Archive for the ‘Retirement’ Category

Why It’s Important to Talk About Money Matters Now

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018
Money matters

Money matters matter, a lot. Talk about them with your kids now and prevent the sadness of family discord after you’re gone.

You’re dead and buried. Your adult children are gathered around a table in your lawyer’s office. Fights among your children ensue … Your heart breaks thinking about the possibility of your family being torn apart. And there’s nothing you can do about it. Or is there? What can you do now to prevent bitter arguments over who gets what when “that” time comes? There is something you can do about it, and the solution is simple. Talk about money matters now.

When It’s Most Necessary to Talk about Money Matters

Do you struggle with talking about money matters with your children? Most parents and even grandparents do. But if you want to keep your children from making a scene at your estate attorney’s office, you really must overcome your feelings of discomfort now, while you are “of sound mind and body.” Here are three occasions when it’s important to start the money matters conversations:

  1. At retirement
  2. During health care planning
  3. And during estate planning

How to Prevent Family Feuds Over Money Matters

Michigan estate attorney P. Mark Accettura and Lori Sackler, a senior vice president at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in New Jersey offer this advice:

  • Draw up an estate plan, and tell your children the basics.

Call a family meeting to discuss any plans that might impact adult children, such as money allotted for grandchildren’s education. It’s time to set children straight. “Sometimes they have a grandiose vision of an inheritance,” Sackler says. But there’s no need to go into detail. “Estate planning is not a democratic process. You don’t need children buying into it, and you don’t want to open a can of worms while you’re alive,” Accettura says.

  • Divide the estate equally.

Resist the temptation to give more to the neediest among your children; it often leaves the more successful kids feeling penalized and causes resentment among siblings, Sackler says. “The will that provides equal distribution is the will that probably provides the least conflict,” she adds. Accettura also is adamant that an estate should be divided equally. “Even getting a dollar less than another sibling can be a psychological blow,” he says.

  • Name an executor.

Try to have some reason for choosing one child over another. Perhaps it’s the oldest child (unless he or she lives too far away) or another child with specific legal or financial skills. Also, think about including a fee for the executor. “Handling an estate can be a lot of work, and if the executor is going to charge a fee, he probably deserves it,” Sackler says. Accettura suggests that parents include everyone in some capacity in the will. “Get people’s names on the pages either as executor or helping in another way.”

  • Specify gifts and loans.

If parents have given adult children money, they should make it clear in the will whether it’s a gift or a loan. If a loan, is it to be forgiven or repaid to the estate? When parents aren’t clear, it can cause conflict, Sackler says.

  • Make a plan for family jewels.

Even if it’s not expensive, Grandma’s engagement ring can cause fights because of the sentimental value attached. “Have a family conversation, and come up with a plan for people choosing and getting on board with the selection process,” Sackler says.

Mark Accettura wrote a book, Blood & Money on how to avoid family feuds. Lori Sackler is the author of The M Word. It is a guide to family financial matters that helps families overcome the difficulty felt when discussing money matters.

Take Care of Your Family Before You Die

Protect your family relationships after you’re gone. Get prepared now. You can prevent feuds over your inheritance by talking through your wishes with your children before you die. But getting prepared now goes beyond overcoming the difficulty of talking to your children and making sure your wishes are known to them. It also means taking care of them after you’re gone by getting your legal documents in order now.

Secure and protect your family assets and your family’s relationships long after you’re gone. Put the uncomfortable feelings you have in regards to talking about money matters with your children and get your legal documents in order today. Doing so will go a long way in keeping the peace tomorrow.

Charles D’Alessandro cares about all of us who live in the Brooklyn area. Do you have questions about getting your affairs in order or how to address money matters with your family before you die? Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] today.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]

Baby Boomers And Retirement: Are You Financially Prepared?

Friday, July 15th, 2016
Financially prepared

Baby Boomers, are you financially prepared for retirement?

America, we’re getting older. Those of us born in the USA after World War II and before 1964 (ages 51-69 respectively) are known as Baby Boomers, and we’re nearing retirement. Are you financially prepared to get to retirement or through retirement? Is there a chance you will not get through retirement because you are not financially prepared to do so? It’s time we evaluate our fiscal health.

None of us knows what’s ahead in the next 1, 5 or 10 years, but there are ways to prepare financially to get us through retirement One of the best ways to ensure your money lasts through retirement is to plan on living longer than you think. Here are four ways for Baby Boomers nearing retirement to get financially prepared:

Reduce Your Expenses and Get Rid of Debt

Take charge of your spending. It’s important to create a budget that you can stick to now in case your income is reduced in the future. If you’re looking for ways to save money, look here: Federal Citizen Information Center.

Stop Self-Investing and Go Pro Instead

The pros can manage a lot of money cheaply. How?

  • Their costs to do what they do for their clients are at an institutional rate
  • They get lower commissions on buying/selling securities
  • They can manage money for a lot less

Your 401(k) and IRA returns can amount to little because money managers charge you “retail” and overcharge for their commissions for sales, management and securities. Costs matter. Find the lowest-cost provider in every retirement fund you have, particularly in your 401(k) if you have one.

Add to Your Income-Producing Investments

Take a look at your investment portfolio. Is it heavy on the stock funds side?  If so, now is a good time to increase the percentage of bond funds or other investments that are designed to provide a steady income for you throughout retirement. Ask your financial pro to review your money distributions.

Invest in Real Estate to be Financially Prepared for Retirement

Real estate is a secure investment, and homeownership is critical in building wealth and financial security over time. That’s important when planning your retirement. Owning is much wiser than supporting a landlord financially and having no equity to show for any of it. Homes appreciate. Owning is far superior to renting because it locks in your housing costs and over time your real costs decline.

In the past two years, home prices have increased more per year than the 4% average that rents have risen per year. And homeownership comes with valuable tax benefits, too.

If you don’t own a home, consider purchasing one. Real estate is a secure investment to use as your retirement fund.

Take advantage of the great real estate market situation. Brooklyn real estate is at an all-time high, but we don’t know for how long.

The bottom line

Because we are nearing retirement, don’t take unnecessary risks to get financially prepared. There is no wisdom in trying to recover losses we may have incurred by putting even more money in risky investments. We will need that money for living expenses throughout our retirement.

But do get financially prepared for your retirement now. Save with purpose and intensity, invest wisely and take advantage of the benefits of today’s great real estate market.

Are you financially prepared for retirement? Are you ready to downsize and simplify as you near retirement? Is it time to sell your real estate investment? Get the help of real estate agent Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9700 ext. 206 or email him at [email protected] today!

7 Things To Do First Before Hiring A Real Estate Agent

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016
Hiring a real estate agent

We’re retiring, selling and hiring a real estate agent. Here are 7 things we need to do first.

Congratulations to us! We’re retiring! We need to sell our home and downsize into a place that will cut our cost of living by about half each month, and we think we’ve found just the place. But there are a few things we must do before hiring a real estate agent.

Before hiring a real estate agent to sell our home, we need to do all we can to make their job easier. This will benefit us during the selling process. After all, we will be working very closely with this real estate agent on one of the biggest transactions of our whole lives. (Could You Be Losing Money On The Sale Of Your Brooklyn Home? discusses the importance of hiring a real estate agent who you can trust and who will represent you well).

Here are 7 things we need to do before hiring a real estate agent.

  1. Research comparable sales (comps) in the neighborhood to find the real value of our home. We have an idea of what our home should list for, but we must check comparable home values.

The local market conditions have changed since we bought our home over 15 years ago. The local market may or may not be in our favor today. Regardless of what we discover as we research today’s local real estate market, all our research will help us and our real estate agent. We need to be on the same page with a realistic listing price and strategy for selling our home.

Sellers can find neighborhood comps online. We can compare our home with other homes that have about the same square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and amenities. Our home’s condition must be considered and compared as well.

  1. Know what we have left to pay on our home loan. We need to gather all home loan documents and find out how much we have paid on our home and how much we still owe before hiring a real estate agent. Knowing the amount of what is left yet to pay on our home will help the agent determine a great strategy for selling it. If we are prepared with precise dollar amounts, our real estate agent will be able to get a better estimate of what we could make from the sale. Who knows? We may find that waiting things out might be better than listing at this time, but I doubt it. Look here to find the lowest mortgage rate available in your area.
  1. Before hiring a real estate agent, we must be prepared to tell them of liens or issues, if any, that are tied to our house. An unencumbered property is property that is not subject to any claims by creditors. For example, securities bought with cash instead of on margin and homes with mortgages paid off. That’s not always possible, but the more we can tell our real estate agent up front about liens or other issues that could possibly hold up a sale, the better off we’ll all be. It helps an agent to know about liens and property disputes so they can deal with them all before the house lists. For example:
  • Tax issues
  • Disputes you have had with contractors
  • Problems that could have allowed a creditor to put a lien on the house
  • Disputes with neighbors regarding property lines
  • If you’re selling a property that belonged to a deceased relative. (Make sure the title to the house is clean before contacting an agent).
  1. Clean our home thoroughly inside and out before hiring a real estate agent. We want to make a great first impression on our real estate agent to persuade them to market it for a higher value. We don’t want the agent we hire to make us feel they are giving away a dump. We want to clean it up as if we’re having someone of great importance over for dinner. And cleaning it up goes for the outside, too! Curb appeal is important, too. Our goal is to give the agent a mental picture of our home as a prize to be won. Whatever it takes to give the agent the impression that they have a prize to sell instead of a dump, we’ll do it.
  1. Wait to make home improvements. It’s best to wait to make home improvements until after a real estate agent has been hired. They know what is trending in the market and what buyers in our area are looking to pay top dollar for. If we tell the real estate agent how much money we have to work with, they’ll let us know which improvements will appeal to buyers and which ones will give the best ROI.
  1. Gather and disclose details of home improvements made during ownership. If a seller makes any upgrades during the course of ownership, details on those upgrades should be ready to give to the agent. Knowing about home additions, new carpet or flooring and so forth, will help the agent price our home effectively to market it well. And we don’t need to tell the agent what was spent on each home improvement. Just knowing of the improvement made, will help the agent know what value to add to our home.
  1. Print up a daily schedule of availability. Printing out our daily schedule will help the real estate agent recommend ideal times that our home can be shown to potential buyers. The key is to be ready at all times to accommodate showings. Yes, this is a bit inconvenient, but it will help our home sell more quickly.

Will you be hiring a real estate agent to sell your Brooklyn home? Get prepared and then contact Charles D’Alessandro at (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email [email protected]. With over 30 years of experience marketing Brooklyn homes, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate knows what it takes to get your home sold quickly.