The Benefits of Leasing a Vehicle…Debunked

There are some can't miss ways to start an argument.  Talk politics in a diverse room.  Attend a Michigan home football game wearing an Ohio State jersey.  Suggest that The Rolling Stones were better than the Doors and that Highlander was the best movie ever made.  Or just decidedly state that buying a vehicle is better than leasing. The [...]

Guaranteed Income and No Risk of Principal – Too Good to be True?

It is difficult to go more than a week without seeing or hearing advertisements for an investment that guarantees zero risk of principal loss, promises an attractive return (5-10% per year), and ensurers lifetime income that never expires.  Admittedly, these promises can sound very attractive on the surface, especially for risk averse investors.  But are they too [...]

Pregnancy and Voluntary Short-Term Disability Insurance

Everyday investors tend to speculate on stocks based on the often ill-conceived notion that they have unique information or better information than the rest of the investment world.  This perception of ‘asymmetric information’ is often the polar opposite of reality.  In fact, institutional investors have an enormous information advantage over retail investors – one that [...]

The Dow is a Bad Accident of History

I was a recent college graduate and there I was on the trading desk of a large institutional investment manager, entrusted with a role well beyond the pay grade of a newly minted liberal arts history major.  Like many people in their first job out of college, my primary objective was not to make a [...]

Take Advantage of a Year-End Tax Opportunity with a Donor Advised Fund

This time of year is referred to as the ‘season of giving’.  Charities report that 31% of all charitable donations happen in December each year and that 12% of donations occur on the final three days of the year.  There is good reason to believe that those percentages will increase dramatically in 2016.  Proposed tax [...]

Dismissing High Deductible HSA Plans Is a Costly Mistake

This time of year means open enrollment season and that means battling a consistent bevy of confusing acronyms: FSA, HSA, HRA, PPO, HMO, POS, and on.  Reorienting every year to the different meanings, rules, and benefits of these acronyms is akin to relearning the scoring rules of curling every four years.  Most Americans are interested [...]

5 Medicare Open Enrollment Mistakes to Avoid

Records show that organ donation elections vary dramatically from country to country.  Even bordering countries with similar cultures have huge differences in the percentage of citizens who participate in organ donation programs.  Consider two countries that neighbor Germany: Austria and Belgium.  99.9% of Austrian citizens and 98% of Belgian citizens are registered organ donors.  In Germany, [...]

Cybersecurity: Resources and Advice to Stay Secure Online

Cybercrime will cost approximately $500 billion to the global economy this year and that number is expected to grow to $2 trillion by 2019.  For criminals, the reward is great, the future is bright, and the risks are low.  For consumers, the risks are high and the potential costs of time and dollars are real. As [...]

The Perils of Shared Home Ownership By Families and Friends

The idea of buying a vacation home together with friends has plenty of appeal.  Splitting the costs among multiple families makes the financial burden more reasonable.  Shared home ownership can make that desirable vacation home, which would otherwise be unaffordable for any one family, affordable as a group.  Gone would be the days of searching [...]

Asset Location: The High Cost Mistakes People Make

Earlier this month, we published an article explaining why investors would be well served to organize their portfolios like their kitchens.  This process, one that the finance industry calls ‘asset location’, is simply intended to make the most of the existing tax code.  The IRS sets the rules with different tax treatment for different account types [...]