3 Tips for Retiring Out of State

Retirees flock to Florida and Arizona for year-round sunshine and golf, but all things considered, they’re not the best states for happy golden years, according to a new survey.

Along with average number of sunny days, factor in cost of living, residents’ sense of well-being, quality of health-care, crime and, yes, humidity, and the best destination is (surprise!) South Dakota, according to a 2014 Bankrate report.

“As this report correctly suggests, pre-retirees need to consider a lot more than snow days and tradition,” says Rodger Friedman, founding partner and wealth manager at Steward Partners Global Advisory and author of “Forging Bonds of Steel,” (www.forgingbondsofsteel.com), a guide to developing an excellent working relationship with your financial advisor.

“Different states have different tax laws and other regulations that can have a major impact on your retirement funds. You need to be aware of these as you plan for where you want to live and how you want to live.”

Whether you’re considering one of the other top four “best states to retire” – Colorado, Utah, North Dakota and Wyoming, in that order – here are five tips for planning ahead: Read the rest of this entry »

New-Vehicle Sales To Climb 9 Percent In September 2014

 New-vehicle sales are expected to increase 9.1 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.24 million units, resulting in an estimated 16.4 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), according to Kelley Blue Book www.kbb.com, the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry.  Based on the robust sales pace during the past few months, Kelley Blue Book is adjusting its sales outlook for 2014 from 16.3 million to 16.4 million.

“Following an extraordinarily strong month of sales in August, with the industry above 17 million SAAR for the first time in eight years, Kelley Blue Book expects sales to level out in September,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book.  “Sales will remain strong and show healthy year-over-year improvement.  Rising incentive spend in recent months has been more than offset by increasing retail transaction prices, signaling continued consumer demand.”

Key Highlights for Estimated September 2014 Sales Forecast:

  • In September, new light-vehicle sales, including fleet, are expected to hit 1,240,000 units, up 9.1 percent from September 2013 and down 21.7 percent from August 2014.
  • The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for September 2014 is estimated to be 16.4 million, up from 15.3 million in September 2013 and down from 17.4 million in August 2014.
  • Retail sales are expected to account for 85 percent of volume in September 2014.

Read the rest of this entry »

45% of Americans Choose Banks Based on their Fees

New data from GOBankingRates, a premier personal finance website, reveals that the primary feature consumers seek in a financial institution is few or no fees on products and services.

Forty-five percent of survey respondents reported “low or no fees” as being the most important banking feature or service offered by a financial institution, followed by online and mobile banking (17 percent), convenient branch locations (14 percent), exceptional customer service (12 percent) and great interest rates (12 percent).

CLICK HERE to see full survey details.

“These findings really speak to Americans’ aversion to losing money,” said Jennifer Calonia, senior editor of GOBankingRates. “However, this might be the very handicap preventing bank customers from succeeding at saving money and growing wealth.  As interest rates rise, it will become more important for the average consumer to find high-yielding accounts.” Read the rest of this entry »

Confidence in the American Dream May Be Eroding but Americans’ Financial Satisfaction is on the Rise

Though the U.S. economy is showing signs of recovery, Americans’ belief in the American Dream remains deeply shaken. Of the older Millennials surveyed, ages 25-32, half feel the American Dream is disappearing completely. Forty-five percent of older Baby Boomers, ages 54-64, also share this belief, an increase of 15 percent over the past two years.

Though Americans both young and old generally hold bearish views on the economy, the definition of the American Dream itself appears to be in flux. While older respondents hold close to its traditional definitions—78 percent of older Boomers consider home ownership a key component and 80 percent consider financial independence an equally important element—younger respondents show notably less engagement with these historic benchmarks for financial achievement, instead focusing on developing a monthly budget, suggesting views around financial satisfaction are undergoing fundamental shifts, according to MassMutual’s third biennial study, The 2013 State of the American Family Study, offering a broad snapshot of American families’ financial views.

“We’ve found that American families hold similar core values when it comes to their finances, but one of the study’s key takeaways is that the emphasis placed on these financial views vary between demographic groups,” said Mike Fanning, Executive Vice President, U.S. Insurance Group, MassMutual. “Between generations, ethnicities, and family types, the goals families hold, the confidence they feel, and the financial products and services they use differ in clear and diverse ways.” Read the rest of this entry »