Ways to Reduce Your Household Expenses

reduce household expenses
Eight Tips for Cutting Your Monthly Spending

Everyday household expenses can quickly add up and, if you’re not paying attention, they can end up consuming a large portion of your income. When this happens, saving enough for financial goals like buying a house, paying for a college education, or saving for retirement can become difficult. Below are eight ways you can reduce your monthly household expenses.

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Social Security Survivor Benefits and How They Work

social security survivor benefits
A Primer on the Benefits Available to You When Your Spouse Passes Away

Losing a spouse is an especially painful time. Unfortunately, many people find their grief compounded by the complexities of figuring out their finances. The process for collecting Social Security Survivor Benefits can be particularly confusing, but we hope this primer will help you wade through the confusion and better understand the benefits you may be eligible for.

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How to Estimate How Much You’ll Need to Retire

Four Steps to Arriving at Your ‘Enough’ Number

It’s tempting to think about retirement savings in black and white: there’s a “right” number you need to reach, at which point you have enough money saved to sustain your retirement. The trouble is, there is no right number because every retiree has a different picture of what their ideal retirement looks like. That means the amount of money you’ll need to retire could be vastly different – either far more or far less – than others your age, or even in your social circle. In order to truly understand what your retirement savings goal should be, you need to forget arbitrary numbers and come up with you own personal estimate.

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Are You Risking Your Retirement with These Two Investment Myths?

Pervasive Misinformation Could Cost You in Retirement

In our many years working with clients, we have noticed a disturbing trend: most people are investing based upon two faulty premises, both of which are pervasive myths and neither of which are in an investor’s best interest:

  • The Myth of “Riding Out the Market”
  • The Myth of Getting a “10%+ Annual Return”

Have you heard these? Are you investing based upon them? If so, you’re not alone. However, we’re here to tell you that these myths are old-school and outdated, and they aren’t serving you as well as you may believe.

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Questions You Must Be Able to Answer to Have a Successful Retirement

Do You Have Responses to these Critical Retirement Planning Considerations?

All retirees have their own unique beliefs about what a successful retirement looks like, yet too many are unable to answer important financial questions about achieving that success. And, when you can’t find answers to your most pressing money questions, it’s difficult to feel financially secure.

In our 50+ years of experience, we’ve come to realize that there are nine specific questions you need to be able to answer about your money in order to plan – and achieve – a successful retirement:

  1. How much money can you safely take out of your assets for income?
  2. How long will your money actually last?
  3. Can you guarantee you will never run out of money?
  4. How can you protect your assets from volatility and losses?
  5. How much income tax will you pay on your income distributions?
  6. How much will you lose if the market takes another big drop?
  7. Is it OK to start spending some of your money?
  8. What are the total fees you are really paying and how can you reduce them?
  9. What is going to happen if you or your spouse pass away?

If you can’t answer these nine questions, it means your retirement planning is based on hope and luck – not the best recipe for success. Read on to learn Momma’s Secret Recipe, instead.

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Five Annuity Myths – And Why They’re Wrong

Annuities Can Generate Reliable Income, Though They Often Get a Bad Rap

When you think about financial planning and the money you’ll live on in retirement, stocks and bonds probably come to mind. These market-based investments are often in the spotlight, and it’s true that they can help you grow your wealth. However, it’s also true that they may a number of downsides, one being that growth is unpredictable. This means that if you’re approaching retirement, or you’re already retired, one poorly timed downturn in the market could greatly set you back or even lead to you running out of money in retirement.

Since risk is inherent in investing, many people look for safer options. However, things like checking accounts or even high-yield savings accounts may not be the answer. Though they won’t lose money in a technical sense due to FDIC insurance, the value of your savings may still erode over time due to inflation.

So, what’s a savvy saver to do? One potential option is an annuity. If you’d like to save for retirement and create a guaranteed income stream – one that isn’t directly tied to the markets – a fixed indexed annuity offers an excellent option for consideration. Unfortunately, annuities get a bad rap because of misinformation, stereotypes, and myths. Below, we’ll tackle five of the most common reasons people hesitate to consider annuities as a viable retirement income option.

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10 Questions to Help You Choose a Financial Advisor

Be Intentional About Who Will Guide Your Retirement Planning

We all dream of a relaxing, carefree retirement that allows us to enjoy the fruits of our decades of hard work. However, this may be possible with proper planning. Whether you’re getting an early start or you’re nearing retirement age, it’s helpful to seek out the guidance of a professional financial advisor to ensure you’re taking the right steps to maximize your nest egg.

With so much riding on your retirement planning, it’s important to be intentional about the advisor you choose. You’ll want to find someone who you feel comfortable with, who takes the time to answer questions, and who can provide the type of advice and services you need.

With that in mind, consider the following ten questions as a suggested interview for potential financial advisors:

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Five Tips to Help Protect Your Retirement Savings in an Economic Downturn

You Have More Power Than You Realize to Keep Your Finances on Track

The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic turmoil have caused many people to reexamine their finances. Even if you have taken control of your financial future by being diligent about saving for retirement, it’s normal to feel out of control when facing an uncertain economy and the prospect of a recession that may last for some time.

So, how can you shield your retirement portfolio in troubling times? Luckily, you have more power than you realize when it comes to recession-proofing your nest egg. These five tips will help you stay on track even in an economic downturn.

Tip #1: Bulk Up Your Savings

The typical rule of thumb is to maintain an emergency fund with three to six months of living expenses, but an economic downturn could last longer than that. Aim to up your cash reserves to one year’s worth of expenses and utilize a high-yield savings account to maximize your efforts. Doing so can give you greater peace of mind when unpredictable financial events happen.

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Five Reasons the Pandemic May Be a Good Thing for Your Retirement

Finding the Silver Lining of COVID-19

There is no disputing that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a tragic event for millions. Illness, death, job loss, fear, and a world essentially shut down for weeks on end has wreaked havoc – and it isn’t over just yet. Truly, the negative impacts of this global health crisis cannot be overstated.

And yet, as is often the case in times of turmoil, there is a silver lining if we look closely. Below we’ll examine five ways that COVID-19 may positively impact your retirement.

1.     We’ve been forced out of our routines.

Routines can be positive, certainly. More often than not, though, they become less routine and more “rut.” We begin living life on autopilot, which can rob us of opportunities, experiences, and fresh perspectives, but we stay in the rut because it feels safe and certain. If there is anything that can be unequivocally said about this pandemic, it is that it has dragged each and every one of us out of our usual ruts. Though it has created much uncertainty, it has also caused us to think about many aspects of our lives in new ways – and this can be a good thing if we remember to look for the opportunities that may present themselves.

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The CARES Act Has Changed 2020 RMD Rules


When President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, he enacted the largest aid package in American history.[i] One important impact is that Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) for 2020 are, in essence, suspended. In this way, the federal government chose to sacrifice short-term tax revenue in order to provide immediate financial relief to retirees.

This change bears discussion, however, as there are many questions about what the CARES Act means for those who have already taken their 2020 RMDs, as well as any impact on taxes and inherited accounts.

Let’s begin with a review of the basic tenets of the RMD portion of this new law.

Understanding the CARES Act

This relief package allows defined contribution plans, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457(b)s and IRAs to suspend 2020 RMD requirements. Now, RMD rates were already a bit lower since 2020 is the first year, per the SECURE Act[ii], in which the age change from 70.5 to 72 began, but skipping RMDs in 2020 altogether is a meaningful change. With so many Americans facing financial struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the flexibility to opt-out of distribution means that retirement portfolios have more time to recover from the current market volatility.

[i] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackbrewster/2020/03/27/trump-signs-2-trillion-stimulus-bill-into-law-largest-aid-package-in-us-history/#77d59e864ea5

[ii] https://www.fidelity.com/learning-center/personal-finance/retirement/understanding-the-secure-act-and-retirement

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Peak Financial Freedom Group
2520 Douglas Boulevard, Suite 110
Roseville, CA 95661


All of the information presented here is provided and intended to be used for general educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a solicitation for you to buy or sell any financial product. None of the information presented is intended to give you specific tax, investment, real estate, legal, estate, or financial advice but rather to serve as an educational platform to deliver information. The ideas, thoughts, and strategies presented here are those of the Management Team and provide an insight to our views on Peak Financial Freedom Group, LLC. Every detail in this website is subject to change without notice. Seminar, radio shows, TV productions, book releases, magazine and book promotions are sponsored, promoted and paid for by Peak Financial Freedom Group, LLC.

2nd Opinion Package available to Qualified Retirees and Soon-To-Be-Retirees may include free consultations, a free retirement income plan, risk analysis, and fee analysis. In addition, a comprehensive written retirement income plan may be provided to those who complete the entire process. Qualified Retirees and Soon-To-Be Retirees must have a minimum of $1,000,000 of investible assets such as IRA’s, 401K’s from past employers, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, bank accounts, money markets, CD’s, etc., but DOES NOT include real estate, businesses, limited partnerships, 401K/retirement plans that can’t be moved to another plan, and other illiquid type assets.

All investments involve risk, can involve the loss of principal, and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Past performance is no indication of future performance and such information cannot be relied upon regarding future potential gains. Nothing is directly or indirectly guaranteed by this information. The planning and ideas presented herein are not suitable for all individuals or situations. Hypothetical examples are used to explain concepts and are not indicative of potential results you could receive; past performance is not a guarantee of future results; and results are not indicative of any particular investment or income tax situation; your results will be different and could be lower or higher. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. Insurance product features and benefits, such as guaranteed lifetime income riders, are subject to contract terms, limitations, fees, and the claims paying ability of the insurance company issuing the contract. The sale or liquidation of any stock, bond, IRA, certificate of deposit, mutual fund, annuity, or other asset to fund the purchase of any other asset including an annuity may have tax consequences, early withdrawal penalties, or other costs and penalties as a result of the sale or liquidation. Different assets can be complex and carry fees, costs, and surrender charges. If you place assets under management with Fiduciary Solutions
LLC, we are paid an advisory fee from Fiduciary Solutions LLC and if you purchase an annuity through us, we are paid commissions from an insurance company.

2019(1), 2020(2), 2021(3), and 2022(4) Five Star Professional Wealth Manager Award - Dan Ahmad and Jim Files have been nominated for and have won the 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 Five Star Wealth Manager Awards. Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of Five Star Wealth Managers. Once awarded, wealth managers may purchase additional profile ad space or promotional products. Award does not evaluate the quality of services provided to clients. The Five Star award is not indicative of the wealth manager’s future performance. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by Five Star Professional or this publication. Working with a Five Star Wealth Manager or any wealth manager is no guarantee as to future investment success, nor is there any guarantee that the selected wealth managers will be awarded this accomplishment by Five Star Professional in the future. Award winners represent an exclusive group of wealth managers who have demonstrated excellence in their field by satisfying 10 objective selection criteria. For additional information on the Five Star award, including a complete list of the 10 objective selection criteria and their research/selection methodology, go to https://fivestarprofessional.com.

Investment advisory services are offered through Fiduciary Solutions, LLC, a California Registered Investment Advisor. Insurance products and services are offered through PFFG Insurance Agency LLC, a licensed insurance agency (CA Insurance License #0N14013). Peak Financial Freedom Group LLC is a financial planning and umbrella marketing organization, which enables the provision of multiple financial services under one brand. Peak Financial Freedom Group LLC, PFFG Insurance Agency LLC, and Fiduciary Solutions LLC are affiliated entities with common ownership and control.

Jim Files is licensed as an investment adviser representative with Fiduciary Solutions LLC (CRD #1620449) and is a licensed insurance producer with PFFG Insurance Agency LLC (CA Insurance License #0F06511). Dan Ahmad is licensed as an investment adviser representative with Fiduciary Solutions LLC (CRD # 1491561) and is a licensed insurance producer with PFFG Insurance Agency LLC (CA Insurance License #0732913).

© 2020 Peak Financial Freedom Group