The Allure of Private

Prospective clients are sometimes surprised when I tell them we invest in mutual funds and ETFs (exchange-traded funds). Some think we are stock pickers because Josh is on point in discussing companies on CNBC. Others have enjoyed outsized returns in large cap growth darlings Apple, Amazon, or Facebook. But a third group, those with more…

Advisors Earn their Stripes in Down Markets

It’s too early to call this market selloff a down market. Stocks are only 5-6% below all-time highs. But a two-day decline of 5% is jarring, even to the most hardened investors. We know that investment losses hurt two times more than gains feel good. Even though portfolio values are higher than they were a…

Why Not Women?

I spend a lot of time wondering why there are so few women working as advisors, or at least why the numbers don’t change year after year. I think about the signals we give to young girls about money. Somehow these girls received the message they can be anything they want to be; doctor, lawyer,…

Gatekeepers

Underfunded pension obligations are a large, looming problem in almost every state in America. Decades of overpromising and underdelivering coupled with intense political pressure to kick the can down the road results in the perfect storm of burgeoning future costs. States and municipalities are using unrealistic return assumptions, but reducing these assumptions forces them to…

Call a Spade a Spade

I remember the first time I sat through a product pitch I could not understand. It was a sales presentation for the equity tranche of a subprime mortgage CDO (collateralized debt obligation) back in 2007. You may have read about these products, and how they almost brought down the global financial system. This pitch was garbage, to put it…

No One But You

Here is one of my favorite pieces of career advice; “No one is going to look out for you but you.” Women whisper this to other women working longer hours than their male colleagues for less pay. Young professionals rumble about politics of the old guard keeping them from the next promotion. Whatever the reason…

Universal Life

I received many responses to my diatribe on permanent life insurance. Several pointed out legitimate uses for these products, which I included in the post, albeit near the end. And then a polite reader emailed me an illustration for an indexed universal life insurance policy. Wait until you find out how it works. The proposal…

Truth Seeker

Earlier this week I introduced myself as “one of the misfits”. I didn’t plan to place this label on myself, but I think it might stick. If you are not familiar with the origin, it stems from Apple’s “Think Different” advertising campaign in the late 1990’s. Here is the first half of the script from…

It’s Too Complicated

Our CFO, Bill Sweet, likes to get down and dirty with the tax code. Last week, he uncovered a new type of tax deferred savings account in the 2017 tax reform bill called the Universal Savings Account (USA). These new accounts allow for annual contributions of $2,500, grow tax deferred, but unlike IRAs and ROTH…

Paying for Healthcare

It’s no secret that healthcare costs are rising faster than wages. Employers have shifted more of the burden of health care premiums to employees. Deductibles are higher, and coinsurance rates are lower. We are paying more for less coverage. This trend is not likely to reverse anytime soon. There is a tax-advantaged method of savings…