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Innovation Around the World

Digital music service Spotify and the popular electronic games Minecraft and Candy Crush Saga all originated in Sweden. The country is home to some of the world’s largest technology companies and is second only to Silicon Valley for tech giants.1   Sweden provides free health care, free higher education and outstanding infrastructure with the third-fastest…

Taking Required Minimum Distributions

Retirement savings accounts that allow employees to make pretax contributions have a caveat: At some point, taxes must be paid on that earned income. The Internal Revenue Code generally requires that retirement account owners take a certain amount of money out of those accounts each year, starting when they reach age 70 ½. This is…

Year-End Tax Tips

As of this writing, Congress is attempting to reform our tax code. While changes are common with every new presidential administration, an initiative so transforming as to be called “tax reform” is quite unusual — the last major tax overhaul happened during the Reagan administration in 1986.1   According to Fox News, some who may…

Falling Assets

Here’s some good news: The Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College reports that between 2013 and 2016, households led by someone between age 55 and 64 in the second-highest income quintile had an increase in retirement income. These wealthy households more than doubled their combined 401(k)/IRA assets – to a median total of…

Monetary Systems

In the days before cash, people bartered goods and services. Then we established various forms of “cash” payments, from paper bills and coins to checks, credit and debit card payments. It seems that the more we progress, the less we use physical cash.   Naturally, just because we’re not breaking out a wad of bills…

Update on the DOL Fiduciary Rule

In August, the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed to delay the launch of the final portion of the new “fiduciary rule” until July 2019. Part of the rule went into effect in June of this year, mandating that any financial professional making financial recommendations to a client with regard to an individual retirement account (IRA)…

Artificial Intelligence: Innovation for Today’s World

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing the way businesses build products and even provide customer service. We now have automated virtual assistants and “chatbots” answering customer service calls.1 We even have self-driving cars being tested for pizza delivery.2   These quantum leaps in technological advances present both opportunities and challenges. For example, the way we…

Assessing Risk

It is common to have a very traditional interpretation when we think of investment risk, such as the belief that stocks are seen as a risky investment, and bonds less so. But many issues have come to light in the past decade that cause us to think about risk differently. For example, there’s the risk…

Investing for the Long Term

What does the phrase “long term” mean to you? For children, long term can mean waiting for Christmas or summer vacation that feels like a million years away. For young adults, long term may reference how long it takes to pay off student loans. As we get older, we begin to understand that long term…

Working Longer

Ah, the life questions we face. Young adults contemplate which college to attend and how that might affect their future. Women – and increasingly often, men – ponder whether to stay home and raise children, work or both. People contemplate job changes and relocations. And then, of course, a big question: When should I retire?…

Ways to Help Increase Retirement Savings and Reduce Your Tax Liability

As we head into the homestretch of this year, two things individuals may be seeking are ways to help maximize retirement savings and minimize 2017 tax liability. One way to help do so is by contributing as much as possible to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Many employers match worker contributions up to a certain point,…

Goals-Based Investing

There’s a difference between monitoring an investment and checking its performance on a daily basis. Rather than being concerned about short-term volatility in the market, consider the future purpose or goal of what you want your money to pay for. This is the fundamental idea behind goals-based investing. You don’t just seek out investments that…

What Type of Investor Are You?

Each person is unique. We are composed of many variables, such as genetics, family influence, geographic influence and even the birth order among siblings – a veritable combination of the forces of biology and society.1 So when it comes to managing your finances, the debate isn’t about nature versus nurture; it’s both. For example, consider two…

IRS News to Know

As we head into the final quarter of 2017, it’s a good idea to stay cognizant of any tax issues that may affect your finances come April 2018. Now is the time to review your investments and income distribution plans to help ensure you don’t trigger additional taxes or penalties later on. We can help…

Assessing Risk in Retirement Income

When it comes to investing, there’s no such thing as a “safe bet.” Every type of financial vehicle has some level of risk, even checking and savings accounts. Back in the 1920s, people believed that the safest place to keep their money was a bank, and they were right. But as they witnessed during the…

Income Strategies for an 8,000-Day Retirement

By 2030, it’s estimated that 20 percent of the U.S. population will be over age 65.1 That means a fifth of all Americans will be on the fringe of retirement or already retired, a milestone that’s generally perceived to come late in life. But consider this, there are approximately 8,000 days in today’s average retirement. That’s…

How Much Retirement Income Should Come From Savings?

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Americans’ personal savings rates are about half of the amount they once were. For the past few years, the personal savings rate has hovered around 5 percent, but that’s still significantly lower than the savings rate from 1950-2000, which averaged 9.8 percent.1 For many retirees, a big concern…

Potential Reasons to Put the Retirement Countdown on Hold

Retirement is still something most people look forward to, but over the years, some of the reasons for anticipation have dwindled. During the industrial age, more people worked jobs requiring manual labor that were hard on the body. By mid-century, many rank-and-file workers could look forward to a pension waiting for them upon retirement. Workers…

Strategic vs. Tactical Asset Allocation

In recent years, the markets, the economy and the global political scene have evolved considerably. We’ve witnessed both remarkable volatility and remarkable resilience in these areas. The reality is that less predictability in today’s economic landscape requires more vigilant risk diversification, coupled with the ability to adapt to a fast-changing environment.1 We work with our…

Retirement Plan Fees: Know What You Are Paying

Many large companies offer employees a 401(k) plan with some degree of matching contribution. Although this is a good employee benefit to have, you always should pay attention to the fees involved in your plan. Your plan provider charges various fees to invest, manage and administer the plan, and those fees are passed on to…

3 Common Questions About Social Security

While Social Security shouldn’t be relied upon to be the sole source of income during retirement, it can play an important role in your overall financial strategy for retirement. But making sense of the basic ins and outs of Social Security can be overwhelming. Here are three questions people commonly ask as they approach retirement…

Is Feeling Younger the Secret to a Longer Life?

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.” ~George Bernard Shaw   While some people accept getting older as a natural part of life, many others are on a mission to fight the aging process and maintain a youthful attitude and appearance. Although we are often reminded to…