Role Reversal

I have seen many clients struggle with caring for their parents, and I thought it would be years before my time would come. It is particularly difficult when you live in different cities. In May, my 68 year old mother-in-law, Charleen, had surgery to receive a pacemaker to control her arterial fibrulation. The operation seemed simple enough and she should be home the next day. Unfortunately, she experienced multiple complications due to a device malfunction and an inept surgeon. Finally, after her third operation, she is on the road to recovery. My mother-in-law lives alone… [read more]
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Scams are Back

Scammers are talented at taking advantage of people by tapping into their fears and desires to get ahead financially. Periods of high stress and abysmal returns often bring out promoters who promise miracle money strategies. Since the last two years have been particularly trying for investors, scammers know this is a great time to strike. You do not have to be financially unsophisticated to be taken in. Many of the schemes are packaged to appeal to the very educated by appearing to be very complex and available only to wealthy investors. This was Bernie Madoff’s… [read more]
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Personal Finance 101

One big wake-up call from the recent economic downturn is that the literacy rate in this country is at absolute crisis levels. Financial literacy, that is.
Millions of high school, college, even graduate level students leave their alma maters every year completely unable to decipher basic financial information. Whether it is how a mortgage works, the true cost of carrying a credit card balance or the importance of maintaining a high credit score, even the extremely well educated are often completely in the dark. I’ve talked to many baby boomers recently who are concerned, some… [read more]
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Why Don’t You Just Give Your Broker a Gun and Tell Him to Shoot You?

(From Dan Solin’s blog, Huffington Post, July 14, 2009) A reader of my blogs sent me an e-mail with a Customer Agreement from a major brokerage firm. She asked me to look it over and tell her if she should sign it. The first thing that struck me was this clause: “Brokerage activities are regulated under different laws and rules than advisory activities and generally do not give rise to the fiduciary duties that an investment adviser has to its clients.” The agreement pointed out that the brokerage firm “…may face certain conflicts of interest… [read more]
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