Perspectives for October, 2016

Michael Fassi CLU, ChFC presents:

SMART TIP:
Unplugging appliances when not in use can help reduce your monthly household energy costs.

 

WHO SAID IT?
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.”
[GET THE ANSWER]

 

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE:
Which of these retirement accounts does not require mandatory withdrawals after the account holder turns 70½?

 

A: Traditional IRA
B: Roth IRA
C: SEP IRA

D: SIMPLE IRA

 

[GET THE ANSWER]

October, 2016

Five Surprisingly Affordable Travel Destinations
You don’t have to be a millionaire to travel like one.
[CLICK TO READ]

 

Are Credit Card Rewards Points Really Worth it?
Finding a good program and keeping track of it all can be a hassle. Is it really worth all that extra effort?
[CLICK TO READ]

 

Will Self-Driving Cars Soon Become The Norm?
If so, how much should we trust the new technology?
[CLICK TO READ]

 

Recipe of the Month
Blood Orange Roasted Salmon
[CLICK TO READ]

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Five Surprisingly Affordable Travel Destinations

Thinking of traveling as summer ebbs into fall? Some good deals can be had stateside and abroad.

Flights to Costa Rica from Florida can be found for less than $150, and hotel rooms in the capital city of San Jose can run under $100 in this shoulder season. If you don’t mind a little rain, Mexico’s Puerto Vallarta beckons with lodging at top resorts for less than $150 per night, and round-trip airfares from 20 American cities averaging $387 in September.

Thinking about Eastern Europe? September flights from New York or Washington, D.C. to Sofia, Bulgaria can be had for less than $500, and this capital city, rich in monasteries, cathedrals, and UNESCO world heritage sites, offers deep accommodations discounts in late summer.

In Los Angeles, the June gloom is long gone with average daily highs in the low 80s and airfares into LAX well below $200. And, there’s always Las Vegas – as it cools off a bit in early fall, hotel prices remain reasonable and airfares often average less than $200, USA TODAY notes.1

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Are Credit Card Rewards Points Really Worth It?

For many cardholders, perhaps not. To really make rewards work, a cardholder has to consistently pay off a monthly balance and recognize when rewards are available. For many credit card users, that is easier said than done.

According to a new survey from FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), 47% of credit card users pay down less than 100% of their monthly balances – so the interest accumulated by the outstanding balances may negate the financial benefits of the rewards. (As Bankrate notes, the average APR on a credit card was 16.05% this summer.)

Another survey, from the American Institute of CPAs, finds that just 15% of cardholders had ever paid any travel costs using rewards points. Consumers also frequently complain about the inconvenience of redeeming rewards, especially since most card issuers are putting the onus on the cardholder to keep track of them. Redemption of cash-back rewards tends to be less involved than redemption of travel rewards.

A Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study notes that roughly two-thirds of rewards program participants get cash rewards, with about half of them identifying those cash rewards as the ones they consider most valuable.

The bottom line may be as simple as this: to get the most from rewards programs, look for a card offering cash rewards and an uncomplicated redemption procedure.2

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Will self-driving cars soon become the norm?

Imagine a busy highway with cars roaring along at 65mph, all of the drivers with their hands off the steering wheel. Will this be a milestone of automotive progress, or a recipe for chaos? Truthfully, it will depend on the drivers.

If a self-driving car becomes an effective personal assistant to a driver, and not a replacement for that driver’s critical thinking, then self-driving vehicles could become commonplace. Many new cars already offer some automated driving features, so the future is on its way whether auto buyers are ready or not.

Change is accelerating: in August, Ford Motor Co. CEO Mark Fields claimed that the automaker would roll out driverless cars without steering wheels, accelerator pedals, or brake pedals by 2021. This might seem scary, but it may promote safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says human error causes 90% of American traffic fatalities. Drivers must not be tempted to cede control because of the new conveniences. Some drivers do whatever their car’s GPS unit tells them to do and end up absolutely lost; in the same manner, relying uncritically on a car’s autopilot system may invite serious error.3

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Recipe of the Month

Blood Orange Roasted Salmon

6 Boneless Salmon Filets (approx. 6 oz. each)

3 Blood Oranges

1 Medium Onion

2/3 cup Orange Juice

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1 Tbsp Parsley (dried)

1 Tbsp Lemon Pepper

1 Tbsp Honey

1 tsp Garlic Powder

1 tsp Dill

Preheat oven to 410 degrees. ombine lemon pepper, garlic powder, parsley, and dill in a bowl and mix. Set aside. Combine lemon and orange juices, and honey, in a bowl. Whisk and set aside (refrigerate).

Slice your blood oranges and layer in the bottom of a large glass baking dish (approx. 9″ x 13″). Slice onions and layer over oranges. Sprinkle about 1/2 of your herb mixture over the top of the onions and oranges, and drizzle on a bit of olive oil. Place baking dish in the oven and roast until the onions are tender and lightly browned (approx. 20-25 minutes). Remove dish from oven and increase temperature to 435.

Carefully (don’t burn yourself!) place salmon filets in the center of the baking dish, spreading onions and oranges off to the edges. Sprinkle on the remainder of the herb mixture, then pour juice mixture evenly over all of it.

Bake for about 15 minutes in your preheated oven (until salmon is pinked and opaque all the way through). After baking, remove from oven and dispose of the roasted oranges, and, when serving filets, you may choose to garnish with fresh blood orange slices (and/or oasted onions). Enjoy!

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Mike Fassi, CLU, CHFC is a Representative with Centaurus Financial Inc. and may be reached at Fassi Financial, 970-416-0088 or mike@fassifinancialnetwork.com

WHO SAID IT?
Marcel Proust

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE ANSWER:
B. Roth IRAs are the only IRAs for which Required Minimum Distributions are not required during the original owner’s lifetime. Baby boomers with non-Roth IRAs should be aware that mandatory withdrawals will be required from these accounts once they enter their seventies, with the withdrawals constituting taxable income. If you have a traditional IRA, you may want to consider converting it to a Roth IRA, for eventual freedom from RMDs and the ability to make withdrawals from the IRA when and how you prefer. SOURCE: irs.gov/retirement-plans/retirement-plans-faqs-regarding-iras-distributions-withdrawals [1/6/16]

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This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty.

 

Citations.

1 – usatoday.com/picture-gallery/travel/destinations/2016/08/31/best-end-of-summer-destinations-for-budget-conscious-travelers/89669746/ [8/31/16]

2 – bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/case-against-credit-card-rewards.aspx [8/10/16]

3 – tinyurl.com/zxyd56w [9/5/16]

Mike teaches retirement planning classes at Colorado State University, University of Northern Colorado, and University of Nevada at Reno. Mike is involved with Honor Flight, Northern Colorado and the Civil Air Patrol and helps raise money for many non-profit organizations.

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