Waterworth Wealth Advisors, LLC

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The Best of Days & The Worst of Days

U.S. stock indexes rebounded significantly in April, with the S&P 500 posting its third-biggest monthly gain since World War II, rising 12.7%. As of its May 1st, 2020 close, the S&P 500 had risen just under 30% from its most recent low on March 23, 2020, which represented a 35% decline from all-time highs in February.
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The CARES Act and Your Retirement Accounts

The Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27th. Within the $2.2 Trillion (CARES Act) stimulus bill was a handful of changes to retirement accounts. These changes, intended to provide relief to those impacted by COVID-19, may prove beneficial to you or someone for whom you care.
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Q1 Market Commentary

Previously, we posted a blog titled “Market Commentary & Portfolio Positioning” It was rather lengthy. Still, it explained our assessment of the investment landscape as well as the rationale for changes we have made in client portfolios. We continue to monitor the market and economic developments intent on refining portfolio allocations as warranted.
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Market Commentary & Portfolio Positioning

We are monitoring the rapidly changing newsfeed for developments regarding COVID-19, the economy, and governments' monetary and fiscal policy responses to the crisis. We are also monitoring the investment markets and contacting investment managers, investment strategists, as well as other industry resources for updates and their assessment of developments relating to the crisis.
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Got the Quarantine Blues?

It’s incredible how drastically life has changed in a matter of a few weeks. “Stay at Home” and “Shelter in Place” orders have given most of us a little more time. While the news isn’t short of COVID-19 stories, I found a few items with slightly different approaches I thought might be of interest.
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Uncle Sam Gives Taxpayers a Break

In an attempt to provide relief to taxpayers and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced in late March that the IRS has moved the income tax filing day for federal income taxes. The unanticipated blow the novel coronavirus has dealt to businesses and individuals alike has caused devastating revenue losses and soaring unemployment claims. The hope is that the tax extension in conjunction with the $2.2 Trillion stimulus package will be enough of an
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Uncharted Waters

The COVID – 19 pandemic has put us in uncharted waters. There is much that is still unknown about the nature of the virus and the extent of the threat to public health and the economy. I believe the mind-numbing speed and intensity of the market sell-off reflects the fear induced by so many unknowns.
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The Next Right Thing

If you have children or grandchildren you might recognize this song from Frozen 2. It offers a message about trusting the process when surrounded by uncertainty. “Take a step, step again It is all that I can to do The next right thing
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Health and Wealth Under Siege!

Global financial markets continue to roil as the worldwide total of Coronavirus cases approaches 125,000 and the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic. As the case count has climbed in the U.S. (presently 1,268), the cancellations and disruptions to life as we know it are surreal.
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Fear & Uncertainty about Health and Wealth a Recipe for Volatility

This past week has seen extreme swings in the equity markets, and US Treasury yields declined further to historic lows. Since our February 28th update, we have seen reports of further spread of COVID-19, the Federal Reserve delivered a surprise 50 basis point (.5%) rate cut and a surge by moderates in the Democratic presidential primary race.
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Update on Current Market Volatility

I want to update you on our thoughts related to the coronavirus and its impact on the financial markets, and, ultimately, on your personal financial situation.This past week produced the fastest stock market correction in history. From its all-time high of 3,386.15 of February 19, 2020, the S&P 5001 has shed 431.94 points, equating to a 12.75% decline. (Source: StockCharts.com)
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Coronavirus Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt Deliver Two Day Stock Market Rout

Over the weekend, news reports of an unexpected rapid spread of the coronavirus COVD-19 outside of China kicked off Monday morning with investors going risk-off. Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Index closed down over 1,000 points, the worst point drop in two years. Tuesday opened with a to be expected snapback rally, only to roll over shortly after the open.
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January Month End Summary & Reports

The new decade started with very positive momentum carrying over the momentum of the final quarter of 2019. Though not completely resolved, geopolitical overhangs became less worrisome with a phase one trade deal and more certainty about Brexit. The Federal Reserve signaled that, though they paused further rate cuts, they stand ready should the economy flag.
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Wash your Hands!

US equities closed out January down, wiping out gains for the new year. A flight to safety drove Treasury bond prices higher / yields lower. The US 10-year treasury closed out the week at 1.55%; a year ago, it sat at 2.69%. It could be a good time to consider refinancing!
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Markets Catch the Flu & Davos Highlights

US equities are under pressure early this week after suffering the biggest weekly pullback since late August. According to Factset.com, treasuries prices are rallying (yields lowering) as global “risk-off” sentiment is driven by heightened concerns over the spread of China's coronavirus outbreak. China confirmed more cases Monday, pushing the total to 2,744 with at least 80 dead.
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Q4 Market Review

2019 was an exceptional year for investors as both stocks and bonds notched impressive returns. Enjoy the elation of the returns, but be sure to take 2019 in context. The year began immediately after a significant drawdown across all asset classes in the fourth quarter of 2018. Therefore, averaging out the returns over the past 2 or 3 years might be a better perspective check on how markets have performed.
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2019 Review & 2020 Planning

Whether New Year’s Resolutions or a time to reprioritize and set new goals, the new year brings possibilities and excitement. It is an ideal time for us to check-in with clients to review the prior year’s results and plan for the new year or even decade!When is a good time for you to do a brief phone review, Go-To-Meeting, or in-person meeting? We will be reaching out to you to offer times and availability or you may self-schedule here to pick a time that is convenient for you.We are
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Wrapping Up 2019 in a Bow

The market appears poised to finish the decade in fine fashion. Through Friday, the S&P 500 is up 26.4%, and the newsfeed for the week offered several supportive developments.The U.S. and China agreed to the terms of a "phase one" trade deal. After so many fits and starts, will this deal get done and implemented as reported? Eunice Yoon, did a piece on CNBC dubbed "Lost in Translation". I found it insightful, you might too.
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What You and Your Beneficiaries Need to Know about BDA IRAs

The end of the year is a great time to organize and review your financial information. There may be year-end actions you can take to mitigate taxes. It is also a good time to review your estate plans and specifically the IRA beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts.For many clients, their IRA accounts are a substantial part of their investment holdings. It is, therefore, important to understand the nuances of IRA beneficiary designations and to avoid the potential pitfalls.
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Thankful

This week the equity markets continued to etch record highs going into the Thanksgiving holiday. There is an old saying that the stock climbs a wall of worry. This morning Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan gave an interview on CNBC that centered on his worries for the economy. Among his concerns was historically high levels of corporate debt, which could amplify a downturn, consumers emboldened by low interest taking on too much debt, and uncertainty from "deglobalization"
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Which Comes First?

Brexit or a "Phase One" China deal? It has been nearly 3 1/2 years since the UK referendum vote to exit the European Union. Try as they may, conservative prime ministers have been stonewalled by Parliament to make a deal for an orderly (relatively speaking) exit. The machinations of Brexit have put on full display the complexity of unwinding from the EU and the dysfunction of UK's political system.
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Capital Gains Refresher & Debate

You may have heard the often repeated Warren Buffet quote that he pays a lower tax rate than his "secretary" (ahem, it's "administrative assistant"; Mr. Buffet). His quote morphed into the "Buffett Rule"; which in essence forwards the notation that millionaire and billionaire investors shouldn't pay a lower percentage of their income in federal taxes than middle-class households. At the core of the debate are two different tax systems.
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Better Than Expected

October, and so far into November, has seen the equity markets run and achieve all-time highs. Year to date, 2019, the major equity indexes have posted eye-popping gains. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I feel compelled to put those gains in perspective by pointing to the dismal fourth quarter which led up to the New Year. Considering returns since October 1, 2018, the major equity indexes are up just mid-single-digit returns, so don’t get too giddy!
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How to Ensure Your Life Wishes Are Granted Through Effective Estate Planning

Legacy planning is often the last piece folks tackle in their financial planning, because it’s the least appealing to think about. Planning for a robust nest egg that will keep you safe, secure, and fulfilled when you stop working? Fun! Deciding what to do with your assets when you’re no longer around to enjoy them? Not so much. But if you put off your legacy planning too long, you run a real risk of leaving behind nothing but headaches for your loved ones.
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Boeing –When a Soaring Company Stalls

This week Boeing's CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, goes before Congress for hearings about the 737 Max crashes. He is in for a long day in the hot seat as congressional representatives lambaste him and his company.The timeline of snowballing revelations about the 737 Max, Boeing's culture, and their relationship with the FAA is significant.
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Let's Make a Deal

Last week was the week of the deal. Not done deals, but contingent deals that may or may not close. Regardless, tweets, talk, and headlines about deals move markets. Hopes get built up and sometimes dashed! The three prominent deals from last week to which I'm referring are 1) the "phase-one" trade deal with China, 2) a BREXIT deal between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU leaders, and 3) the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) reached a deal with GM.
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How to Make Your Empty Nest Time a Prime Time in Your Life

This empty nest transition can be very emotional. And in some cases, like children who stay on your health insurance until age 25, the break isn’t as clean as it used to be. But this change should also be exciting! Here are some tips on how you and your spouse can stay positive and make the most out of all your new free time, all that new space, and hopefully, all that extra money.
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Not Escalating is Progress

Last week you may have noticed that the U.S. and global stock markets rallied. On Friday, much of the optimism was on tweets & reports that the U.S. and China were making progress towards a phased deal, and speculation grew that talks were going well because negotiators ordered out for lunch (as opposed to leaving early)! At intraday highs, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up over 500 points.
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2019 Q3 Market Commentary and Outlook

Make no doubt about it, Q3 was a very volatile quarter in the capital markets across the globe. Trade wars, global recession fears, and a smorgasbord of geo-political risk fostered uncertainty and dominated headlines. Despite it all, domestic equities (as approximated by the Russell 3000) still managed a 1.16% positive return while international equities (as approximated by MSCI ACWI ex-US) were down 1.79%.
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Rebalancing Act

The past few weeks we have been rebalancing client accounts to updated investment allocation models. The updated models take into account our view that the economy is in the later stages of expansion and we see warning signals that increase the probability of a recession arriving in eighteen months, give or take six months.
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Is How You Use Your Money Aligned With Your Values?

Have you ever watched a hamster running in a wheel? All that running, all that effort, day after day after day … But the poor little critter never really gets anywhere, does he? Many of us feel the same way about our money.
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Key Questions for the Long-Term Investor

Whether you’ve been investing for decades or are just getting started, at some point on your investment journey you’ll likely ask yourself some of the questions below.Trying to answer these questions may be intimidating, but know that you’re not alone. We are here to help. While this is not intended to be an exhaustive list it will hopefully shed light on a few key investment principles.
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Treasury Yields and Mortgage Rates on Hopes for Trade Deal - Decision this Week

Last week the ten-year U.S Treasury yield surged the most in a week since 2016, which also made it the worst week for mortgages rates in three years. Why the change?
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Did You Inherit Your Beliefs About Money From Your Parents?

Answering these four key questions can help you look at your financial upbringing with a fresh perspective. When you’re done, think about which money beliefs you want to pass on to your own kids, and which might be preventing you from living the best life possible with the money you have.
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Upside Down: What Does the Yield Curve Suggest About Growth?

On August 14, 2019, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note briefly fell below the yield on the two-year note for the first time since 2007. Investors were spooked because a yield curve inversion has been a reliable predictor of past recessions. Looking at the yield curve as an economic indicator and presenting some of the factors behind the uncertain outlook for future growth.
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August Commentary

It has been anything but a slow summer in the capital markets. Stock volatility has increased with the growing uncertainty of an escalating trade war, slowing global economies, and a long in the tooth U.S. economic expansion. In spite of signals of a looming recession, the U.S. economy continues to come through with reassuring, and often better-than-expected, economic reports.
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From Jackson Hole to Woodstock

The dog days of summer are a great time for a get-away, and even Federal Reserve Bankers deserve a summertime boondoggle. This past week, Fed officials gathered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to debate the state of the economy and monetary policy. Friday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell delivered a speech which focused upon the factors contributing to global economic weakness.
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The Pros and Cons of Lighting a FIRE Under Your Retirement Goals

FIRE stands for Financial Independence Retire Early. The idea is that by working as hard as you can and saving as much as you can as soon as you enter the workforce, you can become financially independent and retire well before the traditional retirement age. It’s an appealing idea in theory, but in practice there are some major pros and cons to consider.
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How Geopolitical Tensions May Affect Oil Prices and the Economy

Conflict in the Persian Gulf has spurred modest oil price volatility in recent weeks, but prices didn't spike to high levels seen during some past conflicts. Discussing the relationship between fuel prices and economic growth, the range of factors that influence prices, and how a notable rise in U.S. production has fundamentally altered the global oil market.
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Escalating Trade Tensions Build Case for Global Recession – Yield Curve Flattens

Last week and into today, we have seen global recession fears build, taking a toll on equity markets, with shelter seeking investors pushing U.S Treasury yields down. Central banks in New Zealand, India, and Thailand cut rates aggressively (all neighbors and trading partners with China), stoking global recession fears. Remember when stock market indexes most recently etched new highs?
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3 Ways to Know When You Are Ready to Retire

While age is still an important factor, your ability to connect your financial resources to your lifestyle goals is what will truly determine if you’re ready to retire. Here are three important markers to cross before you crack open your nest egg.
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Market News

On Wednesday, July 31st, the Federal Reserve cut its discount rate by 25 basis points, the first-rate cut since the financial crisis. The market sold off after the announcement as Fed Chair Powell’s comments tapped the brakes on market expectations for further rate reductions. The market had priced in 2-3 rate cuts over the coming months. Thursday, the equity market rallied strongly only to reverse mid-day after Trump tweeted additional tariffs of 10% on Chinese goods effective September 1
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5 Next Steps When You Are Concerned About an Aging Parent

There’s no simple way to tackle all the logistical and emotional challenges associated with caring for an aging parent. But these five steps will help you get the help you’ll need to make sure your parent is safe, cared for, and financially secure.
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Cut the SaaS – Subscription Overload

A few weeks ago I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal on auditing the number of subscription services one is, well, subscribed to. Have you noticed that instead of a one-time software or service purchase, many vendors now only offer the option to sign up for a monthly or annual plan?
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Crossed Signals?

Recently reported stronger than expected US economic data contradicts the rationale for the Federal Reserve signaling a readiness to cut rates. Initial jobless claims for the week ending July 6 decreased by 13,000 to 209,000, while the four-week moving average decreased by 3,250 to 219,250.
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2019 Q2 Market Commentary and Outlook

The second quarter saw a continuation of the volatility associated with uncertainty about world trade and central bank policy. April was up, May was down, and June was back up. At the end of the quarter, stock market indexes eclipsed high watermark levels set during the 3rd quarter of 2018. The present state of the market finds investors pricing in anticipated rate cuts signaled by the Federal Reserve.
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Don’t Just Work for Money, Work for Meaning

As important as money is, feeling that the work we do is meaningful matters too. It’s better for our health. It’s better for our relationships. And it just makes getting up in the morning much more desirable. The good news is, there are proactive things we can do to derive more meaning from our work. Here are a few strategies for maximizing your sense of meaning from 9 to 5.
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4 Things to Consider Before Financially Bailing Out Your Adult Children

Support to adult children averages out to $10,000 per year. Can your retirement afford that kind of generosity? If you fall short of your retirement goals, is the adult you’re bailing out going to bail you out during your golden years? Before you write your struggling young adult another big check, ask yourself these four key questions.
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Dovish ECB, Trade Trump Tweet, Fed Speaks & Market Rally.

This past week, each day delivered market-moving news. It started with central bankers around the globe, signaling they stand at the ready to take preemptive action to avoid an economic downturn.
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Rates

The 2020 Presidential Election cycle is underway, and we’ll be hearing a lot about taxing the rich to fund social programs over the next 18 months. Last week CNBC reported on results from their “CNBC Millionaire survey” poll. Hearing the findings, I raised a brow.
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How Will You Practice Your “ART” in Retirement?

When today’s successful retirees stop working, they learn the “ART” of retirement. It’s about Activity, Relationships, and Time. They experiment. They try new things. They make new connections. And eventually, they create a new daily routine focused on the people and passions that make their lives fulfilling.
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4 Ways to Feel More "At Home" in Your Home

Your home is often the biggest financial purchase you’ll ever make. But is it also giving you the emotional payoffs you hope for? Your home is an important part of your financial plan because we have to consider your rent or mortgage, utility bills, maintenance, and taxes as part of your monthly and long-term financial picture. But to get the best life possible with the money you have, your home should also be a safe place that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed.
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Trade War and Recession Fears Takes a Toll in May

At the close of April, it had appeared that the US / China Trade talks had been productive and were progressing towards a resolution. The logistics of a signing ceremony were being discussed. In the first few days of May, it all began to unravel with a Presidential tweet announcing tariff increases of 25% due to the Chinese backsliding on previously agreed items. New tariffs took effect and China retaliated.
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Don’t Let a Declining Stock Market Lead to A Down Life

Big red arrows, panicked cable news experts, and the echo chambers of our social media feeds can make stock market volatility seem much worse than it actually is. If you’re having trouble keeping a cool head about your own investments, take a deep breath and consider these three key points about market history and the true purpose of your financial plan.
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Should I Sacrifice My Retirement to Support My Children?

Most parents will say that they want to help their children as much as they can and give them every advantage. But what if “every advantage” comes at the expense of the parents’ retirement savings and investments?
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The Uncommon Average

The US stock market has delivered an average annual return of around 10% since 1926. But short-term results may vary, and in any given period stock returns can be positive, negative, or flat. When setting expectations, it’s helpful to see the range of outcomes experienced by investors historically. For example, how often have the stock market’s annual returns actually aligned with its long-term average?
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Spending: What to Do When You and Your Spouse are NOT on the Same Page?

Household spending and budgeting is one of those responsibilities that’s best tackled together. Money issues are one of the biggest sources of marital tension, and a leading factor in divorces. Here are five ways that you and your spouse can make sure you agree on your household spending, avoid surprises, and maximize the Return on Life ™ your money provides.
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Defining the 1% and 5%

There is much to-do about a looming “War Against the Wealthy” in the upcoming election cycle. It got me wondering as to what exactly defines being in the top 1%? Coming up with a clear concise answer proved to be difficult, as there are many ways to slice it and most reporting agencies look to the average. Are you curious as to how you stack up?
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Déjà Vu All Over Again

Investment fads are nothing new. When selecting strategies for their portfolios, investors are often tempted to seek out the latest and greatest investment opportunities.
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Q1 GDP Growth Surprise & “Cheque” Out the Survey Results

The Commerce Department reported on Friday that gross domestic product grew at a 3.2% annualized rate for the first quarter of 2019. The combination GDP growth of over 3% and core inflation reading well below the Fed’s 2% target has reintroduced the term “Goldilocks Economy” into market commentators’ vernacular. With the Fed in an accommodative mode and inflation not forcing their hand, how much longer can this expansion go?
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Cheques

A few weeks ago I came across this SNL skit, Cheques poking fun at those who write checks. They provided several humorous reasons as to why one would still choose to use these “antiquated’ forms of payment in the world of Venmo and Apple Pay.
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What is Your “Philosophy” on Insurance? Here’s What You Should Consider

Most people consider insurance an important part of their financial plan. But do you also have an insurance philosophy that you use to determine exactly how much coverage you need? Here are four important questions that will help you crystalize your insurance philosophy and make sure it is well-integrated in your financial plan.
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2019 Q1 Commentary and Updates

S&P 500 returns for the quarter, in isolation, were the best since the third quarter of 2009. However, viewed in the context of the abysmal fourth quarter of 2018, the markets recovered from oversold levels fueled by fear of recession, swinging to fear of missing out (FOMO) in the new year. Though a rapid and significant recovery from December lows, the broader S&P 500 has not recaptured its all-time highs set in the summer of 2018.
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Are You Living Your Life On Purpose?

If you feel like your life is something that just happens to you, it’s time to reassess how you’re spending your time. Financial security, stability, and creature comforts are all important. But feeling that your life has purpose will become more and more critical to your emotional and physical well-being as you age -- especially when you finally retire.
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Inverted Yield Curve: Harbinger of Recession or April Fools?

The first quarter of 2019 is in the books. In isolation, the quarter’s S&P500 returns were the best since the third quarter of 2009. However, viewed in the context of the abysmal fourth quarter of 2018, the markets recovered from oversold levels fueled by fear of recession, swinging to fear of missing out (FOMO) in the new year. Recently, heightened recessionary concerns are creeping back to center stage as markets digest a yield curve inversion.
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Inoculation from Ponzi Schemes and Scams

A local radio show host, “The Money Doctor” William Neil Gallagher, was charged and arrested for allegedly operating a $19.6 million Ponzi scheme since 2014. Turns out “The Money Doctor” lived in our community, had an office located in Hurst of Northeast Tarrant County, and exercised at the same fitness center as myself (at least I tend to make it in on occasion).
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The New Life Skill and Pyt

This day and age, managing online account logins, passwords, and URLs is one of the most important life skills you can have. It is debilitating to be unable to access information quickly and efficiently. Successful individuals have a method for managing their online information.
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Tax Season Underway

The 2018 Tax Filing season is the first season under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Taxpayers are hoping to see larger tax refund amounts under the TCJA. Last week CNBC reported that the average tax refund check is up 1.3% from last year, most checks totaling $3,143. Time will tell if the TCJA was the boost it was touted to be for taxpayers.
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Why Delay? You Can Start Improving Your Health Right Now!

A busy 40- to 50-hour work week, kids that need shuttling to and from school and extracurriculars … and a gradually decreasing metabolism. Sound familiar? Young, working couples with no kids may have more time to be active and healthy. Long morning walks. Three trips to the gym every week. Playing organized sports with friends. Cooking their way through gourmet recipes. Then life happens.
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Fed Stays Pat if Inflation Stays Tame

Last Wednesday the Federal Reserve released its meeting notes from its January Jan. 29-30 FOMC Meeting. This meeting was significant in that in spite of solid domestic economic fundamentals, the Fed announced that going forward it would be taking a “patient” approach in light of increasing downside risks, notably slowing global growth and turmoil in financial markets.
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No Filter

“No Filter” is the appropriate name of the Rolling Stones current tour. At 75, Mick Jagger was quoted in Rolling Stone saying, “I’m not thinking about retirement.” On Friday, Factset released an earnings season update. With 79% of S&P 500 companies having reported results for Q4 2018, earnings are growing, albeit at a slightly slower pace. At 16, the forward 12 month PE ratio is lower than the 5-year average and above the 10 year average.
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A Simple Plan to Achieve More in Life and Feel Good About the Results

We tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in the short-term and underestimate what we can accomplish in the long-term. The frustration that results is one big reason why so many New Year’s resolutions die before Spring. But if you use these key strategies that are supported by deeply-held values – and science! – you’ll set better goals, achieve them, and feel better about yourself while doing so.
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Let's Make a Deal

This past week I attended Kestra’s annual conference. One of the presenting market strategists was Dr. Claus te Wildt, Senior VP, Capital Markets Strategy at Fidelity, whom I have heard for many years. The theme of his presentations was, “It’s Probably All About Trade.” As every market strategist, Claus began by acknowledging the late cycle nature of the economic expansion, tighter labor markets with rising wages; rising interest rates and a flattening yield curve.
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What Did You Learn Today?

It’s never been easier for adults to continue to learn after completing their formal education. Online universities, TED talks, “master classes,” podcasts, and even curated YouTube playlists put world-class professionals, teachers, and thinkers literally at our fingertips. Are you taking advantage?
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2019 January Commentary and Updates

Throughout the fourth quarter of 2018, the rookie year Fed Chair had fumbled signals to the markets which intensified the fretting about the long running economic expansion’s demise. The White House and many market pundits openly criticized Fed policy and hyperventilated that the Fed was going too far and too fast with rate hikes. Recession and credit Armageddon were on the field!
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Three Things

Last week the market held just above its 50 day moving average but made little progress towards regaining its 200 day average, Q4 earnings reports were overshadowed by headlines regarding the Government Shutdown, Trade talks with China and Global Geo-political events. Here are three things I found of interest and entertainment value last week.
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Empower Yourself by Recognizing Your Freedom to Choose

If challenges in your family life, your career, or your finances are making you feel powerless, try approaching the challenge from a new angle. This simple three-step process can put you back in touch with your freedom to choose how and why you live your life.
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Last Week's Wrap

Last week the S&P 500 posted its fourth straight week of gains, the longest string of positive weeks since August. Below you can see the deep “V” from the not so Santa Claus Sell-off. The index has regained its 50-day moving average but is still beneath the 200-day moving average. Uncertainty still abounds and volatility will likely continue, but the New Year has turned down the volume of late December’s recession narrative.
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For Your Consideration – Equity Markets Outlook

I found this interview with Jeff Vinik on CNBC last Thursday of special interest. In this interview, Vinik discusses his outlook and rationale for the equity market over the coming years. I am aligned with his thinking. Here are the highlights I took from the interview.
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2018 Fourth Quarter Commentary and Outlook

Happy New Year! 2018 was not so happy for investors. In fact, the US stock indexes closed with the worst yearly losses since 2008. Attached is a market review with all the facts for the fourth quarter and calendar year 2018.
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The Smart Parent's Guide to Preparing Financially for Your New Baby's Arrival

Working through this simple checklist with your spouse will minimize your own regrets, assist your budgeting, and help you both sleep a little better … that is, when the baby lets you.
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How to Have More Fun and Meaning in Retirement

A blank calendar filled with nothing but free time can be every bit as stressful as a packed work week. That’s the surprising fact that many new retirees confront after a few days of hitting the snooze button and puttering around the house. Here are some ideas for creating a new retirement schedule that will keep you growing, learning, experiencing new things, and making meaningful connections with your community.
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Debt: What’s Your Story and How Do You Feel About It?

The phrase “credit card debt” usually triggers red flags when we’re talking about long-term financial planning. And in fact, the average US household now carries $15,654 on their cards, and pays $904 annually in interest. But debt, in and of itself, isn’t good or bad. Instead of making a value judgment about how you use debt, when working with clients we like to understand a number of factors to help us do a better job positioning their resources to work more effectively for them.
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Year End Charitable Giving & Stacking

Fewer people will likely be itemizing their deductions in 2018 because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017. If you are under the standard deduction limit, are charitably inclined and have appreciated securities or cash you might consider “stacking” multiple years of charitable contributions into one tax year. You can accomplish this using a donor-advised charitable fund.
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Savings: Does Your Desire to Save Match Your Reality?

What are we saving FOR? Many new investors come to their financial advisors with a number in mind: “I want to save $1 million before I retire.” There’s even something of a fad among millennials who work as hard as they can, save as much as they can, and try to retire before age 50.
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Giving: How To Do The Most Good Without Disrupting Your Financial Plan

Incorporating charitable giving into your financial plan is a great way to make sure that your generosity is aligned with the things that are most important to you. Some forethought about these key issues will also make sure that your good intentions don’t throw off the rest of your long-term planning.
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Three Overlooked Keys to Being a Successful Investor

By understanding the following three important facts about the market, you might be able to turn “fear” into “False Evidence Appearing Real” and not get scared out of letting your money work hard for you in the market.
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Are You Financially and Emotionally Prepared for Life's Big Transitions?

Financial planning is more than just a series of savings and investments you lock away and forget about. Your money doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Your financial needs are going to fluctuate in response to the transitions that we all go through as we work, raise our families, and look ahead to retirement. Managing these transitions is one of the keys to maximizing your finances and to achieving a greater Return on Life™ (ROL).
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2018 Third Quarter Commentary and Outlook

In the third quarter, the word “divergence” became the word of choice for market pundits describing the significant performance gap between the US stock market and the rest of the world’s equity markets. Sharing our thoughts as Q3 2018 comes to a close.
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When Will You Retire? Really?

Comparing the expected retirement age to the average reported retirement age for Americans currently retired reveals that people who were expecting to work longer tend to retire before they expected to do so. Evaluate your retirement and the impact of potentially leaving the workforce sooner than expected or later than expected.
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What’s Your Fiscalosophy?

Successful financial planning involves more than the balance in your portfolio. A strong financial plan represents what is important to you as an individual—in other words, your Fiscalosophy. Your individual backstory can have an impact on how you think about money and investing. These stories are an essential part of your Fiscalosophy.
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The Ponzi Scheme Next-Door

The following story hit very close to home this week. A friend sent a text Wednesday night asking me if I knew a Jay Ledford, CPA. His office was in the building just across the parking lot from ours. My friend then sent me a link to this article regarding a $364 million investment fraud scheme. Reading the article, I learned of another location in the heart of the community in which we live.\
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Is Your Money Being Used to Improve Your Life?

There’s a movement toward redefining money: instead of accumulating money for what it can buy, more of us want to use money to live the best life possible with what we have––a concept known as Return on Life™ (ROL). With ROL, money becomes a tool to help you live the life you want. Accumulating as much wealth as possible is no longer the primary objective of your financial plan.
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Keep Your Eye on the Ball - 2018 August Recap

Ignore the news feed and the tweets. Keep your eye on the ball: presently economic fundamentals are terrific, the economy is accelerating, corporate earnings growth has been strong, and investors are skeptical (that’s a good thing).
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What is Your “Return on Life™?”

Today, people are starting to ask a new question about their financial plan: “Am I getting the best life possible with the money I have?” Instead of focusing exclusively on their traditional return on investment (ROI), these folks are starting to focus on their Return on Life ™ (ROL). But how do you know if you are getting a good ROL?
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Evidenced-based Baseball & Evidence-based Investing

The start of September brings the anticipation of postseason major league baseball. My Rangers are in the cellar of the American League West. So, I’ve adopted the Oakland A’s as my team for the postseason. Why the A’s? Well, it has a lot to do with their player selection strategy.
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2018 Year End Tax Planning

Whatever your situation, it usually pays to evaluate your tax outlook and plan before the end of the calendar year. If you wait until filing time, it may be too late!
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Skill Gaps Abound – Trump Back on the Apprentice Trail

The newly enacted National Council for the American Worker has created the Pledge to the American Worker. Over the next five years they, along with several Fortune 500 Companies, pledge to create over 3.8 million new jobs but also to provide much needed job skills training programs to previously sidelined job seekers and those entering the workforce.
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Young Adults Financial Skills Workshop

This past week we conducted our first workshop for the “Young Adults Financial Skills” summer series. These free, interactive workshops are geared to twenty-somethings looking to gain and build fundamental personal financial management skills.
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2018 Second Quarter Review and Outlook

The first six months of 2018 have provided investors ample grist of the mill as they evaluate the economy and capital markets. Let's consider three: job reports, trade policy, and Federal Reserve policy.
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Went to the show and got the t-shirt!

Last weekend two of my siblings and their spouses were in town to celebrate our son’s high school graduation. The weather was oppressively hot that weekend in the DFW area, so we were looking for an indoor activity to show them a good time while in town...
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TCJA and 529 Plans – A Pig in a Poke

529 College Savings Plans were designed to encourage saving for college costs by offering tax-free investment growth, as well as, tax-free withdrawals for qualified higher expenses. First introduced to the tax law in 1996, 529 Plans have gone through several iterations, the most notable being in December of 2017 through the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) which expanded their use to K-12 education expenses.
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Early Distributions from a Retirement Account – SEPP, 72(t)

Whether you’re in career transition or considering early retirement, you may be evaluating options to generate income. Drawing down your cash savings, utilizing a line of credit, or even liquidating some taxable investments are usually a good place to start if you need cash to make ends meet for 1-6 months. But if you need a longer-term income solution, and the bulk of your savings are in retirement accounts, generating a steady income from an IRA or even a 401K might be your answer.
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Where's New Technology Taking Us?

The big growthy tech companies, in my opinion, have been the recent bull markets superstars, but where is all this technology taking us and is it where we really want to go?
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Recent Market Volatility

After a stretch of relative calm and strong equity market returns, the recent increase of stock market volatility may have you feeling a bit anxious. Here are a couple of thoughts that may help: Think in terms of percentage moves in index values, while considering the facts about historical intra-year declines.
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Career Transition FAQ - Continuing to Save for Retirement

While in career transition you may be wondering should you, and could you continue to save for retirement? Be mindful, in career transition cash is king. You probably don’t know how long a career search will last and you don’t want to leave yourself short of cash! Don’t rely on the notion that you may be able to borrow if things get tight later. Consider the following when developing a savings strategy.
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Career Transition FAQ - What Happens to My Social Security Benefits?

Downshifting a career and earning less in wages can impact Social Security retirement benefits. Calculating an estimated benefit, as anything to do with Social Security, is not the most straightforward question to answer.
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Is it Time to Update Your Beneficiary Designations?

Estate planning and retirement planning go hand in hand. Keeping these two parts of your financial plan aligned is essential to pass assets to your beneficiaries as you intend. Many find themselves confused about what their estate documents (wills, trusts) and beneficiary designations actually do upon their passing.
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2017 Year End Financial and Tax Planning Checklist

Despite the long awaited tax proposal finally being released, it remains to be seen what the GOP delivers. With so many unknowns surrounding what will pass through Congress and what won't, the best thing you can do today is to be prepared under current tax law. If you know where you stand now, you'll know where to begin if and when the tax rules change.
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An iPhone X? An Apple Watch? An Alexa? A Future?

Many grandparents believe that the best gift is that of a brighter future through education. Depending on whether you are saving toward future college expenses or your grandchild is already enrolled; there are unique gifting considerations for grandparents wishing to help with the expense of a college education. Not only will you be helping give your grandchildren a firm foundation for the rest of their lives, you could be making a savvy tax-savings move.
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Career Transition FAQ - The 401(k) Age 55 and Older Rule

If you are age 55 to 59 in the year in which your employment is terminated, be that through a layoff or entering retirement, think long and hard before you decide (or someone attempts to convince you) to roll your 401(k) plan balance into an IRA.
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File Early – Amend Later – Prevent Fraud

With a new major data breach announced seemingly every other week, it's likely that we will see an increase in identity theft-related crimes in the upcoming 2017 tax season. Putting off filing your tax return leaves the door open for criminals that have hijacked your identity to file a false tax return claiming a refund.
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Executive Compensation – 409(a) Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation (NQDC Plans)

As the name implies, deferred compensation is a written plan that permits setting aside a portion of one's income to be paid at a later date. For many executives, this can be a tax-wise strategy.
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Career Transition FAQ - Are Health Insurance Premiums Taxable?

Many employers offer to pay part of their employees’ health insurance premiums as part of a benefits package. Upon termination, some employers continue to pay that premium as part of a severance package, prompting many in career transition to wonder if these payments are now taxable due to their employment status.
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Wire Transfer Email Scams

Cybercriminals are targeting financial services firms with a rash of fraudulent wire transfer requests sent via email. What we do to protect client assets and what you can do to keep scammers out of your email.
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Career Transition FAQ - Should I Pay off Debts Now or Later?

Career transition comes with a fair amount of uncertainty. You probably do not know what your new role will be, when you will start your new job, or how much you will make. You may not even know where you will live as a result of accepting a new opportunity. During any period of life transition, such as navigating a job change, cash is king!
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Cybersecurity: You’re Not Paranoid If Everyone’s Out to Get You!

Over the past two weeks, there has been a lot of disturbing news on the consumer cybersecurity front: Equifax breached, concerns over Kaspersky's ties to Russian Intelligence, and CCleaner installing malware instead of making your computer work faster. So what can you do to protect your private and personally identifiable information?
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Data leaked from the Equifax attack? Here’s what you need to do.

Nearly 1 in 2 Americans are affected by the data leak from Equifax, a consumer credit reporting agency. Equifax shut down the cyber-attack when upon its discovery on July 29th, but it was too little too late. Here's what you need to know if you think your personal information is at risk from the data breach.
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6 Common Misconceptions about HSAs

Since their inception in 2003, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), have seen rapid growth as more and more individuals take part in their triple-tax advantages when it comes to saving for health care costs during retirement. We dispel six common misconceptions about HSAs.
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Do-It-Yourself HSA

Health care costs and its complexities is a huge societal and political dilemma in our country, and there is no resolution in sight. As health care reform drags on, HSAs will become more common as citizens become more aware of them and their triple tax benefits. To be eligible to contribute to an HSA, you must be enrolled in a high deductible health plan (HDHP) and not enrolled in Medicare.
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Once in Your Lifetime Opportunity! IRA to HSA Rollover

The cost of healthcare is a growing concern, especially for retirees.In our financial planning discussions with clients, we generally encourage them to plan for around $250,000 (today's dollars) of health care costs throughout retirement. With medical costs on the rise, there is a little known, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fund an HSA with an IRA rollover.
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Health Care and a Tax Break - Is It Possible?

How can you get a tax deduction and save for health care expenses in a tax-favored way? HSAs combined with a high deductible health plan (HDHP) could be worth considering as a way to save on premiums and save in a tax-favored way for future health care expenses especially if you are a participant of a HDHP.
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Has your Email Been Compromised?

Hackers love to take over email accounts to spread spam containing malware and fraudulent website links to everyone in your contact list. Knowing what to do when your email account gets compromised is essential to mitigate damage to both your computer data and that of your contact list.
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Six Potential 401(k) Rollover Pitfalls

You're about to receive a distribution from your 401(k) plan, and you're considering a rollover to a traditional IRA. While these transactions are normally straightforward and trouble-free, there are some pitfalls you'll want to avoid.
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Global Diversification: What’s your Bias?

Harry Markowitz, the Nobel Prize winning Economist and pioneer of Modern Portfolio Theory, has been credited for saying that diversification is the only free lunch in investing. Markowitz’s theory proved that by mixing stocks and bonds you can expect a higher return with less risk. What’s not to like? Broad diversification, however, is much more than simply buying bonds within a stock portfolio.
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Women and Wealth

According to Dr. John Gray, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, but how on Earth are they different when it comes to finances?
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Yes, You Might Actually Enjoy a "Working" Retirement

If you are looking forward to retiring, think about how work will be integrated into your life going forward. Many people don’t do this assessment before retiring––only to end up going back to work in some capacity because they realized they were missing out on the psychological benefits of work.
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The Oxymoron of Having Adult Children

Capable adult children that are financially reliant upon or needing to be bailed out by parents are not new, but data suggests this trend is growing at an alarming rate. Are more of today's youth destined for an extended adolescence? Should more parents plan to financially provide for their children longer?
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Are You Getting the Best Return on Life You Possibly Can?

ROL is defined as, ‘How well you are doing in living the life you want, with the money you have.” The best financial conversation you will ever have is to ask yourself, “Who and what really makes me happy in life?” and then arrange your finances to keep those people and experiences front and center in your life.
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Don't Take the Bait! 7 Dead Giveaways to Tell if you are Being Phished

The people who commit the crime of phishing are becoming more clever every day about their tactics to trick and scam a user. Using different social engineering tools, these phishers are able to successfully trick ten percent of users who receive their emails. To avoid being the ten percent that take the phishing bait you can look out for several dead giveaways in the email that will leave you off their hook.
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What is a VPN and How to Use It

Neglecting to safeguard your internet connection and browsing activity is not a route to take this day and age when cybercrimes are on the rise and more activities, business, transactions and communication is doing online. VPNs or hotspots are ways to safeguard your online activities from hackers and security your privacy.
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How to Setup a Hotspot in Less than 5 Steps

Think twice before connecting to a free public hotspot at the airport, hotel, or coffee shop. Cybercriminals often use these to spy on users to gain account names, passwords, and other sensitive information. Setting up your own hotspot is a simple four to five step process that provides peace of mind when accessing the internet.
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3 Ways to Avoid the Downside of Retirement

When it comes to retirement, it's easy to dream about the perks: sleeping in, traveling, reading a good book, playing golf - name your fantasy. Even if your retirement is fully funded, the reality can be far less fulfilling if you don't plan ahead. Repeated studies have shown that people who do not have a rewarding retirement can suffer both physically and psychologically during retirement.
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Dangers of Public Wi-fi and 2 Must-Use Tricks to Boost Online Security

Public Wi-Fi is available at many locations such as hotels, restaurants, airports and your local Starbucks. These public Wi-Fi spots are desirable for users, as the networks are easy to log into without being aware of the potential consequences. Users typically do not need a password to get on the network, therefore anything a user does via public Wi-Fi is anonymous.
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Basics of Cyber Security – Building your Data Fortress

Every day hackers are finding new ways to steal your personal information and your finances. Many people are unaware of where these threats exist nor how to protect themselves. Knowing where to have your cyber security guard up and how to safeguard your data can mean the difference between being impenetrable and having your private information raided
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Reconsidering What Retirement Means to You

Whether you've been told you should retire at 62, 65, or some other age, only you can decide what is right for you. In fact, you may want to reconsider retiring at all - at least in the traditional sense.
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Seven Best Practices: Personal Identity Protection

Simple steps to protect your non-public information (NPI) like your financial life depends on it. (It does!)
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How Safe is Your Identity?

Do you know who have become favorite targets for identity thieves? Children. Because most people don't think about their children having a credit history, it could be years before the theft is discovered.
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Thwart Cyber Pirates after Your Bitcoin Booty

Recently, and somewhat ironically, cybercriminals claiming to have stolen Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean 5 installment demanded ransom payments in Bitcoin, a hard to trace cryptocurrency. If they weren’t paid their ransom they threatened to incrementally release the film.
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Football Coaches are Bad at Retirement

Oklahoma University's Bob Stoops suddenly announced his retirement last week to the shock or delight of many (depending on how you feel about OU). I wish him all the best in retirement, but the track record for football coaches "retiring" is notoriously poor. They just can't seem to stay away from work!
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SIMPLE IRA vs 401k Plan

As a small business owner, you would like to offer your employees a company retirement plan. The option with which you are probably most familiar is a 401(k) plan. Since their creation in the 1970's, 401(k) plans have grown tremendously and have replaced pension plans as the retirement vehicle that most Americans will depend on. While a 401(k) plan can benefit both the employee and employer, it can be expensive and require a great deal of administrative work for a small business.
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Social Security: What Should You Do at Age 62?

Is 62 your lucky number? If you're eligible, that's the earliest age you can start receiving Social Security retirement benefits. If you decide to start collecting benefits before your full retirement age, you'll have company. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), approximately 71% of Americans elect to receive their Social Security benefits early. (Source: SSA Annual Statistical Supplement, 2016)
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What is a Required Minimum Distribution?

A Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) is the amount of money that the US federal government requires you to withdraw each year from traditional IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans.
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Making Lemonade From Lemons

According to a retirement security data brief issued by the Urban Institute about half of the unemployed Americans over the age of 50 are out of work for more than six months. In addition other studies show that for many that bout of unemployment can last much longer and when they do get reemployed it is often at a pay cut of 20 to 36%.
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Fiduciary Rule Becomes Effective Today June 9, 2017

There has been quite a lot of teeth gnashing in the financial services industry over the past few years regarding the new fiduciary rule. The Department of Labor (DOL) had been proposing, and has now since implemented, a very significant rule change to promote the provision of investment advice that is truly in the best interest of retirement investors.
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Planning for Health Care Costs in Retirement

Health care costs can take a much bigger bite out of their budgets than most retirees expect.
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Why Open a Roth Ira for your Child?

A Roth IRA for a child with earned income can be very attractive. There's no minimum age to set up a Roth IRA, and many IRA providers will accept accounts for minors. In most cases, the only issue is whether the child has taxable compensation.
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You're an Awesome Grandparent!

What is the best legacy a grandparent can give? Many believe that the best gift is a brighter future through education. Depending on whether you are saving toward future college expenses or your grandchild is already enrolled, there are unique gifting considerations for grandparents wishing to help with the expense of a college education.
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The Economics of Borrowing from Your 401(k)

When times are tough, that pool of dollars sitting in your 401(k) plan account may start to look attractive. But before you decide to take a plan loan, be sure you understand the financial impact. It's not as simple as you think.
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Buckets of Money: A Retirement Income Strategy

Some retirees are able to live solely on the earnings that their investment portfolios produce, but most also have to figure out how to draw down their principal over time. Even if you've calculated how much you can withdraw from your savings each year, market volatility can present a special challenge when you know you'll need that nest egg to supply income for many years to come.
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Losing a Loved One - What am I Supposed to Do?

First of all, breathe. You have suffered a loss and need to process your grief. Don't feel rushed into making any decisions. Of immediate concern is the security and safekeeping of assets and the custody and care of minor children and other dependent family members. Focus your attention on the issues at hand: dealing with medical personnel, funeral arrangements, and your family.
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How Do I Choose a Financial Advisor?

Question: What questions should I ask when choosing an investment adviser or financial planner?
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Starting on the Right Path to Getting Scholarship Dollars

If you are a 13-16 year old future college student (or the parent or grandparent of one), it's time to think about the college admissions process!
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Are You Overpaying for Life Insurance?

Your life insurance is often a critical component of your financial plan. When was the last time you gave it any thought? In my experience, forward-thinking people who have determined that life insurance is appropriate for their situation, buy life insurance policies and cross the task off their "to do" lists. But life evolves, life insurance doesn't. Your existing life insurance policy may not meet your current financial situation. Can you answer the following questions on your existing cover
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Common Factors Affecting Retirement Income

When it comes to planning for your retirement income, it's easy to overlook some of the common factors that can affect how much you'll have available to spend. If you don't consider how your retirement income can be impacted by investment risk, inflation risk, catastrophic illness or long-term care, and taxes, you may not be able to enjoy the retirement you envision.
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When is Market Volatility Most Dangerous?

Though a market downturn generally isn't fun for most people, its timing can have a greater impact on some investors than on others. For example, a market downturn can have greater significance for retirees than for those who are still accumulating assets.
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Does Your Child Have an Evil Twin

Imagine getting a notice informing your six-year-old that he missed a mortgage payment. It seems ridiculous, but is not a laughing matter. Stealing identities has shifted to a new demographic: children. A study by Carnegie Melon University showed children are 51 times more likely to have their identity stolen than adults. Independent research firms have estimated that up to one out of every ten children in America has had their identity used by someone else.
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What is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has found itself at the center of recent political controversy in Washington. As a result, many Americans may find themselves wondering more about this federal agency and what its role may be in protecting consumers.
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How Risky is Your Portfolio?

If you're like most people, you probably evaluate your portfolio in terms of its return. However, return isn't the only factor you should consider; also important is the amount of risk you take in pursuing those returns. The term "risk" is often understood to mean the risk of loss. However, a portfolio is generally a means to an end, such as paying for retirement or a child's college tuition. In that context, "risk" also means the risk of not meeting your financial needs.
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The ABC's of Money

Today's children and teenagers earn, save, and spend more than any previous generation. Kids want things and are willing to spend their money (or their parents' money) on these wants. According to 2010 YouthPulse projections, 8-21 year olds will spend $123.5 billion – an $11 billion increase from 2009. Not only do they have more to spend, kids develop their spending habits at a younger age—facts that have not gone unnoticed by advertisers!
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Check the background of this financial professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck