President of Clear Solutions For Seniors, Financial Industry
About Darcy Bergen
With more than two decades of experience, financial expert Darcy
Bergen established Clear Solutions, LLC, in 2003. Through his company,
Bergen focuses on providing solid financial advice and consultation to
senior citizens, helping clients plan for and reach long-term financial
goals with an emphasis on wealth transfer, trusts, and money concepts.
Darcy Bergen meets with clients regularly, offering first-rate customer
service and following up with clients as needed. Bergen is particularly
interested in assisting his clients from the accumulation to the
preservation of finances. He also provides concrete advice on how to
minimize taxation and maximize wealth transfer.
To further advance his goals, Darcy Bergen hosts the Senior Money Matters! seminar and offers a fount of knowledge, a free meal, and absolutely no pressure to buy services. Bergen covers a breadth of topics, including retirement income, unnecessary taxation, health care, and annuities. Before he launched Clear Solutions, Darcy Bergen functioned as a branch manager for The Height of Excellence Financial Planning Group. He established and directed his own branch, which eventually became the top branch in Canada for estate planning and life insurance services. Bergen also received accolades for being the Top Agent in Saskatchewan. During this same time, Darcy Bergen doled out more financial advice as a host on the radio show Smart Money and on the television show The Money Doctors.
In addition to his work in the financial services industry, Darcy Bergen cultivates a philanthropic operation called Bergen’s Mission. The charity shares the story of his parents, who were living in rural Kenya on a missionary trip. During this trip, the pair were assaulted and robbed by a band of men. Despite this experience, the couple wishes to remain in Kenya and continue their work with orphans. Through Bergen’s Mission, he strives to raise funds to further help his parents’ mission.
Darcy Bergen: Writing Your Last Will and Testament
Your will is one of the most important documents you will write in your lifetime. Many people put off this seemingly arduous task as long as possible. Regardless of your age, financial status, relationship status or health, composing a simple and thorough will is an essential part of your future planning.
Identify yourself and your beneficiaries very clearly so there is no room for misunderstanding. If several people in your family share names, distinguish them using their dates of birth and specific relationship to you. The same applies to organizations and charities to which you would like to donate; state the full name and address, if possible, because they may have multiple branches. When referring to children, be specific, particularly if you have children from more than one partner or adopted children. Leave no room for misinterpretation.
Legal jargon is not a requirement when writing your will. Use simple, clear language, and clarify or rewrite any clauses or phrases that you don’t understand yourself. This document pertains to your affairs, and you must understand it; don’t simply trust that your legal professional’s understanding of the document is enough.
Date your will clearly. Signing and dating the document is referred to as executing, and this requires a witness to be present. Bring someone whom you trust to be impartial and neutral. If events change and your wishes are to be amended, older versions of your will that are clearly dated can be rendered void.
About the Author: Experienced financial professional Darcy Bergen is a recognized expert in real estate and retirement planning, and he enjoys sharing his 20 years of knowledge and experience with seniors to maximize retirement planning and savings benefits.
Understanding Trusts: A Brief Guide to Revocable Vs. Irrevocable
By Darcy Bergen
The difference between a revocable trust and an irrevocable trust can prove crucial for anyone planning an estate. Primarily, a revocable trust may be changed, whereas the irrevocable type may not be changed once it takes effect.
Although a revocable trust entails the benefit of permitting change—i.e., one may add provisions, beneficiaries, etc.—this type of trust is subject to estate tax and is considered one's personal property. An irrevocable trust is not subject to estate tax following the death of the trust-maker, and is also eligible for income tax deduction if the trust is charitable.
Many additional distinctions, provisos, and nuances apply to estate planning. For more information, visit a qualified financial planner.
About the Author:
Darcy Bergen is a Certified Retirement Financial Advisor with over 15 years of experience, and the current President of Clear Solutions For Seniors in Phoenix, Arizona.
Darcy Bergen: the Financial Exploitation of Elder People by Caregivers and Relatives
Darcy Bergen is a recognized authority on retirement planning and the President of Clear Solutions for Seniors. Often called upon to deliver seminars and presentations related to tax and pension planning solutions, Darcy Bergen holds a special interest in safe money concepts and strategies for wealth transfer.
With people over the age of 50 controlling more than 70 percent of wealth in the United States, financial crimes against elderly citizens are prevalent across the country. Sometimes, fraud is perpetrated by someone who already has a relationship with the aged person, such as a caregiver or relative. Acts of fraud or exploitation include stealing property, money, or possessions, denying necessary medical access to services in order to save money, the unsolicited sale of an elderly person’s possessions, signing checks or accessing funds through an ATM without permission, and coercing an elderly person into signing a document.
Telltale signs of financial exploitation may become apparent to other people in contact with the aged person. These include a person’s unusual interest in an elder person’s financial affairs, perhaps combined with financial problems of their own. Reluctance to pay for necessary medical treatment is another sign, as is the tendency to isolate the senior by denying contact or refusing to pass on messages. Concerned parties may be alerted by unpaid bills, suspicious signatures, unusual bank account activity, or sudden changes to wills and other documents.
The Million Dollar Round Table Foundation
The president of Bergen Financial Group since 2003, Darcy Bergen guides seniors in wealth management and investment planning to help them enjoy a comfortable retirement. Additionally, Darcy Bergen conducts educational seminars for seniors in Arizona and is an active member of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), comprising leading insurance and financial service professionals around the world.
In addition to providing professional and networking opportunities for members, the MDRT operates the MDRT Foundation, which leverages the generosity of MDRT members to positively impact children and individuals around the world. The foundation provides a meaningful way for MDRT members to engage in their community by participating in fundraising and community events, as well as to serve on the committee that chooses annual grant recipients.
Established in 1959, the foundation has awarded over $30 million in grants in 70 countries and all 50 states in the United States. Grants are given to a wide range of charities, including those focused on education, youth leadership, and medical programs.
Common Retirement Planning Mistakes
Darcy Bergen leads Bergen Financial Group, an advisory company that helps clients find ways to secure their financial future. Individuals who seek the help of professionals like Darcy Bergen are often in financial trouble caused by common retirement planning mistakes.
Those who make the mistake of not considering a tax planning strategy may find themselves paying more taxes in retirement than they did in their working years. In addition, those who have already retired may have the misconception that they no longer need to pay attention to their financial plan. However, not monitoring investments and financial goals at least yearly can lead to mismanagement of funds.
One of the most common retirement planning mistakes is starting the process too late in life. Recent surveys indicate that as many as one-third of working Americans have invested no money into retirement. Though late retirement investments may not allow seniors to live the lifestyle they would prefer, investing later in life is substantially better than never investing in a savings plan at all.
Seniors Make Ideal Targets for Scammers
As the president of Bergen Financial Group, Darcy Bergen focuses on helping older adults make wise choices for their financial future. Along with tax and income strategy services, Darcy Bergen assists clients by emphasizing safe money concepts.
Senior citizens can keep their finances safe by being vigilant and aware of common financial scams that target the elderly. Statistics show that as many as 20 percent of Americans over the age of 65 have experienced some variation of financial abuse.
Seniors citizens are appealing to con artists and scammers for several reasons. First, elderly people are statistically more likely to have savings accounts with large sums of money in them.
Additionally, seniors often own their own homes and have spent years building a strong line of credit, which makes them prime choices for identity theft. Older adults are also less likely to report scams, either because they are unsure how to report the crimes or because they fail to recognize signs that fraud has been committed against them.
Preparing for Emergency Financial Situations in Retirement
Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Darcy Bergen is the president of Bergen Financial Group, a firm focused on providing senior citizens with financial advisory services. In his role in the company, Darcy Bergen counsels clients on a wide range of topics, including safe money concepts.
Designing a safe approach to their monetary future may help seniors avoid major conflicts when they are faced with common financial emergencies in retirement. Significant damage to the home or vehicle can present retired individuals with costly repairs that cannot be ignored. Those who are unprepared for emergencies may find themselves needlessly subject to income taxes when they retrieve money from an IRA or 401(k) account to cover the cost.
Another common emergency that retirees may face is excessive medical expenses. If seniors have not selected fitting Medicare plans or developed strategies to cover health crises, they may incur bills that quickly diminish retirement savings. Retirees should also plan to avoid the possibility of outliving retirement savings, which can leave them in an unstable, frightening position.
Studies show that only around half of those in the preretirement phase of life have consulted a financial advisor. Choosing to speak with an advisor can help individuals construct plans to avert emergencies later in life. A financial planner can help clients navigate complex issues like taxes and investments to help make the later years positive ones.
Maximizing Medicaid Benefits Using Trusts
Since 2003, Darcy Bergen has served as the president of Bergen Financial Group, a Peoria-based firm that works primarily with seniors. Trusts, which can be used to maximize Medicaid benefits, are among the options that Darcy Bergen emphasizes.
The costs of care in assisted living facilities, in nursing homes, or at home can add up quickly, and Medicare only provides coverage for short-term rehabilitation. For long-term care, Medicaid is the primary option, yet it only comes into play if individuals have limited assets (which include bank accounts, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds). Individuals with more assets should consider using trusts.
Two types of trusts exist: revocable and irrevocable trusts. While the former are counted as the assets of the individuals who established them, the latter are not. However, setting up irrevocable trusts does not always result in individuals qualifying for Medicaid immediately. If a trust was established less than five years ago, a formula is used to determine when the individual will begin to qualify for benefits.
Wealth Transfer Strategies with Tax Benefits
As the president of Bergen Financial Group in Peoria, Arizona, Darcy Bergen helps seniors handle challenging financial matters. Among the more common issues that Darcy Bergen addresses are wealth transfer strategies.
Individuals have a number of options for transferring wealth with minimal taxation. One such option is a spousal credit shelter trust, which allows one to gift up to $5 million to a spouse. When the spouse dies, the account can become a dynasty trust, which protects wealth for multiple generations and safeguards it from estate tax.
Another option is a grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT), an irrevocable trust that allows the grantor, or creator, to transfer assets into a trust and get a fixed annual payment from it for its term. At the end of the GRAT term, the assets remaining in the trust pass to the beneficiaries without taxation.
Individuals may also consider giving their money away to a family member through an intrafamily loan. When such loans are structured and documented well, they are subject to special monthly interest rates that can be quite low.
The MDRT Foundation Gives Back to the Community
Financial executive Darcy Bergen focuses on helping clients plan for their futures through his company Bergen Financial Group. Equipped with knowledge on various retirement and insurance solutions, Darcy Bergen also serves as a member of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT).
MDRT bills itself as “The Premier Association of Financial Professionals.” Established in 1927, the organization represents over 43,000 members from the world’s best insurance and financial services firms. To qualify as an MDRT member, financial advisors must adhere to standards of excellence involving knowledge, ethics, and customer service.
To encourage its members to participate in charitable causes, MDRT established its philanthropic arm, the MDRT Foundation. Its mission is to promote industry participation by funding nonprofit organizations or charitable events. Since its establishment in 1959, the MDRT Foundation has donated over $30million to various organizations, including Make-A-Wish International, Habitat for Humanity, and the Salvation Army. For more information, visit www.mdrtfoundation.org.