AdviceIQ Articles

  • Forget Investment Benchmarks

    How should you measure your mutual fund portfolio’s performance? The standard answer is against a benchmark, typically an index like the Standard & Poor’s 500. But that’s a misplaced focus. The better measure is how much risk you are taking.

  • Writing Your Last Letter

    You’re going to die. You don’t know when: It could be 50 years from now or tomorrow. So write a letter to them to tell them important things, that cover matters of both the wallet and the heart.

    When I thought recently that I had limited time left, I wrote a letter to my wife. The letter was just about financial matters. I should have written about several things besides that.

    Cover the practical stuff. Your significant other needs to know whom to call about different financial aspects of your life.

  • How Long to Keep Tax Docs

    You likely live in fear of a tax audit. Here’s how to protect yourself.

    If the Internal Revenue Service suspects you underreported your gross income by 25% or more, it can challenge your return for up to six years. If the IRS suspects you filed a fraudulent return, no statute of limitations applies.

    When the IRS challenges your return, the burden of evidence verifying your claims rests entirely with you.

  • The Low Inflation Problem

    Inflation is tame these days. But over time, even at low levels, it eats away at your wealth. While the alarmist fringe’s warnings about hyperinflation are dubious, you need to be aware of the long-term problems that rising prices pose to your well-being.

    The basic purpose of saving and investing is to have funds to purchase goods and services in the future. You may have a near-term goal such as buying a house or new car, or a more distant goal, paying for education or funding retirement. The key is what a dollar saved today will buy in the future.

  • Parents’ Money Talk Taboo

    My last article explored three fears that stop adult children from talking with parents about their estate plans, even though such conversations could greatly benefit both generations. These are: “It’s none of my business,” “I don’t want them to think I am greedy” and “It will ruin our relationship.”

  • How to Meet Your Goals

    There’s more to setting a goal than making a statement about it. You must make a plan and apply specifics. If you resolved to lose weight, for example, first put specifics around that goal such as, “I want to lose 15 pounds in 2014.”

    Will it happen all at once? One fine day you wake up 15 pounds lighter? Of course not.

    That presto mentality often derails us. We dive into our goal with gusto, hitting the gym four straight days for the first week. When we see no automatic and quick result, we fall back into our old routines and soon give up on the goal.

  • The Virtue of Contrarianism

    Sometimes the best investment advice is to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.

    When the stock market was in free fall during the financial crisis, many investors who had hung on for as long as they could take it finally gave up. They sold their stocks, locking in huge losses and missing out on a historic rally.

  • Young Couples’ Estate Plans

    Even if you’re young, newly married or just had your first child, you need basic estate planning. Here’s how to start.

    A comprehensive estate plan offers benefits to almost everyone: control over distribution of your property after your death, including trusts for your spouse or children; naming of guardians for minor children; designation of a personal representative to administer your estate; appointment of agents to make financial and health-care decisions for you when needed; and reduction or elimination of estate taxes at death.

  • Homeowning for the Young

    Your time has come to grow beyond renting a home. What now?

    Gen Y, those born in the 1980s and early 1990s, look today to build equity and save on rent by researching the benefits of owning versus renting. Whether married or single, when it comes to renting and owning, you must consider these questions:

  • Why Things Are Looking Up

    Since the 2008 financial crisis, a whole array of problems has buffeted the world. But now there are ample reasons to be optimistic, from flagging concerns about Europe to better U.S. economic numbers.

    That was the upshot of last month’s gathering of elite thinkers and leaders at the Swiss alpine resort of Davos. This year at the World Economic Forum, once a glum conclave, attendees found themselves looking up at both the towering Alps and global prospects. Of course, big shots’ opinions are hardly infallible. But their sanguine reasoning rests on a pretty firm foundation.


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