Financial Wellness @ Work

Online Investment Platforms: Wave of the Future or a Passing Fad?

Last week, we looked at how the asset allocation process doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task and that a variety of options exist to create a diversified portfolio.  As we continue to examine different ways to create an investment plan that matches your life goals, it is important to understand where you can turn to for asset allocation guidance.  After all, financial literacy research studies demonstrate that most people do not have the financial knowledge and confidence to manage their own investments.  Read more

Are You Choosing the Right Investments in Your 401(k) Plan?

It can be hard to figure out if the investment selections within your retirement plan investments are a good fit for your personal goals. The concept of diversification is usually represented by the phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” It makes perfect sense but how do you know which baskets are the best fit and how much do you put in each basket?   Read more

Understand the Facts About Target-Date Funds

During a recent series of retirement workshops geared toward early and mid-career employees, I received numerous questions regarding the role of target date funds in their 401(k).  This brought up an interesting discussion about hands-on vs. hands-off investing options. Target-date funds are supposed to provide simple solutions for people seeking an all-in-one fund that is diversified.  Yet, a tremendous amount of confusion surrounds these seemingly basic asset allocation tools.  Furthermore, not all target date funds are created equal so it’s essential to first look under the hood if target date funds are a part of your investment plan for retirement. Read more

Automatic Enrollment Does NOT Mean Automatic Retirement

As Thanksgiving approaches, what are some things you have to be thankful for? Your health? Your family? Your friends?  How about a new job?  According to the most recent data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 200,000 people entered the workforce in October.  Whether they are entering the workforce for the first time or found a new job after previous employment, many will be automatically enrolled in their new employer’s 401(k) plan. Read more

Crime Pays! (Well…At Least Writing About It)

Crime.  Drama. Tension.  Suspense.  All of these things sell a lot of books, draw a lot of TV viewers and sell a whole lot of movie tickets.  And the whole industry makes a lot of money. Read more

When It Comes to Investing, Don’t Just Follow the Money

This week, USA Today came out with an article on how more money poured into stock mutual funds in the last week than any other week in the last eleven years.  Now at first glance that may come as good news as investor confidence seems to be returning in the wake of a resolution to the fiscal cliff dilemma, but before you jump on the stock market bandwagon, remember the words of renowned investor Warren Buffett.  When asked about his philosophy on investing, he is known to have said he is greedy when others are fearful, and fearful when others are greedy.  In other words, Warren Buffett, one of the greatest investors of all time, has a tendency to go against the flow when it comes to investment decisions. Read more

What to Do With $100,000 in Today’s Economy

I actually get this question quite a bit on our financial helpline and in our worksite financial planning sessions, not so much that someone got an inheritance (though I did get that last week), but many people simply want to know how they should allocate their assets in their own 401(k).  The question doesn’t have a quick and easy answer and answering involves asking a series of questions first because investing starts with you – the investor. Obviously, an aggressive investor is going to have a very different investment mix than a conservative investor.  A fifty year old may have a very different investment mix than a twenty year old no matter what the current economic outlook.  Here are some questions I always start with: Read more

What Your Employees Don’t Know About Target Date Funds Could Hurt Them

Some of the most common questions that I’ve been receiving from employees during recent retirement planning workshops relate to confusion around the proper use of target-date funds. Ironically, these investment options are designed to simplify rather than complicate the process of saving for retirement. When used correctly, target date funds can help employees allocate and re-balance their investment assets appropriately to achieve their retirement goals with one stop diversification.  In fact, more than three-quarters of all 401(k) plans now offer target-date fund options for plan participants and in many plans, they serve as the default investment for automatic enrollment. Read more

Will It Ever Come Back?

No, this isn’t an advice column for your love life that’s going to tell you, “If you love something, let it go.  If it comes back, blah blah blah…”  Nor is this the story of a man’s hairline, because clearly the answer there is NO!  This is my favorite story of 2011 mixed with a frequently asked question from my 1-on-1 sessions with employees of one of the companies I visit regularly. Read more

Nine Key Financial Steps That Procrastinators Miss

Yesterday I went to get a mammogram; the annual “boob smashing” is what I call it.  The process isn’t fun so for any of you who haven’t had one, a mammogram basically consists of smashing your breast between two plates painfully stretching your skin along the way, then you are left standing there while the technician walks away.  She ducks behind a machine that reminds me of the wizard of oz behind the curtain.  She then tells you not to breathe (oh sure, relax!!) and hold perfectly still, all the while you are held captive in a strange kind of vice.  If that isn’t enough, they do it again from a different angle and on the other side.  Read more

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