As one-year ends, and another one begins, it is only natural to reflect on last year’s accomplishments, and set our course to do even more, and better, in the New Year.
So how did we measure up? Did we go above and beyond in delivering exceptional customer service, value, and timely and useful information? Did we place you, our client, at the center of everything we did, day in, and day out? Did we do all that we possibly could to develop our relationship…or did we treat you like many businesses do….as just a number??
You, our client, and friend, are the nucleus of our practice. You truly are the “why” behind what we do because we know that if we do not do what we are called to do, your family may be placed in harm’s way. You are our purpose, our passion, and our total preoccupation. Without you, we are nothing; without us, your chance for success in retirement, and financially, is greatly limited.
As the cliché goes, the biggest room in the house is the room for improvement. It is silly, but true. We know our role, and understand that talking about the tough things, like death, running out of money, or going into the nursing home, are not comfortable topics. But if we do not discuss them with you, who will? That is a big responsibility, which we seek to fulfill every day, as life is fragile, tentative, and certainly unpredictable. We do not have the luxury of dancing around the aforementioned topics; you count on us to be brutally honest and forthright, as too much is at stake.
We will continue to shepherd you and your family if you let us. And we will continue to serve you, guide you, encourage you, inspire you, and give you good advice and counsel. The joy that those things bring to us is immeasurable. Thank you, for giving us that opportunity.
Your Friends at Moore Financial Strategies.
One of the most expensive aspects of traveling is the lodging. Most of us use a hotel, time share or B&B. However, there is another alternative that is far more affordable. How do you feel about allowing folks you have never actually met into your home? Although most experts agree that arranging a swap through a reputable home-exchange program is safe, it is important to assess your own comfort level before you jump into the situation headfirst.
The three main types of home exchanges are as follows: You can stay in your exchange-partner’s home while they stay in yours (also called a “simultaneous exchange”). You can stay at a home-swapper’s second home or vacation home (a “non-simultaneous exchange”). Or you can stay as a guest in a swapper’s abode while they are also in the house (a “hospitality exchange”).
Various home-exchange sites cater to different types of exchanges. IVHE, for example, focuses on vacation- or second home swapping. So, consider which kind of swap you are interested in before buying a membership with any exchange service.
Some home-exchange sites are free; most are not. Most home-exchange programs—especially the more reputable ones—charge users a membership fee to list and search for homes and get in contact with members.
Different home-exchange sites have different vetting processes. Some use social media as a screening process: Love Home Swap, for example, offers a Facebook app that swappers can use to check out possible exchange partners on the social-networking site. Many others, like IVHE and HomeLink, rely on good ol’-fashioned references.
Ultimately, you will most likely have to do your own research to ensure that your partner is reliable and responsible. Check references, find them on Facebook, and ask your home-exchange company for more information about prospective swap partners.
Home swapping is by and large a safe way to arrange a stay. HomeLink is has been helping travelers find the right house swap situation and in all those years there has never been a case of reported theft or vandalism. In the end, they are staying in your home and you are staying in theirs, so mutual trust is fundamental.
Swappers may want to conceal valuables if they are especially worried about expensive or irreplaceable possessions: Some members put valuables in a room and have that room off-limits. Or they leave valuables with friends and family.
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Tax Day will be here sooner than you think and while tax filing will never be fun, some planning now can make a big impact down the road when it comes to dealing with taxes during retirement.
As with many financial considerations, planning is key. By beginning to think about retirement years ahead of time and organizing a financial strategy that allows for guaranteed income and security, retirement can be one of the most rewarding periods of your life.
Once you retire, financial flexibility becomes more important than ever. Flexibility allows you the freedom to enjoy new hobbies, travel or spend time with family and friends.What ismore, it allows for you to control your income throughout the year and stay in lower tax brackets, minimizing your annual taxes. One important way to improve your flexibility is to eliminate major expenses before you retire. For example, paying off your mortgage—one of most households’ largest expenses— can allow you to use your retirement income for a variety of other purposes or simply continue to save.
Develop a withdrawal plan that lets you stay in lower tax brackets. Many retirement-focused vehicles aretax deferred, meaning that you are only taxed on them once you withdraw funds. Byplanning and developing and sticking to a budget, you can make sure you do not exceed certain tax brackets and are able to limit income tax.
A Fixed Indexed Annuity, or FIA, can play an important role in your retirement planning process as it provides a low-risk vehicle that can provide guaranteed lifetime income.What ismore, FIAs can help you minimize your tax burden. This tax deferral is important because it allows even faster growth of the annuity. In addition, FIAs do not have government-mandated contribution limits. That means you can save as much as you would like. Finally, once you begin to withdraw (or annuitize) the funds, only the interest will be taxed – leaving your principal tax-free when you need guaranteed income the most.
Taxes are a key consideration in any financial planning. To enjoy a secure and comfortable retirement, take the necessary steps now to minimize your tax burden and develop a diversified portfolio of products which will provide the most financial security.
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