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Are You Spending Your Money Wisely?

As a financial advisor, I advise all sorts of people how to spend and save more wisely and it’s surprising what people spend way too much on. This article on CNNMoney highlights the top 12 money wasters, but here are my favorite five that I can relate to:

  1. Leaving Your Stuff in a Storage Unit could be costing you $480-$1800 a year. I recommend going through all that stuff and making decisions to lighten your load and put cash in your pocket book!
  2. Leaving Rewards, Points, and Miles Unused could be costing you over $200 a year. A cool site called Points.com lets you manage all your points and rewards in one place.
  3. Weekly Visits to the Dry Cleaners could be costing you over $475 a year. It could be worth some investment of time to see how to get out that coffee stain or remove smelly odors on your own.
  4. Failing to Program Your Thermostat could be costing you $180 a year. Taking just a few minutes to set up your device could help you save.
  5. Scattering Your Insurance Policies could be costing you $300 a year. By bundling your home, auto, and life insurance, you could save up to 25% a year.

By simply avoiding these five money wasters, you could save close to $2,000 a year. Now that’s savings!

For more advice on how to reach financial freedom, please contact me at dmcmurryiic@msn.com or visit my website: http://www.integratedinsuranceconcepts.com/index.html.

By Doug McMurry, Owner of Integrated Insurance Concepts in Arizona

 

Maximize Your Social Security: Working While Collecting

Retirement is a time of excitement for a whole new chapter in life, but it’s also a time of research to ensure you’re maximizing you social security benefits…

My last post, “Maximize Your Social Security: Will Not Getting a Paycheck for Multiple Years Reduce Your Social Security Benefits” talked about how to plan ahead for retirement while this post is diving into those details right before you reach the ripe old age of retirement.

You most likely already know that you can collect social security during the year of your 66th birthday…even if you’re still working. What you may not realize is that if you are still working, you could lose out on a lot of money if you’re not careful. This is one year where you don’t want to make a lot of money until your 66th birthday. If you have a January birthday, you don’t have to worry as much as someone who has a birthday in November and is planning to work that full year.

With these variables come a lot of questions and ones you really need to take the time to answer. For example, you may be better off retiring sooner than you thought or would be smart to wait a few more months. Our government doesn’t make it easy on our soon to be retirees, but there is help out there if you need someone to walk through the details with. Contact me at dmcmurryiic@msn.com for more information or visit my website: http://www.integratedinsuranceconcepts.com/index.html.

By Doug McMurry, Owner of Integrated Insurance Concepts in Arizona

How to Manage Your Healthcare in 2013

With the recent passing of the Health Reform Law, many people are wondering how their healthcare is going to change in 2013. There are two main changes for you to take note, but most of the big changes are being ironed out and will be in effect in 2014. The 2013 changes include,

  • There is now a cap set for flexible spending accounts at $2,500.
  • All health plans are required to use standard forms to explain costs so you can compare health plans easier and with no bias.

As I mentioned before, significant changes don’t take effect until 2014 and a lot of work is currently going on at the state and federal levels. Small businesses can then purchase their own health plans next year. In 2013, you’ll see the same trends as previous years, such as employees bearing the majority of their healthcare costs at an average of $1,100 per month.

Are you managing your healthcare and finances to ensure you receive the money that’s owed to you? If you doubt it and need an expert’s advice, please feel free to contact us at Integrated Insurance Concepts. We can make sure you stay financially free in 2013, from healthcare to taxes. Contact me at dmcmurryiic@msn.com for more information.

By Doug McMurry, Owner of Integrated Insurance Concepts in Arizona

Why is Your Paycheck Smaller in 2013?

As you’re opening your first paychecks of 2013, you may think for a split second, ‘there’s been a mistake’. Unfortunately, it’s no mistake: Social Security tax has increased its withholding from 4.2% to 6.2% and this is making a dent in paychecks around the country.

According to this article on Yahoo, Roberton Williams, a tax economist and the Sol Price Fellow at the Tax Policy Center in Washington, said the expiration of the payroll-tax cut will leave the average American household with $18 to $20 less to spend each week, or $900 to $1,000 a year.

Although upsetting, placing the blame on the government won’t change anything for the time being. There are however, other ways to make this dent in pay bearable:

  1. Instead of eating out 1-2 a week, try to schedule and plan meals on Sundays. Eating out is that ‘go to’ vice when we’ve had a busy day and are just too tired to even think about what to make. A little planning go a long way and put more money in your pocketbook.
  2. Try cheaper brands for things like toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, and more. We all have things we prefer to splurge on, but it can make a big difference to plan ahead on what brands you can be flexible with.

If you need help making your money count with this recent payroll tax increase, feel free to contact us at Integrated Insurance Concepts. We can make sure you stay financially free in 2013, even if you have to cut corners in some areas. Contact me at dmcmurryiic@msn.com for more information.

 

By Doug McMurry, Owner of Integrated Insurance Concepts in Arizona

How to Increase Your Social Security Monthly Income by 20%

Did you know that there are certain periods of time where retirees shouldn’t claim their social security benefits? An article on MarketWatch provides a good summary of a session given by William Meyer, author of “Social Security Strategies”.

In that summary, Meyer defines these periods of time as ‘rat holes’ of which all retirees should be aware of and avoid in order to receive better benefits and ultimately, more money.  For example, “Individuals born between 1943 and 1954 shImageould never claim benefits between the ages of 62 and one month through 63 and 11 months, nor should they claim benefits between 65 and five months through 67 and seven months.” Meyer also gave an example in his session where a person claimed benefits at 62 years of age, just before the ‘rat hole’ which resulted in 20% more in monthly income.

So as you can see, deciding on when to claim your social security benefits during retirement is a bit more complicated than “should I take them now or later?” In order to receive the most benefit, you’ll want to do you research.

At Integrated Insurance Concepts, we can help you with that research. We have the material and calculators needed to help you make informed decisions in dealing with Social Security. We can make sure you stay clear of those ‘rat holes’ and more. Contact me at dmcmurryiic@msn.com for more information.

By Doug McMurry, Owner of Integrated Insurance Concepts in Arizona