Financial Wellness @ Work

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

Is A Financial Advisor Worth Paying For?

If you’re hiring an advisor to pick investments that will outperform the market, the answer is probably no. There’s no evidence that financial advisors’ recommendations add value in this way even if their advice were free. Add a 1% advisory fee and you’ll probably underperform the market. There are also now a host of “robo-advisors” that will help you put together and manage a customized portfolio of low cost index funds for a much lower fee. However, here are some services that may be worth paying a financial advisor for: Read more

Managing Your Pension In A 401k World

Lately there’s been a lot of criticism of 401k plans in the news and some of it is very valid. A 401k that is poorly designed and/or poorly managed can leave people in a bad place when they want to retire, but traditional pensions aren’t a perfect solution either. Don’t get me wrong. If you have a pension that is a GREAT benefit to have. You just can’t assume that everything will work out as planned.  Read more

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

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

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

Should You Buy or Rent a Home?

Summer is often a popular time for people to buy a home. In fact, I was recently talking to an employee who wanted to buy a place but she noted that the mortgage payment would be more than the rent for similar priced homes in the area she was looking at. However, after looking at the tax breaks and possible home appreciation, we discovered that owning would actually be cheaper for her. Read more

How to Invest While Getting a Tan

June signifies summer, a time when millions of Americans flock to frolic in the sand and soak up some sun. If only investing were as easy as a day at the beach…or is it? It can be if you follow these simple guidelines: Read more

Which History Matters?

Risk is something most people want to avoid.For that reason, and with 2008’s stock market crash and a lot of talk about today’s market being at or near all-time highs, I am seeing people re-evaluating the level of investment risk in their 401k’s. One trend that is a bit troubling is going on with young employees in their 20’s and 30’s who entered the workforce or were relatively new hires when the 2008 collapse happened. Many of these employees are shunning investment risk at perhaps the expense of their future financial security. Read more

Small Changes Now Can Mean Big Long Term Results

In a conversation I had recently with an employee of a large healthcare company, the topic of retirement planning and investing merged together. She had recently started her job and wanted to be sure that she got off to a good start. Her prior employer had no financial wellness benefits provided so this was her first conversation with a financial planner. The conversation was very revealing about her views of herself, the world of investing and the level of financial knowledge that many people who work in financial services business assume that individuals have when they walk in for a conversation. Read more

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