Roth 401(k) or Traditional 401(k)?

An important issue that often arises for working professionals seeking to save for retirement is whether to utilize a Traditional 401(k) or Roth 401(k) for retirement savings.  Although this dilemma may seem utterly confusing and resultantly receive less thought than the decision of whether to accept an old co-worker’s Facebook friend request, it can have a [...]

IRA Rollover or Leave Assets in a 401k?

In a country founded on the idea of individual freedom, Americans value the idea of choice.  We inherently believe that maximizing individual freedom increases our individual welfare or happiness and that the best way to maximize individual freedom is to maximize choice.  A bar with 120 beers on tap is perceived better than a bar [...]

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 [...]

Evaluating the Cost of Education

Among the most consequential decisions that parents make is choosing the primary and secondary education venue for their children.  For parents with resources, the decision often begins with the dilemma of private vs. public school.  Parents are also often confronted with the financial costs of college education and helping a child choose between institutions with [...]

Thinking Differently About Social Security

Imagine how financial planning would be different if the sole focus was on accumulation of wealth while risks were ignored.  There would clearly be no need for insurance of any kind.  Disability insurance, umbrella insurance, and life insurance, as examples, would just be unnecessary expenses.  Individuals would borrow as much as possible to leverage their [...]

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 [...]

11 Retirement Plan and IRA Beneficiary Designation Mistakes

A married couple pays a local attorney to draw up estate documents.  The attorney drafts wills and lays out the well-conceived plan for testamentary trusts to be created upon death, distributing assets just as the husband and wife desire.  The couple signs the documents with appropriate witnesses and goes home to the relief that their estate [...]

Relationship of Aging and the Low Return Investment Environment

At various points in life, individuals begin to avoid roller coasters, back flips off the high dive, cartwheels, and full contact football.  They take more frequent breaks in their weekly tennis game and aspire to completing a marathon rather than finish one in less than 3-hours.  Instead of travelling to Spain to run with the [...]

Long-Term Disability Insurance – Group vs. Individual Coverage

From an economic perspective, insurance is useful to protect against low frequency, high severity events.  Quite simply, we are well served to insure infrequent events that would be financially devastating like the loss of a home to fire or an untimely death.  This ultimately begs the question of why people purchase insurance to protect against [...]

Retirement Planning And the Future of Social Security

Lost amidst the hoopla of the Super Bowl last weekend was a historic anniversary.  75 years ago, on January 31, 1940, the first Social Security retirement check was mailed to Ida May Fuller, a legal secretary from Vermont who went to grammar school with Calvin Coolidge. 75 years after that first check, Social Security is an integral part [...]