May 18, 2017

Don't be put off by high sticker price of private colleges

"Phillip Levine is breaking down a barrier: the well-founded fear among low-income and even middle-class families that an elite liberal arts college is out of the question."
Levine, a professor at Welleseley College, "designed a calculator to estimate how much an individual applicant will actually pay, after plugging in his or her family’s unique financial data, such as income, house value, mortgage amount, etc. – and the calculator is way easier than filling out a FAFSA form." Check out the details at the Squared Away blog:

Analyze My Divorce Settlement

"Analyze My Divorce Settlement calculates how each spouse will fare financially under any proposed divorce agreement entered into the program.  This software gets to the bottom line—how much each spouse will have to spend  based on the details in a specific divorce agreement. For households and professionals." Visit to learn more.

Are Indexed Annuities Really as Good as They Are Made to Sound?

"Some of the hottest selling financial products currently being sold are called indexed annuities.  They are often promoted as a way to potentially earn double digit returns with no downside risk and no risk of outliving your money.  The insurance reps and supposed advisors that sell them often prey on people’s fears of stock market crashes, unstable economies and rising taxes.  Anytime someone tries to scare you into making a decision or evoke strong emotion to compel you to do something you should BEWARE.  Additionally, if something sounds too good to be true it usually is.  Our experience with talking to those who have purchased indexed annuities as well as some of our own research has led us to conclude that in most cases the returns are usually lower single digit returns comparable to a bond return.  Additionally, the lack of liquidity and flexibility in accessing funds in the annuity often proves inconsistent with many retiree’s income needs.
For more information on this subject we have provided links to two articles that go into greater detail about indexed annuities.  The first is a FINRA Investor Alert.  FINRA is a not-for-profit organization authorized by congress to protect America’s investors and to make sure the industry operates fairly and honestly.  The second is from Fidelity Investments, which operates a brokerage firm managing a large family of mutual funds and provides fund distribution and investment advice along with retirement services, life insurance and wealth management."
FINRA Investor Alert – Equity-Indexed Annuities: A Complex Choice
Fidelity – Indexed Annuities:  Look before you leap
Thanks to Networth Advisory Group for this post. Check out their website and blog:

May 16, 2017

How to Create a Retirement Plan in 15 Minutes

Writing for the Motley Fool, Wendy Connick explains that this 5 step process "will work for the majority of savers to ensure that they have enough funds for a comfortable retirement."

Step one: Set aside 15% of your income
Step two: Put your retirement savings into a tax-deferred retirement account
Step three: Put the money in a target date fund
Step four: Check in once a year
Step five: Enjoy your retirement
Get the details at:

May 15, 2017

The latest internet scam

"Your love of a good deal could be a deal breaker. Fake gift cards and coupons for Lowe’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, Target and IKEA (phew!) have infiltrated the internet. On Facebook, the phishing scam is taking the form of a $50 coupon for Lowe’s and a $75 one for Bed Bath & Beyond. (Check out photos of the bogus bucks here and here). The coupons appear as posts and ads on the social media site. Once you click on them, you’re directed to fake websites or survey pop-ups that instruct you to answer a few questions in order to “earn” the coupons. The surveys, predictably, ask for your personal information (in order to steal your identity, and yada, yada, the rest is history). The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is telling consumers to beware of pop-up-type offers and to “watch out for a reward that's too good to be true” because “few businesses can afford to give away $50 gift cards for completing a few questions.” They also caution that it’s easy for scammers to mimic a company’s website by tacking on a company’s logo, using its letterhead or making the website address (URL) look similar. If you’re wondering about a particular offer, visit the company’s real website and see if it’s listed there. And remember, $75 off nothing equals...nothing!"
A Consumer Action News Alert • May 2017 •
SCAM GRAM is Consumer Action’s monthly e-newsletter alerting you to the dirtiest players in the world of tech fraud, credit card scams, ID theft and general con-artistry. Don’t be fooled by liars, cheats and crooks—wise up with SCAM GRAM!

May 4, 2017

A great tutorial on Medicare

Kiplinger's just published an excellent article "FAQs about Medicare" by Kimberly Langford. It is mandatory reading for persons approaching age 65 as well as a great refresher for those already on Medicare. Check out:
For a much more detailed explanation of the complexities of Medicare I highly recommend the book  Medicare Demystified: A physician helps you save time, money, and frustration by Ronald Kahan, MD.

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