AdviceIQ Articles

  • Penny Stocks, Pound Foolish

    There are all kinds of completely stupid investing schemes that appeal to greed and exploit ignorance to fleece investors. Penny stocks are notorious culprits. My advice: stay away from them unless you want to part with your money for good.

    I even fell for their allure myself once and it cost me $5,000. It still makes me sick just reliving it. As a financial advisor, I should know better. Don’t make the same mistake.

    The Temptation

  • Dubious Retirement Models

    The Web has loads of free retirement calculators, and you can buy software that purports to chart how things may work out. Even some professional advisors swear by them. Don’t put your trust in these tools.

    With all of the independent variables that go into a financial plan, they aren’t likely to play out as we hope.

    I recently revisited the subject of modeling software while teaching an economics course. Someone in my class criticized advisors that do not use supposedly advanced software to project hypothetical outcomes for clients. 

  • Don’t Pay for Kids’ College

    Do you want to give your children the best possible chance to do well in college, earn higher salaries, and save more for their retirement? Then don't pay for their college education.

    One of the most popular money beliefs I encounter is the notion that good parents should pay for their child's college. Many parents do this at the expense of taking care of themselves in retirement, which is a very high price to pay.

  • Advisors as Money Detectives

    A financial advisor’s job is like a detective’s. We probe to see whether your financial assumptions are correct. We want to find the truth beneath the assumptions and document clutter.

    Sometimes, our digging uncovers dangerous imbalances in your financial picture. Once we discover these errors, we can help correct them.

    Here are two examples of people that we helped by solving misunderstandings before any damage occurred.

  • How Retirement Plans Differ

    Before you jump into a retirement plan at work, you need to know the rules for different types of accounts. Lots of investors think they know what a 401(k) is, but different types of workplaces have different types of accounts.

    If you work for a hospital, say, your plan has some different features than does a 401(k), which is used at private companies. It is important to know how they differ and to discuss your choice with a financial professional before taking the plunge.

  • Economic Snags and Gold

    A stock market rally and improved jobless numbers mask underlying U.S. economic  weakness. Investors should protect themselves with gold or other hard metals.

    Yes, the glittering performance of gold during the last dozen years has suffered recently. Bullion increased almost six-fold over the past 12 years but last year underperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is down 12% since October.

  • How to Use Your Tax Refund

    Getting a tax refund is an opportunity to make some smart financial decisions. This money can beef up savings and whittle down debt. But the wisest course is to adjust your withholding to avoid getting a refund in the first place.

    The average tax refund was $3,000 in 2012, so many people receive enough to greatly enhance their financial situation. Here are a few smart ways to use your tax refund. 

  • Dealing With Rolling Markets

    The current rally follows a bitter 2007-2009 bear market. How can your equity portfolio fare best over time amid such highs and lows? The best bet is to buy quality stocks that are not over-priced.

    As hikers approach the top of a challenging peak, they wonder about the journey back down. Stock market patterns over time resemble a rolling chart of peaks and valleys. As indexes climb toward record highs, anxiety inevitably rises about the next down stroke, which we know is coming.

  • Insurance: How Much Needed?

    How much insurance do you need? A whole host of factors come into play when figuring this out. Here’s how to put them together to give you an idea what your policy should cover.

    Some suggest using 10 times your take-home salary as a rough rule of thumb when determining life insurance. Like all such rules, this rough guide falls short in many situations. For some, 10 times one’s salary is too much, and for some it doesn’t suffice. You need to account for your family’s needs and liabilities when choosing a plan.

  • Creating an Emergency Fund

    Putting away some money for sudden expenses is a good idea. But how much? Here’s how to figure that out.

    If you are faced with unexpected expenses from a car accident, disability, storm damage to your home, losing a job, an ill family member or theft, your savings could take a big hit without an emergency fund in place.

    Generally, a good place to start is a goal of at least three to six months of non-discretionary living expenses.

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