By Kathleen Longo on March 3, 2016
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By Kathleen Longo on March 3, 2016
By Kathleen Longo on February 16, 2016
The first seven weeks of 2016 have included a wide variety of important events around the world with significant short-term impact on the markets. With so much happening every day, eventually the "momentous events" become data points in the rear view mirror. However, there is always a learning opportunity when we look back at recent events in the right way. The following webcast by Larry Swedroe, Director of Research at BAM ALLIANCE, shares 11 lessons that were learned in 2015. As noted during the Webcast, some of these lessons have been learned in the past. Hopefully watching this Webcast will provide helpful perspective as we look at the investment environment in 2016, while also looking back at market performance last year.
By Kathleen Longo on February 2, 2016
A few years ago, my Mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer, which prompted some quick changes in our family as we were not prepared for a medical crisis. The first priority was to find the best medical care possible, meaning a sudden move from her cabin life in Northern Wisconsin to Minneapolis where she would have access to significantly more medical resources. My parents moved in with our family during her 6-month treatment plan, which was both a blessing and a challenge. I am happy to report that my mother is doing well and has been “cancer free” for a couple of years. However, the medical crisis made me realize the importance of getting in front of medical and financial matters before it is too late. We were fortunate that this was an opportunity to update her estate documents, organize her finances, and get a long-term medical plan in place. As I work with clients, I usually ask about their parents’ health and finances. The most common response is that their parents don’t talk about money, they are too private to discuss finances, or that money was a taboo topic growing up.
By Kathleen Longo on January 22, 2016
The first decision many of us made at the beginning of the month was whether or not we truly want to stick with our New Years’ Resolutions. Like many decisions, sticking to those resolutions becomes harder over time and hopefully you have been able to keep some of the good ones in place so far. There has been a lot of recent research about the decision-making process everybody goes through on a daily basis, with direct implications for your financial goals. The following blog from Carl Richards, Director of Investor Education with the BAM Alliance, provides an interesting introduction to the study of how decisions are made, or not made.
By Kathleen Longo on January 19, 2016
January is a good time to reflect on your financial goals and the investment plan you have designed to meet those goals. The past few weeks have been rocky for the equity markets, to say the least, and we want to proactively share helpful market insights to balance some of the noise in the traditional media outlets. From recent equity performance to risks facing investors in the current market environment, Chief Investment Officer, Jared Kizer, and Director of Investment Strategy, Kevin Grogan, share market insights on a range of topics and answer questions about our overall investment strategy in this webcast.
By Kathleen Longo on January 12, 2016
Greetings! We hope you enjoyed your holidays and are ready for a successful 2016. If you have been following the markets, or paying attention to any of the daily news outlets, then you know that investors have continued to experience volatility during a poor beginning for the New Year. A variety of negative news stories have been attributed to current market activity, including:
By Kathleen Longo on December 4th, 2015
Although the official “Holiday Season” generally starts on Thanksgiving weekend, the charitable component started a few days later with #GivingTuesday on December 1st. Those of us living in Minnesota are probably familiar with “Give to the Max Day” which takes place in mid-November as an opportunity for many charities to leverage the giving spirit, which has been a big success locally. #GivingTuesday is a relatively recent movement which was created in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and United Nations Foundation as a response to consumerism and commercialization. The event takes place each year on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, providing a respite from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and is designed to be a global day of giving through donations, time, goods, and your voice. Following in the spirit of giving, here are some best practices to maximize your year-end charitable giving plans and ensure the organizations are aligned with your goals for giving.
By Kathleen Longo on November 16th, 2015
Social Security Changes Could Affect Your Filing Strategy
Establishing a well-crafted plan that incorporates Social Security retirement benefits in your financial future has never been more important, especially in light of recent changes to how Social Security benefits are administered.
On November 2, 2015, President Barack Obama signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The bill, which had obtained overwhelming support in Congress from both political parties, was originally intended to raise the federal spending and debt limits through 2017. Several seemingly unrelated measures were also incorporated into it. Specifically, the bill (not law) ends two popular and well-used Social Security claiming strategies, "File-and-Suspend" and "Restricted Application". Below are answers to a few commonly asked questions regarding these recent changes to Social Security, in addition to an explanation of the new rules and how they could impact your long-term, comprehensive financial plan.
By Kathleen Longo on October 30, 2015
Money conversations with one couple can be complex as each individual brings their unique family history around money, values, financial resources and obligations. Financial conversations take on a whole new meaning when kids are involved as parents wrestle with spending decisions on allowances, education funding, and eventually inheritances. This complexity only increases with blended families as the number of parents and children expand the money conversation. I have personally experienced the financial complexity and extra need for communication with my blended family, having a daughter from my first marriage and two children with my current and “final” husband. From my personal experience, in addition to working with clients, blended families need additional planning for the various life stages.
By Kathleen Longo on October 8, 2015.
A recent article from Larry Swedroe, Director of Research for the BAM Alliance, talks about the role financial media plays in our investment plans. With so much information being provided every second, it is hard to know what media sites to listen to. This article highlights the importance of tuning out the noise.