Finance

If you’re anything like me, your knowledge base of investing in gold correlates directly to the 2003 crime thriller The Italian Job. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Donald Sutherland, and Charlize Theron, the movie revolves around a Venetian heist-gone-wrong: and the currency being trafficked? Gold bricks. If you haven’t seen the film, I suggest checking it out. If you have, then I circle back to my original point. All I know about gold I learned from The Italian Job. The bricks are pretty, they seem to weigh a lot, they’re stamped with the image of a Balinese dancer. They’re worth…
Trusted, tried and true. That’s the reason why United American Mortgage has been successful for over 20 years. Since 1993, UAMC specializes in providing mortgage-financing solutions to homeowners and homebuyers. You’re almost tired of reading about it but it’s true: the mortgage meltdown hurt more than a few and people are still trying to recover. It’s hard to know whom to trust. With many mortgage companies competing and failing, UAMC has found itself expanding into 9 states. Originally formed to provide for the specific needs of Southern California borrowers seeking mortgage products tailored for them, UAMC has made it their…
With the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, two strategies to potentially maximize Social Security benefit payments were eliminated. An Overview Prior to the budget’s passage, married couples had two strategies to help maximize their Social Security benefits: “file-and-suspend” and “restricted applications.”¹ Under file-and-suspend, the higher-earning spouse filed for benefits and then suspended them, allowing the lower-earning spouse to claim a spousal benefit. This also let the higher-earning spouse accrue delayed retirement credits. Upon attaining age 70, the couple then could switch to each taking their own individual benefit to receive the highest possible amount. Restricted Application A…
It is rare to find someone who can say that they appreciate adverse events in their life. More rare perhaps to find someone who will admit that such a calamity led them to a job that they love with a company that treats them with mutual respect and admiration. Nancy Stewart, a long time South County resident and mother of two filed a claim for a water leak with her insurance company and was repeatedly denied. While the problem stagnated, Nancy looked for help. How to go about maneuvering the claims process? How to protect her property and equity? Fortunately…
IRS problems are a very personal issue and people facing them often do not know where to turn for help. "IRS problems generally affect all aspects of your life,” says Edward Daoud, Ph.D., MBA., EA. "Many people just live with the problem for months and sometimes years, assuming that nothing can be done about it.” For anyone facing IRS problems, imagine how relieved they'd feel in the hands of a competent expert who deals with the IRS on a daily basis - a professional who truly cares about helping people. An expert who would give them the peace of mind…
What’s the house really worth? Before the Internet, consumers had few resources to gain insight into what homes were selling for. They could talk to neighbors, call a real estate agent, or manually search through public records. Today, however, consumers can turn to one of the many Web-based home valuation sites for a price estimate of almost any home in the country. As useful as they may seem to buyers and sellers, you have probably discovered by now that the price estimates on websites are usually not very accurate. For people who are going to buy or sell a home this year,…
Protecting Wealth and Fulfilling Retirement Dreams and Goals In 2008, I worked in an after-school program and one of my favorite “duties” was to lead “story time” for the elementary-aged children we served. One of my favorite books to read aloud was Flat Stanley, which follows the adventures of the titular character, Stanley, who had been accidentally flattened one day, but makes the most of his situation, and is soon unlocking locked doors by sliding underneath them, and traveling around the world in a postal envelope. It was while working there that I first heard whispers of the massive financial…
When a person retires they have three pots of money to be concerned about. Each of these pots has a dedicated source of funds. They are: The Living Money Pot: This pot contains the income needed for basic living expenses such as food and shelter, utilities, transportation, clothing, and the like. This money typically comes from Social Security, a pension, an annuity, distributions from retirement accounts, and, perhaps, a part-time job. The Lifestyle Money Pot: This pot is for the things we want; things that make us happy, things that are nice but not as essential as the needs funded…
Estate planning attorneys typically find out that their clients have entered into a reverse mortgage twenty seconds after the indebted client or clients have died. The typical situation involves a telephone call to ask the lawyer why Dad’s home is going into foreclosure “so soon after he died.” The conversation typically then continues: “I don’t think Dad knew that the bank would go into this attack mode so soon after his passing. It hasn’t given us time to react.” Or, another common response: “ Things didn’t happen this quickly when my husband’s parents passed.” There is a different reason for…
That is one of our most frequently asked questions. The short answer is - possibly. Before the question can be answered we need to drill into your parent’s specific situation. We will ask some questions to determine some factors that influence the final answer. Eventually, your parents will need to be directly involved in answering these questions. Do you understand what services are paid for under long-term care coverage? Does one or both of your parents currently require substantial assistance with two or more of the six Activities of Daily Living (called ADLs which are eating, bathing, dressing, continence, transferring,…
  1.Independence When giving advice, your fiduciary works solely for you. Working as your fiduciary, your advisor is obligated not to engage in any self-dealing or other conflicts of interest. In fulfilling his or her obligations and duties to you, your fiduciary should perform required due diligence prior to making recommendations. Thus, acting in a proactive manner on your behalf. 2. Education Your fiduciary follows a duty of care. Your fiduciary works for you, educating you on the different aspects of your financial plan and ensuring your understanding of how all the pieces fit together to create a sound plan.…
Whatever “retirement” means to you, you’ll need to design a financial plan suited to your specific vision of the future. Retirement used to conjure up images of lazy days spent in a rocking chair. Today’s retirement is very different. You might plan to open a business of your own. Or perhaps you’ll return to school for that degree you never had the chance to complete. So what does this redefined retirement mean to you? There is no one answer. In the coming decades, “retirement” will mean something different to each of us. Regardless of your decision, you’ll need to design…
An Estate Planning Q & A with Martin J. Lombrano, AIF®, LPL Financial Advisor Pence Wealth Management I suspect I am not unlike most other people in that I prefer to do business with individuals who are not only highly qualified with a proven track record in their respective area of expertise, but also operate with integrity, personal attention and a straightforward “say what you mean, and mean what you say” approach. These characteristics are all the more important when you are looking to a seasoned professional to help handle the finances of an estate and navigate the myriad of…
In real estate, capital gains are the difference between the purchase price of your real estate and the price you sell it for. Capital gains tax is what you pay on that difference, after adjusting for a variety of exemptions, deductions and tax breaks. The tax on capital gains income is calculated separately from the tax on your regular income and often at a different rate. In addition to federal capital gains taxes, most states, including California, tax the gains too. In most instances, the real estate exemption rules are as follows: If you are single, you can make up…
Al W/ Hensling, president of United American Mortgage Corporation addresses frequently asked questions and clears up common misconceptions It is estimated that approximately two-thirds of Americans will receive more than 50% of their retirement income from Social Security. But seniors who are concerned about the future of Social Security (or whether they will outlive their retirement savings), may want to look to their home equity as another possible source of income. A reverse mortgage is a retirement asset that can be effectively utilized as part of a retirement income plan to support your retirement goals and needs - and help…
A Q & A with Martin J. Lombrano, AIF®, LPL Financial Advisor What are you going to do with the money you have saved for retirement? One option is an annuity - a long-term retirement contract that can give you regular income over the course of your retirement rather than forcing you to manage a large lump sum. The big difference between the old-time corporate pension plan and an annuity is that the amount you receive is entirely dependent upon how much you put into the annuity.Understanding how these tax-deferred investment choices work - and the differences between a fixed…
When was the last time your banker, broker, advisor, CPA, attorney and insurance agent all sat at the same table to discuss ways to lower your taxes, increase your income, protect your nest egg, create an income stream that you cannot outlive, and make sure you have tax free In-Home care for as long as you live, should you need it? The answer is probably never. The Stoddard Group is a true estate-planning firm in Orange County. Our 17 years of first hand experience has found areas of concern that can dramatically affect your family and your finances. Families having…
The reverse mortgage products offered today have gone through a major makeover of sorts in recent years in the pursuit of consumer protection. The overwhelming majority of the reverse mortgages originated in recent years are the FHA Insured Reverse Mortgage product known as the HECM, an acronym for Home Equity Conversion Mortgage. These are some of the questions I have received recently from clients. Q: I have heard there are some new changes that have to do with qualifying. How does that work? A: Financial Analysis is a relatively new qualifying process that is required for all new reverse mortgage…
One of the most well-known investors of the 20th Century, Benjamin Graham, said that “the investor’s chief problem—and even his worst enemy—is likely to be himself.” What Graham understood—and modern research is catching up to—is the idea that we all have emotions and biases that affect our decision-making. The innate wiring built to survive pre-modern times can be counterproductive in our modern world, especially when it comes to investing. (1)Let’s take a quick look at a few of the human emotions and biases that can adversely impact sound investment decision-making. Fear and Greed These are the two most powerful emotions…
The Case Study below is an excellent example of the FHA Reverse Mortgage Program being used as valuable retirement planning tool. Harold and Betty are clients that I have known for many years that have also grown to be good friends. I have helped them finance their homes and investment properties for many years. The Problem Harold and Betty are 62 years old and thinking about retirement in a few years. They are very concerned they will not be able to retire in the lifestyle they are accustomed to. They spent much of their working life providing for their family,…
The Ultimate Line of Credit Today’s reverse mortgages may include a line of credit that can have very flexible features. Many people are unaware of these features. This article provides a simple feature comparison of these two very different products. The advantages and disadvantages are compared side by side. Some homeowners are facing the very unfortunate consequences of having obtained a typical Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) from a bank that has now terminated and requires large monthly payments. Let’s compare that to a Reverse Line. Starting Rate & Annual Cap Both of these loans have starting interest rates…
There are two propositions in California that may be of financial benefit to seniors when they sell their homes and downsize to a smaller residences. Proposition 60 is a constitutional amendment approved by the voters of California in 1986. It is codified in the Revenue & Taxation Code, and allows the transfer of an existing Proposition 13 base year value from a former residence to a replacement residence within the same county, if certain conditions are met. This benefit is open to homeowners who are at least 55-years old and are able to meet all qualifying conditions. Proposition 90, approved in…
Downsizing for Retirement The recent Case Study below is about a client that we were able to help achieve her goals for retirement through implementing the use of the FHA insured reverse mortgage program. Many people are unaware of how a reverse mortgage can be used to purchase a new home rather than being used to stay in their present home. Such is the case with the beginning of this story. It is the end of the story that makes this such a great example of a Reverse Mortgage success. Kathy was a client that I have known for many…
The Investment Company Institute reports that there is roughly $6.5 trillion in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA). To help put that in perspective, that’s well over one-third the annual gross domestic product of the U.S. If you have a traditional IRA, you may have the opportunity to stretch it out, meaning the account may be structured to extend its tax-deferred status across multiple generations.3With a traditional IRA, the account holder must begin taking required minimum distributions (RMD) by April 1 of the year after he or she turns 70½. These payments are based on the IRS’ tables for life expectancy. To…

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