The Sharp Investor The Sharp Investor Good news and information for the clients and friends of Soard Financial Management September 2012 PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID KANSAS CITY MO PERMIT NO 350 www.soardfinancial.com Don Soard, President Soard Financial Management A Registered Investment Advisor 9905 S. Pennsylvania Oklahoma City, OK 73159 www.soardfinancial.com Don Soard, President Soard Financial Management A Registered Investment Advisor Good news and information for the clients and friends of Soard Financial Management A thoughtful estate plan can make your heirs’ lives easier. But it is your parents’ estate planning that will make your life easier. And, as a parent, if you are willing to share some of this information with your children–especially if one of them is also the executor of the estate–they’ll appreciate having the facts and be more prepared emotionally when the time comes. They will know your wishes ultimately anyway, and good communication will lessen any surprises ahead of time. They will benefit from knowing the answers to the following questions: 44960-271 Don maintains proficiency in federal retirement financial and has worked with numerous federal employees to maximize their retirement lifestyle. Visit us online at: www.soardfinancial.com To inquire about a complimentary PERSONALIZED SAFE MONEY REPORT, please call me today at (405) 703-2334 9905 S Pennsylvania Oklahoma City, OK 73159 Hello! We are pleased to send you this quarterly issue of Retirement Advisor. It is our way of saying that you are important to us and we truly value our relationship. Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to friends and neighbors. Enjoy! How Is Your Parents’ Estate Plan? Do You Even Know? Not every family has fostered the ability to speak openly in love–I’ve written about that necessity in the past. But if you have begun that process, here is an outline of what grown children need to know about their parents’ business. In fact, adults of any age should update their estate plan every year. From the desk of Don Soard, President Soard Financial Management A Registered Investment Advisor September 2012 Social Security: Do You Understand? I find that many people do not truly understand Social Security; what it is and how it works. It is not simply a benefit that you start receiving at age 62. There are several decisions that need to be made in order to maximize the benefit for your specific circumstances. For instance, if you decide to start receiving payments too early for either yourself or your spouse, it could amount to thousands of dollars lost in income and taxes over your lifetime. A social security analysis can help you answer these impactful questions concerning your Social Security: 1. When does it make the most sense for you and/or your spouse to start receiving Social Security? 2. What is the impact on your Social Security benefit if you work during retirement? 3. How much of your Social Security will be taxed each year? 4. Who can help me with strategies to fill the income gap between what you receive from Social Security and the desired amount of income you would like to receive in your retirement years. Call for your COMPLIMENTARY Social Security Analysis! (405) 703-2334 1. Do you have enough saved for a comfortable retirement? Many financial planners use a safe withdrawal rate by age to make sure their clients will still have enough money toward the end of their retirement. But this isn’t always the case, and it’s worth looking into. If your spending is under this withdrawal rate, you have more than enough and probably can leave a legacy to your heirs. But if you are over this rate, you may run out of money and have to compromise your standard of living abruptly. It may be uncomfortable, even embarrassing, for parents to share their finances with their children, but grown children often want to know how their parents are doing. Monthly Quotes This month, some famous quotes on the coming of autumn: Autumn in New York, why does it seem so inviting? -Vernon Duke, songwriter A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long. -E. E. Cummings, poet Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. -Albert Camus, philosopher Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it … -George Eliot, novelist The directory of information should list the assets of your estate along with account or policy numbers and contact phone numbers. It also helps to indicate your intentions for the distribution of each asset, which will help confirm you have the correct titling and beneficiary designations on every portion of your estate. There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been! -Percy Bysshe Shelley, poet You may have structured your will to divide your estate equally among your children. But if you have tried to make it easy for one child to access your bank accounts by adding his or her name, you have overridden your estate plan and left that child joint tenancy with complete rights of survivorship. This can be a problem. I know the lands are lit, with all the autumn blaze of goldenrod. -Helen Hunt Jackson, writer 2. Where are the important documents? The five documents your children should be able to retrieve quickly are a will, a living will, a power of attorney, a directory of basic information and the latest end-of-year financial statements. Titling and beneficiary designations are legal estate planning actions. It’s best to review Did you know? Take Our General Knowledge Quiz Answers below What was a gladiator armed with, in addition to a dagger and spear? What is the first title word of Meat Loaf’s big No. 1 hit of the 90s? Which caped crusader operated in Gotham city? them with your legal advisor. Various types of assets are best designated differently in the estate plan. This is not the occasion for do-it-yourself thrift. It is a rare family that has compiled and reviewed a complete list of estate assets: bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement account, real estate holding, life insurance, health savings accounts and so on. 3. Are there any special bequeaths? Any promises you want kept should be documented. Your good intentions won’t matter if you aren’t around to implement them. If you have promised money to a charity and want that obligation kept, document it. If you have promised to loan a child money, document it. If you have promised to help fund your grandchildren’s college education, document that. Without documentation, none of these promises can be kept if you aren’t around to make the decisions. 4. Do you have access to Veterans Benefits? If a Veteran has served during a declared war time, then he/she may be eligible to apply for benefits already designated for such service. Benefit eligibility can fall under two categories: Which bandleader Benny was “The King of Swing”? 1. Compensation due to disability. A Service Officer with the VA or other service organization (VFW, American Legion, etc.) can be of optimal assistance for such an application. What color is an Oscar? 2. Pension to be paid to Veteran’s and/or their surviving spouse at the point of out-of-pocket expenses paid for in-home care or facility care. We can, in partnership with a certified VA attorney, assist your Veteran or Spouse with an application for this pension - AT NO COST! In horse racing, which Triple Crown race is held on Long Island, N.Y.? Where was a wall built to divide a city? Which shoe company did Michael Jordan famously promote? Please call our office with your questions - it would be a pleasure to talk to you. 5. Are there plans to remarry? If parents have remarried, intergenerational estate planning is even more critical. Prenuptial agreements and careful estate planning are required in the case of second marriages to avoid disinheriting children or grandchildren from the first marriage. The default is rarely a good option. 6. Do you have any prepaid funeral arrangements? Do you want to be buried or cremated? Do you have any preferences for a memorial service? Although it may seem macabre to plan your own funeral, a memorial service takes time and thought. It will be that much more special and comforting to your family when it is filled with your favorite music and readings. Encourage your children’s interest in your estate planning. Most of the time, their intentions are honorable. They may simply want to understand your values and therefore your wishes. Can Clouds Help Beat Global Warming? They’re the final frontier of climate science. Clouds, which have a major effect on climate, are seen by many as humankind’s savior from earth’s ever-increasing – and scary – warming. (Answers: a net, I’d, Batman, Goodman, gold, Belmont, Berlin, Nike) Global warming is caused by an increase in greenhouse gases. It means that the temperature of earth’s atmosphere has been gradually increasing, causing a shift in earth’s physical geography. This could be catastrophic. Because they can change the energy flow coming from and returning to the sun, clouds can either warm or cool the earth. Climate skeptics believe that they will have a moderating effect, while others suggest the impact will be neutral or even negative. From there, it turns political. Those warning of the damaging effects of global warming say the skeptics are giving policy makers a reason for not acting to limit greenhouse gases and their negative impact. Skeptics believe clouds can save us from global warming. In fact, the impact of clouds remains a mystery. Stay tuned. How Craftsmanship Is Making a Comeback The rise of careful craftsmanship is one of the more interesting trends that has gained traction over the last few years. You can see it in the repurposing of vintage furniture and found objects, which become unique home décor objects in the hands of a skilled craftsman. You can see it in the 100-mile movement, with its emphasis on local, home-grown food and its extension into handmade crafts produced by local artisans. And you can see it in craft circles, artists’ collectives and local artisans’ markets, which are thriving across North America. Even interior designers are seeking out craftspeople for special projects, and the website www.custommade.com, which connects clients to craftspeople, boasts some 36,000 completed projects. The trend does in fact reflect a desire for unique items, but another possible stimulus is the decline in the quality of today’s manufactured goods, which has sparked consumer interest in well-made and long-lasting products. Today’s consumers want to know what they’re purchasing, where it came from and how it’s being made. “They demand to be informed of every step of the process, for it is the only way to be sure that you are purchasing a quality product,” comments CustomMade’s Heather Bailey on http://bostinno.com. Their products may have a modern twist, but today’s artisans channel their colleagues from the crafts movement of the early 20th century. While modern technology offers them easy access to information and networking, their passion for creating and pride of workmanship reflect the values of bygone days, with unique and amazing results. Are You Managing Your Finances Wisely? Is your money being invested wisely? Are you nervous about the stock market right now? If you are curious about how you could invest profitably right now, why not see if I can help you? Just give my office a call for a no-fuss, professional consultation. I will not try to push you into making any quick decisions and I will not waste your time. I will just give you the honest facts about your financial situation. And maybe I will help you earn a few dollars along the way! Just give my office a call at 405-703-2334 to arrange an appointment. Alternatively, stop by at the office. The address is on the back page of this newsletter. Why Not Pass Me to a Friend? If you’ve enjoyed this newsletter and found its information useful, please pass it to a neighbor, friend or co-worker. And if you have any comments about it, don’t forget to give me a call or send me an email! It’s a Strange Old World: Bizarre News You May Have Missed • One Cuban man is putting some distance between himself and his fellow cyclists, garnering attention and snagging some much needed cool breezes. Felix Guirola rides through the streets of Havana 13 feet above the crowd. Guirola has been building – and riding – tall bikes since 1983. • They say opposites attract, but that’s not the case for the U.S town of Boring, OR, whose citizens recently voted to twin with Dull, a small village in Scotland. • The world’s fattest cat is currently on a diet at a New York shelter where he lives. Sponge Bob, who weighs 30 pounds, is having difficulty finding a home due to his incredible size. • It might be the social media contest of a lifetime. Natalia Valdivieso, 19, recently won a new home after becoming Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s three millionth Twitter follower. Critics have criticized Chavez for lavish spending of government money.
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