Posts Tagged ‘estate planning’

Americans Make Finances a Low Priority for 2013

January 2nd, 2013, Comments Off.

According to the annual New Year’s Resolution Survey from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, a staggering 84 percent of Americans surveyed said that they will not include financial planning in their resolutions this year. This lack of financial focus is at the highest level in the survey’s four-year history, exceeding the 80 percent of respondents who ignored financial planning when making resolutions for 2012 and 67 percent from the inaugural 2009 survey.

For the fourth consecutive year, the top reason for leaving financial planning out of resolutions was respondents’ belief that they “don’t make enough to worry about it” (32 percent). Twenty-six percent said that they already “have a solid financial plan” and 20 percent attributed it to the fact that they “don’t have an advisor/financial professional,” both responses rising 3 percent from the 2011 survey.

“It’s alarming that Americans’ willingness to ignore financial planning in their New Year’s Resolutions continues to go up year after year,” says Katie Libbe, vice president of Consumer Insights for Allianz Life. “With the responsibility for retirement security shifting from employers to individuals, people need to become more, not less, active with financial planning to ensure they have enough money to fund a retirement that could last up to 30 years.”

Unfortunately, when respondents were asked how likely they are to seek advice from a financial professional in 2013, more than a third (36 percent) responded “less likely,” up 5 percent from 2011. Only 20 percent said they were “more likely,” matching 2011, while 44 percent noted they were “unsure,” down 5 percent from the 2011 survey.

Waistlines continue to trump wallets

For the second straight year, “health/wellness” topped Allianz Life’s survey as the most important focus area this year. Forty-four percent of respondents made it their top selection, followed by “financial stability” (31 percent), “employment” (15 percent) and “education” (6 percent).

In terms of resolutions they are most likely to keep, “exercise/diet” came out on top at 44 percent, besting “manage money better” (41 percent) and “spend more time with family/friends” (26 percent). Exercise/diet remains the top selection since the initial survey in 2009, although it is down five percentage points from the 2011 survey’s high of 49 percent.

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By Ayo Mseka
Editor-In-Chief
Advisor Today

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The Nuts and Bolts of Estate Planning

September 11th, 2012, Comments Off.

Ike Trotter, financial advisor, spoke to NAIFA audience members about the importance and misconceptions of estate planning.

The problems with the general opinion on estate planning are:
- It’s only for the wealthy
- It focuses entirely too much on death

Trotter submitted a five-step approach on what agents must do to change their clients’ perceptions on estate planning and emphasize the importance of it.

Step one: Adherence to a financial plan. You must help your client determine where they are financially, where their financial future is headed and help them determine the necessary steps toward reaching their goal.

Step two: Encourage clients to get their legal affairs in order. Push the importance of creating a will and preparing for incapacity, whether rom age, a disability or death. Also, emphasize the importance of a power of attorney and to confirm their beneficiary designations are accurate and up-to-date.

Step three: Make sure your clients are knowledgeable about key components of Social Security and Medicare.

Step four: Help your client establish economic well-being. Take them through their funds and where those funds came from, and then help them prepare for any intentional (paying taxes, marriage, educating kids) or unintentional (disabilities, old age, losing your job) spending that might come their way. Help them recognize and address those issues as soon as possible, because in life, there are no guarantees.

As Trotter said, “There is no better security, no better peace of mind, than knowing you’ve established a financial plan and are organized.”

Step five: Establish and or improve your clients’ financial organization. Assist them in making contact lists, preparing an inventory of what documents are important and keeping that information up to date.

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