Category: Retirement

IRAs: Too Much Or Too Little, Which Is Worse?

Most people I speak to are aware of the 10% penalty for withdrawing from an IRA prior to age 59½.  And as with most government rules there are always exceptions that have been added on afterwards to support specific situations not considered when the original legislation was promoted.  But there are also penalties for contributing…
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The Impact Of Fed Rate Hikes (Part 1)

As you may have read in the media, the Federal Reserve (Fed) raised its benchmark interest rate to 1.00% in March.  This was the second increase in just three months and the most the Fed has raised the rate in over eight years.  What’s the significance of such rate hikes, particularly to investors? Let’s start…
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Politicians: Improve It, Don’t Eliminate It!

Suppose you have a hot water heater in your home that works only intermittently.  You go to your local Home Depot only to find that they won’t have a replacement model available for six months.  Would you wait until the replacement is available before removing the old unit, or would you immediately yank the defective…
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Impact of Trump’s Fiduciary Rule Delay

President Trump today ordered that the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule – scheduled to begin implementation on April 10th – be delayed pending a review by his administration.  What impact is this expected to have on consumers? Some background first.  When it came to providing investment advice prior to 2016, Registered Investment Advisors (aka RIAs,…
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Rollover Pension To IRA? New option!

One of the most difficult decisions that people face when leaving an employer is whether or not to rollover their company pension to an IRA.  It’s an especially difficult choice when you’ve worked at the same company for many years.  If you choose to keep the money in your pension, the money will be distributed…
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Setting Expectations In The Absence Of Facts

Now that 2016 is nearly behind us, investors’ thoughts naturally turn to 2017.  What return should I expect from my investments next year?  The great difficulty in answering that question is that we have limited facts to guide us.  Sure, there is a plethora of historical data, as well as economists and media pundits who…
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A Key Factor For Financial Success

As an investment professional I spend a huge part of my time helping clients to develop investment strategies and to identify specific investments that balance the need for growth with the need for asset preservation.  And over time, the value of these efforts pays off by maximizing the likelihood of their being able to live…
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Not All Muni Bonds Are Tax Free

At a wedding in 2007 I met a retired treasurer from a prestigious east-coast university.  He told me that all his investments were exclusively in insured municipal (muni) bonds.  The returns he received were good, sufficient to cover all his expenses, and were practically guaranteed.  But the best part of the muni investments, as he…
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OK To Tap Your 401(k) For College Expenses?

When it comes to their children, many parents take the view that supporting their kids is first priority.  That’s admirable from a family standpoint, but may not be optimal from a financial one.  And nowhere does this have bigger consequences than with college expenses.  A common question I encounter is whether or not it’s possible to…
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Time To Worry About Underfunded Pensions?

I recently attended a seminar about public pension reform led by Chuck Reed, formerly mayor of San Jose and currently board member of the Retirement Security Initiative. As you probably recall, Reed led the effort to pass a pension reform measure for San Jose in 2012.  Here are some of the implications of the underfunded…
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