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Understanding the Ins, Outs of Fixed & Variable Annuities
By RICH PRESTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
320 Somerset Street, North Plainfield
Holiday Special – Grandfather Clocks
Annuities are sold by life insurance companies to provide benefits during your lifetime. An annuity provides a guaranteed lifetime income that you can elect to have start either immediately after purchase or at a future date.
In general, there are two types of annuities — fixed and variable. A fixed annuity provides a specific income for life. With a variable annuity, payouts above a guaranteed minimum level are dependent on investment return.
In both fixed and variable annuities, you do not have to pay income tax on the accumulated earnings until payouts start.
Payout, when the time comes, may be in one of several forms:
· Straight Life Annuity — You receive an income for the rest of your life. However, no payments are made to anyone, even your dependents, after your death. This is sometimes called a “pure” annuity. It provides the largest amount of income per dollar of purchase money.
This type often is recommended for a person who needs the maximum amount of income and either has no dependents or has taken care of them through other means.
· Joint and Survivor Annuity — Payouts are made for as long as either you or your designated survivor lives.
· Installment Refund Annuity — Payouts are somewhat less than a straight life annuity, but they will at least equal the amount paid in premiums, regardless of when you die; any refund is paid to your beneficiary in installments.
· Life Annuity with Period Certain — Payouts are made to you for your life. However, this type of annuity features a “guarantee” provision. This means that if you die within a certain period after you start receiving income, usually 10 or 20 years, your benefi
ciary will receive regular payments for the balance of that period.
Because annuities have many different features, there are a number of factors to examine before you buy. For example, are there penalties for early withdrawals? Are there graduated withdrawal charges over a period of years? How much can you withdraw at any one time without a penalty?
In addition, if you are considering the purchase of an annuity, you should ask:
· What is the current interest rate and how often does it change?
· What is the minimum interest rate guaranteed in the contract?
· Is there a “bail-out option” that permits you to cash in the annuity, without withdrawal penalties (there may be tax penalties), if the interest rate drops below a specified figure?
· Are there front-end load charges or annual administrative fees? How much are they and how will they affect your return?
Annuities are a popular product, providing an important retirement savings vehicle for many Americans. Consumers should consider carefully their options when purchasing an annuity.
For questions about a specific annuity product, contact the insurance company directly or ask your agent. For general information about annuities, call the National Insurance Consumer Helpline (NICH) at 1-800 942-4242. This toll-free telephone line is staffed by trained personnel and licensed agents who can answer a wide variety of questions and can provide consumer brochures.
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Rich Preston, a native Westfielder now residing in Madison, is an agent for Northwestern Life Insurance in Springfield.
FROM THE DESK OF JOAN PAPEN FROM THE DESK OF JOAN PAPEN FROM THE DESK OF JOAN PAPEN FROM THE DESK OF JOAN PAPEN FROM THE DESK OF JOAN PAPEN
Mayor Papen Addresses FAA Regarding 260-Degree Test
– MAYOR OF SCOTCH PLAINS –
Galeria West Galeria West Galeria West Galeria West Galeria West 121 Central Ave 121 Central Ave 121 Central Ave 121 Central Ave 121 Central Ave Westfield Westfield Westfield Westfield Westfield 908 301-9217 908 301-9217 908 301-9217 908 301-9217 908 301-9217
Announcing the Opening of our New Westfield Store
Originals, Lithographs, Limited Editions Vintage, Prints, Posters, Cards
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10% Discount on All Ticketed Items Now through December 31 The following is a letter I sent with
the council’s full approval to the FAA. They had requested input regarding the recent 260-degree test plan. Dennis Hardie, our township representative to the Union County Aircraft Noise Committee, was very instrumental in putting our reply together.
Since the change of the aircraft flight patterns in 1989, this council has been actively pursuing every possible alternative to help alleviate the aircraft noise. We have done more than just pass resolutions. We hired a nationally known firm out of Washington, D.C., Cutler & Stanfield, to do an air traffic study and research areas of the country who had similar problems.
Last year prior to the 260 test, Frank Hatfield, FAA Air Traffic Manager for the Eastern Region, made a live presentation on Channel 34. This council has always been open minded to investigate any alternate proposal as long as it is safe. For your information, the following is the letter which I sent to the FAA:
“Early in 1998 Frank Hatfield, FAA Airspace Manager, gave a presentation at a public meeting in Scotch Plains, at my invitation, on the proposed SID2 (260 degree) test. His maps showed air traffic would utilize an industrial corridor between Carteret and Rahway, providing significant aircraft noise relief to Scotch Plains and the surrounding area.
Based on Mr. Hatfield’s presentation, the Scotch Plains Township Council adopted a resolution supporting the six-month test of the 260 route provided that:
1. The Township Council receives bi-monthly updates on the noise levels and other pertinent data; and
2. The FAA provide a copy of the ocean route study to the Township Council; and
3. The FAA continue to pursue other alternatives to reduce aircraft noise for all residents of Union County and New Jersey.
None of these conditions were every implemented.
The Scotch Plains Aircraft Noise Committee, Inc., in cooperation with the Port Authority of New York New Jersey, collected noise monitoring data and radar flight track maps before and during the 260 test.
The data indicates a 20 percent increase in aircraft noise in Scotch Plains caused by the 260 route. Radar track maps show that aircraft did not follow the designated route, turning too soon
and passing over residential areas of many communities including Scotch Plains.
In late summer, Mr. Hatfield admitted the SID2 (260 degree) test was not working as planned. He did not explain why.
Your (FAA Eastern Region Air Traffic Division administrator Stu Cohen) November 23 letter says “it was determined that a 260 heading would be required to ensure better reception of the Solberg 100 radial signal because pilots had trouble receiving the signal.”
The Scotch Plains Aircraft Noise Committee, Inc. recently acquired aviation safety reports submitted by pilots to the Aviation Safety Reporting System. These reports cited poor FAA chart design that led them to expect the controller to tell them when to turn towards Solberg. This caused pilots to miss the turn and fly into LaGuardia Airport arrival airspace compromising aviation safety.
It is disturbing that FAA continued the 260 test in spite of numerous incidents in which aviation safety was compromised, and explains why controllers and pilots did not follow the 260 route.
Your map (Exhibit 1) shows the 260 heading negatively impacts more residential areas in New Jersey that the original 220 heading.
The six-year, $10 million Final Environmental Impact Statement of air routes over New Jersey said the FAA preferred alternative was to modify current procedures to incorporate a mitigation measure to reduce aircraft noise in the Scotch Plains area of Union County, called the Solberg Mitigation Proposal. This route included the 220 heading and provided Scotch Plains with relief during the short time it was actually flown.
We want the Solberg Mitigation Proposal (SMP) implemented as it was originally designed, including the 220 heading. For this reason the Township of Scotch Plains, opposes alternatives one and two. We favor Alternative Three only if the SMP is implemented as designed.
Performing an Environmental Assessment of the SID2 (260 degree) route is a waste of tax dollars. Port Authority radar flight track maps show that the route was ignored by controllers and pilots, reportedly because it compromised aviation safety. Therefore, the data used for an assessment will be flawed.”
Westfield Academic Team Prepares For Competition By GABRIELLA SPINNATO
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
WESTFIELD — The Westfield High School (WHS) Academic Team has begun pre-season training for Rutgers University’s inaugural Academic Challenge.
The February competition provides WHS with the perfect opportunity to defend its reputation of academic excellence and to form student relationships beyond town borderlines.
The Rutgers Academic Challenge was developed by the University’s Relations Department and is managed by Rutgers Office of Television and Radio. The state-wide competition builds future leadership and challenges intellectual thought among high school students.
Field teams composed of eight students are invited from participating schools throughout the state.
The new Academic Challenge consists of a series of educational tournaments linked closely to New Jersey’s Core Curriculum Standards.
Unlike competitions that favor traditional testing techniques, Rutgers Academic Challenge alternatively tests students in various general areas — social studies, language arts, mathematics, science and technology.
The participants must use their knowledge in these areas to perform six “tasks” which measure their skills in group problem-solving, creative and critical thinking, public speaking, and rapid response to questioning.
These mind-boggling tasks include: “History-in-a-Box” — where students must decipher and report on clues regarding a particular event in history; “Mystery Desk” — in which students decipher and report on a contemporary or historical person; “What’s your point?” — in which students are addressed with a major contemporary issue and must propose two solutions; “Piles of Tiles” — where students solve a range of mathematical problems by
using only tiles of various lengths; and “Science-Outside-the-Box” — where students follow particular requirements to construct a specific object out of supplied materials.
The ultimate area of competition is the “3-way Quiz.” In 3-way, the first to hit a buzzer and answer a question correctly earns points for his or her team.
The winners of the event are chosen according to the number of team-earned points. Eventually, after many challenges, three regional winners and one state champion are declared during a television broadcasted championship tournament.
The winners of the competition receive scholarships raging from $250 to $1,000. As an added bonus, the winning team will receive the Rutgers President’s Cup and a cash prize for their school.
The members of the WHS Academic Team include seniors Nefthi Sandeep, Nora Murphy, Tracy Aliche, Carla Aranjo, Lee McDermott, and Erin Spafford; junior Gabriella Spinnato, and sophmores Molly McDermott and Dana DeSimmone.
The team’s leader, history teacher, Linda Cruz, said she holds great expectations and high faith for her group.
“I am looking forward to this historic first challenge for our Westfield Academic Team. Our team is dedicated and I have every confidence that more of our academic community will become involved,” she said.
WHS Assistant Principal Bob Eyre explained that, “It is always exciting to see young people engaged in intellectual challenge, debate and discussion. The Rutgers program offers an ideal forum for that kind of experience. We wish our students all the best.”
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Gabriella Spinato is an 11th grade journalism student at Westfield High School who is covering the Rutgers Academic Challenge Program.
SCOUTS AND BAKERS…Members of Junior Girl Scout Troop No. 456 at Washington Elementary School in Westfield recently conducted a bake sale at their school, with all proceeds being given to the New Jersey Greyhound Adoption Program, a non-profit organization which places 10 to 15 greyhounds per month. Pictured, left to right, are: front row, Kate Matthews, Jennie Scollon, Diana Goodman, Emily Cleaves and Julie Bennett, and back row, Anna McGrath, Danielle Partenope, Katlin Swadosh and Diana Spiridigliozzi.