What A Sleazy Financial Advisor Is Really Telling You

In a long rambling conversation around a fire pit, perhaps involving an adult beverage or two, the conversation turned to a name that I hadn’t heard in a few years….Bernie Madoff.Because I’m a financial planner and no one else around the fire was involved in the financial services business, somehow I was the “designated expert.” Everyone wanted to know the “secret language” spoken by sleazy financial advisors like Madoff and what it means. So here is a half-lighthearted, half-serious attempt to translate some sleazy financial “advisorese:” Read more

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dollar pyramid

Multi-level Marketing or Pyramid Scheme?

I’ve been hearing more and more from friends that they are considering a side gig selling a product or service. We all know stories of people who have made substantial extra income from things like nutritional cleansing, personal care products, cosmetics, financial products and vitamins. Many of these are established companies and household names. Consumers like their products and the feeling that comes with supporting their friends and neighbors.  Read more

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stock market decline

Worried About the Stock Market Decline?

The first two weeks of 2016 have been horrible for the stock market.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 8.25% from 1/1 through 1/15.  That is a bad year and it only took 2 weeks!    Read more

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What To Do (And Not Do) During This Market Downturn

Have you looked at your 401k statement lately? If so, you might have been tempted to sell out of any stock funds you have. Don’t. You’ll likely be turning a temporary loss into a permanent one. Read more

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Can You Put Your Investment Plan On A Note Card?

Does investing seem complicated? Despite the presence of overly complicated financial strategies and the often vexing financial jargon used by financial professionals, investing does not have to be so complex.Investing is simply a balancing act where the challenge is to find the ideal balance between risk and reward.  Read more

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Some Of The Riskiest Investments May Surprise You

One of the biggest fears people have when it comes to investing is a year like 2008, when the US stock market fell almost 40%. But as long as you didn’t bail out of stocks, you would have recovered your losses in about 5 years and then gone on to make more money. The same is true of every other market downturn since the Great Depression. If you’re worried about the real risk of permanent loss, some of the riskiest investments actually seem much safer. Here are ones that may surprise you: Read more

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What Makes A Good Mutual Fund?

That’s a common question I get in our investing workshops. Most people instinctively look at performance. After all, that’s how we typically measure ability and try to predict future performance in most areas but investing is different. Read more

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There’s No Such Thing As A “Safe” Investment

There is so much information regarding the best investment mix for your financial goals. I challenge you to watch one episode of Squawk Box and see how long it takes for your head to spin with all of the conflicting information. On top of everything, everyone has a different idea about risk. I was talking with my colleague, Kelley, and asked her to share her perspective on how people should look at risk. Below is her guidance. Read more

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A 6% Guaranteed Return?

Would you like a guaranteed 6% return on your investments? Is that even possible? I recently got a helpline call from a woman who thought it was. Her advisor had suggested that she roll her 401k into an annuity that paid “a guaranteed 6% return regardless of what the stock market does.” She thought the only downside is that she had to leave the money in the annuity for 10 years and that there was a 1% fee so the guaranteed return would be 5% after fees. Read more

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The “Hidden” Sales Charge

I received a call recently from an investor that was a little confused about differences in mutual fund share classes. It seems this individual opened an IRA with a financial advisor a few years ago and purchased an “A” share mutual fund. Then, just a few days ago, they received a letter from the custodian informing them that “B” shares would no longer be available for purchase. The investor had never heard of a “B” share and wasn’t quite sure what this meant, so they decided to call the Financial Helpline.  Read more

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