Letter from the CEO

 

May 2016

 Geof-Scanlon - Scanlon & Associates Employee Benefits BrokersThe Purpose of My E-Newsletter

I hope you enjoy receiving my e-newsletter.  It is intended to enhance and complement the personalized service that you already receive from me.  The e-newsletter’s main objective is to ensure, regardless of busy work schedules and travel plans, that each of my clients will receive at least a minimal amount of timely advice on a regular basis.  I also hope it will stimulate your thinking on issues related to your personal finances by providing you with articles on a variety of financial topics.  Please feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions or comments, particularly with regard to the applicability of a given idea to your personal situation.

Please be liberal in sharing this e-newsletter with your colleagues and friends.  Feel free to call or e-mail me with the names and addresses of people who might enjoy receiving their own copy of this e-newsletter.

Federal Reserve Policies and Their Financial Impact
The policies of the Federal Reserve directly impact our economy, though the extent of that impact varies. In order to understand the effects of the Federal Reserve’s policies, it’s important to discern between these policies and those of the legislative branch.
[FULL ARTICLE…Federal Reserve Policies and Their Financial Impact]
How to Evaluate Investment Results
There are at least four different ways of evaluating how well your portfolio has performed. These include: focus on only your short-term results, look at each of your positions in isolation from the others, concentrate on how your results make you feel, and compare your returns to a benchmark index. What’s wrong with these approaches?
[FULL ARTICLE…How to Evaluate Investment Results]
Recent Employment Trends
During the recession of December 2007 to June 2009, unemployment rates rose from 5% to 9.5%, peaking at 10% in October 2009. Since that period, unemployment has gradually dropped each year, with an average of 5.3% in 2015, a seven-year low more closely resembling prerecession unemployment figures.
[FULL ARTICLE…Recent Employment Trends]
5 Facts about Estate Planning
When it comes to the future, most Americans have a blind spot: estate planning. Maybe it’s because of an unwillingness to think about mortality or a sense that wills and trusts are only for the wealthy that leads people to ignore this important financial planning task. That’s a problem, because not having an estate plan could put your family’s financial future in jeopardy and cause other serious consequences.
[FULL ARTICLE…5 Facts about Estate Planning]
Protect Your Financial Security
One of your first financial goals should be to protect your family’s financial security from major catastrophes. To do so, consider these four items: a cash reserve for short-term emergencies, adequate insurance in all major areas, umbrella liability insurance, and a power of attorney.
[FULL ARTICLE…Protect Your Financial Security]

Letter from the CEO

April 2016
Geof-Scanlon - Scanlon & Associates Employee Benefits BrokersThe Purpose of My E-NewsletterI hope you enjoy receiving my e-newsletter.  It is intended to enhance and complement the personalized service that you already receive from me.  The e-newsletter’s main objective is to ensure, regardless of busy work schedules and travel plans, that each of my clients will receive at least a minimal amount of timely advice on a regular basis.  I also hope it will stimulate your thinking on issues related to your personal finances by providing you with articles on a variety of financial topics.  Please feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions or comments, particularly with regard to the applicability of a given idea to your personal situation.

Please be liberal in sharing this e-newsletter with your colleagues and friends.  Feel free to call or e-mail me with the names and addresses of people who might enjoy receiving their own copy of this e-newsletter.

Estate-Planning Considerations for Your Children
It takes special care to create an estate plan that efficiently distributes your assets and meets your goals for every person and cause important to you. But no part of the process means more to most people than that which involves their children.
[FULL ARTICLE…Estate-Planning Considerations for Your Children]
Big Life Changes?
Does your financial plan fit with your current life? If it’s more than a few years old, there’s a good chance it doesn’t. After all, your financial plan isn’t just a static document. It’s a dynamic set of guidelines that need to be adjusted whenever your life changes.
[FULL ARTICLE…Big Life Changes?]
To Sell or Not to Sell?
To buy or not to buy? To sell or not to sell? Those are perhaps two of the most difficult questions that an investor will ever face. Knowing when to buy and sell securities is a tough game, and trying to choose the perfect moments to get in and out of the market is very difficult for individual investors.
[FULL ARTICLE…To Sell or Not to Sell?]
Investing Dos and Don’ts
Investing is a very involved process with a lot of financial jargon that can be difficult for a layperson to interpret. With so many things to consider throughout the investment process, it helps to have guidance. Here is a list of do’s and don’ts to remember whether you are a new investor or a seasoned veteran.
[FULL ARTICLE…Investing Dos and Don’ts]
Should You Serve as a Guardian?
When asked to serve as the guardian of someone’s minor children in the event of his/her death, it is usually meant as a compliment that the person trusts you to serve in this important role. While you may fear that you’ll hurt your relationship with that person by saying no, don’t accept this role without giving it serious thought.
[FULL ARTICLE…Should You Serve as a Guardian?]

Letter from the CEO


March 2016

 Geof-Scanlon - Scanlon & Associates Employee Benefits BrokersThe Purpose of My E-NewsletterI hope you enjoy receiving my e-newsletter.  It is intended to enhance and complement the personalized service that you already receive from me.  The e-newsletter’s main objective is to ensure, regardless of busy work schedules and travel plans, that each of my clients will receive at least a minimal amount of timely advice on a regular basis.  I also hope it will stimulate your thinking on issues related to your personal finances by providing you with articles on a variety of financial topics.  Please feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions or comments, particularly with regard to the applicability of a given idea to your personal situation.

 

Please be liberal in sharing this e-newsletter with your colleagues and friends.  Feel free to call or e-mail me with the names and addresses of people who might enjoy receiving their own copy of this e-newsletter.

Give Yourself a Money Makeover
A new haircut or wardrobe overhaul can work wonders in terms of giving someone a fresh outlook on life and a self-esteem boost. The same can be said for a money makeover. While it might not be quite as fun as a traditional makeover, a money makeover can improve your finances. Best of all, unlike other kinds of makeovers, a money makeover can actually save you money.
[FULL ARTICLE…Give Yourself a Money Makeover]
Financial Planning for Married Couples
Marriage is a partnership. You and your spouse are a team both personally and financially. But sometimes, that partnership needs a little work. Even if you’ve been married for decades, you may need a refresher course on financial planning basics. Here are six financial moves married couples should make.
[FULL ARTICLE…Financial Planning for Married Couples]
Talking to Parents about Finances
Often, our parents need a gentle nudge or reminder to take their medication or make it to a doctor’s appointment. Other times, there’s the need for full financial intervention. The tough job is knowing the difference.
[FULL ARTICLE…Talking to Parents about Finances]
Do You Really Need 70%?
A general retirement planning rule of thumb indicates that you’ll need 70% to 80% of your preretirement income. Many estimates now indicate that may be too little for those who want to live an active retirement lifestyle. But when you realize how much you need to save, it’s tempting to question whether you really need even 70% of your preretirement income.
[FULL ARTICLE…Do You Really Need 70%?]
Tips for Your Asset Allocation
Unfortunately, there is no one asset allocation plan that is suitable for all investors. You need to evaluate your risk tolerance, time horizon for investing, and return needs to determine how you should allocate your portfolio among the various investment categories. To help you with those decisions, consider these points.
[FULL ARTICLE…Tips for Your Asset Allocation]

Letter from the CEO

 February 2016

 Geof-ScanlonThe Purpose of My E-NewsletterI hope you enjoy receiving my e-newsletter.  It is intended to enhance and complement the personalized service that you already receive from me.  The e-newsletter’s main objective is to ensure, regardless of busy work schedules and travel plans, that each of my clients will receive at least a minimal amount of timely advice on a regular basis.  I also hope it will stimulate your thinking on issues related to your personal finances by providing you with articles on a variety of financial topics.  Please feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions or comments, particularly with regard to the applicability of a given idea to your personal situation.

 

Please be liberal in sharing this e-newsletter with your colleagues and friends.  Feel free to call or e-mail me with the names and addresses of people who might enjoy receiving their own copy of this e-newsletter.

7 Psychological Traps That Make You a Worse Investor
Sometimes when it comes to investing, volatile markets aren’t your worst enemy. It’s actually you. That’s because money and logic don’t always go hand in hand. Unfortunately, our brain often plays tricks on us, causing even the savviest of investors to make decisions that don’t really make a lot of sense, from panic selling to ignoring opportunities.
[FULL ARTICLE…7 Psychological Traps That Make You a Worse Investor]
Reevaluate Your Portfolio
Periodically, you should thoroughly review your portfolio to ensure it is still helping you work toward your investment goals. Follow these steps during that review. Review your current portfolio mix. List the current value of all your investments.
[FULL ARTICLE…Reevaluate Your Portfolio]
Converting to a Roth IRA
Roth IRAs are a valuable retirement planning tool, as they offer a source of tax-free income after you retire. And since the federal government relaxed conversion rules in 2010, even high-income earners have been able convert to Roth IRAs. But despite some advantages, Roth IRA conversions aren’t right for everyone. In simplest terms, a Roth conversion involves changing the tax treatment of your retirement savings.
[FULL ARTICLE…Converting to a Roth IRA]
Retirement Withdrawal Rates
When planning for retirement, most people are focused on how much they need to save. They tend to spend less time thinking about how they’ll make their nest egg last once they stop working. Below, we cover some of the most important things you need to know about retirement withdrawal rates to make your savings last.
[FULL ARTICLE…Retirement Withdrawal Rates]
Reevaluate Your Life Insurance at Retirement
As retirement age approaches, it’s usually a good time to reassess your life insurance policies to see if your needs have changed. With your children on their own and no earned income to replace, you may no longer need a large life insurance policy. Especially if your insurance premiums are high, you may be tempted to cancel the policy, take the cash surrender value, and enjoy retirement.
[FULL ARTICLE…Reevaluate Your Life Insurance at Retirement]

Letter from the CEO

January 2016

Geof-ScanlonThe Purpose of My E-Newsletter
I hope you enjoy receiving my e-newsletter.  It is intended to enhance and complement the personalized service that you already receive from me.  The e-newsletter’s main objective is to ensure, regardless of busy work schedules and travel plans, that each of my clients will receive at least a minimal amount of timely advice on a regular basis.  I also hope it will stimulate your thinking on issues related to your personal finances by providing you with articles on a variety of financial topics.  Please feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions or comments, particularly with regard to the applicability of a given idea to your personal situation.Please be liberal in sharing this e-newsletter with your colleagues and friends.  Feel free to call or e-mail me with the names and addresses of people who might enjoy receiving their own copy of this e-newsletter.
                                                                         
Retirement Pitfalls for Baby Boomers
Since the first baby boomer retiree started collecting Social Security payments in 2007, millions more members of this influential generation have said goodbye to the workforce and hello to what they undoubtedly hope is a long and enjoyable retirement. Now, as many as 10,000 baby boomers are retiring every day, according to statistics from the Pew Research Center.
[FULL ARTICLE…Retirement Pitfalls for Baby Boomers]
Scary Retirement Statistics
As a nation, we’re woefully unprepared for retirement. The tough reality  is that you might not be as prepared for retirement as you think. Here are five scary retirement statistics that should help drive home the                        importance of planning for your future today.
[FULL ARTICLE…Scary Retirement Statistics]
Risk Management Techniques
 The goal of risk management is to help protect your wealth from risks such as death, serious illness, income loss, property damage, and theft.
Prepare a property inventory, listing all assets and their value. This will help you determine how much insurance is needed and can help establish proof of loss in the event of a claim.
[FULL ARTICLE…Risk Management Techniques]
Saving Strategies Based on Your Personal Goals
There are many different reasons to save; and at any given time, you’ll probably be saving for more than one reason. Maybe you’re saving for next year’s family vacation, and at the same time for your children’s education and your retirement. But your approach to saving shouldn’t be the same for each; how and where you save should depend on what your goal is.
[FULL ARTICLE…Saving Strategies Based on Your Personal Goals]
Watching Stocks
No matter how often you prefer to monitor your stocks’ performance, there are certain items you should consider. Here are five things to review as you monitor your stocks’ performance: earnings, price and dividends, P/E and PEG ratios, insider transactions and stock buybacks, and sudden and large changes on high volume.
[FULL ARTICLE…Watching Stocks]

Letter from the CEO

  December 2015

Geof-ScanlonThe Purpose of My E-Newsletter
I hope you enjoy receiving my e-newsletter.  It is intended to enhance and complement the personalized service that you already receive from me.  The e-newsletter’s main objective is to ensure, regardless of busy work schedules and travel plans, that each of my clients will receive at least a minimal amount of timely advice on a regular basis.  I also hope it will stimulate your thinking on issues related to your personal finances by providing you with articles on a variety of financial topics.  Please feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions or comments, particularly with regard to the applicability of a given idea to your personal situation. 

Please be liberal in sharing this e-newsletter with your colleagues and friends.  Feel free to call or e-mail me with the names and addresses of people who might enjoy receiving their own copy of this e-newsletter.
                                                                         

Protecting Your Income with Disability Insurance
The biggest risk to your future financial security isn’t the chance that the stock market will crash or the possibility your company could go belly up at a moment’s notice. These risks pale in comparison to a risk                        that many people don’t ever consider: The chance that you could become disabled and not able to work.
[FULL ARTICLE…Protecting Your Income with Disability Insurance]
IRA Myths and Facts
IRAs are a valuable retirement planning tool, but misconceptions can lead people to not take full advantage of them. Below we review some of the common IRA myths. Myth #1: You invest in an IRA. This myth is really a matter of semantics. People often talk about investing in an IRA, but that’s not quite right. An IRA is a type of account that receives  special tax treatment. Once you open the account, you choose specific investments.
[FULL ARTICLE…IRA Myths and Facts]
Raising Financially Responsible Children
It’s not unusual to have concerns about the impact money may have on  your children’s lifestyles. Even beyond basic financial responsibility, you want to make sure that wealth does not remove your children’s incentive to work hard, to pursue a meaningful career, or to care about other people. How do you help your children obtain values you’d like them to have?
[FULL ARTICLE…Raising Financially Responsible Children]
Assess Your 401(k) Plan
At least annually, you should thoroughly review your 401(k) plan. Some items to consider include:
Have your goals or objectives changed? Most people use their 401(k) plan to fund retirement, although it can also be used for other things. Take time to reassess your goals and objectives.
[FULL ARTICLE…Assess Your 401(k) Plan]
Handling the Financial Aspects of Death
The emotional trauma of dealing with a loved one’s death can be devastating. If you must also handle the financial aspects, it can seem overwhelming to deal with all the details. Following is a checklist of items to consider…
[FULL ARTICLE…Handling the Financial Aspects of Death]

Letter from the CEO

November 2015
Geof-Scanlon - Scanlon & Associates Employee Benefits Brokers
The Purpose of My E-Newsletter
I hope you enjoy receiving my e-newsletter.  It is intended to enhance and complement the personalized service that you already receive from me.  The e-newsletter’s main objective is to ensure, regardless of busy work schedules and travel plans, that each of my clients will receive at least a minimal amount of timely advice on a regular basis.  I also hope it will stimulate your thinking on issues related to your personal finances by providing you with articles on a variety of financial topics.  Please feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions or comments, particularly with regard to the applicability of a given idea to your personal situation.Please be liberal in sharing this e-newsletter with your colleagues and friends.  Feel free to call or e-mail me with the names and addresses of people who might enjoy receiving their own copy of this e-newsletter.
                                                                         
Does Your Insurance Need Adjusting?
The policies that were just right for you five years ago — or even one                        year ago — may not be just right today. Thus, you should review your                        insurance every year or after a major life event, such as marriage,                        divorce, the birth of a child, a new job, or the death of a spouse or                        dependent.
[FULL ARTICLE…Does Your Insurance Need Adjusting?]
Retirement Planning Decade by Decade
Retirement planning is a lifelong process. The earlier you start, the                        better off you’ll be in the end. Below are some of the key                        retirement-planning actions you need to be taking from your 20s through                        your 60s.
[FULL ARTICLE…Retirement Planning Decade by Decade]
5 Reasons to Start Saving More
Saving money is a bit like exercising. We all know how important both                        are, but it can be hard to actually get into the habit of doing either.                        If you’re interested in getting started with savings, or if you want to                        save more, here are five reasons to help keep you motivated.
[FULL ARTICLE…5 Reasons to Start Saving More]
Banking on Family and Friends
We all know the saying about never mixing business with pleasure. But                        the truth is that it happens all the time — in spite of the fact that                        many family loans have ruined relationships when they don’t get paid                        back in full, if at all.
[FULL ARTICLE…Banking on Family and Friends]
Segregating Risk
Your willingness to assume risk with your investments is not necessarily                        a static concept. You may be less willing to take risk with investments                        designated for an essential financial goal, while you may be more                        willing to take risk for nonessential goals.
[FULL ARTICLE…Segregating Risk]

Letter from the CEO


October 2015
Geof-Scanlon - Scanlon & Associates Employee Benefits Brokers
The Purpose of My E-Newsletter
I hope you enjoy receiving my e-newsletter.  It is intended to enhance and complement the personalized service that you already receive from me.  The e-newsletter’s main objective is to ensure, regardless of busy work schedules and travel plans, that each of my clients will receive at least a minimal amount of timely advice on a regular basis.  I also hope it will stimulate your thinking on issues related to your personal finances by providing you with articles on a variety of financial topics.  Please feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions or comments, particularly with regard to the applicability of a given idea to your personal situation. 

Please be liberal in sharing this e-newsletter with your colleagues and friends.  Feel free to call or e-mail me with the names and addresses of people who might enjoy receiving their own copy of this e-newsletter.
                                                                         

Coming to Terms with Stocks
It can be difficult to determine how to devise an investment strategy to                        help reach your financial goals. To help you determine a reasonable                        rate of return to expect on your stock investments, it might be                        instructive to review some facts about the stock market…
[FULL ARTICLE…Coming to Terms with Stocks]
Using P/E Ratios
Unfortunately, there is no way to tell with certainty whether a given                        stock is a good buy (or whether it’s time to sell), but a stock’s price                        to earnings ratio can provide an indication of the value of that stock.                        The price to earnings ratio — or P/E ratio — is the mostly widely used                        yardstick for evaluating stocks.
[FULL ARTICLE…Using P/E Ratios]
Claiming Social Security Benefits
Social Security benefits are a significant component of most people’s                        retirement income. There are three basic retirement benefit types for                        workers and/or their spouses: a worker benefit, a spousal benefit, and a survivor’s benefit.
[FULL ARTICLE…Claiming Social Security Benefits]
What’s Your Risk Tolerance?
Risk tolerance is a term that comes up a lot when discussing investing.                        But what does it mean? In simplest terms, your risk tolerance is the                        amount of volatility — or upward and downward swings in value — that you                        can handle in your portfolio. It’s a fairly straightforward concept.                        The real challenge lies in determining your own personal risk tolerance.
[FULL ARTICLE…What’s Your Risk Tolerance?]
Time: Friend or Foe?
Here’s when time is your foe: when you have only a couple of years left                        to work, and you don’t have enough accumulated to retire. And here’s                        when time is on your side: you start saving in your twenties, save every                        month, and keep saving until you retire.
[FULL ARTICLE…Time: Friend or Foe?]

Letter from the CEO

September 2015

Geof-Scanlon - Scanlon & Associates Employee Benefits Brokers The Purpose of My E-Newsletter
I hope you enjoy receiving my e-newsletter.  It is intended to enhance and complement the personalized service that you already receive from me.  The e-newsletter’s main objective is to ensure, regardless of busy work schedules and travel plans, that each of my clients will receive at least a minimal amount of timely advice on a regular basis.  I also hope it will stimulate your thinking on issues related to your personal finances by providing you with articles on a variety of financial topics.  Please feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions or comments, particularly with regard to the applicability of a given idea to your personal situation.Please be liberal in sharing this e-newsletter with your colleagues and friends.  Feel free to call or e-mail me with the names and addresses of people who might enjoy receiving their own copy of this e-newsletter.
                                                                         
Paying Off Debt Isn’t Saving
Save your money or pay off debt? It probably comes as no surprise to hear that it depends. But one thing is certain: paying off debt is not the same as saving. Here’s why.
[FULL ARTICLE…Paying Off Debt Isn’t Saving]
Student Loans and Home Ownership
We’ve all heard the stories about the crushing levels of student loan debt among recent — and not so recent — college grads. Americans now owe more than $1 trillion in education-related debt, with an average loan balance of roughly $30,000.
[FULL ARTICLE…Student Loans and Home Ownership]
Teaching Your Children to Save
Sharing information about how to handle money — including when to save, when to spend, and how best to do both — is one of the most valuable things a parent can teach their children. These money lessons will serve your children well throughout their lives.
[FULL ARTICLE…Teaching Your Children to Save]
Should You Own or Rent?
Owning a home is still part of the American dream. Certainly, there are significant financial and tax reasons for owning a home. While you typically only make a down payment of 10% or 20% of the home’s cost, you retain all price appreciation on the home. Part of each mortgage payment builds equity in your home.
[FULL ARTICLE…Should You Own or Rent?]
Staggered Retirements
Often, spouses don’t retire at the same time. Frequently, one spouse may retire first due to health problems or a layoff, not necessarily because the spouse chooses to retire early. No matter what the reason, keep these points in mind if you are in that situation.
[FULL ARTICLE…Staggered Retirements]

Letter from the CEO


August 2015

Geof-Scanlon - Scanlon & Associates Employee Benefits BrokersThe Purpose of My E-Newsletter
I hope you enjoy receiving my e-newsletter.  It is intended to enhance and complement the personalized service that you already receive from me.  The e-newsletter’s main objective is to ensure, regardless of busy work schedules and travel plans, that each of my clients will receive at least a minimal amount of timely advice on a regular basis.  I also hope it will stimulate your thinking on issues related to your personal finances by providing you with articles on a variety of financial topics.  Please feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions or comments, particularly with regard to the applicability of a given idea to your personal situation.Please be liberal in sharing this e-newsletter with your colleagues and friends.  Feel free to call or e-mail me with the names and addresses of people who might enjoy receiving their own copy of this e-newsletter.
                                                                         
Tax Planning Through Your Life
Tax planning is perhaps one of the most misunderstood aspects of financial planning. Most people only think seriously about taxes when they file their annual state and federal tax returns. While there are things you can do to reduce your taxes when filing, by that point, it’s really too late to do any serious tax planning.
[FULL ARTICLE…Tax Planning Through Your Life]
Why Tax Planning Matters
Tax planning is an                        essential and yet often overlooked aspect of financial planning. By                        engaging in tax planning throughout your life, you can have more control                        over your financial future. Here’s why.
[FULL ARTICLE…Why Tax Planning Matters]
10 Ways to Boost Savings
By embracing some simple lifestyle changes or taking full advantage of savings incentives, you can easily boost the amount of cash you save. Here are some ideas to get you started.
[FULL ARTICLE…10 Ways to Boost Savings]
Financial Aid Tips for High-Income Families
When it comes time to fill out those lengthy forms for college financial aid, higher-income families may be tempted to skip the arduous process entirely. While it’s true that getting financial help for college is more difficult for those in the top income tax brackets, you shouldn’t write off the process entirely.
[FULL ARTICLE…Financial Aid Tips for High-Income Families]
Tax-Efficient Investing Strategies
WUsing strategies that defer the payment of taxes for as long as possible can make a substantial difference in your portfolio’s ultimate size. Consider the following tax-efficient strategies…
[FULL ARTICLE…Tax-Efficient Investing Strategies]