Former Clemson football player seeks help for grandmother who lost everything in a house fire

Friday morning April 17th, tragedy struck a tight-knit family in Jacksonville, Florida. The home of former Clemson football player Tavaris Barnes’ grandmother went up in flames and smoke as a result of an electrical fire.

“Unfortunately, she didn’t have homeowners insurance so I am trying to raise funds for her to restore the house,” Barnes says. “This house is special to my family as it has been one of the few constants in my life. In fact, I was staying with her as I am in search of my next job after getting laid off by the XFL. My granny worked hard for this home.”

Barnes’ grandmother Daisy Young retired from her full-time job at First Coast High School this past fall at 72 years old after working there for 24 years. She started substitute teaching part-time to help pay the bills but because of school closures is unable to work right now.

Barnes says, “All funds raised through this campaign will be going to help the strongest and hardest working woman I know restore her home. We got a quote for professional cleaning to make the house more livable and that alone is going to be $3,000-$5,000 and we will also have to spend that much to get the house painted and we are still working to get an estimate to get the roof fixed and her stove replaced. I would also like to help her replace the furniture that you can see was ruined by this fire.”

Barnes wishes he could do more personally, but is so grateful for the support of the community during difficult times like this. “The XFL has stopped paying me and took all benefits. Neither of us can work at the moment,” he says.

Barnes says he would like to give thanks from the bottom of his heart, to all of those who are able to provide his family with assistance during these difficult times. “Even if you are not able to help financially, just saying a prayer for us would mean so much,” He says.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Clothing Donations

Barnes and his four young daughters had been living in the home and are now displaced to a hotel, while Pearl is living with a family friend. They are in immediate need of clothing and basic necessities. Cornerstone has designated a drop-off location for donated items. The first trip to deliver them will be made this Saturday, April 25th. The items and sizes needed and drop off location are listed below.

Monetary Donations

Barnes has also set up a gofundme page to raise funds for his grandmother and if you’d like to donate to that you can find the link below.

As many are aware, gofundme keeps a portion of all funds donated. For this reason Cornerstone has set up an account to raise funds where every penny of the money raised will go directly to the Barnes family. You may donate to this cause through paypal by clicking on the subsequent links below.

Cornerstone Cares Paypal

Link to Go Fund Me

 

If you’d like to donate physical items needed, please drop off to the address below by Friday, April 24th.

Cornerstone Wealth Advisory Group

8550 Dorchester Road

North Charleston, SC 29420

ITEMS NEEDED:

For Children

Little girl size 6/7 or 8 Clothing shoe size 1 Big Kid

Little girl size 5T/6 Clothing, shoe size 11 Child

Little girl size 3T/4T, shoe size 7 Child

Baby girl size 9-12 months, newborn shoe size

For Grandma

Clothing size: Pants size 10, shirt size Medium, Dress size Large, shoe size 8.5

For Tavaris

Clothing size: Pants size 38, shirt size XL and shoe size 13

Cornerstone Donates $4,000 to Ricky Sapp Foundation

On Saturday, February 29th the Cornerstone Team, headed up by CEO Mike Haskett, donated $4,000 to the Ricky Sapp Foundation.

Helping to provide the youth of our community with the resources they need to grow into successful adults is VERY important to Cornerstone.

That is why at this week’s Charity Basketball game they presented the foundation with a check for $4,000.

The event began with noteworthy sports figures speaking to the group and giving encouraging life lessons to all those in attendance. A few of the athletes who participated in this event were CJ Spiller, Temarrick Hemingway, Baushaud Breeland, AJ Cann, Crezdon Butler, Coty Sensabaugh, and Brandon Ford.

The Cornerstone team was very proud to have the opportunity to participate and look forward to seeing what else this organization will do in the future!

Cornerstone Awards Scholarship to Pinewood Graduate

The Cornerstone team is honored to award a $6,500 scholarship to one of their administrative staff. Pinewood student Caroline Raglin has worked at Cornerstone as a part-time administrator throughout her high-school years.

“Caroline was really excellent at her job,” says VP of Operations John Bankowski. She grew into her role with great maturity and as time went on I knew I could really depend on her to do her work correctly and efficiently. She was always reliable, even though her school work and sports kept her very busy.”

When graduation approached and Caroline was accepted to attend Clemson University, CEO Mike Haskett just knew he couldn’t send her away empty handed.

“We worked hard to organize a scholarship fund for Caroline,” he says. “We work closely with Royal Neighbors of America and we were able to combine efforts and award Caroline a total of $6,500 in scholarships. We are so proud of her and can’t wait to see all the great things she accomplishes in the future.”

Income Certainty in an Uncertain Economy

Don’t let a volatile market and inflation keep you from planning your future. There are safe earning options available.

Article Contributed by David Armbruster and Robert Keeler

I have been working with retirees for a number of years now and I am always interested in what concerns people have when it comes to their finances. There are several consistent answers that continually arise but none more common than income.

There are people from all walks of life that are concerned about outliving their money. How do we get through this with a volatile market and consistent inflation knowing that at the end of the day there will be enough money to sustain a favorable lifestyle?

It is a valid question and a real concern and without appropriate planning, there could certainly be some very real consequences.

There is good news in this story however. There are programs available in the investment world designed specifically for the purpose of income generation. Not just income until you run out of money, but income that CAN NOT BE OUTLIVED.

They are called annuities. Many of you reading this may have experience with annuities and many of you may have heard terrible reviews about annuities as well. Some of the information is true and some should be left by the curb with the trash. What I can tell you, is that annuities present an opportunity to generate a lifetime income stream that can’t be outlived as opposed to the alternative methods of income generation typically used such as a bond portfolio and other market-driven investment options.

I am a registered investment advisor representative and will maintain that there are effective ways to generate income in the securities world that have been used effectively for years. However, none of these methods has the protection of principal that the equity-indexed annuity does.

These programs allow for growth when the market does well and protection from loss when the market fails. These programs also offer clients opportunities to use certain riders to guarantee income for life while still having the ability to grow the underlying cash value of the account. This enables the investors to have a consistent income stream whether or not the investment performs well.

On top of the income, it also protects and grows the cash value that supports the income with no market downside so that there can be dollars leftover to pass to the investors loved ones if so desired. These riders are so effective that the income stream can persist even past the distribution of all of the original principal and any growth that would have been earned.

This is a security that many investors are moving towards with today’s current market conditions. As with any investment vehicle, these products are not right for everyone and certainly not right for all of someone’s assets.

However, the equity indexed annuity provides for the opportunity to grow with market potential overcoming the lackluster fixed rates available today and brings protection that almost no other market driven program can offer. It is a nice marriage of features.

Being able to add to that, the option for lifetime income with growth opportunity of the base value simultaneously taking place, makes for an attractive offer. For many retirees, the worry of a foregone income stream is now a thing of the past due to the implementation of programs such as these. 

David Armbruster is President of the Financial Division of Cornerstone Wealth and Tax Advisory Group, Inc. in charleston south Carolina as well as an Investment Advisor Representative through the Investment Advisor Alliance, LLC. This column is for informational purposes only. Please consult an investment advisor prior to any financial decisions. 

One of the greatest challenges facing retirees is finding a way to maintain their lifestyle when there is no longer a company paycheck coming in each week. Each family now needs to create an income stream from their own resources that has, hopefully, been saved through the years. They also must determine their income needs for this lifestyle.

There are several ways to generate a stream of income from these funds including the drawing from a diversified portfolio, using the dividends and income from a portfolio, earning interest in a fixed income portfolio that coincides with your needs, and the use of annuities.

Annuities can be an important way to ensure a specific amount of income each month, but since they are an insurance product I will discuss the first three.

Drawing funds from a diversified portfolio means you will be taking money from the investment accounts. You are effectively counting on the growth and steadiness of the portfolio’s returns to fund your retirement. During periods of negative returns retirees will need to decide if they really need the full draw; if the percentage chosen as a withdrawal rate is reasonable, this should not be a problem.

Designing an investment portfolio of high yielding equities and income producing instruments often leads to investment in financial and utility stocks, as well as, preferred issues. These will often be value stocks, or stocks that trade at a ‘cheap’ price compared to what the company is worth; however, investment in individual equities leads to other risks of which to be wary. Also, companies in this category may be companies in dire straits and as such may not continue a lofty payout rate.

This method is often used when the investor wishes to leave the principal untouched and live solely off the dividends. Building a portfolio of bonds that approximates the cash flow needs of an investor seems like a sure bet.

A portfolio of bonds paying interest at roughly monthly periods to create income fulfills the need for steady pay. The drawback, though, is the lack of appreciation potential and that the principal is only attained at maturity with reasonable surety. If there comes a need to sell the instrument, the market price may be substantially lower than the price paid.

The thought of a fixed income product often gives an investor a false sense of security regarding the valuations. Upon maturity and the need for reinvestment, this method leaves your income to the coupon rate available in the market. While annuities, equities, bonds, and all investments inherently carry risk; there are ways to mitigate a prospective catastrophe, one of which is to diversify in as many ways as possible.

The best portfolio for the investor is one that achieves reasonable goals, has a high likelihood of lasting through the investor’s lifetime, and does not keep them constantly worried.

A balance of the three methods above may be the answer. A portfolio diversified across asset classes with a supplement of high yielding sectors in the equities and a well planned fixed income allocation will provide the flexibility, potential for growth, and income needed to help a retiree comfortably live in retirement – assuming the starting value is sufficient. 

Robert Keeler is CEO and portfolio manager at The Investment Advisor Alliance LLC, a RegisteredInvestment Advisor. IAA can be reached at 800-607-3340. This column is for informational purposes only.Please consult an investment advisor prior to any financial decisions.

Top 10 Life Insurance Myths

Life insurance is complex, and there is no one-size-fits-all advice. Don’t let misunderstandings stop you from choosing the right coverage.”

Life Insurance. Those two words bring up a number of questions to the average person. We are pretty sure we need it, but we aren’t always sure exactly how much we need, what type we need, how it affects our taxes, and which companies are the best to choose from.

A recent MSN Money news article explains why having a good handle on this information is so important.

“Life insurance is not a simple product. Even term life policies have many elements that must be considered carefully in order to arrive at the proper type and amount of coverage. But the technical aspects of life insurance are far less difficult for most people to deal with than trying to get a handle on how much coverage they need and why.”

The article breaks down some of the more common life insurance questions and gives simple and concise answers to 10 Life Insurance Myths. (Click here for the full article  http://money.msn.com/health-and-life-insurance/top-10-life-insurance-myths)

We have chosen five of these Myths to discuss on our Blog today.

Myth: If I’m single and don’t have dependents, I don’t need coverage.

Even single people should have at least enough life insurance to cover the costs of personal debts, medical and funeral bills. If you are uninsured, you may leave a legacy of unpaid expenses for your family or executor to deal with. Plus, this can be a good way for low-income singles to leave a legacy to a favorite charity or other cause.

Myth: My life insurance coverage needs to be twice my annual salary.

The amount of life insurance you need depends on your specific situation. There are many factors to consider. In addition to paying medical and funeral bills, you may need to pay off your mortgage and provide for your family for several years. A cash-flow analysis can help determine the amount of insurance you need.

Myth: My term life insurance coverage at work is sufficient.

Maybe, maybe not. For a single person of modest means, employer-paid or -provided term coverage may actually be enough. But if you have a spouse or dependents, or know that you will need coverage upon your death to pay estate taxes, then additional coverage may be necessary.

Myth: Only breadwinners need life insurance coverage.

Nonsense. The cost of replacing the services formerly provided by a deceased homemaker can be higher than you think, and insuring against the loss of a homemaker may make sense, to compensate for cleaning and child-care costs.

Myth: I’m better off investing my money than buying life insurance.

Not True. Until the value of your assets exceeds your debt, you need life coverage of some sort. Once you amass $1 million of liquid assets, you can consider discontinuing (or at least reducing) your million-dollar policy. But you take a big chance when you depend solely on your investments in the early years of your adult life, especially if you have dependents. If you die without coverage, there may be no means to provide for them after your current assets are depleted.

The Bottom line is that there are many, many misconceptions about Life Insurance. Considering how vitally important it is to understand such a critical part of financial planning, the best option is to seek advice from a Licensed Advisor.

As one of our previous articles has explained, (http://cswta.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/working-with-your-best-interests-in-mind/) the right Financial Advisor can guide you in your decision making process, completely free of charge!

Cornerstone has these such representatives at branches across the Nation, who will visit you in your home for a financial analysis at your convenience.

Another article on MSN Money gave a great comparison of the best A-rated insurance companies around. (http://money.msn.com/life-insurance/best-life-insurance-companies.aspx) Cornerstone is proud to work in affiliation with seven of the companies featured in the article, plus more than 150 other top-rated Insurance providers.

Contact us today, set up a free Financial consultation, and make sure that you are on top of your responsibility to stay educated about your options in this ever-changing industry.

Uncovering $350/mo in savings- Client Success Story with Randy Harvey

Imagine this scenario. You’re retired and living on a fixed income. You have a life insurance policy that you try to pay a little extra into each month, and you pay a LOT for your health insurance. $400/mo to be exact! To make matters worse, The Medicare Supplement you have does not offer drug coverage, and you and your wife both take a number of prescriptions. You don’t have anything extra in your fixed monthly income to pay for your prescriptions so you’ve been racking up a hefty credit card bill. The bill now totals $8,000 and you see no way possible to pay this down, as you just keep adding to it every month with your expensive prescriptions. What would you do? Can you see any way out of this situation?

This is exactly what one couple was faced with when they met with their Cornerstone Wealth Representative Harry “Randy” Harvey, a certified Senior Advisor who was providing financial reviews to this family and their neighbors.

Believe it or not, Harvey was not only able to save this family money on their monthly prescriptions, he was able to help them completely pay off their credit card debt AND save $350/month on the cost of their health insurance! If you’d like to see how he did it, watch this month’s Client Success Story video, or read on below.

Client Success Story with Randy Harvey

 

“This family is dear to my heart,” Harvey relates. “When I met with them they felt they were in dire straights and saw no way out of their predicament.

“The couple was paying $400/month for their Medicare supplements and they did not have drug coverage included in their plan. They were putting the cost of their prescriptions onto credit cards each month, racking up over $8,000 of debt!”

Fortunately, there was a silver lining. While meeting with them and conducting a full financial review, Harvey discovered that they had been overpaying each month on their life insurance policy and this had created a cash value within the life insurance policy of over $9,000.

First, Harvey switched the couple to a Medicare Advantage plan WITH drug coverage. This cost them only $50/month TOTAL and covered both husband AND wife on their health insurance with a drug plan included! Now they no longer had to worry about putting prescriptions onto their credit card. Plus they were saving $350/month on their health insurance! That kind of savings is HUGE to someone on a fixed income.

Next Harvey facilitated a change in the couples life insurance policy. They were able to take some of the cash value into from the old policy and dump it into a new one. This gave them the same death benefit with a monthly premium that was $2 less per month than the previous plan. Finally they used the remainder of the cash value to fully pay off their credit card debt.

As you can imagine, this couple was overjoyed at the outcome!

“It was a win/win and in the end everyone went home happy,” Harvey says.

Stories like these are why we at Cornerstone STRONGLY encourage everyone to meet with a licensed representative for a financial review EVERY year! You never know what kinds of savings or opportunities may be uncovered!

Don’t hesitate! Set up a review today, at NO COST to you!

 

Randy Harvey has been helping retirees in South Carolina since 2005, and for many years before that in New Hampshire. He enjoys living in sunny Summerville South Carolina where he resides with his wife Vicki. In his spare time Randy plays golf and is an active member of his church, St. Paul’s of Summerville. To set an appointment with Randy, contact Cornerstone’s corporate office at 843-376-3350.

Cornerstone Presenting Sponsor for Pinewood Preparatory School’s Golf Classic

Always a big supporter of Education, Cornerstone Wealth was proud to be the presenting sponsor for a local school’s fundraiser back in September.

On September 28, 2018 Cornerstone proudly supported Pinewood Preparatory’s 20th Annual Golf Classic, to raise funds for the school. The event took place at the Legend Oaks Golf Club where golfers enjoyed 18 holes of golf plus refreshments.

Proceeds went to Pinewood Preparatory School.

Protecting Families with true WHOLE LIFE benefits- Client Success Story with Gary Braddy

Four Years ago when Licensed Advisor Gary Braddy visited his very first client, he knew he had found the career he wanted to be in. Watch his story by clicking here —> Client Success Story with Gary Braddy or read below.

“I was able to help people,” he said. “Four years ago I went out into the field after receiving training and the first person I ever spoke to was a man whose wife had passed away a while back and he had been under the impression that she’d had a life insurance policy with a death benefit of $10,000. Unfortunately what he’d thought was $10,000 ended up being worth only $800 because she’d had a graded death benefit.”

Gary learned that this client didn’t have any insurance himself and so at that point he was able to provide education on the type of policy that would be the best fit for the client’s circumstances.

A TRUE whole life insurance policy was put in place and now the client felt confident that he would be able to give his family the full $10,000 benefit on his passing.

“Right there at my first appointment I was able to help someone,” Gary said.

And that’s what we do here at Cornerstone. We educate and we change lives.

If you’re concerned about the true value of your insurance policy’s death benefit, contact Cornerstone today to set up an insurance policy review at no charge to you!

 

Gary Braddy has been in the industry since 2014 and resides with his family in Moncks Corner, South Carolina .

Maximize Growth and Preserve Wealth -Client Success Story- Troy Bell

Who wouldn’t want to earn the best rate of return on their investment? Who wouldn’t want to know that their life-long earnings were safe from the risks of market decline? Many pre and post retirees feel that it’s not possible to have BOTH of these options. It seems too good to be true, but the reality is, we help clients to maximize the growth of their investments AND safely preserve their wealth EVERY DAY!

Our advisor Troy Bell has just such a story he would like to share. Watch his video by clicking the link below or scroll down to read more about it.

Client Success Story with Troy Bell

“I had a client that had in excess of $500,000 increments in about 3 different banks. Her money was earning a very low rate of return, less than .04% on each investment. No one had ever talked to her about fixed index annuities. When I met this client I wanted to help her in ALL areas of her retirement planning, so we handled her life insurance needs first and then we worked on answering her health ins questions as well. She had a school aged child and two other children going off to college and I was able to consult with her on all of these area.

“Then we were actually able to pull together those investments from all three of those banks and after introducing her to a fixed index annuity we increased her rate of return and almost tripled the amount of money she was earning, on a tax deferred basis.

“She wanted to maximize growth and preserve wealth and we were able to help her accomplish those goals in a very efficient way.”

“Her investments weren’t something she was living off of, this was legacy money to leave to the children and grandchildren and she wanted to maximize growth and preserve wealth and we were able to help her accomplish those goals in a very efficient way.

“As a result she’s come back several times and purchased policies on family members and I will be helping her father with his investment portfolio as well.

“Servicing people’s needs at that level is really what I get the most enjoyment out of. It’s not a job at that point, it’s not work. It’s something you just enjoy doing because you’re actually helping someone.”

 

Troy Bell is a native Charlestonian and a 1988 graduate of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.

 Troy has a history in the financial   services industry, with past experience working as a Loan Officer and Bank Manager and as an Insurance Manager for AIG. He joined the Cornerstone team in 2014.

 His hobbies are horseback riding, swimming and tennis. Troy is also on the Board of the South Carolina      Association of Community Residential Care Programs.

 

 

 

Protect Yourself From Fraud!

Throughout history, those looking to do harm to others tend to prey on the weak and naïve, or those who lack a strong support system. Sadly, in our day, this often ends up being our Senior Citizens. Because of this, we live in a world where Seniors are often the target of financial fraud.

As a mature American, or the child of one, what can be done to make sure you or your relative does not become the subject of such abuse?

An article on MSN Money * focuses on steps that individuals and their families can take and emphasizes the importance the individual participating in the policing of his or her own finances if possible.

One important step is to consider WHY many Senior Citizens are targeted. “According to the FBI,” the article states, “seniors are targeted because they often have nest eggs, they come from a generation that was more trusting, and they’re often too proud to report the fraud. Another reason the elderly sometimes hesitate to report they’ve been ripped off? They’re concerned their relatives might see this as a sign of declining mental capacity and they don’t want to lose their independence. Smart and unscrupulous thieves know all this and try to exploit it.”

When fraud is detected, it can be frightening and confusing for the parties involved. For this reason, the FBI has come out with a comprehensive, yet easy-to-read, list detailing the different types of fraud and how to prevent them. Click here to view the information on the FBI’s Website. http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/seniors.

With all this in mind, it can be daunting to bring someone new into your financial life. At Cornerstone, we understand those fears and do our best to make your experience in dealing with us as reassuring as possible.

Feel free to take a look at this article to see more steps YOU can take to protect yourself from fraud and scams when working with a retirement planner. Protect Yourself from Fraud During Financial Review.

Information for Those Concerned With Protecting Elderly Relatives

As brought out in the article, Credit Card Fraud is one of the most common types that seniors face today. Here are a few steps that can be taken to help elderly relatives avoid becoming a victim!

Talk to your relative about email scams. You can’t be around your relative constantly, so take the time to explain why he or she should never give a credit card number by email to buy a product. These scams often promise a great product — anti-aging products, for example — but scammers need your credit card information. This type of scam also happens over the phone. Seniors get a call and are offered a new product that promises, say, youthful energy. Once scammers get your loved one interested, they ask for a credit card number to seal the deal.

Keep an eye on caregivers. Maybe your parent is still at home and has home health care a few days a week. Or maybe in a nursing facility with nurses and various medical assistants always present. Hopefully, they are dealing with professionals who are trustworthy. Just keep in mind that there are many reports of caregivers using a credit card belonging to people they’re taking care of. It’s awful that someone could stoop so low. But it happens all the time.

If you can, it’s best to visit your elderly relative frequently and shred any mail with personal information on it. If your loved one has credit card accounts, you can view account activity online with them. You can even opt out of paper statements altogether. That way, credit card account numbers won’t be within easy reach of whoever is in the room. Credit card fraud can still occur, of course, but by frequently checking your parent’s accounts online, you’ll notice if something suspicious pops up on their statement.

Even if you can’t visit often, you can still check their credit card accounts online every week from your home. But ask for permission so they don’t feel as if you’re invading their privacy.

Keep an eye on other family members. Unfortunately, family members are often the ones who rob their parents or grandparents. If you have a family member with a problem such as drug addiction or gambling debt, that’s a red flag and warrants additional caution. When people are desperate for money, they can justify taking it from anyone. They’re counting on the fact that no one will notice. You can prove them wrong by keeping on top of your relative’s credit card account activity.

Check the mail. You can learn a lot from the mail. Is your loved one getting letters from “charities” asking for a donation via her credit card? If she’s getting letters from organizations, she may have sent money to them previously. Looking at credit card accounts online is a good way to make sure she isn’t authorizing payments to fraudulent entities.

Pay attention to new friends. The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse recommends keeping track of any new “best friends.” The relationship may be innocent, but if it’s sudden and there’s an age difference, this may be a red flag that someone is planning to commit fraud.

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* http://money.msn.com/credit-cards/protect-grandma-from-credit-fraud