To say that the stock market offers a changing landscape is an understatement. It’s up, it’s down, it’s sideways but regardless there is always something new and now…there is something free; stock trading!
Charles Schwab has truly been a pioneer as being a disruptor and innovator in the financial services world. Once mainly known as a discount brokerage firm for the do-it-yourself and self-directed investor, they created a deep menu of service offerings catering to high net-worth investors but always tried to stick to their roots to still make investing accessible to all. Just last month they shook up the industry once more with a huge announcement… Continue reading →
We don’t make it a regular practice to be ambulance chasers every time there is a tragedy or natural disaster. That being said, almost every major event (whether it’s considered good or bad) can create an opportunity for your investment portfolio.
Conversely, the old adage of “less is more”, could certainly apply here. We’re not simpletons just for the sake of it but in general the ‘less is more’ approach can greatly benefit your finances. Think about it…and if you haven’t already, we’ll spell out several major ways that having less of something will benefit your wallet: Continue reading →
The stock market is closed until the day after Christmas so you can relax on that front but have you procrastinated on your final holiday shopping duties? Over a third of Americans are still out there today finishing up some last minute shopping!
If you’re looking for something unique but also truly impactful…give the gift of investing!
My Portfolio Guide, LLC is also getting into the spirit of giving by doing something no other advisor would consider…as a matter of fact most of our peers would likely laugh at this:
We are offering FREE accounts to any minor!
My Portfolio Guide already provides free 529 College Savings Plans to children and grandchildren of existing clients but during this holiday season we will open and professionally manage a custodial or Roth IRA for any child. Continue reading →
Have you ever seen survey results that made you question the validity of the data? You don’t have to look far to find surveys that rank everything from blenders to vacuums these days. J.D. Power and Associates is regarded as an industry leader when it comes to surveys and various product rankings; they are best known for customer satisfaction research and ratings on new and used automobiles. Annually they venture into the Financial Services industry, ranking the best ‘Full Service Investment Firms’… the results left us scratching our heads!
For the last two years (2014 & 2015) J.D. Power and Associates has named Edward Jones #1 in their Full Service Investor Satisfaction study. With any survey it is important to dig into how the data was collected and ultimately ranked to see if it carries any weight or credibility. The survey is fairly broad in scope looking at numerous factors such as: how investors feel about their advisor, investment performance, account information, account offerings, commissions/fees, website and problem resolution. While all of these are important one is often overlooked but in our opinion ultimately has the most dramatic impact on a portfolio… fees and expenses. If a portfolio is managed with products and services that have excessive charges does it really matter if the firm has a great website or local office?
Over the course of the last year we have presented many comprehensive and complimentary portfolio reviews for accounts held at Edward Jones. In the following paragraphs we will offer an overview of the company and break down several of the products and services that are common with Edward Jones accounts throughout the country. Articles like this can always ruffle some feathers but perhaps your opinion will align with ours after reading it. Continue reading →
We don’t typically venture into topics that involve politics as they can be polarizing to say the least. Everyone can think of an individual they know that is always more than willing to share their political opinions whether you want to hear them or not! From time to time, however, there is a topic that needs to be addressed and political party affiliation has absolutely nothing to do with it … It’s a matter of doing what is right.
Recently the Department of Labor issued a new proposal addressing investment management fees associated with retirement accounts. According to a report issued by the White House Council of Economic Advisors, a difference of only one percentage point in fees equals $17 billion! This is money that will either remain in individual’s retirement accounts or find its way to brokers and financial firms’ pockets.
There have been other versions of this legislation proposed in the past. This most recent version requires any advisor that is compensated for providing advice with retirement accounts (IRAs, 401(k), 403(b), Simple IRAs and SEP IRAs for example) to operate as a fiduciary, always putting the clients interests first. Why is this even a debate?! What it essentially comes down to is the mighty dollar. Continue reading →
Not only do you toy with the emotions of every investor; you also have a partner that often surprises them and hits investors where it hurts the most… their pocketbook. Making money in the stock market is great but so many forget that eventually they have to reconcile with Uncle Sam come tax time. Look for example at some investments that we have recently discussed: Under Armour (UA) and InvenSense (INVN). If you had purchased these stocks on the first trading day of this year (1/2/2014) you would be up 58% with Under Armour and up 20% with InvenSense. These numbers are impressive and would certainly make any investor happy but what happens when they are sold? How will they impact your tax return and how much of the gain will you have to pay?
“Nothing is certain except death and taxes.”
– Benjamin Franklin
***Before we move any further in this discussion it is important to note that we are not tax advisors. In this article we will be discussing general guidelines. Every investor’s situation is unique and deserves personal attention. If you have questions we would encourage you to talk with a qualified tax professional.
Let’s take a moment to go over some of the basics when it comes to investor tax issues. Continue reading →
You need to hear about another mutual fund like you need a new hole in your head. That being said, however, how about we talk about one that’s been around for a long time? They must be doing something well….right?
We’ve certainly not held back with our opinion in the past when it comes to mutual funds. While they certainly can warrant a spot in many portfolios, they need to be reviewed and compared carefully to their peers and other investment options. Today we are going to take an in-depth look at a fund we see in many portfolios but very few individuals actually understand what it is. The Fidelity Contrafund (FCNTX) is one of the largest actively managed equity mutual funds there is with assets just under $110 billion! Continue reading →
How ‘fit’ is your financial team? Putting together a financial team to help you meet your financial goals is like building a winning sports team. Each member of your financial team needs to know what their responsibility is and what they are contributing to your financial success. With tax-season behind us and the equity and fixed income markets experiencing volatility, now is a great time to assess your team and see if it is truly making the grade!
There is no single approach to building your team or a guide on how to assemble one. The key is the team needs to work for you, they need to give you a sense of comfort and they need to work together. Whether you work with individuals or utilize software solutions it is important that an assessment takes place so that you don’t suddenly find yourself in a hole that you need to dig out of.
In this article we will discuss how to build your “Team of Trust”. We will look at three key areas that every investor should consider: Estate Planning, Tax Planning and Financial Advice. We will discuss some key elements with each member of the team: Why? Who? What? How Much? Continue reading →
Last week I had lunch with an old colleague of mine. It’s always good to catch up with others in the same profession but sometimes it also truly helps you understand why so many consumers are confused. Here’s a brief background and then a summary of an actual conversation between two financial advisors:
Both financial advisors began their careers working for major wirehouse firms (think Morgan Stanley, Prudential, UBS, Smith Barney, etc…). They each then worked at Charles Schwab as part of the Retail Branch Network and Schwab Private Client (SPC) group. Thereafter, Advisor #1 (who we will call Fee-Based Advisor) left Schwab to join one of the advisors that is in their Schwab Advisor Network program. This is a network that has made certain firms wildly successful as Charles Schwab branch representatives get compensated to vector investors and Schwab account holders to meet with advisors who pay to be in their program. Advisor #2 (who we will call Fee-Only Advisor) is not part of any network and is not affiliated with any brokerage firm, mutual fund company, or insurance company. “Fee-Only Advisor” is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA).
Fee-Based Advisor: So…how are things out there?
Fee-Only Advisor: Good…I keep plugging away but sometimes it’s frustrating to see how undereducated the general public is about this industry. Continue reading →
The markets are constantly moving from one headline to the next – some of them having a profound impact on the markets. Last Sunday night “60 Minutes” aired a topic that has been lurking in the shadows for years, suddenly it jumped up and grabbed headlines raising concerns and paranoia with investors. High Frequency Trading (HFT) has dominated headlines over the last week prompting a federal investigation and hours of debate.
Michael Lewis, author of “Flash Boys”, has been on a publicity tour claiming the U.S. Stock Market is ‘rigged’. Is the average investor at a disadvantage, on the outside looking in at the security exchanges? This week we encourage you to view a letter being sent to our clients and friends of the firm (High Frequency Trading letter) Continue reading →