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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Nonqualified Plans – Baiting the Benefit Hook

Attracting and retaining qualified employees and managers is always a challenge for companies of all sizes. Most employers realize competitive salaries are not the only things desired by the best workers. Sought-after employees also expect compensation packages to include valued benefits. A qualified retirement plan is a traditional component of many employee benefit packages. As a business owner, you’re likely to appreciate the advantages: Your contributions are tax-deductible and accumulate on a tax-deferred basis. However, these plans can be difficult to administer and contain many regulations restricting employee eligibility, participation, vesting, and employee contributions. What’s the alternative? Nonqualified plans offer the flexibility to selectively choose whom you’ll cover and how much you’ll contribute for each individual. Many companies use them to supplement or replace their qualified plans. Although there is a wide range of nonqualified plans from which to choose, executive bonus plans and deferred compensation plans are among the …

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The New 2017 Tax Reform Bill

The New 2017 Tax Reform Bill – Perspectives from a Financial Advisor: Early in the morning of December 20, 2017, the Senate passed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” by a party-line vote of 51 to 48; (Republican Senator McCain was absent for medical reasons). Irrespective of your political affiliation most would agree that this legislative achievement is the most sweeping overhaul of the US tax system in more than 30 years. Naturally, the question we are all asking is “how does this impact me and my family?” Well, that’s a challenging one to answer because everyone is different, but let’s examine the changes from 30,000 feet. Please remember, however, that this summary is by no means meant to be considered tax advice – you should consult your advisor to determine how it might impact you personally. Implications for the US Economy? By almost all accounts, the Tax Cuts and Jobs …

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How the Smartphone Affected an Entire Generation of Kids

As someone who researches generational differences, I find one of the most frequent questions I’m asked is “What generation am I in?” If you were born before 1980, that’s a relatively easy question to answer: the Silent Generation was born between 1925 and 1945; baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964; Gen X followed (born between 1965 and 1979). Next come millennials, born after 1980. But where do millennials end, and when does the next generation begin? Until recently, I (and many others) thought the last millennial birth year would be 1999 – today’s 18-year-olds. However, that changed a few years ago, when I started to notice big shifts in teens’ behavior and attitudes in the yearly surveys of 11 million young people that I analyze for my research. Around 2010, teens started to spend their time much differently from the generations that preceded them. Then, around 2012, sudden …

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