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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Forest for the Trees – Strategy #3: Controlling Costs

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This is the third installment of our favorite “key” investment strategies series. In the first two we covered the importance of staying invested to earn market returns, while managing the risks involved. We’ll conclude with what may be the most obvious and powerful advice of all, even if it does not seem to receive the attention it deserves.

    1. Being present
    2. Managing for market risks
    3. Controlling costs

 Strategy #3: Controlling Costs

 

Don’t spend more than you need to.

Why do ...

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Forest for the Trees – Strategy #2: Manage Market Risks

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In our last Financial TIP, we described why most investors should ignore the never-ending onslaught of unpredictable financial news and focus on three strategies that can be much more readily managed. At least once you know they are there these potent strategies include:

  1. Being present
  2. Managing for market risks
  3. Controlling costs

 Strategy #2: Managing for Market Risks

 

Why take on more risk than you need.

There is no getting around the fact that the market does not deliver rewarding ...

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Forest for the Trees – Investment Strategy #1: Being Present

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We have all heard the idiom that someone “can’t see the forest for the trees”. This means that they are so involved with the details of a situation that they lose sight of the larger issue. This idiom also applies to investment strategies. Let me explain; if you have ever created a power point slide you understand that white space is just as important as the printed word. When viewing an illustration, we typically pay the most ...

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How Bad Market News is not as Bad as it Initially Appears

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I wanted to reach out and help you put today’s market news in its proper perspective, especially when the media is reporting particularly steep, global market declines in a vacuum.

If you are okay with ignoring the current headlines and going about your business according to your carefully developed Investment Policy Statement, feel free to continue as you were. Unless you would like to revisit your own risk tolerances or individual financial goals, none of our advice about ...

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Financial Check-up

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I am turning 50 this year and my doctor informed me it was time for that checkup…

What if I asked the question: Have you had a financial check-up lately? How many individuals would even know what I am talking about, or how to begin?

Your financial check-up should include the following 5 questions:

    1. Have you prepared {updated} a financial plan
    2. Do you know your risk tolerance score
    3. When was the last time you reviewed your investments
    4. Have you ...
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Advice from a recent SEC investor bulletin on cyber security

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Advice from a recent SEC investor bulletin on cyber security

I recently returned from a Schwab investment conference where I attended a session discussing cyber-security. It is amazing how the internet has become central in our everyday lives in such a short period of time. We pay our bills, order merchandise, check our account balances and even socialize online. We need to be diligent and proactive to protect our ...

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2014 Review: Economy & Markets

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Despite a bumpy ride throughout 2014, the US economy gained pace while the US equity and fixed income markets outperformed most markets around the world. This performance came with higher market volatility in the US, a rallying dollar, slowing economies in Europe and Asia, and rising geopolitical tensions, including conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose for the sixth straight year, posting a 7.52% gain (price-only return). The S&P 500 Index rose ...

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