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1417 Main Street
Stevens Point, WI 54481

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Blog

Cost of Medicare Premiums: Planning can go a Long Way

Medicare is the federal government’s health insurance program for those over age 65 or for certain individuals who are disabled.  There are four “parts”:  Part A covers hospital expenses and is paid for by the government.  Part C refers to Medicare Advantage plans offered by private insurance companies.  Part B covers outpatient costs and equipment and Part D covers prescriptions; both B & D have premiums partially paid for by the medicare recipient.&nbs
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Financial Exploitation of Seniors

With our aging population, financial exploitation of seniors is a serious and growing problem.   It happens throughout all economic levels and has robbed people of their savings, their financial security, their home and ultimately their dignity.   We tend to think of criminal activity as obvious and violent.  However, exploitation often begins with a much softer approach.  By playing on emotions, money or other assets are often stolen through gradual persuasion, wit
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What You Need to Gather When Your Spouse Dies

Losing your spouse is losing your best friend, your soul mate and also, your financial partner.  From a financial aspect, it’s as if you have a business and you’ve just lost your only business partner.  This is one of the most devastating times of our life.  In this highly emotional time, the least of which you want to do is deal with the stress of remembering all that needs to be tended to financially, so here is a basic guide that I recommend you keep as a reference
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Colorful Financial Slang

Last week, my article Fun Financial History explained the origins of a few of my favorite and the most frequently used financial references:   bull and bear markets, Wall Street and ticker symbols.    If you missed that one, you can find it online at www.SchuflerAndAssociates.com | Meet Us | Blog.  Continuing the spirit of financial fun, here are some colorful financial slang terms you’ve likely heard.Blue Chips.  What exactly is a “blue chip”
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Fun Financial History

How did bull and bear markets get their names, and what do they mean?  Even if you are not the least bit interested in the markets or investing, you can’t help but hear these frequent references.   A bull market is one that is generally rising for a period of time and a bear market is one that is generally falling for a length of time.  There are a few different theories as to how these rising and falling markets got their name and none are specifically documented, as t
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Retirement Like a Rubix Cube

We meet with a significant number of people each year who are preparing for retirement.  If you are planning on retiring, the thought of structuring your retirement income plan can feel like trying to solve a rubix cube.  On one side of the cube is your 401(k).  On another, your pension.  Flip the cube over and there is your social security.  The other sides of the cube are your spouse’s 401(k), IRA, and his/her social security.  Solving for one color can feel
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Planning Does Not Stop After Retirement

What do you think of when you hear the words “retirement planning”?  Most would say planning for retirement.  But that’s only part of the job.  Planning does not stop when you are retired.Planning for retirement is the first phase.  It’s both subjective and objective.  Retirement planning starts with your vision.  From there, it’s like a giant equation with many inputs to work toward your desired output.  Needs and wants for spendi
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Understand Your Investment Qualifications

For years, we’ve worked with investments that are “alternative” to the traditional offerings that many people are used to or have experience with.  When I meet with new clients, it’s still very common for me to hear “I didn’t know I could invest in something like that”, not ever having heard of investor qualifications and the different investments that one may be eligible to invest in per FINRAs and the SEC’s guidelines (they are our regulator
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The Most Important Question

When it comes to investing, the most important question is often overlooked.  It’s easy to get money IN to your investments.  You expect that over time, you will earn a rate of return.  But the most important question may be:  What is my exit strategy? Commonly, investors are introduced to investments that are daily liquid with traded markets such as stocks, bonds and exchange traded funds or the investment sponsor such as mutual fund companies.  These can be foun
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Shredding Party a Great Success for Pacelli Catholic Schools & Community

On May 10th, Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals, a local retirement planning and investment firm, hosted their 8th Annual Shredding Party benefitting Pacelli Catholic Schools.Over $3,000 was raised at the shredding event through donations for the shredding services provided by Express Recycling Solutions, Inc., along with sales of shredded food, while attendees were entertained by the Pacelli Catholic High School pep band.Each year, Pacelli chooses a project which will be fun
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How Well do You Understand Your Annuity?

Sometimes I get the question, “Are annuities good or are annuities bad?”  My answer:  it depends.  It’s kind of like asking if medication is good or if it is bad.  The right amount used in the right circumstance for the right person can be great.  If the annuity is not a good fit or if there is not value for the extra expense, then it’s wise to consider other options.In a nutshell, an annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company.&nbs
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Escheatment and Your Investments

I had a new client recently come to me for help on his and his wife’s IRA accounts.  He said he didn’t have time to keep up on the investments and wanted to make sure that the accounts didn’t inadvertently end up in escheatment as unclaimed property someday to the State of Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue(1),  “Property becomes unclaimed or abandoned?? when there isn't owner? activity???R
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6 ROTH IRA Facts That May Surprise You

ROTH IRAs can be a powerhouse of tax benefit when the account enjoys compounded growth.  Here are six more facts that may surprise you. You can not be too young to contribute.  As long as you have earned income, age does not matter.  This was significant in our family when we gave our sons the opportunity to earn w-2 income beginning at 7 and 9 when we bought a golf driving range for them to run.  Their ROTH IRAs were opened the same year and they’ve been contributing e
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Retirement Planning: How Clear is your Picture?

When I meet with a prospective client or couple for the first time and ask “What is the most important thing I can help you with?”, the answer is often a list.  Near the top is, help me develop a clear picture of my retirement.  They usually go on to say that they have been strong savers, are not huge spenders and have accumulated a nest egg.  But the worry is there:  how much is enough?  How do I know my money will last as long as I do?   When can
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ROTH IRA Conversions

Should you convert all or part of your IRA to a ROTH IRA?  That depends.  There are pros and cons that may apply uniquely to each person’s financial situation.  Properly analyzing your circumstances may uncover a great opportunity.  However, understand the rules to avoid unexpected future surprises that may come as substantial drawbacks.The purpose of a ROTH IRA is to allow your money to grow tax deferred and take distributions on a tax-free basis.  The IRS has dis
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IRA Planning Options

There is so much you can do with your retirement money.  Start with an assessment of what is most important to you and quite frankly, what worries you.  Be sure you are familiar with, or are working with an experienced advisor who understands the various layers of rules governing retirement accounts, as unexpected taxes or penalties are surprises we all want to avoid!  Then, look for opportunities to potentially improve your future.  Here are a few cases I’ve worked rec
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You're Invited: Shredding Party!

We’re gearing up to host our 8th annual Shredding Party, a community service event that raises money for Pacelli Catholic Schools, and YOU are invited….  Individuals and Business alike!A few years ago in a business planning retreat, the advisors and staff of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals made a commitment to give more to our community.  We wanted to:1.       Host an event where we could share our knowledge with our com
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What to do When Your Pension Plan Terminates

In my years of experience as an advisor, one of the greatest sources of stress, anxiety and uncertainty felt by men and women is when they receive the news that their pension plan is terminating.  It feels like the rug has been pulled out from under their feet.  As loyal employees, they counted on their employer to provide a paycheck while working and throughout retirement.  Pension plan terminations are nothing new, but when it happens to you, it feels like a tragedy. What d
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What is Your Greatest Retirement Risk?

What is the goal of climbing a mountain?  Usually the answer I receive is ‘to get to the top of the mountain’.  Actually, that is just the first half of the journey.  The greater challenge is getting down from the mountain.  In fact, for climbers of Mount Everest, the highest peak on the planet, the descent is where most deaths occur.1  That is a great parallel to retirement planning.  “Accumulation” is getting to the top of the mountain.&nbs
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Introducing #WON

By LouAnn Schulfer, AWMA®, AIF® Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals* Accredited Wealth Management AdvisorSM Accredited Investment Fiduciary® In our business, we set aside time each Friday for “business development”, a discipline where our entire staff comes together to work ON our business, not just IN our business.  Feedback from our clients and our advisory council has been valuable in shaping our success.  What has always been evi
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Insurance Champions

LouAnn Schulfer of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals was recently recognized as anInsurance Champion by LPL Insurance Associates. This recognition is for the top 40 advisors in LPLInsurance Associates, which is part of...
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North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (NCWWDB)

LouAnn Schulfer of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals, was recently nominated andapproved as a Board Member to the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board(NCWWDB). NCWWDB is a public/partnership between...
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James J. Robinson Attends LPL Financial 2012 National Conference

JAMES J. ROBINSON ATTENDS LPL FINANCIAL 2012 NATIONAL CONFERENCE, A LEADINGFINANCIAL SERVICES EVENT FOCUSED ON INCREASING VALUE TO INVESTORSStevens Point, WI August 19-22 James J. Robinson from Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial...
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Professionals Offer Tips to Keep Resolutions

Many people resolve financially to do one or more of the following: save more, spend less or pay off debt. With these goals, the key to success is not unlike slimming down your waistline. Schulfer suggests thinking about what you want...
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Words of Wisdom for Retirement

I am a quotations fanatic. Some quotes are profound and some are funny. What I love about quotes is that the great ones say so much with just a few words of wisdom. Here are some on retirement with reflection from me. If you know...
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Do You Understand Distribution Diversification?

Recently, I was interviewed by Mark Henricks, a journalist from Austin, TX for an article that will be published on MainStreet.com, the personal finance site of TheStreet.com (if you watch CNBC you recognize “The Street”). Mark has...
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Inspiring Entrepreneurialism in Our Kids

When our sons were very young, my husband Gene and I set a goal to have some sort of part-time business for them to run during their teenage years. We wanted Jacob and Zachary to develop a business acumen early in life. We wanted them...
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Entrepreneurialism, Personal Responsibility and Kids

Earlier I wrote an article “Inspiring Entrepreneurialism in Our Kids”. When our sons were very young, we set a goal for them to have some sort of part-time business to operate during their teenage years. The opportunity presented...
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What Causes Market Sell Offs?

I like to simplify things. Break them down into the fundamentals. Then, once the basics are established we can add the more complicated facets in.So, what causes a stock market sell off? Simply put, there are more sellers than there..
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What do Halloween and Investing have in common?

So what do Halloween and investing have in common? Is it the fear of the unknown? Scary times? Afraid you’ll be haunted by your next investment move? Maybe for some people. For me, there are a number of interesting financial related...
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Retirement Planning: Dig a little deeper

We work with a substantial amount of people throughout the course of a year who are actively planning for retirement. Questions we commonly hear include: Where is the best place to put my retirement savings (401k, IRA)? Which pension...
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Big Changes to Social Security Planning for Some

On Monday, November 2, 2015, President Obama signed into law a 2 year bipartisan budget deal that avoids a United States default. The deal includes several provisions, one of which will affect social security planning for many.The deal...
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Important Ages for Social Security’s Recent Changes

Recently I wrote an article titled Big Changes to Social Security Planning for Some. The changes to Social Security are due to section 831 of the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Deal that was signed into law on November 2, 2015 (you can read it...
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What is your life worth?

It’s an arbitrary question in some ways, but certainly not a rhetorical one. Our life’s worth can be defined in many ways, sometimes best pondered through question. In reflection, what kind of lasting impact have you had on others?...
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What Would Happen If You Were To Die Today?

What would happen if you were to die today? It’s a question I ask all of my clients at some point. Often, the first response I receive is superficial and sarcastic, making light of the question. For all of us, it’s hard to imagine our...
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Old Life Insurance Policies: Did You Know….?

When is the last time you’ve had your life insurance policy reviewed? As with all types of business, the life insurance industry has evolved. There are things we can do with life insurance today that could not be done years ago. One of...
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Retirement Planning Advice: Work to eliminate your Debt

I explain to my clients that building a secure retirement plan is an equation. From a high level, that equation includes formulating an income plan and coordinating that with your spending plan. We identify your needed income (housing,...
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What Amount of Commitment Does Your Investment Require?

It’s a question that isn’t asked or understood enough: What amount of commitment does your investment require? For those with a few decades of life experience such as myself, I don’t have to point out how our culture...
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Your Last Gift

In my last article, I wrote about risk management and how for most of us life Insurance is a remarkable tool to manage what may likely be your family’s greatest risk. Not everyone “needs” life insurance; maybe your...
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What You Need to Gather When Your Spouse Dies

Losing your spouse is losing your best friend, your soul mate and also, your financial partner. From a financial aspect, it’s as if you have a business and you’ve just lost your only business partner. This is one of the...
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Accumulation vs. Distribution

Most people are familiar with how to save for retirement, and do a good job at it. Making regular contributions to your 401k, taking full advantage of your employer’s matching dollars, adding money to IRA’s or ROTH...
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Are you a trader or an investor?

It may sound like semantics but empirically, a trader is very different from an investor. Either is perfectly fine as long as you don’t confuse the two, and know which you are. Using the stock market as one example, a trader is...
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Couples: Who makes your investment decisions?

In the years before I was a financial advisor, I had heard that the consensus about women and investing was that wives were often left out of making decisions regarding their family’s investment portfolio and retirement planning....
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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

In my previous article “Retirement, Like a Rubix Cube”, I wrote about the complexities of retirement planning with respect to solving for the entire retirement income puzzle. Like a rubix cube, retirement planning has many...
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Fun Financial History

How did bull and bear markets get their names, and what do they mean? Even if you are not the least bit interested in the markets or investing, you can’t help but hear these frequent references. A bull market is one that is...
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“I” is for Individual

A common misunderstanding that I come across working knee-cap to knee-cap with people is what an IRA is. IRA stands for Individual Retirement Account. “I” is for Individual. That means an IRA can only be owned by an...
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More Fun Financial History

A couple of months ago I wrote an article, Fun Financial History explaining the origins of a few of my favorite and the most frequently used financial references: bull and bear markets, Wall Street and ticker symbols. If you missed...
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Past Performance is No Guarantee of Future Results

It’s the line we as advisors say all the time. Yet, when I meet with clients at our firm who have been managing their own money, past performance is usually the number one metric that they tell me they’ve based their...
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Retirement: A Financial Decision or an Emotional Decision?

When you hear the words “Retirement Planning” the natural association is financial. How much money have you and your spouse accumulated throughout your working years? What is a reasonable distribution rate to determine the...
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Retirement Planning Advice: Work to eliminate your Debt

I explain to my clients that building a secure retirement plan is an equation. From a high level, that equation includes formulating an income plan and coordinating that with your spending plan. We identify your needed income (housing,...
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Retirement Planning: The Emotional Side

Earlier, I wrote an article: Retirement: A Financial Decision or an Emotional Decision? If you didn’t get a chance to read it, it can be found at www.SchulferAndAssociates.com | Our Blog. This article is a sequel. The truth is,...
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Sizeable Assets, Suddenly

You may conjure a vision of the fortunate fella or lucky lady who wins the lottery and overnight, his or her financial dreams have come true. Certainly this is one way to suddenly come into a large sum of money that you didn’t...
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True Wealth: All that Money Can’t Buy

I googled “wealth” recently and got about 280,000,000 results in .42 seconds. I scrolled through the top few pages of hits and to no surprise the results were all about money. Now, I work with people and their money day in...
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Do you Understand Distribution Diversification?

Recently I was interviewed by Mark Henricks, a journalist from Austin, TX for an article that will be published on MainStreet.com, the personal finance website of TheStreet.com (if you watch CNBC you recognize “The Street”)...
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Social Media and Identity Theft: Are You Putting Yourself in Harm’s Way?

By LouAnn Schulfer, AWMA®, AIF® Accredited Wealth Management AdvisorSM Accredited Investment Fiduciary® Many of us enjoy social media. It’s fun to connect with people we don’t regularly see, keep up to date on...
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Important Ages for Your Retirement Income

You’ve worked hard all of your life. You’ve saved and invested your money, paid taxes on your income and you’ve made the mandatory contributions to government programs like Social Security and Medicare. Like so many...
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Your First Wealth is Health!

As I get older, I have a much greater appreciation for my health. I eat nutritious foods and work out just about every day. Lifting weights and jogging are not things that I enjoy doing, but I sure do value the mental sharpness I feel...
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You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know….. and That Could Cost You!

The world we live in is complex and managing your money is no exception. Layers of rules and regulations make managing your assets more complicated than merely selecting investments to achieve a rate of return. One of my favorite...
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Life Insurance: Understand your Guarantees!

Choosing a life insurance policy can seem confusing, frustrating and intimidating. It’s a big decision and since life insurance premiums are not cheap, you’ll want be sure you are making an informed choice. More important...
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Doing Nothing is a Decision

In my line of work, people have to make decisions. Sometimes the decisions are small ones, often times they are big. The decision to save more. Or not. The decision to purchase life insurance. Or not. The decision to reposition assets....
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Do You Need Life Insurance?

The answer is no. You do not need life insurance on yourself, but your spouse and/or children may need you to have life insurance. What is the best way to find out if and how much life insurance you need? Start with a conversation. A...
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The Only Constant is Change: The DOL Fiduciary Rule

“The only constant is change” -- Heraclitus, Greek philosopher. Isn’t it interesting that this quote dates back to approximately 500 BC? Heraclitus created doctrines about the constant change and flux of life. Many...
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Couples: Who makes your investment decisions?

In the years before I was a financial advisor, I had heard that the consensus about women and investing was that wives were often left out of making decisions regarding their family’s investment portfolio and retirement planning....
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How We’ve Specialized in Our Business

Growth in business is key to success and longevity. Ours is no exception. Each Friday morning our team works on business development and a few times each year we travel to spend time with other top advisors from around the country at...
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Should I Roll Over My 401(k)?

When you leave a company, you generally have four options as to what to do with your retirement money. 1) Cash it out. Brace yourself for the taxes due and, if you are under 55 for certain types of plans or 59 ½ for others, an...
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Keep Flexibility in Your Retirement Income Plan

Planning for retirement can seem intimidating and is often filled with ambivalence. On the one hand, we fantasize about how great it would be to have a schedule filled just with our own personal activities, not having to report to work...
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Group Life Insurance vs. Personally Owned Life Insurance

Is it better to own my own life insurance policy or purchase extra group insurance through my employer? That’s a question I hear often in financial planning. The answer? It depends. As part of an employee benefit package, many...
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Social Security Restricted Application: Consider the “What If’s”

On November 2, 2015 President Obama signed into law, the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Deal. Section 831 contained significant changes to Social Security, which I had written about within days of the law passing as information began to...
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PERSONAL RISK MANAGEMENT

There are many types of IRAs. The two main categories which you may already be aware of are Traditional and Roth. The difference between the two is significant. Contributions or rollover dollars are received into a traditional IRA as...
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Different Types of IRAs

There are many types of IRAs. The two main categories which you may already be aware of are Traditional and Roth. The difference between the two is significant. Contributions or rollover dollars are received into a traditional IRA as...
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Your Last Gift

In my last article, I wrote about risk management and how for most of us life Insurance is a remarkable tool to manage what may likely be your family’s greatest risk. Not everyone “needs” life insurance; maybe your..
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Social Media and Identity Theft: Are You Putting Yourself in Harm’s Way?

Many of us enjoy social media. It’s fun to connect with people we don’t regularly see, keep up to date on each other’s lives, and share entertaining posts with our friends. It’s a great tool to get to know more...
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Don’t Blow Up Your IRA

Every now and again, I receive calls asking curious questions about what a person may be able to do with their IRA (Individual Retirement Arrangement). Often, they’ve heard an angle from a friend, a pitch from someone trying to...
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Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals Office Update

We’ve had a productive year of business advancements that we are excited to share with you. In fact, there is so much to share that we will be doing so in various e-mails over the next several weeks. We kicked off 2017 tackling a...
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Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals Office Update

Greetings! We’re continuing our communication with you regarding the exciting business advancements that Schulfer & Associates has made throughout the course of 2017. By now you’ve surely noticed the updated LPL account...
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We’re thrilled to bring you part three of our exciting updates!

E-signature is now allowable for most of our investment applications and other paperwork. Electronic form-filling and submissions are more efficient, reducing errors such as missed information, signatures or initials on paperwork. Once...
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True Wealth: All that Money Can’t Buy

I googled “wealth” recently and got about 280,000,000 results in .42 seconds. I scrolled through the top few pages of hits and to no surprise the results were all about money. Now, I work with people and their money day in...
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Thank you for keeping up with our exciting updates! We’re delighted to send you

Thank you for keeping up with our exciting updates! We’re delighted to send you part four! Have you visited us at SchulferAndAssociates.com lately? Based on feedback from our advisory council, we’ve streamlined the content,...
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Raising Financially Responsible Kids

What does it take to raise financially responsible kids? The three words financially, responsible and kids each have significant importance when pondering the answer to that question. Financially: Money matters. Responsible: I believe...
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Can I Retire?

That’s the “million-dollar” question I get asked often. Truth is, there is not a magic nest egg number that works for everyone. Retirement planning is like a giant equation with many inputs and variables. To...
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Protection and Trust

Financial exploitation of seniors and vulnerable adults is matter of great concern for Schulfer and Associates, for LPL and the financial services industry in general. FINRA has taken steps to help firms address these concerns and to...
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Let Your Kids Handle Their Money. Literally.

When our sons were born, we knew we wanted them to develop a business acumen and strong work ethic at early ages. When they were 7 and 9 we bought a golf driving range for Jacob and Zachary to run. As a financial advisor, I am...
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Diversification: What it is NOT

You’ve likely heard the saying when it comes to investing, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”. That’s a great way to think of diversification. Diversification of your financial portfolio involves...
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Taking Time to Plan

We all have to make decisions. Sometimes the decisions are small ones, other times they are big. The decision to plan for retirement. Or not. The decision to address estate planning. Or not. The decision to plan for potential senior...
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