FINRA Rules Take Effect to Protect Seniors & Vulnerable Adults from Exploitation

Financial abuse of seniors is devastating to those who should be enjoying their golden years. A 2015 report by True Link Financial says seniors lose more than $36 billion a year to financial abuse, and the financial industry has been looking for ways to address the privacy and safety concerns of older investors. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a self-governing private body, issued a rule to help that went into effect in early February. “The bottom line for this new rule is to install safeguards to either prevent potential financial exploitation or stop ongoing exploitation of impaired seniors,” says Clifford Caplan, a certified financial planner at Neponset Valley Financial Partners. With widespread reports of huge amounts of funds being siphoned off from unsuspecting investors’ accounts, FINRA has finally stepped in establish a mechanism and procedure to stop this abuse, he says. Here’s what you need to know about the new …

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401k Loans: Pros and Cons

You might be considering taking out a loan from your 401k. But before you do, you should know the rules and weigh the risks against the benefits. Because not knowing the rules and understanding the risks might hurt you and your retirement in the long-term. Consider this for a Second Most of us simply do not have enough in our 401k where we can afford to borrow. According to Fidelity Investments, the average 401k balance was approximately $91,000. And while that is a lot of money, it won’t cover the average retiree’s health-care costs. Fidelity projects that a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2014 will incur an average of $220,000 in retirement healthcare costs alone. Before you take out that 401k loan, know this: According to the IRS: the maximum amount that the plan can permit as a loan is (1) the greater of $10,000 or 50% of your vested account …

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The Huge Decline in U.S. Publicly Traded Companies

The Huge Decline in U.S. Publicly Traded Companies: Why investors should be worried Financial advisors spend a lot of time reassuring clients. Yes, interest rates are rising, but they are still at historical lows – the markets will be fine long-term. Yes, the technology sector is on a tear, but there are significant differences from the technology bubble from the late 90s – the markets will be fine long-term. Yes, the U.S. dollar declined last year for the first time in 5 years – the markets will be fine long-term. But there is one 20-year trend that has financial advisors worried about the markets long-term: the sharp decline in the number of publicly traded companies here in the U.S. The Worry In 1996, the US stock markets boasted over 8,000 publicly traded companies. Today, that number has dropped to less than 3,500. Let’s go back further and add the US …

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Annual Rebalancing Steps

Annual Rebalancing Steps: Perspectives from a Seasoned Financial Advisor As you begin to receive your year-end statements, it will be tempting to focus on how well the markets performed – because it really was a year for the record books. The year 2017 saw the DJIA set 71 all-time highs, surpassing the previous record of 69 set in 1995. We saw NASDAQ up 28%, the DJIA up 25% and the S&P 500 up 19%. And at almost nine years old, this bull market is now the second-oldest and second-strongest in history. Given last year’s market performance, it would be a safe bet that many investors need to consider rebalancing, because they might now be overweight or underweight certain asset classes – and therefore positioned in a way that is inconsistent with their risk tolerance and goals. Now is the Time to Think About Rebalancing The reality is that the market …

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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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