Social Security – An Update

According to the Social Security Administration, nearly 62 million Americans are receiving some type of benefit from the program as of April 2012.  There is much speculation as to where the program is headed in the future.  Unfortunately, there’s little more to report on long term changes than mentioned in my July 2011 blog on just that topic.  The broken record remains the same.  If you’re over 55, you’re likely to see your full benefit.  How that benefit is taxed, whether or not it is means-tested in some fashion and what’s to come of the [read more]
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Facebook Fever

As I write this blog, Facebook is set to begin trading any minute, with the estimated 11:15am start time approaching.  The fact that web sites are breathlessly reporting the status of the stock’s IPO on a minute-by-minute basis speaks volumes about the public’s interest in the company. Facebook is a great example of the emotional side of investing.  It’s fun to own a company that everyone’s talking about, that you use personally, or you see jumping up in value the way Apple Computer did over the past 2 years.   We all want to be associated [read more]
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The Real Reasons Why You Buy

(from Carl Richard’s New York Times’ Bucks blog, 4/16/2012 – click here for the original post. Carl is a Certified Financial Planner in Park City, Utah. His sketches are archived on the Bucks blog and on his personal Web site, www.BehaviorGap.com.) His new book The Behavior Gap is on shelves now.
Before we buy something we tell ourselves stories. We are particularly fond of the story that goes like this: We have researched all the options, and the decision we have made represents that best one we could make given the facts. Just… [read more]
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The Magic Number

One of the questions I am often asked by clients is “how much money do I need to retire?”  Advertisements on TV and in magazines would have us believe that when we have accumulated this “magic number” we are ready to stop working.  What the ads fail to mention is that this is just one of the important numbers you need to know to ensure a successful retirement.   Just as critical in your planning is a realistic estimate of how long you will live.
In my last blog, A Different Angle, I wrote about … [read more]
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The Changing Role of Grandparents

A recent AARP survey of grandparents showed that 36% of those asked felt that “spoiling grandchildren by buying them too much” was part of a grandparent’s financial role.  This result isn’t all that surprising. Spoiling grandchildren has been a time-honored right and tradition for grandparents for many generations.  AARP has done similar studies many times with fairly consistent results. 
What’s changing, perhaps, is the definition of spoiling.  You’ve likely seen examples in your own life or through the media of spoiling taking on extremes.  This occurs for a variety of reasons, but the most common [read more]
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