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Cla april 2008

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“CLA USA, Inc. is a financial services company with a safe and conservative approach to planning...an asset preservation philosophy. From IRA’s to surviving spouse needs...CLA USA focuses on the areas …

“CLA USA, Inc. is a financial services company with a safe and conservative approach to planning...an asset preservation philosophy. From IRA’s to surviving spouse needs...CLA USA focuses on the areas that concern you the most.”


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  • 1. PRE-SORTED STANDARD AU.S. POSTAGE PAID DALLAS, TX PERMIT NO. 3998
  • 2. Dear Valued Client:We have met with thousands and thousands of clients and their families over the last twenty-plus years and have come to realizethat no two families are the same. Many folks have a pretty good idea what they want to accomplish with their main planningdecisions. They may know that they want their home to be sold with the proceeds to go to the kids. They may want theirfinancial assets to be shared equally. Sometimes, though, the details of this future inheritance can paralyze the planning.As we meet with our clients, one subject that often causes some confusion is how the “stuff ” should be divided. Who should getthe family bible? Which daughter gets Mom’s engagement ring? What should we do with the desk that has been in the familyfor 100 years? These are the sort of things that can drive us crazy.Below is an article that might shed some light on how to address these important decisions. Our Estate Organizer provides asection where these items can be listed along with whom the recipient shall be. I encourage you to make use of this tool to helpplace your mind at ease that your wishes are known. John Long Vice-PresidentFamilies and Personal Property Inheritance: A Top Ten List for Decision-MakingMarlene S. Stum, Ph.D. Family Social ScienceRecognize that decisions about personal belongings are often more challenging than decisions about titled property. Assuming suchdecisions are unimportant or trivial can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts.Recognize that inheritance decisions can have powerful consequences, emotional as well as economic. Decisions about personalproperty involve dealing with emotional and potential financial value connected to objects accumulated over a lifetime and acrossgenerations of family members.When decisions are made prior to death, the decisions can reflect the owners wishes, and special memories and stories may be shared.Planning ahead versus waiting until a crisis or death offers more choices and a chance for thoughtful communication.Issues of power and control do not disappear in inheritance decisions. Unresolved conflicts among parents, adult children, siblings, andothers are often at the heart of what goes wrong with inheritance decisions. Listen for feelings and emotions, watch for blamin g, anddetermine if you can agree to disagree if conflicts arise.Remember that different perceptions of whats "fair" are normal and should be expected. Those involved need to uncover the unwrittenrules and assumptions about fairness that exist among family members.Being fair does not always mean being equal. In fact, dividing personal property equally is sometimes impossible.Individuals who have input and agree on how decisions are made are more likely to feel the outcomes of those decisions are fair.Discussing what those involved want to accomplish helps reduce mistaken assumptions, misunderstood intentions, and makes choosingdistribution options easier.Identifying items that have special meaning can help avoid inaccurate assumptions about who should get what. Not everyone will findthe same items meaningful. Putting wishes in writing, typically in a separate listing mentioned in a will, reduces the dilemmas anddecisions for estate executors and surviving family members. Did you Know?? You can stop most pre-approved credit offers by calling the Consumer Data Industry Association at 1-888-567-8688
  • 3. Participate in Market-like Gains, and Sit out the Bad Years?If you like the idea of participating in Market-like gains, but don’t care for the downside RISK of the market, a FixedIndexed Annuity (FIA) may be the answer.Let’s see how someone who purchased an FIA for $100,000 would have fared since the beginning of year2000. We’ll use one of the more popular selling annuities...a product that provides an immediate 5%premium bonus increasing the initial account value to $105,000 on the day that the FIA issues. All calculations assume an “annual point to point” strategy with a 7.0% cap. 2000 to 2003: The market dropped 35.6% but the account value grew to $105,000. 2004: The market had increased and the account value grew to $112,350. 2005: The market had increased and the account value grew to $118,753. 2006: The market had increased and the account value grew to $127,066. 2007: The market had increased and the account value grew to $135,961.Had the same person invested $100,000 in the actual S&P 500 Index without dividends between January3, 2000 and January 3, 2007, they would have a value of only $97,800!To learn more about Fixed Index Annuities, and whether or not they are a suitable solution for you, contactthe CLA Client Services Department at (888) 404-6848.Are Your Retirement Plans Ready to Handle Life’s Setbacks?In life, there are many setbacks and threats that could hinder your plans for retirement. Obstacles like job loss, serious medicalconditions are astonishingly common in later life and the results can be devastating for anyone, but especially so for thosenearing retirement. These setbacks can disrupt retirement savings plans by reducing income, increasing expenses and causingmany to raid their nest eggs in an effort to offset the effects of these life events.Here are a few tips to help prepare for life’s unpredictable events:Dont delay saving for retirement. The more money you have piled upby your 50s, the better youll be able to survive whatever surprises lifethrows your way. People who put off retirement to save for other goals,or simply spend more, are missing out on critical time that can help themgrow their wealth. They are also leaving themselves vulnerable to thesetbacks described above that could prevent them from accumulatingneeded wealth. Take advantage of any workplace retirement plans or,if you dont have access to any, start setting aside money on your own.Get covered. Health and disability insurance can help insulate youfrom the financial fallout of illness or accident. If you cant get this coveragethrough an employer, consider buying individual policies.Continuously update your job skills and contacts. Keep yourself marketable by taking on new responsibilities or learning newskills through courses or seminars. Network to improve your contacts at other companies.Mind your health. We cant make ourselves immune from disease, but we can better our odds for a long, healthy life by eatingright, exercising, getting regular checkups and finding appropriate ways to deal with stress. Early detection is the next best thingto prevention, so schedule important health screens like mammograms, colonoscopies, electrocardiograms (EKGs) and exercisestress tests.Mind your marriage. An investment in counseling or a couples retreat may help prevent a costly breakup.
  • 4. Fun Factory Tours: See How It’s MadeJoan Rattner HeilmanScores of factory tours all over the US draw throngs of visitors curious to witness the processes involved in producing such items as potatochips, bottles of beer, trucks, etcMost tours are free, take about an hour and are particularly popular destinations for those traveling by car. Some tour providers requirereservations or ask that you call ahead to be sure the tour is definitely scheduled on that day, many don’t admit small children, most arehandicapped accessible and others insist that you wear closed shoes. Directions to the factories are usually found on the companies’ Websites. Some of my favorite factory tours...JELLY BELLY: In this factory located an hour outside San Francisco, you can go on a free 40-minute guided walking tour along theassembly line to see whatever candies -- jelly beans, gummi critters, taffy, chocolates, etc. -- are being made that day. At the end of the tour,you can taste all of them at a sampling bar and stay for lunch, coffee or ice cream in the plant’s visitor’s center.Tours run daily from 9 am to 4 pm except holidays. On Saturdays and Sundays, production lines aren’t operating and may be viewed onvideo instead. Call ahead to check on the day’s tours.Information: Jelly Belly Candy Company, Fairfield, California, 800-953-5592, www.jellybelly.com.KITCHENAID: If you stop in at the last countertop-appliance factory in operation in the US, in Greenville, Ohio, you can see howhundreds of KitchenAid stand mixers and several of their attachments are produced every day. A guided walk takes you through every step-- from assembly of the parts to painting, polishing and packing.Visitors must be at least 12 years old and wear completely closed shoes. Tours are scheduled at 10 am and 1 pm on weekdays except onmajor holidays. No reservations are required, except for groups of eight or more, but call ahead to confirm that tours will run as planned.Cost: $5 per person.Information: KitchenAid Experience, Greenville, Ohio, 888-886-8318, www.kitchenaid.com/experience.MACK TRUCKS: These heavy-duty trucks are built before your eyes on a 1.5 mile walk through the huge Macungie, Pennsylvania,factory. Guides are company retirees who once manned the assembly line.Tours are free, available Tuesdays and Fridays between 8 am and 1 pm, and take an hour and a half. Reservations are required.Take another couple of hours to visit the nearby Mack Trucks Historical Museum in Allentown, where you’ll see a collection of models fromthe early 1900s to 1979, more than 80,000 photos and many pieces of memorabilia. Children under seven are not admitted on the tour.Closed shoes are required.Information: Mack Truck, Macungie, Pennsylvania, 610-709-3566, www.macktrucks.com.C.F. MARTIN GUITARS: Guitar aficionados will enjoy seeing these famous-name instruments go through all the stages of creation --from choosing the rough wood to bending the wood to polishing and inspecting the finished product.About 200 guitars are produced daily in this Nazareth, Pennsylvania, factory, with free one-hour tours offered between 11 am and 2:30 pm,Monday through Friday. Closed shoes are recommended.Save time for the Martin Guitar Museum for an exhibit of historic guitars and the chance to try out a sample guitar.Information: C.F. Martin & Co., Nazareth, Pennsylvania, 610-759-2837, www.martinguitar.com.MILLER BREWING COMPANY: Here’s where you will get an up-close look at Miller Beer in the making. First stop on your guidedtour is the packaging center, where thousands of cans and bottles of beer are packed into boxes, then moved on conveyor belts to adistribution floor that sends out up to 8.5 million barrels of beer a year. Continuing to the brew house, you’ll see huge kettles where “wort”(liquid made from malted barley, corn grits and water) is boiled and combined with hops, then left to brew.Next, down to the 150-year-old cold-storage caves that once served to keep the beer cold. Finish the tour with a stop at the Miller Inn, whereeveryone over the age of 21 is invited to try samples of cold beer while younger visitors are offered soda. Free tours are scheduled Mondaythrough Saturday from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm in summer, and 10:30 am to 3:30 pm from Labor Day to Memorial Day. Note: Productionlines don’t run on Saturdays and the company is closed most holidays.Information: Miller Brewing Company, Milwaukee, 414-931-2337, www.millerbrewing.com.HERR’S SNACKS: You follow the raw ingredients in this big automated factory to see potatoes become potato chips, corn turn intopopcorn or corn chips, and pretzels take shape. For potato chips, potatoes travel along conveyor belts through machines that wash, slice,cook, season and bag them. Then you get to taste them while they are still warm.
  • 5. In the pretzel room, the dough is made in huge mixers and pressed through a die cast into the pretzel shape, then baked twice (a traditionalcrisping and browning method) in huge ovens. Meanwhile, the corn is popping in the popcorn room and you can see massive amounts ofcorn chips being bagged.Visitors view the processes through a glass wall while a guide explains what’s happening. The free one-hour tours run Monday throughThursday, 9 am to 11 am and 1 pm to 3 pm, and 9 am to 11 am on Friday. The plant is closed on holidays. Reservations are requested andcalling ahead is recommended -- especially if you are interested in seeing a specific product being made.Information: Herr’s Snack Factory Tour, Nottingham, Pennsylvania, 800-637-6225, www.herrs.com.The Lost Decade Has Been Found!Growing your savings in a volatile marketplaceOn March 26, 2008, the Wall Street Journal published an article by E.S. Browning entitled, “Stocks Tarnished by Lost Decade.”Here are some of the key comments from Mr. Browning’s insightful article.“The stock market is trading right where it was nine years ago.”“In light of the current wobbly market, some economists and market analysts worry that the era of disappointing returnsmay not be over.”“...the credit crisis began weighing on stocks, as did the possibility of a recession.”“By March 10th, the S&P 500 was down 18.6% from its Oct. 9 record close….”“Emboldened by high home values, people borrowed at levels rarely seen, pushing down the national savings rate to zero.”THERE IS AN ANSWER TO THE “LOST DECADE” MENTALITY!It’s a Fixed Index Annuity. We’ve prepared a special report that reveals just how powerful an Indexed Annuity can be in such avolatile environment. The market spent over 61% of the last 9 years below its April 1, 1999 value. Yet an Indexed Annuitygenerated positive interest credits over 55% of the time. See how this was possible. Request a copy of this report by calling us at(888) 404-6848 or ask any of our agents for a copy. NOT ENOUGH SLEEP ALL TOO COMMON According to the Feb. 29 edition of the CDCs Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, new Center for Disease Control (CDC) data shows that U.S. adults are sleeping less than they did two decades ago, leaving many people feeling tired most of the day. In one recent CDC report, adults were asked how often, during the previous 30 days, they felt they had gotten enough rest or sleep. Of those surveyed, 10% said they didnt get enough sleep or rest in any of the previous 30 days and only 30% said they got enough sleep or rest everyday during the previous 30 days.A second set of CDC sleep statistics showed more Americans are skimping on sleep than in the past. In a then-and-now comparison,the CDC charted the percentage of U.S. adults in 1985 and 2006 who report getting no more than six hours of sleep during a typical24-hour period. The results: Getting six hours of sleep or less was more common in 2006 than in 1985. That pattern held for all agegroups and was strongest for people aged 30-64.According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need seven to nine hours of nightly sleep to feel fully rested and an estimated50-70 million people in the U.S. have chronic sleep and wakefulness disorders.If youre one of the many people who are short on sleep, here are some tips from the CDC: • Stick to a regular sleep schedule. • Sleep in a dark, well-ventilated space at a comfortable temperature. • Avoid stimulating activities within two hours of bedtime. • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol in the evening. • Avoid going to bed on a full or empty stomach.If you are concerned about chronic sleep problems, please see your doctor to ensure proper diagnosis.
  • 6. Time for What? Your Annual CLA ReviewBryant Presley, Regional ManagerAt least once a year, the phone rings and it is a CLA agent calling to remind you, “It is time for your AnnualReview”. Your mind begins racing….”Is something wrong? Why do they need to meet with me? Nothing haschanged.. I don’t have any questions. I thought everything was OK.”Here are some points to remind you of the importance and purpose of the pre-paid Annual Review:Remember Ben Franklin’s “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? The New Dictionary ofCultural Literacy, Third Edition. 2002 says, “A little precaution before a crisis occurs is preferable to a lot of fixing up afterward”.The “Annual Review “is a little precaution before a crisis could occur.In 1736, when Ben Franklin organized Philadelphias Union Fire Company, the first in the city, he was concerned as a good citizen andcity father for his neighbors who suffered fire damage to their homes. They often suffered irreversible economic loss. “An ounce ofprevention is worth a pound of cure” was actually fire-fighting advice. Our goal at CLA is to prevent you and your family fromsuffering irreversible economic loss.We all agree annual physicals are in the best interest of our health. If there is a health issue, we want the Doctor to find it sooner ratherthan later. Just like the annual physical, with the Annual Review we are trying avoid the ”fixing up afterward part”.At the turn of the century, the country doctor still made house calls to meet patients. A century later, we are still doing business theOld Fashioned way……..we still make house calls.Remember this when the next CLA Agent calls to schedule your Annual Review:We are not the Philadelphia Union Fire Company, but we are trained and equipped to help prevent “Financial Fires”.2008 Retirees Need $225,000 for Health CareA couple retiring this year will need about $225,000 in savings to cover medical costs in retirement, according to a study released recentlyby Fidelity Investments.The figure, calculated for a couple age 65, is up 4.7 percent from the $215,000 estimate for 2007, the Boston-based financial servicescompany said.And it is similar to other projections for health care costs in retirement — daunting figures given that longer life spans alsoare requiringworkers to increase retirement nest eggs.Separate study released last month by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College estimated that an individual needs to go intoretirement with some $102,000 earmarked just for health care coverage, while a couple needs about $206,000.Given current levels of retirement savings, the center said, six in 10 older workers are “at risk” of being unable to maintain their standardof living in retirement.The Fidelity study, which has been conducted annually since 2002, assumes workers do not have employer-sponsored retiree health carecoverage. It includes expenses associated with Medicare premium payments as well as co-payments and deductibles, plus out-of-pocketprescription drug costs.“With health care costs continuing to outpace wage increases and companies trimming retiree health benefits, financing health care hasto be central to retirement planning,” Brad Kimler, executive vice president of Fidelity’s benefits consulting group, said in a statementaccompanying the report.Fidelity’s first study in 2002 found that a couple needed $160,000 in savings to fund medical costs in retirement, and that total has risenan average of 5.8 percent a year.The study blamed the rising health care costs this year on higher unit costs, for example the cost of a doctor’s visit; higher utilization ratesfor health care services; rising costs associated with new technologies; and increased incidence of some chronic conditions, like diabetes.
  • 7. A Warning to Heirs: Identity Thieves Target the DeceasedCriminals scour obituaries and other sources for personal information that can be used tocommit fraudIdentity thieves will stop at nothing – not even the death of the intended victim – when it comesto stealing someones personal information to commit fraud.Crafty criminals look for personal details about the deceased in obituaries (in the newspaper oronline), genealogy Web sites, death certificates and other sources. Armed with personal information– such as a full name, address and date of birth – an ID thief may be able to obtain a new SocialSecurity card, a drivers license, or loans and credit cards, even though the victim is no longeralive.FDIC Consumer News suggests that families consider the following actions after a loved one dies:Limit the amount of personal information in obituaries. "Its a good idea to leave out the exact birth date of the deceased. If anything,provide only the birth year," said David Nelson, a fraud specialist in the FDICs Financial Crimes Section.Consider omitting a wifes maiden name because many financial institutions use a mothers maiden name as a security password. "Ifan obituary publicizes a womans maiden name and lists her children, an identity thief may be able to use that and other inform ationto order credit cards or otherwise go on a spending spree in the childrens names," Nelson added.Obtain several copies of the death certificate and then proceed to close bank, brokerage, credit card and other accounts as needed.Ask your attorney or accountant for advice about closing and reopening accounts in survivors names.Also, quickly report the death to the fraud departments of all three major credit bureaus, which financial institutions rely on whenhandling credit applications, and the Social Security Administration."Its important to help prevent identity thieves from assuming the deceased persons identity before the estate is settled," explainedNelson. "Otherwise, there may be credit extended to the fraudsters that will need to be resolved before distributions can be made toheirs."CLA does not give legal, investment or tax advice. Only an attorney can provide legal advice. You should consult with your ownattorney to discuss your specific estate planning needs. You should always consult with your tax professional on issues related to taxes. Stop Resident or Occupant Mail To stop receiving packets of coupons, ads and product samples addressed to "Resident" or "Occupant," contact the following companies and request removal from their mailing lists. • ADVO, Inc., List Service, 239 West Service Road, Hartford, CT 06120; or call 860-520-3361. • Carol Wright Gifts, Customer Service, 100 Nixon Lane, P.O. Box 7823, Edison, NY 08818; or call 732-287-8811. • Harte Hanks Data Services, List Maintenance, 6701 Baymeadow Dr., Suite D, Glen Burnie, MD 21060-6401. • Cox Target Media (Val-Pak), P.O. Box 13428, St. Petersburg, FL, 33733; or call 888-797-1896. (NOTE: Val-Pak will ask you to send the front of the Val-Pak mailing envelope along with your request.) Tell Us How We Are Doing At CLA, we are constantly striving to provide the best services and products to you. In order to maintain our high standards and make improvements, we would appreciate your suggestions and comments. Two ways to provide this valuable feedback: • Online by internet: www.clausa.com/testimonial • Telephone (800) 609-9006 ext 2355 Please be sure to leave your name and phone number so we can follow-up with you as necessary.