10 Retirement Building Blocks for a Long, Financially Strong Life

Originally posted by Jerry Golden on Jun 11, 2017

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In a world where political ideas come and go, trends surge and falter, revolutions bloom and then fade, a few foundational concepts for retirement remain true: Income is of prime importance, planning for your specific circumstances will increase your financial stability, most retirement calculators are seriously flawed, and you can lessen – but not eliminate – the burden of taxes.

We recently completed a survey of the advice I have offered in this space for the past five years. Here are 10 retirement building blocks that I expect will remain useful no matter how long your retirement lasts.

The retirement foundation

To understand how to build a solid retirement, start with the idea that income is the prime goal. Savings are good, but only if they can be converted into spendable income to maintain the quality of life you had before retirement. Income is money that you can count on whether the stock market is plunging or your party is out of office. Social Security and company pensions set the standard. You can follow this guide to producing pension-like retirement income.

Think about retirement in two stages

Too much of the financial literature treats retirement as a single event. We are generally living longer, however, and our requirements change during those additional years. I plan for a two-stage retirement to account for different needs and wants as we mature. This video explains the benefits of looking at retirement in this way.

Optimize Social Security

For most of us, our Social Security payments represent a substantial percentage of our retirement income. Waiting to tap this valuable resource will increase your payments. Here I suggest how to wait as long as possible to start Social Security, in combination with other opportunities.

Minimize taxes

If you have a 401(k), a rollover IRA or own securities that have appreciated, taxes may take a large chunk out of your retirement savings. I explain how to defuse this tax bomb. I also believe it is prudent to minimize taxes and manage for income.

Learn about income annuities

Especially around Tax Day, you will hear many opinions about income annuities. I dispel some of those myths in this article. And in this blog I explain the benefits that I find in income annuities.

Why retirement calculators may fail you

There is no magic number for your retirement savings. Calculatorsgenerally input your retirement age, your income goal and number of years of payments, and then solves for amount of savings you need. Based on the results, the calculator (or an advisor) will tell you to save more or spend less. Here is my advice to increase peace of mind: Plan beyond the averages.

Add deferred income annuities and QLAC to the equation

deferred income annuity from a top-rated insurance company can provide income guaranteed for life at a date in the future, similar to Social Security or a company pension. For the second stage of retirement, an income annuity called a Qualifying Longevity Annuity Contract, or QLAC, purchased out of your Rollover IRA account can provide income to cover late-in-retirement expenses.

Develop spendable income

During your working years, you depend on getting a regular paycheck. Dependable, spendable income is the key to retirement, too. A large savings account doesn’t necessarily translate into income, as I illustrate in this article.

Save a legacy for your heirs

I argue that you should take care of yourself first. I refer to a couple of books that help you decide what is important to you and how you might be able to provide for all of it.

How to work with financial advisors

The decisions you make about your finances during retirement are some of the most important you will consider. Learn enough about your options so you can ask the right questions of your advisor – and trust your own judgment. You might find that advisors tend to operate in silos, constrained by the types of products their company sells. Educate yourself to feel more comfortable while you shop for retirement products.

Managing around life events

The closer we get to retirement, the more we realize that life happens. We can plan for some events, and others cause us to react. Second marriages, transitioning to a single life, and other life-changers are all events that can be managed for optimal financial outcomes, even if they are surprises.

Visit Go2Income for more information and guidance on how to create a plan that fits your retirement needs.

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How CBD Oil Prices Have Changed from 2012 to Today

in CBD NEWS

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CBD oil prices quietly hit a historical low recently, and nobody is talking about it. We dug through the archives of cannabidiol prices to see just how major the change is, found the events which caused these changes, and attempt to predict the future of CBD product pricing.

The first mainstream CBD product 

The year is 2012. CBD is such a well-kept secret that even a Google search renders virtually no results on the topic. Unless you’re ready to trek through pages of scientific research reports, looking up the definition to every other word that even the deepest depths of your biology class memories won’t help you decipher. 

There is one good (ish) thing about CBD in the year 2012. There’s only one CBD product on the market, so you aren’t trying to compare multiple different brands. 

The one CBD product available was a little ½-ounce bottle containing 100 milligrams of CBD. Although, there were no lab tests available to prove that CBD content, so it was on the honor system. 

The price tag? $90.  

CBD Oil Prices are 88% less expensive today than in 2012 

Today, the price of CBD is 88% less than it was in 2012. Coming to that conclusion requires a little math, as we’re not comparing apples to apples. CBD products are larger in size and significantly more potent today. 

To start, let’s compare a typical CBD oil tincture price in 2012 versus 2019. 

  • 2012: 0.5-ounce (100mg CBD) $90
  • 2019: 1-ounce (1,000mg CBD) averaging about $110 

Sure, the 2019 tincture costs $20 more, but it’s double the size and contains 5x more CBD by volume. So, we can’t just look at the overall price tag. 

In order to accurately compare the price of CBD products, you must calculate how much it costs per milligram of CBD. This way, you know exactly what you’re paying for the CBD content, which is what we care about. 

To break the price down, it’s 11¢ per milligram of CBD as compared to 90¢ in 2012. 

To get those numbers, take the product’s price and divide it by the total amount of CBD. 

  • 2012: $0.90 per milligram of CBD 
  • 2019: $0.11 per milligram of CBD 

Even though the price of a bottle of CBD oil hasn’t changed that much, the bottles are much larger and contain an exceptionally higher amount of CBD. You won’t find a bottle the same small size and low potency as in 2012. The closest you can get is typically a 1-ounce bottle with 300 milligrams of CBD, which runs at around $50. That’s still 17¢ per milligram of CBD instead of 90¢.

You get what you paid for 

There is no truer time to say, “You get what you paid for,” than with CBD oil prices. 

Even though the price of CBD products has dropped significantly in recent years, that doesn’t mean we should be looking for the cheapest option possible. It’s okay to compare prices, but always be suspicious of abnormally cheap prices. 

The raw hemp extract that’s used to craft CBD products is not inexpensive for business to make or purchase. So, when a product costs less than even that raw material they claim is in the product, something is wrong. Either there’s no CBD in it, or it’s made with CBD isolate. Isolate isn’t bad, but when you’re specifically shopping for a full-spectrum hemp oil product, misleading labeling can be very frustrating. 

To protect yourself from snake oil as you compare CBD prices, always ask for a certificate of analysis (COA) and find out where the hemp oil is sourced from. If it’s sourced from overseas, you should take the extra step of asking for a third party lab test of the hemp oil, which will prove that there are no pesticides or heavy metals. 

Snake oil products can look very convincing on a website. However, as soon as you start asking the manufacturer questions, you can quickly sniff out a sketchy company. 

CBD is still a very new supplement. Eventually, it will become much more regulated to prevent snake oil from being the problem that it is today. Until then, either stick to a reputable company or do your due diligence to inspect a CBD product before purchasing.  

Why have CBD prices gone down, while demand has gone up? 

The reason CBD saw such a major drop in price is thanks to the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills, which opened the doors for farmers in the United States to grow hemp. Before those bills, CBD had to be sourced from hemp grown in other countries. 

Most companies sourced from Europe, where growing standards are very top-notch and organic. The quality is excellent, especially as compared to cheap hemp from China that never seems to test well, be it contaminants or lower than advertised CBD content. 

As U.S.-grown hemp became more readily available, it was an obvious switch for CBD manufacturers. Not only is the quality fantastic and reliable, but it’s also cheaper than sourcing from Europe because you’re skipping the expensive import fees. 

Future CBD price prediction 

Sourcing hemp oil from U.S. farmers is helping to lower the price of CBD and will most likely continue to cost less over the next few years. Farmers haven’t been growing for long on U.S. soil.  Currently, in the US, there are only 26,000 acres of hemp being farmed. A number we expect to rise in the coming years and thus decreasing the overall cost.   

Larger hemp fields paired with new and improved equipment will also increase efficiencies to grow and harvest hemp, again helping to decrease CBD product prices. 

On top of this, there are not many reliable hemp farmers in the U.S. right now due to the previous laws around the plant. As the competition grows, the prices will go down because, finally, there will be enough supply to meet the demand from CBD manufacturers.   

Price isn’t all that’s changed 

The legality of CBD was very muddy in the early days because the law wasn’t written clearly enough to draw a line between hemp and marijuana. Yet, it was readily available for purchase on major e-commerce sites, like Amazon and eBay. There were no rules against CBD because nobody knew what it was. 

Now, everyone has heard about CBD and the law has cleared up its legality. Yet, it’s now that there are rules against CBD on major e-commerce websites, social media, and banking solutions.

To be fair, a lot of things happened in between. In the early days of CBD’s popularity spike, companies and law enforcement freaked out because they weren’t educated on the difference between hemp and marijuana, and in turn, CBD and THC. Even in 2019, a grandmother was arrested at Disney World for having CBD oil, which law enforcement thought was the same as marijuana. 

Over the next couple of years, we expect companies to become more educated on CBD laws and remove CBD from their list of banned substances. Education is key for this to happen, and the hemp industry is on the right track to make a comeback for CBD that will make it a staple product in everyone’s home.

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Solid Ways To Cut The Cost Of Car Insurance

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Car insurance is something which can be a pain in the neck to organise and can cost a large sum. When it comes to buying the right car insurance for you and saving some money, it can be a challenge to find the best policy for you. Today we are going to take a look at some of the best ways you can save money on your car insurance this year. 

1. Choose your car carefully

Car Insurance is not something which is a standard cost for everyone and every type of car. It stands to reason that insuring a small car such as a Fiat 500 shouldn’t cost as much as insuring a bigger on like a 2 series BMW. There are different prices for different types of car, and this is why you need to watch out for the car you buy. Before choosing a new car, test a quote online and see how much it might cost. 

2. Keep it safe

Keeping your car safe is obviously something you want to do. It’s common sense to keep the car safe and secure when you aren’t around so it won’t be damaged and stolen. Parking the car in a garage or drive will reduce your insurance cost a lot. 

3. Use it smartly

When using your car, make sure that you are smart about where and how you use it. If you drive your car for many miles every day, this will have an effect on your insurance cost and it will drive it up (no pun intended). However if you can reduce the mileage you do in the car, it will reduce the cost of your policy. 

4. Pick great coverage

Make sure to pick a good policy for your car. When choosing the cover for your car make sure to compare a few different types and prices and pick the best one for you. Remember to bear in mind the brand as well as the price for a trusted policy. 

5. Install a black box

If you are looking for a super simple way to reduce your insurance cost from the get go, you can choose to have a black box fitted to your car. A black box records the speed and driving habits of a given driver and it will be a good way to allow insurance companies to feel safe in their investment. It will also keep you safe on the road and reduce your costs, so it’s a win win. 

6. Increase your excess

If you want to reduce the cost of your insurance in a big way, you need to show that you are willing to invest in the safety of your car. The excess on your car insurance details the money you are happy to pay for your repairs if your car becomes damaged. It is something which you can increase at any time to reduce your premium with your insurance company and it can be very helpful for you overall. 

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Tips and Tricks to Free Up Your Finances

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Are you looking for ways to cut your spending without feeling the pinch? Sometimes, it can seem impossible to scrape more out of your budget, but there are some pain-free strategies that might surprise you. Read on for tips and tricks to make those dollars go further.

Cut Out Cable

Cable TV is pretty expensive these days, so why not give it the ax? Thanks to technology, there are better options for your viewing pleasure. For example, a Roku streaming stick allows you to stream oodles of entertainment, with access to over half a million movies and TV shows. What’s more, most channels offer apps that include live TV, viewable either with a streaming device or online.

Rethink Tanking Up

Whether it’s the daily commute or a cross-country road trip, gasoline is a must-have. You might think there is simply no way to cut your spending on fuel without giving up something. However, if you join a major gas or grocery chain’s rewards program, you can save money every time you fill your gas tank. Check out what’s available at the stations you frequent, and if you opt for a credit card program, make it a point to pay cards off so interest doesn’t eat up your savings.

Similarly, consider gift card programs. For example, Walmart offers a discount on gas purchased with a prepaid gift card. It’s a great way to ensure you don’t end up with a pile of interest if that’s something you struggle with.

Great Getaways

Vacationing, weekends away, and day trips with the fam can add up pretty quickly. If you’re looking for opportunities to stretch your dollars and still have fun, why not head to a state park? Most state parks are either free or have minimal charges, and if you make a habit of going, you can usually purchase a pass to save the entry fee. The funds collected often go right back into the parks, and to top it all off, you some bonus perks from spending time in the great outdoors. As the American Heart Association explains, nature appears to offer some key health benefits, like lowering stress and anxiety, so you can double dip on the good feels.

Chic and Sensible

Clothing can eat up your income pretty quickly, especially if you enjoy keeping up with the latest trends. Thankfully, the used clothing market is a great way to keep you looking sharp without the high price tag of shopping new. So, consider hitting up your local thrift stores or shopping online through auction sites or web-based boutiques. For everything from workout clothes to PJs to date nights, you can outfit yourself and the family. After all, much of the excitement of shopping is the thrill of the hunt, so while it might be a bit more challenging to find what you want, that’s half the fun. There are bargains to be had — and dollars to be stretched!

Showstopping Savings

Date nights, matinees with the kids, or just catching the latest hot flick is less expensive than it used to be, at least if you play your cards right. Thanks to movie theater subscription opportunities, you can watch the big screen more affordably than you could in the past. Think about which cinemas are your favorites and explore your options, as each subscription service is different. It’s just the ticket to catching more films and spending less.

When it’s time to pinch pennies, there are some clever ways to make the most of your money. Rethink your routine spending habits, and search out opportunities to make things more affordable. You can have all the fun you normally do, and it’ll feel even better knowing you aren’t going broke doing it!

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Simple Eco- Friendly Tips For The Home

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We all want to do our part of the planet, and making sure that is it healthy and thriving is something which is important for many of us. This year in particular we need to take a stand and do what we can do be more eco-friendly because the world is changing at a rapid rate. Every little thing helps and there are so many ways that we can make a positive impact on the world and on our ecosystem. Today let’s take a look at some things you can do at home which will keep the planet happy

Plant a tree 

Trees are more important than you might think, and when it comes to keeping the planet happy it is more important than ever to plant trees and this is something which everyone can do which will make a huge impact on the planet. Trees produce oxygen and clear the carbon dioxide out of the air which has a hugely positive effect on our atmosphere. It is important to plant a tree this week and you will be helping the planet in a huge way. 

Use a rainwater tank 

A water tank from https://www.clarktanks.com.au/ in the garden can be a great way to save your water bill and also to be more eco friendly. The act of pumping water through the home costs energy and energy is what can affect the environment, and this is why you should always try to use natural resources instead. You can place a tank in the garden and use this to fill your watering can and make sure your plants stay healthy without using the hose.

Take shorter showers 

Another way to save water and also save on heating is to take a shorter shower. Showering is always amazing and it is more than tempting to take 20 minutes in the shower every single day. But if you can reduce your shower time by 5 minutes, this will make an impact over the months in a positive way. 

Turn off the lights 

Switching the lights on and off all through the year is something which can be annoying and it will also use a lot of electricity. Unless it is dark in your chosen room you shouldn’t need to turn on the lights at all, and it is always important to switch off the lights when you are finished in a room. 

Go motion sensing 

If you think you might forget to turn off the lights, a great choice would be to use a motion sensing light instead. Motion sensing lights can be used inside and outside the house to allow you to have extra security and also save some real money. 

Wrap up 

Instead of turning on the heating every time the house is a little bit chilly, it is a great idea to invest in things such as a blanket for the sofa or some extra layers for yourself. Avoid the heating if you can for money and energy.

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The Mindset Of An Entrepreneur: 7 Simple Changes That Will Inspire Success

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Running a successful business is hard work, but equipping yourself with the right mindset will boost your chances. Conversely, falling into the common pitfalls will significantly hold you back. 

In many aspects of business, the simple shits in approach generate the biggest improvements. Here are seven that you need to incorporate for maximised results in the quickest possible time. 

#1. Embrace The Skills Of Employees 

Most companies invest a lot of time, money, and effort into their recruitment policies. After all, a quality team is the most valuable asset at any company’s disposal. However, finding the best candidates is a little redundant if you don’t allow them to showcase their talents.

As a leader, you naturally wish to guide your staff to success. Still, they are the experts in their specific fields. Placing your trust in them allows them to unlock their full potential. Moreover, it’ll work wonders for their motivation levels, which will translate to greater productivity. 

#2. Focus On Your Customers Alone 

Knowing how to win new customers by going beyond basic lead generation is vital. While it may be tempting to chase the biggest possible audience, though, it’s imperative that you learn to focus on your demographic. Unnecessary diversification can alienate your audience. 

Researching and interacting with your target audience are crucial steps for success. The insight gained helps you make data-driven decisions. This can influence marketing, customer support, and operations. This saves time and money while spearheading future growth. Outside views don’t matter. 

Target Group, Advertising, Buyer, Focal Point, Customer

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#3. Lose The Need To Own Everything 

Profit is a two-way street, but many fall into the trap of focusing solely on the revenue. In truth, reducing your expenses is the far quicker route to improved bottom lines. Now is the time to take advantage, and one of the best ways is to stop feeling the need to own everything. 

A number of products are best used to rentals. Using a crane hire company is far better than investing huge sums on machines you won’t need for that long. Similarly, leasing cars and vans for the business can save you a lot of money in the long run while also aiding short-term cash flow. 

#4. Don’t Just Do Things Because It’s The Norm 

Doing things because it’s the traditional approach can be very damaging. It can waste several resources, not least your time. If a task or assignment fails to actively aid productivity, the brand image, or sales figures, it should be lost. Streamlining the venture by utilising your time is vital. 

There are many aspects of the daily operations that can benefit from this mindset change. The biggest culprit to consider, though, is team meetings. Holding an hour briefing that could be handled with an email or group message is costing you money. Now is the time to fix it. 

#5. Sell Experiences, Not Products 

While it links quite closely to the idea of thinking about your audience, the idea of selling experiences is key. People buy into brands that ‘get them’. Tailoring your services to their needs and creating memorable relationships is key. And the lifetime customer values will skyrocket. 

Knowledgeable staff that provide advice and genuinely care are crucial. Meanwhile, using mobile POS terminals so that you can provide a personalised service can be hugely rewarding. When this is underpinned by passion, customers won’t be able to resist a purchase. 

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#6. Embrace The Latest Technologies 

A lot of businesses are reluctant to utilise modern tech. The harsh reality is that avoiding this will leave the company behind. Automation impacts the speed of production as well as the accuracy. When these crucial items are under control, you can focus on other assignments too. 

New tech can also save you a lot of space around the business. Outsourced data storage is a great example for those with limited office space. Meanwhile, 3D printing and the use of cloud computing can bring big improvements. A tech-savvy and efficient company will be set to thrive. 

#7. Focus On Prevention 

Problems occur in business, and that will never change. Prevention is the best form of protection. This is why you should use safety equipment, security cameras, and other items. Above all else, you should warn employees and visitors about potential hazard to reduce the threats. 

However, it’s not all about on-site damage. Intellectual theft is a serious problem that can damage your reputation while also stealing leads and sales. From copyrights to using staff contracts that prevent potential issues, the changes can make all the difference. Sustainability awaits. 

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Build Your Retirement Plan with the Three L’s

Originally posted by Jerry Golden on Silvernest.com Dec 6, 2017 3:14:05 PM

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You know about the Three R’s of schooling—reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic – that continue to form the foundation of education even as it becomes much more complex and sophisticated.

There are also “Three L’s” that are just as foundational as you plan for retirement: Lifetime Income, Liquidity and Legacy. 

These Three L’s address your objectives, and will ultimately drive your investment strategies and tactics. Just like a business plan, if you prepare and decide first on the objectives of the Three L’s¸ you will significantly improve your chances for a successful retirement. 

Lifetime Income 

Lifetime Income is the goal you should look to secure first. Your plan should ensure that your income continues year after year, even if it requires you to adjust the numbers so that you live on less, and/or your legacy to your heirs is reduced. You needn’t hit this target when you retire, but should have a plan that gets you there by the start of Stage Two of your retirement.  

Most people typically worry less about dying after they retire than about running out of money. That’s why it’s essential to secure income for the rest of your life, no matter how long (rather than devising a plan that will provide income only for your anticipated, but unknown life span). Your Social Security payments and any pension benefits may be the base for this number.  

Liquidity 

Liquidity involves the resources that can be readily converted to cash to meet expenses that go beyond those supported by your Lifetime Income. That cash can come from bank accounts, a Roth IRA, or even equity in your home. In retirement, your costs for unreimbursed medical expenses, a caregiver or other surprise events—such as learning you need to replace the roof—could be substantial. A cash cushion will eliminate some worries about whether your money will last through retirement.  

Legacy 

A legacy could come from liquidity that you don’t use during your lifetime, or it might be a financial asset dedicated to the legacy, e.g., a life insurance policy. Money invested in stocks and bonds outside your rollover IRA or 401(k) is a good source for an inheritance because it receives favorable income tax treatment at your passing and shifts investment risk to your heirs, who typically will have more years to deal with it than you do. 

Legacy is the last goal for an obvious reason: Take care of yourself and your spouse with income and liquidity to ensure a reasonable retirement—and only then consider an inheritance to the kids and grandchildren.  

Set achievable goals, then develop tactics 

If you plan for the Three L’s and you discover you haven’t come up with enough Lifetime Income or Liquidity, make adjustments. When you are satisfied that the numbers add up, you can begin to look at the tactics for achieving your goals. 

One product that adds Lifetime Income to your plan are income annuities. They are the only financial products that guarantee income for the rest of your life — similar to Social Security or a pension. An immediate annuity can supplement your income as soon as you retire; a deferred income annuity offers payouts at an age you choose. Of course, you need to look at the impact on liquidity or legacy. 

No matter what solution best applies to your specific circumstances, understanding the Three L’s of Lifetime Income, Liquidity and Legacy will help you develop your retirement plan — and select the right set of strategies and tactics. 

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