Structured CDs: Buyer Beware!

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structured-cd-pngMost investors are familiar with Certificates of Deposit (CDs). You purchase one, and the bank pays you a bit of interest on it, plus your principal back at the end of the term and they are FDIC insured. They don’t yield much, but they’re nearly as dependable as it gets. As such, CDs can often serve as sensible tools for offsetting the risk inherent to pursuing higher expected returns ...

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Survivorship Bias

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As the famous quote by Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli states:  “There are three kinds of lies – lies, damned lies, and statistics”. In this installment of Financial TIPs we will focus on the third type of “lie”, statistics. One trick of the trade we must watch for when accepting or rejecting a performance analysis is survivorship bias; using statistics to mislead.

What Is Survivorship Bias?

Only the strong survive. This is a familiar adage because it’s often true ...

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How we Choose the Funds for You

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A question we are often asked: How do we choose the funds we use?

In order to understand how we go about choosing the funds we use it is important to start with the awareness that investments are personal. Starting with a plan is the key to develop the right investment strategy to fit your unique situation. The investments must be structured in a manner that is consistent with your goals, risk tolerance and time frame not to ...

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Financial Tips on Tax-Efficient Investing- Part 1: Investment Manager Selection

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One of my favorite quotes was written by Supreme Court Justice Learned Hand: “Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury… for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands”. With the October 15th “tax return filing deadline” upon us it is an optimal time to think about your income taxes. The best way ...

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Doing Due Diligence on Your Financial Advisor – Part III: Finding Right-Fitting Advice

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In the previous two Financial TIPs in our series, “Doing Due Diligence on Your Financial Advisor,” we offered some ideas on how to check out an advisor’s background, and why we would suggest that the first hurdle to overcome when selecting an advisor is to ensure his or her advice is of the highest, fiduciary standard. In this final installment, we’ll wrap up our discussion about fiduciary duty and offer additional qualities worth seeking in your current or ...

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Doing Due Diligence on Your Financial Advisor – Part II: Fiduciary

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In the medical profession, physicians practice according to a familiar standard: “First do no harm.” There should be a similar level of commitment for anyone who wants to advise you about your financial well-being, right? Unfortunately, wrong. Financial advice is subject to a double legal standard: “fiduciary” versus “suitable” advice. Worse, it’s up to you to spot the differences between them, and to heed the quality of the advice accordingly.

Fiduciary vs. Suitable: Different Incentives Drive Different Advice

Let’s ...

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Doing the Due Diligence on Your Financial Advisor – Part 1: How do You Know?

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It’s time to address a challenging subject: In selecting or retaining a financial advisor, how do you know if you’re making a wise choice?

It’s a challenging subject for us and one that we take very seriously as we develop and expand on our firm’s own best practices. We believe it is even more challenging for investors. First, the stakes are high. The quality of the selection, or lack thereof, can literally make or break your family’s fortune. ...

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