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When to File for Social Security Income: How Soon is Too Soon?

“Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples.”  - George Burns

social security benefitsThe First Baby Boomer

Kathleen Casey-Kirschling was born one second after midnight on January 1, 1946. As such, this retired Maryland teacher has the honor of being our nation’s first symbolic baby boomer. According to a US News and World Report article from January, 2008, Casey-Kirschling was also one of the first boomers to apply for Social Security benefits upon turning 62.

She wasn’t alone! Almost a third of the 2.9 million boomers born in 1946 applied for early benefits in 2008, causing Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue to dub it America’s “silver tsunami”.

And yet 38% of respondents to a Nationwide Financial Retirement Institute survey owned up to regretting their decision and wishing they had waited until they reached the full retirement age of 66. Why all the remorse? Continue reading

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The Gratitude Study: The Emotion that Raises Net Worth

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
- Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

New Study Shows How Gratitude Can Help People Save Money!

Saving MoneyIt may come as no surprise that Gratitude is the key to inner wealth… but what effect might it have on our financial wealth?

Glad you asked! According to a recent study published June 2014 in Psychological Science, when people feel grateful, they are more likely to have the patience to save for a higher return on their money.

Northeastern University’s David DeSteno led the inter-disciplinary research project, entitled “Gratitude: A Tool for Reducing Economic Impatience,”  assisted by a professor from Northeastern’s Psychology Department a team member from UC Riverside’s School of Business Administration and another from the Harvard Kennedy School.

In the study, participants were given a classic test of their ability to delay gratification, Continue reading

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Has Kiplinger’s Sold Out?  The Financial Media Bias (Part 2 – The Stock Market and Saving Money)

“Personal finance publications bias their recommendations—either consciously or subconsciously—to favor advertisers.”
– Jonathan Reuter and Eric Zitzewitz, Quarterly Journal of Economics

MisinformationTwo weeks ago, we started a rant inspired by a single issue of Kiplinger’s that I picked up to read on a plane. In Part 1, we exposed the fallacies of the “How Much You Really Need to Retire” article that warned people not to “over-save” for retirement (since surely they can live on 60% of their former income), and faulty advice on “The Best College Savings Plans.” In case you missed it, here’s Part 1 of this series on the financial media bias.

Today, we look at three other highly problematic articles from that one slim Personal Finance magazine.

Hot Stock Gambles – “Top Picks of the Top Pros”

I don’t know about you, but the last time I grabbed something “hot” – I dropped it! And frankly, the picks and even the comments made by some of the money managers are telling. Continue reading

Posted in CASH VALUE INSURANCE, INSURANCE ADVICE, SAVING MONEY, WHOLE LIFE INSURANCE | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Long Game: A Video Essay on the Path to Success

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.” ― Abraham Lincoln

Turtle on staircaseWe’ll be back next week with Part Two of our Kiplinger’s expose. This week, we want to share another resource that inspired many attendees of The Summit for Prosperity Economics Advisors.

What does it take to succeed?

Are history’s “success stories” people who simply had more talent or luck than the next person? Research suggests not, in most cases. Perseverance, patience, practice, and pure grit are the hidden elements of most success stories, though too often they are the untold part of the success stories we see on TV.

Not coincidentally, perseverance is also a key factor in the many financial success stories that don’t make headline news. Stories of lottery winners and celebrities fill the airwaves, yet the majority of millionaires who took the “slow way” to wealth by earning, saving, and safely investing are ignored or even discounted as a valid way to build wealth.

The Long Game is a video essay designed by Adam Westbrook and originally released on Delve.TV  that gives us valuable and entertaining history lessons while asking us to consider a fresh perspective on success. Brilliantly up-ending preconceptions we may have about people we now consider great artists, leaders, and inventors such as Leonardo DaVinci, The Long Game is a message that we desperately need to hear an this age of instant gratification and overnight success.

Give the link below a click – you’ll be very glad you did!

The Long Game, Part 1: Why Leonardo DaVinci was a Loser

Click HERE to watch Part 1.the long game part 1

We don’t want to keep you in suspense, so please proceed to the second half for “the rest of the story”! Continue reading

Posted in CASH VALUE INSURANCE, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, SAVING MONEY, WEALTH-BUILDING | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Has Kiplinger’s Sold Out? Bad Advice and Bias (Part 1 – Retirement and College)

“Whereas mutual fund advertising accounts for 3.8 percent of advertising revenues at the Wall Street Journal and 1.1 percent at the New York Times, it accounts for 15 percent at Money, 16 percent at SmartMoney, and 28 percent at Kiplinger’s.”

– Jonathan Reuter and Eric Zitzewitz, “Do Ads Influence Editors? Advertising and Bias in the Financial Media,” Quarterly Journal of Economics

Kiplingers-2Last week, we spent three-and-a-half-days with like-minded colleagues at The Summit for Prosperity Economics Advisors. We discussed the importance of character, the value of privatization (as opposed to allowing the government to control our choices – and our money), and the problem with “typical” financial planning strategies.

It was a breath of fresh air, almost like we had created an “alternate reality” where “up” was actually UP and “down” was actually DOWN! And then, I grabbed the October 2014 issue of Kiplinger’s for the plane ride home and stepped back into the upside-down world of “typical” personal finance in America. Argh!

When I could find the articles wedged between the full and even double-page spreads of advertisements from financial corporations, they made me crazy! As a matter of fact, I couldn’t even get my reaction into one blog post, so next week the rant shall continue as I work to expose exactly what has gone so very wrong with the financial industry in the U.S.A. Continue reading

Posted in COLLEGE PLANNING, PRINCIPLES OF PROSPERITY, RETIREMENT PLANNING | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Living in a Complaint-Free World where “Life is Great”!

complaint-free-world

Every single person is 100% disciplined to their current set of habits.”
-Dan Sullivan, Strategic Coach

“Plant a thought and reap a word;
plant a word and reap an action;
plant an action and reap a habit;
plant a habit and reap a character;
plant a character and reap a destiny.”

– March 21, 1872, The Cedar Rapids Times

Live from The Summit!
We are writing this from The Summit for Prosperity Economics Advisors where dozens of industry leaders and forward-thinking advisors have gathered. We are sharing some of our favorite ideas and resources with our colleagues and fellow advisors, we wanted to share them with you, too.

I (Kim) stumbled on the concept of a A Complaint Free World recently and just love it! I have always insisted upon living and working in a positive environment, and as I’ve written about before, beginning each day (or meeting) with a Positive Focus. The Complaint-Free world takes this and puts it into a structure to develop that positive mindset into a HABIT. Continue reading

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