Seven Steps to Your Financial Future

Sometimes, even highly-compensated individuals may find it difficult to achieve long-term success when it comes to managing their personal finances. Although they may attain a comfortable level of income, their focus may be on career development, rather than on securing their financial future.

However, no matter what your income level, consider these seven steps to help you manage your personal finances:

1. Pay yourself first. Transfer a set amount from your earnings to your savings each month.

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Annuity Options: Choices Abound for Today's Retiree

As the earliest baby boomers begin to enter retirement, the various income guarantees and other living benefits offered through variable annuities (VAs) are gaining in importance.

Yet before you rush to add a VA to your retirement funding scheme, take some time to understand what VAs have to offer in a general sense and to sort through the host of optional features and their associated fees and investment risks.

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Annuity Basics

An annuity is a contract between you, the purchaser or owner, and an insurance company, the annuity issuer. In its simplest form, you pay money to an annuity issuer, and the issuer pays out the principal and earnings back to you or to a named beneficiary. Life insurance companies first developed annuities to provide income to individuals during their retirement years.

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Setting a Retirement Savings Goal

Many Americans realize the importance of saving for retirement, but knowing exactly how much they need to save is another issue altogether. With all the information available about retirement, it is sometimes difficult to decipher what is appropriate for your specific situation.

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Traditional Whole Life Insurance

Traditional whole life insurance, also known as ordinary life or straight life, is a type of permanent (cash value) insurance that provides coverage for your entire life. This kind of policy is sometimes described as plain vanilla insurance. You pay a fixed amount, known as a level premium, each payment period (monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or annually), and a guaranteed death benefit goes to your beneficiary when you die. Your premium amount is guaranteed to remain level for as long as you live, even if the insurance company's costs rise.

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Working With a Financial Advisor

The world of 50 years ago was a lot different than it is today. An individual often worked at the same job all his or her adult life, lived in the same house, and stayed married to the same spouse. In those days, too, one spouse could support a family, paying for college ordinarily didn't require taking out a second mortgage, and people could look forward to retiring on Social Security and possibly a company pension.

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Is Long-Term Care Insurance a Good Idea?

There is a good possibility that you or your spouse will eventually require some form of long-term care (LTC). According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, at least 70% of people aged 65 or older will require some form of long-term care services and support during their lives.1

Whether you or your spouse will be among this group is impossible to predict. But it is wise to consider how you might pay for long-term care and whether long-term care insurance is a good idea for you.

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Six Keys to More Successful Investing

A successful investor maximizes gain and minimizes loss. Though there can be no guarantee that any investment strategy will be successful and all investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal, here are six basic principles that may help you invest more successfully.

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Helping to Care for Aging Parents

Many adults are finding that their aging parents are in need of health care assistance. Luckily, there are many options available today to help your parents grow old gracefully, either in their own home or in a facility, and several ways that you can finance the costs of the care.

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