Ignore Cost at Your Own Risk

When selecting investments or investment advisors, people get caught up in mutual fund star ratings and performance track records. Cost of investing is only briefly considered, regardless of the sophistication of the investor, until they start to realize they aren’t making much headway. I was reminded of this by a phone call today. A client’s relative sits on a foundation board, and he’s concerned about the lack of communication and reporting he receives from the company that manages the foundation’s endowment fund. During our conversation I learned they’re being charged 1.25% on the entire balance… [read more]
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The Danger of Stock Market Forecasts

(from Carl Richard’s New York Times’ Bucks blog, 1/10/2011 – click here for the original post) Carl Richards is a certified financial planner in Park City, Utah. His sketches are archived here on the Bucks blog, and other drawings are available on his personal Web site, BehaviorGap.com.
January marks the time of year where gurus come out of the woodwork with their stock market forecasts. I thought it would be valuable to review a few of them and try to understand what they might mean to real people investing in the real world. … [read more]
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Resolutions – Part I

Brad Steinman, Director of the Canadian arm of Dimensional Fund Advisors, offered up 10 important investment resolutions to start off the new year. Brad’s goal was to warn investors away from “ill-advised practices that are detrimental to their wealth” and hopes that “a set of New Year’s Investment resolutions, along with an advisor capable of helping investors adhere to them, will lead to a more prosperous future.” Rather than rattle them off in what would be a rather lengthy blog post, we’ve decided to take a few resolutions at a time and provide some commentary… [read more]
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Planning Your Philanthropy

At year’s end, many people find themselves rushing to make last minute charitable contributions. Often, the intent of helping out an organization is lost when a deadline looms. Since we’re just beginning the year, it is a good time to create a charitable giving plan so that your gifts will have the most impact. There are many ways to support a charitable or non-profit organization other than simply writing a check. You can gift shares of stock which have a low cost basis. You will receive a tax deduction for the market value of the… [read more]
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Planning Ahead

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 that was signed into law on December 17th clears up the uncertainty hanging over tax and financial planning decisions – but only until the end of 2012. Here are a few things to think about as you plan for the next two years:
  • Income tax rates will hold at their current levels for 2011 and 2012, and tax rates for long-term capital gains and qualifying dividends will remain the same as well. You now have two more years to sell appreciated investments at
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