22 Sep 2015

Don’t Worry, Be Happy and Live Longer

When we look at our financial planning model, a lot of clients say something like, ‘well, I’m never going to make it that long anyway.’ According to Society of Actuaries, more than half of Americans underestimate their life expectancy and that their financial planning time horizons are too short. When asked how long a person their age and gender was expected to live, 40 percent of respondents gave answers that… Read More

24 Jun 2015

Maximizing Social Security

It’s a little hard to believe, but I read more and more in the popular press about maximizing Social Security benefits.  One of the best-selling books this year is called ‘Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security’ by Laurence Kotlikoff.    I tried to read it earlier this year and admit that even I found it was pretty dry, and I think it’s fairly obvious that… Read More

13 Mar 2015

Women and Investing

Despite being married with two daughters, I am not an expert on women. For a long time, I couldn’t figure out why women might want or need different financial advice from advisors. A few years ago, Dannelle Ward set me straight and pointed out that women do face different financial circumstances that sometimes require different advice. Here are some statistics: • At birth, the life expectancy for women is 81.3… Read More

5 Feb 2015

Smart Money Kids

Many readers know that I have two grade school daughters because I’ve written about them in the context of saving for college. Like any parent, I want smart money kids. While this is a common goal among parents, it’s easy to say and much more difficult to actually accomplish in practice. There was an article in the New York Times over the weekend that described a guy who withdrew his monthly… Read More

2 Dec 2014

Using Donor Advised Funds

After shopping-centric Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s refreshing to know that today is Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is actually a relatively new effort – the first one was in 2012 and it is actually part of November’s nonprofit awareness month. But giving in the US is not new at all. In fact, the US is one of the most generous countries on earth. Here are some of the facts… Read More

20 Nov 2014

How to Get a $200 million IRA (no joke)

When Mitt Romney ran for President in 2012, he was required to disclose information about his net worth, which was around $250 million. The most interesting element to me, though, was that he had more than $100 million in his IRA. IRAs are an important element of our clients IRAs and some have large balances, but nothing, obviously, like Romney’s. I don’t begrudge Romney and have no interest in getting… Read More

13 Nov 2014

Should You Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?

One of the most difficult questions that I get is whether or not people should buy long-term care insurance (LTC). My views have changed over time and are likely to continue to evolve and I don’t claim to be an expert in this field. Historically, I thought that the policies were too expensive and often passed on the rule of thumb that I had heard, which has three parts. If… Read More

22 Oct 2014

Choosing a Trustee

There are many reasons to establish trusts including the efficient transfer of wealth, avoiding probate, philanthropic commitments, tax reduction, or protecting assets, among other things. Ten years ago, the tax reduction benefits were applicable to more people because the estate tax exemption (the threshold where estate taxes kick in) was $1.5 million. Today, the exemption is $5.34 million and, therefore, affects far fewer people. That doesn’t mean that you don’t… Read More

6 Oct 2014

Help Your Kids and Grandkids with a 529 Account

Last year, Fidelity Investments did a study called the College Savings Indicator to measure how families deal with college costs. They found that 26 percent of parents will pay for all college costs, four percent will not pay for any college costs and the remaining 70 percent plan on paying a portion of college costs.  In short, college is still a high priority. On average, these families expect to pay… Read More

25 Sep 2014

Retiree Spending

In our retirement planning model, the Acropolis Financial Forecaster, there are essentially five key variables that affect the probability of meeting your goals.  They are as follows: Saving Before Retirement When to Retire Spending in Retirement Market Returns & Inflation Rate Portfolio Risk The first three factors are entirely under your control and the second one is the most critical because the timing of your retirement stops contributions to your… Read More