Let’s be honest… the vast majority of hard working Americans have one question in common – Will I be able to retire? The circumstances pertaining to each individual are as different and unique as the individual themselves. The one connecting point we all have however, is to know if we are going to be able to reach our goals, whatever they might be.
Have you seen some of the commercials where an actor asks you if you know how much you need to retire? Other commercials have people carrying around a huge cut-out of a random numbers …like $1,456,298 around with them. What’s your magic retirement number? Where should an individual go to get their many questions answered? With few guarantees how is anyone to know if they are on track to reach their goals?
There is certainly not a lack of financial planning services and products available to consumers today. It can actually be a bit overwhelming and frustrating for the average person. Any Financial Plan should be viewed as a guide or a benchmark, serving as a road map to the ultimate destination. As with other financial service offerings there are many different elements that need to be taken into consideration. Let’s take a moment to look at some of the more important ones and put it in plain English using some common phrases we are all familiar with….. Continue reading →
Over the past few weeks the world has been focused on Gold as world class athletes compete at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. These athletes have dedicated their lives towards the dream of standing on the awards podium and having an Olympic medal placed around their neck. Gold is certainly used to capturing headlines over the last several years as as its returns caught major attention.
Mr. Market rarely considers gold to be a worthwhile investment or warrant a place in anyones portfolio. We’ve written a few articles about the precious metal over the last few years but honestly haven’t given it much press. Why is so little of our attention given to gold as an investment? Let’s be blunt about it… There is plenty of market chatter already given to Gold and most of it is nothing but noise. We prefer to touch on it at key inflection points and this happens to be one of them.
The first article we wrote was our most popular. This piece was written when the stock market was getting hit every week and gold was doing just the opposite; it was setting record highs and receiving all the glory. Writing a piece about why why we didn’t want to buy gold was not popular at the time but now it sure seems like our crystal ball was as spot on as it could ever have been. Here is the article, we would encourage you to read it again if you haven’t already (Click here) Continue reading →
If you ask the average hard working American what their top financial concerns is, it’s that that they won’t be able to retire. We could certainly go on and on about different solutions and how people can get on track to make their dreams a reality but today we will focus on a new program offered from the government. On January 29th President Obama delivered his State of the Union address. One of the takeaways from this speech was a new retirement account called MyRA (short for My Retirement Account).
Currently over half of the U.S. workforce is not covered by a retirement plan through their employer. MyRA is targeted at low to middle-income workers, encouraging them to save for their own retirement. Contributions will be funded through automatic payroll deductions where individuals can start with as little as $25 and contribute amounts as small as $5. Individuals would be guaranteed that their account would never go down and they will not pay any fees on the accounts. Sounds like a great product doesn’t it?! Well let’s take a step back and dig a bit deeper to really explore what the MyRA is all about….
The MyRA can essentially be viewed as a way to introduce individuals that have not saved or funded a retirement account to the many long-term benefits of doing so. At this point companies are not required to be involved in the program, if President Obama wants to force employers to participate a vote from Congress would be required. The accounts would be funded with after tax dollars much like a Roth IRA. While it will be funded with payroll deductions individuals will be able to keep their accounts when they change jobs. MyRA is subject to Roth IRA income and contributions limits. Individuals can invest up to $5.500 per year (or $6,500 for investors 50 or older); once the owner reaches the age of 59 ½ they can make withdrawals tax-free. There are also no required minimum distributions (R.M.D.’s). Continue reading →
Apparently you’re kicking off February much like you wrapped up January; in correction mode.
A stock market correction is actually not a bad thing and in this case it’s actually a MUCH needed one. If you’re anything close to being a long-term investor you should be hoping for at least a 10% haircut at some point before 2014 wraps up. Without a breather or some form of consolidation this market has no chance to build a base and move to higher levels by year-end.
If you had a fairly well balanced and allocated portfolio in 2013 you probably looked at your statements and saw that bonds were not just dead weight but rather a huge drag on performance. Not only did the overall bond market lose at least -2% for the year, the proverbial “writing on the wall” was being etched in permanent ink ; bonds had zero upside and only risk associated with them. If rates are to rise, as so many speculate they will, we could see bonds sting investors worse than any other time in history. Bottom line: That’s scary stuff for anyone in the typical 60 / 40 model…
The place to be in 2013 was stocks, but let’s be honest… Did you really trust them to keep going higher and higher? Did a +32% return for the S&P 500 feel “real” to you? Most people we talk to still don’t trust stocks but they ironically weren’t invested in them as much as they would’ve liked. Those that couldn’t resist a record breaking stock market finally cut bait on their bonds. Unfortunately, the reality is that our 5 year stock market party is possibly coming to an end…or at least a healthy pause. Continue reading →