Author - Matthew J. Illian, CFP®, AIF®

1
Making Peace With Your Money Past
2
Three Ideas For Improving Annual Shareholder Meetings
3
Social Security Earnings Penalty?
4
Shareholder Elections: Why Vote?
5
Three Reasons Medicare Advantage Can Be Called Medicare Dis-Advantage

Making Peace With Your Money Past

Money plays such a personal role in our lives that most people learn early on to keep their financial affairs a secret. These shadows promote many different varieties of financial pathologies and distress. Only by reaching into your past can you really make peace with your money.

All behavioral pathologies are responses to earlier wounds. One woman I spoke with had a father experience a great business disaster late in life that eventually led to bankruptcy and rapidly declining health. This woman now limits her investments to banks accounts that are FDIC insured.

Another person defers all financial decisions to …

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Three Ideas For Improving Annual Shareholder Meetings

Most annual shareholder meetings are nothing more than a required dog-and-pony show. Genworth Financial’s annual shareholder meeting held on May 15, 2013, was no exception. Several improvements could be made to make these meetings more inviting.

The room was filled up just as it had been the last time I had attended the Genworth shareholder meeting two years ago. Behind the executive panelist table, the first three rows were full of dark suits, mostly men, who are either current or pending directors waiting for election. Shareholders were left to find seats behind this cadre of fraternal directors and executives.

One …

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Social Security Earnings Penalty?

A good deal of misinformation is published about a so-called Social Security earnings penalty. Many are led to believe that if they earn money while collecting Social Security, they'll lose some of this benefit forever. Retirees should ignore all talk about a “penalty,” which only discourages prudent cost-benefit analysis.

The Social Security retirement earnings test affects those who earn income while claiming Social Security benefits before age 66, which is full retirement age (FRA) for those born before 1955. It impacts equally those who are claiming personal retirement benefits, spousal benefits and survivor benefits. Those who delay claiming their benefit …

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Shareholder Elections: Why Vote?

Each year, stock owners receive requests to vote on a variety of corporate matters, but very few people have the expertise to make an educated election. Owning mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) makes the process a bit easier because these fund management companies vote on your behalf.

You know it’s proxy season when your mailbox or email inbox (if you’ve switched to electronic delivery) begins to fill up with proxy voting materials and information about shareholder meetings. Because most investors skip the annual shareholder meeting, votes are typically received online or in the mail through the proxy process, …

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Three Reasons Medicare Advantage Can Be Called Medicare Dis-Advantage

Only a quarter of all Medicare participants have opted to use the private Medicare Advantage (MA) insurance option, and this number is expected to drop drastically over the next four years.

As mentioned in an earlier column, the primary reason many choose MA is to minimize their monthly premiums. However, this monthly premium advantage could quickly become a disadvantage in several different scenarios.

The principal reason to avoid MA is because your options become limited to a predefined private health care network. Seeking care outside of this network will quickly lead to escalating financial woe.

The limitations of this network …

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