Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

TAAG’s offices will be closed today and tomorrow as the team takes a few days off to enjoy Christmas with our families. All of us at TAAG want to pass along our sincerest gratitude to our clients for another great year working together to make the best possible decisions available to meet our goals and enhance your financial security. However you celebrate, we hope you have time this week to reflect, spend time with friends and family and enjoy the season. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the best for a prosperous 2014!!… [read more]
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Play Your Position

In a year that has surprised to the upside in terms of overall stock market performance, it can sometimes be disheartening to see that a portfolio’s safety net, it’s cash and short term, high quality bonds, continue to eke along without much in the way of return.  How quickly we can forget the safety they can provide in tougher times was well covered by Jeannette in her blog on Market Amnesia just last month.  Many investors have been burned this year by taking their fixed income investments just a little further out in duration, or… [read more]
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Getting a Good Start

A few weeks ago I rode along with a police officer for 10 hours in Over the Rhine, and from the front seat I got an interesting perspective of life. The neighborhood’s newly renovated lofts, shops and trendy restaurants have made it a popular destination.  Washington Park attracts many people, and I enjoy the tacos at Bakersfield and the vintage drinks at Japps.  But the neighborhood is still plagued by prostitution, drugs, and violence north of all the positive changes. During our shift I saw a park where transvestite prostitutes hang out, and a… [read more]
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Simplicity & Sophistication

(from Dimensional Fund Advisors’ Outside the Flags blog by Jim Parker dated 11/14/2013. Jim is a Vice President with DFA and leads the communications and marketing team for the firms’ Australian arm.)     The Chinese philosopher Confucius once said that life is very simple, but we insist on making it complicated. You could say the same thing about investing. Complexity in investing often comes with a lack of transparency. The highly engineered and multilayered financial derivatives that contributed to the global financial crisis five years ago are a case in point. For many investors, these products… [read more]
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Ready, Set, Spend!

‘Tis the season for giving – your credit card number to pay for your holiday gift purchases.  The average American will spend just over $1,000 this year on gift giving, up 20% from 2012.  With Thanksgiving falling on the latest possible day in November, compressing the holiday shopping season, the barrage of emails and commercials touting “the best prices this year” have been coming for quite some time.  It can be difficult to get into the holiday spirit when the competition for the lowest price at the earliest possible time supersedes the meaning of the… [read more]
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Grading the WSJ Retirement Quiz

Recently, the Wall Street Journal released their most recent iteration of their retirement readiness quiz, something they’ve done sporadically over the last decade.  Anyone who has read this blog in the past knows we’re passionate about personal financial education.  In fact, just last week we hosted our latest Education Series for Pre-retirees.  We look forward to continuing to offer these sessions to young adults, career builders, pre-retirees and retirees into 2014. Coming off that experience, I couldn’t help but play teacher and get out my red pen as I read through the quiz.  Let’s look… [read more]
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The Cure for Market Amnesia

Great stock market returns can be just as dangerous for investors as a stock market crash. Stocks have posted excellent returns for 2013. The DFA US Micro Cap Portfolio, a fund we use for our clients’ allocation to small, US companies, is up 35.7% for the year-to-date, while large US company funds have posted returns between 26% and 33%. Even the international stock funds we use in our client portfolios are up 18% to 27%. October was also the busiest month for U.S.-listed initial public offerings since 2007. Last week Twitter posted a 73% gain… [read more]
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And the Award Goes To. . .

Three weeks ago, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize for Economics to three U.S. economists, one being Eugene Fama. Dr. Fama, a professor at the University of Chicago and often referred to as “the father of modern finance,” is credited with demonstrating the notion that markets are efficient. Professor Fama’s work led to the creation of the first index mutual funds and led two of his prize students, David Booth and Rex Sinquefield to start Dimensional Fund Advisors. It is this Nobel worthy research that drives our investment philosophy… [read more]
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Financial Success for the Whole Family

One of the services we offer our clients is the opportunity for their children to meet with us to ensure they are starting off on the right track financially.  As I explained to 600 high school girls at the Young Women Lead Conference two weeks ago, their generation will have a much different experience during their work and retirement years than their parents and grandparents.    First, they are likely to change jobs much more frequently.  A recent study by the Future Workplace, Multiple Generations @ Work found that Millennials plan to stay in [read more]
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Changes to Your 529 Plan

New Advantages to College Advantage When saving for college education expenses for children or grandchildren, it is often our recommendation to start with a 529 plan. We’re fortunate in the State of Ohio to have one of the country’s best plans with several options to achieve a low cost, broadly diversified portfolio. As many of our clients and readers either own a CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Savings Plan or have family, neighbors, or friends who do, I wanted to discuss a recent announcement about changes coming to the plan. While the changes should be a net… [read more]
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