Category Archives: Uncategorized

Do you need a little help in the time and productivity area?

If you are one of the very few people that DOES NOT have problems controlling all the projects they have and the amount of time they have to do them, feel free to skip this great article published in Business Insider titled “26 Time Management Hacks I Wish I’d Known at 20” put together by Max Nisen. For the rest of us it just might save us a little frustration!

An Advisor’s Guide to Navigating Health Insurance Exchanges

By Ellen Breslow
Nov. 18, 2013

Clients shopping the exchanges will likely be confused at the variety of options and requirements they have to deal with. Help them out with this primer on how to navigate the exchanges, the information needed, how to qualify for premium subsidies, and tips for getting the best coverage for the money.

Open enrollment is upon us, and with it, the dawn of the new health insurance exchanges. As an advisor, it’s critical that you understand what is involved in gathering information on these plans, enrolling through the website, and determining your client’s eligibility for a premium tax credit. You’ve heard about how difficult the health insurance websites are to navigate and understand; here is your opportunity to add value to your client’s health care planning by assisting in the process.

State or federal?

The first component to consider is where the client lives (see the figure) and whether the exchange is state run, federally run, or run by a combination of the two. This will impact where your client goes for information and enrollment.

The 34 states or so that have defaulted to a federal government-run exchange will access information at Other exchanges will have their own websites, and most likely, additional enrollment data will be required. The standard information is the same, and as an advisor, that is where you’ll want to focus.

Source: Brookings Institution; data from the Commonwealth Fund

Client information

Although the federal government and state exchanges have a means by which your client can compare plans, it will allow comparisons between only the costs of plans. For example, after completing a generic questionnaire, will display plans under provider, metal level (bronze, etc.), and cost. However, it won’t address the differences among the plans from the assorted providers. Before you can help clients plot a course through the exchange, they should pull together the following information:

  • Dependent Social Security numbers
  • All sources of family income (if applying for premium subsidies)
  • Tax filing status and income estimate for 2014 (if applying for premium subsidies)
  • Dependent residence addresses
  • Dependent tax filing status (if applying for premium subsidies)

Remember that this questionnaire is also an application for enrollment. What’s available depends on where the applicants live. Everyone needs a Social Security number so that citizenship status can be verified. If a dependent doesn’t have a Social Security number, a reason must be provided.

Premium subsidy eligibility

One of the major benefits that the public health insurance exchanges offer is premium subsidies. To qualify for a subsidy, income sources and requirements must be met—hence, the necessity of supplying this information on the enrollment application.
Eligibility for premium subsidies depends on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) and, for early retirees, the extent to which MAGI can be effectively managed. Here’s an easy way to understand the MAGI calculation:

  • Gross income (GI) = Salary + interest earned + income from investments + other taxable income
  • Adjusted gross income (AGI) = GI – qualified deductions
  • Modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) = AGI + Social Security + tax-exempt income + foreign earned income

The tables below will give you an idea of how premium subsidies work. Table 1 gives you an idea of what levels of MAGI fall into the federal poverty level (FPL). The subsidies are available on a sliding scale for those whose income doesn’t exceed 400% of the FPL. Premium calculations are based on silver plans.

Source: HealthPocket

Table 2 outlines the MAGI threshold for subsidies. Subsidies are a percentage of modified adjusted gross income. Premiums will not exceed this percentage of MAGI—up to 9.5% of 400% of FPL.

Source: HealthPocket

Whether your client qualifies for a subsidy or not, the application process will be the same, although there shouldn’t be any income verification requirements. Once an application is submitted, the client will be able to see all levels of plans that are available in the area where he or she resides.

Review existing plans

Although an individual may find a plan where the cost seems to be within acceptable limits, what the plan offers in the way of coverage will differ and network providers will vary from plan to plan. All metal plans will cover the essential health benefits (10 categories of coverage including preventative services); however, there may be other things to consider:

  • List the family’s prescription drugs and be certain the drug formulary covers those medicines that are taken regularly.
  • If keeping the same doctors and hospitals are a key component of your client’s coverage, check the plan carefully. Services may be covered, but the doctor or hospital may not be in the network of providers.
  • Since this is not an employer-sponsored plan, it may make more sense for adult children to purchase their own coverage, especially if they live out of state. The coverage will likely be better. An adult child who is working may also be eligible for a premium subsidy if he or she enrolls separately and considers only one income.
  • If your client is not expecting a premium subsidy, it makes sense to review claim, deductible, and premium records before deciding on which metal plan looks most attractive. Depending on what the history looks like, lower premiums and higher deductibles may look better than expected
  • You may not drop COBRA and enroll now for 2014. There is a special enrollment period available after the COBRA period ends. The exchange plans may be selected instead of COBRA.


There is a six-month enrollment window for the public health insurance exchange plans. In order to meet the January 2014 deadline and meet the individual mandate for establishing coverage, enrollment may be completed by March 31, 2014.

This article is reprinted with the permission of To learn more go to Ellen Breslow is the managing director of  She spent her 26 year career as a managing director of Citi Smith Barney’s Global Wealth Management division, most recently as the creator of the Retirement Resources Group, focusing on healthcare advisory for clients and prospects of Smith Barney and Citi Family Office.  She is a graduate of Lehigh University.

How to Set your Car’s Rear-View Mirrors to Eliminate the ‘Blind Spot’

Several years ago USAA, my automobile insurance company, sent out some instructions on how to set your car rear-view mirrors so you can eliminate the blind spots that normally occur when you are driving and another car is on one side or the other. I’m sure you’ve had it happen to you – you are cruising along and for whatever reason you want to change lanes. You check your rear-view mirror – nothing there to worry about. You check your side mirror – nothing there either.  You put on your turn signal and start to change lanes. Then it happens, a loud car horn sounds and you jump back into your lane muttering to yourself, “where the (expletive deleted) did he come from?”

That’s exactly the spot you can eliminate if your mirrors are set properly.

I got in touch with USAA to try to have them send me a copy of the instructions so I could share them with you.  No one there could find them, but a search of the Internet did bring some results. Here’s the information from the combined versions of Car and Driver Magazine and wikiHow.

It turns out that this information was first published in a paper by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in 1995.  The paper advocates adjusting the mirrors so far outward that the viewing angle of the side mirrors just overlaps that of the cabin’s rear-view mirror. This can be disorienting for drivers used to seeing the flanks of their own car in the side mirrors. But when correctly positioned, the mirrors negate a car’s blind spots. This obviates the need to glance over your shoulder to safely change lanes as well as the need for an expensive blind-spot warning system.

The only issue is getting used to the SAE-recommended mirror positions. The cabin’s rear-view mirror is used to keep an eye on what is coming up from behind, while the outside mirrors reflect the area outside the view of the inside rear-view mirror.

Here is a link to the wikiHow site to get the actual steps for how to set your mirrors:

Car and Driver says, “Those who have switched to the SAE’s approach swear by it, however, some drivers can’t adjust to not using the outside mirrors to see directly behind the car and miss being able to see their own car in the side mirrors. To them we say, “Have fun filling out those accident reports.”


Financial Advisor Abandons Commissions and Account Size Minimums, Gears
Services to Average Americans with Simple Hourly Fee-Only Structure

After 23 years of operation, Wayne Blanchard, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner, has announced Money Professionals Group has become an hourly fee-only financial planning firm and he has joined The Garrett Planning Network. Money Professionals Group is aimed at helping people “from all walks of life,” according to the former Army Officer and Banker. “In our previous role, I was unable to help the majority of people in the community because they didn’t meet the minimums we had set for our services. You had to be rich to get good, individual advice. After reflecting on how I’d like to obtain financial advice myself, I decided to make some changes to help people just like my family and friends. I have friends in the military and federal civilian community, the medical arena, seniors, and small business employers up to a hundred employees,” stated the Mr. Blanchard.

“Money Professionals Group will specialize in helping people make better benefit choices, college funding and retirement planning decisions,” continues Blanchard. “Mutual fund selection, asset allocation decisions, portfolio construction and second opinions on all types of financial matters are core competencies. People will also be able to get help with their health insurance paperwork problems. We are committed to finding ways to save them money, reduce their stress levels and foster peace of mind,” he says.

As a Member of The Garrett Planning Network (, Mr. Blanchard has aligned himself with a nationwide network of independent planners who focus on serving Middle America. “Hourly, As-Needed Financial Planning and Advice for Everyday Life … The New Choice for Smart Consumers” is the network’s trademarked tagline. The network has garnered much media attention, including mentions in/on the Today Show, MSN MoneyCentral, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Smart Money, Washington Post, Newsweek and Time magazine. Mr. Blanchard and fellow GPN Members do not accept commissions or any other form of third-party compensation.

“We are compensated solely by the client, on a pure hourly-fee basis,” says the Brevard County resident. “In the beginning, it may be hard for some people to understand they will have to pay for advice they thought they were getting for free,” said Mr. Blanchard. “But these days everyone knows there is no free lunch, and more and more people are becoming aware of the fact that the big companies price hidden profits inside financial products. “Free advice” is generally biased toward the recommendation of investment products and money management through that particular firm. The consumer does not have full information nor the complete range of choices available.”

The Money Professionals Group model is similar to a dental practice, according to Mr. Blanchard. “Clients call us when they recognize the need for advice or assistance. Checkups are encouraged, but are generally initiated by the client. My dentist operates the same way. This service model works well for people who want to take personal responsibility for their financial well-being. Interested individuals may wish to visit our website,, for helpful information in all areas of personal finance,” he concludes.

Holiday Wishes

Wishing you and your family the holiday season’s joys and wonders. Enjoy the holiday. I hope you also enjoy the following story…it may not be a ‘real’ holiday story, but I bet it will make you think.

The story is attributed to George Carlin, but he always denied having written it. Nonetheless, it really speaks to me and hopefully to you as well:

The Paradox of our Time

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, yet more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life, not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space, but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember to say, “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones; but most of all, mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

Remember – Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

What more need be said?

What to do with $500–Right Now!

The last couple of years have been tough…no doubt about that! But if you happen to have an ‘extra’ $500.00, how should you invest it?

Since Christmas is just around the corner, why not give yourself an early Christmas present. Something that could pay you back for the rest of your life. What could that be? A “Real Time Financial Plan”. (Actually it’s only $495.00 so you have a few bucks left over!)

Just what the heck is a “Real Time Financial Plan” and what can it do for you? Allow me to explain. Do you know if you have the right amount of homeowners insurance? How about the right deductible on your auto insurance? Are you in the right type of health insurance plan at work? Should you refinance your mortgage? Is your credit card debt too high? Should you put more money into your 401(k) plan? How should you invest it?

A “Real Time Financial Plan” can answer all those questions and more. I call this a “Real Time Financial Plan” because it is all done at one time. We block out about three hours and go over everything we can…we don’t generate reports, you take notes. You get straight answers to your questions. Normally we find things that are not set up properly that are actually costing you more than the amount you pay for the plan. No sales pitches, no products…just straight advice.

Maybe the biggest benefit of the process is that you walk away with confidence that you can control your finances.

What more can you ask for Christmas….knowledge of the how and why to do certain things and confidence that someone with training and experience was there to help you guide you through the maze.

Invest in yourself….it will pay big dividends!

Hourly, On Demand Financial Advice

Hourly, On Demand Advice…Affordable Help to Make Sound Financial Decisions!

November 4, 2009

Too many people think sound financial advice is only available to the ‘wealthy’.

Hourly, On Demand Advice….What does that mean?

It means you can get financial advice with no strings. You don’t have to have a certain amount of money. You don’t have to sign a long term contract. You can be just starting out in life, or you can be retired. For whatever reason, you have questions…we have answers. The best part is you only pay for whatever YOU need. Maybe its once, maybe its once a year, a few times a year…its up to you.

Its a pretty simple process really. You call in and tell us what you want to discuss. We will tell you how much time it will take and how much it will cost…in writing…before you even come in. Obviously, the more complicated the issue the more time it will take…and the more it will cost.

Most basic questions can be handled in a 30 minute consultation. That means you can get that nagging question answered for $92.50. That’s our minimum by the way…unless we run a special.

What kind of questions do we answer?

When should I sign up for Social Security?

How much money should I be putting in my 401(k)?

Should I consider a high deductible health policy with a health savings account?

Is it time to refinance my house?

Do I have too much debt?

I’m getting a divorce, now what?

How much life insurance do I REALLY need?

With what happened in the market, can I still retire?

These are just examples, but you get the picture. Questions you would like answered with solid, unbiased, no sales pitch advice. Answered by someone who is trained to answer financial questions.
We want to help you make the most of the one life you have to live. Call today and see how easy it can be to get real financial advice! 321-752-5656×12 Call right now, night or day, you can always leave a message and we will get back to you!

Ever wondered about your “Financial Health”?
Our simple Financial Checkup can get you started!

The past couple of years have been tough. Where are you financially? Is your retirement on track? Can I send my kids to college? Am I saving enough? What should I do! A financial checkup from a Certified Financial Planner can help, and with my limited time special at half price…..NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT!

The $49.95 Financial Checkup!!

This checkup is a great starting point to let you know what you need to do to improve your financial health. One-on-one personal advice (without a sales pitch) to help you make sound decisions on your financial plans. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of your finances and receive advice on what to do next.

Our Price: $49.95
List Price: $99.95

My goal is to make unbiased financial advice available to everyone! I serve people at all income levels, from all walks of life. Clients have the ability to work with me on either a one time, as needed basis or on an ongoing basis. I have special packages for most common financial topics that range from $100-$500. Ask about packages for 401(k) investments, retirement plans, portfolio design, social security, debt reduction and budgets, mortgages and more! Pricing depends on the level of complexity of your situation. You always get your price in writing before we start.

I welcome clients who simply need a one time consultation or a second opinion, as well as those who need comprehensive financial planning and possible asset management services.

Call me at 321-752-5656 x12 or email me at TODAY!

Please pass this email along to anyone that could benefit from my services!


Wayne M. Blanchard, CFP
Money Professionals
“We help our clients make the most of the only life they have.”

Money Professionals is a marketing name only. Financial planning advice and investment advisory services are provided by Money Professionals Group, a Registered Investment Advisory firm by the State of Florida. Money Professionals Group does not solicit business outside the state of Florida.

Maybe You Need to Look at a Different Approach…

You have heard it all before…“one investor at a time”…“maximize your return”…“identify your risk tolerance”…“achieve your life goals”…but isn’t your reality as an investor truly in contradiction to what your financial services vendor peddles?

Doesn’t it seem as though they all sound the same? It makes no difference whether your financial services vendor is a do-it-yourself online brokerage firm, a financial planner or a massive banking or brokerage institution. The fact is many in the financial services industry apply industry accepted “best practices” which is why they all sound the same.

What’s wrong with the “best practices”…after all, aren’t they the “best?” The reality is that while the generally accepted “best practices” work great for the financial advisor and their firm, these practices often fail the investor.

Recognizing this, I set out to objectively examine the very premises of the industry’s “best practices” and discovered numerous contradictions. For example, why is it a “best practice” to identify your tolerance for investment risk and proceed to position you in a portfolio to EXPERIENCE THAT RISK? Isn’t risk something you avoid if possible? Why does the industry consistently identify how much MORE you can save, but evade asking you if you would like to find a way to REDUCE your savings? Are the industry’s best practices serving clients…or the financial advisor and their firm?

Having identified these as well as other contradictions, I put myself in our clients’ shoes and redefined the premises of financial services. First, ideally what should a client’s expectation be for the value their advisor provides? At the most basic level, I am convinced investors want advice that enables them to live the one life they have, the best way they can. With this idea as a foundation, my firm needed completely new premises as our current best practices are squarely in contradiction with this.

The premises of this completely new discipline are:

1. Providing confidence in achieving the life goals each client uniquely values
2. Avoiding needless sacrifice to their lifestyle
3. Avoiding unnecessary investment risk

This revolutionary new financial advising discipline is called Wealthcare.

Few financial advisors have had the courage to challenge the industry’s conventional wisdom and adopt the Wealthcare Process, despite the obvious contradictions. However, my mission is to serve my clients, to deliver to clients what they should rationally expect from a financial advisor relationship and recognize that the industry at large may not have yet invented everything that can be invented.

I do not know if you have been exposed to one of the few advisors that have adopted the Wealthcare process. But, I know one thing. If you want to make the most of the one life you have, if you want to avoid unnecessary investment risk, spend more or save less…or if all you are looking for is confidence and comfort that the goals you personally value are not left completely to chance, then you need Wealthcare.

The choice is yours. You can follow the path of the millions of disappointed investors or you can invest thirty minutes to learn about this discipline designed around making the most of the only life you have.

So, regardless of whether you currently work with me or you have become frustrated with your current advisor and are seeking someone that can finally deliver the service you expect, isn’t it worth a thirty minute investment of your time to at least learn more about how this new discipline can make a difference in your life?

Give me a call at 321-752-5656×12 or send me an email at