The Isanti County News http://isanticountynews.com The Isanti County News covers community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for the cities of Cambridge, Isanti, and Braham, Minnesota and their surrounding areas. Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:05:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Cambridge Lutheran Maundy Thursday worship service http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/cambridge-lutheran-maundy-thursday-worship-service/ http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/cambridge-lutheran-maundy-thursday-worship-service/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:05:33 +0000 http://isanticountynews.com/?p=119974 On Thursday, April 2, Cambridge Lutheran Church will again host a mid-day Maundy Thursday church service with communion for all senior members of the church.

The church cordially invites not only their senior members, but also friends in the community who wish to join them. The church service begins at noon, followed by a luncheon in the Fellowship Hall. There is no charge for this meal, but there will be a free-will offering.

Following the noon meal, there will be a program including seasonal songs sung by the PrimeTime Singers, a community seniors singing group.

This is a time of reverence for the Easter Season, as well as time for visiting and friendship. They hope some of their older members, who are in senior housing facilities or who have mobility problems, will be able to attend. All will need to call the church office to register for the luncheon.

For those who need help with transportation, notify the church office when you call to confirm your attendance. The church can be reached at 763-689-1211.

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The Leader in Cambridge earns prestigious award http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/the-leader-in-cambridge-earns-prestigious-award/ http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/the-leader-in-cambridge-earns-prestigious-award/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:00:27 +0000 http://isanticountynews.com/?p=119972 The Leader has been awarded the Diamond Award from Minneapolis based company, Savvi Formalwear. It has just been announced that The Leader will be receiving this award for the ninth consecutive year.

The Diamond Award is presented to a very selective group of authorized Savvi Formalwear dealers who demonstrate great sales achievement and outstanding service to customers.

The Leader serves the Cambridge community with a complete formalwear department, serving wedding, prom  and black-tie event customers.

The Leader is located in downtown Cambridge and can be reached at 763-689-1025.

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Escaping a Financial Trap http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/escaping-a-financial-trap/ http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/escaping-a-financial-trap/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 22:00:03 +0000 http://isanticountynews.com/?guid=b04a31d393b335475c268801a5c66165 The couple had made every mistake you could: retired too early, spent too much, took on too much house and too much debt. “This is killing me,” Sarah told the advisor, as she burst into tears.

Doug and Sarah had left their well-paying jobs in their late 50s, with little idea how they would pay for a long retirement. With anguished faces, they came to Eve Kaplan, an advisor in Berkeley Heights, N.J., for a solution. As a financial advisor, her solution was tough love, and since they were at their wit’s end, they were open to hearing it.

Kaplan and the couple created a plan to save them from personal bankruptcy: sell their home, pay down credit card debt, cut up all cards and only use cash and create more realistic financial goals. “This couple is still working on their recovery plan, yet things are looking brighter,” the advisor says.

When they came to her office, they were laden with paperwork showing their financial distress. The card statements alone were hair-raising. Kaplan says, “They needed an objective person to tell them: Sell the house, tear up the cards and don’t use them again.”

To these well-educated professionals, everything once seemed affordable. He was an executive at a manufacturing company, and she was a community college teacher. Then he got laid off, and they both figured they could afford to kick back.

But they had no idea what their situation truly was. They had paid to put their four children through some of the best – and most expensive – colleges. They lived in a high-toned New Jersey town outside New York City: It had excellent schools. Trouble was, that meant high property taxes.

Although they lived in an elegant home, their net worth was miniscule due to a $200,000-plus credit card debt, a large mortgage and virtually no savings – apart from Sarah’s 401(k). Doug’s 401(k) was gone already. To meet expenses, they had drained his account, which of course incurred taxes and penalties.

“With the kids gone, what they should have done was downsize their lives and Doug should have gotten another high-paying job,” Kaplan says. But they coasted along for a few years. Prolonged unemployment does not look good on a resume.

Their house was beautiful, full of antiques and debt-laden. The place was worth $1.5 million, but it carried $1 million in debt, from both the mortgage and a home equity loan.

So they sold the house and the antiques, and channeled a big chunk of the proceeds to getting rid of the card balance.

Doug and Sarah originally are from Iowa; they have an adult son living there, so the couple moved there to join him. After they retired, their cost of living has declined significantly and they slowly are building up their net worth. Doug found a part-time teaching position and Sarah located an office job.

They don’t have a bright future yet, although they are working on it.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

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The couple had made every mistake you could: retired too early, spent too much, took on too much house and too much debt. “This is killing me,” Sarah told the advisor, as she burst into tears.

Doug and Sarah had left their well-paying jobs in their late 50s, with little idea how they would pay for a long retirement. With anguished faces, they came to Eve Kaplan, an advisor in Berkeley Heights, N.J., for a solution. As a financial advisor, her solution was tough love, and since they were at their wit’s end, they were open to hearing it.

Kaplan and the couple created a plan to save them from personal bankruptcy: sell their home, pay down credit card debt, cut up all cards and only use cash and create more realistic financial goals. “This couple is still working on their recovery plan, yet things are looking brighter,” the advisor says.

When they came to her office, they were laden with paperwork showing their financial distress. The card statements alone were hair-raising. Kaplan says, “They needed an objective person to tell them: Sell the house, tear up the cards and don’t use them again.”

To these well-educated professionals, everything once seemed affordable. He was an executive at a manufacturing company, and she was a community college teacher. Then he got laid off, and they both figured they could afford to kick back.

But they had no idea what their situation truly was. They had paid to put their four children through some of the best – and most expensive – colleges. They lived in a high-toned New Jersey town outside New York City: It had excellent schools. Trouble was, that meant high property taxes.

Although they lived in an elegant home, their net worth was miniscule due to a $200,000-plus credit card debt, a large mortgage and virtually no savings – apart from Sarah’s 401(k). Doug’s 401(k) was gone already. To meet expenses, they had drained his account, which of course incurred taxes and penalties.

“With the kids gone, what they should have done was downsize their lives and Doug should have gotten another high-paying job,” Kaplan says. But they coasted along for a few years. Prolonged unemployment does not look good on a resume.

Their house was beautiful, full of antiques and debt-laden. The place was worth $1.5 million, but it carried $1 million in debt, from both the mortgage and a home equity loan.

So they sold the house and the antiques, and channeled a big chunk of the proceeds to getting rid of the card balance.

Doug and Sarah originally are from Iowa; they have an adult son living there, so the couple moved there to join him. After they retired, their cost of living has declined significantly and they slowly are building up their net worth. Doug found a part-time teaching position and Sarah located an office job.

They don’t have a bright future yet, although they are working on it.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

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Sharon A. Philpott http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/sharon-a-philpott-2/ http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/sharon-a-philpott-2/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 20:17:31 +0000 http://isanticountynews.com/?p=120067 Sharon Arlene (Dague) Philpott was born on January 21, 1936 to William Francis and Laurel Arlene (Gentry) Dague in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She passed away at her home in Cambridge, Minnesota on March 23, 2015, at the age of 79.
Sharon was preceded in death by Jim Philpott, her husband of 54 years.
She is survived by her children, Raymond, Sharilyn Philpott-Marsh and Troy Marsh, and granddaughter Kathryn. She is also survived by Roberta Dague, Bill and Mary Spitznagle, Tom and Cathy Philpott, and nine nephews.
Arrangements are in the care of Carlson-Lillemoen Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Cambridge. Online condolences can be shared at www.carlsonlillemoen.com.

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Jerry Carlson http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/jerry-carlson/ http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/jerry-carlson/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:45:52 +0000 http://isanticountynews.com/?p=120063 Image-17432Jerry Carlson turned 75! Many of you may know him better as “Coach Carlson,” “Mr. C” or “J.C.” Please join him and his family at Wintergreens Bar in Isanti on Sunday, April 12th from 2-5 p.m. to celebrate.

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Anderson/Jennissen http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/andersonjennissen/ http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/andersonjennissen/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:36:05 +0000 http://isanticountynews.com/?p=120060 Image-17417Dale and Nancy Anderson of Cambridge are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Kirsten Anderson, to Kelby Jennissen, son of Tom and Karen Jennissen of Garfield, MN.
Kirsten and Kelby are both 2012 graduates of Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. After working several years in Fargo, Kelby recently began his career with Frandsen Bank and Trust in Braham. Kirsten received her Masters of Physician Assistant Studies from St. Catherine University in 2014, and will be a Physician Assistant for the Allina Health System in North Branch and Cambridge.
Both Kirsten and Kelby look forward to the start of their new life together in the Cambridge area. A wedding is planned for June 2015.

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Winnifred G. Nichols http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/winnifred-g-nichols/ http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/winnifred-g-nichols/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:31:29 +0000 http://isanticountynews.com/?p=120056 NicholsWinnifred “Winnie” Grace Nichols, age 95, of Princeton, passed away on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at the Princeton Elim Home. She was born on October 28, 1919 in Princeton, the daughter of Perlie and Agatha (Marshall) Moody.
Winnie grew up in the Spencer Brook area and continued to live there throughout most of her life. She was united in marriage to William Nichols Sr. on January 4, 1941 in Princeton.
Winnie was an active member of Freshwater’s United Methodist Church of Spencer Brook, participating in the choir and helping with church dinners and funeral luncheons. She enjoyed vegetable and flower gardening and loved animals. She was helpful, compassionate and devoted to her family. She especially loved her grandchildren.
Winnie is survived by her children Kathryn Herman and William Jr.; grandchildren, Traci Herman, Billy Nichols III and Brad Nichols; great-grandchildren, Mackenzie Herman-Olson, Grant Herman-Carlson, Elliot Hazlett and Violet Nichols.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband William Sr., great-granddaughter Grace, and brother Benjamin Moody.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, March 30, 2015 at Freshwater’s United Methodist Church – Brook Campus. Visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m. Sunday, March 29, 2015 at Williams Dingmann Family Funeral Home in Princeton and will continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Monday. Interment will be in Clough Cemetery in Spencer Brook Township.
Arrangements are entrusted to Williams Dingmann Family Funeral Home, Princeton.

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Guarding Seniors From Scams http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/guarding-seniors-from-scams/ http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/guarding-seniors-from-scams/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 16:30:03 +0000 http://isanticountynews.com/?guid=124264ae1c922040a2a375d437dadc06 Old age should come with a caution label for many reasons. Most of us expect to live longer than our parents or grandparents. And with longer life come difficulties – and sometimes financial predators.

We all know the major difficulty of making sure that your income can keep pace with your cost-of-living increases, especially if your retirement lasts 30-plus years. We often speak about the need to plan and have your portfolio designed to account for that length of time.

But another problem is a bit more disturbing: our aging brain. Studies have shown that as people age they become more focused on maximizing positive emotions and social interactions and more determined to block out negative experiences. Researchers call this socio-emotional selectivity.

More simply, this process means some older people pay more attention to those who make them feel comfortable and content. This often leads seniors to overlook signs of danger they might have clearly noticed when younger. Recent research shows that highly intelligent retirees (even those with no signs of dementia) find it harder to distinguish safe investments from risky ones.

The news constantly discusses money thieves close to elderly victims, whether a family member or a care aide. Those older than 65 are 34% more likely than 40-somethings to have lost money on a scam, according to a recent report from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Investor Education Foundation. 

The Investor Protection Trust (IPT) adds that more than seven million older Americans – one out of every five citizens older than 65 – already fell victim to a financial swindle. Often victims, tricked by an apparently atmosphere of care, allowed the crooks access to a checkbook or personal information that made access to the money easier.

Here are three points to help protect ourselves and our elderly loved ones:

1. Though thieves always preyed on the elderly, such crimes now seem on the rise. In response, many organizations like the IPT established formal programs and publications to educate both seniors and those who love them.

The IPT program, for example, “educates healthcare and legal professionals to recognize when their older clients may be vulnerable to or victims of financial abuse, particularly those patients with mild cognitive impairment, and then to refer these at-risk patients to state securities regulators, local adult protective services professionals” and others.

2. If you’re in your 40s and 50s, you may not realize how quickly your mental processes can decline. You may need now to get your affairs in order, both in terms of estate planning as well as financial planning.

Once your plans are in place, discuss with your partner and financial professionals a stipulated delay before large changes to the plan and estate documents, especially as you age. From here on, always discuss with a trusted advisor big alterations to your financial plans.

3. If you’re a man responsible for dealing with your family’s financial situation, work with a planner who involves you and your spouse.

Even if you can still handle the situation, both you and your partner must understand what the plan entails and the reasoning behind certain decisions. This becomes especially important if you the man die first and your widow then assumes full control over the plan.

Prepare now so that both you and your partner recognize the potential and special financial vulnerabilities of the aging brain.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Dan Crimmins is the co-founder of Crimmins Wealth Management LLC in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. His blog is Roots of Wealth.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Old age should come with a caution label for many reasons. Most of us expect to live longer than our parents or grandparents. And with longer life come difficulties – and sometimes financial predators.

We all know the major difficulty of making sure that your income can keep pace with your cost-of-living increases, especially if your retirement lasts 30-plus years. We often speak about the need to plan and have your portfolio designed to account for that length of time.

But another problem is a bit more disturbing: our aging brain. Studies have shown that as people age they become more focused on maximizing positive emotions and social interactions and more determined to block out negative experiences. Researchers call this socio-emotional selectivity.

More simply, this process means some older people pay more attention to those who make them feel comfortable and content. This often leads seniors to overlook signs of danger they might have clearly noticed when younger. Recent research shows that highly intelligent retirees (even those with no signs of dementia) find it harder to distinguish safe investments from risky ones.

The news constantly discusses money thieves close to elderly victims, whether a family member or a care aide. Those older than 65 are 34% more likely than 40-somethings to have lost money on a scam, according to a recent report from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Investor Education Foundation. 

The Investor Protection Trust (IPT) adds that more than seven million older Americans – one out of every five citizens older than 65 – already fell victim to a financial swindle. Often victims, tricked by an apparently atmosphere of care, allowed the crooks access to a checkbook or personal information that made access to the money easier.

Here are three points to help protect ourselves and our elderly loved ones:

1. Though thieves always preyed on the elderly, such crimes now seem on the rise. In response, many organizations like the IPT established formal programs and publications to educate both seniors and those who love them.

The IPT program, for example, “educates healthcare and legal professionals to recognize when their older clients may be vulnerable to or victims of financial abuse, particularly those patients with mild cognitive impairment, and then to refer these at-risk patients to state securities regulators, local adult protective services professionals” and others.

2. If you’re in your 40s and 50s, you may not realize how quickly your mental processes can decline. You may need now to get your affairs in order, both in terms of estate planning as well as financial planning.

Once your plans are in place, discuss with your partner and financial professionals a stipulated delay before large changes to the plan and estate documents, especially as you age. From here on, always discuss with a trusted advisor big alterations to your financial plans.

3. If you’re a man responsible for dealing with your family’s financial situation, work with a planner who involves you and your spouse.

Even if you can still handle the situation, both you and your partner must understand what the plan entails and the reasoning behind certain decisions. This becomes especially important if you the man die first and your widow then assumes full control over the plan.

Prepare now so that both you and your partner recognize the potential and special financial vulnerabilities of the aging brain.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Dan Crimmins is the co-founder of Crimmins Wealth Management LLC in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. His blog is Roots of Wealth.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Obama’s Lame Broker Reform http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/obamas-lame-broker-reform/ http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/27/obamas-lame-broker-reform/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 15:00:02 +0000 http://isanticountynews.com/?guid=564c10fc1e735a833c15cbcc0df7e25a President Barack Obama wants to crack down on advisors who get commissions for selling retirement plans. On the surface, his goal seems noble. But it ignores reality, targeting the wrong people and misunderstanding the problem he perceives.

Obama, who I have nothing against, recently endorsed the Department of Labor's controversial proposal to impose fiduciary obligations on brokers and advisors working with retirement plans, insisting that new rules are a needed consumer protection to prevent billions in costs due to bad advice.

During remarks to the AARP, Obama stressed the importance of imposing a cohesive standard mandating that all brokers and advisors providing advice to retirement accounts act in their clients' best interests to guard against conflicted advice that could harm investors.

"The challenge we've got is right now there are no uniform rules of the road that require retirement advisors to act in the best interests of their clients, and that's hurting millions of working and middle-class families," Obama said in his address.

Did it ever dawn on the president that a large percentage of the folks providing assistance to retirement plan participants are also members of the same “middle class?”

During the 2007-09 financial meltdown, where was the consumer concern? Numerous Wall Street stalwarts designed financial products for unwary investors. Some of these firms were actually betting their own assets against the investor. But did any top executive at one of these firms go to jail? No. The leaders of the carnage claimed ignorance.

Insurance companies, for decades have marketed high-cost, high-surrender charges and low-performing annuity products to educators. Where was the outrage over these vehicles, called tax-sheltered annuity accounts, or TSAs? Did anyone ever call fixed annuity providers to task? Apparently, Obama’s plan does not focus on these investment products.

I recall a meeting with an insurance company president some years ago. I asked him why TSAs had such historical low return to savers. His response was, “A 1% savings account is far better than none at all.”

Obama’s proposal seems to rest on the belief that investments always will go up. If they don’t, then the brokers selling them are at fault. “There are a lot of very fine financial advisors out there, but there [are] also financial advisors who receive back-door payments or hidden fees for steering people into bad retirement investments that have high fees and low returns," Obama told the AARP gathering. "So what happens is these payments, these inducements, incentivize the broker to make recommendations that generate the best returns for them, but not necessarily the best returns for you."

Let’s see if I have this right. As long as the value of the retirement plan assets increase, it’s good. However, if the plan assets decrease in value the broker or advisor is to blame? Oh, and if, God forbid, the broker or advisor received any payment or compensation, he’s surely guilty of something.

And if our supposedly evil broker sold a 401(k) participant an investment with high fees and commissions, who do you think designed the product for sale in the first place? Not the broker. If an industry-wide defect exists that harms retirement investors, why not fix it from the top down, not the bottom up?

The White House Council of Economic Advisers pegs the cost of conflicted advice on middle-income families at $17 billion per year. The CEA estimates that conflicted advice cuts one percentage point off average annual returns for middle-class savers.

The Labor Department first proposed an expanded fiduciary definition under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, in 2010. But the agency withdrew the proposal the following year amid broad criticism that it would impose onerous restrictions on the industry – and cause financial professionals to abandon retirement investments, leaving low and moderate-income Americans in the lurch.

At its core, the proposed rule would require retirement advisors to make recommendations and investment decisions that are in the best interest of clients, known as the fiduciary obligation. That is a tighter requirement than the suitability standard, which brokers historically have operated under. With suitability, they must reasonably believe an action is in the customer’s best interests.

Trouble is, the division is not so neat. Many brokers are dual registered, meaning they also operate under the fiduciary standard. Large numbers of them have earned the Certified Financial Planner designation, and that mandates that they act as fiduciaries. And the majority of brokers are not working for large firms, and thus do not have house brands of mutual funds to sell.

The proposal does not aim to do away with sales commission, which are how brokers traditionally get paid. But if commissions are the problem, why not outlaw them? Of course, they’re not the problem, but Obama’s logic doesn’t hold up by vilifying them and then giving them a pass.

Several industry trade groups issued statements expressing concern with the rules.

The National Association of Plan Advisors charged that the "White House launched an attack on advisors and so-called 'hidden fees' and 'backdoor payments' by moving forward with a regulation that has its own hidden backdoor effect – keeping many Americans from working with the trusted advisor of their choice, even in the critical decision regarding rollovers from their 401(k) and 403(b) plans."

“People should be protected from unfair and deceptive practices," NAPA Executive Director Brian Graff said in a statement. "But all indications are that this rule will block Americans from working with the financial advisors and investment providers they trust simply because they offer different financial products – like annuities and mutual funds – with different fees."

Kenneth Bentsen, chief executive of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, said: "The new regulation could limit investor choice, cause inconsistencies as different regulators would apply different standards to the same retirement accounts, prohibit access to investor guidance, and raise the costs of saving for retirement."

If a retirement plan participants feel they can go it alone, they are free to make their own choices. The outcome will be a product of luck and their own knowledge. However, if one requires assistance in the selection and management of a diversified retirement portfolio, the advisor must receive fair compensation. This is true for a plumber, electrician, accountant or attorney. If they would rather perform these functions on their own, there’s always Home Depot.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Phillip Q. Shrotman is founder and president of Principal Planning Service, Inc. in Long Beach, Calif. He was a professor in the Business Division at Long Beach City College for over 29 years, where he held the position as Coordinator for Financial Planning and Insurance for the college. He holds a Community College Instructors Credential from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s from the University of San Francisco. He also holds the profession designations of General Securities Principal of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Series 7 and 24. He has appeared as a guest on KABC Talk Radio and various television and radio programs.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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President Barack Obama wants to crack down on advisors who get commissions for selling retirement plans. On the surface, his goal seems noble. But it ignores reality, targeting the wrong people and misunderstanding the problem he perceives.

Obama, who I have nothing against, recently endorsed the Department of Labor's controversial proposal to impose fiduciary obligations on brokers and advisors working with retirement plans, insisting that new rules are a needed consumer protection to prevent billions in costs due to bad advice.

During remarks to the AARP, Obama stressed the importance of imposing a cohesive standard mandating that all brokers and advisors providing advice to retirement accounts act in their clients' best interests to guard against conflicted advice that could harm investors.

"The challenge we've got is right now there are no uniform rules of the road that require retirement advisors to act in the best interests of their clients, and that's hurting millions of working and middle-class families," Obama said in his address.

Did it ever dawn on the president that a large percentage of the folks providing assistance to retirement plan participants are also members of the same “middle class?”

During the 2007-09 financial meltdown, where was the consumer concern? Numerous Wall Street stalwarts designed financial products for unwary investors. Some of these firms were actually betting their own assets against the investor. But did any top executive at one of these firms go to jail? No. The leaders of the carnage claimed ignorance.

Insurance companies, for decades have marketed high-cost, high-surrender charges and low-performing annuity products to educators. Where was the outrage over these vehicles, called tax-sheltered annuity accounts, or TSAs? Did anyone ever call fixed annuity providers to task? Apparently, Obama’s plan does not focus on these investment products.

I recall a meeting with an insurance company president some years ago. I asked him why TSAs had such historical low return to savers. His response was, “A 1% savings account is far better than none at all.”

Obama’s proposal seems to rest on the belief that investments always will go up. If they don’t, then the brokers selling them are at fault. “There are a lot of very fine financial advisors out there, but there [are] also financial advisors who receive back-door payments or hidden fees for steering people into bad retirement investments that have high fees and low returns," Obama told the AARP gathering. "So what happens is these payments, these inducements, incentivize the broker to make recommendations that generate the best returns for them, but not necessarily the best returns for you."

Let’s see if I have this right. As long as the value of the retirement plan assets increase, it’s good. However, if the plan assets decrease in value the broker or advisor is to blame? Oh, and if, God forbid, the broker or advisor received any payment or compensation, he’s surely guilty of something.

And if our supposedly evil broker sold a 401(k) participant an investment with high fees and commissions, who do you think designed the product for sale in the first place? Not the broker. If an industry-wide defect exists that harms retirement investors, why not fix it from the top down, not the bottom up?

The White House Council of Economic Advisers pegs the cost of conflicted advice on middle-income families at $17 billion per year. The CEA estimates that conflicted advice cuts one percentage point off average annual returns for middle-class savers.

The Labor Department first proposed an expanded fiduciary definition under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, in 2010. But the agency withdrew the proposal the following year amid broad criticism that it would impose onerous restrictions on the industry – and cause financial professionals to abandon retirement investments, leaving low and moderate-income Americans in the lurch.

At its core, the proposed rule would require retirement advisors to make recommendations and investment decisions that are in the best interest of clients, known as the fiduciary obligation. That is a tighter requirement than the suitability standard, which brokers historically have operated under. With suitability, they must reasonably believe an action is in the customer’s best interests.

Trouble is, the division is not so neat. Many brokers are dual registered, meaning they also operate under the fiduciary standard. Large numbers of them have earned the Certified Financial Planner designation, and that mandates that they act as fiduciaries. And the majority of brokers are not working for large firms, and thus do not have house brands of mutual funds to sell.

The proposal does not aim to do away with sales commission, which are how brokers traditionally get paid. But if commissions are the problem, why not outlaw them? Of course, they’re not the problem, but Obama’s logic doesn’t hold up by vilifying them and then giving them a pass.

Several industry trade groups issued statements expressing concern with the rules.

The National Association of Plan Advisors charged that the "White House launched an attack on advisors and so-called 'hidden fees' and 'backdoor payments' by moving forward with a regulation that has its own hidden backdoor effect – keeping many Americans from working with the trusted advisor of their choice, even in the critical decision regarding rollovers from their 401(k) and 403(b) plans."

“People should be protected from unfair and deceptive practices," NAPA Executive Director Brian Graff said in a statement. "But all indications are that this rule will block Americans from working with the financial advisors and investment providers they trust simply because they offer different financial products – like annuities and mutual funds – with different fees."

Kenneth Bentsen, chief executive of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, said: "The new regulation could limit investor choice, cause inconsistencies as different regulators would apply different standards to the same retirement accounts, prohibit access to investor guidance, and raise the costs of saving for retirement."

If a retirement plan participants feel they can go it alone, they are free to make their own choices. The outcome will be a product of luck and their own knowledge. However, if one requires assistance in the selection and management of a diversified retirement portfolio, the advisor must receive fair compensation. This is true for a plumber, electrician, accountant or attorney. If they would rather perform these functions on their own, there’s always Home Depot.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Phillip Q. Shrotman is founder and president of Principal Planning Service, Inc. in Long Beach, Calif. He was a professor in the Business Division at Long Beach City College for over 29 years, where he held the position as Coordinator for Financial Planning and Insurance for the college. He holds a Community College Instructors Credential from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s from the University of San Francisco. He also holds the profession designations of General Securities Principal of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Series 7 and 24. He has appeared as a guest on KABC Talk Radio and various television and radio programs.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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New Hope celebrates new church building http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/26/new-hope-celebrates-new-church-building/ http://isanticountynews.com/2015/03/26/new-hope-celebrates-new-church-building/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 00:20:20 +0000 http://isanticountynews.com/?p=119965 For the past 10 1/2 years, staff at New Hope Community  Church had to unload three 7-by-24-foot trailers filled with equipment at 6:15 a.m., and then load everything back into the trailers at the end of worship around noon.

New Hope Community Church is located at 33030 Vickers St. NE, Cambridge.

New Hope Community Church is located at 33030 Vickers St. NE, Cambridge.

That all ended Sunday, March 15. This date marked a new beginning for New Hope Community Church in Cambridge as the congregation and leaders celebrated their first service in their new church building located at 33030 Vickers St. NE, just east of Cambridge near Skogman Lake off Highway 95. Prior to this, New Hope held services in the Performing Arts Center at Cambridge-Isanti High School.

The new 17,600-square-foot building features an entryway filled with comfy chairs, tables and a mobile serving cart; a worship center that seats up to 240; a prayer room that can be accessed 24/7; children’s programming rooms for infants through fifth-grade; a full kitchen with serving window; office areas; and a welcoming receptionist desk.

Pastor Bill Berg preaches inside the new church for the first time on March 15.

Pastor Bill Berg preaches inside the new church for the first time on March 15.

The entryway area can hold up to 150 people and also has televisions and a speaker system so guests in the entryway can also view and listen to the worship service.

New Hope will hold its Grand Opening Celebration at its 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. worship services on Sunday, March 29. Anyone in the community is invited to an open house to walk through the new building from 3-5 p.m. Sunday, March 29.

“The open house is really for anyone in the community who would like to see what our new building is all about,” said Bill Berg, pastor at New Hope. “We will have coffee, homemade cookies, and we will be here to answer any questions anyone may have. All are invited to attend and see our new church building.”

Berg said the church hired as many local contractors as possible for the project that began in mid-July. Financing for the project was done through People’s Bank of Commerce, and construction was done by BJ Baas Builders of Cambridge.

A welcome desk greets all visitors arriving at New Hope Community Church.

A welcome desk greets all visitors arriving at New Hope Community Church.

“When you walk in, you see our ceilings have an open wood trellises system; we thought we’d try something different,” Berg said. “The church has an industrious-type feel, but it also very homey. We really did our own unique things, and it’s a great place to call home.”

Berg said the staff at New Hope had a say in the architectural design. New Hope owns 25 acres of land in the area, which also includes a community garden.

“We say we are an untypical church for typical people, and we have an untypical church out here,” Berg said. “We are very thankful and humbled on God’s provision for New Hope, and we are excited for us to be able to build deeper roots within the community. We are a community church and community-minded, and want to continue to be a part of helping this great community. We hope our new church sends a message that New Hope is here to stay and reaffirms our commitment to the community.”

Hot coffee and fresh homemade cookies are offered from the serving window every Sunday.

Hot coffee and fresh homemade cookies are offered from the serving window every Sunday.

Berg said average attendance at weekly services is around 550 to 600 people.

“Everyone who has been to services so far in the new church is really excited and joyful of God’s provision,” Berg said. “Our interest is to invite people who don’t have a church home to come on out and check us out.”

New Hope continues its capital campaign efforts to support the new building. The new church building offers a kiosk so folks can swipe a credit card if they wish to contribute in that fashion.

“Our desire and goal is to pay off the building in five years, and we understand that’s an aggressive goal,” Berg said. “We are grateful God put us in a position to get us into this new building.”

There are plenty of colorful and comfortable seating areas found within the new church.

There are plenty of colorful and comfortable seating areas found within the new church.

Berg said the landscaping around the church will take some time to finish. Future plans also include a patio directly outside the church and also a larger deck down by the pond that may eventually be used for outdoor concerts or weddings.

Overall, the construction process went well.

“This has been a real positive experience,” Berg said. “We are in a beautiful building with spectacular views of Skogman Lake. This has been a great journey and partnership, and I’m really pleased with how things turned out. Our neighbors out here have also been great and patient with us during this construction process.”

Rising Up Against Cancer 5K Run and Walk

New Hope will host a Rising Up Against Cancer 5K Run and Walk on Easter Sunday, April 5, with proceeds benefiting the Cambridge Medical Center Harbor Room. All in the community are welcome to participate.

Sign-up and registration begins at 6 a.m. The cost to participate is $25 in advance or $30 the day of the event. The 5K Run and Walk begins at 6:30 a.m. and refreshments will be served following the event at 6:45 a.m. Online registration is available at runagainstcancer5k.eventbrite.com.

Each registered participant will receive a T-shirt, and medals will be awarded to top finishers in men’s, women’s and youth under 18.

Sponsors of the event include New Hope, Allina Health, Points Companies LLC, Classical Homeopathy, Edina Realty–The Wissler Team and City Center Market.

“The idea behind the run and walk is rising up again against cancer, and on Easter Sunday, Jesus rose from the dead,” Berg said. “We invite everyone to come on down on Sunday with their family and run and walk while the sun rises up above the lake. The run and walk all takes place around our new church in the country, and it’ll be real quiet and peaceful. All the proceeds benefit the Harbor Room, who support our local friends and family going through cancer.”

Berg explained the run and walk event coincides with the kick-off for “The Cure” series beginning at New Hope at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 4, and 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, April 5. The series lasts for eight weeks.

Berg explained Easter is a time for all things to be cured.

“Because of the cross and Easter, everything is cured,” Berg said. “Easter brings cure and transformation, and I’ve seen it happen with our church families.”

For more information on New Hope Community Church, call 763-552-7979 or visit http://newhopecambridge.org.

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