Leveraging more than two decades of experience in the finance industry, Darcy Bergen advises the public on how to make sound financial decisions through his educational workshops. Darcy Bergen specializes in strategies that maximize income while reducing tax burdens, including social security planning and collection strategies for individuals and couples.
Married couples and unmarried ex-spouses who were together for at least 10 years can qualify for Social Security spousal benefits. Spousal benefits are equivalent to half of the spouse’s benefit as of full retirement age.
After one partner turns 62, a qualifying ex-spouse can file for benefits. Currently, married couples must wait until one partner files for their own Social Security benefit before being eligible to receive spousal benefits.
While the recipient of the spousal benefit will have a lower total amount of Social Security paid out, filing for a spousal benefit doesn’t impact the amount of Social Security the retired spouse receives. However, waiting until 70 to collect Social Security can boost spousal death benefits by 32 percent.
Investment advisor representative Darcy Bergen advocates for low-risk strategies that protect investments and create retirement income streams. On a recent retirement class, Darcy Bergen discussed the volatile nature of retirement investments in the stock market.
In addition to the normal up and down cycle of the market, stock investments can be impacted by world events. Some of the most influential changes to the global economy include:
- New tax structures. Governments often make changes in the way businesses and industries are taxed. Companies may respond to higher taxes by moving to a different country. Conversely, lower taxes may encourage more investment. Shareholders may sell or buy stock accordingly, which impacts share prices.
- Currency value. Correlated with stability and collective confidence in a country’s government, currency value can plummet if a nation undergoes severe political turmoil. This can have a ripple effect throughout the global economy since many companies have distributors and suppliers based around the world.
- War or political instability. Likewise, an armed conflict in a single nation can have ramifications across the international stock market. Companies may have to shut down overseas operations due to violence. While markets usually recover in time, the initial shock caused by a revolution, coup, or war can trigger a significant drop.
Arizona-based financial advisor Darcy Bergen supports the work of Bergen’s Mission, a charitable organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people in East Africa. Darcy Bergen serves as the charity’s treasurer. The organization is a longtime partner of the Canadian nonprofit, Hope for the Nations.
To address a lack of access to education, Hope for the Nations established the Hope Gateway Education Center in the Sinai neighborhood of one of the Nairobi's biggest slums. Home to more than 200,000 people, Sinai has no public school system. Families must pay for private school if they want to educate their children.
To help break the cycle of illiteracy and poverty, Hope for the Nations partnered with a local agency to establish the Hope Gateway Education Center in 2005. More than 200 elementary school children attend the center at no cost.
Every pupil also receives two healthy meals and free school uniforms. With the help of high school students from British Columbia, the center was able to install an on-site pumping system to ensure that students have access to clean water.
Investment advisory services offered through Horter Investment Management, LLC, a SEC-Registered Investment Advisor. Horter Investment Management does not provide legal or tax advice. Investment Advisor Representatives of Horter Investment Management may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered or exempt from registration requirements. Insurance and annuity products are sold separately through Darcy Bergen. Securities transactions for Horter Investment Management clients are placed through E*TRADE Advisor Services, TD Ameritrade and Nationwide Advisory Solutions. Your investment advisor may recommend third-party money managers who utilize investment strategies designed to minimize portfolio volatility and reduce the risk of declines in account values. Low Risk or Low Volatility strategies are generally defined as strategies that have a 10-year maximum drawdown of less than 10%. Like any other investment strategy, this approach entails risks, including the risk that client accounts can still lose value and the risk that a defensive position may, at any given point in time, prevent client accounts from appreciating in value.
In addition to leading the Bergen Financial Group for more than 15 years, financial planner Darcy Bergen shares professional investment advice through his workshops targeted to Arizona residents nearing retirement. Darcy Bergen advocates for conservative money strategies that reduce risk, including exposure to prolonged bear markets.
While it is normal for the stock market to go up and down, certain conditions can cause very large gains followed by steep declines. Since many retirement investment vehicles such as 401(k)s and mutual funds are linked with stock market performance, a deep market correction can lead to significant losses that many retirees will not be able to recover from.
For this reason, retirement planning advisors suggest several strategies for protecting savings when the first signs of a market downturn appear. One option is to move investments to more stable vehicles such as fixed annuities and fixed index annuities.
Paying off consumer debts and any mortgages as quickly as possible also protects a retiree’s standard of living in the case they must live off a smaller retirement pot. Other tactics include writing off losses to lower tax liabilities or converting a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA.
Experienced financial executive Darcy Bergen serves as the president of Bergen Financial Group, a company he founded in 2003. Well-versed in wealth management and financial planning, Darcy Bergen is a member of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT).
Established in 1927, MDRT is a global network of more than 66,000 insurance and financial professionals who excel in providing financial services to their clients. Every year, the MDRT hosts a global conference to tackle some of the pressing issues that face the financial services industry. This year’s event will be held September 1-4 at the International Convention Centre in Sydney, Australia.
The 2019 MDRT Global Conference will feature sessions on relevant topics, such as financial services, wealth management, retirement, work-life balance, and best practices in business. MDRT members will share the innovative solutions they have implemented within their organizations. Special sessions will be included for networking and socializing. To learn more about the event, visit www.imdrt.org.
Financial advisor Darcy Bergen possesses more than two decades of experience in financial planning. Darcy Bergen has also appeared on several media outlets to inform the public on retirement options, including viable alternatives to annuity products.
While fixed index annuities are reliable retirement savings vehicles, some clients may prefer alternative low-risk assets or wish to diversify their portfolio with similar options. Some alternatives to annuities include:
- Managed payout funds (MPFs). While both annuities and MPFs offer a predictable income, MPFs have lower fees and more liquidity since shares can be sold at any time. Unlike annuities, many MPFs have minimum yields that keep pace with inflation.
- Laddered bonds. In this strategy, clients purchase bonds with sequential maturity dates and reinvest the proceeds into new bonds. Bondholders receive steady returns and have the option to sell bonds on lower rungs of the ladder for liquidity.
- Variable life insurance. Though this strategy is not a savings vehicle, it is another option for retirees who want the stability of an annuity. In addition to a death benefit, variable life insurance policies have a cash value that can be invested.