Secure Future Times: Fourth Quarter 2018 Edition, October 21, 2018

Tax-Free Deferred Compensation Plan

My Father did very well for himself as a corporate executive for nearly 30 years. Because he worked with a financial adviser early on his career, he was in a position to retire at age 50. My mother and father both retired and began traveling all over the world in their early 50s and continue to do so in their early 70s. That's how life should hard for 30 years, get your children "grown and gone" and then enjoy the next 35 years or more doing what you want to do. 

The key components to my Dad's retirement plan include 401k savings, company pension, personal investments and deferred compensation. Most Americans don't have access to 2 of those key components-a pension and deferred compensation. Most employers no longer offer pensions because of the expense of paying someone for years after they retire and very few employees qualify for deferred compensation unless they are top executives. 

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At Carter Financial, we have a unique solution for the average retirement saver to create and fund a deferred compensation plan that will pay them tax-free income in retirement, for the rest of their lives, just like a pension. This plan is based on your budget and income goals in retirement. 

Because so many of us are saving in pre-tax retirement plans such as a 401k, it makes sense to also create a personal retirement plan that is post-tax. Meaning, you will not pay any taxes on the income you receive in retirement. That is the only regret that my Dad has about his retirement strategy... It did not include any sources of tax free income. His 401k, pension, deferred compensation, personal investments and social security all require income tax to be paid each time he receives the income. 

Call us today for help designing and building your retirement strategy. There is no fee for our consultation, plan design and implementation.

3 Thieves Threaten Your Retirement

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Why are so many Americans behind on their retirement savings? We see 3 common pitfalls that our clients face and come to us to avoid.  These 3 Thieves, as we call them, are Risk, Fees and Taxes. Each thief can wreak havoc on a retirement plan.

Here's why:

Risk:  Retirement assets invested in the stock market with no downside protection, are subject to losses that take years to recover.  Since 2009, there were two devastating crashes within the space of a decade: 2000 to 2002, when the S&P 500 fell 49% over 30 months and an even bigger disaster between 2007-09, when the S&P 500 plunged a staggering 56% in just 17 months.

Fees:  According to AARP, 8 out of 10 people have no idea as to the types of fees that they’re paying in their investment accounts. Here are common fees to be aware of: advisor fees, expense ratios, wrap fees, soft dollar cost, transaction costs, redemption fees, deferred sales charges. 

Taxes: A simple way to visualize the impact of taxes on your money is to divide your assets into four buckets. 1. Taxable, 2. Tax Deferred, 3. Tax-Free and 4. Income & Estate Tax-Free. To minimize taxes in the future, you must understand the appropriate distribution of your assets in each category.

We can protect your retirement plan against the 3 thieves. Call us today.

Secure Future Times Third Quarter 2018 Edition, September 22, 2018

How Can You Protect Against Downside Risk?

Are you like several Americans who have transitioned from one place of an employment to another during your career? What decision did you make about the 401k or other Qualified Plan you built up with retirement savings at your previous employer?  My hope is that the answer is not, "I forgot about it or I moved it to my current employer."

That old 401k can be a key component to your retirement income plan in the future.  But if left to its own devices, you could be in for unnecessary risk.

Investing directly in the stock market exposes investors to both volatility and market risk. This uncertainty can make it difficult to create a reliable retirement income plan. Fixed indexed annuities (FIAs), which track market indexes but aren’t invested directly in the market, allow some exposure to market gains while avoiding market downside.  See the chart below.

Visit for more information

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Call us today to schedule a complimentary consultation. We would like to "stress test" your retirement income plan and help you protect, grow and position all of your retirement assets for the future.

When Your Life is Changed in an Instant...

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month. A perfect time to remind you about the benefits of life insurance while you are still living? Consider this… 

The death benefit protection of life insurance is certainly important for our loved ones.  But what about their needs while we are still living? Life insurance with Living Benefits can provide a safe harbor to help you in the event of a qualifying illness or injury. Living Benefits can provide a benefit that can be used to pay for anything you choose. In this case, to pay for medical services not covered, experimental treatments and household bills.

Watch this powerful story about a family who's situation changed in an instant due to a critical illness: click here for the video

Schedule your financial check-up today to ensure that your life insurance includes Living Benefits.

Secure Future Times - Second Quarter 2018 Edition

Potato, Potatoes, Tomato, Tomatoes, Lizard, LiSERT...

Have you checked your LiSERT Score lately? This score isn't a measure of how fast your pet lizard is or how well it can hide in a natural habitat. It is a measure of how solid your Income Replacement Program is. 

LiSERT Scores measure the Liquidity, Safety, Expense, Return and Taxation of an Income Replacement Program. An Income Replacement Program is the strategy that you put in place to replace your income when you retire. An Income Replacement Program also "kicks in" in the event that you have a sudden loss of income due to a serious illness or worse. 

Said another way, an Income Replacement Program is your "financial game plan" for the future. The LiSERT Score determines how prepared you are to replace your income. 

My focus is on building solid Income Replacement Programs for my clients. In fact, it is what I do all day, every day and I am really good at it.  

Call us today to schedule a complimentary consultation. I promise that I don't have a pet lizard on my desk! 

Carter Financial Buckhead Office

We have moved! Carter Financial is now located at 3355 Lenox Rd NE, Suite 1000, Atlanta, GA 30326. Our new offices are in the center of Buckhead, across the street from Lenox Mall.

The new space accomodates large meetings and one on one client meetings.We are loving the change of scenery and our clients find the location very convenient.

Schedule your financial check-up today as an excuse to visit our new digs or to sneak over to Lenox Mall for shopping afterwards.

We look forward to seeing you!

Secure Future Times First Quarter 2018 Edition

The Small Business Owners Dilema when Serious Illness Strikes

Small business owners work much longer hours than most and they take less vacation time. So, a twisted ankle or some back pain is not a serious enough situation for you to be off work. 

However being diagnosed with cancer or suffering from an unexpected heart attack will definitely affect how much time you spend growing your business. This is where a Living Benefits Life Insurance policy can be one of the most valuable insurance policies you own. 

Unlike traditional life insurance, Living Benefits Life Insurance pays a benefit to you while you are living. You decide the amount of coverage you want, say, for example, $100,000. The benefit is paid out on a tax-free basis if you suffered from a serious and covered medical condition (such as a heart attack, cancer, stroke or various other illnesses/injuries) and survive (on average) 30 to 60  days after diagnosis. 

These tax-free funds can be used any way you wish. Perhaps you may need to hire a temporary Manager to help run the business in your absence or cover some of the monthly expenses such as equipment loans and leases. Perhaps it is time to consider how well your family and your business could cope financially if you suffered a serious illness or injury. 

Visit to learn more about Living Benefits


Fixed Indexed Annuities Beat Out Bonds

These days, pensions are all but extinct as the burden of retirement funding has shifted from the employer to the employees. Now that they are responsible for their own retirement, many workers are looking for ways to create the annual income stream that annual pensions created without worrying about running out of money in retirement.

Fixed Indexed Annuities give you the potential to exceed traditional fixed interest rates without exposing your principal or past gains to market risk. A recent article in by Diana Britton highlights current research on the performance of Fixed Indexed Annuities. 

Click Here for Article

Secure Future Times - 2017 Year End Edition

The Retirement Crisis Facing African Americans

There’s a saying: When white America catches a cold, black America catches pneumonia. So, if there is an impending retirement crisis in America, what does that mean for African Americans? 

This is the lead in for a Forbes article by Rodney Brooks. Often times we do not plan for retirement until it is much too late.

This article is an eye opener for anyone who is serious about not outliving their retirement savings in the future.  Click Here for Article

Life isn't Scripted

Sophia Dudley was young, healthy, and had just given birth to her and husband Carlton’s fourth child. Life was good – until Sophia was shopping at the local supermarket and suffered three consecutive heart attacks. In an instant, this two-income family dropped to a zero-income family, as Carlton had to take off work to care for Sophia and their children. Listen as the Dudleys describe how Living Benefits saved them from financial disaster.  Click Here for the Dudley's Story

Carter Financial to donate 10% of earnings to Terrell

I am mad as hell!

I am mad. In fact, I am mad as hell! Once again, I've seen a friend, turn to gofundme for financial support because of a serious illness.

After speaking with Terrell, my friend of over 20 years this morning, I screamed at the top of my lungs in despair and then I went into prayer for him. Many of you know that have I advocated for years about the power of Living Benefits Life Insurance. I have talked about how in most cases, for no more than $2 to $3 per day a person can cover themselves and prepare financially in event of a serious, critical or chronic illness.

With his permission, I am paraphrasing from Terrell's gofundme post: " was discovered that my kidneys were not functioning properly. I have been diagnosed with Stage 4 (CKD) Chronic Kidney Disease. My kidney function is rapidly declining and is currently operating at 40%. I am now in the biggest fight of my life and I need your support. Any donations received will directly support me and my kidney journey. Whether it be medical bills, medication, treatments, lost wages, or any other variables that will come into play in the next several months, anything and everything helps!" 

Not only is this man fighting for his quality of life, he must also worry about finances... Again, I am mad as hell! Some of you may read this and say that is sad or I will pray for Terrell.  I don't want your sympathy and neither does Terrell. What I want you to do is take a serious look at your own situation or somebody around you and ask yourself if the proper protection is in place for the unexpected.

If Terrell had put Living Benefits Life Insurance in place when we discussed it a few years ago, he would have the opportunity to activate up 90% of his death benefit to use now for immediate income during his fight. Instead he has turned to GoFundMe to try to cover his expenses as he cannot work.

Again, I am mad as hell! We post silly things on social media and get responses from our network. But when something serious gets posted that can positively change a person's future, we turn and look the other way and say, "He's not talking to me, I'm covered..." If you have life insurance from your auto and home coverage provider or from your employer, you are not covered, your spouse is not covered, your children aren't covered. You need Living Benefits Life Insurance. I don't know what else to say. If this concerns you, get your current life insurance policy reviewed today. I feel that it is my calling and obligation to protect you.

It doesn't matter what state you live in; my firm can help you. So, stop putting it off and recognize that you are not fully prepared for the future and do something about it. 

Note that 10% of my earnings associated with Terrell's story will be contributed directly to Terrell's gofundme campaign. Just be sure to indicate that Terrell's story caused you to review your financial protection when we speak about your situation.

-Greg Carter, Financial Professional