1. Most investment instruments fall into one of two categories; safe options (green money) or at risk options (red money).

    There are several safe money options such as CD’s, checking, savings accounts and fixed annuities. These options can protect you from risk and often time have guarantees built-in.

    Additionally, many of these options provide lifetime guaranteed benefits. The trade-off for these features could be lower returns and or limited liquidity.

    Risk options or "red Money" options include: stocks, bonds, mutual funds and variable annuities. These options are at risk of losing due to market downturns or interest rate fluctuation.

    Red money provides all of the upside potential of the market, but it also carries all of the potential downside. REMEMBER: You receive all the reward and all the risk.

    Luckily there is a way for you to receive the positive features of green money (safety and guarantees) and the positive features of our red money (upside potential and liquidity).

    We can provide the safety and guarantees along with the upside and liquidity. It is important to carefully examine the red money options so that you have the appropriate amount of risk.

    Watch this short introduction video to learn more about Red Money and Green Money in your portfolio

    It's time to stop gambling with your financial future! Let us help you understand the difference between Red Money and Green Money.

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  2. Can you work while collecting Social Security benefits? If so, is it a good idea?

    As with many financial questions, the answer isn't black or white, the best answer is: It depends on your individual situation.

    For Example: If you decide to start collecting benefits before you reach "Full Retirement Age", the government will temporarily reduce the amount you receive or you may have to return part of your Social Security payment.

    You paid into Social Security your entire working life. Only a financial professional who specializes in Social Security planning can help you maximize your benefits and make sure you receive everything you're entitled to.

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  3. Today, retirement can have many different definitions. For many Americans, it means the end of the money-earning part of their life and the beginning of a period of enjoyment. But, in order to retire and maintain your standard of living, you have to plan properly.

    It's important to reevaluate your portfolio risk from time to time. Markets change, interest rates change, and as you get closer to retirement it's necessary to make sure your exposure to risk is in line with your retirement goals.

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  4. "The only things certain in life are death and taxes." - Benjamin Franklin

    Taxes on your Social Security benefits are calculated based on a formula known as provisional income. Provisional income is the sum of all income plus 50% of your Social Security benefits. Deciding when to collect your benefits can have a significant impact on how much of your Social Security will be taxed.

    The good news: There are more efficient ways to arrange your finances so as to minimize your provisional income.

    You paid into Social Security your entire working life. Only a financial professional who specializes in Social Security planning can help you maximize your benefits and make sure you receive everything you're entitled to.

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  5. What happens if you file for Social Security benefits before attaining full retirement age?

    For baby boomers born between 1943 and 1954, full retirement age for Social Security is age 66; At that point you are eligible to receive 100% of your benefit. If you apply before full retirement age, your benefit will be reduced based on the age you apply.

    At age 62, the earliest possible date you can apply, benefits are permanently reduced by 25% for the rest of your life.

    A $2,000 monthly benefit at full retirement age would be $1,500 at age 62 (not accounting for inflation.) Each year you put off applying for your Social Security benefits will increase your annual benefit.

    When you reach age 63, your benefit rises by 5%, another 6.5% at age 64, another 6.7% at age 65, and finally at age 66, you receive 100% of your full benefit. The Social Security administration encourages you to delay electing benefits even longer by tacking on an extra 8% increase for every year you wait beyond age 66 through age 70.

    So by waiting four more years, you can raise your annual benefit by 32%. Obviously, you need to take into consideration your personal financial situation before deciding to delay electing your benefits.

    Social Security is likely an important piece of your retirement income planning, but there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for claiming it.

    It is important for you to navigate your options and make informed decisions based on your unique circumstances. * Learn more about how to maximize your benefit in this short video*

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Jerald Kennedy

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