Indecision (10/14/2015)

The markets around the world had a very bad third quarter, with a great deal of volatility. Most markets moved down substantially. China admitted that their economy was growing much slower than was necessary to sustain their economy. At the same time, most other nations saw their economies slowing down as well. While China is a large nation, with a major influence on the Pacific Rim nations, it plays a very small part in the U.S. economy. As mentioned in my previous blog, China represents about 0.06% of our GDP, effectively zero impact!

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Time Invested (09/25/2015)

With the recent volatility in the markets, some clients feel uneasy that we have not reacted by making changes to their investments.  At times like these, it is important to remember that employing a “buy-and-hold” strategy generally earns better returns than trying to “time” the market by jumping out when the outlook appears bleak.  Short-term volatility can certainly be restrained if an investor liquidates an investment during a down market, but then you are selling at the lowest point and missing the chance to rebound if the market goes back up.  Should you decide to get back into the ma

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China and the Markets (09/08/2015)

On August 10th the S&P 500 was at 2104. By August 25th it was at 1868. In other words, the S&P had fallen by 236 points, or 11.22% in 11 trading days. What caused this and what does it mean?

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Buckets of Money (08/06/2015)

In my study of financial planning, one of the first concepts I learned was to create a future income stream for retirement using three imaginary buckets of money. The first bucket would contain tax-deferred savings. The second would contain a combination of after-tax and tax-deferred savings. The third bucket would contain after-tax dollars potentially growing tax-free.

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Short Term Rates (07/24/2015)

During this past month, the problems and difficulties of both Greece and China have been major news. At the June 17th meeting of the Federal Reserve Board (Fed), they were already discussing the issues of these two countries and how they might impact the U.S. economy. Apparently, from the released report, the likelihood of the Fed raising rates is still in play.

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Rules of Thumb (06/25/2015)

We all have different ideas about which budgeting strategies work best for us, but some general guidelines are often helpful when determining a reasonable budget.  Guidelines offering ratios between income and expenditures can help you keep numbers in balance, especially if you are considering buying or renting a different home or making major changes such as retirement.

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Estate Planning (06/11/2015)

We tend to look at what we own and what we owe in a rather abstract way.  Perhaps we own a home, car(s), some investments, a retirement plan(s), a vacation home or time share, art work, personal items, life insurance, pets, and other assets we don’t really think about.  We rarely think about what all this stuff is really worth.  We may understand that we can give away, as a gift, up to $14,000 annually to as many people as we like, and if we have a spouse that would amount to $28,000.

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The Value of Education (05/27/2015)

This blog will cover one of many topics to be considered when planning for a student’s college education. Cost is certainly a major concern when a student is creating a list of possible schools, along with other factors that will determine the value of the education. 

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Diversified and Patient (05/07/2015)

The markets can be uplifting at times and downright disappointing at other times. As long-term investors, we don’t want to look at short-term swings in the marketplace. It drives me nuts when clients tell me that they look at their accounts on a daily or even weekly basis. If you do so, you will drive yourself nuts. A recently retired client told me he was looking at his investments on a daily basis (I thought he should get a better hobby).  One day his portfolio went up and he slept like a baby.  The very next day, the portfolio went down and he couldn’t sleep.

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Check your Beneficiaries! (04/14/2015)

An expression people repeat over and over is “the one constant is change”. In our business, we are often consulted as a result of changes such as a new job, marriage, divorce, death, and relocation. In the past few months, I have seen several cases in which, amidst these changes, beneficiaries were not updated or changed on accounts, and the result was detrimental.

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