annuities

How to Fund College

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We’re kicking things off this week with John from North Carolina who is trying to figure out the best way to fund college for his two kids.

His financial advisor is currently pitching him a product that will make your head spin. When the head is spinning, it’s usually not a good sign, so I’m glad John picked up the phone and gave us a call.

More emails in hour two as we near the end of March. Progress is being made! Only to be derailed by the summer vacation schedule :)

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Should I Buy an Annuity?

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A common question starts us off this week with Rob from Kentucky wondering if he should buy an annuity with some extra cash he has on hand. The pitch he received sounds good, but is it too good to be true?

Next up was a fascinating call from Kelly in Idaho. With substantial assets that need to be managed, Kelly has a feeling that her current advisor isn’t the right person for the job.

More emails in hour two. We’re making progress as it’s now only about a three week backlog. Will we get caught up by the beginning of June? That’s the current goal!

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Inherited Variable Annuity

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Buying a variable annuity is always tricky. But what happens when you inherit one? That's what we're discussing on the latest call with Linda from the Bay Area.

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A New Beginning, Annuities and Estate Planning 101

I don’t know what it is, but for the last six weeks or so, it sure feels like we’re getting nonstop annuity questions.

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And it continues this week as we start the show with Jane from Arkansas who decided to give us a call after her “advisor” suggested she put $35,000, minimum, into a fixed annuity.

Next was Stephanie from Nevada, who after the passing of her husband, is beginning a new chapter in life. With considerable assets in hand, for once it was nice to hear that Stephanie actually got what sounds like solid advice from some reps at her local bank.

Michael Jackson, Prince, Aretha Franklin…these three amazing and wildly successful musicians did not have a will. How could that be, you ask? Don’t they have agents, lawyers and accountants? Didn’t they know at some point they were going to die? “That’s irresponsible,” you say, but welcome to the real world, where even famous people can’t seem to get their acts together to address this difficult topic head on.

According to a Caring.com survey, only 42 percent of U.S. adults currently have estate planning documents, including a will. Shockingly, for those with children under the age of 18, the figure is even lower, with just 36 percent having an end-of-life plan in place. Of those who have not done any estate planning, 47 percent said, “I just haven’t gotten around to it.”

I get it…contemplating one’s death is not exactly high on anybody’s to-do list, but it is important that you overcome the anxieties associated with this emotional topic and take control.

So that’s why today we’re doing an estate planning bootcamp with Russell Fishkind, an attorney with Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr.

If you are ready to finally begin or revisit the planning process and seek the guidance of a qualified estate attorney (yes, you should pay up for a lawyer and not do it yourself), here are the basic documents to consider:

  • Will: A document that ensures that assets are passed to designated beneficiaries, in accordance with your wishes. In the drafting process, you name an executor, the person or institution that oversees the distribution of your assets. If you have minor children, you need to name a guardian for them.

  • Letter of Instruction: This may contain appointment of someone who will ensure for the proper disposition of your remains, creepy, but important if you are choosing a method that is contrary to your family’s tradition.

  • Power of Attorney: Appointment of someone to act as your agent in a variety of circumstances, like withdrawing money from a bank, responding to a tax inquiry or making a trade.

  • Health Care Proxy: Appointment of someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you lose the ability to do so.

  • Trusts: Revocable (changeable) or irrevocable (not-changeable) trusts may be useful, depending on family and tax situations. For 2018, the first $11.2 million of an estate is exempt from federal estate taxes. If an estate is above the threshold (or twice that for married couples), you may want to consider a trust.

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Annuities and Selling It Like Serhant

Yet again, we’re starting the latest radio show with a question about annuities. I feel like this is becoming a common theme.

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This time it’s Barbara in Georgia who is 61 and recently retired. Single with no debt, Barbara was recently pitched the idea of investing in a fixed immediate annuity and is now trying to weigh the pros and cons.

I love real estate, and I know I’m not alone because we’re constantly getting questions from you guys about mortgages, the housing market, interest rates, etc.

Maybe some of you like real estate so much that you’re fans of the Bravo television show, Million Dollar Listing New York.

Today we’re joined by Ryan Serhant, one of three real estate agents featured on the hit show, who’s out with his first book, Sell It Like Serhant: How to Sell More, Earn More, and Become the Ultimate Sales Machine.

Think of it as a lively and practical guide to sell anything and up your business game from one of the top realtors in the world.

Serhant was a shy, jobless hand model when he entered the real estate business in 2008, just as the financial crisis was kicking off. Just nine years later, he has emerged as one of the top realtors in the world and an authority on the art of selling.

In this book Serhant shares the secrets behind how to close more deals than anyone else, expand your business, and keep clients coming back to you.

Serhant provides useful lessons, lively stories, and examples that illustrate how anyone can employ his principles to increase profits and achieve success.

Whatever your business or expertise, Sell It Like Serhant will help transform you into a master at sales.

Ready, set, GO!

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Annuities, Medicare and Social Security

This week we’re starting things off with Annamarie in Pennsylvania, who at 63, is planning on retiring in the next few years. She was recently approached by her financial advisor about placing her current 401(k) into an annuity. Good idea or bad?

Next up was Susan from Tennessee who is trying to navigate things after the unexpected passing of her sister. Named as executor of the will, Susan understandably has a lot of questions.

In hour two we brought back Steve Vernon, an old pal of mine from my CBS MoneyWatch days.

Steve joined us to talk about Medicare open enrollment as well as answer some of your Social Security questions.

With Medicare's open enrollment period running through December 7, you have a golden opportunity to make changes that might better serve you in the years to come.  

Many people assume that because Medicare is called "medical insurance," it's similar to their employer's medical insurance that protected them during their working years. But that's wrong.

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Employer-sponsored health care plans typically have one set of deductibles and copayments, and you only need to pay one premium to obtain comprehensive coverage. Not so with Medicare – it's much more complicated than that. Traditional Medicare has three different parts that cover hospital, outpatient, and prescription drugs – called Parts A, B, and D, respectively. Each part has its own set of premiums, deductibles and copayments. 

As a result of having these three different parts, many retirees mistakenly assume hat Medicare provides all the coverage they need. Or they think they're healthy and won't need additional insurance coverage beyond Medicare. Then they're shocked when they experience their first significant medical claim and are forced to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. 

You can guard against these surprises by purchasing either a Medicare Supplement Plan (aka Medigap) or Medicare Advantage Plan. These plans are both designed to reduce Medicare's significant gaps. By one estimate, millions of retirees make the mistake of not purchasing such a plan to help close Medicare's gaps. 

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Should I Buy an Annuity?

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Michael in Illinois is considering a Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract. What are the pros and cons he should keep in mind when it comes to a QLAC? That's the discussion on the latest bonus call.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

Have a money question? Email us here or call 855-411-JILL.

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Asset Allocation, Annuities and Wisdom at Work

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First up this week was Steve from Seattle. Hearing the stories of others, Steve is starting to wonder if his current asset allocation is a bit too risky as he prepares for retirement in the near future.

Next was Ralph from the Bay Area. Also approaching retirement, Ralph is debating whether or not he should add an annuity to his portfolio. Good idea or bad?

When I first walked through the doors of CBS News several years ago, one thing was immediately clear: it’s an interesting mix of the old school and the new school. On one hand you have countless employees who have been in the building for 30 plus years. On the other hand, you have fresh college graduates looking to make it in journalism.

And yet somehow we all come together and make it work. One big team with a crazy assortment of players.

And according to our latest guest, Chip Conley, it’s these well balanced and diverse teams that hold the keys to success. Hence his latest book, Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder.

At age 52, after selling the company he founded and ran as CEO for 24 years, Conley was looking at an open horizon in midlife. Then he received a call from the young founders of Airbnb, asking him to help grow their disruptive start-up into a global hospitality giant.

He had the industry experience, but Conley was lacking in the digital fluency of his 20-something colleagues. He didn't write code, or have an Uber or Lyft app on his phone, was twice the age of the average Airbnb employee, and would be reporting to a CEO young enough to be his son.

Conley quickly discovered that while he'd been hired as a teacher and mentor, he was also in many ways a student and intern. What emerged is the secret to thriving as a mid-life worker: learning to marry wisdom and experience with curiosity, a beginner's mind, and a willingness to evolve, all hallmarks of the "Modern Elder."

In a world that places emphasis on the new, bright, and shiny, many of us are left feeling invisible, undervalued, and threatened by the "digital natives" nipping at our heels. But Conley argues that experience is on the brink of a comeback.

At a time when power is shifting younger, companies are finally waking up to the value of the humility, emotional intelligence, and wisdom that come with age. And while digital skills might have only the shelf life of the latest fad or gadget, the human skills that mid-career workers possess - like good judgment, specialized knowledge, and the ability to collaborate and coach - never expire.

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Annuities, Retirement Plan + The Work-Life Balance with Ben Feder

This week we’re just answering email questions. The year is quickly slipping away and the inbox is still severely backed up, so it’s time to get cracking!

Questions included my favorite topic of annuities, retirement planning, reducing taxes, mortgages and more!

Have a money question? Email me here.

Many of us recently wrapped up our summer vacations. I was able to take a nice two week break. I was hoping for three but wasn’t able to pull it off.

Our guest today, Ben Feder, encountered no such obstacle when he decided to take six months off. Yes, six months! Okay, that’s not quite a vacation, it’s more of a sabbatical.

And as he outlines in his recent book, Take Off Your Shoes: One Man's Journey from the Boardroom to Bali and Back, it was the classic struggle of achieving that highly sought after work-life balance that led to Feder calling a timeout on his professional life.

Described as the The Eat, Pray, Love for busy executives, Take Off Your Shoes invites the reader to join a journey of self-rediscovery.

A hard-charging CEO of a large enterprise, Feder discovers that he is losing the very things that sustained him over his years of business success. Unsettled by his insight and determined to rebuild family relationships and rejuvenate his sense of purpose, he risks his career on a life-altering physical and emotional journey.

Together with his wife and children, Feder sets off for an exotic island on a self-prescribed sabbatical year. That experience transforms them all.

The writing is honest and moving, baring the author’s innermost struggles and fears, and enticing the reader to share his quest. As Feder navigates the thrills and pitfalls of his time away, he draws us into the examinations of values and priorities we all encounter in adult life.

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.