What do the investment markets hold for the next four years? Regardless of your political views, we can all agree the next four years will likely be anything but predictable. As such, we position client portfolios to prosper regardless of market direction, interest rates, or geopolitical conditions. To be clear, I’m not here to praise or undermine President Trump. Rather, my role is to give you an assessment of what I foresee happening during the… continue reading.
I’ve been a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) since 1996, and I sometimes get asked about how the certification translates into sound, expert, financial guidance for my clients. Given only 20 percent of all advisors are CFP’s, I’m always happy to discuss the details of how a financial advisor becomes “certified”, as the process is both rigorous and comprehensive. The certification is administered by the CFP Board and is comprised of four areas known as the… continue reading.
Why Fiduciaries are now in vogue….the real reason may cause you to reconsider. When selecting an advisor: Big Firm Broker or Small Independent Fiduciary? For generations, the answer for many was simple: bigger meant safer, and thus better. The thought was, why argue with tradition? That is, until the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2008 unmercifully dismantled one of Wall Street’s oldest and most traditional firms – Lehman Brothers. As a result, the trend has dramatically… continue reading.
With 2017 right around the corner, now is a good time to review all the ways you can reduce your taxes for this year. Boosting your deductions can either increase your refund or decrease the amount of tax you have to pay the IRS. Either way, it’s a win-win situation for you. Take Credit Where You Can Get it Tax credits are an effective way to reduce your taxes. Each credit you receive means one… continue reading.
December is the time of year when most people make their New Year’s resolutions. But you don’t have to wait until 2017 to vow to review your financial situation. Take some time to evaluate your financial position and whether any changes need to be made. Here are some items to consider: Review Your Estate Plan Can you name all the beneficiaries on your life insurance and financial accounts? Your situation may have changed and you… continue reading.
Saving up for retirement takes a lot of planning, even more so as you near retirement age. You’ll want to put your money in less volatile investments, but will probably want access to your funds whether it’s to keep the cash or to seek higher returns. A bond ladder can satisfy both needs. Allocating Your Investment Funds To understand how a bond ladder works, imagine each rung represents a year. Let’s take a look at… continue reading.
While you’ve likely heard the statistic that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, what you may not know is that one in four of those involves a couple that is age 50 or older. Any divorce is difficult, but a “gray divorce” can cut your retirement plans in half. As a divorced spouse, it’s important to know your options for Social Security benefits. Here are the top five questions that I have received on… continue reading.
Did you know there’s an investment fund that only invests in bourbon? Talk about only having one “shot” at success. If you’re looking to potentially lower risk, consider diversifying your portfolio across a range of investments. One of the secrets of diversification is spreading out your assets in different sectors. For instance, you may own large-cap U.S. stocks and balance it out with mid-cap international stocks. You can also further diversify your stock holdings with… continue reading.
While there are several investment options available for those saving for retirement, if you prefer more of a hands-off approach, your choices are bit more limited. However, in response to an ever increasing desire for a “set it and forget it” method of investing, the industry came up with target-date funds as a solution…or so they thought. In fact, they were so convinced of their effectiveness, they became the default allocation at enrollment. So if… continue reading.
While it’s not surprising anytime celebrities divorce, it’s never fun to watch. The tabloids will have a field day with the divorce proceedings for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Their fame, fortune, and family will make this a particularly difficult split, but the same is true for any couple going through divorce. Division of assets during the divorce proceedings can be difficult and stressful, and if you’re not familiar with the extent of your holdings,… continue reading.
Imagine if you were negligent in your banking executive job, which resulted in your bank being fined $185 million, and when you decide to retire, the company hands you $125 million. That’s the scenario playing out at Wells Fargo, where the head of consumer banking, Carrie Tolstedt, gets to walk away with a huge payday to get her through retirement. If only the rest of us could be so lucky. You and I have to… continue reading.
The untimely death of the rock star Prince has highlighted the complex issues involved when one dies without a will. His estate will now have to go through the probate process to determine how his assets will be distributed to his heirs, and how much estate tax will be owed. Complicating matters is determining the extent of his wealth. What value do you place on a rock legend’s rumored vault of unreleased material? A sound… continue reading.
Retirement looks different to a 40-year-old than it does to a 60-year-old. Your investment strategy should change the closer you get to retirement. Here are some points to consider: Investing Under 50 Statistically, your peak earning years start around age 45. This can give you greater flexibility to assign more income toward retirement investments. If you’re the type of person who prefers a hands-off approach, investing in a target-date retirement fund may be… continue reading.
It’s a fact of life! Things don’t always go the way you planned. And your retirement savings are no exception. Despite our best intentions, circumstances beyond our control may arise that prevent us from fulfilling our commitments to our retirement plan. I get that, but you should know that there are a number of strategies that can help you make up for lost time and get you back on track. Read on for some tips… continue reading.
Often overlooked, but imperative for a vital retirement plan, inflation may prematurely deplete your retirement funds years before you expected. As a rule of thumb, many financial advisors recommend accounting for a 3% inflation rate when planning for retirement. However, this rule presumes that the Fed and banks effectively regulate inflation to that annual increase throughout the course of your entire retirement. History has taught us we can’t necessarily depend on a stable rate of… continue reading.
Like many, during your working years, you’ve labored tirelessly to develop a retirement strategy that would allow you to retire comfortably, and without any worries for the future. As you’ve accrued wealth for your retirement, investments have probably played a key role in the process, and they will likely continue be an important aspect of your retirement as a source of supplementary income, sustaining and even growing your wealth. But you should be mindful of… continue reading.
Introduced to U.S. markets in 1993, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) became the most popularly traded exchange-traded product (ETP) just ten year later in 2013, when ETF net assets totaled $1.34 trillion compared to $14.72 trillion total assets held through investment companies, most of which were in mutual funds. But what is it exactly that distinguishes ETFs from mutual funds? Like mutual funds, ETFs are a specifically curated collection of investments designed to create a ready-made diversified… continue reading.
It’s important to remember that mutual funds are designed to generate long-term profits. Because mutual funds are diversified widely over a number markets and industries, and profits from the fund are divvied out proportionally to your cohort of fellow investors, you likely won’t see exorbitant returns all at once, like with some stocks. The advantage of mutual funds, historically, has been moderate returns over time in exchange for a relatively lower risk investment. That being… continue reading.
As an investor, you may be asking yourself which one of these investing options is the better choice. Well, the short answer: it depends on what you’re looking for. Both individual stocks and mutual funds offer different types of pay-offs and risks, advantages and disadvantages. Before you start investing money in either of these options, it’s important you know what you’re getting into first. MUTUAL FUNDS Mutual funds are investment portfolios that attempt to strategically… continue reading.
If you’ve found your way to this article, chances are you’re likely feeling a bit overwhelmed or insecure about how you manage or have managed your finances. Let me reassure you, I’ve been advising people on their finances for close to 30 years, and most of my clients admit that they don’t fully understand their finances at some point. Don’t worry: you’re not alone. Your financial literacy is an on-going process. Like learning to read,… continue reading.
To buy or not to buy? That is the housing question. And there’s not a hard and fast answer for everyone. There are many different factors that go into deciding whether or not buying or renting are financially advantageous moves for you. Although conventional wisdom has often touted buying a home as a wise investment, with sure returns, those who suffered through the 2008 market crash might feel a bit disillusioned with that advice. Below… continue reading.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Pictures of Money If you are the sole provider for family or loved ones, you may be looking into life insurance policies as a way to provide for those who depend on you in the case of your untimely passing. Before you begin the process, it’s important that you understand the differences between the two main types of life insurance as your make a decision. Term life insurance Like the name implies, provides… continue reading.
After months of dreary weather and cold temperatures, the weather’s getting warmer and flowers are starting to bloom. Typically, the season is also an opportunity to do some much needed cleaning up. You may dust the shelves, shake out the rugs, open the windows, and get rid of stuff that’s been cluttering the house. In the spirit of spring cleaning, you may also take the opportunity to assess and ‘clean up’ your finances. Are there… continue reading.
Ah, retirement! Remember when not long ago that meant a cheerful send-off party, a gold watch, and the promise of a lifelong stream of pension payments that would arrive each month without fail in your mailbox? Unfortunately, for most of us, the promise of a pension disappeared long ago. However, for those employed by the government, or some of our country’s largest employers, that version of retirement is still very much a reality. Or… continue reading.
Per the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, two strategies that retired, or soon to be retired, married couples have traditionally utilized to maximize Social Security benefits will no longer be available beginning in May 2016. If you and/or your spouse are approaching retirement, it’s important that you take note of these changes, as they could significantly alter your retirement plans. “File and Suspend.” This strategy allowed for spouses, upon reaching full retirement age (FRA) (age… continue reading.
So now it’s over. The divorce is finalized, and you may be experiencing a host of emotions, ranging from sadness to relief. And, rightly so. Divorces are often one of the most stressful events someone may possibly deal with during their lifetime. But, despite what you are feeling at this moment, it’s important that you begin to restructure you life now that your course has changed. And, perhaps most importantly, this means establishing your financial… continue reading.
What is a defensive investment strategy exactly? In short, defensive investing is an investment philosophy that entails a number of strategies to minimize risk, and protect your wealth, when markets are in a downturn and maximize profits when markets are in an upturn. If you’ve been investing for any amount of time in any capacity, you know that markets are periodically prone to drastic up and down swings. They are constantly in flux. A defensive… continue reading.
The research shows we’re living longer. Therefore, the greatest risk to your retirement might not be a financial one, but a circumstantial one. Longevity risk, if underestimated, could result in the depletion of your retirement funds years before your death. Data gathered by the United Nations and the Social Security Administration has shown that men in the U.S. are expected to live on average until the age of 77; however, if they reach the age… continue reading.
The deadline for submitting your federal and state tax documents this year has been extended by the IRS due to an overlap of tax deadlines and federal/state holidays. This this year the deadline for filing falls on the the same day many will be lacing up and covering the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston… “Marathon Monday,” April 18th. For all the non- runners, and on a more formal note, this would be called Patriots Day…a statewide holiday… continue reading.
While there are many sources for investment advice – some good, some not so good – I find most tend to derail even the savviest investors. With that being said, here are 3 misconceptions you should reconsider: Always Do What You’ve Always Done. A common theme I encounter as I advise those approaching retirement with accumulated assets is the assumption that they should continue to invest the same way during retirement as they did while… continue reading.
In order to create a viable and robust retirement plan, it’s important that you consider investment opportunities in addition to more traditional retirement planning methods like an IRA or 401(k). Investing wisely can be an excellent way to bolster and grow your retirement funds (the key word here being wisely). In terms of conventional investment wisdom, developing a diverse portfolio is a foundational principle for successful investing. In theory, diversifying your portfolio will help… continue reading.
As the song goes “Breaking up is hard to do”. This can be especially true when accumulated assets are involved. Unfortunately, most enduring a divorce are typically immersed in a sea of emotions, prompting them to rely on legal counsel to advocate on their behalf in this area. That said, to insure you and your attorney are on the same page, here are 7 things to keep in mind. 1. MARITAL ASSETS While opposing counsel will… continue reading.
Should you or someone you know, be faced with separation from your “soon-to-be-ex” employer, the above title likely resonates with you. Amidst the confluence of task surrounding an employment transition is of course – “should I maintain the old 401k, or roll it to an IRA”. By the way, should you currently be facing this, you’re not alone. There’s an old saying “A recession is when your neighbor lost his job, a depression is when… continue reading.