It has been a very busy summer for all of us in our office. It’s great to be able to discuss with you our new “brand”. There has been much thought put into our “iWealth” company name and brand. iWealth represents “independence, your wealth and family wealth.” You will be seeing this name and brand in all of our advertising and communication to you.

This does not mean that we have changed our relationship with Investment Centers of America. The relationship with ICA is still in place and we would expect this to continue indefinitely. We have only changed our name on the outside but remain with ICA. Also, we are still located inside the First National Bank building here in Waseca. That relationship has not changed either.

This summer has also brought on the addition of Toby Hovelsrud. Toby is a Waseca native and a recent graduate of Minnesota State Mankato. He graduated with a finance degree and minor in accounting. Toby is married to his wife Angie and has a young son named Carter. He’ll be taking his security tests soon to help assist you with your needs. He’s already in the office so stop in and say “hi”.

Beat the Big Three “What If’s”
In 2007, the price of oil rose an astounding 57%.1 A lending crisis brought one of Wall Street’s venerable investment banks to its knees. Inflation jumped above 4% for the first time in nearly two decades.2

What do these events have in common? They were largely unexpected. Let them serve as a reminder that other unexpected events are lurking out there, waiting for their time in the sun.

As you work toward your financial goals, have you considered whether you are also preparing for the unexpected? Taxes, inflation, and medical costs – among other factors – could have an unanticipated effect on your retirement. There may be little you can do to combat them once you are no longer working. What if medical costs are more than anticipated? It is becoming increasingly common for people to retire without the benefit of employer sponsored health insurance. In 2006, just 19% of employers with 500 or more employees offered health benefits to Medicare eligible retirees, down from 40% in 1993.3

Without employer health insurance, a 65-year old couple retiring this year will need an estimated $225,000 tocover their medical expenses in retirement.4

What if inflation is higher than you anticipated? Looking at the 2.7% average annual inflation rate of the past 10 years could make you forget how dangerous inflation can be. But inflation made a serious comeback in 2007, rising to 4.1%, which is more in line with the 30-year average of 4.2%.5

What if taxes go up? Current tax rates are low by historical standards, but the nation is facing huge obligations to Medicare and Social Security. Congress so far has quashed any effort to make permanent the lower tax rates passed in 2001 and 2003, making it seem more likely that it will allow higher taxes in order to help meet the country’s obligations.

Obviously, there’s no way to forecast the future. The best approach may be to slightly overestimate what it will take to achieve the retirement of your dreams.

1) Journal of Financial Planning, March 2008
2) Thomson Financial, 2008 (consumer price index for the periods 12/31/1997 to 12/31/2007 and 12/31/1977 to 12/31/2007)
3) Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2007
4) InvestmentNews, March 17, 2008
5) Thomson Financial, 2008 (consumer price index for the periods 12/31/1997 to 12/31/2007 and 12/31/1977 to 12/31/2007)