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2019 Fourth Quarter Market Update Thumbnail

2019 Fourth Quarter Market Update

Let me start by reminding you that at the end of the 3rd quarter our biggest concern was the lack of progress on a trade agreement with China. I believe this was starting to have an impact on the economy and was certainly a hindrance to the market. I was optimistic markets would respond positively with progress on this topic as they had in the past. I was also skeptical that the timing of any sort of resolution could be predicted. Since then, a “Phase One” trade agreement has been announced and it is scheduled to be signed January 15, 2020. “Phase One” was announced on October 11, 2019, and as you can see from the chart below, markets responded very positively.

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How Financial Advisors Are Paid, and Why It Matters	 Thumbnail

How Financial Advisors Are Paid, and Why It Matters

There are a few ways that a financial professional can operate their business. This article outlines 4 of the major business structures in the financial industry, and tells how your advisor’s compensation might look in each structure. Understanding the structure of your financial advisor’s practice will help you understand the way they approach their clients and the advice they provide.

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Secure Act: What You Need to Know Now Thumbnail

Secure Act: What You Need to Know Now

In its second time in as many years there has been legislative changes that will have an impact on the retirement planning landscape. Accompanying the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 which was signed into law on December 22, 2017, the Secure Act...

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Protecting and Insuring the “Marital Roles” When It Comes to Finance	 Thumbnail

Protecting and Insuring the “Marital Roles” When It Comes to Finance

I meet and work with people over a broad spectrum of ages, cultures, and lifestyles. They say as a “teacher” you tend to learn as much, if not more, about people and financing than you teach. Nothing could be truer than this over the 13 years I have been consulting people on life and finances. When it comes to married couples, like any “team”, there are roles that must be taken on by both spouses to support the greater good of the team.

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Election Years:  What Do They Mean for Stocks? Thumbnail

Election Years: What Do They Mean for Stocks?

It is no secret that 2020 is an election year. It is hard to escape all the buzz. We are constantly bombarded with opinions from social media, TV and radio. In this article, I would like to focus on facts; facts about how markets have performed historically during election years. I will do my best to set my opinions aside so we can take an honest look at what history can tell us about election years. I think the best way to do this is to ask (and answer) additional questions. Here we go!

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Consumers Benefit As ETFs Change Wall Street Thumbnail

Consumers Benefit As ETFs Change Wall Street

The recent news from Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and E-Trade that they will be reducing commissions on Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Stocks to $0 is huge news. The road to $0 commissions (transaction fees) has been a long time coming. From the birth and proliferation of the discount broker in the 90s, transaction costs have been shrinking.

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The Importance of Financial Literacy and Its Influence on Our Lives Thumbnail

The Importance of Financial Literacy and Its Influence on Our Lives

From where did you learn most of your life skills? How did you learn to brush your teeth, read, write or drive a car? For me, it was my parents and school. What if there were something that affected just about every facet of our lives that our parents had limited knowledge of and was hardly covered in school? You, no doubt, have guessed it by now. I am referring to Finances. Finances are consistently listed as one of the top reasons for divorce and money is one of the biggest causes of stress for Americans. Additionally, it is my belief that financial illiteracy is one of the reasons for the widening inequality gap. If finances are so essential and money issues cause so many problems, why don't we have a greater emphasis on financial education? Why do we have kids graduating from high school who can do calculus but don't know what an IRA is or how credit scores work? To answer this question, we have to take a look back in time.

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Investing to and Through Retirement Thumbnail

Investing to and Through Retirement

Do – Diversify your portfolio. This may sound cliché but it is vitally important. Diversification acts as an insulator against the ups and downs of the market. If you own too much in any one company, economic sector, asset type, or country you are unnecessarily exposing yourself to additional risk. True diversification is when you own several different types of stocks (e.g. US, international, emerging market, large cap, mid cap and small cap), bonds (e.g. US, international, Floating rate, inflation protected, high yield, short term, etc.) and alternative asset classes (e.g. real estate, precious metals, oil/gas, etc.).

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2019 Third Quarter Market Update Thumbnail

2019 Third Quarter Market Update

If we take a look back at the key stories of Q3, there are three headlines that stand out to me as being material to markets. 1. The 10 year treasury rate collapsed. 2. Attacks on oil fields in Saudia Arabia. 3. The trade war continues. As we enter the fourth quarter, most investors will be watching for any positive movement on trade and for another rate cut from the federal reserve. If we focus on disciplined investing, asset allocation, and cost-conscious implementation, we know we will be on the right path.

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The New Age of Financial Responsibility Thumbnail

The New Age of Financial Responsibility

I grew up in a small town outside of Flint, Michigan called Swartz Creek. Many of the people in our community worked for one of the “Big Three” automakers, including my uncle, all three of my best friends’ dads, and many of my extended family. These companies were a classic example of a typical 20th-century employer. Right out of high school you could get a good job and make a very good living. It was certainly not easy work but if you stuck with it for 30 years you would be well taken care of with an opportunity for early retirement, a good pension and excellent health care benefits. Today, things are very different.

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