Whose Interests are Served?

My hope this week was to take a break from the non-stop, often confusing news surrounding what’s going on with our new administration, Congress, various cabinet and judicial appointments, etc. and focus on a less divisive issue like the Super Bowl, Groundhog Day or Johnny Depp’s desperate need for good financial planning. That idea was squelched on Friday when I received the following e-mail (slightly paraphrased) from a client. I heard a story on the radio this morning about the new administration stopping a regulation that would force financial advisors to put the best [read more]
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Doing Nothing is Hard

In my last blog, I talked about the challenge I had booking a vacation because of its cost and my nerves around spending the money.  Well, I’m happy to report that I booked that vacation and am just returning from a glorious week in the Turks & Caicos.  Worth every penny! But boy, did I pick a heck of a week to be gone.  In a mere 7 days, our 45th President was inaugurated, millions of men and women around the world marched in protest and the Dow Jones broke the 20,000 mark… [read more]
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Chasing the Trade Winds

When I was a little girl, summer began with strawberries and ended with pumpkins.  In between we plowed dirt, planted vegetables and pulled weeds on our small farm.  Work began in the morning when dew was still on the strawberries, and ended when we could no longer use the tractor headlights to see what we were doing. Mom and Dad were school teachers, and the money we made from selling tomatoes to Frisch’s and strawberries at the roadside stand paid for piano lessons, a Shasta trailer, and savings for college.  We worked hard, but… [read more]
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A Look Back at 2016

(from Dimensional Fund Advisors’ Down to the Wire blog by Weston Wellington dated 1/13/2017. Weston is a Vice President with DFA, helping to lead the firm’s market research.  He works closely with financial advisors all over the world in helping them to understand DFA’s approach to investment success.)    Every year brings its share of surprises. But how many of us could have imagined that 2016 would see the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, Bob Dylan receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Donald Trump elected president, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average close out the… [read more]
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When Good Beats Perfect

Did you go to the gym this morning?  Did you notice anything?  It’s already starting to empty out, isn’t it? As we move through the second week of 2017, many deeply resolved, well-laid plans have already gone the way of the dodo bird.  Statistics tell us that in just a few more weeks, most all will be a thing of the past. It is difficult to change habits.  We get comfortable with our routine and are willing to defend, consciously or subconsciously, against any outside influence looking to cause us discomfort.  That’s how they became… [read more]
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You Can’t Afford Not To

I was recently cleaning my grandmother’s house and I came across her passport.  I flipped through the pages to find the only stamp in the book.  It was from a trip to Ireland she took about five years ago.  It made me smile. I flashed back to us sitting at her dining room table one day eating lunch talking about whether she should take the trip.  Being of Irish descent, she’d wanted to go to Ireland her entire life.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard her mention it over the years.  Yet… [read more]
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A Vote For Small Cap Stocks

(from Dimensional Fund Advisors’ Down to the Wire blog by Weston Wellington dated 12/22/2016. Weston is a Vice President with DFA, helping to lead the firm’s market research.  He works closely with financial advisors all over the world in helping them to understand DFA’s approach to investment success.)    In the days immediately following the recent US presidential election, US small company stocks experienced higher returns than US large company stocks. This example helps illustrate how the dimensions of expected returns can appear quickly, unpredictably, and with large magnitude. Average returns for US small company stocks… [read more]
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Bonds Away!

Why would I ever want to hold bonds in my portfolio? I’ve been asked that question many times over the last 28 years.  Between June 2004 to December 2005, when the Federal Reserve raised the target rate 13 times in a row, resulting in lower bond prices.  From 1995 to 1999 and 2003 to 2006, when bonds appeared to serve no purpose in portfolios than to dampen the double-digit returns stocks delivered.  More times than not, bonds have been the underdog in investment allocations, and recent stock market returns followed by the Fed’s rate… [read more]
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Beware the Prognosticators

While pondering topics this week for my final post of 2016, I’ve been inundated with periodicals, industry publications and online headlines full of projections about hot stocks, interest rates and where the overall market is headed in 2017. I started linking stories above to make my point, but there are so many, it’s tough to choose just a few.  Linking to one headline suggesting that the Dow is heading to 40,000 would show preference over a claim that it’s headed to 2,000.  If you’re curious, search virtually any financial media site after you’re finished reading.… [read more]
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It Takes a Village

Once again, we’ve entered the special time of year when the days get shorter, temperatures get cooler and our calendars are full of holiday bashes and family get togethers.  The sparkling lights and long lines at the mall can mean only one thing…it’s FAFSA season? Recent changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid moved the opening of the filing window back to October 1st from its previous start date of January 1st.  Filers now have from October 1st, 2016 until June 30th, 2018 to file their… [read more]
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