How Bond Market Investors Cope in a Low-Rate Environment

Bonds

-+*It’s understandable that bond market investors might be frustrated at this point in time. Most already have lower total return expectations than stock market investors, which they accept in exchange for lower overall levels of risk and regular interest payments. However, the total return expectations within the bond market have become so low that investors… Read More


The Decline of Pensions Leads to Greater Reliance on IRAs and 401(k)s

Pension Plan

-+*Over the last several decades, there’s been a gradual decline of pension plan availability in the United States. There was a time when people worked longer and collected less in overall pension benefits due to shorter life expectancies. Pension benefits paid over 5 or 10 years to a loyal employee who put in 30 years of service didn’t… Read More


7 Big Ideas for Getting the Most Out of Your Tax Refund

What to do with your tax refund

-+*According to the most recent IRS data, the average income tax refund is just over $3,000. Not bad. Too often, though, what seems like a nice fat windfall disappears faster than expected. But squirreling it away into a savings account at today’s interest rates will earn you nothing. You work hard for your money. Is… Read More


How a Personal Financial Statement Can Guide Your Investment Goals

Personal Financial Statement

-+*As investors, we plan for goals such as retirement, funding college for our children, and perhaps even supporting our parents as they get older. In the financial planning process, there are worksheets we can create and update, which may help us map out the best path towards financial goals and track the progress we’re making… Read More


Is the Fed Really “Stealing from Savers”?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Geoff Considine

-+*In a recent article on MarketWatch, Chris Martenson asserts that the Fed’s low interest rate policy and quantitative easing in recent years is deliberately stealing from savers. This article has elicited a big response, with almost 800 comments and almost 2000 likes on Facebook. The key point of the article is that the Fed’s policy… Read More


Are My Investment Decisions Tax Efficient?

Close up Business background

Geoff Considine

-+*This is the eighth installment in our series on how individual investors can assess their financial health With investment gains, as with other types of income, it’s not how much you make that ultimately matters, but how much you keep.   In other words, you only get to spend what’s left after you pay taxes. There… 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


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


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


Economic Inequality

Geoff Considine

-+*Income inequality is increasingly acknowledged as a key economic issue for the world.  The topic is a major theme at Davos this year.  Economic inequality is also an increasingly common topic in U.S. politics. A new study has found that economic mobility does not appear to have changed appreciably over the past thirty years, even… Read More