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The Advisory Firm Newsletter:  July 2012

THIS MONTH IN PERSONAL FINANCE: News on Long Term Care Insurance, Keeping up with your Credit and a quick upate on the Healthcare law.

 

As we are right in the middle of the Summer "doldrums" (a common phrase referring to the stock market, probably from the same person that came up with "sell in may and go away"). So this month I will keep it brief just highlighting a couple of newsworthy items:

LONG TERM CARE - Important NOTICE!

If you have contemplated purchasing Long Term Care insurance or know of someone that has, you might want to act quickly. Genworth, who happens to be the 800lb Gorilla of the LTC insurance market has announced that they will be raising prices on all new policies issued after July 29th.

If you have followed the Long Term Care Insurance market through the years you will know that many carriers have dropped out or raised their prices dramatically. This is a result of lower bond yields on their investments and longevity of policy holders (people living longer).

Genworth's announced price increase is close to 30%, so a policy that would have run you $3000 per year will now cost close to $4000.

*Please note that this does not effect current policy holders!

Bottom line is that if you are in the market for a policy then go ahead and get your application in before the rate increase to lock in current pricing.

If you need a referral to Insurance agents that represents LTCi carriers, feel free to email or phone me. I am happy to pass along some names.

 

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Keeping up with your CREDIT SCORE:

It seems personal credit is back in the news again. Over the weekend I was reading a story in the Atlanta Journal about Credit Reporting issues that consumers were facing. Most of these stem from someone applying for credit only to find out that their credit rating had taken a hit due to someone elses information put into their file. The reason this happens is that computers are in charge of placing information on your report. Those computers scan for names, social security numbers and addresses and sometimes abbreviated names or socials that are close (within a couple of digits), can be applied to your report even though it isn't you.

To get these items removed is a chore and isn't something that can be done quickly, so you don't want to be finding out about it when trying to buy a car or refinancing your home.

As a pre-emptive measure here are some things you can do:

- You are entitled to a free credit report once per year. (or more often if denied credit). Go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com to request yours

- Note: a credit report is different from a credit score! Your credit score is generally what is pulled before issuing you credit, it is basically a numerical grade and can affect what you pay on a variety of things from insurance to loan interest rates, and is calculated from your Credit Report.

To find out your Credit Score you need to go to www.MyFico.com. This is a site operated by the Fair Issac Company, the folks that invented credit scores. You will have to pay for this one, usually about $20. While this is important to know- if you are more diligent about checking your annual credit report for free, this number should be fine and it is probably not necessary to check it that often. NOTE: the website will try and offer you a "free" score if you sign up for credit monitoring, but nothing is free and you will end up paying on a monthly basis so that may be something to watch out for.

A quick update on the Healthcare Law:

The Supreme Court just upheld the Affordable Care Act so I thought it was time to dust off this Summary PDF from the Kaiser Family Foundation that explains the law it more detail.

SUMMARY OF HEALTHCARE ACT

There are several tax related items that will be imposed to help pay for this new law, especially for incomes above $200K AGI, you can read about them on page 3 of the PDF.

As always, if you have any questions regarding this or any other personal finance topic feel free to email me by clicking on the link below:

James Daniel, CFP

Have a great Summer!

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The Advisory Firm, LLC provides fee-only financial planning services for clients throughout metro Atlanta and North Georgia including the communities
of Alpharetta, Canton, Cumming, Dawsonville, Duluth, Dunwoody, Marietta, Midtown, Roswell, and Woodstock.

This newsletter if for informational purposes only. The information contained within should not be considered as financial advice nor soliciation
for financial services. Consult with your financial professional if you have any questions. The Advisory Firm, LLC is a fee-only financial planning company and registered investment advisor.