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More Than Money Newsletter - May 2015

Dear Friends, 

“Will Health Care Costs in Retirement Make You Sick?”

If you were unable to join us for this important live event, please email us and request the handout (JoAnne@AskM tM.com).  Even better, request a free no obligation retirement review with one of our More than Money advisors. 

“May 17th – An Era Comes to an End”

For thirty years WAEB radio and AccuWeather have met each year to play some (remarkably bad) softball and raise money for Animals in Distress.  On May 17th we will play our final game in this wonderful series.  Gene will take the mound as starting pitcher for WAEB.  The entire day promises to be emotional and memorable.  We’ll raise lots of money for the puppies and kittens – with your help – eat lots of ballpark food, give away some amazing prizes, and say goodbye to a wonderful event.  Please join us.

“Senior Americans Face Serious Abuse Risks”

Caring financial advisors like ours at our More than Money team face a real dilemma while serving the most senior of their clients.  Senior Americans face serious challenges as they age.  Loss of health.  Loss of cognitive abilities.  Risk of abuse – physical, emotional, and financial.  Advisors face the challenge of both recognizing and responding when these events strike one of their clients.

Our More than Money team is working with our compliance partners at The Strategic Financial Alliance to develop appropriate procedures to deal with situations such as these. We have researched an impressive body of work done by FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) in their efforts to protect the American senior investor from both financial advisors looking to take advantage of seniors at their most vulnerable. 

Is it as simple as having a ‘contact person’ designated by each client that the advisor can reach out to if the advisor suspects something is wrong?  We’re looking for your thoughts.  What steps would you want your advisor to take if he/she suspected something was seriously amiss?  Please email me (Gene@AskMtM.com) with your thoughts.  Don’t like email?  Feel free to call me directly (610-746-7007) or any Saturday morning on our More than Money radio show (610-720-7900).

“Can You Keep Your Heirs from Fighting Over Your Estate?”

It depends.  Sadly, it depends way more on your heirs than you.  Robin Williams is a good example of ‘the best laid plans of mice and men . . . ‘ 

William’s tragic death in 2014 caught many of us who enjoyed his talents for so many years off guard.  It is difficult to understand how someone could achieve such success and yet not find enough happiness to keep his will to live – alive.  Williams did however take the time and effort to craft a very sophisticated estate plan in an attempt to provide for this current (third) wife of three years and his three adult children.  Sadly, the court battles between his wife and children continue with no apparent end in sight.  Could this have been avoided?  By everything I have read and reviewed – not likely.

If you wish to avoid family squabbles – or worse – over your estate, you need more than just documents.  You need absolute clarity.  General ‘legal’ language may actually work against you.  Very specific language is required.  Letters of instruction are invaluable.  Memos of guidance are very helpful.  Even a video of you discussing your very clear intentions could help head off some conflict.  Will all this guarantee an estate free of fighting?  It depends . . .

“Psychic vs. Psychotic – Where is the Stock Market Going?”

One of the most disconcerting things an advisor can hear from a perspective client is, “Make sure you move our funds out of the market when you see it will be going down!”  This one simple instruction is a red flag of monumental proportions. 

This instruction is based on the theory that someone (a wise – even psychic – advisor) – has the ability to foretell the future of the market.  As one of America’s foremost philosophers (Yogi Berra) is quoted as saying, “Predicting is very hard – especially about the future!”   As legend tells it, one of America’s wisest financial advisors (Gene Dickison) is reported to have said, “Anyone who thinks they – or anyone else - can predict the direction of the stock market is not psychic – they are psychotic!”

So we have two important conclusions to draw.  First, any client who is seeking to find and advisor with the ability to predict the direction of the market is acting very foolishly indeed.  Second, any advisor who claims to have the (psychic) ability to predict the direction of the market is either off their meds, delusional, or a criminal.  Wise advisors don’t want foolish clients.  Wise clients don’t want criminal advisors.  Pretty simple, really.

“Free Money”

Doesn’t that just sound wonderful?  Free money.  We all know that there is no such thing as a free lunch, but is there really somewhere we can find free money?  It depends.

One of the most misguided things an advisor can hear from a prospective client is“I have a 401(k) with a company match, but I don’t participate.”  Simply put, a company match in a 401(k) is free money.  When you walk away (either completely or by not investing enough to get the entire match) you walk away from free money.  The most recent example (yesterday) was a gentleman whose company offers a 100% match of his contributions up to 5% of his salary.  His salary is $140,000 - 5% of his salary is $7,000.  If he chose to contribute $7,000, his company would add another $7,000 (free money) instantly to his account.  To this point, he has – in effect – said ‘no thanks’ to $7,000 a year.  Is it really a good idea to say ‘no thanks’ to $7,000?  Where I come from – we don’t say no to $7,000.  We sign up and say thank you, very much.

“Hybrid Insurance”

More and more folks are becoming informed/educated/aware of the trend in the insurance industry toward ‘hybrid’ insurance policies.  Simply stated, hybrid polices combine protection against multiple risks in one policy.  One of the most interesting of these hybrids provides both life insurance and long term care insurance.  Unlike traditional life or LTC insurance plans that carry annual premiums, hybrid polices are normally single premium plans or ones with premiums paid over a limited number of years (3-10 most typically).  Should an insured require care – they are covered by the benefits of the policy.  Should an insured never need care, but passes away – their heirs will receive the life insurance proceeds.

Is this a good idea for you?  It depends.  To determine if such a plan fits your financial situation requires you spend the time and effort to understand the moving parts of such hybrid policies.  It also requires an evaluation of the impact of funding such a plan might have on your other financial goals.  Don’t let a salesman convince you this is a simple and easy decision to make.  It is not.  Take your time.  Get educated by a professional that has your best interests at heart.  Ask lots of questions.  Then make the decision that best fits you.


More than Money Radio and Television

Have Breakfast with Gene every Saturday Morning at 8:06 as 

More than Money with Gene Dickison airs on AM790 WAEB. 
all with your questions live at 610-720-7900 
Two Full Hours – 8:06 through 10:00 AM.

 Who would you like to see interviewed on our radio or television show? 

What topics would you like Gene to discuss?

 Send your suggestions to JoAnne@AskMTM.com

 

Words are Powerful Tools for American Freedom

Abraham Lincoln holds a very special place in the hearts of all true Americans.  A deeply flawed human – as we all are – Lincoln acted in spite of his flaws to bring our nation back from the brink of destruction.  He faced challenges that no one can imagine and found solutions from a source many might not yet acknowledge:

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.  My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”

Is it possible that Lincoln was able to provide direction and inspiration to our country precisely because he sought direction and inspiration from God?  Can there be any doubt that God offers us the answers to our most perplexing challenges.  Would not the United States be far more united if we were allowed – even encouraged – to unite around the will of God? 

The damage that has been done to our great nation by our so-called leaders is both terrible and reversible.  Do I know what path will take us from today’s dismal collection of self-important elected officials to a new era of principled public servants?  I do not.  But I am confident that my God knows the path.  I am confident that if I spend enough time on my knees - listening – I may well hear solutions my own wisdom could never divine.  I am confident that millions of Americans joining me on our knees can bring America back with the collective wisdom and insight of folks far smarter and far more ‘connected’ to the true source of wisdom than any of today’s politicians could ever dream.

When you are sad and frustrated with what you see in the world today – do what Lincoln would do.  Pray.

Please allow us to serve you and those you love.

Thank you,

Gene

P.S.  What do your prayers tell you to do to move America back on track?

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