Are You Slowly Boiling (Or How to Take the Temperature of Your Retirement Picture)

You’ve probably all heard the old adage about boiling a frog. As a southerner, I love a good colorful metaphor. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, the frog will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. Okay, so that’s not a pretty picture, but it could be an apt representation of what is happening with your current retirement plan. I’m amazed how many people don’t do the math to make certain their financial path gets them to where they want to be. Wouldn’t it be a shame to work all your life saving for retirement and then when retirement time rolls around not have enough money to live the lifestyle you desire?

Since the 1980s, you have been told to put money in 401k plans or IRAs to defer the “terrible” tax we have to pay. Most people have blindly followed this plan without regard to the income tax that they will be required to pay at a later date and at a rate required by the IRS (that could potentially change at any time). You look around and “everyone is doing it.” You check your balances from time to time, but the changes are gradual and like the frog as the water heats, you don’t notice the end result on the value of your savings. I’ve seen individuals blindly follow a financial adviser’s advice that, “you have enough money to retire.” Are you aware that the safe withdrawal rate from your 401k is 3% annually? Let’s say you have a million dollars in your 401k. The safe withdrawal rate of 3% would only produce $30,000 a year, and that’s before taxes. Is $30,000 minus income taxes enough to maintain your current lifestyle?
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Discover 7 Secrets to a Safer Holiday

What a special time of year. I love the holidays. Some of my favorite memories are from Christmases gathered around the fire with candles burning. When I became an insurance professional, my perspective changed because now I see the dangers in many of these rituals. Over 15,000 people will be seriously injured and take a trip to the emergency room during the holidays. The insurance industry sees many house fires this time of year associated with holiday celebrations. You don’t want to make a trip to the emergency room, and you certainly don’t want to be displaced during this time of year.

Although dangers are associated with the holiday season, a few practices can make for a safer holiday. You can keep your family traditions but add these safety precautions as well.
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How to Get Your Financial House in Order

financial-planning-knoxvilleWith the new year close at hand, multitudes of people make New Year’s resolutions to improve their lifestyles with diet, exercise, or mastering new skills. Unfortunately, most New Year’s resolutions last approximately 21 days. Instead of making a resolution, why not commit to getting your financial house in order? Money may not be the most important thing, but it can allow you to do things that are most important to you. Start your new year with these six essential tasks to get your financial house in order.


Set a budget. Using a budget requires discipline and takes time to plan and carry out correctly. Byron Deese of Glass Jacobson Financial Group recommends living on 70% of your net income. Use half of that total for home and transportation, another 20% for food and an emergency fund, and 10% each for savings, retirement, and charity. Following a budget plan is the easiest way to get yourself financially on track.
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Has Technology Made Your Life Easier?

cyber-insurance-knoxvilleI remember around 1992 when Roane State announced the school was adopting a new technology tool to make communicating with other staff members easier and more convenient. This new tool was email. Fortunately for me, I had a terrific boss, Judy Tyl, who was far more patient with me than I deserved. Any way….I complained to her about how email would make things so much more impersonal. Growing up in a small community, (one caution light and one school with grades 1-12 on the same campus) I was a people kind of person. I wanted to be able to look people in the eye when having a discussion with them or at least hear the tone in their voice over the phone. Back then I had no idea what email would create and what a technology prisoner I would become.
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