Bonding With Your Portfolio

Nearly all investors realize the importance of diversification to the investment process. Many may not be as familiar with the importance of asset allocation— dividing your portfolio into the appropriate mix of stocks, bonds, and cash. Although assets can also include real estate (homes, vacation homes, and rental properties) or business ownership, the most widely held asset classes are stock, bonds, and cash. In a strong economic climate, the potential for gain when stocks perform well opens up. Typically, most people who invest in the stock market also see value in having a liquid cash reserve set aside for emergencies and larger expenditures. But, what about bonds? Are they affected by economic swings and what are the risks involved? There is interest rate risk associated with investing in a bond or bond mutual fund, referred to as an inverse relationship. This means that as interest rates rise, generally, prices of …

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Will Net Neutrality Impact Financial Planning?

Will Net Neutrality Impact Financial Planning? Perspectives from a Financial Advisor: You’re probably tired of hearing about, talking about and thinking about Net Neutrality. And I suspect your opinions on this topic are along ideological lines. But from my perspective as a financial advisor, the idea of repealing Net Neutrality is worrisome. Let me explain. As most know, “Net Neutrality” is the basic principle that prohibits internet service providers (like AT&T, Comcast or Verizon) from slowing down, speeding up or completely blocking content, websites or web-based applications you and I want to use. Let’s Ignore the Free Speech Issue for a Second I don’t want to get into a divisive discussion about whether Net Neutrality enables and protects free speech. Nor do I want to debate how much Net Neutrality will devastate certain communities that cannot afford to pay. And I don’t want to get into an argument about whether …

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Top 10 Financial Predictions for 2018

Top 10 Predictions for 2018: From Pretty-Darn-Certain to Absolutely Guaranteed This time last year, we were dealing with the UK voting to break away from the European Union (which no one predicted), a Presidential election (which no one predicted) and market experts calling for 2017 to be a year where the bears returned. So, in the spirit of making predictions that will actually come true, here are the Top Ten for 2018 – delivered in order of certainty. In other words, Prediction #10 is pretty-darn-certain to happen while Prediction #1 is absolutely guaranteed. 10. Volatility Will Increase The market’s favorite gauge of volatility, the Chicago Board Option Exchange’s Volatility Index (called the “VIX”) hit an all-time low in November, hitting 9.14, resulting in a 17% decline in 2017. Given the current market environment, a new tax bill, rising interest rates, fluctuating currencies, moving oil prices and more, few will predict …

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4 Ways to Best Utilize Your Financial Advisor

What is the value of a financial advisor? The personal touch. Here are four stories of how flesh-and-blood advisors you meet in person (that’s opposed to a robo advisor, where your contact is digital or over a phone line) benefited their clients. These good advisors helped clients to overcome emotionally based decisions, stop them from making mistakes, figure out whether to make a big purchase and decipher arcane retirement plans. We’ll have separate articles throughout the summer describing in greater detail how they helped their clients. Planning is so very vital for your future. According to a study by insurer Northwestern Mutual, a large majority (72%) of U.S. adults believes that the economy will suffer future crises. But two-thirds of them don’t have a financial plan. Plans are not static. Once you have a plan in hand, ongoing contact with your advisor is vital to make the plan work. In …

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Window Dressing Your Mutual Funds

To many of us, this time of year means stringing holiday lights outside, bringing out the inflatable candy canes and decorating windows with frosty snowflakes highlighted by fake candlelight. To financial advisors, this time of year brings another type of behavior: “window dressing” of mutual funds by portfolio managers. Let’s examine what mutual fund window dressing is, how you can spot it and what you should do. As you probably know, all mutual funds must list their actual holdings four times a year at the end of every quarter and many fund companies send investors copies of these reports (or they can be found online too). But what you might not know is that the list of fund holdings is only a snapshot on one particular day – not all the actual holdings that were owned throughout the quarter. Knowing this fact, some portfolio managers will sell certain stocks and …

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