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Monday, March 30, 2015

Successful 401k Investing

Hi All, I want to pass along a brief third party article about successful 401k investing, To summarize the article, there are three lessons we can learn from 401k millionaires:

1. Start early
2. Save 10 percent of your salary
3. Stick to your plan. 

The most important item we see for our clients is sticking to the plan. Life can throw us many curve balls, but sticking to the plan is vital for long term success. Please see your Argus advisor for any questions.

Monday, March 23, 2015

How Much Death Benefit Do I Need?

How much death benefit do I need? What type of insurance should I buy-term or permanent? How long do I need life insurance for? How much does it cost? 

Many times people get too caught up in all of the questions of life insurance, put off buying and then forget the most important thing is to have some death benefit coverage. I was told when I started in this business 15 years ago that the average person buys life insurance 7 times in their lifetime. Now, whether that number is accurate or not is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is, the first time someone buys life insurance in their lifetime is probably not the last time. Typically, people start off with a small death benefit policy when they buy a first house, then maybe do a new policy with a larger death benefit once they have a child, then maybe a larger policy two kids later, etc. Now why not just wait to buy until I need that larger policy when I have 3 kids? Well, there are two obvious answers. One, no matter how immortal we think we are in our 20’s and 30’s tragedies do happen. We have all heard stories of the young parents dying too soon. Secondly, we can continue to purchase new life insurance policies throughout our lifetime assuming we can qualify for the new life insurance policy. Bottom line is, we need to be healthy enough to qualify. And maybe just as important, we would prefer to be healthy enough to qualify for life insurance at a reasonable rate. Prices of life insurance policies are dependent upon age, sex, death benefit amount, length of premium payments and health.

Another factor many people don’t realize is the conversion option available on many term life insurance policies. Conversion provisions vary among insurance carriers, but in general, a conversion provision allows the insured to convert a term policy to a permanent policy within a certain window of time without a medical exam. 

So what does all this mean? Make sure you have enough death benefit inventory. Buy enough death benefit to fill your needs and worry less about the kind of life insurance you buy. You may purchase more as needs change or convert your term policy if your health changes, but make sure you own the correct amount of inventory as part of your financial plan.

Insurance policy guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Writing It down

I want to lose some weight. I want to eat better. I want to take more time off. I want to get out of debt. These are just a few of the many phrases I hear once the clock strikes midnight on January 1 each and every year. And what’s wrong with these statements? Well, absolutely nothing if a person wants to stay the same. Because, despite the thought of desired improvement, these statements stay just that-thoughts-until they are put into action. So how do we turn a thought into a reality?  We start by making specific goals: I am going to go to the gym 4 days a week, I am going to eat 1800 calories or less a day, I am using all of my allotted vacation time this year, I am going to pay off my student loans in 2015. These are specific goals that are more likely to be accomplished. Secondly, the goals need to be written down in a place that can be seen each and every day. Writing down goals and stuffing them into a drawer to never be seen again will probably not help. Write them on a notecard and put them on your bedroom mirror, in your car or on your desk. What better way to hold yourself accountable than to have to read the exciting goals you wanted to achieve at the beginning of the year? As you accomplish each goal put a little check mark by it. You would be amazed by the happiness felt when you glance at your goal list and notice a few check marks. I would hazard a guess that seeing a couple of check marks might just motivate you that much more to strive to complete another agenda item or two. Notice a pattern here? 

The same strategy can work when it comes to achieving financial goals. I want to retire at 60, I want to have no debt but my house or I want to leave a legacy to my grandkids. These goals don’t happen overnight. It must start with paying off a specific debt or two this year, maxing out a Roth or 401k this year and building on that momentum next year. Best way to get on track financially? Meet with your financial advisor to help comprise a financial plan. Then, meet with your advisor at least annually to make sure you’re on track and to hold yourself accountable. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way toward achieving your goals!