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1
Are You Living the Stress Free Life You’ve Always Wanted?
2
Disability Insurance: Why You Probably Need It
3
Happy Days Are (Not) Here Again (Yet)
4
Does the S&P outperform active funds?
5
Warnings About the Vagaries of Working With Stock Brokers

Are You Living the Stress Free Life You’ve Always Wanted?

Are You Living a Stress Free Life?Just about everyone that comes into my office has the same concern, but rarely do they know what it is.  They frequently ask about retirement plans, taxes, life insurance, debt reduction or any number of other “financial” topics.  But when I probe deeper, I find that what they’re really after is something else.  They want more out of life, but just don’t ever seem to get it.

Why do so many people feel they’re not on track to living the life they desire?  It’s because they go through life reacting to daily emergencies instead of proactively creating the life they …

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Disability Insurance: Why You Probably Need It

The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education makes this declaration annually, but the average person could miss it (start planning ahead for Life Insurance Awareness Month, which comes in September).  Kidding aside, the occasion prompted me to realize that I haven’t ever written about disability insurance, which most people understand only vaguely.

Life insurance is something you probably don’t need if you’re single and have no dependents. But if you become unable to work, you still need money to live whether you have dependents or not.  One way to provide for that need is insurance.

If you’re under 60, …

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Happy Days Are (Not) Here Again (Yet)

I recently attended an excellent seminar held by State Street Global Advisors and Morningstar. Although the meeting focused on building portfolios with exchange traded funds (ETF’s), the highlight of the afternoon was a presentation on the current state of the global markets.

The speaker, Shawn Johnson, who heads State Street’s investment committee, made it pretty clear that the financial world is not back to normal. The recent blip in the stock markets notwithstanding, capital flows and business conditions are far from normal. But for the federal money tap, credit markets would still be largely frozen instead of only somewhat frozen.…

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Does the S&P outperform active funds?

Does the S&P outperform active funds?Standard & Poor’s Index Services released today the year-end 2008 results for its Standard & Poor’s Index Versus Active Fund Scorecard (SPIVA).  The key findings are summarized below.  SPIVA draws its underlying data from University of Chicago’s CRSP Survivor-Bias-Free U.S. Mutual Fund Database.  To view the report click here (Standard & Poor’s Indices Versus Active Funds Scorecard, Year End 2008).

A summary of the results:

  • Over the five year market cycle from 2004 to 2008, S&P 500 outperformed 71.9% of actively managed large cap funds, S&P MidCap 400 outperformed 79.1% of mid cap funds and S&P SmallCap 600
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Warnings About the Vagaries of Working With Stock Brokers

Brokers are not innately bad people, but the systems under which they’re required to function can make it tough for them to work in the best interests of their clients.

Having just a few days ago read Jeffrey Goldberg’s entertaining article in Atlantic magazine on why he fired his broker, I was intrigued to uncover a recent piece on CBS’s Moneywatch site that not only referenced the Atlantic article, but also offered a list of some important things that your stock broker may not tell you.

The author, a financial services veteran whose frank opinions about the mutual …

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