Sunday, December 30, 2012

Can I Roll Over a Retirement Annuity From One Broker to Another?

Annuity owners are under no obligation to continue working with a representative

Consumers are free to enlist the services of any properly registered and licensed insurance broker, investment adviser or financial planner. Annuity owners are under no obligation to continue working with a representative and may move accounts, policies and money to another industry professional at any time.

However, sometimes changing brokers also requires changing annuities, typically in cases where the annuity was initially purchased directly from the insurance company, not from an independent broker.

Closing a Fixed Annuity

Closing a fixed annuity might have significant consequences!

Source: StockMonkeys (Flickr)
Careful consideration must be given to the possible consequences of closing a fixed annuity.

By terminating the contract and taking a single lump-sum withdrawal, you will increase your taxable earnings for the year.

Additionally, you may receive less than the actual balance in your account if you surrender your annuity too early.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Life Insurance Difference Between Inside Build Up & Cash Surrender Value

Life insurance policies can provide more than just a death benefit. If you buy the right type of policy, your money does more than just pay for coverage. Understanding what happens inside a life insurance policy and how your premium payments are handled can help you learn to leverage the power of tax-deferred accumulation and tax-free loans.

Bribery is Just Standard Operating Procedure

In the wake of last week's SEC press release announcing a $12.4 million settlement with Allianz SE (OTCMKTS:AZSEY) for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, it’s hard to ignore the implication that bribery and corruption in big business have become standard operating procedures.

In the past six months alone, five major international corporations have settled lawsuits filed by the SEC for similar offenses involving secret payoffs to government officials, fraudulent payments to nonexistent companies, and kickbacks to influential people in exchange for big money contracts.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Insurers Must Embrace Technology to Survive

Doing business "the old way" doesn't work anymore

As we approach the close of another year, it’s become even more obvious that doing business the “old way” doesn’t work too well anymore. Sure, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – but that doesn’t mean you can forgo maintenance and upgrades.

A review of Q3 earnings reports and financial ratings of the oldest and largest life insurance companies illustrates this point. Despite some increases over the same period in 2011, the industry’s giants continue to experience premium declines.

Monday, December 17, 2012

How to Unload a Horrible Annuity

If you have no choice but to back out of an annuity contract, there's a right way to do it

Annuities are long-term retirement investment vehicles and disposing of one is not always a simple process. Several factors must be carefully considered before unloading an annuity.

Income taxes, retirement stability and future purchasing power are just some of the issues that terminating an annuity may negatively affect.

If you determine, however, that the best option is to get rid of your current annuity, there are two methods of accomplishing this: surrender or rollover.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Is an Annuity Rollover Taxable?

A properly executed annuity rollover will not generate income tax liability

Annuities are retirement investment vehicles offered by life insurance companies. Countless annuities exist and new products continue to be developed with enticing and advantageous features.

If you are unsatisfied with your current annuity and believe switching to another is in your best interest, a rollover is required to move the money.

This decision should only be made after careful evaluation of the immediate and future ramifications of a rollover, and the suitability of both the current and proposed annuity products.

What Is the Collateral Assignment of a Life Insurance Policy?

Simply put, it means making a lender the beneficiary of your life insurance policy

Collateral assignment refers to the contractual designation of a company or other entity as beneficiary of a life insurance policy. This arrangement is fairly common among business owners in search of additional funds or credit.

Many lenders will consider the assignment of life insurance alongside other factors when evaluating creditworthiness for business financing applications. Some lenders even require an assignment of life insurance as a condition of loan approval.

When leveraged properly, a collateral assignment can help business owners obtain funding that would otherwise be unattainable.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Annuity Vs. Other Guaranteed Income Investments

Gambone articles annuity vs guaranteed income investments
Choosing one type of guaranteed investment over another depends on your needs, financial capabilities and risk tolerance. Fixed annuities are retirement investment products that may suit your goals better than bank CDs or Treasury bonds. However, certain restrictions and limitations attached to annuities might not be present for other investment types. You must carefully evaluate the potential impact on your present and future financial stability before contributing money.

What Are the Negatives of Investing in a Fixed Index Annuity?

Make sure you know the potential downsides before investing in a fixed annuity

Source: StockMonkeys (Flickr)
Fixed annuities are available from countless insurance companies, and each product offers a plethora of features and advantages. Depending on your situation, a fixed annuity might seem the ideal place for your retirement money.

Before you purchase one, familiarize yourself with the potential downsides and make sure it's suitable for your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Do I Need to Claim Earned Interest on My IRA or Annuity?

The type of retirement account you have determines your tax liability

Source: StockMonkeys (Flickr)
The type of annuity or IRA to which you contribute determines the tax treatment of contributions, growth and distributions. Traditional IRAs and the appreciation within them are viewed differently than identical money in a Roth IRA.

The same is true for accumulation and earnings in qualified versus non-qualified annuities. Prior to opening a retirement account or withdrawing money from one, become familiar with the type of account you have and the potential income tax ramifications of your actions.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Taxation of Annuity Benefits

Know the consequences of annuity withdrawals before taking distributions

Source: StockMonkeys (Flickr)
If you're considering a distribution from an annuity, take the time to familiarize yourself with the potential tax liability that may be created by your withdrawal.

The type of annuity you own, qualified or non-qualified, and the amount of earnings in that account could impact how much your benefits get taxed.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What Percentage Do You Get When You Cash Out a Whole Life Insurance Policy?

You may receive a portion of the cash value when you terminate a whole life insurance policy

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent policy designed to provide coverage for your entire life. Equity builds within the policy, resulting in real cash value that can be accessed in a number of ways.

Depending on the specific details of your whole life contract and how long the policy has been in force, you may also receive some of the cash value if you terminate the plan.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tax on Withdrawal From Life Insurance

Life insurance withdrawals can be taxable in certain situations

Source: StockMonkeys (Flickr)
Permanent life insurance policies offer an additional benefit beyond providing heirs with money if you die. Equity typically accumulates in these products and can be withdrawn by the policy owner.

However, care must be taken when considering a distribution from life insurance cash values to avoid income tax liability and damage to the integrity of the policy.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Does Life Insurance Pay if You Are Murdered?

Under most circumstances, life insurance does pay in the event that you are murdered

In many cases, life insurance benefits are paid if you are murdered. However, a myriad of circumstances must be examined and considered to determine the likelihood of an insurance company denying benefits to heirs, even in a clear case of homicide.

Though each case is individual, the following are common issues that affect whether a life insurance policy will pay out if the insured has been murdered.

Friday, September 07, 2012

What Is IRA Annuity & Can I Withdraw at Retirement?

Annuities are one of many possible investment options that you can place inside an individual retirement account, although they can also be purchased as standalone investments outside formal retirement accounts.

Annuities within IRAs are commonly referred to as "IRA annuities," but there's no difference in the features of these products and those of non-IRA annuities.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

What Licenses Do Bankers Have to a Sell Fixed Annuity?

Bankers are prohibited from soliciting, selling or even discussing annuities without a life insurance producer's license

An increasing number of bank representatives are selling insurance products. The banking and insurance industries are indirectly connected, and transitioning customers from one product line to the next is often logical.

However, conducting banking business and insurance transactions requires different licenses.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Can Annuities Have Primary Beneficiaries and Contingent Beneficiaries?

The annuity owner can specify any number of primary and contingent beneficiaries, and can add, remove or change them at any time

Although annuities are retirement investment products, they are managed by life insurance companies and contain provisions that allow owners to specify beneficiaries.

The annuity owner is free to specify any number of primary and contingent beneficiaries, and he can add, remove or otherwise change those designations at any time.

Friday, August 17, 2012

What Is Graded Benefit Whole Life Insurance?

Graded benefit whole life may be the only option for certain individuals

A life insurance policy is a contractual agreement with an insurance company to pay your heirs a sum of money if you die while the policy is active. Insurance companies take great steps to evaluate the liability presented by applicants, and will decline coverage to people who are deemed an unacceptable risk.

Graded benefit whole life policies are specific products made available to people who cannot obtain coverage through traditional means.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Life Insurance Beneficiary Rules

While the concept of a life insurance beneficiary is simple, a number of situations and scenarios could create confusion and threaten the policy owner's wishes. Understanding the different types of beneficiaries and how to properly designate each one will ensure your beneficiaries get exactly what you had planned.

Are Life Insurance Death Benefits Taxed?

Not all life insurance benefits are received tax-free

Typically, beneficiaries do not have to pay income tax on life insurance death benefits when they are received as a lump sum. However, some insurance companies usually offer beneficiaries a choice of payout options other than a single lump sum.

In this case, a portion of these payouts may be considered taxable earnings. There are also other circumstances in which life insurance benefits may be taxed.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Allstate Share Price Rises After Customers are Exiled

Gambone articles Allstate ALL stock rises customers exiled
Recently, Allstate Corp (NYSE:ALL) shares have climbed to their highest levels in almost four years. At last friday’s market close, the share price was $37.04, up 7.36% for the week. Allstate CEO Tom Wilson expressed confidence in the company’s ability to achieve its goal of a 13% operating return on equity by 2014.

But, while Allstate shareholders may be rejoicing at the company’s better-than-expected operating profits and subsequent share price increases, the Northbrook, IL-based insurance carrier’s customer base is anything but pleased. Policyholders have been riding the proverbial roller coaster for several years while the company has struggled to find new ways of increasing profit and reducing expenses.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Taxation of Annuity Withdrawals

Understanding how annuity withdrawals are taxed is essential to proper retirement planning

Source: StockMonkeys (Flickr)
Before you begin taking distributions from an annuity, it's important that you understand the potential income tax consequences that accompany withdrawals.

Your age, the type of annuity you own and the manner in which you receive the money will all affect how your money is taxed when you receive it.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Variable Annuities Vs Mutual Funds

Variable annuities and mutual funds contain many identical features that can make the two products difficult for inexperienced investors to distinguish. 

If you are considering investing in an annuity or mutual funds, you must learn the differences between them and understand how each product may impact your financial situation.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bond Fund Vs Indexed Annuities

Bond funds and indexed annuities are entirely different investment choices

Gambone articles bond funds index annuity choices
Source: StockMonkeys via Flickr
Indexed annuities are retirement investment vehicles designed and maintained by life insurance companies. Bond funds are large pools of investor money managed by teams of professional traders and analysts. Annuities and bond funds may both be suitable in a number of situations, and each of these products carries with it a wide range of potential pros and cons.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

How to Close an Annuity

Closing an annuity has many consequences that must be considered

Closing an annuity will result in financial consequences that may dramatically affect how much money you receive in the future.

Several factors should be considered before you decide to terminate an annuity. You must understand the potential taxes and penalties associated with closing your account.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Banking's Big Dogs Take a Step in the Right Direction, But too Late?

Through a cooperative venture, three of the nation’s largest banks have successfully created a new mobile banking platform that allows customers to deposit checks via Smartphone applications. This new deposit system, named clearXchange, was developed by Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC) and is co-owned by Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM).

In a blog post earlier this month, Wells Fargo described the basic features of the system and disclosed that its own executive VP of Innovation and Payment Strategy, Mike Kennedy, is serving as the clearXchange chairman.

Despite massive efforts by Wells Fargo to publicize the availability of clearXchange technology, which facilitates digital check processing services in its proprietary mobile software named “Send & Receive Money,” the bank’s target market hasn’t responded with the enthusiasm management had been hoping for.

Because younger adults have always had a higher tendency to remain closer to developing technology, mobile banking and the ability to deposit checks simply by photographing them with a Smartphone is not new or exciting.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Do Insurance Payouts Have to Be Counted as Income?

Some insurance payouts must be counted as income, while others are income-tax free

Source: StockMonkeys (Flickr)
If you've received a payout from an insurance policy, figuring out whether or not to count that money as income can be confusing. Several elements must be analyzed to understand if the benefit is tax-free or fully taxable as ordinary income.

The type of policy, the deductibility of premiums and even what the money was used for might all be relevant factors in determining how much of the payout must be counted as income.

How Much Tax Do You Pay on a Cashed Out 403(b)?

Cashing out your 403(b) might lead to hefty taxes and penalties

Source: StockMonkeys (Flickr)
A 403(b) is a qualified group retirement plan that's similar to a 401(k) but offered by nonprofit organizations like churches and schools.

If you work for this type of organization and participate in the plan, understanding the consequences of cashing out your account can help you prepare for the future.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

How to Adjust a Portfolio When Nearing Retirement

Source: Stock chart image by Selim Kisa via
To get the most out of your retirement savings, it helps to spread your investments around so your portfolio includes stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement and other savings accounts. As your anticipated retirement date approaches, consider evaluating and adjusting your portfolio to protect current principal while still leaving room for variable gains.

Is My Life Insurance Policy Premium Tax Deductible?

Article originally published on

View original HERE

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Do You Have to Claim Life Insurance Cash Disbursement on Taxes?

Article originally published on Zacks Finance

View original HERE

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Guaranteed Cash Value Vs. Net Cash Value Life Insurance

Not all life insurance cash value is guaranteed

Besides simply providing coverage that will never expire, permanent life insurance policies have the added benefit of accumulating cash value -- money that can be utilized while you're still alive.

However, confusion often exists regarding how this money accumulates and what happens to it if a policy is canceled. By understanding the basics of cash value and the terminology used by most insurance companies, you can avoid confusion regarding your own policy values.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

What Is the Difference Between a Realized & Unrealized Loss?

Article originally published on Zack's Finance

View original HERE

Friday, July 13, 2012

How to Make an Investment Portfolio More Conservative With Asset Allocation

Your individual goals and financial capabilities influence your decisions regarding proper management of your investments. If you believe the stock market is poised for unacceptable declines and want to shield your portfolio from potential economic downturns, a shift to more conservative assets may suit you.

Similarly, as you approach the date when you expect to begin withdrawing money from your investment account, you may want to reduce your portfolio risk to better secure any gains you have earned. Fidelity Investments explains, "How you determine your asset allocation largely depends on your comfort with risk and the time frame for your investments."

Monday, July 09, 2012

When Can You Roll a 403(b) Plan Over?

Article originally published on

View original HERE

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Non Qualified Investment Accounts Vs. Qualified Accounts

Article originally published on

View original HERE

Friday, July 06, 2012

Life Insurance After a Cardiac Bypass

Buying life insurance can be a confusing and complicated task, especially if your medical history is less than perfect. Insurance companies take on significant liability by issuing policies to people with health problems.

Some companies even refuse to offer coverage to those with certain issues. Cardiac bypass surgery is one such issue, but that doesn't mean you can't get a life insurance policy. If you've had a cardiac bypass you should familiarize yourself with how the industry reacts to buyers like yourself and what you should expect if you submit an application.

Is Taking Out a 401(k) Loan Better Than a Credit Card?

Article originally published on The Nest

View original HERE

Thursday, June 28, 2012

How I Got My Child a Cell Phone For $10 Per Month

Deciding whether or not to buy your child a cell phone is a decision that is both personal and fraught with complications. Every child, every family, every situation is unique, making it difficult to judge your decisions by looking at other parents and their children. The debate over how young is too young when it comes to cell phones is one that has raged on for many years and will likely continue for many more.

My opinion on the matter is straightforward – if your child will ever be alone, or away from home without a parent, then a cell phone is justified. As a single father of two children, I would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to my kids. My children are never home alone, do not go places without me, and are only babysat by close family (or those friends who are just like a member of the family).

Friday, June 22, 2012

7 Steps to a Roth IRA Conversion

There are several factors that must be considered before converting to a Roth IRA

Converting your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA is a relatively easy process, but not one that should be taken lightly. A conversion of this type has income tax ramifications and could potentially impact your lifestyle during retirement.

While the process is simple, several factors must be weighed and considered before initiating the conversion.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Is a Spouse's Signature Required for a 401(k) Loan?

Article originally published on The Nest

View original HERE

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Insurance Claims Denied Due to a Cosmetic Procedure Not Allowed

Article originally published on The Nest

View original HERE

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Should I Take Lump Sum From Life Insurance?

Life insurance can serve multiple purposes besides simply providing your heirs with money if you die. Certain types of policies can provide benefits while you're still alive in the form of tax-free investment growth.

However, if you own one of those types of policies and are considering a lump sum withdrawal, several factors must be evaluated, as that distribution can affect your family's future financial well-being.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

How to Use an Annuity for a Down Payment

Article originally published on The Nest

View original HERE

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Can I Analyze My Own Investments or Should I Pay an Advisor?

Hiring an investment advisor may be the wisest decision.

The debate over whether average consumers should analyze their own investments and manage portfolios has raged on for years. Growing armies of do-it-yourself investors present compelling arguments illustrating that it is indeed possible to create and maintain a profitable investment portfolio without any involvement from licensed professionals.

While advisors don't dismiss this possibility altogether, they stress that those cases are not the norm and there are countless other reasons that hiring a professional is the wisest choice.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Insurance Business Growth: Direct vs. Independent Agents

Article originally published on

View original HERE

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How I Became My Own Wireless Hot Spot

The Problem

Having purchased a wifi-only Android tablet last year, I quickly realized the challenges of carrying a device whose full potential was only realized with an Internet connection. While still capable of performing impressive tasks and entertaining my family with countless games and other apps, the tablet was limited in its functionality when not online. Many of the applications installed on the device were also hindered by a lack of connectivity.

This situation made what should have been a powerful and efficient mobile device little more than a fancy toy. I found myself unacceptably excited every time I drove past a restaurant that advertised Free Wi-Fi, or even worse, a Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX). The presence of free Wi-Fi slowly became a relevant factor in my travel destination choices as my use of the tablet grew more involved.

Friday, January 06, 2012

The Basics: How To Buy Stocks

Article originally published on NYSE Euronext

Buying stocks is a simple process that can be completed with or without the assistance of a licensed stockbroker. Once you have money in a brokerage account, buying shares of stock is as simple as making a phone call or clicking a button on your computer. However, actually choosing suitable stocks — those with the highest potential for an increase in value — is an extremely challenging task, one that requires extensive time and research.