AdviceIQ Articles

  • Planning for Your Lifestyle

    How you arrange your financial life is important. But so is how you live your life. The second part is too often neglected in financial planning. Would you rather own your own business? Travel more? Write a novel?

  • Variable Annuity: Good Idea?

    A friend recently asked me a simple but thought provoking question: What type of person is a variable annuity a good product for? 

    My friend’s “financial guy” was pushing her to invest a substantial portion of her investable assets into a variable annuity that was coincidently offered by his employer. 

  • Not All Win in the Market

    If you read the financial press, you might believe that everyone makes money in the stock market when values climb and that everyone loses money when values fall.

    Makes sense, of course, because every investor can earn the returns of, say, the Standard & Poor’s 500 by snapping up a low-cost index fund that tracks the S&P 500.

  • Real-life Advisors Are Better

    Face-to-face contact is vital when you make a financial plan. Recently, several advisory firms sprang up that offer financial advice over the Web or the phone. The idea is that these robo-advisors charge less than advisors offering in-person service. Well, you get what you pay for.

    Last month’s column de-bunked the myth that advisors were only for the rich. You can get a good flesh-and-blood advisor who charges a very reasonable fee.

  • The Good Side of Getting Old

    Yes, there are good things about being old, such as increased happiness, less stress, better marriages and deeper friendships. You seldom hear that: People tend to focus on the negatives of aging.

    How old is “old”? I don't know exactly, but after my recent birthday I can say that it's much older than 58. My 12-year-old son told me, “Dad, I’ve always thought of people who are over 60 as being really old. I don’t think of you as really old, so guess I will need to redefine what is old.”

  • Start Social Security Too Soon?

    Social Security officials often encourage starting benefits as soon as you are eligible. But they can’t counsel you on filing strategies. Convenient for them but inconvenient for those who don’t know the ins and outs of filing and may file too early in life.

    If you or someone you know started benefits early, strategies exist to still enhance monthly benefit checks or even let the recipient take a job without losing benefits. Knowing the filing rules helps maximize retirement income.

  • This Age of Low Expectations

    Observing today’s global economy is like watching Adam Sandler’s best movie. It’s horrible, but it could be worse.

    Consider what passes for improvement today:

  • Why Write an Ethical Will

    A traditional will or a trust transfers material possessions. An ethical will bequeaths wisdom, vision, values, life lessons, moral guidelines and personal reflections to family members and other loved ones.

    Ethical wills have roots in religious traditions. Elaine Tiller at Baptist Senior Adult Ministries in Washington, D.C., counsels:  “Ethical wills are windows into the souls of those who write them. It is this that makes them so cherished by family members from generation to generation.”

  • Investing in Entrepreneurs

    Not all your investments should be in established companies. Investing in young businesses, while more risky than in long-time stalwarts, can be very rewarding. Today’s powerhouses started small.

    Our daughter Kathryn has decided to become an entrepreneur. She’s going to work for a start-up company in Boston – EverTrue, which creates mobile apps to help connect colleges with their alumni. She was working as a consultant for Deloitte Consulting, a long-established enterprise.

  • Have Some Bonds, Not All Bonds

    Braving the market – any segment of the market – requires braving ups and downs. Real security remains an illusion. Most smart investors realize that.

    I recently read something distressing in Jason Zweig’s Wall St. Journal column, however. In “Here Comes the Next Hot Emerging Market: the U.S.,” Zweig writes that according to Morningstar, investors have pulled $22 billion from U.S. stock funds and added $339 billion to bond funds in the last year.

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