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The Gold Standard for Retirement

With debt at an all-time high, many people are anxious and looking for ways to protect their investments – especially the investments meant to supplement their retirement. For those who hold and individual retirement account, a degree of safety can be found in a gold IRA.

What is a Gold IRA?

A gold IRA works the same way as a standard IRA account – however, with a gold IRA, people can hold precious metals like gold, silver, and palladium in their account for diversification. Physical gold coins and bars are stored in an IRS sanctioned depository, rather than being held by the IRA owner. While investors aren’t able to squirrel away gold in safety deposit boxes, they can feel assured their gold is secure, and cannot to be lost or stolen. Once retirement age is reached, the metals are shipped directly to the investor.

What Kind of Gold Can I Invest In?

Section 408(m)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code allows IRAs to own certain precious metals – in coin or bullion form – as long as they meet applicable fineness standards. Case in point, an IRA can own American Gold, Silver, and Platinum Eagle coins as well as Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins ­– but not the South African Krugerrand, as it’s only 22-karats and doesn’t meet purity standards.

Why Should I Invest In Gold?

Investing in gold can help you create a safe future, one where you can spend your golden years enjoying life rather than pinching pennies. Here are the top reasons why a gold IRA is a wise choice:

  • Diversification: Diversification is arguably the most important component to help an investor meet their long-term financial goals while minimizing risk. Portfolio protection is particularly important as the last several years has seen global economic uncertainty and stock markets more volatile and risky than ever before. Investing in precious metals is an easy way for an investor to diversify their portfolio, protecting it from the decline of other markets.
  • Inflation: Inflation’s a nasty thing. As each year goes by, more dollars are required to buy everything from food to gasoline. Thanks to inflation, the dollar’s value is ever-changing and the Fed is forced to keep churning out paper currency to keep up. Precious metals, however, tend to hold value above inflation as more gold, silver, etc. can’t be made on demand. Gold is essentially recession proof! Having investments in gold and silver can help an investor maintain their purchasing power even as the dollar declines.
  • Liquidity: Besides being an outstanding source of value, gold is considered a liquid asset as it can effortlessly be converted into cash or goods when needed.
  • Tax Deferred Growth: One of the best reasons to own physical precious metals through a Gold IRA is the ability to grow your investment on a tax-deferred basis. This means you no taxes are paid until the investor takes possession of the gold!

Sometimes making an investment can feel like a roll of the dice. If you’re worried your retirement portfolio is a gamble, consider adding gold to your IRA – it’s always in high demand and minimizes risk by maintaining its value. When it comes to retirement, you want to make sure that your money is there, and gold is the perfect way to do just that.

David Parkman is a financial writer for American Bullion and enjoys saving money almost as much as he does spending it. When retirement comes, he plans on using his nest egg to travel the world with his wife.

February 4, 2014 at 3:46 pm, by admin | No Comments | Category General


Tips for Managing Your Money During Retirement

The economy is fluctuating on a daily basis and it goes without saying that it makes managing your finances during retirement challenging. Financial planning and smart money use is essential to retire in comfort and fully enjoy the freedom that you have earned. In order to achieve this goal, it all starts before retirement:

Foundation planning is essential

The success of any action or plan is often founded in the planning that goes into it; so much so that many idioms have been created around it: “Look before you leap” and “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. To this goal, using a retirement calculator to ensure you’re saving enough for your savings to last, to afford healthcare, and maintain a high quality of life. One of the stumbling blocks many people don’t plan for are taxes; many forms of retirement cash flow do not ha­ve taxes automatically deducted unlike a working income. Without proper foresight this can create unwanted surprises come tax season. Once you have determined your cash flow income, budgets, emergency funds and saving goals should be developed to provide a framework upon the foundation that planning for retirement has created.

Budget in Cash

David Ramsey advocates for a monthly envelope cash budget; this is a form of accountability, restraint, and awareness of how money is being spent on a day to day basis. Envelopes are created for different costs such as food, entertainment, or travel and spending in that area ceases once the cash is gone. Actual money can be substituted with monopoly money if a credit or debit card is used to continue receiving points, miles or other benefits from using plastic. There are two advantages to this method: long term plans are easily created from a standard monthly budget and it is very tactile and accountable. However, not all things are best planned for in cash.

Emergency fund and Short-term savings goals

Even though the learning curve for technology intensive tools is a little bit steeper for people looking to retire right now (baby boomers), Mint.com is a great free tool for managing goals, budgets and providing a birds-eye view of personal finances. With Mint, or a similar tool, it is easy to create and track different saving goals. Two main goals that should be created in any retirement plan are an emergency fund and short-term savings goals.

Emergency funds are fairly straight forward; they need to be liquid and accessible at any place or time. A rule of thumb for the amount to save is about 6 months’ worth of funds at your current standard of living. An important thing to consider is your individual needs; some people may need more savings because they have higher risk health conditions or participate in higher risk situations. Short-term savings goals are much more flexible and unique to the individual. These can either be saved for in a traditional account or low-risk vehicles such as FDIC-insured CDs that mature in time for your vacation or other short-term deadline. Saving in such a manner maximizes the return of your funds and ensures it isn’t used for anything else by accident or temptation.

Be patient about collecting your social security benefits

Lives are often measured by birthdays – 18 you can vote, 21 drinking becomes legal, 25 lowers car insurance, and nothing beyond that until 55 for senior discounts. Fortunately, there is one more landmark before the Century Club: at 62 your ability to collect social security begins. But wait, the benefits claimed from social security can be increased if they are delayed even a single year. Steven A. Sass, program director of the Financial Security Project, talks about the advantages of postponing your collection of social security. He asserts that you can receive an additional 6% or more from your social security claims by waiting a year or more. In addition, the money will be worth more since it increases to match inflation.

The end goal is to make your money work for you so you don’t have to work during retirement. This period of life should be filled with joy, new experiences, and rewards for overcoming the trials and tribulations from a lifetime of hard work. A comfortable financial establishment can be built, but requires careful planning, a framework of budgets and goals, and finally, furnished with cash flow from savings and benefits earned.

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- Louis Mack is a retirement planning expert from NewRetirement who is only about 4 years away from his own retirement. He plans on spending it puttering around his organic garden and yelling at teenagers to get off his lawn.”

January 28, 2014 at 10:15 am, by admin | No Comments | Category General


AFCPE Symposium: Regional Breakout Feedback Series 3

Symposium Feedback Series:

The majority of you answered that you like the AFCPE Annual Research and Training Symposium and networking opportunities best. What else do you need from the organization for the profession? Share your ideas!

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January 8, 2014 at 10:37 am, by admin | No Comments | Category General


5 Money-Saving New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

There’s no better time to change your financial future than in the new year. For 2014, try these resolutions to build your savings, cut down your debt and build a healthy financial future for yourself and your family.

  1. Start an emergency fund. If you don’t have one already, it’s a good idea to start an emergency fund. That way if something unexpected happens, such as an unforeseen car repair or the loss of your job, you have a stash of money to cover your expenses. Experts recommend keeping enough money in your emergency fund to cover three months of expenses. In the new year, start your emergency fund by dedicating part of every paycheck to it.
  2. Cut back on energy consumption. In 2014, commit to reducing the amount of energy you use. Every energy-efficient change you make, no matter how small, will help keep money in your pocket. You can start by making simple changes to your everyday routine, such as keeping your heating at 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer, to maximize efficiency. Or you might vow to only wash your clothes in cold water and skip the cost of running your hot water heater. And if you want to go all out, you could install solar panels on your roof to minimize your dependence on electricity from the power grid altogether.
  3. Use only cash. It may seem scary to give up your debit card, but more likely than not it’s causing some impulse purchases. If you only use cash, you force yourself to budget and spend your money more wisely. For example, you might be inclined to buy a pack of gum or candy bar as you’re checking out at the grocery store. It’s an easy decision to make if you have the extra funds in your bank account and can pay for it with a quick swipe of your card. But if you only brought enough cash to cover the cost of what you actually needed, you’re forced to put the impulse buy back.
  4. Pay down your debt. In 2014, try to put a little extra money each month toward your debt. Making an extra payment on your car, mortgage, credit cards or student loans can help reduce the interest you pay overall and allow you to pay them off faster. Experts say it’s best to start by paying off the little debts first. Not only does it help you feel a sense of accomplishment faster, but once it’s paid off you can dedicate the money you were paying on it toward a larger debt.
  5. Divide unexpected income wisely. The new year brings about a new season of taxes. But before you vow to spend all of your tax refund on a super-sized TV or any other treat, think about the best way to allocate your money. Reader’s Digest suggests dividing extra money, such as a tax refund, bonus check or gift, into thirds. One third should go toward your past, to pay down some of your debts. The next third should go toward your future, to help you beef up your savings account. And the last third should be for the present. You can use this third to buy something you really want or make an improvement on your home. By following these guidelines, you can grow your savings, shrink your debt and still get a little something for yourself.

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Rose Haywood is an Internet tech blogger, marketing consultant and lifelong student who resides in Atlanta, GA.

December 27, 2013 at 8:55 am, by admin | No Comments | Category General


AFCPE Symposium: Regional Breakout Feedback Series 2

We have compiled your feedback during this year’s regional breakout sessions and will be sharing some of the results each week.  Please take some time to provide additional feedback so that we can continue to work together towards a fantastic future of growth and opportunity!

SETTING THE STANDARD,
Rebecca Wiggins, Executive Director

AFCPE Symposium Regional Breakout Feedback (2)

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You’ve asked for more contact information, including the region and specialty for our Symposium Attendee List.

Please also help us build our membership and certification connections by updating your AFCPE account: http://members.afcpe.org.  Once you are logged in, you can update your contact information and your visibility settings so that members, certificants and clients can contact you!

December 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm, by admin | No Comments | Category General