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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Sunday, August 15, 2010

Safe money strategies for retirees By Gregory Strong


nte res te d in p rote c tin g yo ur retirement money and finding safe ways for that money to grow and provide income? Working with an unbiased retirement planner who concentrates on helping people in, or close to, retirement identify and avoid the common mistakes has proven beneficial to many people who are concerned about not outliving their money. A few of the costly mistakes that retirees commonly make include not understanding how to avoid and reduce the devastating costs of long-term care. Left unchecked, these costs could exceed $60,000 annually. Many retirees don’t properly plan their 401K, IRA and other retirement plans which causes them to leave too much of their hard earned money to taxes or probate fees. Proper distribution planning is key to maximizing money to one’s family and minimizing taxes. Improperly set up retirement plans could lose 30 percent, 40 percent or more to the IRS.

Not understanding safe ways for money to grow and provide income is another mistake. Conservative concepts may protect retirees’ money. Procrastination is the single biggest mistake that retired people make – putting off decisions. Too often people set up their retirement strategies and then never revisit their plan or their advisor never gets back to them. Consequently, they don’t keep up with how their money is doing and all the choices that are out there. Retirees should not put off reviewing their financial picture. Those considering retirement should take advantage of all the education and information that is out there. A complimentary consultation with a competent, experienced retirement planner may be helpful. For more information about financial retirement strategies, contact Gregory Strong at 207-8460734. Greg has 35 years experience helping fellow Mainers with their financial planning in retirement. Securities offered through Center Street Securities, Inc., a registered Broker-Dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC.



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Financial health: Tone those financial muscles By Craig W. Armstrong


any people take their health very seriously. They eat right, exercise and get plenty of rest. But in today ’s economy, it is also important to be financially healthy. Just like taking care of your body, there are things you can do to take care of your finances. And just like staying physically healthy, staying financially fit isn’t always easy. However, with pain comes gain... in your bank account. The first concept sounds simple, but sometimes is easier said than done. Don’t spend more than you earn. There are things in your day-to-day life you can plan for and there are things that are unforeseen. You can budget for groceries and the cost can be controlled. But you can’t budget for a new transmission when your car decides it needs one. The point is, control what you can, and in time,

you may have extra money to take care of those unforeseen expenses. The best way to control your expenses is to create a budget. Budgeting does not take a mathematical genius. Can you add and subtract? If so, you can budget. No one knows your life better than you. You know what bills you have; you know how much money is coming in. It is just a matter of sitting down and doing your homework. Once you have the basic framework of the budget (what is going out, what is coming in and what is left over), set goals for yourself. Some sacrifices will probably have to be made, but that is what it takes to be financially healthy. To o m u c h j u n k f o o d c a n jeopardize your physical health an d to o mu ch p las ti c c an jeopardize your financial health.

Financial health

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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Sunday, August 15, 2010

Financial health from page 2

Credit card debt is the number one obstacle to being financially fit. Using your credit card can be just as tempting as a big plate of cheese fries. It’s easy – just take it out, swipe it through the credit card reader and pretend it’s not real money. Most of us intend on paying the debt back soon, but something usually gets in the way.

at the store, make sure you’re getting the best deal on things like your home and car insurance. This is a matter of finding the best plan for you and then sitting down with your insurance agent. Insurance can be complicated and you don’t need to be an expert, but you do need to utilize an expert. Get every question answered, grill them on every money-saving option, and make sure they know all the things about you and your family that may qualify you for a discount. If an insurance agent wants your business, they will take the time to educate you. Invest in your future. If your employer has a 401(k) plan, utilize it. If you are already contributing, try to increase the amount you contribute. Along the same lines, build a savings account. This is another way of looking toward the future and giving yourself some breathing room should an unforeseen expense pop up.

With credit card debt, you keep paying for the item as the amount spent keeps accumulating interest.

Credit cards are a dangerous trap that should be avoided. If you do use your credit card, PAY MORE THAN THE MINIMUM. You have probably heard that before and that’s because it’s good advice. The longer the debt goes unpaid, the more money you spend and the more the credit card company earns.

Take a percentage of the money you have coming in and think of it as another bill. Just like you have to pay your water bill every month, you also have to pay your savings account. In the end, it’s up to you. You have control of your money and how it’s spent. The best things to arm yourself with are knowledge and organization. Make a plan and stick to it. Just like staying physically healthy, the hard work you do now will ensure you stay financially healthy in the future.

Just like shopping for a bargain

CRMA: How to become a price-matching maven Many stores promise types of policies, and some like don’t have either,â€? to match competitors’ said Noreen Perrotta, finance prices, and in today’s editor, Consumer Reports Money ultra-competitive retail Adviser. “Others have one, but not the other. Of course there marketplace, priceare loopholes, so you need to matching and priceread the fine print, which you can generally find on the company’s adjustment policies web site.â€? can help you get the What to watch for best deal. But pricematching policies can • S t o r e s w o n ’ t m a t c h a l l vary significantly store merchants. Some retailers match prices of local merchants only, to store and online, the definition of which can be too. Consumer Reports fuzzy. Target, for instance, says the retailer must be in the same Money Adviser says market area, defined as “a city, a you can save money, metropolitan area, or a specific but you’ve got to know rural region.â€? the rules.


ith a price match or guarantee, a retailer promises to match a competitor’s current price for the same item. Some merchants go further, beating the price by a certain amount, typically 10 percent. Even better, if you buy something and find it for less within a week or two, some retailers will pay you the difference and, in some cases, give you a little something extra. A priceadjustment polic y generally means that the retailer will refund the difference if it drops the price on something you purchased there in the last 30 days. • Several major retailers offer both

• Proof must be in writing. You typically must present an ad or other document. If you present a photocopy, you may be out of luck. The same may be true of electronic copies. •N  ot ever y thing is covered. Stores typically won’t match services, including labor and installation, discontinued and

damaged items; and certain brands. One retailer excludes Apple products, for example. Sears will only match the prices from Kmart and Sears Holdings companies and will not provide the extra 10 percent, as it does for other retailers. • Items must be in stock. To match a competitor’s price, most stores require that the competing retailer have the product in stock, and they may check to make sure. Sears provides more wiggle room, expanding the definition of “in stockâ€? to include items that can be delivered within seven days. But it doesn’t match items that are available in limited quantities. • Special sales might be excluded. Some price-match policies, such as Best Buy’s, specifically exclude sale prices you’ll find on or immediately after Thanksgiving. Many also exclude prices from grand openings, liquidations, store anniversaries, clearance sales, and other special events.


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Anthoine Financial Group insurance, employee benefits & retirement plans

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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Sunday, August 15, 2010

• Employee Benefit Programs • 403(b) Plans • IRA Rollovers • Estate Planning • Personal/Business Insurance Programs • Pension Plans • 401(k) Plans




Start slashing your bills by hundreds of dollars now

Meet your real estate challenges By Tom Dunham, SIOR NAI The Dunham Group


hese are challenging times for all. In the commercial real estate market, it has proven to be very challenging. We have noticed that few users are active in the market and those few who are, know that it is either a tenant’s or buyer’s market. Taking advantage of such leverage, rent concessions are frequently requested and they are met by the landlord.

are not uncommon. Shorter lease terms are also frequently negotiated because tenants want to limit their financial exposure. They are mindful that lease rates may continue to fall or that business activity may erode more, forcing further right-sizing.

T h es e days , it is als o n ot uncommon for the tenant or purchaser to ask for followup concessions such as fit-up allowance, free rent or low purchase prices – knowing that the market remains soft and that the landlord/seller has few alternatives.

The sales slowdown of commercial properties is further exacerbated by the limited appetite of lenders and more stringent underwriting criteria. Landlords and sellers need to reevaluate their strategies in this new environment. For instance, a tenant’s insistence on a short term lease may benefit the owner if the market recovers and rental rates rise. On the sales side, it may be wiser to take a lower price if the buyer can close before the end of the year, when the capital gains tax code may expire.

Rent concessions of 15 to 20% from prices three years ago

For more information, contact Tom Dunham at 207-773-7100.

The recession has changed HEALTH & FITNESS consumers’ outlook on shopping, * No brainer! Buy generics: They’re just as effective turning almost everyone as name-brand drugs for diabetes, heartburn, high cholesterol, insomnia, and other conditions. into regular bargain hunters. Also shop for store-brand over-the-counter But, according to a report in medications. They have the same active ingredients ShopSmart, from the publisher of as the big-name brands but can save you as much Consumer Reports, there are deals as 70 percent. to be had and new ways to save. * Get free fitness and nutrition advice. Go on “For many of us, it’s no longer enough to simply get a good deal; we want to feel like we won the game and scored big,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-inchief of ShopSmart. Below is a sampling of some of ShopSmart’s best money saving advice in seven categories:

HOME * No brainer! Switch bulbs: Replace your incandescent lightbulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs. You’ll save about $56 over the life of each bulb. * Call your home and auto insurers: Make sure you’re taking advantage of every discount (ask your agent). Consider raising your deductibles; if they’re $500, think about increasing them to $1,000. (Filing too many small claims might raise your rates anyway.)

to websites like,,, and If you’ve got a smart phone, try apps like Gym Buddy, Hundred PushUps, Treadmill, and Lose It.

FASHION & BEAUTY * No brainer! Don’t leave home without coupons: Keep them in your glove box or your purse so that you never get caught without them. If you don’t have coupons, go to retailer sites like and to see whether there are any available. (You might have to sign up for e-mail newsletters.) Or type the name of the retailer or mall (including outlet malls) into a search engine along with “coupon” or “discount code.” * Get deals on spa services. Before booking appointments, ask about off-season deals and other specials; search sites such as,, and for special deals; and call cosmetology and massage schools

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Free One Hour Appointments Available ■ 401(k) Rollover/IRA Questions or Concerns ■ Sound Investment Strategies to Help Build Your Retirement Fund ■ Strategies for a Comfortable Retirement ■ Ways to Deal with Volatile Markets and Low Interest Rates

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CRMA from page 3

Other options If you buy an item and later find it for less, you might be able to recoup the difference even without a priceadjustment policy by simply returning it and purchasing a new one at the sale price. Another option might be the price-protection coverage that comes with some credit cards. For example, if you find an item at a lower price within 60 days of purchasing it, some Citibank credit cards will reimburse you for the difference, up to $250. Of course, that policy has its own limitations: Certain products and Internet purchases are excluded.

For more information visit: www.

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Sunday, August 15, 2010

for discounted services by students.


More ways to save . . .

* No brainer! Book on discount sites: If you don’t have your heart set on a particular hotel or airline, use Hotwire and Priceline, which can save you 40 percent or more. (Just be warned: You won’t know details like the exact hotel or airline until after you’ve paid. And all sales are final.) * Check for codes. Slash airline ticket costs by up to 50 percent with discount or promo codes at sites such as and Or go to airline websites; you might have to join the frequent-flyer clubs for access. (Don’t miss American’s DealFinder and Southwest’s Ding services.) If you have trouble finding codes, do a search with the airline’s name and “promo codes.”

GROCERIES * No brainer! Click before you shop: Don’t rely on the Sunday paper alone for coupons. Check out, Coupons. com, Grocer,, and Shortcuts. com, as well as manufacturer websites like and Tide. com. * Skip the supermarket one or two weeks a year. Challenge yourself to eat out of your cupboards and use up the forgotten clutter. To figure out how to use that can of mushrooms and those beans, go to sites such as and, where you can plug in ingredients and turn them into tasty meals.


Save money – use the food in your cupboard before shopping for groceries.

ELECTRONICS * No brainer! If you haven’t already signed up for bundled telecom services, do it now: You can save hundreds a year on TV, phone, and Internet service bills by making sure you’re always paying promotional rates. When one promotion ends, switch (or threaten to switch) to a competitor. And don’t be shy about negotiating lower fees or rates. Also ask for a sample bill or a summary of all charges for the first few months. Confirm that the figures include all taxes, fees, and one-time expenses.

* Get cheap ink. Instead of buying new printer ink cartridges, get the empties refilled at some Costco, Office Depot, Office Max, and Walgreens stores or through Print Pal by mail. Don’t bother with bargain-priced off-brand color inks for home photo printers. Page for page, they provide tiny or no savings—or cost more than the brand-name inks.

ShopSmart is available by subscription at www.

We work for you, not Wall Street.

Before opening a savings account, find out whether the account is insured by the federal government (FDIC for banks or NCUA for credit unions). Financial institutions offer a number of products, such as mutual funds and annuities, which are not insured. Once you select a type of savings account, use the telephone, newspaper, and Internet to compare rates and fees offered by different financial institutions – including those outside your city. These rates can vary a lot and, over time, can significantly affect interest earnings. To earn the highest return on savings (annual percentage yield) with little or no risk, consider certificates of deposit

(CDs) or U.S. Savings Bonds (Series I or EE).

LIFE INSURANCE If you want insurance protec tion only, and not a savings and investment produc t, buy a term life insurance policy. If you want to buy a whole life, universal life, or other cash value policy, plan to hold it for at least 15 years. Canceling these policies after only a few years can more than double your life insurance costs. Check the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website ( or your local library for information on the financial soundness of insurance companies.

– Courtesy of Consumer Federation of America.

Have you ever wondered who your financial advisor really works for, you or the firm? Our goal is your success as an investor. We work strictly for you. And we are backed by the strength and reliability of LPL Financial, the largest independent broker/dealer in the nation.* We focus on one bottom line: yours. *Based on total revenues, Financial Planning magazine, June 1996-2008

CARS * No brainer! Find the cheapest gas: Before you fuel up, check sites such as and

Thomas M. Gopsill LPL Financial Investment Officer

Jared P. Ranger LPL Financial Advisor

Aaron C. Knapp LPL Financial Advisor

* Drop unnecessary coverage. If you have an older car that’s worth less than 10 times your annual collision and comprehensive premiums, you don’t need that coverage because your premiums will probably cost more than you’d recover in a claim after your deductible.

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May Lose Value Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Sunday, August 15, 2010



How did gambling become legitimate?


hy do some consumption practices become legitimate while others remain stigmatized? A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research look s at the way the public discourse regarding casino gambling has shifted in the last 30 years.

event or institutional change.” According to Humphreys, before 1988, the categories of purity and filth dominated discussions of casino gambling. But regulator y changes in 1988 prompted a shift to public talk of wealth and poverty.

“In the last three decades, casino gambling in the United States has grown from a marginal practice to a thriving industry,” wrote author Ashlee Humphreys (Northwestern University). In the 1950s and early 1960s, one in nine people in the United States gambled in a casino each year, while in 2004, one in four people gambled at a casino. Casino gambling is now legal in 28 states. Humphreys looked at the shifts in the way the press has represented casino gambling to explore the historical process of legitimization. She examined all newspaper articles with the word “casino” in the headline or lead paragraph from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today from 1980-2007. From this list of 7211, she chose a sample of 600, which she then coded and analyzed.

Paying down debt

“This reflects the beginning of the incorporation of casinos into dominant institutions of capital and government,” wrote Humphreys, “but the language of wealth and poverty becomes increasingly used to discuss issues of their establishment and operation.”

The Gambling Control Board was created as a result of the “Governor’s Gambling Control Legislation,” enacted by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor John E. Baldacci on May 6, 2004. FMI, visit GambBoard/

“I find that over the 27-year period of the newspaper discourse, four fundamental concepts struc ture

talk about casino gambling: purity, filth, wealth, and poverty,” wrote Humphreys. “Three legal actions in 1976, 1988, and 1999, however, each mark a moment at which talk shifted due to the influence of some external

Humphreys found that r e g u l a t i o n a n d m a te r i a l changes in the environment affected media language. “I find that journalists, because readers interpret their coverage as representing realit y, are able to shape consumer perceptions through selection, valuation, and realization.”

From “Semiotic Structure and the Legitimation of Consumption Practices: The Case of Casino Gambling,” courtesy of Journal of Consumer Research: October 2010,

By Craig W. Armstrong


urrent economic times are challenging and most people need every dollar they earn. They look forward to pay day, a rewarding day when they see what has come from all those days of work. Then, they start paying bills and suddenly pay day becomes a day they would rather forget. In many cases, the money is going out faster than it is coming in. Wouldn’t it be nice if the money we earned could be used for something fun instead of the debt we already have? If that is ever going to happen, we must pay off our debt. First, let’s take a look at our plastic friend, the credit card. We have all heard from some financial analyst on TV that we must pay more than the minimum on our credit card bill. This person is right. Paying the minimum, which is usually about two or three percent, only prolongs the pain. Plus, this is what the credit card company wants. The longer you take to repay the charges, the more interest they can tack on. Don’t let them win...find the money. Sacrifice it from somewhere else and pay as much as you can each month. Brown bag it, instead of eating lunch out. Don’t go bowling with the guys or out with the girls. We all enjoy some luxuries. Sacrifice them for a while. It won’t be fun, but it will beat watching the money go out as soon as it comes in. Roll your debt, using the snowball principal. The basic idea here is to transfer your debt onto a lower-interest credit card. Another idea, which takes some thought and math skills, is to take advantage of promotional offers. Some credit card companies will try to entice you with an opportunity to move all of your debt onto their card


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OTIS Is #1 in Maine! OTIS has great rates on loans and VISA credit cards, easy checking and savings, and a dividend program. So, it’s no wonder that OTIS was recently Top Performer in Maine and 24th in the nation in Credit Union Strategy and Performance magazine’s Return to Member (ROM) Index. The ROM Index measures the economic value members receive from their credit union—and OTIS is tops in Maine! Stop by to open your account today. Then bank from your place or anyplace—ATM, online, phone, or see us in person. Joining Is Easy! If you live, work, worship or attend school anywhere in Franklin County or in the towns of Canton, Fayette, Hartford, Leeds, Livermore, Livermore Falls, Mount Vernon, Readfield, Turner, Vienna, or Wayne, you are eligible to join!

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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Sunday, August 15, 2010

Insure yourself wisely By Craig W. Armstrong


aving money is on eve r yo n e ’s m in d . Cutting corners and trying to get the most for your money has become a way of life. One expense that’s costly until you need it is car insurance. If you drive, you need it, but making the right decision about coverage and amounts can save you money in the long run. First, consider your deductible. Some people pay extra for a low deductible and carry the minimum in liability coverage. Think about it this way: Is it easier to pay for a $500


from page 6 for a much lower interest rate, usually for a limited time. Get out your abacus and figure out if the money you could save would be worth it. Make sure you consider the interest rate after the promotion period. Will it be higher than the rate you are paying now? Read the fine print and understand what you are getting into. If the math adds up and you can live with the stipulations, consider doing it. Consider using your savings. Again, it’s a question of mathematics. Figure how much money you are losing to interest on your debt. Are you making that much or more in interest on your savings...probably not? Would it be worth it to use your savings to pay off your debt? Do the math. Can friends and family help? Be careful! This one is a slippery slope.

deductible or a $500,000 lawsuit? Instead of taking this risk, raise your deductible and thus lower your premium. Then take the money you saved and apply it to the cost of higher liability coverage. It is simply a matter of shifting your money around to give yourself the most protection and security.

Take a look at your liabilit y coverage. You may have up to $500,000 in liability coverage, but the policy may state you have coverage of $100,000 per person. If someone were to file a $200,000 lawsuit, you’d be on the hook for half. Make sure your agent makes the total amount paid per accident and per person the same so that $500,000 means $500,000.

Make sure your insurance company will pay for a rental car while your car is being repaired. A week in the body shop may not seem long to your mechanic, but try getting around a week without a car. If you don’t have another car to drive, you’ll have to rent one and that could cost hundreds of dollars.

then narrow down your search. Once you have the best prices, make appointments and get down to brass tacks. Get all of your questions answered and determine prices for the same coverage. You want to compare apples to apples, because some

Insure wisely

Take the time to shop around. Start by calling for quotes and

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Personal injury coverage is another thing to consider. This coverage is also known as medical payments coverage. Do you already have health insurance for you and your family? If you have an accident, will that coverage pay your medical expenses? If so, you could be paying twice for the same thing.

These people love you and, if they can, will probably help, but repayment and interest needs to be decided upfront and put in writing. It’s not like borrowing from a bank. Friends and family will probably be more tolerant, but losing their trust is not worth the money. It’s a viable option; just make sure it won’t jeopardize your relationship. Everything is negotiable. Contact your creditor and tell them of your inability to pay. Tell them you just don’t have it and bankruptcy may be your only option. Odds are they will try to work something out before they take the chance of no payment at all. The worst they can do is say no. Debt is not a pleasant thing, but for most people, it’s a way of life. There are many ways to pay off debt; they just take some work and sometimes creativity. If paying off debt will make your life easier and help you sleep better, isn’t it worth giving a shot?

Now offering FREE Bill Pay! 2 Middle Road, P.O. Box 250 Sabattus, Maine 04280 Phone: 207-375-6538

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Sunday, August 15, 2010

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Insure wisely

Take advantage of deals and snag great stuff

from page 7

companies will charge more for the same coverage that is cheaper somewhere else. Look for every discount and take it. There are a plethora of things that qualify you for a discount. They can range from your spotless driving record to your car’s airbags. Find out what discounts are available and make sure your agent knows you qualify. This next one takes some thought and math skills. If you drive an older car, consider dro p p in g yo ur co llisi o n coverage. First, determine the car’s value. Say your car is 10 years old and is worth $2,000.

If you total it, you would get $2,000. But is it worth the risk of not having the coverage and banking the money you would have paid? If you do forgo this coverage, can you get your hands on the money it would take to buy a replacement car tomorrow? Finally, choose the right insurance company. Unfortunately, not everyone has your best interest at heart. There are plenty of companies that will take advantage of you. Make sure you go with someone you trust who will explain your policy to your satisfaction.

s S ave cellphone minutes by skipping longwinded voice-mail greetings and instructions. Press * when calling Verizon customers, the number 1 for Sprint users, or the # sign for AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers. If you’re not sure of the provider, try this order: 1, then *, then #. When you hear a beep, you’ve got the right one. sB  uy gift cards for up to 30 percent off their face value at, and, where the cards are sold by gift-getters who don’t want them. s S ee plays for free by volunteering as an usher. Many theaters will let you see the show if you help with the paying patrons. Check with your local theater, and wear comfortable shoes— you may end up standing for the performance.

s T ake advantage of discounts offered through “your� organizations. AAA, AFL-CIO unions, AARP and college alumni associations are among many groups that offer savings. Read their mailings closely and check their websites. sN  eed a phone number? Call 1-800-GOOG-411, give your location, and speak a name or business category. You’ll get a list of matches, and the service then will dial your choice. The big advantage over 411: It’s free. sK  eep your eyes glued to the register at the supermarket. Some stores have a “scan guarantee policy,� which means you get the item for free or at a discount if the price the register displays is higher than the real price.

Visit for more money saving tips.


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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Sunday, August 15, 2010

Money 2010  
Money 2010  

This Sun Journal Special Sections publication includes money-saving articles with tips on how to save money and spend it wisely.