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The 4 Essential Elements of a Retirement Plan

Until recently, many retirees have been able to rely upon the three-legged stool of retirement income sources: A defined benefit pension plan that guarantees a lifetime income, their own savings, and Social Security.

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The Debate: Comission

Since the beginning of publicly traded investments your broker has been receiving some sort of commission as their reward. Things began to change 25 years ago when Charles Schwab began to pioneer the feebased advisor. But no sooner did that happen and insurance companies, who decided they had been missing out on revenue, began pushing annuities for retirement accounts.

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Financial Decisions Made Easy with Clearly-Defined Goals

One of the best illustrated instances of indecision occurs in the story of Alice in Wonderland in which Alice comes to a fork in the road and must choose a path to continue her journey. She seeks the advice of grinning Cheshire cat which appears out of nowhere.

Are Advisory Fees Tax Deductible?

It’s tax season again, and a question we get from a number of clients after receiving their yearend statements is, “Are my investment advisory fees tax deductible?” And the answer is an equivocal, “It depends.”

Establishing Goals for Your Estate Plan

Most people think estate planning is only for wealthy people.  Certainly, the 55% of Americans who died without a will thought so, even though all of their estates ended up in probate court subject to the laws of the state.  Sadly, the surviving families were thrust into a situation that resulted in unnecessary distress, expense and, for many of them, devastating financial consequence

Intelligent Options for College Savings

If you are the parents or grandparents of child of any age chances are good that the escalating costs of higher education are on your mind.

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Peace through Planning

Part of the American Dream is to be financially independent by age 55. If I’m 54 years or younger what are the ways to make this a reality?

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Health Check: Asia

Let’s play a game of name that country. This country was once in despair and ruin. It was a major manufacturing economy which rapidly grew. In a matter of decades it produced up to 14% of the global output to become the second largest economy in the world. Now imagine this economy collapses. What country are we talking about? You would think this country would be China, but you’d be wrong. 

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All the kings horses…

…Couldn’t bolster the markets to positive gains again. The beginning of this year promised volatility, and boy volatility is hat we got. The Dow Jones Industrial average posted it’s worst year since 2008. Over 70% of investors saw declines in their portfolio’s worldwide.* The only investor strategies which produced positive gains were those of extreme focus in specific technology and consumer discretionary firms. This was counter to traditional thinking. If you asked most experts they would have said, ‘during times of high volatility shy away from riskier strategies.’ In late september, Bank of America even published a research note stating “cash is king in 2015” which caused many investor’s to panic. Those who didn’t panic saw a 7.5% increase through the end of the year!** Of the four standard portfolio’s we manage only one posted positive gains. Mirroring the industry trends this focused strategy was the “white rhino” and our riskiest model.

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Silver Lining

The society we live in today has changed dramatically in the last few decades. This has been largely due to the speed and breadth of information we have access to. An onslaught of critics/antagonists has emerged because it is very easy to be “published” on the internet. If you only read headlines one might think that the world is ending today. While we may not be in the economic boom of the 80’s and 90’s the US economy does have many things going right for it. As we head to the end of another year let’s take a moment to look at the economic momentum to be thankful for: American Innovation. Driverless cars are soon to be available (Tesla), death rates for cancer patients dropped dramatically, technology advancements make productivity skyrocket, drone delivery service seems immanent, etc. While we may not see all of these as a benefit.

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