Trust and Transparency with Essex Financial

It’s not always easy to step into the shoes of others who may have mismanaged or misstepped along the way. But it is important for those who are honest and open to get that message approach. This is what Essex Financial Services is doing in the aftermath of some bumpy times. Charles R. “Chuck” Cumello Jr. is the CEO and President of the company which is insisting on transparency and trust.

Today, they have close to 50 financial advisers and a reported $3.4 billion in assets and are one of the largest independent financial-services companies in the state of Connecticut.

When discussing how they approach the market, Cumello says that he usually recommends a percentage split of 60-40 between stocks and bonds. He continued, “Everything is possible if you have a plan. A lot of our work is retirement income planning.”

The planning process for the future is certainly made easier with the scenarios Essex Financial can run through their computers. They weigh many factors including life expectancy, charitable giving, paying for college and more.

Cumello explains that much depends on timing. Those who retired in 2007 or 2008 certainly needed more time to recoup their losses than do those retiring today. As Cumello said, “It’s been a heck of a run.”

Certainly, he offers sound advice when he says, “A bull market doesn’t just die of old age — something happens. Our biggest job is not to make emotional decisions.”

Social Security Collection: Early or Delayed?

Seniors across the United States are planning to rely on Social Security income after they retire. Recent reports, however, have indicated that over 40% of seniors claim their funds almost immediately, resulting in a loss.

According to Hans Scheil, CEO of Cardinal Retirement Planning, it’s behavioral finance.

“They want the security of knowing a government check is coming instead of just living on their assets,” he explained.

Other reasons that people may opt for a loss are concerns of government cuts, moves or other financial struggles. Before deciding on a course of action, it’s important to consider all the information.

First, the monthly payment amount drops if you collect your benefits early. Thinkadvisor.com explained that “for anyone with a full retirement age of 66, collecting at 62 ½ nets a 25 percent lifetime benefits reduction, while delaying until 70 offers a 32 percent credit.”

Furthermore, penalties are heavier for younger retirees. People born in 1960 or later take a 30% decrease if they draw their funds at age 62, and gain 24% if they collect at 70. Planning ahead can help you delay your withdrawal without risk.

There are cases where an early collection makes sense, however. For example, James Sullivan of Connecticut-based Essex Financial explains: “If, for some reason, someone believes they won’t live until life expectancy, it absolutely makes sense to draw early.”

This is seen in cases where a family has a history of early death, or someone has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. It’s important to plan for a wide range of scenarios, though, such as a spouse, or long term care if the illness does not progress as expected.

Though choices should be made on a case-by-case basis, most people would benefit more from a delayed collection. If you are not sure what is best for you and your family, or you want to understand the process a bit more, local advisory firms or consultants can offer additional insight into your situation.