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Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Do your kids realize just how much money you’re really worth once all your assets are added up?
If they’re anything like the adult offspring surveyed for Fidelity Investments’ “Family & Finance Study,” the answer is a resounding — and rather scary — “no.” In fact, seven out of 10 of them underestimated their parents’ estate by an average of $278,000.
That’s right, by more than a quarter of a million dollars.
The reason that’s scary — and why it should be a wake-up call for even those with modest estates they hope to pass on to heirs — is simple: It illustrates a breakdown in communications that Kevin Ruth, head of Fidelity’s wealth planning and personal trust, says badly needs addressing through ‘frank conversations” between parents and their adult children.
“Even in the simplest of family situations, conversations that don’t occur frequently and in detail can result in fairly substantial family disagreements and disconnects,” says Ruth. “Establishing an estate plan is your best bet to ensure your loved ones are taken care of in your absence and that your wishes are carried out the way you want.”
In fact, according to the study, the two generations apparently can’t even agree on whether they’ve already had such detailed talks.
Seventy percent of parents surveyed believe they have; more than 50 percent of their children claim they haven’t.
So what are the benefits of an estate plan? Well, among other things, it allows you to:
* Preserve and maintain control over the transfer of your assets.
* Protect your family’s privacy and possibly avoid probate.
* Provide immediate access to liquidity.
* Choose how your beneficiaries will receive assets.
* Designate who’ll execute your wishes even if you’re just incapacitated.
Plus, for those who despise the thought of the government getting any more money than legally required, having a sound estate plan in place could help your heirs avoid needlessly paying certain Federal estate taxes (not to mention state estate and inheritance taxes, depending on local laws).
Ah, but you’re stuck on that $278,000 figure, right?
Actually, given how complicated today’s lives often are — what with stepchildren’s interests to protect, say, and family businesses to pass on — most people, and not just the very wealthy, could do with some solid estate planning. Heck, even distributions from IRAs and Roth IRAs can be tricky if the aim is to “stretch” payments out to beneficiaries, tax-deferred or tax-free, for as long as decades.
Attorneys and tax advisors can help you set up an estate plan, and online resources like Fidelity’s Estate Planning Overview provide a good idea of what’s involved. Fidelity customers also have access to its new Estate Planner to more thoroughly prepare and educate themselves for a meeting, right down to details like organizing documents and choosing lawyers.
As for why parents and their children may be reluctant to discuss the subject, Ruth has an explanation: “It’s human nature to avoid thinking about one’s own mortality.”

Unsure What to Do With Your Old 401(k)? Fidelity Can Help

If you recently started a new job or if you’re between gigs and “exploring other opportunities,” you still need to decide what to do with your old 401(k) from your previous employer.

It’s been estimated that there are about 15 million such accounts left behind by former employees, mainly because of either inertia or confusion over strict rules for moving the money. And since the IRS doesn’t allow procrastinating on a key decision — if you withdraw even a dime, you’ve got just 60 days to reallocate into a different tax-advantaged account — here’s a rundown of your options to avoid what could be a costly mistake:

Customer Feedback Is Our North Star

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – “The customer always comes first” should be every company’s mantra. However, a lot of companies say it, but don’t act on it. So, how do we make sure we’re living up to that mindset?
The answer is simple — just ask.
On any given night, half of the guests in our hotels are members of the Hilton Honors loyalty program and their feedback is what helps us make our program so esteemed.

Harvard Scientist Says Improved Treatment Coming for COPD

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) takes an enormous toll in human suffering and medical costs. More than 30 million Americans battle with frequent coughing, increased breathlessness, wheezing, and the other symptoms of the progressive lung disease.
Most COPD patients have to take medications every day. As a result, inhaled drugs for COPD, such as Spiriva, have become blockbusters, bringing in billions of dollars a year in revenue.
These particular drugs work by opening up airways in the lungs to make breathing easier. Unfortunately, the so-called bronchodilator drugs currently on the market have limitations, says Dr. David A. Edwards, Professor of the Practice of Idea Translation at Harvard University. “The main problem is that they are not very efficient at delivering drugs to the lungs,” he explains. Much of the drug sticks in the mouth or throat rather than getting to the lungs where it is needed. In addition, says Dr. Edwards, “the fact that the drugs remain in the mouth and throat can lead to serious side effects.”
Which is why a number of companies have been working on innovative new approaches to increase the efficiency of drug delivery. “One particularly promising idea, being developed by Pulmatrix, Inc. [NASDAQ: PULM], is to attach drugs to small particles that can ‘fly’ far more easily into the lungs,” says Dr. Edwards. Such advanced “dry powder” technology can deliver three to 50 times more drug to the lungs compared to current inhalers, while dramatically reducing the amount stuck in the mouth or throat. “It’s like a pill for the lungs,” he says.
Pulmatrix is now developing an inhaled bronchodilator product for COPD that combines the active ingredient found in Spiriva with its proprietary dry particles. Clinical trials show that the product is five times more efficient at delivering the drug to the lungs than the currently marketed alternatives.
“That should bring both good efficiency and fewer side effects — offering important benefits to COPD patients,” says Dr. Edwards.

Deciding What to Do With Your Old 401(k)

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Just started a new job with an employer who thinks you’re as visionary as Steve Jobs? Or maybe you’re between gigs and “exploring other opportunities.” Either way, you need to decide what to do with your old 401(k).
It’s been estimated that there are about 15 million such accounts left behind by former employees, mainly because of either inertia or plain confusion over strict rules for moving the money. And since the IRS doesn’t allow procrastinating on a key decision — if you withdraw even a dime, you’ve got just 60 days to reallocate into a different tax-advantaged account — here’s a rundown of your options to avoid what could be a costly mistake:
* Option No. 1: Cash Out
Unless you’re in dire financial straits and really, really need the bucks to live off, the consensus is this is a bad idea.
“Cashing out comes with an immediate price, both in terms of giving up potential future gains in your portfolio and in the IRS taxes the company handling your 401(k) for your former employer is legally obliged to withhold,” explains Nupur Bahal, vice president for retirement at Fidelity Investments. “That’s money you won’t have for retirement.”
Yes, the government must have its cut. Specifically, 20 percent in federal income taxes, 10 percent in an “early-withdrawal penalty” for those under age 59?, and — wait, we’re not done yet — whatever additional percentage your individual state may or may not assess.
Translating that into real money, Fidelity’s website (fidelity.com) uses the hypothetical example of a 36-year-old who decides to cash out the $16,000 balance in her account. After deducting just the federal taxes and penalties, she’d be left with only $11,200.
Feel free to imagine how much you’d be out if your account is fatter.
* Option No. 2: Move the Money to Your New Employer’s Plan
Doing what’s called a “rollover” is an easy way to keep your 401(k) savings together and growing tax-deferred.
But bear in mind: Investment options vary from plan to plan — as do fees. (And not all employers even accept rollovers.)
Which means you might want to do some comparison shopping before committing.
* Option No. 3: Move the Money Into an IRA
As with the previous rollover, you get to avoid the tax bite of cashing out. The difference here, though -; and these could be major plusses — is that not only do IRAs offer more investment choices than the typical 401(k), but you’re also able to make penalty-free withdrawals for qualified education expenses or up to $10,000 for a first-time home purchase.
“Especially if you already have other, non-401(k) accounts elsewhere, it may be simpler and more effective to consolidate everything under one roof,” says Bahal.
* Option No. 4: Leave It With Your Ex-Employer
Penalty-free withdrawals are allowed for those who leave their jobs at age 55 or older — as opposed to 59? for IRAs — and unique investment options might warrant just letting things ride. But some people forget the account exists with the passage of time — no, really — and further contributions are verboten.
Whatever you decide, remember the clock is definitely ticking for you to contact your old 401(k) administrator should you choose to withdraw even that one dime.

Leave Your Footprint on The Fight Against Childhood Cancer

(NewsUSA) – Leave your footprint on the fight against childhood cancer.

Childhood cancer affects thousands of families across the United States, yet it remains largely underfunded. In fact, less than 4 percent of federal funding earmarked for cancer research goes to childhood cancer research. Aflac Duckprints makes it possible for anyone to join the fight against childhood cancer by purchasing gifts that give back or by making a donation.

To learn how you can make a difference, visit aflacduckprints.com.

See full-sized image here.

Leave Your Footprint on The Fight Against Childhood?Cancer

(NewsUSA)  –  Leave your footprint on the fight against childhood cancer.

Childhood cancer affects thousands of families across the United States, yet it remains largely underfunded. In fact, less than 4 percent of federal funding earmarked for cancer research goes to childhood cancer research. Aflac Duckprints makes it possible for anyone to join the fight against childhood cancer by purchasing gifts that give back or by making a donation.

To learn how you can make a difference, visit aflacduckprints.com.
 
See full-sized image here.

 

Improved Treatment for COPD Coming, Says Harvard Scientist

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) takes an enormous toll in human suffering and medical costs. More than 30 million Americans struggle from frequent coughing, increased breathlessness, wheezing, and the other symptoms of the progressive lung disease.
Most COPD patients must take medications every day. As a result, inhaled drugs for COPD, such as Spiriva, have become blockbusters, bringing in billions of dollars a year in revenue.
These drugs work by opening up airways in the lungs to make breathing easier. Unfortunately, the so-called bronchodilator drugs currently on the market have limitations, says Dr. David A. Edwards, Professor of the Practice of Idea Translation at Harvard University. “The main problem is that they are not very efficient at delivering drugs to the lungs,” he explains. Much of the drug sticks in the mouth or throat rather than getting to the lungs where it is needed. In addition, says Dr. Edwards, “the fact that the drugs remain in the mouth and throat can lead to serious side effects.”
That’s why a number of companies have been working on innovative new approaches to increase the efficiency of drug delivery. “One particularly promising idea, being developed by Pulmatrix, Inc. [NASDAQ: PULM], is to attach drugs to small particles that can ‘fly’ far more easily into the lungs,” says Dr. Edwards. Such advanced “dry powder” technology can deliver three to 50 times more drug to the lungs compared to current inhalers, while dramatically reducing the amount stuck in the mouth or throat. “It’s like a pill for the lungs,” he says.
Pulmatrix is now developing an inhaled bronchodilator product for COPD that combines the active ingredient found in Spiriva with its proprietary dry particles. Clinical trials show that the product is five times more efficient at delivering the drug to the lungs than the currently marketed alternatives.
“That should bring both good efficiency and fewer side effects — offering important benefits to COPD patients,” says Dr. Edwards.

CME Group Competition Brings Trading to The Classroom

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – University students around the world can test their trading skills in CME Group’s 14th Annual Trading Challenge next month — and could walk away with $1,500 in prize money and a trip to Chicago.
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives exchange hosts its complimentary, electronic trading competition each year in order to help educate the next generation of global finance professionals. Last year, nearly 500 teams from 200 universities represented 30 countries in the competition. Nanyang Polytechnic from Singapore was the winner in 2016 and Ozyegin University from Turkey prevailed in 2015.
During the competition, teams of undergraduate and graduate students learn hands-on techniques for trading up to 10 different CME Group derivatives products from multiple asset classes on a real-time professional trading platform. Live data and news is also provided to the students free of charge.
Each member of the first-place team receives a cash prize of $1,500, as well as a trip to Chicago for the company’s day of market education. Cash prizes are also awarded down to the fifth-place team, with the top 10 percent of teams also invited to Chicago.
Registration for the competition is now open and will remain open until Tuesday, February 7, at 5 p.m. CST.
For more information, visit cmegroup.com/tradingchallenge.
Students can also try their hand at trading year-round by using the CME Group’s Futures Fundamentals site, an innovative resource that explains the role of futures markets in everyday life.

Chiropractic Offers Athletes Drug-Free Pain Relief

Student athletes admire and emulate the pros in their sports. Unfortunately, this mimicry may extend to the abuse of painkillers to avoid injury and enhance performance. One recent study found that approximately half (53 percent) of college-student athletes reported using medications to enhance performance, and another study of high-school-student athletes found that 12 percent of male and 8 percent of female high school seniors reported abusing medications.

Football, in particular, prompts student athletes to seek out ways to enhance performance. “Youth and high-school players see an example that appears to be of men so tough, they laugh at pain,” writes former ESPN.com columnist Gregg Easterbrook in his book, “The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America.” “The message sent is that young players should use their own bodies recklessly,” he notes.