The Case for Switching to Internet Television

The Case for Switching to Internet Television

Virtually nobody likes their cable TV provider.  Every year they keep raising prices hoping that you won’t switch and offering great prices for new customers only.  They make you rent a box for every TV you own for an extra $10 per month even though you have paid more than the boxes are worth over time.  And just when you sit down to watch the big game, you realize that it is only on Fox Sports 1 and you have to find a sports bar ASAP.

Fortunately there are now three awesome solutions that will allow you to turn in your cable box(es), save you money, and love TV again.  I have been showing my clients the benefits of Sling.tv, Direct TV Now, and Sony PlayStation Vue for a few months and have helped them save $50 to $200 per month off of their cable bills.  Internet TV is fabulous and let me show you how to move to the TV of the future.

Go Buy an Amazon Fire Stick Now


When I first started looking into getting cable through the internet I was disappointed to learn that both Sling TV and Direct TV Now would not work on my smart TV or through my Sony Playstation 3.  Although I didn’t want an extra remote to keep up with, I am very happy I spent the $40 for an Fire TV stick.  It is a small dongle that fits into one of the HDMI ports on the back of your TV and needs to be plugged into an electric outlet or a USB port for power.  I thought I would only use the remote for internet cable, but I have found it offers so much more.

The Fire TV stick has an enormous selection of apps all in one place and has become the default portal to my entertainment on my TV.  I use it to access Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, HBO Now, Youtube, and my new DirecTV Now subscription.  You can also subscribe to individual stations like STARZ or Acorn TV to get your British TV fix.

The last great thing about a Fire TV Stick is that it is equipped with an Alexa Voice remote.  It turns your TV into an Amazon Echo without you having to shell out an additional $180.  You can ask it to play music, search for content, fast forward, and even order a Domino’s pizza.  I recommend that you go to Settings -> Alexa -> Things to Try on your Fire Stick to learn all of the great things it can do.  Expect Alexa to do even more as this technology improves in the future.

The search feature isn’t perfect yet, but it is pretty good.  I just tried saying “play Deadpool” and the app realized that show is currently available on my HBO GO app.  It also showed me that I could purchase it through Amazon.  I then tried saying “play Scandal.”  It instantly found that I could watch it for free through my Netflix subscription.  Lastly, I tried “Captain America: Civil War” and it did not recognize that movie was in the Netflix catalog and only gave me the option to rent it or buy it through Amazon.  With the arms race between Alexa, OK Google, Siri, and Cortana I expect this technology to be really good in three years.

Choose Your New Cable Provider


Hopefully you just ordered your Fire TV Stick.  Now you need to determine which internet TV provider to go with.  I suggest that you click on the following links to compare the channel line ups:

DirectTV Now
Sling.TV
Sony PlayStation VUE

When I help clients sign up for these services, I find that different people value different programming.  If your kids really like Nickelodeon, you may want to go with DirecTV Now or pay $5 with Sling to get the Kids Extra Package and not go with PlayStation VUE.  I had one client that chose providers based on who had the Hallmark Channel (it is currently not on PlayStation VUE).  You will also want to evaluate which service offers which local channels live in your local market.  Some packages don’t have any local TV and other packages only offer local channels on demand (about 24 hours after a show has aired).  I expect most services to offer most of the local channels live soon, but this can be a deal breaker for some people.  I get pretty good reception with my HD antennae so local channels weren’t an issue for me.

After you have compared the channel line ups and packages there are a couple of things to consider.  If having a DVR is really important to you, then PlayStation VUE has the only true DVR that is based in the cloud.  I expect Sling and DirecTV Now to have one by the end of 2017.  If you travel a lot and have AT&T as your cell phone carrier, you may favor DirecTV Now since you can stream TV to your phone without using your data.  If you really love sports and want a good price, Sling TV’s $20 per month Orange package is really attractive.

I signed up with DirecTV Now because they had a limited time offer to get their 100 channel offering for only $30 per month (it is now $60).  My wife and I absolutely love it.  We have more channels than we could possibly watch.  I can finally watch most sporting events that I want to.  Even though it currently doesn’t have a DVR, you can save certain shows to your watch list and it will automatically add them after they have aired.  The first season of Mr. Robot is available for free on Amazon Prime as is the first five seasons of Suits.  After I have watched past episodes on Amazon, I can then watch the current seasons in my watch list.

All three services offer free trials and will offer free or reduced pricing for streaming devices (Amazon Fire Stick, Roku, Apple TV)  if you prepay for one to three months.  Unfortunately your streaming device will come in the mail deep into your free trial, so you may want to buy your device before you start the trial.  If you like internet TV, then you will want to have a streaming device for each TV.  You should also expect some frustrations as you learn how to use a new device, save shows, and navigate the new world of internet TV.  It took me a frustrating half hour to figure out that I had to log into my Amazon.com account on my computer to download some of the apps to my Fire TV Stick.  You probably have forgotten how hard it was at first to use you current cable provider.

Now go sign up for a free trial and you can thank me later.

Damon Gonzalez
Advisor
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Damon Gonzalez is the founder of Domestique Capital LLC, a financial Planning firm located in Plano, TX.  He has been in practice since 2000 and is Retirement Income Cert ... Click for full bio

An Advisor's Guide to Helping Women Become Savvy Investors

An Advisor's Guide to Helping Women Become Savvy Investors

Today, more women than ever are involved in managing their personal and household finances. In a recent study, nearly half of the women surveyed (44%) stated that they are solely responsible for their household financial decisions, compared to 35% of men1. But the study wasn’t all good news. While women may be taking the lead when it comes to their finances, they also reported that they are not confident in doing so. In fact, in every financial category included in the survey, men reported much greater confidence than women. Where was the biggest gap? You guessed it: investing.

For advisors, this presents a challenge and an opportunity. There is a 90% likelihood that a woman will be financially self-reliant at some point in her life due to divorce, becoming a widow, or choosing to marry later in life or not at all2. By taking steps to help your female clients become confident, savvy investors, you’ll not only be more effective at serving in the best interests of these women and their families, but you’ll also be able to build much stronger, more trusted relationships to help ensure each family’s assets remain in your care for decades to come.

Follow these five steps to help your female clients invest with greater confidence:


1. Urge every woman to put her financial needs first. 


Women do have a weakness when it comes to planning for the future, but it has nothing to do with a lack of knowledge, skill, or smarts. Their primary weakness is a willingness to put others’ needs first. This is a huge mistake when it comes to planning for the future. Investing for retirement simply can’t wait until the kids are grown or aging parents no longer need care. In fact, based on average life expectancies, women should plan to accumulate enough funds to last at least 20 years after retirement. The following chart illustrates the power of compounding based on an 8% rate of return to help bring that point home:

This hypothetical example assumes an annual 8% rate of return and does not take into account income taxes or investment fees and expenses. This example is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent the performance of any specific investment. An investor’s actual return is not likely to be consistent from year to year, and there is no guarantee that a specific rate of return will be achieved.

2. Educate women about the power of investing.


Security about any topic is rooted in confidence and knowledge. Educating your female clients about investment basics can help drive more confident decisions and more positive long-term outcomes. From the basics of compounding to the nuts and bolts of researching options and understanding the pros and cons of different asset classes, make it your job to help every client understand what she is buying—and why.

3. Dive into the details of asset allocation.


Asset allocation is by far the largest determinant of a portfolio’s success—even more important than the individual securities selected and timing of an investment. This is critical information for your client to understand as she pursues her financial goals.

Related: Need More Referrals? 5 Steps to Building Stronger Word-Of-Mouth Influence

4. Discuss how her investment strategy needs to evolve over time.


Part of every client’s financial education should be to understand how financial needs and goals change with each stage of life stage. Because a shorter investment time horizon creates greater vulnerability to market volatility, she needs to understand the impact of shifting a portion of her investment portfolio to more income-oriented investments as she moves closer to retirement. This Life Stages Guide can help you paint a clear picture of how allocation strategies need to evolve to fit her changing needs.

5. Be sure she’s covering all the financial bases.


Smart investing is vital, but missteps in other areas of financial planning can thwart even the best investment plan. Offer every client a basic planning checklist that includes these three important steps:

  • Focus on the big picture. Organize your important financial papers and schedule an annual review of your investment strategy with your advisor. Regularly monitor your net worth—including your assets (all investments and savings) and liabilities (mortgage, credit cards, and other debts) to be sure you’re always moving toward your end goal of a secure retirement.
  • Pay down any outstanding debt. Debt reduces your net worth, threatens your financial security today, and reduces your ability to invest for the future. Do whatever you can to minimize debt, and build an emergency fund to help pay for any unexpected expenses.
  • Make estate planning a priority. Once a year, review your will and your beneficiary designations for every account to be sure they continue to reflect your wishes. If you have children under 18, work with your advisor or estate planner to establish a trust and select a trustee to ensure your assets are managed for the benefit of your children.
     

As a trusted advisor, make it your mission to provide your female clients with the education and guidance they need to become savvy investors and make the smart, educated financial decisions. By doing so, you can help every woman you work with not only enhance her financial security, but also gain the confidence to take greater control of every aspect of her financial life.

Click here to learn more about IndexIQ.

[1] Survey conducted by Regions Financial Corp. in partnership with Vanderbilt University, 2015.

[2] The Simple Dollar, “Guide to Financial Independence for Women,” 2014. 

Disclosure: The information and opinions herein are for general information use only. The opinions reflect those of the writers but not necessarily those of New York Life Investment Management LLC (NYLIM). NYLIM does not guarantee their accuracy or completeness, nor does New York Life Investment Management LLC assume any liability for any loss that may result from the reliance by any person upon any such information or opinions. Such information and opinions are subject to change without notice and are not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security or as personalized investment advice. 
Laura McCarron
Building Smarter Portfolios
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Laura joined New York Life & MainStay Investments in 2009, and is currently the Director of Value Add Marketing. She is responsible for the development of investor educati ... Click for full bio