Investing in the O-Zone Layer?

By most metrics, the U.S. economy has fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis and recession: housing prices have exceeded their pre-crisis peak, the stock market remains at stratospheric levels (even after its late-year stumble), and unemployment measures stand at multi-decade lows. However, the recovery has been extremely uneven, with... read more →

Know Your IRA Penalty Exceptions

Tax-deferred retirement accounts are an integral part of any well-designed financial plan, but they do come with certain drawbacks. Some individuals who have been particularly aggressive deferring income into 401(k) plans or IRAs might eventually find that a significant portion of their net worth—if not essentially all of it—is tied... read more →

What is “Passive Investing”?

Over the last several years, the ongoing debate over the relative merits of “passive” versus “active” investing has picked up steam, with the passive camp steadily gaining ground against the more traditional active portfolio managers. Lured by the simplicity and low cost of an ever-increasing number of passively-managed index funds... read more →

Should I Pay Down My Mortgage?

As both short-term interest rates and 30-year mortgage rates continue to edge higher, homeowners are beginning to question anew the relative benefits of paying down mortgage debt versus setting aside their excess cash for other purposes. Determining “the right amount” of mortgage debt to hold is a complicated decision, and... read more →

Tax Reform Becomes Law

After a frenzied process marked by numerous rewrites and edits, Congress closed out 2017 by passing the most aggressive tax reform bill in decades. Headlined by a significant corporate tax cut, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act fundamentally rewrote portions of the tax code, promising to impact households and corporations... read more →

What’s Your (Retirement) Number?

For a while, the TV commercials were seemingly ubiquitous: a variety of working professionals and business owners, walking around their offices or homes with giant 6-figure or 7-figure numbers trailing behind them like overly dependent puppies. The numbers, of course, were meant to represent the workers’ “retirement numbers”, the amount... read more →

What’s Happened In Europe Since Brexit?

Before November’s election surprise, the biggest market-moving story of 2016 was the unexpected result of the Brexit vote in late June, in which the U.K. voted in a referendum to withdraw from the European Union. The market reaction—both in stock markets and in currency markets—was swift and severe, marked most... read more →

Keep An Eye On Bond Yield Spreads

As the Federal Reserve Board continues to consider whether (or when) to resume increasing the target for its benchmark Fed Funds Rate—which has now stood below 1% for a record 96 straight months—investors everywhere are taking a second look at their fixed income holdings, lest they find themselves improperly positioned... read more →

The Election and Your Portfolio

Since the financial crisis and ensuing Great Recession, we’ve all become accustomed to the increasingly active role that politicians (and central banks) have taken in managing economic and market outcomes. For today’s investors, political risk has become a near-constant phenomenon, an integral part of the market’s ongoing background noise. And... read more →

International Stocks: Why Bother?

In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, markets around the world responded swiftly and violently to the political and economic uncertainty that the “Leave” result presented. The British Pound lost roughly 10% against other major currencies, and several global stock markets were hit hard by the news. While U.S. markets... read more →

529… or IRA?

As a new year dawns, many of us are taking a fresh look at our household budgets, determining where and how we plan to save money over the next twelve months. During that process, we’ll inevitably face tradeoffs between various financial goals—should we pay down debt, or build up our... read more →

Strong Dollar Impacts U.S. Corporations

One of the  downstream  impacts  of  the Fed’s recent monetary policy tightening is a steadily appreciating dollar, as it gains ground against the currencies of nations whose banks continue to ease policy. While a strengthening dollar is not without its benefits, it typically harms multinational corporations who have significant international... read more →

Knowing Your Fiduciary

In an article written earlier this year, we noted a recently-settled class-action lawsuit brought by the employees of Lockheed Martin against the company, alleging breaches of fiduciary duty within the firm’s 401(k) plan. That settlement was followed by a similar one this August, this one involving 190,000 employees and retirees... read more →

Getting To Know Your 401(k)

In mid-December, defense contractor Lockheed Martin elected to settle an eight-year-old class-action lawsuit brought by more than 100,000 of its workers and retirees, alleging excessive fees inside the company’s 401(k) plan. While the suit was unusual in its size and scope, it was indicative of a recent trend toward greater... read more →

Planning Across Generations

Successful financial planning is always a team effort—it requires open and honest communication and coordination between spouses, as well as with advisors. Financial issues are often sensitive subjects, and encouraging and facilitating difficult conversations is one of our most important roles as financial planners. But our experience has taught us... read more →