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Avoiding the Pain

There’s no question that we experience emotional pain and anxiety when our portfolios are losing money due to market downturns.  Behavioral scientists tell us that we feel losses twice as keenly as positive returns.

Life Insurance Company Ratings Explained

Life insurance has always been considered to be among the safest of all financial instruments. Even as banks were being shuttered during the Great Depression resulting in people losing their life’s savings, life insurers emerged as the bed rock of financial security.

The Great Panic of 2016

Wow!  There’s no diplomatic way to say this: the global stock markets are in panic mode right now.  In two weeks of trading, the U.S. S&P 500 index is down 8% on the year, which brings us close to correction territory (a 10% decline), and has some predicting a bear market (a 20% decline). 

Our Biggest Financial Challenges are often Self-Inflicted

In many respects, people can be their own worst enemies in their quest for financial security. When you consider that our lives are nothing more than a culmination of the decisions we make each day, if we tend to make more bad decisions than good decisions, or worse, if we can’t make decisions at all, it’s should be no surprise when financial security  remains elusive.

The Drama on Wall Street

Have your long-term financial goals changed in the last three days?

Are American companies less valuable because investors in China are panicking?

Is there any reason to think that because Chinese investors are panicking, that Chinese companies are less valuable today than they were a few days ago?

2015 Year End Report

In year just past, we experienced many things—a prelude to a Presidential election, a renewal of terrorist concerns, a trip to Pluto—but in the investment markets, we will look back and yawn.  Despite some entertaining ups and downs, particularly in the third quarter of the year, the markets ended pretty much where they began, eking out small gains and losses pretty much across

Irrelevant Ups and Downs

The U.S. stock market gained 2.05% on Friday, the biggest one-day gain for the S&P 500 index since early September.  Of course, this comes after the same index was down 1.1% (Wednesday) and 1.4% (Thursday).

What’s going on?

The 4 Essential Elements of a Retirement Plan

Until recently, many retirees have been able to rely upon the three-legged stool of retirement income sources: A defined benefit pension plan that guarantees a lifetime income, their own savings, and Social Security.

Changes to Social Security Strategies

On the surface, it seems too good to be true.  You have a married couple, where (let’s say) the husband has earned higher yearly income than his wife.  That means he has contributed more to Social Security over his working life.  The husband files for Social Security benefits at full retirement age (currently age 66) and then immediately files to suspend those benefits.&nbs

No COLA

You’ve probably heard by now that the 2016 cost of living (COLA) adjustment for Social Security benefits is zero—the third time this has happened  in the last seven years.  (2010 and 2011 were the other recent years.)  In fact, Social Security benefit increases have stalled since the Great Recession; only once since 2008 have they risen by more than 2%.

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