Archive for '401(k)'

A lot of us start out investing in different Mutual Funds for retirement because we feel that we need to be more aggressive in building up our portfolio.  Now that retirement is just around the corner or maybe it’s already arrived, it may be time to move that portfolio into something more stable.  Here’s a couple ideas to do that .

In a previous article, I discussed various ways that investors can accumulate their nest egg. One strategy includes putting a portion in one or a few attractively valued dividend growth stocks every single month and reinvesting dividends selectively. The other strategy involved investing in index funds, using tax advantaged accounts such as 401(k) for example.

Traditional vehicles for saving such as index funds and target-date funds work well when you accumulate your nest egg, but could present a challenge if you try to live off them. Many retirees prefer to have a stable and growing source of income, which maintains purchasing power over time, and is not dependent on the manic-depressive swings in stock prices. Therefore, investing in dividend growth stocks is the ideal way to generate income from your nest egg in retirement, due to the stability of dividend income. Therefore, if someone were to accumulate their nest egg in other items such as index funds, but wanted to convert to dividend investing, there are two ways that they can achieve that.

The strategies outlined in this article also work for situations where you have a lump sum amount, and you are thinking of investing it.

The first strategy involves selling all funds in your portfolio, and using the proceeds immediately to create a diversified portfolio of quality dividend-paying stocks.

This strategy is quick and easy to achieve, as it involves just a few steps. If you want to make the conversion all at once and not have to worry about how to invest the amounts for months, this is likely the best deal for you. If you could find 20-30 quality dividend-paying companies, which are also attractively valued, and your money is spread in several sectors, you could be done with this exercise in one day. After that, the only thing to worry about would be to monitor the investments, decide what to do with dividend income, and enjoy life.

 

Read more on Dividend investing

Equity Markets Drive Pension Funds Higher

Equity Markets Drive Pension Funds Higher

Strong asset returns and no change in liabilities in October drove a 4.7 percentage-point increase in the funded status of the typical U.S. corporate pension plan, according to BNY Mellon Asset Management.  The increase, fueled by strong performances in the equity markets, brought the funded status for the typical plan to 74.8 percent.

Year to date, the funded status has declined 10.3 percentage points, according to the BNY Mellon Pension Summary Report for October.

For the month of October, assets for the typical corporate plan increased 6.8 percent, according to BNY Mellon.  The rebound in equities reversed a three-month trend of falling stock values, the report said.

Plan liabilities are calculated using the yields of long-term investment grade corporate bonds.  As there was no material movement in these yields, the liabilities held steady.

“Apparent progress toward a solution to the European debt crisis resulted in investor optimism,” said Jeffrey B. Saef, managing director, BNY Mellon Asset Management, and head of the Investment Strategy & Solutions Group.  “However, as the probability of a resolution rises and recedes, we see continuing market volatility.”

Saef added that global events such as the European debt crisis and the U.S. budget negotiations have become important factors for pension funds as they make asset allocation decisions.   “If favorable outcomes can be achieved for these issues, it could set the stage for continuing the rally in equities that we saw in October. Such a rally would provide significant relief to the funding pressures that sponsors face.”

Notes to Editors:

BNY Mellon Asset Management is one of the world’s leading asset management organizations, encompassing BNY Mellon’s affiliated investment management firms and global distribution companies. Information about BNY Mellon Asset Management can be found at www.bnymellonam.com.

BNY Mellon is a global financial services company focused on helping clients manage and service their financial assets, operating in 36 countries and serving more than 100 markets. BNY Mellon is a leading provider of financial services for institutions, corporations and high-net-worth individuals, offering superior investment management and investment services through a worldwide client-focused team. It has $25.9 trillion in assets under custody and administration and $1.2 trillion in assets under management, services $11.9 trillion in outstanding debt and processes global payments averaging $1.6 trillion per day. BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE: BK). Additional information is available at www.bnymellon.com and through Twitter @bnymellon.

All information source BNY Mellon Asset Management as of September 30, 2011. This press release is qualified for issuance in the US only and is for information purposes only. It does not constitute an offer or solicitation of securities or investment services or an endorsement thereof in any jurisdiction or in any circumstance in which such offer or solicitation is unlawful or not authorized. This press release is issued by BNY Mellon Asset Management to members of the financial press and media and the information contained herein should not be construed as investment advice.  Past performance is not a guide to future performance. A BNY Mellon Company(SM)

 

CONTACT: Mike Dunn, +1-212-922-7859, mike.g.dunn@bnymellon.com

Web Site: http://www.bnymellon.com

Life Insurance Guide Short Course

Life Quotes, Inc. has compiled a list of the top 5 scariest things about life insurance, calling attention to the importance of going over your life insurance policy with a trusted insurance agent no less than once a year to make sure that the policy you own is keeping up with the changes in your life. If you should die, the only way to truly protect your loved ones from financial peril is with life insurance. But before you sign the dotted line, or pay another renewal bill, make sure you have a thorough understanding of how your policy works.

The following is a short list of some of the most frightening and often overlooked features of a life insurance policy:

TERM LIFE (TL)
Term life insurance doesn’t age gracefully

Term life may be the least expensive life insurance policy you can purchase, but it is only in-force for a designated term, typically 10, 15, 20 or 25 years. And if you have to renew a term life policy under the guaranteed renewal clause—look out!  The cost of built-in, no-exam renewal feature can often be five or ten times the cost of the premium you have been paying.  And then, most renew on an annual basis in which the premiums rapidly escalate even further into the stratosphere each year thereafter. To avoid this problem, consider buying a longer initial rate guarantee at the outset.  Many companies now offer 30-year term, level term to age 65 and even level term for life, in which you’d never be subject to a price increase.

WHOLE LIFE (WL)
Creeping death of your cash value

“If you are only looking at immediate, short-term goals, you don’t want to invest in a whole life insurance policy because the surrender charges in the early years would dramatically reduce the cash value and you may find that you paid far more for the policy in premiums than what it’s worth,” said Michelle Matlock, editor of Life Quotes, Inc.

Consider buying whole life only if you want coverage for the very long haul and have no intentions of canceling in the early years.

VARIABLE (VL), UNIVERSAL (UL), and VARIABLE UNIVERSAL LIFE (VUL)
These policies assume investment risks that can murder your overall value

If you are being pitched on a variable or universal life insurance policy that is being sold as “self-sustaining,” watch out because long-term, non-guaranteed projections with life insurance can be very misleading. Not only might it take 10 or more years to build up enough cash value to cover future premiums, but also inherent in those projections is an assumed interest rate that can be wildly off over a long period of time. When interest rates are projected to be high, the cash value grows at an alluring, faster rate, but when interest rates are low, cash values grow very slowly. To avoid trouble, always ask the selling agent to show you and explain the “guaranteed” values columns in the illustration, as they will show a true, worst-case scenario.  

A variable universal life insurance policy is far more risky. The policy is dependent on how well the investments tied to the cash value perform in the stock market. If the stock market goes south along with your investments, this will greatly impact your cash value and the security of your death benefit. There are several upfront charges on a VUL that make it very pricey coming out of the gate. In addition to this, these policies can have astronomically high surrender charges if you decide to partially or fully surrender the policy in the first 10 years.

For a full list of “Top 5 Scariest Things About Life Insurance” go to http://www.lifequotes.com/articles/lifeinsurance/the-top-5-scariest-things-about-life-insurance/

About Life Quotes, Inc.

Originally founded in 1984, Life Quotes, Inc. owns and operates a comprehensive consumer information service and companion insurance brokerage service that caters to the needs of self-directed insurance shoppers.  Visitors to the Company’s website, www.lifequotes.com, are able to obtain instant car, life, health, home and business insurance quotes, and have the freedom to buy online or by phone from any company shown.  Life Quotes, Inc. generates revenues from receipt of industry-standard commissions, including back-end bonus commissions and volume-based contingent bonus commissions that are paid by participating insurance companies. We also generate revenues from the sale of website traffic and insurance leads to various third parties.

CONTACT: Michelle Matlock, Editor, +1-630-515-0170, ext. 335, editor@lifequotes.com

Web Site: http://www.lifequotes.com

Altair Advisers was named one of the Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors in the U.S., as ranked and published in Barron’s August 29, 2011 issue. This is the fifth consecutive year it has received this honor – every year since the list began in 2007. Again, Altair is the highest ranking Independent Financial Advisor in Illinois.

“We are honored to receive this award. It’s a reflection of the efforts of the Altair Team, made possible by the support and confidence of our clients,” said Steven B. Weinstein, President and Chief Investment Officer of Altair Advisers.

The Barron’s List of Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors is an exclusive award given to firms that meet stringent criteria, including the quality of the advisors’ practices and the volume of assets overseen.

Source: Barron’s “Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors,” August 29, 2011. Barron’s is a registered trademark of Dow Jones & Company, L.P. All rights reserved.  For more information on ranking methodology, go to http://online.barrons.com/report/top-financial-advisors/independent. Neither Altair Advisers nor any of its employees pays a fee to Barron’s in exchange for this rating.

About Altair Advisers

Altair Advisers provides the highest level of Independent Investment Counsel for wealthy individuals, families and foundations.  Altair and its principals are consistently recognized as Top Independent Wealth Managers by Barron’s, Worth, Financial Advisor, Wealth Manager and Chicago magazines.  Like the bright star for which it is named, Altair helps its clients navigate through a complex financial world. For more information please visit www.altairadvisers.com.

CONTACT: Richard Black of Altair Advisers, +1-312-429-3000

Web Site: http://www.altairadvisers.com

The Linkedin IPO will make a number of IRA Financial Group clients extremely happy over the coming months. Shares of LinkedIn, which rose as much as 171 percent in their first day of trade on the New York Stock Exchange, closed more than 109 percent above the $45 IPO price. IRA Financial Group assisted a number of investors use their retirement funds to purchase LinkedIn pre-IPO shares with a self directed IRA or solo 401K plan. Though, most of these investors will not able to realize gains from their purchase of pre-IPO LinkedIn shares because they are likely subject to a 180-day post-IPO lockup provision. It is very common for start-up or emerging growth companies to have a lockup provision that is at least 180 days. In some cases, investors have generated paper gains of nearly 400% on the purchase.

“By using a solo 401K plan to purchase these shares, investors would be able to defer these gains from tax,” stated Adam Bergman, tax attorney at the IRA Financial Group.

The solo 401k Plan is an IRS approved plan that was designed specifically for the self-employed. Like a self directed IRA with checkbook control, as the trustee of the solo 401K plan, the plan participant (you) will have the freedom to make all investment decisions for your solo 401K plan (“checkbook control”) without requiring the consent of a custodian. Therefore, a solo 401K plan allows you to eliminate the expense and delays associated with an IRA custodian, enabling one to act quickly when the right investment opportunity presents itself, such as a pre-IPO stock investments. Like a self directed IRA LLC where the IRA holder will serve as the IRA LLC manager, in the case of a solo 401K plan, the business owner can serve as trustee of the solo 401(k) plan.

Accordingly, as the solo 401K plan trustee, making an investment is as simple as writing a check straight from the solo 401K Plan bank account, which can be opened at any local bank or credit union. Unlike a conventional solo 401K plan that can be opened at a traditional financial institution such as Fidelity, the solo 401K plan offered by the IRA Financial Group is a self directed solo 401K plan which unlocks a world of investment opportunities. No longer will you be restricted from making real estate and other IRS approved investments with your 401(k) funds. With the solo 401K plan, you will have control over your retirement funds so you can purchase real estate, precious metals, and much more tax-free!

The IRA Financial Group was founded by a group of top law firm tax and ERISA lawyers who have worked at some of the largest law firms in the United States, such as White & Case LLP and Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP.

IRA Financial Group is the market’s leading “Checkbook Control” Self Directed IRA and Solo 401k Plan Facilitator. We have helped thousands of clients take back control over their retirement funds while gaining the ability to invest in almost any type of investment, including real estate tax-free and without custodian consent!

To learn more about the IRA Financial Group please visit our website at http://www.irafinancialgroup.com or call 800-472-0646.

 

Top Financial Planners List Released by Barrons

CFP Board of Standards is proud to announce that 46 CFP® professionals were named in “Barron’s List of Top 100 Independent Wealth Advisors of 2011.”

“I want to extend my sincere congratulations to the 46 CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professionals named to Barron’s Top 100 Independent Wealth Advisors of 2011,” said CEO of CFP Board Kevin Keller, noting that Robert Glovsky, CFP® – a former Chair of CFP Board’s Board of Directors – appears again on this esteemed list.  “This is a great honor that highlights their dedication to clients, their individual practices and to the financial planning profession.”

Barron’s generates this list based upon the volume of assets overseen by the advisors and their teams, revenues generated for the firms and the quality of the advisors’ practices.

For Barron’s full list, visit http://online.barrons.com/report/top-financial-advisors/independent.

“It is rewarding to see CFP® professionals take their practices above and beyond what is expected of them,” said current Board Chair Charles Moran, CFP®. “As CFP® professionals, we are held to high standards of practice and ethics by CFP Board. Barron’s recognition of these dedicated CFP® professionals reflects well on the standards of excellence that more than 63,000 CFP® professionals maintain on a daily basis.”

Name Practice Name Location
Robert A. Clarfeld, CFP® Clarfeld Financial Advisors, Inc. Tarrytown, New York
Ron Carson, CFP® Carson Wealth Management Group Omaha, Nebraska
Peter Mallouk, CFP® Creative Planning, Inc. Leawood, Kansas
Debra Wetherby, CFP® Wetherby Asset Management San Francisco, California
Jon Waldron, CFP® Waldron Wealth Management Bridgeville, Pennsylvania
Tom Tracy, CFP® Aspiriant San Francisco, California
Brian Holmes, CFP® Signature Estate & Investment Advisors, LLC Los Angeles, California
Steven Weinstein, CFP® Altair Advisers LLC Chicago, Illinois
John Lesser, CFP® Plante Moran Financial Advisors Auburn Hills, Michigan
Michael Yoshikami, CFP® YCMNET Advisors Walnut Creek, California
Andy Berg, CFP® Homrich & Berg Inc Atlanta, Georgia
Timothy Grimes, CFP® Grimes & Company, Inc. Westborough, Massachusetts
Dale Yahnke, CFP® Dowling & Yahnke, LLC San Diego, California
Charles Zhang, CFP® Zhang Financial Portage, Michigan
Susan Kaplan, CFP® Kaplan Financial Services Newton, Massachusetts
Grant Rawdin, CFP® Wescott Financial Advisory Group LLC Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Christopher Cordaro, CFP® RegentAtlantic Capital Morristown, New Jersey
Scott Tiras, CFP® Ameriprise Financial Services Houston, Texas
Mark Dixon, CFP® Plante Moran Financial Advisors Southfield, Michigan
Thomas Myers, CFP® Brownson, Rehmus & Foxworth, Inc. Menlo Park, California
David Bugen, CFP® RegentAtlantic Capital Morristown, New Jersey
Scott T. Henson, CFP® Hanson McClain Advisors Sacramento, California
Brent Brodeski, CFP® Savant Capital Management, Inc Rockford, Illinois
Gregg Fisher, CFP® Gerstein Fisher & Associates Inc New York, New York
Andrew McMorrow, CFP® Ballentine Partners, LLC Waltham, Massachusetts
Thomas B. Gau, CFP® Retirement Planning Specialists, Inc. Ashland, Oregon
Charles Brighton, CFP® Brighton Jones, LLC Seattle, Washington
Stephan Cassaday, CFP® Cassaday & Company Inc McLean, Virginia
Joel Isaacson, CFP® Joel Isaacson & Co., LLC New York, New York
Claudia Shilo, CFP® Ballentine Partners, LLC Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
Greg Sullivan, CFP® Harris SBSB McLean, Virginia
Jeffrey Lancaster, CFP® Bingham Osborn & Scarborough LLC San Francisco, California
Kevin Myeroff, CFP® NCA Financial Planners Mayfield Heights, Ohio
Don DeWaay, CFP® DeWaay Capital Management Clive, Iowa
Frederick Paulman, CFP® RMB Capital Management Chicago, Illinois
John Adams Vaccaro, CFP® Westport Resources Management Westport, Connecticut
Gerard Klingman, CFP® Klingman and Associates, LLC New York, New York
Malcolm Makin, CFP® Professional Planning Group Westerly, Rhode Island
Charles Thoele, CFP® Robertson Griege & Thoele Dallas, Texas
Michael Chasnoff, CFP® Truepoint Inc. Cincinnati, Ohio
Randall Linde, CFP® Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Renton, Washington
Ronald Weiner, CFP® Retirement Design & Management, Inc. Westport, Connecticut
Robert Glovsky, CFP® Mintz Levin Financial Advisors Boston, Massachusetts
Lewis Altfest, CFP® L.J. Altfest & Company Inc. New York, New York
Robert Fragasso, CFP® Fragasso Financial Advisors Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Rick Van Benschoten, CFP® Lenox Advisors Inc New York, New York

ABOUT CFP BOARD
The mission of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board) is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for personal financial planning. The Board of Directors, in furthering CFP Board’s mission, acts on behalf of the public, CFP® professionals and other stakeholders. CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.  CFP Board currently authorizes more than 63,000 individuals to use these marks in the U.S.  For more information about CFP Board, visit www.CFP.net or call 800-487-1497.

CONTACT: Dan Drummond, Director of Public Relations, +1-202-379-2252, M: +1-202-550-4372, ddrummond@cfpboard.org Twitter: @cfpboardmedia

Web Site: http://www.cfp.net

Turnkey Retirement Income Program Includes a Product Allocation Analysis Tool, Sales Materials and Dedicated Support for Advisors to Help Clients Develop a Plan for Sustainable Income in Retirement

John Hancock Financial Network (JHFN) today announced their plans to launch Retirement Ready, a cutting-edge retirement income program designed to help JHFN financial professionals and advisors maximize sustainable retirement income for their clients and potentially minimize the risks clients may face. The program leverages a product allocation approach and includes a web-based product allocation analysis tool, a robust array of multi-media educational and training materials for clients and financial professionals and advisors, and dedicated support from JHFN.

“Research shows that the most trusted advisors are those who are now helping clients plan the decumulation stage of retirement,” said Brian Heapps, CLU, ChFC, interim president, JHFN. “So we worked with some of the best in the business to develop a comprehensive program to help ensure our financial professionals and advisors are in the best possible position with the most advanced tools to help guide their clients.” JHFN is awaiting review of the above materials which have been submitted to FINRA and will make any changes as required by FINRA.

Evolution from Asset Allocation to Product Allocation

“Traditional strategies such as asset allocation, where clients invest in different asset classes according to their risk tolerance, may work well when accumulating assets. Alone, however, they are often not enough to help protect clients from key retirement risks such as volatile equity markets, inflation, sequence of returns, and longevity,” explained Bruce Harrington, head of retirement sales and strategy, JHFN.

JHFN has developed a program which not only leverages the advantage of an asset allocation strategy but also combines it with other products that offer guaranteed streams of income to help clients meet their financial needs. This solution is a product allocation strategy. Product allocation involves placing assets into distinct product categories to create an optimal mix of products, based on a client’s personal needs, which tap into each product’s features and benefits.

The RSQ Analyzer

At the heart of the Retirement Ready program is a product allocation tool called the RSQ Analyzer. It leverages a unique methodology developed by The QWeMA Group to determine each client’s optimal product mix and provide a quantitative measurement of the relative likelihood that their portfolio will generate the income they desire for the rest of their lives. This measurement is called a retirement sustainability quotient (RSQ) and can range from a score of 0, where there is no likelihood of obtaining the desired income at retirement, to a score of 99, where the income stream is highly likely to be sustainable for life.

Moshe A. Milevsky, president and CEO, QWeMA, said, “QWeMA is delighted to be partnering with JHFN to bring product allocation to John Hancock Financial Network.”

Retirement Ready Materials, Training and Advisor Support

Designed for use by financial professionals and advisors, an array of tools are available on JHFN’s Retirement Ready microsite. These include the RSQ Analyzer, multi-media educational and training materials, an expense calculator, worksheets, promotional literature, and opportunities for advisors to create personalized client reports.

Larry Lubin, President & CEO of BlueRush, the award-winning digital marketing company that helped build the microsite, said, “We believe the Retirement Ready site sets a new benchmark for educating advisors and clients. Our goal was to make product allocation easy to understand by advisors—so they can explain its importance to their clients.”

To support advisors as they work with clients on retirement income planning, JHFN has hired a dedicated team including director Greg Melton and retirement income sales consultant Danny Francisco. In addition, JHFN will be holding a series of training sessions for its network of independent firms in a variety of locations in October and November including Boston, San Francisco, Newark, Washington, D.C., Detroit and Orlando.

“Not only will Retirement Ready make it easy for financial professionals and advisors to help their clients maximize sustainable retirement income and minimize risk—we think it will help them build their businesses and meet additional client needs,” said Harrington.

About John Hancock Financial Network

John Hancock Financial Network is a national network of independent firms with approximately 1,900 advisors across the U.S. A leader with the stability and scale to offer an innovative business model, John Hancock Financial Network gives entrepreneurial advisors the power to effectively build unique businesses, based on their own vision and market opportunity. For more information on John Hancock Financial Network and its national network of independent firms, visit https://www.johnhancockfinancialnetwork.com.

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife Financial Corporation

John Hancock Financial is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation, a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 21 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and in most of Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, Manulife Financial Corporation offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were $481 billion (US$498 billion) as at June 30, 2011. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers a broad range of financial products and services, including life insurance, fixed and variable annuities, fixed products, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at www.johnhancock.com.

Securities and investment advisory services offered through Signator Investors, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC, a registered investment advisor.

197 Clarendon St., Boston, MA 02116.

About The QWeMA Group, Inc.

The QWeMA Group Inc., an abbreviation of Quantitative Wealth Management Analytics Group, develops and licenses unique probability-analytic intellectual property and educational software for the financial services & retirement industry. QWeMA is privately owned and operated by a network of University based financial engineers, computational scientists and applied mathematicians. For more information please visit www.qwema.ca

About BlueRush

BlueRush Media Group Corp. (“BlueRush”), through its wholly-owned subsidiary, BlueRush Digital Media Corp., is a C standard-setting digital marketing company that combines rich media video and cutting-edge technology to create award-winning production for online and mobile platforms. The company has deep experience in financial services.

BlueRush creates innovative rich media solutions for distribution across all new emerging media; with expertise in design, programming, television, video production and marketing, BlueRush is uniquely qualified to position our clients – which include some of the most recognizable brands in North America – as digital communications leaders.

BlueRush Media Group Corp. is a publicly-listed company on the TSX Venture Exchange (“BTV”).

Learn more about JHFN at:

www.johnhancockfinancialnetwork.com

Follow us on the web:

YouTube – www.youtube.com/JHFNvideos

Interact with industry thought leaders:

www.JHFNBlog.com

CONTACT: Melissa Berczuk, +1-617-663-4750, mberczuk@jhancock.com

Web Site: https://www.johnhancockfinancialnetwork.com

Debt Relief Can Improve Your Overall Health

Debt is a burden that millions of Americans carry on a daily basis. In fact, the average family spends 20 percent of their household income paying down debt. But the scary fact about debt is that it doesn’t just impact your finances.

No one knows the far-reaching impact of debt more than Sharon, a former client of the nonprofit organization, Money Management International (MMI). Sharon struggled for years to stay current on more than $40,000 of debt, but eventually found a solution for overcoming the financial burden that she had faced for so long. Sharon, as well as others in similar situations, share their experiences and their journey throughout the debt repayment process through MMI’s new podcast series.

“I’m just a normal everyday mom who goes to work and tries to raise my kids,” Sharon said. “At the end of the program I paid off $40,000 in debt. Paying off my debt felt unbelievable; I was as happy as I was the day my kids were born.”

The financial experts at MMI have found that stress caused by financial worries can be detrimental to your health. Your emotional and mental stability, as well as your personal and professional relationships, are all at risk when finances feel out of control.

“You have a job to do at work, but you still have to come home and perform there as well. Receiving the collection calls is embarrassing. Dealing with debt was a major distraction,” Sharon said. “I felt inadequate. I felt like I was failing.”

According to an MMI personal finance survey, 24 percent of Americans blame financial hardships for health-related issues such as depression, anxiety, and problems sleeping. Financial stress can also be linked to failed relationships. Twenty-seven percent of Americans feel their marriage is impacted the most by financial worries.

With such far-reaching impacts, tackling debt can feel like an overwhelming process, which Sharon described as “trying to dig out of a hole that I was never going to get out of.”

This is why MMI wants to make the process as easy as possible by offering consumers free debt and budget counseling. As the largest nonprofit credit counseling agency in the nation, MMI has helped consumers pay back more than $740 million in debt in 2010 alone. Because we know that getting out of debt does more than improve finances – – it improves lives.

“My outlook on life has really changed,” Sharon said. “My confidence is through the roof. I feel like I can do anything. I’m not bound by credit and debt.”

About Money Management International
Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit-counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24/7 by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call 800.432.7310 or visit www.MoneyManagement.org.

Let’s keep in touch!

Visit us on the Web at MoneyManagement.org

 Page 1 of 4  1  2  3  4 »