Recent Articles

COAN: Stocks will get worse before they get better

November 20, 2010
Looking at the final years of the Great Depression tells me that next year might not be so kind to investors.

Others to blame for woes? Try looking closer to home

January 5, 2009
Investors were mad as hell last year as they watched their portfolios melt. And who can blame them? But even after holding Wall Street, banks and the government accountable, these investors should look in the mirror.

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Looking back in history to understand this mess

September 29, 2008
Where is the stock market headed next? It may help to look where it has been. My clients may have grown tired of hearing how the bull market of the 1990s mirrored the Roaring Twenties-maybe because they knew what came after the Roaring Twenties? You remember the history books and your parents talking about the Great Depression. The more articles you read concerning the recent market turmoil, the more this phrase appears: "Worst (fill in blank) since the Great Depression."...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Annual reviews can help prevent financial horror stories

January 7, 2008
Sharing stories of success are always a lot more fun for me than horror stories. Nevertheless, much like staring at an accident on the side of the road, most people can't help but find them more interesting. Of course, you have recently completed your annual review with your financial professional. If not, schedule one as soon as you complete reading your IBJ. Here are two stories to illustrate why it is important. A near-miss The first story goes like this:...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Shouldn't you make money in up, and down, markets?

July 30, 2007
It seems simple, but knowing whether your financial advisor is doing a good job can be a challenge for some. It's difficult to define what good is, because it depends on how the rest of the market is performing. For example in a bull market, 2 percent is a horrible return. But in a bear market, when most investors are down 20 percent, just preserving your capital would be considered a triumph. In that case, 2 percent doesn't look so...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Court decision could change future of brokerage firms

May 14, 2007
On March 30, a U.S. Court of Appeals issued a decision that represents a tremendous victory for registered investment advisers, individual investors and a defeat for big brokerage firms such as Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney, and Goldman Sachs. The Financial Plan- Association filed the lawsuit against the Securities and Exchange Commission, arguing that the SEC in 1999 had exceeded its authority in creating an exemption from investment adviser registration under the Investment Advisers Act for stockbrokers who charge asset-based fees...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Here's another tax break you may have overlooked

March 19, 2007
Financial advisors counsel clients on income, estate and gift taxes among other things. But they often neglect residential property taxes. That could well be a mistake. Property taxes are a significant cost of owning real estate - typically 1 percent to 1.5 percent of market value. So, they must be considered in making financial decisions. They can also be a significant cash-flow consideration for someone in retirement who has a lot of illiquid wealth-not just for your primary residence, but...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Making the right money resolutions for a better 2007

January 8, 2007
To redefine the way you shop: If you're an impulse shopper, break the habit. As a suggestion, get a legal pad and make that your centralized shopping list-sepa- A recent survey by the American Psychological Association reported that 61 percent of Americans consider money issues their No. 1 cause of holiday stress. Want to get a head start on a better holiday season in 2007? Start with some of these important reso lutions to improve your financial life. You can...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Adjusting to major changes in federal bankruptcy laws

October 31, 2005
The difficult decision to file bankruptcy has become even more stressful for individuals. The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act went into effect Oct. 17 with significantly tougher reporting and qualification requirements. The most highly publicized aspect of the new law involves tough new restrictions on who may qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the most common form of individual filing that allows consumers to erase their debts. Yet advisers say it's important to understand one important fact-your own state...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Charitable trusts: Creating gifts that keep on giving

September 26, 2005
For people who are looking to help a worthy cause, and provide an income stream from a valuable asset, creating a charitable trust may be a good solution. There are various options for the creation of charitable trusts. At most university and charity Web sites, you'll see a reference to them. They've become a popular way for organizations to build their endowment. Charitable remainder trusts With a charitable remainder trust, an individual places assets in the trust-stock, real estate, bonds,...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: What you can do if you're concerned about your pension

May 30, 2005
Will your company's traditional pension plan be there when you retire, and what can you do now to prepare for the possibility that it might not be there? The last few years have seen the implosion of several major corporate pension plans, particularly in the airline and steel industries. Hundreds of other companies have reported to the federal government that if their pension plan ended today, they wouldn't have enough money to pay their future obligations. But there are steps...
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