Big Picture Retirement Planning Class

At Texarkana College

If you’re seeking practical and applicable insight on retirement planning, this workshop is for you!

Who should attend?

Anyone who is preparing to retire soon and wants professional advice in crafting a well thought-out retirement strategy.

Understanding the big picture is critical when planning for a successful retirement. The proper integration of tax, legal, healthcare and income planning is necessary in a successful retirement strategy. During this 3 night event, we’ll dig beneath the surface to discuss those items with a team of local professionals including a CPA, Financial Advisor, Estate Planning Attorney, and Medicare expert.

We’ll discuss

-How to effectively coordinate your retirement income streams

-How to maximize your after-tax income through creative tax strategies

-How to make the best decision on Social Security

-How to make sense of your healthcare coverage options

-How to make sure retirement assets and income is legally protected

-The right way to plan your estate

-How to sort through all of the conflicting investment advice

At the conclusion, we’ll leave plenty of time for questions.

Join us as we explore retirement planning like you’ve never heard before.

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Choosing The Best Option: Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) or Teacher’s Retirement System

If you’ve recently been hired in public higher education, you have a very limited time window to make a big decision. Should you choose the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) or Teacher’s Retirement System (TRS)? You have one chance to get it right. This is an irrevocable decision.

Here’s what you need to know.

choosing between the teachers retirement system and optional retirement program

Most teachers are automatically enrolled in TRS. However, certain employees of public colleges are eligible to choose the Optional Retirement Plan instead of the TRS pension plan. This is not a decision to be taken lightly! Although both of these accounts are meant to be for retirement savings and income, they each approach this goal using two distinctly different paths.

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5 Lessons I Learned from Market Declines

In my career as a financial advisor, I’ve made a few mistakes. The biggest? Not being more convincing to my clients that they should stay invested in rough markets.

I became a licensed financial advisor in early 2003. People were still really skittish over the bad market – even though it was forecasting the stock marketimproving. The news was still mostly bad and little provocation was needed to make people sell their investments again. It seemed to stay that way for the next few years.

Finally, around 2006 or 2007, I stopped hearing as much about the days “back in the bad market.” I suppose time began dimming some memories. And then, 2008 happened. This was an incredibly difficult year in the stock market but I did everything I could do to calm the nerves of my clients and friends. Some listened to me. Others went against my advice and sold all of their investments.

Most of these people locked in devastating losses by selling at the worst possible time. And most couldn’t afford it. If they would have just stayed invested, they would have most likely made up those losses and then some. Since then, I’ve often wondered if I could have done more to keep them invested?

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13 Financial Advisor Blogs That I Read Every Week

financial advisor bloggersIf you look around the Internet for long you’ll quickly see that there’s no shortage of personal finance blogs. Sorting through them to find a unique message can be challenging. What makes it more difficult is that many personal finance writers simply don’t have a firm grasp on the subject matter.

When I read an article I want it to be informative and fresh. I want to be able to finish reading and feel that I have either learned something or have been given a fresh perspective on a familiar subject.

After 13 years in the industry, I’m still learning new stuff all the time – probably because I read a lot. But I don’t trust this inflow of information to just anyone. There’s a lot of “fluff” and posers on the Internet.

My List of Must-Read Financial Advisor Blogs

These are the bloggers that I read on a weekly basis. They aren’t just your run-of-the-mill bloggers, either. Everyone on this list is also a practicing financial advisor. They understand their subject from the unique perspective that only someone who works in this field can.

If any of these bloggers put out a new article, I’m usually reading it within a few hours.

Here they are in no particular order.

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Medicare Open Enrollment


Below is a timely reminder of the Medicare Open Enrollment Period from our friends at The Barnette Agency.

medicare open enrollment

It’s that time all over again. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period begins October 15 and runs through December 7 (Pearl Harbor Day). Missing those dates can have dire consequences. It is important to remember that Medicare Prescription Drug plans and Medicare Advantage Plans are all under year to year contracts with Medicare. Therefore Medicare Insurance plans, as they are called, can significantly chance each January 1, resulting in big surprises to you if caught off guard.

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Your Financial Advisor’s Answer Should Be “NO!” To This One Question

Have You Asked?

That conversation is one I’ll never forget.

“Son,” he said with a slight chuckle, “In this business there are three people that need to make money.  The home office, the financial advisor, and the client. But listen, two out of three ain’t bad.”

Financial Advisor Sales Goals


I was a brand new financial advisor for one of the largest brokerage firms in the nation.  This “wisdom” was coming from a top producing veteran advisor.  Since he was very successful, and I was new, I was asked to shadow him for a while to learn how he did things. I’ll have to say, I did learn a few things. More than I expected or wanted to learn.

I knew that it was a sales job when they hired me.  It was clear that I would be expected to produce revenue and generate a profit for the firm. I didn’t have an issue with any of that.  What bothered me was what I had to do just to meet their sales quota.

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Texas Long Term Care Medicaid Explained

Answers To The Most Frequently Asked Questions

Seniors holding hands
Long Term Care Medicaid is the federally mandated program that provides access to skilled nursing care for individuals who meet certain requirements.  Although Medicaid is a federally created program, the actual administration of that program is left to the individual states. Because of this division between federally created rules and state administration, there are many specific differences between the states, although the overall rules are generally the same.  Also, the rules change frequently, so from the time a reader starts this article, the rules may change before they even finish the article.  As a result, the following information is for general knowledge and should not be relied upon without the advice of an expert in elder law.

There are a bevy of misconceptions related to Long Term Care Medicaid.  In fact, it is common for families who could be eligible for Medicaid to incorrectly assume that they do not qualify, even before they know the rules.  Even more often, individuals and families will attempt to “plan” for their future Medicaid needs by acting on rumor and the advice of family, neighbors and friends.  Most often, these people find that not only have they acted incorrectly, but that their attempts at “planning” have actually caused more problems than they solved.

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The Most Commonly Overlooked VA Benefit

And What It Takes to Get It

Veterans Benefits

Benefits available through the Veterans Administration are the most commonly overlooked benefits available to seniors. Many times, veterans and their spouses make incorrect assumptions related to their entitlement to VA benefits. These individuals will assume that since they did not retire from the military they are not entitled to any benefits from the VA, or they will assume that since they were not injured during their service they are not entitled to any benefits from the VA. While there are in fact benefits available to retired veterans and veterans with service connected disabilities, these are not the only benefits available.

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The Power of a Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney

Many people consider themselves familiar with a Power of Attorney, but may not fully understand what a Power of Attorney can and cannot do for them and their loved ones. If you have not had the need for one, or you have one that has worked for your needs, you likely haven’t given much thought to what a Power of Attorney actually says, or should say.  Many businesses or agencies accept a Power of Attorney without reading it, however, the reality is that a Power of Attorney grants you only the powers specifically outlined in the document. If you exercise a power as the agent not granted in the document, you have breached a fiduciary duty and may be personally liable. If you as the principal fail to give sufficient authority to your agent, you may hinder their ability to handle your business in a manner that serves your best interests and protects your assets. It has been our experience that far too few individuals and businesses pay attention to the language of the Power of Attorney and fully understand the consequences of what that language provides and does not provide, when it is the details of this document that give it its power.

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3 Reasons You Should NOT Make Extra Mortgage Payments


Everybody who has a mortgage dreams of the day when he can pay it off.  Although I cannot personally attest to owning a home outright, I certainly can imagine what it will feel like to send that last payment to the mortgage company.  I am looking forward to the day; however, I am in no hurry to accelerate that process.  Why?  Let’s look at some reasons.

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