Understanding Qualified Charitable Distributions

If you have an IRA and are required to take annual distributions, and you are charitably inclined, listen up: the new tax law means you might want to consider Qualified Charitable Distributions as your means of making donations. A Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) means donating all or a portion of your annual required minimum distribution […]


Step off the Curb

By Beth Baer   Those of you who have known me for awhile know this is an expression I use frequently. Often it’s in the context of encouraging (some say pushing) someone to leave the safety of their known universe and courageously move into new possibilities in their lives. Is there usually risk? Maybe, but the […]


The New Fiduciary Standard for Retirement Accounts

You may have heard a lot of talk in the news lately concerning the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule, sometimes called the DOL Rule for short. The Department of Labor has issued a regulation that revises the definition of investment advice as it relates to retirement accounts. The new rule requires that all advisors who offer advice […]


The Retirement Mindset

    When financial planners talk about what pre-retirees should do to get ready to leave the workforce, they focus on the quantifiable and financial aspects: Determining your spending needs, evaluating your pension and Social Security choices, or preparing to manage your portfolio to produce income. But there is a very important psychological component to retirement […]


The Three Things You Can Control in Retirement Planning

  I wrote this article for Nerdwallet.com  “Advisor Voices”  When markets are “volatile” — a euphemism for saying markets are lousy — investors long for a way to gain control and restore equilibrium. We want to create order amid chaos and uncertainty. No one can predict the markets, but financial planners can help clients look elsewhere for […]


Using Target Date Funds in Your Retirement Plan

Target Date Funds are mutual funds that are managed with the goal of being appropriate for people planning to retire in or around a particular year. For instance, the Acme Target Retirement 2030 Fund would be designed for participants expecting to retire in about 15 years. These funds are usually built in five year increments, […]


Evaluate Your Portfolio While Markets Are Good

On 8/14/2015, in his “Intelligent Investor” column for the Wall Street Journal, Jason Zweig wrote about the need to “Reassess Your Investments Before the Next Panic.” There is wisdom in his approach: most investors only take action when it is too late. They sell their investments after the damage has been done, and then are […]


Proposed New Fiduciary Rules and What They Might Mean for You

There has been a lot of talk in the news lately about investment advisors, brokers, retirement accounts, and to whom fiduciary standards apply. For industry outsiders, it is most likely very confusing and raises more questions than it answers. I thought this might be a good opportunity to remind our clients where we stand on […]


Health Savings Accounts as Retirement Planning Tool

Health Savings accounts are an interesting tool for financial planning. They were designed to provide consumers who wanted more control over their medical spending a way to potentially control and reduce their costs. When paired with a low (ok, lower – it’s all relative) premium health insurance plan that has a high deductible, they allow you to […]

What is a Comprehensive Financial Plan?

The term “comprehensive financial plan” gets thrown around a lot. If you ask a financial planner, they’ll tell you that you need one. And while the phrase may not technically be jargon, it does take on the tone of jargon when we don’t make clear what we mean – AND why a comprehensive approach is important. A […]