Can an Annuity be Right for You?
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by Arif M. Halaby
All retirement money should have a job to do. An annuity can be part of the plan for your retirement living, including providing for your monthly income needs and an occasional lump sum distribution.
There are different types of annuities, but all of them can have income benefits and provide guaranteed monthly income. There are a few things to look at if you want to fill the income needs of your retirement years, including whether there are regular increases for cost of living and inflation. If an annuity has a fee associated with it, you may want to think twice. Some of these fees last for the life of the account and can increase each year, ultimately taking from your money you have saved.
If risk and fees are a part of the annuity you are considering, then make sure the guarantees are higher than what you can earn with the other possible accounts that don't have a fee. Most annuities allow you to withdraw a percentage of your account each year without a penalty. Usually it ranges 5 percent to 10 percent per year. If you withdraw more than that during the time frame you select, you may incur charges.
If your income needs are less than 10 percent of the account value, you may never pay a fee to withdraw money. If you have a Fixed Index Annuity, your principal is protected from market declines. That means if the stock market goes down, you don't lose... but if it goes up, your account can earn interest. These Fixed Index Annuities are not designed to make you rich, but they can keep you from being poor.
Arif M. Halaby, CEP is the president and CEO of Total Financial Solutions, Inc., a financial and insurance services company. 753-9683
Women's Conference to Feature Inspiring Voices on March 4
The annual College of the Canyons Women's Conference returns Saturday, March 4 with an exciting lineup of presenters and breakout sessions designed to help inspire attendees to focus on achieving goals and becoming civically-engaged members of their communities. "Inspiring Voices: Making a Difference in an Ever-Changing World" will be held from 8am to 2pm in the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center.
"This year's conference will offer sessions on a broad range of topics of interest to women and focus on following your passion and getting involved in non-profit organizations in our community and beyond," said Dr. Diane Fiero, assistant superintendent/vice president, human resources at the college. "We want the women of our community to hear from our inspiring speakers and walk away with great ways they can make a difference in this world." Attendees will benefit from breakout sessions throughout the day covering a wide range of topics, including healthy relationships, women entrepreneurs, grief and loss, dress for success, healthy body image, suicide prevention, elder care and law, life balance, makeup tips, creating a professional network/mentoring program and more. Kim Goldman, executive director of the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Project, will be the conference's keynote speaker. A vendor alley with more than 20 booths will feature for-sale items such as women's clothing, jewelry, makeup, hats, handbags, personalized home decor, handmade leather gifts, healthy snacks and other items.
Interested in Creating a Trust? Here's How to Start
The universal phrase I hear clients say when they finish signing their trust is always: "That was easier than I thought it would be."
At the beginning, though, the thought of creating a trust can feel overwhelming. Where do I start? Who do I call? Do I need a trust or a will - and what's the difference? What old paperwork do I need to locate to be able to do this? Having to face these questions commonly leads to procrastination and delay in creating your trust for even years at a time, putting your family at risk of facing an expensive, time-consuming probate and other difficulties.
Fortunately, getting started is easy. First, simply call an experienced estate-planning attorney and set an appointment, which typically lasts around an hour and a half. At the appointment you will go through a comprehensive questionnaire and discuss your family goals with your attorney, who will provide experience, guidance and different options for you to consider that are specific to you. From there, your attorney will create your trust and set a time with you for one final appointment to sign, usually a few weeks after the initial appointment. After the signing appointment you're done and the trust only requires minor upkeep over the years. Chances are, you'll find it easier than you thought it
would be, too.
Edward O'Hare, attorney-at-law, of Group One Legal, PC. 284-5000