Getting caught up in catch up contributions

Are you in your 50s or 60s and thinking more about retirement? If so, and you’re still not completely comfortable with the size of your nest egg, don’t forget about “catch-up” contributions.  This windfall may be just what you need.  (Read Full Article)

7 - last minute tax saving tips

Where did the time go? The year is quickly drawing to a close, but there’s still time to take steps to reduce your 2016 tax liability. Here are seven last-minute tax-saving tips to consider — you just must act by December 31 (Read Full Article)

Department of Labor's Fiduciary Rule

Since being confirmed to law in early 2016, this rule has been clouded with confusion for investors.  Scheduled to go into effect in April 2017, you may ask: "What Is It?  How Does It Impact Me?  What Will I Need to Do?"  This article summarizes three main points that impact most investors. (Read Full Article)

The Impact of brexit

The consensus of analysts’ expectations leading into Friday’s Brexit vote were pointing to remaining in EU.  Markets even believing the consensus and gaining Thursday ahead of vote.  Stunning expectations though, the U.K. on Thursday voted to leave the European Union—the first country to do so in the bloc’s 59-year history—and sent investors around the world into panic mode. Both the large-cap and the blue-chip U.S. indexes had their worst session on Friday since Aug. 24 with the S&P 500 SPX, -3.59%  falling 75.91 points, or 3.6%, to close at 2,037.41,  its worst one-day percentage drop since August 2011.  So where do we go from here?  This commentary shares our thoughts.  (Read Full Article)

Organizing Your Financial Records 

With tax time long over and midyear officially here, it’s a great time to organize your financial records. And the key word here is indeed “organize.” Throwing all your important documents into a drawer won’t help much when an emergency occurs and you (or a family member) need to find a certain piece of paper.  This article is a step by step planner to help you get better organized. (Read Full Article)

Juggling Family Wealth Management Is No Trick

Preserving and managing family wealth requires addressing a number of major issues. These include saving for your children’s education and funding your own retirement. Juggling these competing demands is no trick. Rather, it requires a carefully devised and maintained family wealth management plan.  This article highlights a a few wealth transfer ideas.  (Read Full Article)

Interesting first quarter

In the first two quarters of 2015, we warned of market heights and began pulling back stock exposure. The market fell quickly the second half of the 2015 and we added more stocks.  As U.S. markets rebounded, all the while, foreign markets suffered the most severe losses - getting hit hard by oil price declines and others political pressures.  In terms of performance, the first quarter of this year, we saw slightly positive U.S. stock and bond performance.  However, foreign markets are still lagging and are putting the most pressure on overall portfolio performance.  Going forward, we anticipate volatility to potentially increase as U.S. elections approach.  Therefore, we suggest reducing foreign exposure in the near term.

Early 2016 stock market jitters

Not to minimize the pain and suffering caused by recent bear-market losses. But there should be at least some solace in knowing that, even if it is eventually determined that a bear market began last June 2015, it’s no worse than average and it’s already more than half over. (Read Full Article)

Preventing Tax-related Identity Theft

Tax-related fraud isn’t a new crime, but tax preparation software, e-filing and increased availability of personal data have made tax-related identity theft increasingly easy to perpetrate. The IRS is taking steps to reduce such fraud, but taxpayers must play their part, too. (Read Full Article)

Year-end tax planning

Whether you are having a good year, rebounding from recent losses, or still struggling to get off the ground, you may be able to save a bundle on your taxes if you make the right moves before the end of the year.  In this article we list a few moves now, that will pay off in the future ...April 15th. (Read Full Article)

Too Much Information

Everyday we are bombarded with information and sifting through bias is one of life's endless tasks.  One such example are statistics designed to shock.  But after further review, there be perfectly legitimate reasons for data.  Recently, one of our Partners sifted through the bias in the statistic that "nearly half of mutual fund managers do not invest in their own fund" according to Morningstar.  Take a look.  (Read Full Article)

Downstream from Low Inflation

Cause, Effect.  Action, Reaction.  Whatever you want to call it, there are definitely side effects fiscal and monetary policies.  "Reactions" that happen immediately and "Effects" that take time as they trickle downstream.  Let's look at a couple examples that are the result of being downstream from low inflation.  (Read Full Article)

What to do if downsized?

It can happen to just about all of us.  It has already happened to some of us.  Being downsized or laid-off is a stressful situation disrupting income and retirement prospects.  Keeping a cool head and diligently navigating the situation is helpful.  Our financial advisers, who have helped hundreds through this situation, share a few more thoughts that may also be of help.  (Read Full Article)

Smart tax planning - the 3.8% net investment income tax

"It's a minefield out there!"  Navigating safely through our tax system may feel like such.  Some taxes are avoidable, some can be minimized, and others will get you every time.  One tax, the Net Investment Income Tax, is big enough to pay attention to at 3.8% and is avoidable in some cases.  This article takes a deeper look. (Read Full Article)

ugly august - healthy or one for history?

Red across the board.  Major U.S. Index Futures down over 4% before market trading.  The Dow opens and hits losses of 1000 points before rebounding a bit. Add this to the losses already for August.  Some may say today, "the market meltdown is upon us."  Will this ugly August be a healthy correction or one for history?  This article shares the sentiment of our Partners.  (Read Full Article)

taking stock in retirement

Investing in retirement is very different than investing for retirement.  The search for fixed or consistent income is often the top priority when building a retirement portfolio.  However, many look only to bonds and market market instruments and forget about a source that also has upside potential...dividend stocks.  This article makes a case for dividend stocks in a retirement portfolio.  (Read Full Article)

Summer travel: Combined business and travel expenses

You probably heard the words: "So why you hear, business or pleasure?" The reply: "both". Summer travel takes business professionals and alike to areas where we truly intend do do both. However, the obvious incentive to write off more than actual as business expenses can you lead you down a road to disaster.  So what are some rules and logic to make sure both needs are satisfied? This article explains.  (Read Full Article)

Your retirement Plan; a behind the scenes heated debate

Most are unaware of the potential upheaval in the way financial intermediaries offer retirement plans to small and mid size business.  The brokerage industry, standing to lose revenues, is a staunch opponent to the Department of Labor proposal.  Supporters see the proposal a positive step in improving employer sponsored retirement plans.  So what is it all about? Here we summarize a behind the scenes heated debate. (Read Full Article)

Target date funds: three strikes

Target date funds, when listening to the soundbite, have immediate appeal for the investor who wishes to “set it and forget it”. The premise behind these types of funds is that you select the approximate date of your retirement and a portfolio manager will spend the next ten to thirty years balancing the risk in your mutual fund by decreasing your equity position and increasing your bond position as you near retirement. In theory this is a very attractive vehicle to place your assets. However, an investor should always look at the details and mechanics of any fund before investing.  Three fastballs coming your way.  (Read Full Article)

Target Date Funds: A Good Dish?

Part two of our expose' we discuss a missing ingredient to target date funds. Asset allocation, according to modern portfolio theory, accounts for over 98% of returns.  However, determining your personal asset allocation is more art than science.  Most financial planners agree that the recipe for a good asset allocation should be based on such factors as risk aversion, financial means, and age.  Do target date funds make a good dish?  (Read Full Article)

Target Date Funds: A look under the hood.

Part one of a three part expose' on target date funds we focus on expenses.  Choosing the right investment vehicle can be daunting.  Thousands of mutual funds, hundreds of ETFs, and a seemingly unlimited amount individual securities to try and look under the hood and understand expenses.  The benefits of a fully diversified and semi-customized asset allocation in a single investment (Target Date Fund) are obvious.  However, at what cost?  Do the unreasonably high expenses of target date funds prey on the typical investor or are they truly worth it?  This article takes a look under the hood: target date funds. (Read Full Article)

Municipal Bonds – Tax Free or Tax-ing?

When asked "What is a Municipal Bond?", the typical answer may be "Uhh, a tax free bond".  Municipal Bonds have been around just as long as their cousins, the corporate and government bond, but the average investor knows much less is know about them.  So what are they? Should I consider them in my investment portfolio?  What are some considerations I should be aware of?  This article explains.  (Read Full Article)

Should I pay off my mortgage when I retire?

"My (insert confidant here) told me when I was younger that I should have my mortgage paid off before I retire," some say. As retirement then approaches, "I'll pay off with savings when I retire" some may reason. Is that a sound financial move? The odds of carrying a mortgage into retirement has increased dramatically in recent years. The question needs examined: should I pay off my mortgage when I retire? (Read Full Article)

when over-saving is a problem

Hard to believe that it is possible to be penalized for over-saving for retirement.  However, the IRS has shown much favor towards Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) and wants to balance encouraging saving for retirement with not losing tax revenue .  Sometimes our zeal for saving may not match our prudence in evaluating the most appropriate way to do so.  This article shows the common pitfalls and, more so,  that it is possible to over-save in one retirement vehicle; an IRA.  (Read Full Article)

a world where cash is king and credit is queen

Credit Cards have been around for more than 60 years yet a recent study showed Millennials (adults born earlier than 1980) are shying away from the product more than their generational counterparts.  The Great Recession may have left some younger consumers reluctant to rack up charges. In any case, credit cards have their purpose and can be very useful for routine or even at times large family purchases.  However, horror stories of getting buried in credit card debt are all so true.  This article discusses two main reasons for credit card debt and ways to avoid.  (Read Full Article) 

When will the bottom "drop out"?

Merriam-Websters Dictionary defines the intransitive verb "drop out" as: "to withdraw from participation or membership."  Many use this terminology to describe a quick and sharp decline in the stock market.  Makes sense... when the stock market declines rapidly it is often caused by investors "withdrawing from participation".  You may see, hear, or read predictions in the financial media that sound quite convincing, and may even be based on past events, but virtually all market cycles are different and sooner or later the stock market will "drop out".  The question is how close are we and what should we be doing today?  This article weighs in.  (Read Full Article)

Socially responsible or fiscally irresponsible?

The rapid growth of Socially Responsible Investing has captured the attention of investors and advisers alike.  In its early days, this discipline in investment management was known for what it did not invest in; alcohol, tobacco, gambling, firearms, etc.  Now it wants to be know for what it does invest in... a "better" society.  Many, though, still may wonder; "Will my pursuit to invest strictly socially responsible be personally a fiscal irresponsibility?" In this article, I stack up the performance of a large socially responsible mutual fund to answer that question.   (Read Full Article)

your ira rollover just got "ran over"

Navigating the retirement planning landscape requires some difficult decisions: when to retire, how much to save, what investments are best, etc.  However, the myriads of IRS and ERISA rules as you save and plan for retirement can turn this landscape into a minefield.  One such IRS rule, the so called "60 day rule",  has recent guidance by the IRS that could spell catastrophe for unsuspecting DIYers.  When planning your next IRA rollover, make sure it doesn't get "ran over" by taxes and penalties.  (Read Full Article)

Three Steps to investing through retirement

Many people of pre-retirement age approach retirement saving as if; on the day they retire, they will cash out of all investments, put the money in a stack, and use it to live on for the rest of their lives.  Others fail to modify their earlier investment approach and unwittingly enter retirement with an unduly volatile portfolio.  Neither of these is a good idea! What should I be doing to I ensure my retirement investments outlive me. (Read Full Article)

THE LOADED "WHEN SHOULD i TAKE SOCIAL SECURITY" QUESTION

It should be an easy question, right?  After all, many “experts” on Social Security say that you will receive the most benefit dollars by waiting…and waiting…and waiting.   Well, not so fast.  There are some other considerations before answering.  How will this decision affect your entire retirement plan?  Let’s take a look at a common situation that makes a case for collecting benefits early. (Read Full Article)

saving money in the 'marketplace'

Deductibles, Co-pays, Premiums, Oh-My!  Choosing the right private health insurance for you and your family can be scary.  The only thing that varies more than medical coverage offered is the costs.  I recently had to take on such a task in the Healthcare Marketplace to evaluate options for my family in 2015.  Read why I choose a High Deductible plan with a Health Savings Account.  (Read Full Article)