Myths About Selling a Structured Settlement for Cash

There’s a whole world out there of financial products I have very little understanding about.  Apparently, there’s a market for buying and selling “structured settlements” for cash after you win big money after a court case.  The following is a guest post by Jason from JG Wentworth which pays people cash now for settlements which are paid over time.  Interesting concept and something which is worth learning about.

When a plaintiff settles a court case and is awarded a large amount of money, it may be decided that the settlement will be paid over time in installments rather than a single lump sum payment.  This type of arrangement is called a “structured settlement”.

The advantage to having a structured settlement is that the money is tax-free if set up properly.  Structured settlements can also be beneficial because they provide a source of income for the recipient well into the future, where as lump sum payments will more likely be spent if the recipient does not manage their money responsibly.

Structured settlement payments can also be a disadvantage, trapping the recipient into periodic payments when they may want cash now.  Many settlement recipients choose to sell their settlement payments for a lump sum of cash to start a business, pay for college tuition, purchase a home or other various financial reasons.

Handling a large lump sum of cash can be exhilarating.  And it can be a little unsettling, too.  Money causes people to worry, and worry spins half-truths or unfounded myths about financial issues at hand. Selling your structured settlement into a lump-sum payment is an opportunity to increase your net worth — not limit it.  All it takes is a little guidance from a structured settlement buyer and a plan of action for your cash to breakthrough any doubts.

Apparently there must be some controversy about structured settlements and Jason is here to help clear the air.

MYTHS ABOUT SELLING A STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT FOR CASH

View Your 401K Like Social Security And Write It Off

Every month I contribute $1,500 to my 401K so that by the end of the year, the 401K is maxed out at $18,000. Unfortunately, $18,000 a year is a ridiculously low amount of money to save for retirement if you really do the math. After 10 years, you might have $250,000, and after 30 years you might have $800,000 to $1.2 million depending on the markets and your employer’s match.  Whatever the case may be, the 401K is simply not enough money to retire on, especially since you need to pay taxes upon distribution.

The government needs to get it together and raise the amount of 401K contribution for those in the later part of their lives.  How is it that a 40 year old executive who makes $250,000 can only contribute the same amount in his 401K as a 23 year old kid out of school making $40,000?  It just doesn’t make sense.  Instead, the government should allow pre-tax contributions to increase by $5,000 every 5 years so that by the time one has served 20 years in the work force for example, s/he can contribute $35,000+ a year to their 401Ks until retirement.

Let’s talk about the pencil geek IRA retirement plan for example.  If you’re one of the fortunate who are allowed to contribute, you can only fund $5,000 a year!  Whoopdeedoo!  $5,000 X 30 years later, assuming you don’t lose it in the market yields $150,000-$300,000 maybe!  Great, just enough to buy me a Honda Accord sedan when I’m grey.  Get it together government and raise that $5,000 contribution amount higher with better tax incentives.  Furthermore, let hard working Americans who make over $120,000 the opportunity to contribute regularly, and not just through odd year loop holes.  Empower people to want to save for their future!

SAVE FOR THE FUTURE

Buying Blogs, Selling Blogs: How I Built My Blogging Business

Blogging to live the good life!3 years ago, I was told by many bloggers: “You will never make money blogging. And if you do, $200/month will be your highest peak ever”.

Three year ago, The Financial Blogger was averaging 500 visits per month and I was ecstatic when I made my first deal of $10 for a link.

Three years later, I now run three financial websites, bought 2 of them and flipped a blog within a year. I am now able to work 1 full day per week on my online business (while I still have to keep my “day job” in the meantime). I really like buying and managing finance blogs as I think it is currently one of the best investing opportunities we can find.

When I asked Sam if I could write a guest post for Financial Samurai, he asked me to include more details on how I appraised blogs and how do I decide or not to send $10K over the wire (or more!) simply to buy a “.com”.

Look at Blogs as a Real Estate Investing Opportunity

Personal Finance Bloggers Cause US Retail Sales To Plunge!

May retail sales drop 1.2% or the most in 8 months as more and more people turn to personal finance bloggers for frugality advice!  I’m pretty certain nobody has ever come up with this statement, but think about it for a little bit.  Why is it that the public should take personal finance advice from BusinessWeek, for example?  The articles are written by relatively well-paid writers who are on a mission to report the news.  They do a fine job at that, but perhaps not as fine a job making things visceral like the personal finance community.  What’s more personal than a real person like Jeff delivering pizzas to get out of debt?  Not much!

It’s very hard for the mass media to compete against a team of personal finance bloggers such as the Yakezie.  We’re real life people responding to comments and putting ourselves out there.  There’s a two-way street with us.  If I were Editor in Chief of any mass media publication, I’d go out and hire an bunch of influential personal finance bloggers and put them on my payroll.  $75,000 a year will do or perhaps $150,000 a year if you want us to write an article a month exclusively for you.  By doing so, the Editor will inject new life, new readers, and therefore a wealth of new advertising dollars to the publication.

As evidenced by May’s retail sales figures, we are creating the news with our frugal ways instead of just reporting the news.  There’s a movement underway, can you feel it?  Maybe we’ll band together and talk about how we should never buy new cars again, causing June’s new car sales to dip.  Or maybe we’ll discover how amazing one person’s unsung journey is to fight poverty in Uganda and direct millions of dollars their way.  That counts for something.  Let’s make a palatable difference with the words we write.  Someone is out there listening.

Be Your Own Fund Manager: For your after tax investments, Motif Investing allows you to build a basket of 30 stocks for only $9.95, instead of spending the normal $7.95 for each position ($230+ commissions). There’s no need to pay expensive and ongoing active management fees for mutual funds again. Once you build your own portfolio, or purchase one of the 150+ professionally created motifs, you can simple dollar cost average with one click of the button every time you have money to invest. You can even buy retirement Horizon motifs, that act like target date funds, except you don’t have to pay the 1% management fee either. Finally, you get up to $150 in free trading credit when you start trading with Motif Investing. Motif Investing is truly the low-cost, efficient, and most innovative way to invest today.

Passive Income X Factor – Starting Your Own Site

It’s been around six years since I started Financial Samurai and I’m actually earning a good passive income stream online. The top 1% of all posts on Financial Samurai generates 31% of all traffic. The average age of the top 1% posts is 2.3 years old. In other words, after putting in the hours to write some very meaty content over two years ago, 10 posts consistently generate a monthly recurring income stream that’s completely passive. The posts probably won’t continuously rank high in search for years due to tremendous competition, but that’s partly why I continue to write 3-4X a week.

I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build. If you enjoy writing, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, see how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes with BluehostIt’s cheap and easy to start.

Updated on 3/2/2015. Let the bull market continue!

How Not To Panic During A Stock Market Correction

It’s exactly during the good times where we need to be more disciplined in our finances, because we never know when the bad times will return.

With market volatility back in 2015, it’s pretty clear that everything isn’t peaches and cream. US leading indicators have turned downwards, unemployment figures have stopped improving, and people are wondering whether Europe will be like the US, but much worse. If you’re American living in America, look at the bright side of things: the US dollar is strengthening, and the 10-year yield has declined to 1.7%, which is leading to lower rates yet again!  The 10 year yield and all its glory really is the most beautiful figure to watch.  It can tell the story of everything and anything.

The USD will always be a global safe haven currency, no matter how hard we try and mess things up. It’s good to see that we aren’t the only basket cases as investors sell the Euro faster than they can say tapas!  What’s going on now is that money is shifting towards US assets, namely the property market.  Combine an asset shift with cheap debt, and rental yields above the current risk-free rate of return (3.1%), you realize why smart money is moving into the US property market again.  Only a minority will agree with the attractiveness of the US property market, and therein lies the opportunity.

During bad times, it’s always good to re-evaluate your finances.  I’m not convinced the bad times are back and am actually quite sanguine about the economy.  All the same, here are some suggestions just in case things get ugly for longer.

TOP 5 THINGS TO DO WHEN THE BAD TIMES ARE BACK AGAIN

Conventional Wisdom Leaves Much To Luck In Investing

Imagine two similar investors, Leslie and Bob.

  • They each retire with a $500,000 portfolio.
  • They each withdraw 4% of their portfolio in the first year of retirement, then adjust that amount upward each year to account for inflation (as measured by the Consumer Price Index).
  • Their portfolios are identical: 60% in Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund and 40% in Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund, rebalanced at the end of each year.
  • The only difference is that Leslie retired at the end of 1994, and Bob retired at the end of 1999.

The Result?

Charles Farrell of “Your Money Ratios” Speaks About Retirement And Investing,

As I wrote in my review of “Your Money Ratios”, Charles’ book sings to me. Charles has the ability to simplify complicated financial topics for the average reader to understand. His book is seriously one of the best books I’ve read on personal finance in a long while.

One of the keys to progress is learning from experts in their various fields.  Charles is gracious enough to answer some follow up questions I’ve been burning to ask after reading his book.  This will be a two part post due to the 2,800 word length of the interview.  In part I, we discover Charles’ motivation for writing his book, strategies for early retirement, and his conservative and debatable 50%/50% investment split between stocks and bonds.  In part II, we discuss the much maligned 401K, personal income taxes, why Social Security will survive, and why the flat tax is the right way to go!  Please enjoy!

WRITING “YOUR MONEY RATIOS”

Question: Was there a particular lightning bolt reason why you decided to write this book? For aspiring authors, what suggestions do you have to get your worked published in this ultra competitive field of business?

Answer: I wanted to write a book that would help average readers understand the most fundamental and critical relationships among one’s income, capital and debt, and how those things must be managed throughout your working career to build financial independence. So I took what are often quite complicated topics and figured out a way to present them in a very simple format that anyone can follow. I would like more people to enjoy the benefits of financial independence, and I hope this book does that.

As far as writing, all I can say is write about what you believe in. Hopefully, if you believe in it strongly enough, you’ll develop some expertise and then seek out ways to spread your ideas. Try to develop some niche that is reflective of your expertise. So I developed the ratios and they came out of my background in tax, finance and also working with individuals.

Think about what you do that is a little different and try to focus on that unique nature of what you do. It is a tough slog because the field is very crowded and often the least valuable information gets the most press. But you have to accept that reality and still push ahead. And then you need a little luck. Your message has to somehow get into the hands of people who appreciate and understand it. And that is hard to predict, which means you need a little luck to get it out there. So if you are going to pursue that path, I think you need to accept those realities of the marketplace.

EARLY RETIREMENT