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High Inflation…It’s a Good Thing

By
Jim Young
July 21, 2022
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Ok now that you’ve recovered from falling off your chair after reading the tile of this blog, let me explain.

Inflation is one of the biggest challenges in achieving, and maintaining, financial independence. The low inflation we have experienced for decades has made many of us lazy when it comes to spending.  Now is the time to put some great habits into place that will reduce your spending now and will help even more when inflation get’s back to historical norms.

Here are some tips:

  1.  The days of clipping coupons seems to be a thing of the past.  Time to resurrect this time-tested way to save money.  Now it’s done electronically.  Click here for a great article on coupon apps.
  2. Bargain shop.  The meat department is the best place to shop for deals.  Supermarkets would rather greatly reduce the price on meat than throw it away.  I’ve seen bargains at 50% off.  And not to worry, the meat is still good.
  3. Dump the name brands.  I am a big name-brand guy however that is changing.  You can save 30-50% on certain items by going with the store brand such as Kroger at Ralphs.  Just today we saved 30% on peanut butter and couldn’t tell the difference.
  4. Use those credit card miles.  If you fly Southwest use their Chase Rewards Card.  This year alone I flew two of us to Hawaii roundtrip and flew myself to NY and used my miles.  Pretty much all carriers have credit cards they use for miles.
  5. If you shop at Ralphs use their Ralph’s Reward Card.  They have a great app that shows you year to date savings.  We have saved $500 so far this year.  You also get fuel points that you can used at Shell Stations.  I’ve saved as much as $.50 per gallon!
  6. This one is real hard for me but try to walk out of restaurants with a doggie bag.  I’m the type of person that if something is real good, I’ll clean my plate (thanks mom!).  But with portion sizes so big you should have no problem making two meals out of one.  Your wallet and belly with thank you!

 

These are just a few habits to help get you through this time of high inflation that could help your plan when inflation gets back to “normal”.

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By
David McDonough
September 19, 2023

The pandemic’s economic disruption altered people’s views on a wide range of money topics—from the feeling of financial insecurity to the extra burden of debt, to how best to protect their loved ones, physically and financially. People’s interest in life insurance—knowing they have a need for it—was heightened during the pandemic and remains so, as people take a closer look at their financial security and well-being. The 2023 Insurance Barometer Study, by Life Happens and LIMRA, shows this trend is prevalent among the younger generations, as well as with single mothers.

Single Moms Need the Industry’s Help

Fewer women own life insurance than men, 49% vs. 55% respectively. And that number is even starker for single moms: Just 2 of 5 single mothers (40%) own life insurance. That said, 6 in 10 single moms (59%) know they have a life insurance need gap—meaning they need coverage or more of it (vs. 41% of all adults) equaling about 5 million households. And 4 in 10 (38%) say they intend to buy coverage this year. With 7.9 million single-mom households, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there is a dire need for single moms to
purchase life insurance, or more of it.

The primary reason single moms own life insurance (63%) is the same as the general population: to cover burial costs. However, only 26% say they have it to replace lost income. And more than half (51%) say they are “extremely concerned” about leaving dependents in a difficult financial situation if they died prematurely, vs. 29% of the general population.

That’s not the only area of financial concern. In fact, single moms have increased levels of concern over a wide range of financial issues—often double-digits—over the general population.
• Having money for a comfortable retirement: 58% vs. 44%
• Saving for an emergency fund: 56% vs. 38%
• Paying monthly bills: 50% vs. 32%
• Ability to afford college: 40% vs. 22%

Owning life insurance makes people feel more financially secure: 69% of life insurance owners feel secure vs. 49% who don’t own. For single moms, this is 52% of owners feel secure vs. 30% who don’t own. The good news is that while only a third of single moms (35%) work with a financial advisor currently, more than half without one are looking for an advisor (52%) to help them navigate their finances.

Desire and Need Are on the Rise

Gen Z is growing up—they’re adults now who are in the weeds of financial responsibilities and stresses. Half of Gen Z is now 18-26 years old, which means 19 million young adults are ready for life insurance, most of whom are non-owners; and Millennials, at 27 to 42, are well into their careers and starting families. The study took a look at life insurance ownership among different age groups and found that half of all adults (52%) own life insurance, with 40% of Gen Z adults and 48% of Millennials currently owning it.

As Gen Z starts hitting life milestones such as finding a partner, buying a home and having children, half (49%) say
they either need to get life insurance or increase their coverage. And Millennials are not far behind, with 47% saying so. And they are ready to take action: 44% of Gen Z adults and 50% of Millennials say they intend to buy life insurance this year.

They also want to purchase it where they have become comfortable—online—and that goes for all generations. In 2011, 64% of people said they preferred to buy life insurance in person; by 2020, just 41% felt this way. In 2023, it dropped to 29%.

Education Is Key for Gen Z

There is work to do on educating people about ownership: 42% of all adults say they’re only somewhat or not at all knowledgeable about life insurance.
A quarter of Gen Z and Millennials say that not knowing how much or what kind of life insurance to buy stops them from getting coverage. And 37% of Gen Z and 27% of Millennials say
they “haven’t gotten around to it.”

Across generations, cost is cited as the top reason for not getting life insurance. But only a quarter (24%) of people correctly estimated the true cost of a policy for a healthy 30- year-old, which is around $200 a year.* More than half of Gen Z adults (55%) and 38% of Millennials thought it would be $1,000 or more.

With the current climate adding financial uncertainties to Gen Z and Millennials, including layoffs and inflation, it is imperative that the two age groups learn how to protect their loved ones financially. Education around finances in general, inclusive of life insurance, will be extremely beneficial, particularly for Millennials, who cite the highest overall level of financial concern (39%).

Download this comprehensive blog as a concise one-pager here:Millennials and Gen Z Lead Growing Need for Life Insurance in 2023

 

*Survey respondents were asked how much they thought a $250,000 20-year level term policy would cost per year for a healthy, nonsmoking 30-year-old, which is around $200.

Please source all statistics: 2023 Insurance Barometer Study, Life Happens and LIMRA© Life Happens 2023. All rights reserved.

By
Diane Zing, CSA
May 18, 2018

Some people believe that one of the most frustrating words in the financial world is the word “taxes”. But it doesn’t have to be…and it actually shouldn’t be. Understanding the world of taxation takes enormous amounts of education, understanding and application. The average person doesn’t necessarily want to become an expert on taxes, but they certainly don’t want to pay more than they have to, either. Hence the reason many people and businesses reach out for help. Finding a tax professional can be complicated; hoping to find the right kind of tax professional for the services needed tends to be the number one challenge.

When starting a search to find the right tax professional, there are basically two major things to consider. Firstly, it’s important to understand the differences between the types of tax professionals. Secondly, it’s important to ask the right kind of questions to help discern if a working relationship with a particular tax professional is a good fit.

Start with having a basic understanding of a few different types of tax professionals.

TYPES OF TAX PROFESSIONALS:

Tax Preparer – A tax preparer can help individuals, families, and businesses prepare tax returns. They cannot represent clients during an audit. Their role is limited to tax preparation. A large percentage of the general population might find that a Tax Preparer is a match for their filing needs.

EA – An Enrolled Agent (EA) has passed an IRS examination that puts them in a position to not only help clients prepare tax returns, but they can also represent their clients in the event of an audit. Generally speaking, EA’s may tend to have more thorough knowledge and understanding in regards to tax preparation than that of a Tax Preparer. Individuals, families, and business owners might find that an EA is helpful due to the complexities that their tax preparation needs may entail.

Tax Attorneys – Tax Attorneys can not only prepare tax filings, but they can also represent their clients during an audit, as well as represent clients in court proceedings. Tax attorneys play a significant role in helping their clients through complications with tax liabilities, responsibilities, and other issues that may arise.

CPA – Certified Public Accountants are tax professionals who have a degree in accounting or a related field. They have passed the state CPA exam, and are able to perform a myriad of services for their clients. They can prepare tax filings, represent clients during audits, prepare and certify audit statements. They cannot, however, represent their clients in court.

There are additional types of tax professionals, but the above mentioned tend to be the most widely sought after by individuals, families, business owners, non-profit entities, and others.

Secondly, it’s important to ask questions that are relevant for finding a professional that might be best suited for the specific needs at hand. Here are a few questions to consider when interviewing a tax professional:

QUESTIONS TO ASK:

  1. What is your designation, or professional title?
  2. What industries or types of clients do you have?
  3. How many years of experience do you have?
  4. How many people do you have in your organization, and what are their roles?
  5. Do you help clients with tax planning strategies, as well as tax preparation?
  6. Do you work in collaboration with financial planners and other professionals?
  7. What kind of ongoing service model do you have?
  8. What is your fee structure?

When discerning which tax professional to work with, having a basic knowledge of the types of tax professionals might go a long way with helping to build a productive relationship, and subsequently, possibly more favorable tax solutions. Taxes are a major part of life, and having a strategy around how finances are built, managed, and maintained could possibly help significantly. It’s important to be responsible with taxes, and having a professional that can help discern taxation with efficiencies could have significant importance to overall financial planning.

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