AdviceIQ Articles

  • Rescuing a Retirement

    One of a financial advisor’s toughest jobs is to rescue people nearing retirement who can’t afford to retire. Flexibility and sacrifice are the solution, although neither is easy.

    Consider a pair of clients that I began working with eight years ago. Larry was 60 years old, and Lois was 59. (These are not the clients’ real names.) They had a modest income, a very small investment portfolio and like many folks, a fair amount of liabilities including a mortgage, two auto loans and a small credit card balance.

  • Stocks and Long-Term Growth

    With a sufficiently long time horizon, you can reasonably expect a 7% to 8% return on investment from stocks. The problem is no one knows what your return is in the year that you need to sell the investments.

    The first thing that I ask clients is how long from now they need their money and how much risk they are willing to take. Over a 20-year period, a healthy return is easy to achieve. For example, the Dow Jones Industrial Average returned 8.85% per year on average from 1991 to 2011.

  • How to Win With Bonds

    Today’s low interest rates will rise at some point, posing a risk to your fixed-income holdings because prices then will drop. How do you protect yourself? What’s needed is a multi-pronged approach to bond investing.

    The 10,000-foot view is this: Bond investors should create a fixed-income strategy to complement their broader portfolio objectives, understand the sources of risk and expected return, use bond ladders, pay attention to fees and look beyond their own country to capture yields in other markets.

  • Holding Down Retiree Taxes

    Your 401(k) retirement account, untaxed until you start withdrawing money from it, may actually end up socking you with a heavy tax bill then. That shocks a lot of retirees, who thought their taxes would be lighter. But there’s a way to get around this problem.

    Most people fall into one of three categories of financial knowledge. Either they 1) don’t understand it at all (which is absolutely fine as this is a complex financial world we live in), or 2) understand taxes or 3) understand investing. Very few we run across have a good handle on taxation and investing. 

  • Perils of Currency Wars

    In the global economy, our fates are intertwined. And yet, a global currency war – a shortsighted race to the bottom in which countries try to make their exports more competitive, could destabilize the entire system and lead to runaway inflation.

    This is why investors should be concerned about the global currency war. In the long term, it could be disastrous for more than just your portfolio.

  • Power of Attorney: Good Idea?

    Is it a good idea to give control of your finances to someone else through a power of attorney? Maybe. Or maybe not. The key is that you can be flexible over how much autonomy you give up.

    It's foolish to sign away complete authority to someone who may or may not be trustworthy. It's equally foolish to refuse to consider a power of attorney in circumstances where it could serve you well.

  • Emergency Funds: Crucial

    You can save for retirement and chip away at debt. But you neglect to build a cash emergency fund at your peril. While cash doesn’t yield returns, it provides you with a crucial safety net.

    Many investors, even very savvy ones, are asset rich and cash poor. To them, compared with paying down a mortgage at 4% or earning 10% in a mutual fund, having cash sit in the bank just isn’t an attractive idea.

  • The Home Equity Illusion

    For many Americans, the equity in their home is the single greatest asset, often dwarfing their investment assets. But this is an illusion fostered by the high leverage involved in home buying, not because it’s such a great deal to invest in a home.

    In light of that, home ownership is not necessarily a step you need (or want) to take to build financial success.

  • Tips to Find a Tax Preparer

    Working with a tax preparer as April 15 approaches frees you from the stress of doing your returns and make sure they're done correctly. But how do you choose such a person

    There are a variety of professionals with different qualifications and expertise, and they all charge different fees for their service. Here are a few tips for finding the best tax preparer for you. 

  • Small Biz Savings Options

    Just because you own a small business doesn’t mean that you don’t have plenty of retirement savings options for you and your employees. Unfortunately, even the most capable entrepreneurs have a difficult time navigating through the details of various retirement plan options.

    Here is a brief summary of your options. Every business has different needs, so you should consult with a professional financial advisor before establishing your plan.

    SEP (Simplified Employee Pension) IRA

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