A 3-Step Strategy For Retirees Worried About Losing Money In Stocks


Photo by Rick Tap on Unsplash

For most of 2019 the stock market did nothing but go straight up. Then August happened.

During the first two weeks of the month major market indexes like the S&P and DOW fell by up to 8% from market highs set the previous month, followed by an up and down pattern that put many retirees on edge.

Investors worried about a slowing worldwide economy, trade wars with China, and concerns about an inverted yield curve. On the other hand, the U.S. economy chugs along at a better than 2% GDP rate, inflation remains super low, and other economic indicators point in the right direction.

Instead of fretting about the next big meltdown, I recommend this easy 3-step strategy for retirees worried about losing money in stocks.

Consider Your Options Before You Hit The Road With Your 401(k)


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One of the common threads of a mobile workforce is that many individuals who leave their job are faced with a decision about what to do with their 401(k) account.¹

Individuals have three basic choices with the 401(k) account they accrued at a previous employer.

Choice 1: Leave It with Your Previous Employer

You may choose to do nothing and leave your account in your previous employer’s 401(k) plan. However, if your account balance is under a certain amount, be aware that your ex-employer may elect to distribute the funds to you.

While inertia is one of the primary reasons for not moving a 401(k), there may be reasons to keep it there—such as investments that are low cost or have limited availability outside of the plan. Other reasons are to maintain certain creditor protections that are unique to qualified retirement plans, or to retain the ability to borrow from it, if the plan allows for such loans to ex-employees.²

The primary downside is that individuals can become disconnected from the old account and pay less attention to the ongoing management of its investments.

Choice 2: Transfer to Your New Employer’s 401(k) Plan

Provided your current employer’s 401(k) accepts the transfer of assets from a pre-existing 401(k), you may want to consider moving these assets to your new plan.

The primary benefits to transferring are the convenience of consolidating your assets, retaining their strong creditor protections, and keeping them accessible via the plan’s loan feature.

Provided their new plan has a competitive investment menu, many individuals prefer to transfer their account and make a full break with their former employer.

Choice 3: Roll Over Assets to a Traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

The last choice is to roll assets over into a new or existing traditional IRA.³ A traditional IRA may provide a wider range of investment choices than what may exist in your new 401(k) plan.

The drawback to this approach may be less creditor protection and the loss of access to these funds via a 401(k) loan feature.

Remember, don’t feel rushed into making a decision. You have time to consider your choices and may want to seek professional guidance to answer any questions you may have.

  1. Distributions from 401(k) plans and most other employer-sponsored retirement plans are taxed as ordinary income and, if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Generally, once you reach age 70½, you must begin taking required minimum distributions.
  2. A 401(k) loan not paid is deemed a distribution, subject to income taxes and a 10% tax penalty if the account owner is under 59½. If the account owner switches jobs or gets laid off, any outstanding 401(k) loan balance becomes due by the time the person files his or her federal tax return. Prior to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, employees typically had to repay loans within 60 days of departure or face potential tax consequences.
  3. Withdrawals from traditional IRAs are taxed as ordinary income and, if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Generally, once you reach age 70½, you must begin taking required minimum distributions.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2019 FMG Suite.

Equifax Settlement Update


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As you’re probably aware, Equifax had a massive security breach back in September of 2017, which compromised personal data of 147 million consumers. As a result, Equifax must now offer compensation in the form of free credit monitoring or cash payouts to anyone whose information was affected.

Here are the details of the proposed settlement:

  • Free credit monitoring or up to $125 cash payment; if credit monitoring services are already in place from the initial breach, that will continue for at least six more months
  • Up to $20,000in other cash payments for time and money spent preventing or recovering from identity theft because of the data breach
  • Free identity restoration services provided by Experian to help fix the impact of the breach 

How to decide:

  • There’s a cap to the settlement funds so payment sizes will ultimately be determined by how many people apply for compensation. Given the high number of claims you could receive significantly less than $125.
  • There’s no limit to how many people can receive credit reporting, so this may be the more valuable option.

Take Action by these deadlines:

  • November 19, 2019 is the last day to opt out of the settlement (by postal mail only) to pursue other legal claims regarding this breach.
  • January 22, 2020 is the last day to opt into this settlement offer (by phone or website) to receive one of the options above, but you’ll waive all other rights to pursue additional legal claims regarding this breach.

As you evaluate your next steps, be aware that scammers are always looking for more ways to take advantage of a data breach, avoid giving any information if anyone contacts you. The best way to safely check your eligibility is by calling (833) 759-2982 or visiting the official Equifax website.

* PLEASE NOTE: When you link to any of the websites displayed within this website, you are leaving this website and assume total responsibility and risk for your use of the website you are linking to. We make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of any information provided at these websites.

How’s Your Memory?

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Maybe you know someone with an incredible memory. A few lucky people have what are called “autobiographical memories”. They can recall just about every detail about every day of their life. These people are rare, but they exist. Marilu Henner is an example.

Unfortunately, that’s not me. I am guessing it’s not you either. Most days I spent about 10 or 15 minutes trying remember where I put my car keys.

If you are age 50 or older, odds are you have some doubts about your ability to recall names or to recite a list of facts and figures. Remembering the names of people you meet at parties or events can be a major challenge. Recalling a list of items is next to impossible. Memorizing your passwords and log in information? Forget about it.

Too often we assume that we are stuck with the memories we have, with no ability to improve our memory skills and no control over what we perceive as an inevitable byproduct of getting older.

Now we are getting a little closer to something that sounds like me. Maybe you too.

But what if you could boost your memory recall by more than fivefold in less than 10 minutes?

What if I told you that you could recite from memory a list of 15 words and be able to remember it forward, backwards and every way in between? And what if you could recall this list perfectly with out traditional memorization techniques using nothing more than the God-given memory you are living with right now?

Like flipping a switch

At a past client event called “The One Hour Memory Switch” workshop we did just that.

Matt Goerke, creator of The Memory Switch Program argues that there is no such thing as a bad memory just an untrained one. Using specific techniques anyone can develop better memory skills.

The tree list

At the beginning of the workshop Matt gave us a list of 15 words. He called it his “tree list”.

After giving us the words he asked how many we could recall in order. About 80% of the 100 or so people in attendance could recite between 0 and 2 words. A handful of savants were in the 3 to 5 range. I had four words, but the last two were completely wrong. Apparently, they were from a different list.

Less than 10 minutes later nearly everyone in the room was able to recite all 15 words on the list. The key was to associate each word with its number on the list. For example, the number “1” is tall and straight, like a tree. Hence, the name “Tree List”.

Using mnemonic devices and other skills Matt shared with us, we were able to recall the entire list less than 10 minutes after we started this exercise. Even as I write this, days later, I can recall the list forwards and backwards usually getting 14 of 15 on the list exactly right and in perfect order. If you went to this workshop, I bet you can too.

A strong memory late into life

Remembering names and reciting long lists can impress friends and be fun at parties, but the more important takeaway was that a good memory doesn’t have to decline as you age.

For most if us the key is to use it or lose it. Learning new skills such as a foreign language or a musical instrument, staying physically active, and the simple act of reading more can all contribute to improved memories and brain health.

Even doing ordinary, everyday things in a new way has been shown to improve a person’s cognitive abilities. Try taking alternate routes to work, performing daily activities with your left hand (if you are right-handed) and reducing your reliance on electronics forces your brain to work harder and create more pathways, stimulating and improving your memory along the way.

Learning new skills and memory techniques will also help. Matt offers a 17 lesson audio course that is available on his website, MemorySwitch.com. I purchased the program at Matt’s presentation and will review it in a future blog post.

At $250 it’s not inexpensive, but how much is it worth to develop a skill that saves time, adds to my bottom line or improves the quality of my life?

If I can learn how to remember my clients’ names when I see them around town or know their kids’ names and their birth order, or to be able to remember the names of people I meet when I do public presentations, it will be worth every penny.

Heck, if I could just remember where I put my car keys, I would be thrilled.

Change Is Coming


Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

August is a funny month. It’s still very much summertime. The MN State Fair is weeks away, and kids haven’t even started to think about the coming school year.

Yet, change is in the air.

By the end of the month the days are a little shorter; the evenings a little crisper. And slowly we will accept the reality that summer is in its final days.

But change can be a good thing, leading to fresh starts, new beginnings and new ways of doing things.

Drumroll please…