CLEAR AND CONCISE
 FINANCIAL ADVICE®

The first step to a brighter future is vision.

Learn the ins-and-outs from our retirement blog.

Tax Deductions – What You Need To Know

Tax season is in full swing. Americans everywhere are adding up their receipts and trying to find ways to reduce their adjusted gross income (AGI) to a much lower “taxable income” figure. The easy route is to take the standard deduction. The standard deduction for 2018 is $12,000 is you are single or $24,000 if …View Article

Social Security Survivor Benefits For Families

Most people reading this have known someone who died prematurely. Too often, the family’s grief is compounded by financial stress and uncertainty. The first thing that goes through my mind when I hear a story like this is, “I hope they had enough life insurance.” However, another source of financial support for these young families …View Article

Happiness: The Best Is Yet To Come

Every once in a while, we include a non-financial topic in our weekly newsletter because we believe the topic is compelling. This week’s topic focuses on the latest research on happiness and aging. Contrary to the viewpoint that youth is the best time of life, a growing body of research now shows that life gets …View Article

Divorce – Its Impact On Your Financial Plan

Sometimes we develop well thought-out financial plans and then life throws us a curveball. One of these is the break-up of a marriage. The divorce rate in the U.S. is around 50% and even higher in many other countries. One interesting tidbit is that similar credit scores are a good predictor of marital compatibility.  Nevertheless, …View Article

Gold and The Greater Fool Theory

In times of stock market volatility and government intervention in financial markets, some people are comforted by owning hard assets (e.g., gold). We have never been big proponents of investing more than a few percent of a portfolio in the precious metal and neither is Warren Buffet. Mr. Buffet has clever and memorable ways of …View Article

FICO Score – How It’s Determined

Do you ever feel like you’re just a number? Well, in the eyes of lenders, you are a number, and that number is called your FICO score. Despite the commercials on TV about wanting to make your dreams come true, most financial institutions are not interested in lending to you if you have a low …View Article

Refinance Your Mortgage – Typical Monthly Savings

Have you been wondering how you could save $160 a month? That is the average savings homeowners realize when they refinance their mortgages. About 20 percent of households that could benefit from refinancing are not doing it—according to a report from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Why homeowners don’t refinance when they should: The …View Article

Diversification: Why It’s Hard To Stick With

Have you ever drunk a shot of wheat grass? It tastes absolutely awful. It is extremely good for you, but I never, ever want to try it again. There are many other things that are good for you, such as low-fat, low-salt diets, but most of us would rather eat hot fudge sundaes. I think we should …View Article

Wealth Inequality = Investment Opportunities

The Occupy Wall Street movement shined a light on growing inequality between the middle class and the top 1%. The wealth inequality is real and getting more pronounced. I recently saw an article in the Los Angeles Business Journal ranking the wealthiest Los Angelenos. Number 48 on the list was a billionaire…and that is just …View Article

Pension Decision: Lump Sum or Lifetime Payments?

It is an age-old financial planning dilemma: Take the big sexy pot of money or the monthly payments for life? This question, of course, assumes that you are fortunate enough to have a pension and your pension offers a lump sum option. What if your former employer goes bankrupt? Some people like the idea of …View Article