Monday, 08 July 2019
You already know that the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico is in financial trouble. The country has issued roughly $120 billion more in municipal bonds and cannot now pay the interest much less the principal. The bonds were sold through brokerage firms to lay investors and mutual funds, and they were easy to sell because yields on muni bonds issued by Puerto Rico are tax-free on Federal returns and also for state returns across the country. Normally, state residents have to pay state taxes on muni bonds issued in other states. The bonds also paid unusually high rates, and there was a tacit assumption, even as Puerto Rican finances visibly deteriorated, that states and territories couldn’t default on their debt obligation.
We all like to think that we are smart enough not to fall for one of those scams we hear about on the news.
Wednesday, 19 June 2019
No one wants to be taken advantage of by an online or phone scammer. Unfortunately, no matter how unflappable you think you are, anyone can be ripped off by a scammer under the right circumstances. This is in part because it’s easier to access personal data and we tend to have our phones on us all the time. Scams have also become more sophisticated over the years and there are a lot of them.
DID YOU KNOW? SCAMS CHEAT OLDER AMERICANS OUT OF $3 BILLION A YEAR AND ONE IN TEN AMERICANS AGE 65 OR OLDER HAS BEEN A VICTIM OF A SCAM.
Older Americans are particularly vulnerable to certain types of scams, in part because whole segments of the scamming operations are dedicated to preying on seniors.
Monday, 17 June 2019
You’re likely to read a lot of articles about how to be a better investor, and they will tout everything from watching complicated charts looking for patterns to more mainstream dollar-cost-averaging, to buying only the stocks of companies that you know.
But surprisingly, the easiest route to improving your investment performance may also be the laziest.
A recent article notes that all of us are wired to experience the pain of loss more than we feel the joy of gain. Translated into investment behavior, that means that we have an innate instinct to stop the pain by selling out of a portfolio whenever it goes down—and that is usually a poor idea when the markets are generating normal volatility. Trying to time the market is a loser’s game, even if it is driven by instinct rather than intent.
Monday, 17 June 2019
If you’re worried about climate change and recent weather events like cyclonic snowstorms in the Midwest, hurricanes, droughts and such everywhere in the world, then you’re not alone. Recently, the National Weather Service, using data from core samples and fossilized plants, traced the levels of carbon dioxide (the most common greenhouse gas) in the Earth’s atmosphere going back almost one million years. They found, as you might expect, significant fluctuation during that time period, from the warm interglacial period 700,000 years ago to the ice ages of 650,000 years ago, and the peaks and valleys never fell below around 160 parts per million or above 300 parts per million.
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
Legalized marijuana is a polarizing topic in the U.S., but one aspect of it that is attractive to all sides is the potential tax revenue. But how much are we actually talking about?
A recent article in Forbes magazine noted that there are now ten states that have legalized pot sales, plus D.C., and seven of them currently tax and regulate revenue-producing stores. Those taxes typically total 10-37 percent more than local sales taxes...
Traditional Retirement Planning for Couples Omits the Most Important Part: Good Communication
Tuesday, 04 June 2019
DID YOU KNOW?
36% OF COUPLES SAY THEY HAVEN’T EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT A RETIREMENT PLAN[I]
47% OF COUPLES DISAGREE ABOUT HOW MUCH MONEY THEY’LL NEED IN RETIREMENT[II]
Let’s say you’ve done everything right. You’re on a relatively traditional retirement track. You worked your 30+ years, you’ve saved, raised the kids, bought the house, and you’re still with your spouse. It sounds like your retirement is set and ready to launch. You have earned the right to enjoy it in the way you’ve been thinking about it for years. There’s just one little detail that may have been overlooked. Have you discussed your ideal retirement with your spouse? Do you know what theirs is?
Wednesday, 15 May 2019
Most of us think of the cost of transportation as the monthly payment on our car, perhaps with gasoline prices factored in. But when you add insurance, maintenance, registration fees, taxes and depreciation (that is, having to buy a new car when your current one collapses into repair hell), you may actually be spending thousands of dollars a year on personal mobility...
Your home is your best investment, right?
Thursday, 09 May 2019
A few recent analyses suggest that this old chestnut may not apply anymore—if it ever did. Researchers from the San Francisco Fed have recently concluded that from 1870 through 2015, worldwide returns on homes—that is, the average yearly home appreciation across all houses in the world—was 6.9% after inflation. The comparable yearly return for global stocks was 6.7%. Closer to home (so to speak), U.S. stocks returned 8.5% a year over that time period, vs. 6.1% for houses. In America, houses appreciated a little less robustly than homes abroad, and stocks were much better investments than global ones.
You want to feel happy, right? Doesn’t everybody?
Tuesday, 07 May 2019
Research has shown that once you get past providing for your basic needs, additional money doesn’t materially increase your happiness level, and we all know that meds can only go so far toward adding to our sense of well-being. Are there any other strategies that can move the needle on our happiness scale?
A recent article online in Forbes looked at some research and found a few tricks and habits that might induce more happiness in our lives. The first is exercise. Cardiovascular exercise (that is, a strenuous workout) functions almost like a wonder drug with regard to a person’s overall well-being and has recently been associated with the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus, the part of the brain known to be affected by depression.
Lives are busy. Between work, families, and all the little details and obligations it’s easy to see how our finances, especially long-term finances, can get neglected.
Wednesday, 10 April 2019
But the good thing is, with a little effort and time on the front end, you can really get on top of your finances and be able to check something important off the list. Sound too good to be true? Well, read below to get some tips that can help you get on top.
Write Out Your Goals
Did you know people who write out their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them? This probably has something to do with making the intangible (an idea) tangible. Writing something down helps imprint it in our memory, and it is also a visual reminder. So, write down, in as much detail as you are able, what you want to focus on financially. Most of the goals, like buying a house, starting a business, retiring early or well, will all involve long term planning. But the first step in any plan is figuring out what your target is.
Retirement, like any major life event, can be a rocky transition. For people who had high powered leadership roles, that transition to civilian life may be all the harder.
Thursday, 21 March 2019
Each year, over one hundred CEO’s retire from the S&P 1000. They may leave with nice exit packages and praise for their successes, but often, because their positions were so demanding, they didn’t put too much thought into what would happen next.
Feeling the Loss
The average CEO retires at age 62 and with the average lifespan in the mid-eighties, that leaves over two decades to fill. Retirement can be a challenging period for some, resulting in depression, social isolation, and a loss of purpose. CEOs and other highly successful individuals may, in fact, be more prone to depression than others.[i] Ironically, their success may contribute to their feeling of loss later in life. If self-worth is measured by success or competition, adapting to a non-career driven life may be more challenging. Often, the best way to avoid retirement malaise is to have a plan. The transition to retirement is all the more difficult for individuals who define themselves by what they do. Taking time before retirement to self-reflect and dig into what you want to do next, can help with feelings of loss.
"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."
– Viktor Frankl
Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Most people don’t stand at the altar thinking their marriage will end in divorce. When you imagined your life it may have gone a little like college, job, wife, kids, retirement on the beach, or some variation. You probably didn’t add in a mid-life or “gray” (as it’s termed if you are over 50) divorce. But here you are. Life can be unpredictable that way. Considering 52.7% of marriages end in divorce, you’re not alone.[i]
Baby Boomers are divorcing at a much higher rate than the generation before or after them. Currently, 1 in 4 divorces are couples over 50, and the gray divorce rate has doubled since 1990.[ii] There are some theories as to why this is the case. For some, it’s the transitional periods like empty-nest, mid-life crisis, or retirement that trigger the desire to uncouple. The Boomers are also a unique generation in that they plan to live longer and are healthier than previous retirees. Divorce for Boomers also comes with less of a stigma than for previous generations. Unfortunately, there are some downsides to divorcing later and a big one is your financial security. Boomers are already coming up short on their retirement savings. They generally have not saved enough to offset the loss of pensions and The Great Recession. In fact, 48% of Boomers are not on track to afford the basic expenses of retirement.[iii]
Those who are corporate executives or in upper management may have different company benefit options for retirement.
Friday, 01 February 2019
It's important to look over your choices and have a plan in place for your retirement. In this article, we will discuss a few areas to look into before you retire.
Before we talk about the financials, it's good to take some time to discuss the bigger picture of retirement. If you've worked your way up to the executive level, there is a good chance you've invested a lot of your life and your time into your career. As you plan for how you will fund your retirement, it is prudent to also take stock in how you want to live your retired years day to day. Open communication with your partner and family about your goals is key. Having discussions of daily schedules, travel, volunteer work, and downsizing will all help give more structure and shape to this next big step. In that same vein, investing in your overall health through diet and exercise and possibly lifestyle changes may also help improve the quality of your retirement. Being financially secure is obviously very important but being healthy enough to really enjoy it is too. Make sure that you look at the whole of your retirement, not just the money side.
You’ve been working and saving, you have money in the bank for retirement. But, have you spent enough time thinking about what you are going to do when you retire?
Tuesday, 15 January 2019
Where previously in our lives our schedule is filled with work and kids, suddenly you may find yourself with a lot of free time. Oftentimes, people haven’t really set enough time aside to think about what they want to do once they are retired. This is troubling because lacking a clear plan of action or difficulty adapting to a big life change are what can really derail a retirement.[i] It’s easy over decades of working to think of retirement as a finish line, but the danger in that, regardless of how much you have in the bank, is once you are carrying that box off your desk for the last time, you are left with a feeling of now what?
It’s almost time. You’re in your 50s or 60s. You've worked your whole life, you've saved, and perhaps you've gotten some kids through college and into adulthood.
Thursday, 27 December 2018
Perhaps you're married and your spouse is close to retirement as well, or you’re divorced, or you’re single. No matter your situation, retirement is closer on the horizon. You may feel ready to take the plunge. New Year, New You right? Or you may feel anxiety about what life on the other side of working will look like. Who will you be? What will you do? How will you spend your days without the routine of a daily work schedule?