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Retirement Maximization Strategy: Living Abroad

29 June, 2015

Retirees are moving to Asia, South and Central America and Europe, primarily for many of the same reasons their parents moved to the Sun Belt states: lower costs of living, and better weather. And, since relatively wealthy American retirees are seen as a boon to their local economies, many foreign governments offer additional incentives for those willing to spend their golden years in another country. Retirees who might consider themselves middle class in the States often find themselves on a higher socioeconomic rung overseas. Maybe the possibility of living overseas in retirement is completely foreign to you. But the world is changing. For Americans, living abroad may be a new frontier for retirement. Family obligations, personal relationships and national identities remain powerful social attachments. But innovations in communication and travel make us an increasingly connected global community. Living in Europe or South America simply isn’t that far away any more.

Dumb and Dumber, Super Bowl XLIX, and the Improbable in Real Life

29 June, 2015

The real-life improbable events that usually come to mind are negative things like an accident, a job loss, a death. Imagining the difficulties that could arise from these improbable events, the “insurance solutions” are relatively easy: we buy life and health insurance, build emergency savings, and prepare wills. But sometimes even “good” improbable events threaten our well-being. Think of the multiple stories of lottery winners who found that improbable wealth destroyed their lives. Or an inventor who sold his idea to someone else because he lacked the funds to bring it to market. In these instances, people were unprepared for unexpected good fortune. How do you “insure” for improbable opportunities? With imagination and flexibility.

Coffee Stains on the Disability Insurance Napkin

29 June, 2015

Imagine that, after lengthy interview processes, two prospective employers offer you positions in their companies. Both companies are in the same industry, and your duties will be the same with either organization. The only real difference is the compensation package. Sitting at a local restaurant with your spouse, you summarize your options on a napkin. The essential concept of disability insurance really is as simple as the napkin diagram. Yet many Americans are either under-insured or without disability income protection. Why? Like a napkin that has coffee spilled on it, here are several misconceptions that make a clear idea harder to read.    

Ultimate Success in Small Business Requires a Succession Plan

29 June, 2015

When you read the numbers, you can’t help but admire small business owners. A March 2014 FAQ issued by the Small Business Administration (sba.gov) finds that almost one-half of private-sector employment and economic output comes from firms with 500 employees or less. Further, small businesses create almost two-thirds of new private-sector jobs. Unfortunately, after devoting great time and energy to building a profitable enterprise, many small business owners neglect to prepare for their eventual departure from the company. After working so hard to succeed, the long-term rewards from their labors are diminished by the absence of a succession plan.

The Synergy of Wealth and Health

26 May, 2015

There is a long-recognized connection between wealth and health. Wealthy people are healthier than the general population and healthy people are wealthier. These observations have been verified by multiple studies across every first-world demographic, whether in Europe, Asia orNorth America. But while there is a clear correlation between health and wealth, it is less certain if the two conditions are causative – in either direction. Does wealth lead to health? Does health lead to wealth? Or do these two conditions arise from different catalysts?

Gasoline Prices Down (But Not Really)

26 May, 2015

Even when gas prices are high, there is a persistent market for larger, high fuel consumption vehicles. But temporarily low gas prices aren’t a rationale for consumers to switch to a larger vehicle – even if prices continue to drop in the short term. Better to assume the “real” price of gasoline, with fluctuations, will stay in its historical boundaries, and make your vehicle choice accordingly. Gas prices are down, but it isn’t really cheap.