Potential Death of Backdoor Roth, Stretch IRA, and Other Financial Planning Strategies

President Obama unveiled the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget last Tuesday (February 9th) which included several unexpected first-time proposals in addition to many crackdowns and “loophole closures” that have become annually recurring proposals.  Experts contend there is little likelihood of any substantial tax change in the final year of the President’s term.  However, we could see [...]

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 [...]

Amazon Prime and Mutual Fund Investing

There are an estimated 50 million Amazon Prime members in the United States which means that a household in this country is more likely to have an Amazon Prime membership than to have a dog.  It actually seems to be more challenging to find a Gen X or Millennial family who does not use Amazon [...]

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 [...]

Opportunity for High Income Earners – the Backdoor Roth Conversion

This week, five years ago, was a period that financial journalists dream about.  We were ushering in the new year of 2010 and significant impending tax law changes provided a bevy of important topics that consumers needed help navigating.  There was the elimination of federal estate and gift tax, the return of IRA required minimum distributions [...]

Projecting Bond Returns Over the Next Decade and the Practical Implications

Much has been said or written over the past decade about the future direction of interest rates.  Nearly everyone has an opinion on the subject including professional investment managers, CNBC correspondents, your golfing partner, and the person who cuts your hair. We like to make investment and financial planning decisions based on what is known [...]

What if the Best Financial Advisor is a Dog?

An article last October caught my attention, not because it was surprising but rather in the way it exposed a long-standing ploy to fool consumers.  The article highlighted a financial planner named Max Tailwagger who had recently been nominated to Medical Economics Magazine’s 2013 list of Best Financial Advisors for Doctors.  This fact alone was [...]

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Evaluating Your Financial Advisor

When a new client was recently in the phase of interviewing our financial advisory business, he asked what one question he should ask that most prospects do not ask.  It was a great question.  I responded that most people do not ask in advance of establishing a relationship how the success or failure of the [...]

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How Obamacare Impacts You

For many individuals under the age of 65, the world of health insurance is about to become significantly more complex.  On October 1, the new health insurance exchanges, a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”), will publish […]

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