“Now YOU can learn about retirement planning in plain English. Planning for retirement can be confusing. I cut through all the industry jargon so YOU can learn how to achieve your retirement goals.”

Author Archives: Christopher

A deep dive into a Variable Annuity illustration… good deal or bad?

Variable Annuity Illustration2Quick heads up: This article along with video is kinda long-ish. I get into some details that may bore the average person. But if you are considering an annuity, especially a variable annuity, this article and video will show you how to dissect the annuity illustration to better understand if this is a good deal or a bad deal.

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Here’s the background on this story. Having a web presence with this website allows me to meet people from all over this country. This is one real life case (of many) of someone that reached out to me because they had been pitched a variable annuity. They sent me the illustration and we had an intelligent discussion about it. What I’m going to show you is how to look at an annuity illustration to truly understand what the real benefit is. Then you can decide if that benefit is worth it.Continue Reading

Dow Hits 20,000 For The First Time. What Does This Mean For Investors?

On Wednesday January 25th 2017 the Dow Jones index hit 20,000 for the first time. Not only is this an all-time high for the Dow, it is a psychological number.

On that same day the NASDAQ hit a new all-time high passing 5,650. And the S&P on the following day briefly surpassed 2,300. Not as exciting psychologically as the number 20,000; but never the less these are new all time highs.

A lot of the growth in the market lately has occurred after the presidential election. And much of that growth is based on anticipation of lower corporate taxes, some deregulation, and increased government spending on infrastructure. But it is also fair to note that there could be some headwinds as well, as there is talk of increased tariffs on imported goods from some countries, namely Mexico.

So what does the smart investor do?

Let’s keep this simple and break it down to 4 key takeaways for investing in this new environment.Continue Reading

5 Ways Borrowing Against Your 401k Hurts Your Retirement


You’ve probably heard the phrase “change is the only constant.”

Just like we can always count on “death and taxes,” we can also always count on the fact that life changes. This means the economy changes, laws change, and the way we plan for retirement changes too.

Strategies that worked in the past, may not work as well going forward.

In 1978 a section of the Internal Revenue Code was enacted that made 401(k) plans possible. With this new legal change, new strategies could be used to plan for retirement.Continue Reading

What Part of an Annuity is Taxable?


A reader of mine recently asked me a question about how annuities are taxed. Specifically it pertained to which portion of an annuity is taxable.

This is a very important question, because if you don’t know the right answer to it you may unknowingly pass up on an annuity as part of your portfolio.

So let’s get started…

How are annuities taxed?

Continue Reading

Investing and Short Term Stock Market Performance


It can be very tough investing in retirement. When you retire you get a big pot of money called a 401(k) (or TSP, or other qualified retirement plan), and you have to manage it wisely to last you the rest of your life (and your spouse’s life if you’re married).

For most people this will involve investing it. Perhaps even investing a portion of it in the stock market. The stock market can be volatile. No one can perfectly predict it. And if you are not an investing expert, you will often doubt your own buy/sell decisions.Continue Reading


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Investment Advisory Services offered through Retirement Wealth Advisors, (RWA) a Registered Investment Advisor.  Tri-State Financial Group, and Tri-State Insurance & Financial Services, and RWA are not affiliated. Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

This information is designed to provide general information on the subjects covered. Pursuant to IRS Circular 230, it is not, however, intended to provide specific legal or tax advice and cannot be used to avoid tax penalties or to promote, market, or recommend any tax plan or arrangement. Please note that Tri-State Financial Group and its affiliates do not give legal or tax advice. You are encouraged to consult your tax advisor or attorney.

Annuity guarantees rely on the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurer. Any comments regarding safe and secure investments, and guaranteed income streams refer only to fixed insurance products. They do not refer, in any way to securities or investment advisory products. Fixed Insurance and Annuity product guarantees are subject to the claims‐paying ability of the issuing company and are not offered by Retirement Wealth Advisors. Chris Hammond is insurance licensed in TN.