The Insurance No One Wants to Buy, and No One Wants to Sell


Adequate insurance coverage is essential to good financial planning. This typically will include our property, health and life. Insurance for these risks is generally straightforward, standardized and accessible. However, when it comes to long-term care insurance, it’s hard to know if we even need it in the first place. If we do … Will we be approved for coverage? Will it be worth the years of premiums? Will the insurance company be around in the future? Will the coverage be relevant when the time comes that we need to use it?

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Shark Tank: Playing the Home Game Edition


With few exceptions, devotees of the business reality show Shark Tank almost always harbor a secret desire to sit side by side doing deals with the likes of Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Barbara Corcoran, and Kevin O'Leary (aka Mr. Wonderful). These guys make it look so easy; cherry picking the best of the best all the while lounging comfortably in a studio set made to resemble your typical living room.

What most of us fail to appreciate however, is the show's producers have already sifted through thousands of truly awful pitches before curating the 3 or 4 worthy of making their way into each episode. While the end result makes for compelling TV, the practiced observer sees there's also a bit of financial slight of hand that cleverly obscures a textbook case of survivor bias. That is, the tendency to overestimate the odds of investment success by drawing a circle around a pre-selected subset of the original data pool and then declaring whatever happens to fall inside the lines as the intended "bullseye".

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Social Security: Now or Later?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) released on October 11, 2018 its planned changes for calendar year 2019.  Not surprisingly, to both current beneficiaries and those weighing the pros and cons of starting to collect, the item of greatest interest is the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) planned for the year ahead. More than 67 million Americans will be affected.

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Low Cost Investing is a Thing, Passive Investing is Not


Someone has to choose what you own. Back in the day, it was your broker, calling during dinner, suggesting that you sell your Texaco and buy IBM instead. Later, you bought a mutual fund, which allowed you to save money on transaction costs, better diversify your portfolio, and limit your dinner time interruptions to political pollsters. Over the past few decades, indexed mutual funds and ETFs have made great strides in lowering investing costs by extraordinary amounts, but make no mistake, indexing is not passive.
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A MEGA Roth Savings Opportunity Hiding Within Your 401(k)

Looking to enhance your retirement savings beyond maxing out contributions to your employer provided retirement account? Hidden deep within your 401(k) plan rules, may be an opportunity to take advantage of one of the best strategies to come along in years. It’s been dubbed the "Mega Backdoor Roth," and with a name like that, it has to be good, right?

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The Best Retirement Account You Aren't Using

Investors are used to struggling with the Traditional vs Roth retirement question - Do I take the tax savings now or will it be more advantageous to take it later? However, imagine a savings account that provides a tax deduction at the time of contribution, tax-deferred growth inside the account AND tax-free withdrawals.

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Why The S&P 500 Isn't What You Think It Is



  • The S&P 500 index is size-weighted. A $100 billion company enjoys 10 times the influence over the index as a company whose market capitalization is $10 billion.
  • The top 5 companies consume more than 14 percent of the index, equivalent to that of the bottom 265.
  • The companies in the index are added and removed by real live people.
  • The historical turnover is 4.4 percent, or approximately 22 changes each year.
  • While it feels like today’s top 5 companies can do no wrong, history suggests this dominance is unsustainable.
  • The biggest gains will come while on the journey to the top, not after arrival.
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Can You Live The Life You Want Without Worrying About Money?

Coming soon to a commercial break near you, is a new advertising campaign from the CFP Board that aims to shed light on the higher emotional well-being consumers achieve when engaging with a certified financial planner. You may have seen their previous T.V. spot from a couple of years ago which featured a professional DJ throwing on a suit and convincing prospective clients that he was a trustworthy financial advisor.

That campaign slogan was “if they’re not a CFP pro, you just don’t know.” It was a clever public service announcement pointing to something we’ve written about here before - the importance of understanding where your financial advice is coming from, and whether or not it’s in your best interest.

The latest promotion pivots from pointing out the danger of working with just any “advisor,” to showcasing the potential benefits of engaging in financial planning work. Yet, what seems to get glossed over in all of the excitement to spread the word, as often happens when advisors attempt to describe their services, is a good explanation of what exactly financial planning is in the first place.

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Who Says Money Can't Buy Happiness?

As a financial advisor, most of my career has been focused on strategies to help individuals save, invest and protect their money. The point of accumulating wealth is primarily to assist clients’ in reaching their aspirations, hopes and dreams. With so much time centered on growing wealth, little was dedicated to the other side of the equation – spending it. However, what is the point of working so hard to have “enough” if we don't use it to spend in ways that make us happy? A few years ago, I came across the book Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending. The authors are two behavioral science professors who suggest there may be opportunities to derive greater happiness by changing the ways we spend our money. More money doesn't always lead to more happiness. However, how you choose to spend can have an impact. They outline five key principals which can result in money actually buying happiness.

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How to Predict the Market Like the Experts


The highly unlikely 2017 and the more typical 2018 that has followed has me contemplating the difficulty of forecasting how the market will do in the future.  I don’t remember anyone anticipating, in December 2016, a banner year in 2017 via a nice straight line.  Indeed, predicting any given future year’s stock market performance is very difficult, but why don’t you try!

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