Oil, Markets, Volatility

Oil, Markets, Volatility

David R. Kotok

-+*Sharply lower oil prices have occasioned a huge discussion about their impact. We see it play out daily in newspapers, on TV and radio, at websites, on blogs, and in market letters. The range of forecasts runs from one extreme to another. On one side, pundits predict a recession resulting from a US energy sector… Read More


Saving Through the Ages

Saving through the ages

Matthew Amster-Burton

-+*Reputable financial advisors, websites and your mom say to save for retirement, college, a down payment for a home and emergencies. A typical response might be, “Yeah, but how much?” and “When?” Libraries of books have been written on this subject. The implication is that determining your proper savings rate involves solving differential equations, brushing up… Read More


Is My Portfolio at the Right Risk Level?

Return and risk balance concept

Geoff Considine

-+*This is the fifth installment in our series on how individual investors can assess their financial health. At every stage of investing, you should periodically ask yourself how much risk you can realistically tolerate. The primary way to measure the risk level of your portfolio is to look at its allocation of stocks vs. bonds. … Read More


Am I Better Off Investing or Paying Down Debt?

paying-bills

Geoff Considine

-+*This is the fourth installment in our series on how individual investors can assess their financial health. A common dilemma in personal finance is whether to use funds to pay down debt faster or to invest more. The question crops up in various forms: Should I pay off all credit card debt or make smaller… Read More


Am I Saving Enough to Reach My Goals?

Businessman using tablet computer

Geoff Considine

-+*This is the second installment in our series on how individual investors can assess their financial health. The starting point for any discussion of a household’s financial health is to evaluate current savings and savings rates in the context of financial goals.  The three largest expenses that most families will face are buying a home,… Read More


How Am I Doing? An 8-Point Financial Checklist

investment-performance

Geoff Considine

-+*A question that nags at many people is whether they are on track financially.  Even an average financial life can seem remarkably complex.  How does anyone know whether he or she is doing the right things?  A range of studies on how people manage their money suggests that many, if not the majority, are making… Read More


The Future of Retail Banking

bank

Geoff Considine

-+*USA Today ran a story in March on the changing nature of retail banking in America.  This sounds kind of boring, perhaps, but it has broad implications both for bank clients and, potentially, for investors.  The gist of the story is that banks are closing retail branches in small towns.  A lack of traditional banking… Read More


Is Twitter the Canary in the Coal Mine?

Geoff Considine

-+*Investors are shrugging off the suggestion that stocks are over-valued or that the technology innovators are a one-way path to riches if the year-to-date performance of Tesla Motors (TSLA) and Facebook (FB) are any indication. Twitter’s stock (TWTR), which soared from a $45 closing price on its first day of trading (November 7, 2013) to… Read More


How Much Do You Need to Save for Retirement?

Geoff Considine

-+*In the financial advisory business, one of the most pressing and controversial topics is how much money people need to save during their working years in order to provide for long-term retirement income.  The research on this topic has evolved quite a lot in recent years, and a recent issue of Money magazine features a… Read More