Hot Topics

Is Your Physical Health Correlated to the Financial Health?

Posted on Aug 25, 2014 in 401Ks, Behavioral Finance, Budgeting, Cash Flow, Financial Management, Financial Plan, Plan Retirement

Woman Jogging Outside

A recent study conducted by Timothy Gubler and Lamar Pierce from the Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis shows that poor physical health is driven by the same psychological factors that determine whether or not you contribute to your retirement plan at work.   See this related article in the NY Times:

In the study, employees who contributed regularly to their 401(k) plan were not only more likely to take steps to improve their health but also had a 27 percent improvement in their blood scores. “Non-contributors continued to suffer health declines,” the paper said. Read More

Is Cash Trash?

Posted on Aug 25, 2014 in Financial Management, Investment

video-cashmgmtMany people are loathe to increase their cash reserves when the rate of return on cash accounts is miniscule.  Yet cash may be the exact asset to bolster when markets are frothy and the economy is sputtering.  Here are some recent articles that underscore the importance of having a stash of some cash.

Cash Holdings Finally Get Some Respect- Investment News

The Best Places to Stash Your Cash- WSJ

Why Your Cash Isn’t Trash- WSJ

Having at least 6 months of living expenses is very important to protect you and your family from an unexpected event like a job loss, disability, medical emergency or even divorce.  Although money market and checking accounts are yielding close to nothing, you can research on line savings accounts.  Current yields are roughly 0.9% (9-14).  You can compare rates, restrictions, bank ratings and other factors at either or

 “Cash combined with courage in a crisis is priceless.” Warren Buffet


Is the Stock Market Starting to Blow Bubbles?

Posted on Aug 25, 2014 in Behavioral Finance, Investment

jpegascendClient meetings over the past year have been quite sanguine.  Investments and assets are up. People seem to feel better about job security.  The housing market is slowly recovering, and retirement projections look rosier.  Strong stock market performance is good, in that it gets us closer to our goals; however, it can also breed a false sense of complacency.

Valuations are high and reaching points not seen since 2007, 1929, and by some metrics, even 2000. Read More

Is Your Financial Life on Track? Take This 10 Minute Financial Audit

Posted on Aug 18, 2014 in Budgeting, Cash Flow, Fee-Only Financial Planning, Financial Management, Financial Plan, Insurance, Investment, Life Plan, Plan for College

clock timeLife is hectic.  Day to day chores, work, and family obligations can keep us from our longer term aspirations.  We may have goals that we set up at the beginning of the year or a timeline that we want to accomplish as we move through certain stages of our life, but these targets can seem elusive, if we do not occasionally take a realistic assessment of our progress.  Perhaps, a quick 10 minute financial audit is a good place to start.  Take ten to reflect on your financial life and measure your financial “pulse” to see if you are in decent financial shape.  Here are a few quick and easy questions for you to ask yourself to complete the review: Read More

Do you need to retire early or are you just yearning for a purposeful life?

Posted on Aug 5, 2014 in Financial Plan, Life Plan, Plan Retirement

man on top of mountain silouette (800x767)Many Baby Boomers are working long and hard in stress-filled jobs.  After 20-plus years laboring in the same industry, performing the same duties day in and day out, they have gradually lost the passion they once had for their career.  In a “flight or fright” response, they are reflexively expressing a desire to retire early and rid themselves of their daily toil.

This knee-jerk desire to tell their boss to “take this job and shove it” often occurs due to a lack of purpose and passion in their everyday life.  Perhaps, rather than trying to retire at the age of “50 something”, these frustrated workers should instead consider redesigning their work life such that it aligns with their core values.  In doing so, they may find work to be a source of pleasure and excitement as opposed to a continued source of stress.  Their physical health may improve too, as studies show that continuing to work later in life can significantly improve physical and mental well-being.

This blog was inspired by a presentation given by Levi Brackman at the 14th annual Garrett Planning Network retreat which I recently attended.  Mr. Brackman emphasized that many retirement plans, especially early retirement plans, fail because the retiree does not have his or her “next step” configured.  Read More

Retirement Planning Tips

Posted on Jul 28, 2014 in Health Savings Accounts, Plan Retirement, Roth IRA, Social Security

I had the opportunity recently to be a guest on the Your Money show from Wharton Business Radio with Kent Smetters on SiriusXM.  The short clips below provide pointers on the following:

How high income earners can still accumulate assets in Roth savings accounts.

How to take income in retirement and the importance of maximizing Social Security payments.

Ways to reduce your tax bill.