Kara Stanley Earns Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) Designation


Kara Stanley Earns Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) Designation 

Pembroke, NH – October 1, 2016 – Kara Stanley of Kara Financial, LLC has earned the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) professional designation from The American College of Financial Services, Bryn Mawr, PA.

               Candidates for the RICP® designation must complete a minimum of three college-level courses and are required to pass a series of two-hour proctored exams. The must also have three years of experience, meet stringent ethics requirements, and participate in The College’s continuing education program.

               The RICP® educational curricula is the most complete and comprehensive program available to professional financial advisors looking to help their clients create sustainable retirement income. The rigorous three-course credential helps advisors master retirement income planning, a key focus area not fully covered in other professional designation programs. Fore retirement portfolio management techniques and mitigation of plan risks to the proper use of annuities, employer-sponsored benefits and determining the best Social Security claiming age, the RICP® provides a wealth of practical information for advisors.

               Using the most current techniques, RICP® identify retirement income needs and objectives and evaluate a client’s current situation relative to those goals. Individuals who earn a RICP® can provide expert advice on a broad range of retirement topics including income needs and objectives, estate issues and other risks to the retirement income planning, Social Security, health insurance and housing decisions, and income taxation.

               Kara has over 20 years of experience and expertise in the field of Insurance, Annuities, and Planning. She has a specialty in the 403(b) market, Future Planning for Families with Special Needs Children, Estate Planning, and Small Business Retirement Planning. She also achieved the designation of Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® (CRPC®) from the College for Financial Planning in February, 2001. Kara spends time volunteering in many aspects of her community, both professionally and personally. She is a Past President of the NH Chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA-NH) and currently serves on Family Support Council for Lakes Region Community Services. Kara is also a Coach of her local Special Olympics team, the Winnipesaukee Warriors.

               The American College is the nation’s largest non-profit educational institution devoted to financial services. Holding the highest level of academic accreditation, The College has served as a valued business partner to banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies and others for over 86 years. The American College’s faculty represents some of the financial services industry’s foremost thought leaders. For more information, visit


17 Outstanding Reasons for Permanent, Cash Value Life Insurance

You’d have to be living under a rock to not have heard “Buy Term and Invest the Difference!” that a few famous “Financial Gurus” tout. While I agree that Term Insurance and Investing has its place in a family’s overall financial plan, that is not entirely sound advice for most people. Term insurance is, by all accounts, a “Rented” policy. It expires after the set term length, and if you’re not healthy enough (or too old) to requalify for another term, you’re out of luck. Not to mention having nothing to show for all those premiums you paid over the years. When the term is up, your death benefit is gone, and so is all that money you paid into the policy. And guess what? The majority of people that have term insurance outlive it.

Don’t get me wrong here, Term Insurance has its place within a sound financial plan, (i.e., covering protection needs that may disappear over time like mortgages, college expenses, etc.) but it should never be the “be all-end all” when it comes to protecting your family and your financial plan.

As far as “investing the difference” what exactly will you be investing in? Investing wisely is a key factor here. Stocks, Bonds and Mutual Funds are options, but also carry risk where you could LOSE money.  Bank CDs are at an all-time low in interest rates, so while an option for the more risk adverse, you won’t be earning much, let along keeping up with inflation. Fixed and Fixed-Indexed Annuities are a good option, but there are penalties if you withdraw funds before 59 ½ because they are considered savings for retirement, not to mention the interest earnings are taxable as ordinary income.

So all of this brings us to today’s Blog topic: Permanent, Cash Value Life Insurance. Commonly known as Whole Life or Universal Life Insurance. There are MANY aspects and benefits that should not be over looked with Permanent, Cash Value Life insurance. Need to protect your family in case of an early death? You got it. Want to supplement your retirement in a tax free way? It can do that. Want to BECOME YOUR OWN BANKER to pay for college expenses, a new car, or whatever else you might to go a bank for? YES!!! That is possible!!

Here are 17 Outstanding Reasons for Permanent, Cash Value Life Insurance:

  1. TAX FREE Death Benefit
    It is LIFE Insurance after all, so it protects your family against early death. However, unlike Qualified Plans, IRAs & Annuities that are taxable to your beneficiaries, the death benefit is Tax Free. In fact, the benefit can be used to help pay the income taxes on those plans, as well as Estate Taxes that maybe due upon your death.
    It can be used in replacing lost Social Security and/or pension income to your spouse. Again, TAX FREE.
  2. TAX FREE Accumulation
    The Cash Value on these plans accumulate on a tax-deferred basis, and if withdrawn from properly, will be tax free to you.
    Speaking of which, that brings me to:
  3. TAX FREE Distributions
    WITHDRAWALS (up to the cost basis) are Tax Free to you. The Cost Basis is based on the amount you have put into the policy. These funds can be used to give you tax free income in retirement.
    POLICY LOANS are tax free as well. While outstanding loans will lower the death benefit upon death, they are a great way to “Be your own Banker” and give you an extra Liquid Emergency Fund
  4. TAX FREE Transfers
    You can transfer the Cash Value of your policy to another Life Insurance policy or an annuity via IRC Section 1035(a) via Tax-Free Exchange.
  5. NO 10% pre-59 ½ IRS Penalty on Withdrawals
    (non MEC) Cash Value Distributions are NOT subject to the 10% pre-59 ½ IRS Penalty because they are tax free in fact:
  6. NO 1099R!!
    Tax Free income means NO 1099 and no reporting to the IRS.
  7. NO OFFSET for Social Security
    In determining how much of your Social Security benefit is taxable, Cash Value Loans and Distributions are NOT COUNTED, unlike Taxable Investments and Tax Free Municipal Bonds (How about that “investing the difference” point again?)
  8. Creditor Protection
    The Cash Value in Permanent, Cash Value Life Insurance is NOT attachable by Creditors.
  9. Can be used as collateral
    If you DO need a loan from a Bank (for personal or business reasons), you can use the Cash Value in your policy as collateral. Of course, the bank may require you to “Collaterally Assign” the policy to them until the loan is paid off. (which guarantees their note is paid first before other beneficiaries)
  10. It’s PRIVATE
    There are NO Public Records as your Life Insurance policies generally AVOID PROBATE. (the exception is if a person names their Estate as the beneficiary)
  11. Waiver of Premium/Long Term Care/Accelerated Benefit Riders
    Because of Waiver of Premium (WOP) Life Insurance is the ONLY self-completing savings, college funding, & Supplemental Retirement plan.
    Long Term Care Riders offer a way to access a portion of the DEATH BENEFIT for Long Term Care needs, and similarly, Accelerated Benefits Riders allow you access to a portion of the overall DEATH BENEFIT of the policy should you be diagnosed with a terminal illness.
    *Most policies offer the Accelerated Benefit for no extra fee, but other riders like WOP or LTC have a fee to add these riders that will be added to the premium.
    ONLY Life Insurance and Annuities can guarantee your investment principal AND offer you a minimum growth rate for the life of the contract. No stock, bond, or mutual fund can.
  13. No Alternative Minimum Tax
    Again, no 1099R reportable income, so Tax Free Cash withdrawals or Policy Loans are not subject to this. (See a pattern here?)
  14. Not a countable asset in qualifying for Obama Care
    Tax Free Cash withdrawals or Policy Loans are not subject to the 3.8% passive income tax under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
  15. Not a countable asset in qualifying for FAFSA (financial aid for college)
    Not only is it not countable as an asset, but Tax Free distributions are not countable as well when applying for FAFSA for you or your loved ones!
  16. Not countable as income in Medicare Means-Testing
    Tax Free Cash Value distributions and policy loans do not count as income in Medicare Means-Testing in determining your Medicare Part B and Medicare Prescription Drug coverage premiums.
  17. It’s UNLIMITED
    Unlike Qualified Plans and IRAs, there is NO LIMIT on how much you can save – you are only limited by the size of the policy! 

As you can see, Permanent, Cash Value Life Insurance is a lot more than meets the eye, and can be a GREAT piece within your overall financial plan. Living Tax Free…it is possible!

Don’t Leave Money on the Table!

Did you know that you may be eligible to receive a Saver’s Credit on your 2014 tax return? If you made any voluntary contributions to a traditional or Roth IRA, 401(k), 403(b), governmental 457, SEP or SIMPLE Plan, then you may be eligible for UP TO $2,000 in Saver’s Credit! **see Chart below

Key Components to getting the Saver’s Credit:

  • Voluntary contributions must have been made for the 2014 tax year in one of the above mentioned accounts.
  • Eligibility is based on income; if your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is up to $30,000 (single) or $60,000 (married, filing jointly),
  • IRA Form 8880 must be completed and filed with your tax return
  • You must be at least 18 years old, NOT have been a full-time student in 2014, OR
  • Not have been claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return

The best part? IT’S NOT TOO LATE!! You can still make a voluntary contribution for 2014 to a Traditional or Roth IRA! You have until you April 15th (or when you file your taxes, if before) to fund a Traditional or Roth IRA, so you can take full advantage of not only helping to secure your future, but also to save on your taxes by receiving the Saver’s Credit!

Call or email us today to see what options we have available for all of your Retirement Savings needs

AGI Credit on first $2,000 of Contributions Maximum Credit
$0-$18,000 50% $1,000
$18,001-$19,500 20% $400
$19,501-$30,000 10% 200
Married, Filing Jointly
AGI Credit on first $2,000 of Contributions Maximum Credit
$0-$36,000 50% $1,000 + $1,000
$18,001-$19,500 20% $400 + $400
$19,501-$30,000 10% $200 + $200

Financial Spring Cleaning

It’s that time of year again. The snow melts and “Ice Out” is declared on the lakes. The weather starts to get warmer and more time is spent outdoors. The Sun seems to shine a little brighter, the birds start chirping, and flowers start blooming.

This is also the time of year that people do their Spring Cleaning. They’ll open up the windows of their homes to bring in the fresh air. They’ll scrub and clean from top to bottom to get rid of the last ruminants of being shut in all winter.

This is also the time of year for new beginnings and fresh starts.

“Spring Cleaning” not only applies to your home, but to your life. Some things to consider:

  • Is your budget up to date?
    ~ Do you know where all the money you spend is going?
    ~ Can you make changes and cuts to help save?
  • Is your Emergency Fund enough to cover 3-6 months’ worth of your most essential budget items? (i.e., Mortgage, Utility bills, Car payments, etc.)
  • Is your Life Insurance coverage enough for your family’s needs?
    ~ Family dynamics change, as do Incomes and Expenses. Is the coverage you have enough to protect your family from crisis should something happen to you?
  • Do you have Retirement accounts in several places?
    ~ Do you have an old 401(k) or two still sitting at a former employer and/or several IRA accounts scattered at different companies?
    ~ Did you know that you can consolidate all of these into one IRA account so there’s less accounts to track?
  • Are your Beneficiary Designations up to date on all your insurance policies?
  • Is your Will up to Date? Do you even have one?
  • Are you maximizing Tax Deductions and Retirement Plan Contributions?
    ~ Do you know what the options are available to you?

Now is a great time to sit down and review your overall financial plan. It’s also a great time to review and make changes where they are needed. We at Kara Financial, LLC are happy to help you with this process and make sure you’re Financial Plan is in tip-top shape. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment!

The Tax Deadline is coming – Are you maximizing your Return?

April 15th is right around the corner, and if you’re like many of us, you’re probably knee deep in receipts, paperwork, and tax forms! But the big question is…are you maximizing your return? Or, if you’re one that pays in…are you paying yourself first before you pay Uncle Sam?

Making an IRA deposit and taking the deduction is a great way to Maximize your return. Don’t need the deduction? They think about opening a Roth IRA so you can enjoy Tax Free retirement funds later. That’s right, TAX FREE.

If you’re a small business, there are several Retirement plans to choose from to give yourself the maximum deduction for your business while lowering your taxes due to Uncle Sam; and, in essence, “Paying yourself first”. It’s also a great way to give your employees a benefit, because you can make a contribution for them as well and get even more savings on your return! Several of these plans are easy to set up with little to no fees, so you can take advantage of the deductions for 2013.

Now is a great time to review the opportunities to get the most out of your return and the most savings on your business. It’s not too late to take advantage of these savings on your 2013 return, but you must do so before your tax deadline.

Call us today at 888.286.3872 to set up an appointment to discuss these options in further detail. We have appointments available so you can get things set up in enough time to meet your tax deadline and maximize your 2013 Tax Return!

Lauching of our new Website!

Hello! I’m very excited for the Launch of our website! I must give a proper Shout out and Thank you to Ashley at Fat Pug Tech for putting all my thoughts and ideas into a great, workable site! As we grow, we’ll be adding onto the site, so keep checking back to see what’s new!