'Go To' Greg: Savings Bonds, IRA's, Wills and Annuities

Greg Kurinec answers your finance questions in his regular column.

Dear Greg,
I own EE savings bonds.  I have some I think are not paying interest any more.  How can I find out what they are worth and see if they are still paying interest?

Shelly H.

Dear Shelly

If you have access to a computer go to www.treasureydirect.gov and click on the green button that says “personal.”  From there you will look for a tab on the top of your screen labeled “Research Center.”  Click on research center then on that screen you will see a button on the right side of the screen that says “Savings Bond Calculator.”  Click on the Savings Bond Calculator and then you can enter the information on your bonds.

If you don’t have a computer call my office at 630-505-8375 and I will prepare a savings bond performance report for you. 

All the best-Greg

Dear Greg,

I was told by my daughter that I can contribute to my IRA for 2010 until April 15, 2011.  I am short of funds to make a deposit and need to make sure I have time.  Do I have the extra time?  Please help.

Gerri S.

Dear Gerri,

Your daughter is correct.  You have until April 15, the year after the year in which you are trying to make a deposit.  People often confuse the rule of taking a required minimum distribution from an IRA by December 30 of any year as the deposit deadline.  Rest assured you have all the time you need.

All the best-Greg

Dear Greg,

I have two children and a well written will.  I want one of my children to inherit our family home, but I want them to share equally in my estate.  Is my current plan adequate?

Ben T.

Dear Ben,

I strongly urge you to meet with your attorney to review your will.  I have seen a living trust create value in situations like this. A trust will allow your family to control the disposition of an asset like the family home and may provide more flexibility for your children. You may want to consider investigating a trust when you seek counsel. 

All the best-Greg

Dear Greg,

Can you explain how an immediate annuity works?  I met with my planner and told her I wanted income to last a lifetime. We laughed and then she started to explain how an immediate annuity works. I am still unsure about this?  What do you think?

Sally R.

Dear Sally,

I think an immediate annuity is a good idea.  You have several options to consider. 

One question you need to answer is: How long do you really think you might need the income for? The answer to this question will influence the type of payment you might choose. 

For example most immediate annuities will allow you to take payments over a period of time, say 5 to 30 years or take a higher payment that will last your entire life.  The first option is called a period certain and the second option is called “life only.” 

When you choose a “life only” option your payments stop when you die no matter how many payments you have received. With a period certain they continue for a specific period of time.  In the event of your death your remaining payments will go to your heirs.  I normally recommend a combination of the two.  This option is called “Life with a period certain”. With this choice payments continue as long as you live or your heirs will get a reasonable return on your original deposit if you leave life prematurely.

All the best-Greg


Do you have a question about anything related to Finances?  You may mail, email or fax your questions.  Contact Greg at gkurinec@bentron.com; fax: 630-505-8376; phone: 630-505-8375; Mail: 1833 Centre Point Circle, Suite 135, Naperville, IL 60563

Greg Kurinec is a well-known Chicago-area financial educator who specializes in helping people prepare for retirement. Greg is a Certified Estate Advisor with the National Association of Financial and Estate Planning. Greg is a graduate of Purdue University where he earned his degree in Financial Planning and Counseling from the school of Consumer and Family Sciences. He works at Bentron Financial Group, Inc., a firm dedicated to helping people that are at or near retirement with offices in Naperville and Oak Park. Feel free to contact Greg with any estate planning or investment advisory needs.

This communicate is intended for individuals residing in Illinois.  The contents of this website do not constitute a solicitation to purchase or sell securities in other states.  No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside the specific states referenced.  

This is not a complete analysis of every material fact in respect to any company, industry or security.  The opinions expressed here reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of the report and are subject to change without notice.  Information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable but its accuracy is not guaranteed.  The material has been prepared or distributed solely for informational purposes and is not a solicitation or an offer to buy any security or instrument or to participate in any trading strategy.


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