Financial Education

Get a Second Opinion on Your Retirement Plan

Ensure Financial Security: Discover How a Fresh Perspective Can Optimize Your Retirement Strategy

Retirement is a significant phase in life, often marked by mixed emotions: excitement for the years ahead and uncertainty about financial security. Many people have some form of retirement plan in place, whether through personal savings, an employer-sponsored plan, or a combination of both. But with changing market conditions, evolving retirement needs, and increasing lifespans, it’s critical to ensure your retirement plan is robust and aligned with your long-term goals. Seeking a second opinion on your retirement plan can be a prudent step to ensure you’re on the right track.

Common Retirement Planning Challenges

Retirement planning can be complicated, and even the most carefully considered strategies can have blind spots. Here are some common challenges:

    • Underestimating Longevity: Many people outlive their life expectancy predictions, and not having enough savings can lead to financial difficulties.
    • Healthcare Costs: Healthcare expenses tend to rise with age. Not accounting for unexpected medical bills can put a strain on your savings.
    • Inflation: A plan that doesn’t consider inflation might leave you with significantly less purchasing power.
    • Market Risks: Investment risks, particularly with volatile markets, can impact portfolios and retirement income.
    • Estate Planning: Many overlook estate planning, potentially leaving loved ones with complex and expensive inheritance issues.

Benefits of a Second Opinion

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Embracing Holistic Financial Planning

Integrating Annuities for a Comprehensive Strategy

In today’s rapidly evolving and complex financial environment, achieving financial security and preparing for retirement requires a nuanced and integrated approach to managing personal finances. Gone are the days when a simple savings account or a stock portfolio could suffice for long-term financial planning. Instead, the contemporary financial landscape demands a holistic financial planning strategy that incorporates all facets of one’s financial life to achieve cohesive, long-term goals. This article delves into the significance of holistic financial planning and the indispensable role that annuities play within this comprehensive strategy, particularly emphasizing their contribution to financial stability and predictability.

Understanding Holistic Financial Planning

At its core, holistic financial planning is a strategy that encompasses the entirety of an individual’s financial situation. Unlike traditional financial planning, which might focus on isolated aspects of one’s finances, holistic planning takes a bird’s-eye view, considering every element from investments and estate planning to tax strategies, life insurance, and notably, annuities. It’s about crafting a personalized plan that acknowledges your unique goals, needs, and circumstances, ensuring that every financial decision is made within the context of your overall financial landscape.

The essence of holistic planning lies in its integrated approach. Rather than viewing each financial decision in isolation, it recognizes the interconnectedness of various financial components. This method is crucial in today’s financial world, where different elements of one’s financial life can significantly impact each other. For instance, investment choices can affect tax liabilities, and estate planning can influence retirement planning. Holistic financial planning ensures these aspects work in harmony, aiming for a balanced and secure financial future.

The Vital Role of Annuities

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What Happens if Your Life Insurance Company Goes Under?


Millions of people depend upon annuities and life insurance for financial protection. For many years, life insurance companies have made good on the contractual guarantees that they have pledged to their annuity and life insurance policyholders.

Nevertheless, at various points in time, some life insurance companies go under. You might wonder about what can happen when your insurance company goes out of business. The good news is that this sort of event is relatively rare.

When they fail, banks have FDIC insurance and investment firms have SIPC coverage. Life insurance companies are regulated at the state level, so they don’t have federal insurance coverage, but there are other financial protections to guard policyholders against the risks of this scenario.

Here’s what you need to know if the life insurance company with which you have your policy becomes insolvent.

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How Life Insurance Company Ratings Work

life insurance company ratings

When you are looking for an annuity or a life insurance policy, people often say that you pay attention to life insurance company ratings. That is good advice, as it’s one primary indicator of an insurance company’s financial strength.

Unfortunately, they also don’t usually tell you how to find those ratings or what they mean. In this article, we will give a quick rundown of life insurance company rating basics, who gives them, and what these ratings mean for you.

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Banks vs Insurance Companies: How Are They Different?

Banks vs Insurance Companies: How Are They Different?

Banks and insurance companies are two main types of financial institutions. But they both have key differences, including how they guarantee your money. That can be of importance for retirement savers as they strive to make confident, well-informed decisions about where they park their hard-earned savings.

Indeed, it’s not uncommon for this question of “banks vs. insurance companies” to come up when someone is exploring whether to buy a certificate of deposit or fixed annuity. For the reason, this article will focus on life insurance companies for the insurer side of the discussion.

Here’s a look at some of the core differences between banks and insurance companies, including how they back customer dollars with financial reserves of their own. Read More

IUL vs. 401(k): Smart Retirement Choices

401k vs. IUL

In the last decade, two major market crashes have occurred, causing many working professionals to worry about the long-term safety of their investments. While many have access to retirement saving plans like 401(k) plans, the limits on contributions, costly tax implications, and exposure to market risks make 401(k)s less appealing for conservative-minded savers.

Recently, “IUL,” or indexed universal life insurance, has emerged as an alternative to the 401(k). It’s important to note that IUL is not an investment strategy but a type of permanent life insurance. Be cautious of discussions that treat IUL as an investment vehicle, especially compared to a 401(k) plan.

IUL might appeal to retirement savers, including younger professionals, because of its tax-efficient advantages over the 401(k) and other benefits. These advantages include protection from market downturns, greater flexibility with contributions and accessing funds, and improved tax treatment of future income. However, the suitability of any financial product always depends on the individual client’s needs, circumstances, and objectives.

Here’s a brief overview of indexed universal life insurance and how it differs from a 401(k) as a wealth-accumulating option. Read More

How You Can Protect Against Identity Theft: 4 Simple Strategies

How You Can Protect Against Identity Theft: 4 Simple Strategies

The following guest post has been contributed by Emily Kalan of Crediful. Emily is an experienced blogger that writes about all things finance, including debt, home ownership, loans, and financial identity protection.

Identity theft is far more common than you think – it’s one of those things that you hear about but don’t think it will ever happen to you. And it can be a particularly troubling problem to deal with when you are in retirement.

The reality is that millions of Americans suffer from identity theft every year, and it can leave you feeling targeted, vulnerable, and unsafe.

Thankfully, there are ways you can protect yourself against identity theft without having to spend hundreds of dollars on protective services. Keep reading to find out how!

Looking for identity protection for families? Then head on over to and check out our in-depth post on some of the best identity theft protection services. Read More

5 Things You Should Consider Doing for Your Aging Parent

5 Things You Should Consider Doing for Your Aging Parent

Editor’s Note: The following article is a retirement guest post that has been authored and contributed by John Freeman.

Watching our parents age can be difficult as they begin to need more assistance with different aspects of their lives. While your parents likely want to maintain as much of their independence as they can, and they should, you should be there to lend a helping hand when they need it.

More than 65 million Americans provide care for an aging, chronically ill, or disabled family member each year. And, since the U.S. has an aging population, with geriatrics outweighing younger demographics, more and more individuals will be taking on this role—many of whom are not adequately prepared.

If you are one of these individuals, or are simply trying to figure out how you can be useful to your parents as they age, there are certain aspects of their lives that you can help them handle to make the transition easier, starting with these 5 things. Read More

4 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor At Your Annual Review

4 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor At Your Annual Review

As the end of the year approaches, now is an excellent time for you to schedule a meeting with your financial advisor. An annual review of your financial situation is an ideal reason to come together.

Not only can you review the financial progress that you made during the year. Your annual review meeting also provides the opportunity to go over your investment portfolio, insurance coverage, and overall financial plan. It’s a crucial moment to see whether any changes are needed, especially if your circumstances have changed somehow.

Of course, money matters and retirement are a moving target. So, you can also set new goals and update your estate plan if necessary.

All of that being said, if you do have a meeting on the books, you might be unsure of the “ballpark” questions to ask your advisor during your financial review. Below are four questions to help guide your discussion and make the most of your annual review meeting time. Read More

Have These Financial Conversations During the Holidays

Have These Financial Conversations During the Holidays

Ah, the holidays… an annual time of food, fellowship, and fun with family, friends, and loved ones. Everyone returns home and catches up on all of the family happenings over the past year.

But the holidays can also be stressful and fast-paced, as people have cookies to bake, presents to wrap, and shopping to do. Not only that, they may have various other year-end projects at home or at work. Those who have lost loved ones or who hurt in other ways might also find these times unbearable, since the holiday season tends to be an emotional period.

Even so, it’s still an ideal time for families to get together and discuss their financial concerns with their loved ones.

Why? Because people usually aren’t as preoccupied by work and day-to-day matters at this time of year. The holiday festivities may be one of the few times when everyone is together. There are also many decisions that must be made before the year ends. Read More

Next Steps to Consider

  • Start a Conversation About Your Retirement What-Ifs

    retirement planning services next steps

    Start a Conversation About Your Retirement What-Ifs

    Already working with someone or thinking about getting help? Ask us about what is on your mind. Learn More

  • What Independent Guidance
    Does for You

    independent vs captive advice

    What Independent Guidance
    Does for You

    See how the crucial differences between independent and captive financial professionals add up. Learn More

  • Stories from Others
    Just Like You

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    Stories from Others
    Just Like You

    Hear from others who had financial challenges, were looking for answers, and how we helped them find solutions. Learn More

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