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This is your opportunity to make sure your credit report is accurate.  Errors can negatively impact many financial transactions such as loan applications and credit card interest rates.  You can order your free report my mailing a report request to:  Annual Credit Report Request Service, PO Box 105283Atlanta, GA 30348-5283 or go to www. annualcreditreport.com

#2 Boost your Savings and Investments!  Before the year is over, boost your savings by consider applying some tax reducing strategies:  contribute to tax-deferred annuities, Retirement Accounts or Roth IRAs.    For information on Retirement Account Contribution Limits you may request a FREE 2014/2015 Tax Chart from our office.

 #3 Review your investment portfolio.  Even though you receive your statements from insurance, mutual fund companies, and financial institutions, you want to check how your investments have done this year. This has been a great year for most stocks, variable or mutual funds, but will it continue through 2015?  Consider your time table and your tolerance to risk.   Your investments need regular checkups and evaluations.

#4 Take a Required Minimum Distribution from your IRA account.  If you’ve turned 70 1/2 by the end of 2014, you’ll need to take a minimum distribution from your IRA account by the end of December in order to avoid taking two distributions in 2015. Please consult with your financial adviser or accountant regarding the amount you need to withdraw to fulfill the Required Minimum Distribution.

#5 Ensure that Your Estate is in Order.  (1) Have you completed your Will, Trust, Durable Power of Attorney, Health or Living Will? (2) Are your beneficiary designation forms up to date?  These forms are the most overlooked documents in your financial plan.  They need reviewed regularly. (3) Have you applied protection strategies to protect your home from losses due to medical catastrophes? (4) Have you checked your current life insurance coverage?   Are you underinsured? Are you over-insured?

To ensure that you are on the right track for 2015, call today to request your FREE Year End “Tune Up”!  Call our office at 330-644-0284 or email contact@themilestonecenter.com to request your Key Financial Data Chart for 2014 and 2015.  Dee Siegferth is a Charter member of Ed Slott’s Masters Elite IRA Advisor Group and we strive to keep you up to date with all NEW tax laws.  

 

Are You Checking Your Yearly Social Security Updates?

November 24, 2014

Are You Checking Your Yearly Social Security Updates?

Many of you have asked this question since you have noticed that you have not received a yearly update.  According to Robert Fenn’s article in the Beacon Journal from the Social Security administration, Akron office, Social Security yearly updates have been scaled back.

According to Fenn, in September, Social Security resumed mailing statements to workers ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 , 55, and 50 who are not yet receiving Social Security benefits, and who have not registered for a “My Social Security” account.   Rather than every 5 years, those over age 60 will receive a statement every year.  It is recommended to open a “My Social Security” account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.   Many of you have found that the site is not so user friendly, and we have helped many of you through this process. 

 Help:    If you or others you know would like to have a Social Security update, our office will assist you by checking online and even help you set up your own online account.  

Taking Social Security at the right time is a critical decision, especially if you own a Retirement Account (IRA, 401k, 403b, or 457).   Up to 85% of your Social Security can be taxed due to provisional income rulings, and Your Retirement Accounts have never been taxed!

 Help:   I believe that everyone, regardless of age, needs to have a yearly check up to ensure that your savings, investments, Social Security, and Retirement Accounts put more money in your pocket, Not Uncle Sam’s.

Email me your thoughts.

Please forward this blog to others.

 The Miletone Center for Retirement & Estate Planning, LLC 

2780 S. Arlington Road STE 201

Akron, Ohio 44321  

dee@themilestonecenter.com

330-644-0284

Thank you to Veterans!

Today is Veterans Day and my grandson who is a 4th grader had a speaking part in his school’s special assembly: “Honoring our Veterans”. As a special touch, family members who were veterans were invited to a special breakfast before the presentation. As I heard my grandson practice his lines for the program this past Sunday, I wondered how many of us Americans really take the time to Thank them for protecting our nation. I decided to search for information online on the various Veteran Celebrations. I found an article that is worth sharing about Wayne Smith, who served as Master of Ceremonies at an event sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 905 in Porter County on Sunday, November 9th.

Smith related: “For many veterans, hearing two little words can mean more than any medals they may have received.” Smith also suggested: “Each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say, “Thank you”- That's all most people need,”

Today, U. S. Military Veterans face another need when they return home from Iraq or Afghanistan, which is finding a job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that the unemployment rate among Gulf War Veterans is 9.4%. When I discovered this statistic, I felt that it was worth sharing! I would be interested to hear from readers their thoughts about this alarming statistic.

My mission has and will continue to be to encourage anyone who has a job to begin saving and building a nest egg for their future. When I discovered the challenges veterans face in finding employment, I would hope as we honor veterans this week; employers will also consider hiring veterans for skilled employment. On this Veteran’s Day and every day, let’s take the time to just say “Thank You,” to each and every veteran, and to realize the challenges that each veteran has faced and is facing when they come home!

Source Chesterton Local News, Veterans Day, Vietnam Veterans of America.

A Divine Decision

My husband’s sister and her husband lived with their four children ages 19, 14, 10 and 6 in Akron living paycheck to paycheck.  The coffee was always on when any guest entered, and you always felt at home regardless of the children underfoot.    My sister-in-law volunteered for more than one event at the local Catholic Church in order that her children could attend tuition free, and she could be a stay-at-home mom. Just one month before their lives would change forever, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law made the decision to purchase life insurance on each other even though making those payments would stretch their budget.  In just one month, my sister-in-law was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer; and she passed within two and a half months.    My brother-in-law was thankful that they had taken out that life insurance policy as he later shared this fact with me.    He was able to pay off all debts.

At the end of that first year of living this new life without his wife and mother of his children, Billy was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  We all asked in disbelief, “How could this happen?”   After many talks and discussions with me and others, he made a plan for his children.   He worked with attorneys to create a trust for his children from his own life insurance policy benefits.   He lived a year and a half after the diagnosis, and he made every minute count with his children.  My husband and I became back up guardians as the 20 year daughter took on the task of raising her siblings.  Now, they are all grown, and each has obtained a college degree.

After my niece, the oldest,  and I  sat together over coffee yesterday;  I  thought about the divine decision her parents  had made when they purchased those two life insurance policies a month before tragedy began to strike their family.   Neither parent had any idea that either one would pass away so soon!   Yet, that “divine decision” allowed their children to live in the same house without money worries.  The youngest child is now an accountant.  He was able to finish his degree because of the benefits of an “orphan scholarship.”  All three children attended Catholic Schools through full scholarships because of the “time” that their mother gave to the schools volunteering for every church or school event.  As I reflect on both of their divine decisions, I marvel that their parents made the decision by taking the time to purchase individual life insurance policies to protect each other and their children.

This month is dedicated to helping raise awareness of the need to purchase Life Insurance to protect the ones you love.  I encourage each of you to forward this email to those you care about.  Life insurance costs pennies a day to give the gift that just keeps giving!

Our office offers every type of life insurance that fits every person’s needs and budget.   No one can predict when a “Divine Decision” can make a difference tomorrow!

 

Dee

 

 

The Suburbanite/February 2012

Portage Lakes, Ohio —

With the way the economy has been over the last few years, people are looking for creative ways to maintain and get the most from their pension plans and other sources for retirement.

That is the business of Dee Siegferth, President for The Milestone Center for Retirement and Estate Planning LLC. She studies, researches and puts her knowledge into stepping up to the challenge that today's retirees face.

Siegferth is familiar with the new and up to date plans including Guaranteed Lifetime Income Products. 

The agency, located at 2780 South Arlington Rd. Suite 201, is known for its seminars to inform the public of trends and just what is happening and working best in the financial world. Siegferth is nationally known for her expertise on financial planning and continually brings in knowledgeable experts to hold seminars above and beyond her educational seminars.

One such expert is Duncan McGuffie, Divisional Vice President for Prudential. He recently met with Milestone clients and guests speaking on the challenges facing today's retirees.

More than 60 people attended the fast- paced one hour event. It helped these retirees and future retirees to receive up to date information. McGuffie showed the retirees and future retirees how they can have assurance to plan for guaranteed income for life as well as for their spouse and heirs by using the newer product.

“People who have old 401ks or other retirement accounts may want to take a look at planning their own retirement pension plan with lifetime income annuities to ensure that their money will never run out,” Siegferth said.

She said the gist of what McGuffie told the group was that creating your own pension has become important for most working Ohioans.

“Most have no pensions and most of their money is in the stock market in 401k's or other retirement accounts,” she said.

Prudential along with other top insurance agencies have introduced these Guaranteed Lifetime Income Products. The plans have spousal continuance which allows for the spouse to continue having a pension like income in addition to their Social Security.

Prudential has partnered with the top fund companies, such as JP Morgan, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, Block Rock and Franklin Templeton to name a few. This allows consumers to benefit from a     variety of fund choices. 

McGuffee pointed out that working with top funds companies and money managers gives investors choices and expertise while having guarantees of lifetime income regardless of market importance.

“This is good news for consumers and proves to be what the public wants and needs,” he said.

McGuffie told the audience how lifetime income annuities now have a place in pre-retirees and retirees retirement plans as a strong replacement for pensions that have disappeared.  He meets regularly with Prudential's money management partners and economic experts so he keeps advisors up to date on the current market trends and long term market forecasts.

Siegferth is committed to bringing information to the public including monthly educational events and her live radio broadcast on Sundays at 11 a.m. on WNIR FM.

“Taking care of your financial future should be as much a part of your life as taking care of your health,” she said.

For more information on financial events visit www.themilestonecenter.com or call 330-644-0284.

Living Well Article/February 2012

The old saying, “A Penny saved is a Penny Earned,” still works today.    The Pennies if saved with compound interest could help anyone create their future retirement plan.  Everyone starts planning for retirement at different stages in their lives; but in today’s world; taking the right steps can mean the difference between having a secure retirement or not.             The ups and downs of the stock market and the bad economy have definitely affected Ohioan’s portfolios and budgets.  In addition, the rising cost of living has caused many of you to consider working longer in order to have enough income in retirement.  Ask any current retiree who is living on a fixed income about what the rising cost of gas or groceries does to their budget.

            To start your “Successful Retirement Plan,” you may want to think of building four separate buckets:   Your first Savings bucket should consist of liquid funds in case they are needed for emergencies, which is usually 6 months salary.  Your Second Bucket may consist of an Employer Retirement Account or Your own IRA/Roth IRA Investment Plan. 

            If your employer has a sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401k, 403b;   take advantage of your employer's matching contributions.  Even if your employer doesn’t match, a retirement plan is an easy way to build your portfolio for retirement, but don’t put all of your savings into Pre-Tax Retirement Plans.  These accounts are taxable when you begin taking distributions.

            Thirdly is your Security Bucket; which should include adequate life and umbrella insurance; and your Will and Important Healthcare documents.  Your Security Bucket’s savings and investments should include strategies based on your risk tolerance, which depends on your answer to this question: “How much are you willing to lose?”    

            Your fourth bucket is Your Guaranteed Income for Life Bucket.  Lastly, there are certain life and annuity products available today, which will help you build your own pension-like Guaranteed Income for Life.  If you rely on Social Security or a Government Pension to satisfy all your income needs, you may find yourself without enough income in retirement.

            Are you ready to Start Saving?  Even if Saving means skipping the “Caramel Latte” a few days out of the week.   Working with a financial professional who can help you build your Retirement Bucket is a “Smart Thing to do.” 

For more information on Taking the Right Steps for Achieving Lifelong Financial Security, contact Dee Siegferth at 330-644-0284 or dee@themilestonecenter.com.  Dee is available to provide educational classes to any organization.    Dee Siegferth, President of The Milestone Center, is a Charter Member of Ed Slott’s Masters Elite IRA Advisor Group.  For more information on Ed Slott, visit, www.irahelp.com. 

 

EXCITING NEWS!!

We have EXCITING  news!! We have officially moved into our new beautiful office building! It is located at 2780 S. Arlington Road, Suite 201, Akron, OH 44312.

The Milestone Center

  • Risk Protection
  • Retirement and Supplemental Plans
  • Wealth Protection Planning
  • Business and Tax Planning

Please call us with any questions!

330 644-0284

 

The Women's Journal - December/January 2012

This Christmas Season- Consider Buying Locally and Using Local Service Businesses By: Dee Siegferth

It is no secret that the economy and stock market have been volatile this year, and   Shopping for bargains will make the difference to help shoppers spend less this year.  You may have noticed that The National Retail Chains and National Service Providers and have increased their Ads and Sales to entice buyers to take advantage of these lower prices on those must have electronic items.  

      Why not think “Outside the Box” this Christmas?   Instead of spending all of your money buying from the big retail chains this year, consider buying locally!  You could purchase gift certificates for your loved ones or friends from local businesses, such as:  gym memberships, car washes, snow plowing, spas, restaurants, or local bakeries to name a few.  You could even make plan gift giving with gift certificates to attend future local events with your friends or family.   Your local entertainment section of the newspapers or TV stations’ websites post community events, such as plays, musicals, and festivals.  At our local business at the Milestone Center, we encourage parents and grandparents to give the gift of contributing to their children, grandchildren, nieces’ or nephews’ education fund for their future careers.   How about thinking local for your gift giving and give our local economy a boost, and buy creative Christmas gifts for your loved ones and friends?

If you have a question for Dee or to get your Free Report, “What All Women Should Know About Retirement”, call 330-644-0284 or email dee@themilestonecenter.com.