What's Your Retirement Withdrawal Strategy?

 

In retirement the loss of a regular paycheck means you may need to turn to your investments for income. As a diligent saver, you likely have accumulated assets in various types of accounts like a 401(k), Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, taxable brokerage, bank savings, HSA and an annuity, just to name a few. At retirement, you may face what can seem like an overwhelming task – determining how to withdraw tax-efficiently from your different accounts to extend the portfolio’s longevity. The impact of taxes is just as important to consider now as it was when you were saving for retirement. Unfortunately, conventional wisdom regarding which order to draw down your accounts in retirement is fundamentally flawed. When followed blindly, it could potentially deduct years from the life of your portfolio.

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Protect Your Credit File From Intruders

By now nearly everyone is aware of the security breach at Equifax that began in July of 2017. What was originally reported as having touched over 150 million Americans, now has been updated to include an additional 2.4 million affected by the breach. While this certainly doesn't mean half the country has had their identities stolen, given the scope and nature of this hack, it's just common sense to spend a few minutes to find out if your personal data may have been compromised. Here are some quick steps we think will be useful in helping you identify and protect yourself from future cyber-attacks:

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Does the Yield Curve Forecast a Recession?

If you follow financial news, you have probably noticed pundits warning of the flattening yield curve recently. In fact, they say, someday soon it will invert and part of it has already! Furthermore, when the yield curve inverts, these pundits claim, it predicts a recession almost perfectly!!! If you are like many people watching these shows, your anxiety spiked on the word "recession" and you forgot to ask what the yield curve even was. Our team is fairly level headed and analytical, and as a firm we reject market timing, so we think this kind of hyperbolic commentary should be analyzed rather than taken as simple fact.

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Stock Market Decline: What's Your Strategy?

 
The average long-term experience in investing is never surprising,
but the short-term experience is always surprising.” 

- Charles Ellis, author, Investment Policy How to Win the Loser’s Game

How was your Thanksgiving holiday? You might answer by recalling the joy of family, the bounty of delicious food, the giggles resonating from the ‘kids table’, and maybe even the post-meal walk around the block. How wonderful! But it’s much more likely you’ll reply with details about the overcooked turkey, Uncle Murray’s (very) public argument with Aunt Millie, the short-term power outage, and the food poisoning experienced by your less-than-favorite daughter-in-law. Unfortunately, as holiday-goers, and investors, this is often exactly how we think; more likely to remember the anxiety of setbacks than the joy of progress.

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Is Making Money Costing You Money?

The vast majority of people will do anything to make a few extra dollars, but at what cost? Many individuals are dedicating valuable time towards gig jobs that may not produce marketable skills.

A gig job is commonly defined as a flexible, temporary job that provides compensation for the completion of a set task. The individual is generally an independent contractor and common examples include babysitting, driving for Lyft or Uber, and delivering groceries over Shipt.

As with any employment decision, it is important to examine the costs and benefits associated with committing to a gig job. Unless reviewed cautiously, they can have a negative overall impact on an individual's long-term earnings potential.

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The IRS Just Offered You a Raise

It doesn’t happen often, but every now and then the IRS has some good news to share. For the first time in 6 years, retirement savers have just been given a “raise” for the 2019 calendar year. Thanks to persistently low levels of inflation, maximum contribution limits for various retirement accounts haven’t budged since 2013.

That’s finally changing, providing some relief for anyone looking to sock away as much savings as they can leading up to retirement. While the increases may appear relatively small at first glance, every little bit helps as the vast majority of Americans find themselves behind when it comes to saving for retirement.

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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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