Friday, August 30, 2013

Long-Term Care Insurance

Pathways Advisory Group, Inc.
Jeff Karst, CFP®

The landscape for Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance has changed a lot the past few years.  Policies with a lifetime benefit are no longer available.  And insurance companies appear to be phasing-out the ones that still exist.

Most companies are working to raise their LTC rates.  Increases must be approved by State Insurance Commissioners.  But medical costs and long-term care costs have risen dramatically.  Most insurance companies under-estimated the current and potential future liabilities.  Genworth is one company that recently announced to its employees and affiliates that LTC rates would rise (up to 35%) on existing contracts.

An example of what you might see:  Policy premiums increase by 35%, but if you are willing to reduce your lifetime benefit to a limited duration (i.e. 5 years) your premiums will stay the same.

Many people will take the reduced benefit period in order to stave off paying subtantially higher premiums. This will indirectly phase-out the lifetime benefit on most contracts.  I’m not advocating for or against taking the reduced premium.  Just warning that, if you have a LTC policy, this might be coming your way.

We are not insurance agents.  We encourage you to speak to your agent about any changes or questions specific to your policy.  If you would like to discuss LTC options in general and how it affects your financial plan, please let us know.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

It's a girl!

Pathways Advisory Group. Inc.
Michelle Carter, CFP®

We are proud to announce the birth of Brooklyn Jean Carter, born to Michelle and Ryan Carter. She was born on August 22, 2013 at 1:06 AM; she weighed in at 8 lbs 11 oz and was 20.5 inches long. She and her proud parents and big sister are doing well. Congratulations to them on the birth of their second baby girl!

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Thursday, August 8, 2013


Pathways Advisory Group, Inc.
Dustin J. Smith, CFP®

I just returned from a wedding in Crescent City, California.  Actually, more accurately, from the wedding of the century in Crescent City California!!! 500+ people on a horse ranch that dressed up to something out of Sunset Magazine. But, what I enjoyed the most was the experience, from a different perspective...  

Although I spent most of my time chasing after a three year old (Bryce) and a four year old (Emilie), I enjoyed many brief conversations.  I watched old friends and their families.  They worked, they visited and they played.  But it was different this time.  Most of my memories of this community are teenage memories – i.e. clueless!!  It looks different now…

What struck me was how well this community fits together.  How these families grow up together.  No need to lock your car door in this town.  I enjoyed meeting these families all over again.  And re-learning what they do for a living.  And, in a number of cases, observing their talents.  Much talent was on display.  

People are good at different things and we put our talents to work in many different ways.  It’s what makes the world work.  It’s what makes our economic system so powerful.  This wedding, in this small town on the California/Oregon border, was an awesome example of this phenomenon - the sum is indeed greater than the parts.

The wedding was a jigsaw puzzle of many talents.  Giant tents were constructed.  A dance floor was created in a round pen (used for training horses).  Food stations were organized around the barn.  600 cupcakes were prepared and consumed.  Beer wagons were visited.  Yes, that was a talent for some.  A “rookie” officiated the ceremony.  Good job Dad!  Beautiful pictures were taken.  Good job Michelle!  A horse and his trainer escorted the bride and groom to the ceremony in a carriage.  Good job bro!  And, a surprise “flash-mob” broke out during the reception.  You should have seen me practicing the night before – not exactly one of my talents!  But, by far the greatest talent on display, the amazing carriage attached to that amazing horse.  It was the work of a man I hardly knew as a teenager, the bride’s grandpa Roger.  His work is on display all over the ranch.  He is gifted and wonderfully modest.

Pictures are better than words – everything below is constructed out of horseshoes.

Just married…

Mom and foal…

Our little cowboy…

It was a great time.  And I was grateful to be a part of it.   Congratulations Matt and Deja!

Dustin J. Smith, CFP®
A formerly “clueless” teenager from Crescent City, California…

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