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A Simple Spreadsheet Can Be The First Step Towards Financial Freedom

spreadsheetFor many, early retirement seems like a just another pipe dream. Maybe if you threw in the words, ‘sole heir’ or ‘mega-million winner’ along with it, it would seem more plausible. We understand that money isn’t an issue for some people, but it is for the overwhelming majority. There are so many bills to organize and pay and when you add children into the mix, your expenses only get higher. With necessary expenses such as groceries, water, electric, college funds, cable, and more to consider, the prospects of retirement seem to get farther and farther away. However, early retirement is, in fact, doable and not nearly as difficult as one may think it to be. It all starts with tracking your spending.  

Keeping Tabs On Your Spending

Tracking your spending is the first step to early retirement and financial freedom. If you play your cards rights–instead of playing the lottery–and start tracking your spending religiously, you too will have the ability to save up sufficient funds that will allow you to attain financial independence and if you want, early retirement.

Every time you make a purchase or pay a bill, log it into your spreadsheet. Whether its for gas, groceries, the water bill, or a nice pair of shoes you couldn’t resist, make sure you enter it in your spreadsheet. If you really make the effort to do this, by the end of the year, you will know exactly what you have spent. From there, you can get a better idea of the kind of spending that needs to be reduced–restaurants, retail therapy, etc.–and determine how much you can live on each year.

Now here comes the tricky part, once you have come up with a reasonable number that will allow you to save and be financially comfortable, you must stick to that budget.

Just like most things, the first year is always the hardest, but once you get used to the system, you will eventually be able to find more ways to save. With clear and realistic retirement goals put into motion, make sure you have more than one saving account to keep your money–401K, health savings account, etc.

With the right mindset, financial freedom and early retirement is definitely possible.

 

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Some Seniors Are Being Victimized By Annuity Scams

senior-annuitiesAn annuity is a type of insurance investment that enables the investor to receive a fixed sum of money yearly, for the rest of their life. There are many different forms of annuities that provide customers with a range of benefits but also leave room for certain risks (i.e. stock investments). Annuities are very popular amongst senior citizens since they are primarily bought as form of income during the stages of their retirement.

An Unfortunate Target

Since seniors are prime candidates for annuities, it, unfortunately, makes them susceptible to felony fraud orchestrated by conmen who pose as reliable insurance agents.

For example, two Pennsylvania native sisters, Mary and Philomena Nave, who were in their upper 80’s at the time, had saved up $500,000 to supplement them through their retirement. When looking for a dependable insurance agency to invest their money with, the sisters came across Richard Piccinini Jr., an annuities salesman. Unbeknownst to them, the sisters were ultimately placing their money into the wrong hands. In a four-year span, Piccinini moved the sisters in and out of complicated, long-term contracts that would lead to astronomical commission fees. With constant early-surrender penalty fees, Piccinini was able to embezzle $200,000 of the sister’s $500,000 investment (Source).  

The idea of seniors being victimized by annuity salesmen is absolutely deplorable, but a sad reality. Deceptive agencies who are looking to make money off of uninformed customers are to blame for this. When the time comes to invest your money in annuities, it is highly important to conduct proper research before choosing a company. Sometimes, this burden can be eased with the help of family member who has your best interest in mind.

Sell Your Annuity or Structured Settlement With Rising Capital

At Rising Capital Associates, we can provide you with a lump sum for your annuity payments. If you need cash now for expenses, medical bills, or emergencies, contact us now for more information on selling your annuity payments.

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What Are The Different Types Of Annuities?

types-of-annuitesWhen annuities come to mind, many of us think of a monetary amount that is paid out in equal increments until the sum is completely depleted. Individuals may receive annuities for various reasons, whether it is a settlement for a car accident, investment of your funds distributed to you, or a lottery winning to name a few. 

Types of Annuities

Fixed Annuities

  • Fixed annuities are a result of fixed interest investments which are issued via insurance companies. They come with a guaranteed interest rate with the ability to defer income or draw income right away. 

Variable Annuities

  • Variable annuities allow customers to pick from a variety of investments. It then issues you a certain income during retirement which is depicted by the performance of the investments that you choose. If you happen to choose a very lucrative investment, the ROI will be high. With this riskiest annuity option, clients may lose some of their principal amounts.

Fixed-Indexed Annuities

  • Holders of fixed indexed annuities earn variable interest which fluctuates with the market index.

Immediate Annuities

  • Immediate annuity payments begin instantly and last until a specified date. With this type of annuity, the customer can give in their lump sum in exchange for annuities. These are purchasable from insurance companies who issues you annuities in the exchange for a lump sum payment.

Deferred Annuities

  • Deferred annuities are issued to the holder at a date that is postponed at least one year away.

Rising Capital Associates Purchases Annuities

At Rising Capital Associates, we purchase annuities and structured settlements for a lump sum in return. If you are considering selling all or just a portion of your annuity payments or structured settlement payments, contact us today for more information at 866-444-5061.

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What’s The Difference Between a Structured Settlement And An Annuity?

structured settlements vs annuitiesStructured settlements and annuities are two financial products that have many similar qualities in common. It is tempting to lump them together in the same category, however there are distinctions between the two that merit further investigation. 

Annuities

Annuities are financial instruments with qualities of both investments and insurance policies. They are a contract between an individual and an organization that provides for the repayment of a premium after a given time period has elapsed. Annuities date back to ancient Rome, where the first concept of this financial tool was introduced. “Annua” actually meant annual stipends in Latin. Individuals would give contributions into a large pool of money run by each province and then receive an annual payment each year until death, or for a specified period of time. This allowed the Roman Empire to mitigate risk while providing money to individuals of priority, such as soldiers and generals who often saw combat.

The first annuity on record comes from the American Colonial period in 1759 when the first organization was formed in order to sell financial protection to aging ministers and their families. Ministers would pay into a policy that grew over time. This money was then partitioned out to family members after a period of a few years. Essentially, it established a “safety net” where money now was sacrificed in terms of more stable, and larger amounts of money later. Annuities protected the ministers’ money from fluctuations in the financial markets and allowed them ways to pass their money over to children that were not yet old enough to know what to do with the inheritance.

The First Annuity Company Was Formed in 1812

The company was known as the Pennsylvania Company for Insurance on Lives and Granting Annuities/ Since 1812 various institutions have provided clients with a secure retirement plan.

Annuities In the Modern Era

One of the largest differences between annuities and structured settlements is that the former is guaranteed against the loss of principal while also deferring taxes. The current era of annuities began in 1952 with the establishment of the TIAA-CREF, the first offered group variable deferred annuity. Today, Americans own over $1.8 trillion in annuity products.

A great example of an annuity is a lottery winning. A lottery winner has a contract formerly drawn up with the party responsible for paying out the winnings. Typically the large winnings are separated over time and not put in as one large lump sum. Coincidentally, a lottery winner may elect to sell future payments to a broker in favor of a large lump sum.

Settlements

Settlements give out money in small portions, just like an annuity, yet they usually arise from a court settlement or personal injury case. The way structured settlements work out is that they arise from some legal claim, providing the winner of the case with a specific amount of capital for a fixed period of time. They are mostly the result of a lawsuit involving personal injury or liability.

Why Are Structured Settlements Used?

Structured settlements are used for large money claims where it is beneficial to pay our beneficiaries over longer periods of time. During the American Colonial era, governments wanted a secure way to ensure the recipients of a personal injury claim did not frivolously spend their money in a short period of time following their settlement payment and end up destitute, forced to rely on social services.

Settlements allow the government the ability to partition out payments over time, changing a large lump sum payment into a series of steady payments over time. They are useful for people who are temporarily or prematurely disabled, have limited financial expertise, or are minors that are not able to handle their own financial affairs.

The Settlement Market

The need for individuals to turn these small, steady, often decade-long payments into one large lump sum has created a secondary financial market for settlements. Organizations, such as Rising Capital exist that take deferral payments and convert them into one large cash payment. This way, individuals that are injured can pay large medical bills, or use them for other expenses that demand immediate attention.

Selling A Structured Settlement or Annuity

If you wish to sell structured settlements for cash or sell annuity payments for cash, contact us at Rising Capital Associates Settlements.

 

 

 

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Fee Based Annuities May Drive More People To Sell Them

fee-based-annuitiesA recent ruling from the Federal Department of Labor now holds broker-dealers and life insurance companies to the same fiduciary standards practiced in the financial industry. Annuity advisors are now required to disclose the commissions that they receive from selling products. This new fiduciary rule, outlined here, is requiring many institutions that deal in settlements and annuities to change their business model. Enter the fee-based variable annuity – which allows individuals to sell annuity payments in a slightly different way.

This increased regulation as a result of the Federal Department of Labor may lead to a resurgence in fee-based variable annuities. But what exactly are they? In this article we explore the difference between annuities and fixed-based annuities, and highlight some changes in store for the insurance industry in 2017.

What Are Annuities?

Before explaining what a fee-based annuity is, one must first understand what an annuity is. Annuities function like a reverse life insurance policy. In a life insurance policy, the policyholder pays small monthly payments that their family receives as a large lump sum after their passing. In an annuity the opposite happens: the policyholder gives money up front to an insurance company. The insurance company then pays the policyholder in periodic fixed payments until they die. Keep in mind you always have the option to sell your annuity for cash.

Annuities are insurance products. They act as a method of saving one’s money; essentially letting you protect it from yourself. By paying an initial lump sum to a company, and having non-taxed money incoming to you in small, fixed payments you are able to budget out your finances and have enough for retirement. Because annuities are insurance products there can be some tax advantages to the returns. When you sell annuity payments, they can be used as a way to buffer one’s income stream in retirement if an individual has no money saved up. Advances in medicine are causing individuals to live longer and longer, especially the Baby Boomer generation. Annuities provide a great hedge against outliving one’s own retirement savings while having one’s taxes deferred.

What Are Fee-Based Annuities?

Also referred to as I shares, fee-based annuities are a key part of a retirement portfolio. Fee-based annuities are simpler versions of traditional annuities. They contain no living benefits, complicated guarantees, or upfront loan and surrender charges. What is left is the main selling point of a traditional annuity: the ability to defer taxes.

The money you invest in an annuity grows tax-deferred until you eventually start to withdraw your funds. You are able to lock in a fixed monthly income without having to worry about financial market conditions.

The newly revived fee-based variable annuities offer a multitude of benefits over traditional annuities and variable annuities. Fee-based annuities offer shorter surrender periods, lower overall fees, and fewer penalties. Clients appreciate the fact that they are not locked into their annuity for a long time.

What Changed?

The new fiduciary rule requires businesses to disclose their commission rates to individual insurance holders that want to sell annuity payments. Insurance News Net reported that sales of variable annuities dipped 22% in the first half of the year. Contrariwise, fee-based annuities are making a comeback due to the recent Department of Labor ruling. The DoL created the fiduciary rule in order to operate with the client’s best interest in mind.

They may have been looked down upon by brokers and dealers a few years ago, as of 2011 the market stands at $1 billion. It is likely to increase as fee based annuities give new options for financial advisors, while also allowing consumers different ways to sell.

 

 

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5 Savings Tips to Tax Refund Rewards

Posted: Monday, February 15, 2016 12:00 am | Updated: 2:30 am, Mon Feb 15, 2016.

If $2,000 suddenly hit your bank account, you’d feel like you hit the jackpot, right? That will be a reality for many Americans this tax season as, according to a tax time survey by Straight Talk Wireless, Americans on average expect to receive exactly that back on their tax refund this year. Use this time to reap refund rewards!

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10 Last-Minute Holiday Shopping Tips

1. Buy a gift card (on sale). Imagine going to the bank and exchanging $85 for a $100 bill. You do something similar when you purchase a discount gift card. It’s a win-win situation: Gift cards are the most requested gift item each year, and you can buy them for only a fraction of the face-value price. Or you can purchase specific gifts with a discounted card.

To buy discounted gift cards, check out online vendors such as Raise.com and CardPool.com or wholesalers such as Sam’s Cluband Costco.

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Student Loan Debt 101: Everything You Need to Know

In this day and age, most people graduating from college are doing so with some level of student debt. That said, its ubiquity isn’t much of a comfort to those ​20-somethings receiving their very first student loan bill. In many ways, taking out student loans can feel like a huge gamble : For those who struggle to find work right out of college, it can begin to look like a bet they lost.

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