Q4 2016 Investment Commentary: Planning vs. Prognosticating

Last Friday here in Atlanta, local businesses closed, restaurants shut their doors by late afternoon, school activities were cancelled, and the Atlanta metro region went under a State of Emergency in anticipation of a debilitating storm.  Meteorologists unanimously predicted 2-5 inches of snowfall later that evening – an obviously dire amount of snowfall by southern [...]

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 [...]

Simple and Effective Investing

“It might be the simplest play in all of sports, and the most effective.  Give the ball to Michael Jordan, and everyone else get out of the way.” These two sentences began an Associated Press article on May 28, 1989.  The day prior, the Chicago Bulls had the ball in the closing seconds of a [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

The Lure of Investment Prediction

The following is an excerpt from the quarterly letter we recently sent to clients on the lure of investment prediction. Rock-paper-scissors ranks somewhere near the top of a list of universally known childhood games.  The game separates itself from games of pure chance like coin flipping or the card game war in that participants can gain an [...]

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: [...]

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 [...]