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Quote for today: One must know not just how to accept a gift, but with what grace to share it. Maya Angelou


SINGLE WOMEN FACE FIANCIAL CHALLENGES ....Households headed by women reported about half the median income of all households, $22,592 vs $43,130 according to the Consumer Federation of America. Their overall net worth was only about one-third of all households $32,850 vs $93,001. Study data was collected in 2004 so they face more challenges today with all the economic challenges. Women who lived on their own following divorce, separation or the death of a spouse, or those who never married have more trouble saving for the future.


EMPLOYEE BENEFIT RESEARCH INSTITUTE (EBRI) workers over age 55 or older have less than $25,000 in investments apart from their homes and pensions

NEW TAX BENEFIT FOR 2008 - Widows and widowers who sold homes last year may also get a new tax break. Previously, couples were generally entitled to exclude gains of up to $500,000 when they sold a principal residence in which they had lived two of the previous five years, but for single filers the exclusion was limited to $250,000. Effective in 2008, a surviving spouse may exclude up to $500,000 if the sale occurs within two years of the other spouse’s death.

“This can make a huge difference,” said Sidney Kess, a New York tax lawyer and certified public accountant, citing the example of a widow in her 60s whose husband died in October. Under the previous law, she would have had to sell her house, the couple’s main asset, in just over two months to get the maximum exclusion. But given the state of the housing market, as well as emotional, family and estate issues, that would have been almost impossible. Now she has two years to sell. ___________________________________________

LATEST CD YIELDS - 6 MONTH 1.79%; 1 YEAR 2.22%; 2 1/2 YEAR 2.47%; FIVE YEAR 2.78%...Compare these yields to your gift annuity rates and you will see how popular gift annuities are at this time. See

DONOR PREFERENCES - I received an interesting appeal from the Food Bank of Central Carolina which included a reply form to select donor preferences. It read...As one of our cherished supporters, you deserve to have your mail preferences honored. Please select any of the following so that we may keep your account current: __Do not include stamps on reply envelopes; __Please send me mail only occasionally; __Please send me personalized address labels in the fall; __Please do not acknowledge my gifts; __Send an annual statement of my gifts in January every year;__Please double my gift! I've enclosed my employer matching fig form; __Please keep me informed by email. My email address is: ___.

INSURERS HEALTH – A. M. Best says that U.S. life/health insurers' ratings did well in 2007, but 2008 brought a quick reversal of fortune. In 2008, rating actions for the life/health industry were overwhelmingly negative, with 43 rating downgrades vs. only 14 upgrades. _______________________

NEW REVERSE MORTGAGE RULES - Recent changes in a federal loan program may make reverse mortgages attractive to millions more senior homeowners by raising the dollar value of homes that qualify for the program and extending it to the purchase of new homes. The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) allows consumers to pay a one-time insurance premium, which guarantees that they'll receive the stream of income they are promised when executing the reverse mortgage. AARP has extensive reverse mortgage information.
1,000 BANKS – According to RBC Capital Markets, up to 1,000 banks could fail in the U.S. over the next three to five years due to continuing losses from commercial real estate loans. That won't be a good thing.

Pinehurst office: PO Box 3335, 15 Pinewild Drive, Pinehurst, NC 28374
Phone: 910-295-6800

Northeast office: 20982 Bayside Avenue, Rock Hall, MD 21661 Phone: 410-639-7758

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