Costco Credit Card Transitions from Amex to Visa – Now What?

One recurring question that we have fielded from clients over the past several months has nothing to do with the stock market, Roth conversions, the upcoming election, or Social Security changes.  Instead, it takes some variation of the following: “Do you have advice on what credit card I should get to replace my Costco American [...]

Best and Worst Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor

There should be natural skepticism when a financial advisor creates a list of the best and worst questions to ask a financial advisor.  It sounds a little like game show fixing of the 1950s where some contestants knew the questions before they were asked.  However, experience provides a unique advantage.  We have heard insightful questions and we have [...]

Major Changes to Social Security Claiming Strategies

Early this Friday morning, the Senate passed a bipartisan budget agreement to extend the government debt ceiling and avert a default.  At this hour, the agreement is headed to the White House where the President is expected to sign it. While the initial headlines of this Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 will likely address the [...]

The Challenge of Individual Stocks

On a recent visit to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), I surprisingly stumbled upon an exhibit featuring classic video games such as Tetris, Asteroids, and Pac-Man.  The games were displayed on active video screens with an adjacent explanation of the creativeness or design elegance for why they were each chosen. In their heyday, these [...]

Act Now to Capture this Simple $700 Georgia Tax Credit

The following article was originally published in 2015.  Note that an updated explanation of the tax impact under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act exists here. Many of our early-career and mid-career professional clients face the annual reality of alternative minimum tax (AMT), knowingly or unknowingly.  This secondary tax system captures a large segment [...]

Financial Advisors and Conflicts of Interest

Politicians.  Used car salesman.  Mechanics.  There are but a few professions less trusted than financial advisors.  The lack of consumer trust is arguably well-deserved as there is nothing trustworthy about opaque conflicts of interest, hidden fees, or bad advice that lines the advice giver’s pockets.  There is nothing trustworthy about consumers being sold expensive annuities that [...]

Tax Saving Tips for Graduate School and Other Low Income Years

Over the course of a career, many individuals will experience a year or more with limited income prior to retirement.  It could be the result of a multi-month break from employment or simply the decision to temporarily leave the workforce for graduate school.  These situations present powerful opportunities that are generally only available for a limited [...]

The Fallacies of Rising Interest Rates

Buckle up, America.  Higher interest rates are coming.  Forget that we have collectively observed this erroneous warning a dozen times or so over the past decade.  We also had 13 Triple Crown attempts since Affirmed in 1978 and consider what happened recently to that lengthy streak of failed expectations. For the first time since June 2006, [...]

Pros and Cons of Toddler Golf and Target Date Funds

There is a refreshing simplicity to the golf game of a toddler.  I appreciate this because my youngest son’s passion for golf is only superseded right now by that of chocolate chip cookies and his blanket.  He spends long stretches every day hitting a foam golf ball around the yard and occasionally we visit the [...]

Should I Pay off My Mortgage or Invest?

One of the most common questions facing families and individuals is whether to accelerate mortgage payments and forego the potential mortgage interest deduction or borrow as much as possible, make minimum debt payments, and save for retirement.  Simply, is it better to save or pay off debt?  The question comes in a variety of flavors: [...]