The #1 Common Living Trust Mistake

Brian shares the #1 common mistake that he sees with Living Trusts, whether professionally prepared by an attorney or prepared by you. That big mistake? Failing to retitle all of your assets into the living trusts name. Why is this important? Doing so will avoid a large tax bill on the inheritance. In this video, Brian also shares a tax tip for annuities.

Looking for more tips on how to plan and live your incredible retirement? Start by reading Brian’s book Worry Free Retirement.

Step-by-Step Estate Planning

Step-by-Step Estate Planning

Step-by-Step Estate Planning

We have worked closely with estate planning attorneys over the years in helping folks meet their estate planning goals. Here is great advice we hear all the time from top estate planning attorneys:

No matter your age, the state of your health or the size of your portfolio, every adult has to address the problem of estate planning. There’s no way to avoid it! You may think that you don’t have enough money to worry about estate planning but if you’re married or have children, you should worry about it. There are different ways to handle it—on your own, with attorneys, with other advisors, etc. We wouldn’t advise you try to do this yourself. You’ve probably seen the do-it-yourself kits or software. However, documents that you prepare yourself may not be legally valid. You may not be aware of this but upon your death, your survivors may pay the consequences.

In order to understand what kinds of issues your estate-planning attorney should address, you should understand the primary goals of basic estate planning. These goals include:

  1. To prepare for incapacity, which can occur as a result of senile dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, accidents, etc.
  2. To ensure that your property passes to your intended beneficiaries at the appropriate time.
  3. To avoid the court probate process.
  4. To eliminate or at least minimize taxes (gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes).

Your estate-planning attorney will also help you draft all the required paperwork such as Durable Powers of Attorney, Designation of Health Care Surrogate, Living Will Declaration, Last Will and Testament or Revocable Living Trust.

Need to start your estate planning now? Contact us today and we’ll point you in the right direction!

Incredible Retirement Tip: What Your Financial Planning Software Is Missing

incredible retirement tip

If you or your financial advisor use financial planning software to help manage your portfolio, you’re almost guaranteed to fail. Let me explain. These programs seem logical. You plug in the amount of money you have now, how much you’re saving, when you want to retire, how much you expect you will spend in retirement, etc. The program then makes its calculations, based on an assumed life expectancy and an assumed average annual return.

This is the inherent problem with these software programs. The notion of a guaranteed average annual return over a number of years is simply foolish. To clearly show my point, look at the chart below. It shows two different accounts. One account has a 5% average annual return and the other has a 10% average annual return. The same amount of money is withdrawn from each account every year. It would seem logical that the 10% average annual return account would be the better account. However, this is not the case.
annual return chart

As you can see, the account that only earned a 5% annualized return over the last ten years is actually worth more at the end of ten years.

How could this happen? The ending portfolio holdings are based on the yearly return and when it occurred. For this reason, the simple projections in most planning software are not effective. Instead, you need a more complex tool that allows you to review many types of analysis that mix up the yearly returns, both the amount of the return (profit or loss) as well as the order in which they are received.

Contact us to make sure your portfolio is set up for success.

Top Three Reasons to Avoid Variable Annuities

Variable annuities are popular in times of market turbulence because of extra fringe benefits like “guaranteed income for life” or “withdrawal benefits.” However, these are the three reasons why those fringe benefits don’t always mean variable annuities are a good investment option for you:

  1. High Cost – variable annuities are double or triple the cost of a mutual fund, which doesn’t outweigh those extra benefits
  2. Liquidity – they are subject to high early withdrawal penalties
  3. Less Tax Advantages – profits are taxed at ordinary income tax rates and there is no stepped-up tax basis for your beneficiaries

In this video, Brian will tell you what to do if you already have a variable annuity.