Dunmorean of the Month: Taylor Perry

Dunmorean of the Month - Taylor PerryBy Steve Svetovich

Dunmore High School graduate Taylor Perry and her fiancé Josh McWilliams started a chiropractic business in the borough this past November and business is starting to boom.

Daughter of John and Leann Perry, Dunmore, Taylor, 27, is a 2008 graduate of Dunmore High School.

She received a bachelor of science degree in Kinesiology from Temple University in 2012. She finished with a 3.4 grade point average and added a certificate in Spanish for health professions.

Taylor also studied abroad in Spain during her college years and was one of the founders of the Chiropractic Club at Temple University.

During her time at Dunmore High School, Taylor was a member of the softball team, the national honor society and the yearbook staff.

Taylor went on from Temple to graduate from Palmer Chiropractic College in Daytona Beach, Fla., in 2016. She spent three and one-half years there.

She and her fiancé, who is from Wisconsin, opened up Dunmore Family Chiropractic, 439 East Drinker St., Dunmore, this past November.

“It is just the two of us,” she said. “We do the billing, office work, treatments and everything.”

dunmore chiropracticTaylor said she expects to grow quickly. “We are looking to expand. We want to hire an associate and branch out into supplements, nutrition and health foods. We have also hired a massage therapist. We can do x-rays on site.

“We want to offer our clients everything possible to lead healthy lives.”

The young chiropractor said she and her fiancé accept most insurances. “The location here in Dunmore could not be better. There are so many people who drive by and see our sign. The practice is doing great. We are getting a lot of referrals.”

Taylor said she is a big believer in a holistic approach to healing. “I like to teach clients to try to be healthy first. People are opening their eyes to chiropractic care and taking a more holistic approach initially. We are finding that opioids and pain medicine do not often help. It can be a cover up to the problem at hand. We want to fix the problem and not hide it.”

Taylor said her parents were a big inspiration to her. “Both of my parents own businesses and were always very hard working. My dad owns Perry Contracting in Dunmore and my mom owns Leanne’s Academy of Learning, a day care and pre-school.

“Because of what I saw in them, I always knew I would own my own business.”

The road to chiropractic school came after a little soul searching.

temple“I always wanted to help people and work with my hands. I worked with my hands helping my dad in his contracting business.

“I didn’t want to go to medical school. And I wanted to help people naturally. I shadowed a chiropractor who spoke in one of my classes at Temple. And that was it. I made my decision then.”

Taylor, industrious and ambitious, is enjoying every minute of her profession. “I just want to be a part of people’s lives helping them live healthier in a more natural way.”

 

Artist of the Month: Mary Kathryn White

Artist of the Month - Mary K

Mary Kathryn White shows a portrait of her grandmother, Mary Allen Greene, on her wedding day. The artist often draws inspiration from her family.

The June Artist of the Month at the Dunmore Senior Center is Mary Kathryn White of Factoryville.

Mary began painting at the Senior Center in 2010 after another student, Dee Noll, told her about the wonderful class she was taking, as well as the talented artist, Jill Swersie, who was teaching the class.

Prior to that, Mary had only painting in school, where she also had a wonderful teacher, Mr. Hose, who was inspiring.

“It’s hard to say where I draw inspiration, but oftentimes, I am focused on family,” the artist explains. In this month’s featured painting, she turned to a portrait of her grandmother, Mary Allen Greene, on her wedding day.

“The photo I used, which was taken around the turn of the 20th century, was in sepia, so I took liberties with the colors of her outfit.”

Other inspiration comes from Jill’s drawing class, which she offers to any student who wants to join her before the painting class begins. “In this class, she has exposed us to different media, methods, lighting, and styles of drawing and painting,” Mary explains.

“The class at the Senior Center is not just a painting class.  It’s a group of people, with a love of art who have come together and become friends.  The class is relaxing and accepting, which I think helps in creativity.” Mary notes.

“No one is ever put on the spot, although comments from our class have been incorporated in a few of my paintings. If you don’t feel like painting on any certain day, you can just come to the class to gather ideas for future art projects” she says.

“I look back on my paintings and see how I have progressed in the years I have been in the class, and I am pleased with the art and the friends I have made.”

 

 

Dunmorean of the Month: Gary Duncan

Dunmorean of the Month - Gary DuncanBy: Steve Svetovich

For its “Good Works,” the Lackawanna County Commissioners presented Gary Duncan, chairman of the Dunmore Neighborhood Watch program, with a certificate of recognition last month.

The “Good Works” of the Dunmore Neighborhood Crime Watch program serves its community with a dual purpose – safety and education.

Duncan said the organization reports crimes, blight and dangerous areas, which while also alerting residents and watchdogs, tries to be cognizant of abandoned vehicles, vacant homes, graffitti and vandalism.

The group, which meets the third Monday of every month at 7 p.m. In the community room of the Dunmore Community Center, 1414 Monroe Avenue, works in tandem with the Dunmore police department.

Lackawanna County Commissioners Jerry Notarianni, Patrick O’Malley and Laureen A. Cummings presented Duncan with the certificate of recognition.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” Duncan said during an interview with The Dunmorean. “I certainly did not know this was coming. I sincerely appreciated that they took the time to acknowledge our contributions to the Dunmore community.”

Duncan, a Dunmore resident for the past 20 years and an occupational therapist for

Dunmorean of the Month - Neighborhood Watch

Dunmore Neighborhood Watch serves its community with a dual purpose – safety and education. For its “Good Works,” the Lackawanna County Commissioners presented its chairman, Gary Duncan with a certificate of recognition.

Traditional Home Health, Dunmore, established the Dunmore Neighborhood Watch group in 2013. About 30-40 residents attend each monthly meeting. Lackawanna County  Commissioner Laureen Cummings attended the most recent meeting.

“Members of the Dunmore police department, the Lackawanna County Probation and Parole office and Lackawanna County District Attorney’s office have attended every meeting,” Duncan said.

“Our goal is to have a city wide group crime watch, or a summit crime watch right at the Dunmore Community Center. We would like to have all the neighborhood crime watch groups meet for a summit right here in Dunmore. We think that can happen.”

Duncan said there will be a community neighborhood walk June 11 in Dunmore. The group will meet and walk in the neighborhood of Larch Street and Adams Avenue and New York Street in the area of Nina’s Pizza and Restaurant.

“Our motto with the Dunmore Neighborhood Watch,” said Duncan, “is you do have a voice. All our welcome.”

Duncan said he is proud that “all members of our police department have been at every single meeting.”

The energized and enthusiastic Duncan said the group has utilized a host of prominent speakers during its monthly meetings. “And we will continue to do so.”

Dunmorean of the Month - Duncan Family

The Duncan Family shown from left: Lynne, Annie, Gary and Claire.

Duncan, a graduate of Misericordia University, and his wife Lynne, a speech therapist at Allied Services, also volunteer for various community organizations. The couple are proud parents of two daughters: Claire, 19, a sophomore in the English honors program at Immaculata University, and Annie, 23, who last month received a B.A. in Fine Arts from Marywood University.

“We will continue to work hard with the Dunmore Neighborhood Watch program to make the borough safe and to educate our residents. We encourage all to attend our monthly meeting.”

Buyer Beware: Equity Indexed Annuity

losing-moneyBy: Bryan Kupchik

Everyone enjoys a winning hand, and let’s face it, losing money is painful for all of us, no matter how much is at stake. This is why an Equity Indexed Annuity is so appealing to investors, the potential to ‘never’ lose money is an apple everyone wants a bite of, but this appeal may only be attractive at first glance.

Get a bit closer to the terms and conditions of an Equity Indexed Annuity, and many will find that this product is rarely ever a vehicle for gains, and often a sure fire way to keep your investment in the hands of an insurance company, and out of your reach.

What is an Equity Indexed Annuity, or “EIA”? An Equity Indexed Annuity, as defined by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, as “complex financial instruments that have the characteristics of both fixed and variable annuities,” and “are anything but easy to understand.” EIAs are sold by insurance company representatives as ‘all reward, no risk’ investments, where an investor will ‘never’ lose money. But is that true? And does that also indirectly mean that an investor will be guaranteed to make money? The answer on both counts, in almost all cases, is no.

There are a number of questions an investor should have answered before purchasing an EIA. In fact, FINRA issued an alert in 2010 to investors regarding the sale of EIAs due to the confusing nature of their performance. To alleviate some of this puzzling information, FINRA addressed the questions below as part of the alert:

Q: “How is an EIA’s index-linked interest rate computed?”

This is where we get into the fine print. Even on FINRA’s website, investors are clearly advised to understand the terms and conditions of the limiting and controlling features an EIA can place on an investment’s performance. FINRA lists a few of the contributing factors that can have a “dramatic impact on performance”:

A: “Participation Rates. A participation rate determines how much of the gain in the index will be credited to the annuity. For example, the insurance company may set the participation rate at 80 percent, which means the annuity would only be credited with 80 percent of the gain experienced by the index.

Spread/Margin/Asset Fee. Some EIAs use a spread, margin or asset fee in addition to, or instead of, a participation rate. This percentage will be subtracted from any gain in the index linked to the annuity. For example, if the index gained 10 percent and the spread/margin/asset fee is 3.5 percent, then the gain in the annuity would be only 6.5 percent.

Changes percent on mortgages. ConceptInterest Rate Caps. Some EIAs may put a cap or upper limit on your return. This cap rate is generally stated as a percentage. This is the maximum rate of interest the annuity will earn. For example, if the index linked to the annuity gained 10 percent and the cap rate was 8 percent, then the upper limit maximum gain in the annuity would be only 8 percent.”

It is important to point out that, for most EIAs being offered in today’s marketplace, cap rates are much lower than the example on FINRA’s website.

Today’s cap rates are more likely to be in the 3 to 4% range and, also, many EIAs impose all three of the factors listed above in their contracts in order to limit potential gains for contract owners.

Further, FINRA goes on to state that any and all of the factors listed above, in many circumstances, can be changed by the insurance company, mid-contract, and potentially cause an adverse impact on an investor’s return. In the 2010 alert, FINRA urges consumers to question their insurance company about these conditions that can be written into an EIA contract.

Q: “Can I get my money when I need it?

In short, it is unlikely.

A: “EIAs are long-term investments. Getting out early may mean taking a loss. Many EIAs have surrender charges. The surrender charge can be a percentage of the amount withdrawn or a reduction in the interest rate credited to the EIA. Also, any withdrawals from tax-deferred annuities before you reach the age of 59½ are generally subject to a 10 percent tax penalty in addition to any gain being taxed as ordinary income.

Q: Can I lose money in an EIA?

A: Yes. Many insurance companies only guarantee that you’ll receive 87.5 percent of the premiums you paid, plus 1 to 3 percent interest. Therefore, if you don’t receive any index-linked interest, you could lose money on your investment. One way that you could not receive any index-linked interest is if the index linked to your annuity declines.

The other way you may not receive any index-linked interest is if you surrender your EIA before maturity. Some insurance companies will not credit you with index-linked interest when you surrender your annuity early.

In addition, all guarantees offered in EIAs are only as good as the insurance company providing them. Though very rare, it is possible that an insurance company may be unable to meet its obligations, thus leaving the consumer at the mercy of the insurance company’s financial stability. 

Some EIAs come with add-on benefits like additional life insurance, or a lifetime income benefit. It’s very important to point out that these benefits are insurance values only, and are not available for withdrawal.

Unfortunately, sometimes the interest rates used to calculate an additional benefit value (commonly referred to as “invisible money” in an EIA), are sold by the salesperson as if it’s the rate that an investor can earn.

For example, if you were told that your EIA is “paying” 7% that may not be the case and, instead, that rate is merely adding value to the “invisible money” in your EIA. Ask your agent to clearly explain the difference between the interest rates offered on an additional benefit and the actual rate of return you can earn on your invested dollars. Remember that, in a low interest rate environment, if the rate sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

You may be asking yourself why you were advised to purchase an EIA in the first place, since the likelihood for gains seems to be so slim. Well, many salespeople offering EIAs are representing insurance companies, and may be subject to conflicts of interest. Insurance sales reps can receive very large commissions, bonuses, and even incentives, like winning a vacation, in exchange for their sales efforts.

A typical commission payout for sale of an EIA can be as much as 10% of the investment, meaning that if you put $500,000 into an EIA, the person sitting across from you would be taking home $50,000 in commissions – certainly a motivating incentive and a real cause for concern about whose best interest is coming first.

It’s also important to note that some salespeople may not be securities licensed, which means they are not regulated by FINRA or the Securities & Exchange Commission. If your agent does not have certain FINRA securities license(s), he or she may be limited to only selling products like EIAs.

Before you enter into an EIA contract, be sure to get every question answered, and understand that the long term commitment you are making can come with possible consequences. You should read the entire contract prior to your purchase and be sure that you have all the straight facts about the product you’re being sold.

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Bryan Kupchik is a Certified Financial Planner, Chief Compliance Officer, and co-founder of Capstone Wealth Management Group, LLC, a registered investment advisor located in Clarks Green.