In Life and Retirement Planning “It’s Never a Mystery”

Lewisburg, PA – The common phrase “it’s never a mystery”, should end with, “except for the people involved”. Is it a mystery why the athlete medals in the Olympics? Not when you consider the coaching, training, years of perfecting technique, and all the pieces that it takes to win. In contrast, most people see a […]

Punxsutawney Phil Beats the Pros

Punxsutawney Phil is arguably the most well-known prognosticator in America. Groundhog Day was established in 1887, held annually on February 2nd.  A large crowd will wait with baited breath to see what this famous oracle is going to predict. At Gobblers Knob, at 7:20 am, the crowd will be awaiting the fame rodent’s prime indicator, a […]

What’s Your Sleep Factor for the CRASH to Come?

What is a market crash? It’s a sudden, dramatic decline in the market. As an investor coach and wealth strategist, I find myself always preparing my clients for the crash to come. However, this does not come from a lack of faith in the stock market; in fact, I believe it’s the greatest wealth producing entity known […]

Shutdown, Smut-down, Debt Up

What does the shutdown really mean to the vast majority of Americans? Apparently not much, other than the entertainment factor of watching the political dramas (shame they do not have political Oscars).  It seems that the only folks affected are those who have been furloughed. I have had a number of conversations with clients, friends, […]

Money Market or Market Returns…Sh​ould You Know??

For those in your fifties or sixties, think back to your first job when you entered the work force.  I still remember how ecstatic I was when I landed that summer job at an amusement park that paid me $1.50 per hour.  Back in 1980, the minimum wage was pegged at $3.10 per hour.  So, […]

The Boys of Summer: 2013 Market Returns

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) index is up 13.8% half-way through the year.  The Standard & Poor 500 (S&P 500) index is up almost as much, at 12.6%, but the markets didn’t rise over the last six months in a straight line.   They rarely do. The markets were all over the place.  Sometimes up, sometimes down, especially over the last […]

Why Not GIPS?

I was just reviewing our 20 year returns recently for all of our portfolios and was pleasantly surprised how well the market has performed in the last 20 years. Despite the government involvement, the credit bubble, the tech bubble, and the energy bubble, the market has still performed extremely well. You may be wondering, how […]

Looking Out for Mr. Ponzi

This summer Bernie Madoff will be celebrating his 4th anniversary in federal prison, 146 years to go. Madoff masterminded the largest Ponzi Scheme (slang for financial scam) in world history.  Thousands of unsuspecting investors were swindled.  In many cases, ordinary people lost their life savings. Having had such a long prison sentence imposed, you would […]

Don’t You Bet Your Life On It!

This is a famous line, used many times, by the western actor John Wayne. When you think about it, every day we bet our life on decisions we make, from running the yellow light in our automobile, to not reading directions on the medication we might be taking. We of course make many of these […]

Active Management or Active Hype?

Well, the market must be up, we’re seeing it again.  It’s all over the TV, radio, and popular financial press, that you can easily identify the Active Mutual Funds that far and away outperform the Passive Mutual Funds. The temptation being?  All you have to do is study the active fund manager’s past performance and […]

Prudence not Prognostication

According to the Wall Street Journal, 21 of Fidelity’s Mutual Funds dumped nearly two million Facebook shares in June, less than two months after this “IPO (Initial Public Offering) of the Century” went public. Over that brief period of time, this wildly anticipated and super-hyped stock plummeted to almost half of its original price.

Do we own, or did we own Facebook shares in any of our investment portfolios? The answer is a resounding NO! As with any new public offering, Facebook does not meet the screening criteria of Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA), the primary investment company we use in the development of our portfolios. To put it simply, at this stage of its corporate life, Facebook is just too risky for too many of our clients.

What Would Grandpa Say?

Many of you may already know we are not fans of municipal bonds. In fact, we do not hold any municipal bonds in any of our investment portfolios because we think they are too risky. I bet that surprises a lot of people, especially retirees. My astute, well read, late grandfather would be shocked to hear this, having retired from Ma Bell after 42 years, an old school, buy American, blue chip investor. That’s because many advisors routinely recommend that retirees buy and live off of the income generated by supposedly safe individual municipal bonds.

401(K) Fee Disclosures Now Required by DOL

More often than not, when I ask a client about their 401(k) fee structure or plan cost, the answer I get is, “There is no cost. My company uses no-load mutual funds. It’s free.”

A survey sponsored by AARP, found that 71% of retirement plan participants believed they did not pay any fees at all. This is understandable, but shocking! That’s because this information is rarely disclosed.

The impact of fees and commissions on your retirement can be significant. This is especially true if your plan selections include variable annuities.

Should I stay or should I go???

General Motors retirees, they will have until July 20, 2012, to make the big decision!

That’s the deadline, just a little over five weeks away, when more than 40,000 General Motors supervisory and white-collar retirees will be forced to make what could be the most important financial decision of their lives. Should they accept GM’s offer of a lump-sum “buy-out” of their monthly pension checks and thus possibly receive the biggest check they’ll ever get? Or should they continue to receive a monthly pension check when GM transfers their retirement plan to a private group annuity from Prudential?

Facebook on Wall Street

Facebook! The IPO (Initial Public Offering) of the century! Facebook will “go public,” which means that you can buy its shares just like you can buy the stock of any other public company.

Lots of people who never invested before are calling financial advisors and stock brokers to buy shares, but is this a good idea? Does it make sense to buy individual shares of Facebook for your investment portfolio? A lot of people think so, because they are comfortable and they use the product every day.

The answer to the question as to whether or not you should buy Facebook depends on your objective. If you want to speculate with your money, you may want to take a chance. However, you have to be prepared to take a loss – perhaps a sizeable loss – if you are unlucky and the share price falls.