Category Archives: Estate Planning

Does It Make Sense to Get Into The Market for Troubled Homes?

In March, RealtyTrac, a leading online market for foreclosure properties, reported that February 2010 foreclosures were actually down 2 percent from the previous month.

Yet, RealtyTrac indicates this break might not last long.  Even though the 6 percent year-to-year increase in February foreclosures was “the smallest annual increase” RealtyTrac recorded in 50 straight months, it believes that current foreclosure prevention programs and processing delays are keeping a lid on the numbers. If those programs end and processing glitches lift without an upswing in the economy or job market, or the foreclosure could accelerate. Continue reading

Adult Children with Nest Eggs Can Create Private Low-Cost Reverse Mortgages for Their Parents

Parents typically don’t like to burden their kids with their financial problems. That hesitancy can sometimes lead seniors to choose financial solutions that charge high fees and often don’t deliver what they promise.

Reverse mortgages – advertised so frequently on TV and other media  have become a major attraction for people over the age of 62 who need to pay medical bills or otherwise have a need for cash. They are perfectly legal transactions under the law – they are called “reverse” mortgages because of the way they work. Instead of the borrower making payments to the lender, the lender releases equity to the borrower in a lump sum or monthly cash payment, or as a line of credit. Continue reading

Stepping In Financially For An Older Relative at a Time of Need

No one wants to give up control of their lives. That’s true for someone who’s 20 or 80.  But if you sense an older relative is slowing down, or if a serious illness is threatening the finances of any loved one, it’s time to fashion a battle plan.

A good first stop is a financial planner – a financial expert with the experience to step into a tense situation and help you create a system for locating key information so you can make the necessary critical decisions. Of course, the best way to set up a system is to work with the relative before there’s a problem or in the early stages of illness. Some suggestions: Continue reading

Ways to Afford Your Retirement Account Catch-Up Contributions

Turning 50 might not be everyone’s idea of excitement, but when it comes to saving for retirement, 50 is when things start getting a lot more interesting.

That’s because people age 50 and over can make what are known as “catch-up” contributions to IRAs and most workplace-based retirement plans. These special contributions are in addition to regular contribution limits and allow individuals to maximize the amount of tax-advantaged retirement savings they can stash away.

The catch-up phenomenon has never been more important as American workers attempt to rebuild retirement savings devastated by recent market losses. Taxpayers 50 or older are permitted to make additional contributions beyond standard limits. For calendar year 2010, here are the standard contribution limits with their catch-up amount: Continue reading

Insurance Part 5 – How To Get the Best Policy for the Best Price

If you are purchasing term life insurance, it is pretty simple to evaluate costs of different life policies. Compare the premiums charged by each company for the same amount of coverage.

It is more complicated to determine actual cost of whole life policies since cash values, dividends, interest you could have earned in other investments, and the number of years a policy is kept in force all play important roles. Continue reading

Life Insurance Part 4 – What Kind Should You Buy?

One of the more confusing aspects of picking the right life insurance is deciding which kind of policy best fits your needs. It seems there are endless variations and names to choose from—universal life, variable life, Irreplaceable Life, The Champion, The Solution. It’s important to know that all are actually variations on the two basic kinds of coverage: term insurance and whole-life insurance (also called cash value or permanent). Continue reading

Life Insurance Part 3 – How Much Do You Need

For most people, it’s pretty simple deciding whether or not you need life insurance. Figuring out how much you need may be a lot more difficult.

Many people simply guess at a figure that seems reasonable and settle on that. Some use a rule of thumb that says you need six to ten times your annual income. Forbes.com has a simple life insurance calculator lets you enter how much annual income will be needed for a certain period of time after death of the policy holder. Continue reading