Investing

How Target Date Funds Miss

Simplicity is the biggest advantages of target date funds. But simpler is not better. Many of these funds, designed to grow more conservative as investors age, still are too risky. And too often, they fall short as a financial planning tool because they don’t take into account individuals’ needs.

3 Key Dividend Dates

We all have important dates to remember in our lives, such as birthdays and anniversaries. When it comes to investing for dividends, investors should memorize three key dates: date of declaration, date of record and date of payment.

Some companies offer dividend-paying stocks, which give their shareholders a percentage of the profits in cash, usually quarterly. Sometimes, companies pay large special dividends, such as Microsoft in 2004, because they have excess cash on their books.

The Reluctant Bulls of 2014

This is the year of the reluctant bull – a market that rises despite widespread investor qualms. This past summer shows how a choppy stock market can deceive investors, tempting them to do the wrong thing: exit equities.

You’re a Millionaire? Big Deal

For many, millionaire status is a pipe dream. But to be reasonably comfortable in your golden years, a million dollars is only the threshold.

Celebrated in song, literature, movie plots and motivational seminars, becoming a millionaire status was a sign of financial independence. In the past, perhaps. Today, not so much.

Can’t Trust the Stock Market?

If you keep your life savings in certificates of deposit or a savings account at your local bank, that decision may be based on a common belief about finances, known as a money script: “You can’t trust the stock market.” This belief about money can keep you from making the most of your retirement savings.

How to Get a Decent Return

What kind of a portfolio return can you reasonably hope for? My goal, as an advisor, is to average 8.5% yearly. While no return is guaranteed, how can an investor reasonably hope to attain that performance?

Ebola, Fear and Market Timing

The West African Ebola outbreak this summer generated fear and anxiety, particularly when two infected American aid volunteers were treated at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital. What does Ebola have to do with your personal investment policy and meeting your goals? Plenty: It provides a useful lesson in the psychology of fear.

Sizing Up Your 401(k)

When did you last evaluate your company’s retirement plan? If you’re like many people, your 401(k) or profit-sharing plan constitutes the largest – or at least one of the largest – investment accounts in your portfolio. Here’s how to make sure it’s the best plan for you.

Many factors help you evaluate your plan, including the total expenses, investment options, guidance provided and your company match.

Your Wealth Checkup (Pt. 2)

In part one we looked at budgeting, insurance and other details of your financial health. Here’s the continuing list of what you must do at least once a year to help keep your money working and your finances healthy.

Protect yourself from identity theft. Undoing the chaos that identity theft creates can take days of your time.

Why It’s Different This Time

Yes, it is different this time, and not in a good way. The aftermath of the financial crisis and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression produced a sluggish recovery. Accelerating technological change is further disrupting. When looking for a culprit for economic malaise, search no further.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose (translation: The more things change, the more they stay the same). Old wise men and women add a wrinkle to their brows when they hear the phrase: “It’s different this time.” They’ve heard that before.

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