Trying to accurately predict the movement of the financial markets is akin to predicting the weather. No one really knows, and we have to wait to see what actually happens.
Our broad array of product options helps us create personalized strategies - supported by the most up-to-date information and technology. Clients receive guided access to investment opportunities including equities, fixed income, cash management, annuities and managed accounts.
Short-term certificates of deposit, treasury bills and money market funds are used for clients who want to reserve money that is readily accessible.
When it comes to safe, secure investments with a guaranteed return, it is hard to beat certificates of deposit. You may want to consider the term of your choice (from 3 to 120 months) with a rate that is fixed for the entire term. So there are no surprises. Unlike some alternative investments, there's no danger of losing principal. And you don't have to worry about market risk - you are guaranteed to earn the rate promised regardless of what happens in the financial markets. A CD (Certificate of Deposit) is a time deposit that typically offers a fixed interest rate (coupon rate) for a specified period of time. The maturities, rates of interest and interest payment terms of CDs available through our program will vary.
We offer brokered-certificate of deposits. Redemption of brokered-CDs prior to maturity may result in the loss of principal due to fluctuation in the interest rate, lack of liquidity or transaction costs. Brokered-CDs are considered investment products and are not subject to reimbursement for loss of principal.
T-bills are considered one of the safest of investments because they are short-term and are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.* Because of their short-term nature, T-bills have less exposure to inflation and interest-rate risk than longer-term investments. They have 13-week, 26-week and 52-week maturities.They are purchased at a discount and mature at face value.The difference between the purchase price and maturity value (the amount of the discount) is considered interest.
*The term “guarantee” refers to the timely payment of principal and interest only.
Money market mutual funds (usually referred to as money market funds or money funds) invest in short-term, fixed-income securities, otherwise known as money market investments. By definition, money market investments mature in less than one year.
An investment in the Fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency and although the Fund seeks to preserve the value of your investment at $1.00 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in the Fund.
Cash management features include:Checkwriting, Visa Gold debit/ATM card and more.
Fixed Income Disclosures:
Fixed income products (such as CDs, and treasury bills) are subject to market and interest rate risk, credit risks relating to lower rated or junk bond and subject to availability and changes in prices. Such products are subject to fluctuations in the market. The amount invested may be worth less than the original cost upon redemption or maturity.
Corporate ownership is represented by shares of stock in the firm. Anyone who holds one or more shares of a corporation’s stock is part owner of the business. This is why stocks are commonly referred to as equity securities.
Stocks are often classified in the following ways:
Investment principal is not guaranteed. An investor may lose a portion or all of its principal investing in stocks.
A mutual fund is a pool of money managed by a professional investment advisor on behalf of individual investors who have purchased shares of the fund. The fund manager buys securities to pursue a stated investment strategy. By investing in the fund, you'll own a piece of the total portfolio of securities, which could be anywhere from a few dozen to hundreds of stocks. This may provide you with both a convenient way to obtain
personal money management and diversification that would be harder to pursue on your own.
Mutual funds can be a great way to invest because:
Mutual funds are not suitable for all investors. Investment principal is not guaranteed. An investor may lose a portion or all of its principal investing in a mutual fund. The value of fund shares when redeemed may be worth more or less than their original cost. Mutual funds may be subject to state and federal capital gains taxes. Some investors may be subject to the federal alternative maximum tax.
We are knowledgeable and experienced in the world of mutual funds. Our individual analysis and advice can help you select from the many of choices to pursue your financial goals. We actively monitor the mutual fund universe to help ensure that those funds are aligned with your
An investor should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing. The fund prospectus contains this and other information about the investment company. Contact your advisor or the fund company for a copy of the prospectus which should be read carefully before investing.
Bonds can help diversify your investment portfolio. Bonds offer fixed interest payments at regular intervals and can act as a hedge against the relative volatility of stocks, real estate, or precious metals. Because they pay a regular, fixed amount of interest, bonds can also provide you with a steady stream of income.
Fixed Income Disclosures
Fixed income products (such as short-term CDs, and treasury bills) are subject to market risk, interest rate risk, and credit risk relating to lower rated or junk bond. Fixed income products are subject to availability and changes in prices based upon prevailing market conditions. Such products are subject to fluctuations in the market. The amount invested may be worth less than the original cost upon redemption or maturity.
Bonds issued by private corporations vary in risk from typically super-steady utility bonds to highly volatile, high-interest junk bonds. Also, many corporate bonds are callable, meaning that they can be called in by the issuing company and redeemed on a fixed date. The company pays back your principal along with accrued interest, plus an additional amount for calling the bond before maturity.
Corporate Bond Disclosures
Corporate bonds involve substantial risks such as a risk of default on principal and/or interest payments, and a risk of illiquidity, due to their limited secondary market. Corporate bonds are subject to availability and market conditions. Bond values will decline as interest rates rise.
US Government Securities
The securities backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government carry minimal risk. United States Treasury bills (T-bills) are issued for periods from 4 to 26 weeks. They are sold at a discount and are redeemed for their full face value at maturity. Other Treasury securities include Treasury notes, which mature between 1 and 10 years, and the benchmark U.S. Treasury bond, issued for periods of up to 10 years. Although the interest earned on these securities is subject to federal taxation, it is not subject to state or local taxes.
Various federal agencies also issue bonds. As with any investment, these bonds carry some risk. However, because the U.S. government guarantees timely payment of principal and interest on them, they are considered a safer* investment. Some of these bonds use mortgages as collateral. Most mortgage-backed securities pay monthly interest to bondholders.
*The term “guarantee” refers to the timely payment of principal and interest only.
Government Bond Disclosures
Government bonds are subject to market risk, credit risk, and interest rate risk and are subject to availability, changes in price and market fluctuation. Government bonds may be worth less than original cost upon redemption (prior to maturity).
Municipal bonds (munis) are issued by states, counties, or municipalities, and may be free from federal taxation. Some may be completely tax-free if you are a resident of the state, county, or municipality of issuance. Though municipal bonds generally offer lower interest payments compared with taxable bonds, their overall return may be higher because of their tax-reduced (or tax-free) status.
Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax.
An annuity is a contract between you (the purchaser or owner) and the issuer (usually an insurance company). In its simplest form, you pay money to the annuity issuer, the issuer invests the money for you, and then the issuer pays out the principal and earnings back to you or to a named beneficiary.
Historically, fixed annuities were the only type of annuities that companies issued. A fixed annuity pays a fixed, set rate of interest, which could change periodically, on the money invested in the annuity. In many cases, the annuity issuer will pay a guaranteed minimum rate of interest on the annuity account but also hold out the possibility that it will pay a higher rate of interest if market conditions permit (i.e., interest rates have risen on other money market instruments). To induce people to purchase fixed annuities, many issuers also will pay a much higher rate of interest for an initial period of time - usually a year. This higher rate of interest is sometimes called a bonus interest rate. Thus, the issuer may agree to pay 6 percent for the first year and then pay no less than 3 percent annually on the annuity after the first year. Usually, the annuity issuer will pay more than the minimum guaranteed rate on the fixed annuity. Fixed annuities are conservative investments for individuals who prefer fixed rates of return on their investments.
Fixed annuities may not be appropriate for all investors for the following reasons:
There are substantial early withdrawal penalties for investors who withdraw their funds prior to age 59 ½ and are not suitable for short-term investments.
Variable annuities are long term, tax-deferred insurance/securities products designed for retirement purposes and contain features such as guaranteed living benefits, guaranteed death benefits and annuitization options. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company and are available as optional riders. Instead of receiving interest on the money invested in your annuity, you may choose a variable annuity that allows you to invest your annuity money in one or more investment sub-accounts. The sub-accounts (often called variable sub-accounts, flexible accounts, or flexible sub-accounts) will then invest in stocks, bonds, money market instruments, and other types of investments. Many variable annuity issuers may offer 6 to 10 different sub-accounts. The annuity issuer will allow you to allocate your money among the different accounts in any way that you desire. Furthermore, most annuity issuers allow you to move money from one sub-account to another without incurring commissions (and there are usually no tax consequences). With a variable annuity, the amount of earnings that will be credited to your annuity account will depend on the performance of the underlying sub-accounts. Unlike a fixed annuity, you assume the investment risk on the annuity. Some years you may do very well, while in others you may lose money. In recent years variable annuities have become very popular as people have been more willing to take the added risk to try to pursue higher returns than what is available on fixed annuities.
Guarantees are backed by the issuing insurance company and do not apply to the investment performance or safety of the underlying portfolios. Additional charges may apply along with the terms of the features in the prospectus. Some contracts, riders, features and investment options may not be available in all states.
Management and administration fees apply including surrender charges for early withdrawal, contingent deferred sales charges, mortality and expense risk charges, and annual contract fees. Withdrawals may be subject to ordinary income tax and if may prior to age 59 1/2 , a 10 percent federal penalty tax may apply.
Variable annuities are appropriate for a long term investment and may not be suitable for short-term investment because of applicable mortality & expense risk charges, contingent deferred sales charges, certain taxes and administrative fees. The contract value may fluctuate based on the performance of your subaccounts and is subject to investment risk, including loss of principal.
Variable annuities are sold by prospectus only. Investors should carefully consider objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing. The contract prospectus and the underlying fund prospectus contain this and other important information. Investors should read the prospectus carefully before investing. For a copy of the prospectus contact your financial advisor.
A third broad type of annuity is an equity-indexed annuity. When you purchase an equity-indexed annuity, the issuer agrees to pay a return on your account that is tied to a stock market index - usually the S&P 500. However, the issuer also guarantees to pay you no less than a certain return in a given period if the return on that stock market index falls below that minimum percentage.*
The guaranteed account value of an equity-indexed annuity applies only if the annuity is held until the end of the contract term.
One of the tradeoffs to an equity-indexed annuity is that the issuer will typically not pay you the full return on the equity index. Many equity-indexed annuities have caps (e.g., the most the issuer will pay you is 12 percent per year even if the equity index does much better than that). Furthermore, many issuers will pay you only a certain percentage of any given return in the equity index - called the participation rate. Assuming a 75 percent participation rate, if the equity index goes up 10 percent in a year, then the issuer may only credit your account with 7.5 percent for that period. Thus, with an equity-indexed annuity, you give up some of the upside potential for some protection on the downside.
Premiums paid with after-tax dollars. When withdrawn, earnings are taxed at ordinary income tax rates; lower capital gains tax rates will not apply. Equity-indexed annuities may not be suitable for all investors. There are substantial early withdrawal penalties for investors who withdraw their funds prior to 59 ½.
*Guarantees are made based upon the claims paying ability of the insurance company issuing the insurance product.
Equity-indexed annuities are not directly invested in the index or the equities comprising the index. The index is merely the instrument used to measure the gain or loss in the market, and that measurement is used to calculate the interest rate. Some equity-indexed annuities may also charge additional fees that are subtracted from any gain in the index. For example, suppose an indexed annuity is based on the S&P 500, which earns 10% one year. The terms of an indexed annuity state that fees will be 2.5% and that the maximum cap on returns is 9%. In this case, the annuitant would only receive a total of 6.5% (9%-2.5%) return from his or her annuity. Many equity-indexed annuities have surrender charges, which can be a percentage of the amount withdrawn or a reduction in the interest rate. Some equity-indexed annuities allow the insurance company to change participation rates, cap rates, or other fees annually or at the start of the next contract term. All of an Equity-indexed annuities features should be clearly spelled out in the prospectus, sales literature and the contract. Read this material carefully before investing.
Profit-sharing plans are among the most popular employer-sponsored retirement plans. These straightforward plans allow you, as an employer, to make a contribution that is spread among the plan participants. You are not required to make an annual contribution in any given year. However, contributions must be made on a regular basis. With a profit-sharing plan, a separate account is established for each plan participant, and contributions are allocated to each participant based on the plan's formula (this formula can be amended from time to time). As with all retirement plans, the contributions must be prudently invested. Each participant's account must also be credited with his or her share of investment income (or loss).
A type of deferred compensation plan, and now the most popular type of plan by far, the 401(k) plan allows contributions to be funded by the participants themselves, rather than by the employer. Employees elect to forgo a portion of their salary and have it put in the plan instead. The requirements for 401(k) plans are complicated, and several tests must be met for the plan to remain in force. These plans can be extremely expensive to administer, but the employer's contribution cost is generally very small (employers often offer to match employee deferrals as an incentive for employees to participate). Thus, in the long run, 401(k) plans tend to be relatively inexpensive for the employer.
Note: 401(k) plans are frequently confused with profit-sharing plans.
Money purchase pension plans
Money purchase pension plans are similar to profit-sharing plans, but employers are required to make an annual contribution. Participants receive their respective share according to the plan document's formula. Like profit-sharing plans, money purchase pension plans are relatively straightforward and inexpensive to maintain. However, they are less popular than profit-sharing or 401(k) plans because of the annual contribution requirement.
Defined benefit plans
By far the most sophisticated type of retirement plan, a defined-benefit program sets out a formula that defines how much each participant will receive annually after retirement if he or she works until retirement age. This is generally stated as a percentage of pay, and can be as much as 100 percent of final average pay at retirement.
An actuary certifies how much will be required each year to fund the projected retirement payments for all employees. The employer then must make the contribution based on the actuarial determination. Unlike defined contribution plans, there is no limit on the contribution. Defined-benefit plans potentially offer the largest contribution deduction and the highest retirement benefits to business owners.
SIMPLE IRA retirement plans
SIMPLE plans work much like 401(k) plans, but do not have all the testing requirements. So, they're cheaper to maintain. There are several drawbacks, however. First, all contributions are immediately vested; meaning any money contributed by the employer immediately belongs to the employee (employer contributions are usually "earned" over a period of years in other retirement plans). Second, the amount of contributions the highly paid employees (usually the owners) can receive is severely limited compared to other plans. Finally, the employer cannot maintain any other retirement plans. SIMPLE plans cannot be utilized by employers with more than 100 employees.
The above sections are not exhaustive, but represent the most popular plans in use today. Recent tax law changes have given us new and creative ways to write plan formulas and combine different types of plans, in order to make the most of your retirement.
Life insurance is an agreement between you (the insured) and an insurer. Under the terms of a life insurance policy, the insurer promises to pay a certain sum to a person you choose (your beneficiary) upon your death, in exchange for your premium payments. The goal of life insurance coverage is to provide you with more confidence that the people you care about are financial protected after you die.
One of the most common reasons for buying life insurance is to replace the loss of income that would occur in the event of your death. When you die and your paychecks stop, your family may be left with limited resources. Proceeds from a life insurance policy make cash available to support your family almost immediately upon your death. Life insurance is also commonly used to pay any debts that you may leave behind. Life insurance can be used to pay off mortgages, car loans, and credit card debts, leaving other remaining assets intact for your family. Life insurance proceeds can also be used to pay or final expenses and estate taxes. Finally, life insurance can create an estate for your heirs. The two basic types of life insurance are:
Term policies provide life insurance protection for a specific period of time. If you die during the coverage period, your beneficiary receives the policy death benefit. If you live to the end of the term, the policy simply terminates, unless it automatically renews for a new period. Term policies are available for periods of 1 to 30 years or more and may, in some cases, be renewed until you reach age 95. Premium payments may be increasing, as with annually renewable 1-year (period) term, or level (equal) for up to 30-year term periods.
Permanent (cash value) life
Permanent insurance policies provide protection for your entire life, provided you pay the premium to keep the policy in force. Premium payments are greater than necessary to provide the life insurance benefit in the early years of the policy, so that a reserve can be accumulated to make up the shortfall in premiums necessary to provide the insurance in the later years. Should the policyowner discontinue the policy, this reserve, known as the cash value, is returned to the policyowner. Permanent life insurance can be further broken down into the following basic categories.
You generally make level (equal) premium payments for life. The death benefit and cash value are predetermined and guaranteed. The policyowner's only action after purchase of the policy is to pay the fixed premium.
You may pay premiums at any time, in any amount (subject to certain limits), as long as policy expenses and the cost of insurance coverage are met. The amount of insurance coverage can be changed, and the cash value will grow at a declared interest rate, which may vary over time.
As with whole life, you pay a level premium for life. However, neither the death benefit nor cash value are predetermined or guaranteed; they fluctuate depending on the performance of investments in what are known as subaccounts. A subaccount is a pool of investor funds professionally managed to pursue a stated investment objective. The policyowner selects the subaccounts in which the cash value should be invested.
Universal variable life
A combination of universal and variable life. You may pay premiums at any time, in any amount (subject to limits), as long as policy expenses and the cost of insurance coverage are met. The amount of insurance coverage can be changed, and the cash value goes up or down based on the performance of investments in the subaccounts.
Variable Life insurance policies are not short-term investments and are offered by prospectus only. An investment in a variable life product involves investment risk, including the possible loss of principal. Investment return and principal value will fluctuate so your shares when redeemed may be worth more or less than original cost.
Investors should carefully consider the underlying fund investment objectives, risks, charges and limitations and expenses of a variable universal life insurance policy. This and other information about the policy is in prospectuses available from your registered representative or by contacting the insurance company. Read them carefully before investing or sending money.
An investment in the securities underlying the policy is not guaranteed or endorsed by any bank, is not a deposit or obligation of any bank, and is not federally insured by any government agency. Loans taken from the policy cash value will proportionately reduce the policy cash value. Surrender charges may apply to withdrawals taken during the surrender period.
We have the knowledge for even the most experienced investor.
There are risks associated with investing in the stock market. Investors should read their prospectuses carefully before investing. Prospectuses or offering documents contain important information with respect to specific risks associated with the specific type of investments for which they are seeking to invest.
Although investors typically put their money into stocks and bonds, many other types of investments exist that can be used to diversify investment portfolios and meet the objectives of businesses, individual investors, and portfolio managers alike. However, most of these investments are complex and should be used only by sophisticated investors.
A real estate investment trust (REIT) is a company, usually publicly traded, that manages a portfolio of real estate to earn profits for shareholders who invest in the company. REITs may invest in a diverse array of real estate, from shopping centers and office buildings to apartment complexes and hotels. Some REITs own and operate income-producing real estate. Shareholders receive rental income from the properties held, as well as capital gains when properties are sold at a profit. Other REITs specialize in lending money to building developers and pass interest income on to shareholders. Still other REITs pursue a mix of equity and debt investments.
Investments in REITS are subject to the inherent risks of direct investment in real estate such as price fluctuation, liquidity and concentration risks.
Managed Accounts are individual investment accounts offered by Investment Advisors who provide advisory services and are managed by independent money managers using an asset-based fee structure.
A managed account program combines several services in a customized strategy to investing. These services include investment planning, manager search and selection, portfolio management, performance measurement and reporting. All of these valuable services are wrapped together into a comprehensive investment program. Rather than paying separately for these services, investors using a managed account pay a single fee. In a managed account, everyone shares a common objective - to see that the investors' portfolio grows in value.
Benefits may include the following:
Managed account services or asset-based fee programs may not be suitable for every investor. Suitability depends on a number of factors such as the investor’s need or desire for professional investment management, the size of the investor’s account and the investor’s particular financial needs, circumstances and investment objectives. In some instances, the brokerage and other services offered through the program may be available for less money on a trade-by trade fee basis or through another firm. The investor should work with a financial advisor for help in determining the most suitable investment vehicles and programs for his or her financial objectives.