Hot Topics

Reality  Check- What is Supporting Stock Market Performance?

Posted by on Nov 24, 2014 in Economy | Comments Off

The S&P 500 which represents US large cap stocks has performed admirably in the past 5 years, but there is a disconnect between these lofty valuations and fundamentals.  In fact, recently several variables have pulled away from the larger market suggesting that the S&P is likely to follow.  See these charts courtesy of (more…)

How to Survive the Holidays Without Going Broke

Posted by on Nov 24, 2014 in Budgeting, Cash Flow, Credit, Debt | Comments Off

christmas jpegThe Christmas season is upon us and the shoppers are already heading to the malls.  Many Americans get caught up in the swell of activity and end up spending far more than they anticipated.  Not only do they overspend, stress levels rise as they shop for gifts, plan parties, decorate their homes and buy and prepare food for holiday guests.  The result come January is a “holiday hangover.”  (more…)

How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work- Try the “WRAP” method

Posted by on Nov 11, 2014 in Behavioral Finance, Budgeting, Cash Flow, Financial Plan | Comments Off

I had the opportunity to hear Dan Heath, one of the authors of Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Work and Life, speak about how we can avoid making poor decisions.  Dan, who is a professor at Duke University, wrote the book with his brother Chip Heath, a business professor at Stanford.  The talk was fabulous, because not only did he discuss several reasons we make bad decisions, he also offered constructive tips about how to prevent these behaviors.  Whether or not you decide to get a tattoo, eat dessert at the Cheesecake Factory, or spend time engaged in mind-numbing hobbies (think Angry Birds), you can avoid predictable destructive patterns. (more…)

Implications of a Republican Congress

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Economy, Election, Government, Social Security, Tax | Comments Off

6080048121_00bf30d50e_bThe midterm election results are in and the Republicans in January will have control of both the House and the Senate.  What does this mean for policy going forward and how will it affect your finances?  At a recent NAPFA conference I had the privilege of hearing Greg Valliere and Kay Bailey Hutchison speak about the repercussions of a Republican controlled Congress.  Here are some of their viewpoints. (more…)

Retirement Plan Contribution Limits for 2015

Posted by on Oct 28, 2014 in 401Ks, IRA, Plan Retirement, Roth IRA | Comments Off

video-investmentsThe IRS announced the 2015 cost of living adjustments for retirement plans which are detailed below:

The following increases will be effective January 1st, 2015.


Salary Deferrals for 401K/403b/TSP/457 Plans
Catch-up Contribution for 401k/403b/TSP/457 Plans- age 50 and older
Simple Plan
Contribution Limits
Simple Plan Catch-up
Age 50 and older
Annual Contribution
limits to Defined
Contribution Plans
IRA and Roth IRA contribution limits
$5,500 (unchanged)
IRA/Roth IRA Catch-up
for age 50 and older
$1,000 (unchanged)
IRA Phase out for investors with workplace plans
Individuals $60K-$70K
Couples $96K-$116K
Individuals $61K-$71K
Couples $98K-$118K
Roth IRA Phase out for contributions
Individuals $114K-$129K
Couples $181K-$191K
Individuals $116K-$131K
Couples $183K-$193K

Social Security News

Posted by on Oct 27, 2014 in Recent News, Social Security | Comments Off

thumb_militaryThe Social Security Administration has announced the cost of living adjustments for benefits as well as the wage base subject to the annual taxes for 2015.  The increase, which is based on the current Consumer Price Index (CPI), is 1.7%. This increase would reflect the sixth consecutive year of record low cost of living adjustments and would raise the average benefit by $20. The wage amount subject to payroll taxes will increase roughly $117,000, a $2,000 increase.
The monthly premium for Medicare Part B (outpatient services) will stay at $104.90 in 2015 for the third consecutive year. (more…)