His Fishing Gear Was Insured, But Not His Life!

sddThere is an eerie legend about Lakewood, NJ’s Lake Carasaljo that its quiet appearance does not tell. It is a bizarre tale that goes back to the 1880’s or perhaps even to an earlier date.

As the legend has it, Mr. Joseph Brick, wealthy Lakewood iron and land business entrepreneur of the time, had three daughters named Caroline, Sally and Josephine who tragically lost their lives while swimming in the lake. In his grief, Mr. Brick named the lake after the loved ones he lost to it – Cara (Caroline) Sal (Sally) Jo (Josephine).

All of those details surrounding the drowning of the three girls except for the naming of the lake in their tribute, I am told, are purely fictional. It is a story that has absolutely no basis. The three daughters of Joseph Brick, in reality, were a health bunch, grew up, married, built families and led ordinary lives.

Yet, the cloak of serenity veiling the beautiful Lake Carasaljo hides something powerful. Nestled deep within its rejuvenating force of life-giving freshness and loveliness, Lake Carasaljo has the dreadful power to strangle and kill…

It happened about ten years ago in the summer when the endless train of nature-lovers would hike and bike around the water’s bed, take in the fresh air and the sights of sound G-d’s glory. During this time, local and not-so local fishermen would take advantage of the sport that, depending on the status and importance they placed upon the hobby, demanded an array of gear.

One evening, two friends of mine decided to cycle around the beautiful lake as the sun began its majestic descent. As they made their way towards the boardwalk, just off of the main road, they noticed orange tape blocking off the lakeside road to traffic. Ambulances and emergency cars were flashing their lights in the cut off area. Crowds of onlookers had positioned themselves in a distance.

“What’s going on? What’s the excitement about?” they asked an acquaintance.

“They’re looking for someone in the lake. It seems two young boys from a neighboring town were rowing in the lake while their father, all geared up in fishing trappings, was fishing on the shore. The boys tipped over. The father panicked. Still wearing his heavy attire, he swam for them. The boys were saved by a passersby. The father… they did not find him yet… Divers are skimming the bottom of the lake now… ” The somber answer was followed by silence.

My friends just looked at each other. They remained quiet. This was no time for talk.

My friends made their way peddling past the orange tape. Then they saw a stranger talking on his cell phone walking the opposite way of the excitement.

Some people, they thought to themselves, were so insensitive… Imagine! Conducting mundane conversations while tragedy strikes so close…

As they peddled on, coming closer to the man, they noticed that the fully-grown man was indeed talking on the cell phone – while he was unabashedly crying bitter tears.

My friends soon confirmed their dreadful premonition. The ‘callous’ stranger had been a relative of the fisherman. The fisherman had invested countless dollars into his fishing gear – even making sure his homeowners policy protected it all. Now he had been found at the bottom of the lake, leaving behind two orphans and a young widow…

My friends stuffed some cash into an envelope and sealed it. On the front one wrote – Collection for Widow and Orphans. It was the least they could do for the unfortunate family that had invested into a policy that protected their fishing gear but not the life of the head of the household…

Lake Carasaljo. Its beauty and grace astounds the onlooker. It is a haven for the artist, as well as the artist at heart. Nature and peace seem to rest in this very place. Who would have imagined that a young man would be downed in a short instant by it? Who would have imagined a young family would be left alone without a husband and father and no means to live because of a lack of a life insurance policy?

Your Life Insurance With the Help of a Life Insurance Calculator

dfLife Lessons to Excel at in Your 30s

While you might have been carefree, and even a risk taker in your twenties, by the time you hit the thirties, it is time to take stock. Life would have already begun throwing responsibilities at you and if you don’t start planning for the present and future now, it might just be too late.

Things you Must Do in your 30s

If you haven’t started to put your life in place, you must do it in your thirties. It is time to get your finances in order to avoid feeling the pinch later in life. You can start by purchasing a life insurance policy. Take help from a life insurance calculator to determine the most appropriate premium and cover amount.

1. Start Planning For Your Retirement – If you are one of those who thinks that your meagre savings every month would be enough for the retirement, then you must think again. Although it is true that expenses come down post retirement, but only nominally. A fairly large amount of money is needed to maintain a certain standard of living. Medical bills may also shoot up post retirement due to aging and failing health.

2. Start Taking Care of Your Health – Did you drink down a couple of extra vodka shots at the last party only to promise your wife that you would not do it the next time? But the next time, the promise is forgotten, isn’t it? Or you maybe claim to the world that you will start hitting the gym next Monday for last many Mondays. We all know that we must take care of our health and the ways to do so. Healthy eating, exercising, avoiding bad habits, such as smoking and drinking, are some of the ways. But somehow we always keep delaying it giving priority to other things. Tighten your belt and start to take care of your health now.

3. Focus on One Thing That You Can Do Really Well – Enhance your skill and master it. Doing too many things at the same time makes you master of none.

4. Think About the Family – If you are married and have children, then your responsibilities might be greater. Plan your future finances according to their needs. Take the help of a life insurance calculator to get the right life insurance policy.

5. Take Risks – The 30s are the time when you can take risks. Contrary to popular belief, it is okay if you don’t have things figured out by the time you turn 30. You still have time; take risks, explore your options and then decide on what’s best for you. Don’t stick to something you wouldn’t be happy doing later.

Spend time with people who can care about you and keep negative people away, as they bring negative energy. Be positive towards life and implement it in your decisions. Start by getting life insurance with the help of a life insurance calculator.

Safe Money Investing in a Turbulent Stock Market

weeThere are a few things you need to know to make sure you are investing your money safely. The first thing is the stock market is not a very safe place to put all your eggs in one basket. You really need to diversify your portfolio in order to make sure you are keeping pace with inflation.

Have you heard of institutions or advisors that invest your money and they have control of your finances like Bernie Madoff or The Stanford Financial Group. Many people just opened accounts and let these type of financial organizations invest all of their money. The problem is that whether these guys made money or lost money they still were paid high commissions on your money. They also had full control of your money so these institutions or individuals ran illegal Ponzi schemes using your money and as long as they continued to get new money from investors it seemed like they were investing your money the right way. They guaranteed rates of return of 10% and higher.

The problem I have with not having control of your own finances is that you never know whats going on with your money. The investors became creditors of these institutions and many never recouped the money they invested.

As an investment advisor, I always make sure that my clients can log in and manage their own money and check to see how their investments are performing.

The stock market is very unpredictable and is taking large declines, as of this writing, and my focus is to not have any losses when you invest your money and to be as tax efficient as possible. I have invested millions of dollars and I make sure that losses are not part of my philosophy. You still need to invest in a 401k plan if it is offered at your work but diversify your investments in your 401k plan and make sure to allocate some in the money market sector to limit exposure.

I utilize annuities and insurance as a way to invest large sums of money and still get great returns ranging from 7% and up with no risk of losing any principal even in a down market. If you invest strictly in a fixed annuity you will not keep pace with inflation. If you invest in a variable annuity you will be subject to stock market risk which could have large losses. I am an expert in indexed annuities and I have sold millions of dollars of them and they keep growing because of the safety of principal and also having the ability to keep pace with inflation and the tax deferral of the gains is important.

When you invest large amounts in indexed annuities you also have low management fees unlike variable annuities, which like the stock market needs a person to manage the funds which adds to the fees. Indexed products are compared to a benchmark, such as the S&P 500 or other index and thus lower fees to operate. The purchase of an indexed annuity comes with serious compliance to make sure this type of investment is right for you. First, I need to make sure that since your money is locked in for a certain period that this is investment is right for the investor. The company will also make sure this investment is right for the purchaser and then the investor has a free look period to make sure the investment fits. Most of the time an annuity is not right for a person who is in the late 70’s or 80’s but compliance will determine this depending on the situation. If a client is closer to 80 years old we then look at indexed life insurance policies to see if we can solve a problem for them. I do a good job of due diligence to make sure my clients fit the product that solves their money issues.

My take on the investing is invest safely and make sure you have a person who takes a fiduciary duty in your well being. The stock market has made a lot of rich individuals but also made a lot of individuals lose lots of hard earned money. Why not take advantage of a well established product that is safe and has no losses? If the stock market goes down by 50% you don’t worry about any losses and that gives you peace of mind and confidence that you can retire wealthy when the time comes. When you take the worry out of your investments and you have control because you can log into your own website and check the performance you know that your money is safe. Your safe money author has experience and years of providing excellent service to all of my clients.

If Only He Would Have Had Life Insurance

clShe responded to Beverly’s greeting with shy warmth. Coming straight from Morocco to Teaneck, NJ, she looked every bit out of place as Beverly knew she felt.

Sarit was Beverly’s new neighbor. She spoke not a word of English and Beverly’s French ‘bonjour’, ‘mademoiselle’, ‘bien’ and ‘merci’, coupled with the nothing that she knew from Arabic, did practically zilch for their interaction skills. They used their hands a great deal, smiled a lot and for the most part could not understand each other at all. The children, though – they were another matter entirely. Toys, games, running and jumping – those were the means of their communiqué and they mastered it without too much problem. As time progressed, the children became the tools of communication towards a friendship that forged into a relationship as close as sister to sister.

With time, Sarit’s children adopted the English language proficiently and were placed in the neighborhood schools. They became content with their lot and reveled in the street play. Yet, standing among the others anyone could place where they came from. With their outdated, oftentimes ill-matched outfits, it was clear that their home was not ‘true-blue American’ and that money was very much an issue. How, after all, could the family afford much with the head of the household working part-time for a fast-food business at minimum wage? Indeed, how could their father find decent work not knowing a word of the American language?

Sarit put on the bravest front. Her husband was not so willing. Frustrated with the many blows to his ego as breadwinner and man of the house, his misery grew. He smiled at all attempts to communicate, went to work for pitiful few hours, paced the floors of his home, walked the streets, visited his friends from the old county in Brooklyn, NY… and gave in to accepting charitable contributions of the community so as to exist. English was a handicap too immense and far too gigantic for him to hurdle.

Sarit, on the other hand, was learning, albeit brokenly. Speaking the common language of motherhood, she mingled. The other women marveled at her heroism. As they entered her spotless home and viewed her homemaking skills, they admired. She was an accomplished lady! Mother to a big flock, she cooked gourmet meals, sewed and mended clothes, lent emotional support to her embittered husband and nurtured her children as only she could – in spite of the mountains of challenges the new country offered.

One day, Beverly stopped in to visit. As always, little light illuminated the home. Electricity was expensive. This time, however, Beverly sensed darkness detached from the physical lack of lights. A tangible aura of sadness and gloom permeated the room. Sarit smiled her welcome but her eyes mirrored anguish.

“What’s wrong, Sarit? Beverly asked.

Her answer came softly. “My husband. He is not well. Doctor say he has cancer in kidneys.” The tears flowed.

Beverly cringed at her words. Cancer? In those days it meant absolutely no hope. Beverly knew Sarit’s husband as a strong, muscular man. Lately, he had appeared pale, something Beverly thought had to do with his discontentment with the lot that had become his in this new surroundings. Now she knew it connoted something even more ominous and foreboding.

Beverly put my arms around Sarit’s thin frame and held her shaking body. Her heart ached for the woman. Trying to put the right words to her voice, Beverly gave her an insecure reassurance built on pure air.

“Sarit,” she said in mock calm, “I know it’s going to be a battle but, trust me, I’m familiar with others who had the same illness. With treatment they survived.” Beverly lied. Although she personally knew of no such case, she was sure that it did exist.

Sarit looked at Beverly in wonder. She whispered in a croak, “G-d, he will surely help.”

The following months took on a hard cruel guise. Sarit’s husband underwent treatments, hospital stays, and intense physical suffering. Sarit and the other family members – down to the youngest of barely three years old – went through intense emotional pain.

Then came a glimmer – the tiniest crack – of hope. “Doctor, he say maybe in month my husband have surgery. Maybe treatment help… ”

The entire neighborhood was ecstatic. There was hope. If only…

The day of the surgery arrived. With trepidation Sarit went along to the hospital. The neighborhood women watched the kids and prayed. They also watched the phone. That day, however, it never did ring. When Sarit returned home, her face was completely down- crest and her spirits totally crushed. The doctors had taken her husband into the operating room, opened him up, and promptly stitched him right back up. There was no hope, they said.

Beverly and Sarit looked each other in the eye, and simultaneously broke down.

In between sobs, Beverly held onto Sarit tightly and said, “Sarit, nothing is impossible for G-d. Whatever His will, you must be strong. You are holding up your family.”

“I know.” She whispered. “I know.” She cried on.

“And, Sarit, we are here for you – always,” Beverly said, this time much more passionately.

Indeed, as the neighbors futilely wished there was some kind of insurance policy in effect that would protect if the worst scenario would materialize, they tried to be there for her. But how could they shield Sarit and her children from the pain of seeing a rapidly deteriorating husband and father? How could they substitute the existence of a strong masculine presence in the home? All the good intentions in the world could not make up for that. And how could they take away the rational melancholy that drifted its ever-increasing spirit in the cracks and crevices of their home – in the hearts and souls of their beings?

It did not take much longer. The cruel long arms of the illness tightened its grip in a swift final victory. The women tried to alleviate the pain of the broken widow and her devastated young orphans during the first week of mourning, but their pain and tears ran unchecked as well.

Sarit soon rose to her calling with renewed courage. She was the mother of her children and she dared not succumb to the weakness that threatened her nerves every moment. She cooked on, sewed on, tended on.

But, in the quiet of her loneliness, when the children were away at school and in the dead of the night when all were asleep but she, the tears fell.

“I try so hard,” she would tell Beverly.

Beverly knew the memories were too bitter.

As the years passed, the children grew, and their innate charm helped heal the doom of the years preceding. One day Sarit called Beverly with a refreshing ring of delight to her voice.

“I have good news,” she said.

“What is it?” Beverly asked in cheery anticipation.

“Congratulations,” she said. “Adela is engaged!”

“Congratulations!” Beverly screamed. “Who, what, when, where?”

The excitement was so real it was tangible. The community participated in the celebrations with exceptional gusto. Beverly didn’t think she cried more for her own daughter’s wedding. The emotions that reigned at that event were not to be believed. The highlight of it all, of course, was seeing Sarit, bedecked in joy, dancing, smiling, laughing. It was a long over-due but welcome phenomenon.

As Beverly grabbed Sarit’s arms in the center of the dancers and twirled around with her in ecstasy of the moment, they embraced strongly. Suddenly, they both stopped moving. The circle of people encased them as they stood, arms locked, weeping and choking on the bittersweet tears of the past mingled with the present. Then they held on tight, moving ever so slightly to the rhythm of the music; the tears stopped. Beverly caught Sarit’s gaze, a compelling look of intense strength of character – the same strength that had pushed her to sew for other people so as to bring in a modest income and rule as distinguished matriarch of her family. As the wedding guests swayed around, the two of them laughed for the joy of the future.

Deciding the Right Term Insurance for You

werYou’ve made the move mentally. You are ready to do something selfless and get some life insurance to provide security for your family in the event of your early exit. Congratulations, as you are one of too few that are addressing this critical need.

Since you are making this effort, why not do it right? As you go through the process of deciding what type of insurance and how to fill out the application, please keep these things in mind.

1) Make sure you pick the type of insurance that meets the need as you see it for the foreseeable future. For example, if you have a 2 year old that you want to make sure gets college educated, make sure you don’t buy 10 year term as it will expire or become expensive when your child is 12, well before college.

2) Make sure you have the correct amount. Kids cost a lot of money before they leave the house and come off your payroll. Inflation, despite how low it has been recently, happens. Make sure to factor that in. You also need to factor in your current needs and not buy more insurance than you can afford.

3) Make sure you do the proper beneficiary designations. If you have juvenile children, don’t make them the beneficiaries. If you name your spouse, make sure you have at least 2 contingent beneficiaries or a trust as the contingent beneficiary. Don’t name your estate as the beneficiary as you subject the death benefit to probate. (There are exceptions such as if you have a contingent trust specified in your will).

4) If you are really rich, you probably aren’t reading this as you have advisors to do that. In case you are really rich and reading this, make sure you consider estate taxes when deciding who owns the policy. Despite the high federal estate tax exemption ($5,450,000 in 2016), some states want to raise revenue by taxing the transfer of wealth to the next generations. (Connecticut starts taking taxes once you go past $2,000,000 as an example). The bottom line is rich people shouldn’t own their insurance contacts and should consider using an irrevocable trust.

5) Finally, make sure you review your insurance every 2 to 5 years to make sure the contracts are still meeting your needs. Children grow up and can become beneficiaries, spouses become ex-spouses and you might not want them to get the proceeds and many other changes occur during the passage of time.

While the above material is believed to be both correct and helpful, please contact your advisors prior to following any of these recommendations. I’m not an attorney and don’t even play one on T.V.