Creating Financial Plans

What an Advisor Should Ask

A common question that we get from people after telling them that we own our own financial planning firm is: What do you ask clients at the first meeting?

Risk and Your Financial Goals

Most people poorly understand tolerance for investment risk. They also have a flawed – or even absent – understanding of the risk in their current investments.

Understanding risk tolerance and how it aligns with actual investment risk is crucial to your own investing. For instance, how do you respond not only to the downward jolts but also to euphoric market times? How does the current mood of the market affect your buying and selling decisions?

How to Face the Future

Planning for the future, which includes the inevitability of death, has practical and spiritual dimensions. There are believers, unbelievers and skeptics when it comes to concepts of God, heaven and hell. Your view of such things colors your perception of the future and choices made along the way, including how you earn money and deploy resources.

Coping With Market Moves

When markets near high records, you wonder, “Is this a bubble?” When markets dive, you wonder, “Is this a crash?” Your biggest question: How do you keep your head on the recent Wall Street rollercoaster?

The Rewards of Goal Setting

Saving for retirement is like preparing for a big race. The dedication and sacrifice required are tough to muster. Psychologically, it pays to fix on the far-off goal. But just as important are the little mile markers along the way.

When you train for a physical challenge, the goal is to complete the course. En route to that goal, though, you find yourself in good shape: trimmer, stronger, lighter.

Need for Financial Literacy

April was Financial Literacy Month. What did you learn? Do most of your neighbors keep a household budget or save for retirement? Does your cousin live hand-to-mouth? Is gold worth its own weight?

Money habits of the average American reveal that only 40% of adults use a budget and track spending. More than three out of four adults (76%) live paycheck to paycheck, half maintain three months’ expenses in an emergency fund and more than a quarter (27%) have no savings at all.

Life Cycles and Market Cycles

How this spring’s market turbulence affects you depends upon how old you are. For people in or near retirement, it is scary – yet there are ways to offset a shrinking stock portfolio. Regardless of your age, look at market dips as opportunities, not threats.

The recent market gyrations remind me of the vaudeville joke about one’s spouse. Q. “How’s the stock market?” A. “Compared to what?”

6 Ways to Save for Retirement

If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t saved enough to retire. Especially if you’re older than 35, it’s time to get serious. So here are six steps to follow.

Some people foolishly think the future will take care of itself. If you own a business, maybe you think your business will provide ample money in your future (maybe it will, maybe it won’t). You might contribute to a retirement-savings plan at work and nurse a vague idea of how much to save. That won’t cut it.

How to Manage Your Wealth

Some think of advisors as purely investment focused. But for many people your advisor should be a wealth manager – someone who can give you guidance on both financial planning and investment issues ranging from topics like estate planning to taxes to insurance to investments.

How to Ride a Bull Market

The market skyrockets; the market plunges. Every day brings new peaks and valleys to the Wall Street casino where your money labors for your future. What kind of market is this and what, if anything, can you do?

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