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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

I recently had the privilege of hearing from Rabbi Daniel Cohen, author of ‘What Will They Say About You When You Are Gone?’ He told a fascinating story about Albert Nobel, the inventor of Dynamite. He received news that...

 

Monday, December 2, 2019

Something strange is going on with cash these days. My friend has had a savings account at a big national bank now for over 40 years. They worked for probably ten years at one of the smaller banks that was later acquired by a larger...

 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Reviewing a tax return can be an informative exercise to ensure you understand all sources of income and tax liabilities for the prior year. In this checklist, we focus on items to review if you are retired, including: The filing...

 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Today is shaping up to be a memorable day, and I wanted to share some lessons from it. This morning Tommy and I went to the Orthodontist to talk about him getting braces. He’s happy to have the opportunity to have his smile fixed...

 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Reviewing a tax return can be an informative exercise to ensure you understand all sources of income and tax liabilities for the prior year. In this checklist, we focus on items to review your tax return if they are working, including:...

 

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Nothing Quite Makes Me Sit up and Listen Closely like an Estate Planning Attorney living with Stage 4 Cancer Gary Altman recently gave a good talk on how to help when someone is diagnosed with a terminal condition. He's not only been...

 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Edina, MN & Hudson, WI November 12th, 2019 – Tim Jaynes of ISC Financial Advisors, a retirement plan consulting firm, has been awarded the Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst® (AIFA®) designation from the Center for...

 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

These are my notes from hearing him speak recently at a National Financial Planning Conference in Minneapolis. He was a football star that went on to be Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. “Whatever we do; we don't...

 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Allison and I recently attended an interesting talk on Capitalism by the great-grandson of President Taft, John Taft. He believes financial capitalism has lifted two billion people out of poverty. The “Misery Index” is the...

 

Friday, November 1, 2019

“Please don't ever let how you feel about politics impact your investing. Investing is all about the facts.” He believes a short-run slowdown is coming and maybe a 40% chance of recession. Either way, we should have slow...

 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Becoming a caregiver for your aging parents can be a drain emotionally and can carry financial ramifications both for parents and for the caregiver children. Helping understand and manage the financial issues involved can help make the...

 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Beyond the joy brought to parents from having or adopting a child, this is a huge financial transition in their lives. There are a number of issues to consider including how the costs of caring for a child will impact both their...

 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

It's a new year, and if you're over 70, you might be looking at your required minimum distribution from your retirement account and wondering when you should take it. As I see it, there are two camps of people: 1) If you need the money...

 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Before I'm pointed out being hypocritical, I fully understand that this applies, in some parts, to Allison and me, as well. The economy seems to be doing rather well. The stock market is at an all-time high, unemployment is at 50-year...

 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial moves that you will ever make. There are a number of issues they should be aware of, including how the costs of purchasing and owning a home will impact your overall financial planning...

 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

We generally don't tell clients how much they're up or down in raw dollars. We talk about percentages. Percentages tell you a lot more about the story. Recently, someone said they didn't want to hire a financial advisor that didn't...

 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The end of the year provides a number of planning opportunities and issues. Issues can include tax planning issues, issues surrounding investment and retirement accounts, charitable giving, cash flow and savings, insurance and estate...

 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

For those of you who love podcasts like me, I thought this might be interesting. Times have changed so much and for the better. When I was a kid, I used to play with short-wave radios, police scanners, CB radios and eventually moved on...

 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular...

 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

If you have student loans, the refinancing opportunity with today's low rates might be attractive. We refinanced ours in less than 24 hours totally online and went from 6.55% to 3.45%! It should add up to a riding lawnmower or two of...

 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Sometimes I geek out over a new idea or way of doing things. Maybe it’s from my dreaded Operations Management class in college where we had to prove with math how best to get things done, like driving a UPS truck through town as...

 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

If you're like most people, you're probably driven and have important goals that you're striving for in life. Whether it's a home, family, career, health, etc., we all have things that are important. Today, I'm going to talk a little...

 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

In today’s corporate world downsizings and reorganizations are increasingly common. Losing your job should trigger some actions. To make this easier, we’ve created the checklist “What Issues Should I Consider I Lose...

 

Monday, August 26, 2019

Clients are often confused as to what documents to keep surrounding key areas of their lives. Records documenting things like tax documents, records of healthcare issues, certain legal documents, documentation surrounding certain...

 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Investing money into a 529 plan can be an effective strategy to save for college. There are, however, some overlooked nuances related to some 529 plan distributions. And often times, those nuances are not addressed (or even discovered)...

 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

This checklist covers 21 of the most important planning issues to identify and consider when a client is trying to determine how to fund college. It’s structured as follows: Financial Aid Issues Funding Issues Qualified Account...

 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Calculating the tax impact of selling an investment can sometimes be complicated. There are several questions to ask a client to ensure that the tax liability on the sale of an investment is calculated correctly. To help make the...

 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Shame is a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by foolish behavior. Fear is a belief that something is likely to cause pain. These emotions are, unfortunately, common when discussing one’s money situation. These...

 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

This checklist covers 26 of the most important planning issues to identify and consider when a client is going through a divorce. It’s structured as follows: Cash Flow Issues Asset & Debt Issues Insurance Planning Issues Tax...

 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

I recently had a client inquire about ways to save for their child's college or post-secondary education. I talked about the different investment vehicles available, but typically and ultimately, I end up focusing on a 529 plan. A 529...

 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

This checklist covers 26 of the most important planning issues to identify and consider after a client’s parent passes away. It’s structured as follows: Cash Flow Issues Estate Settlement Issues Insurance Issues Tax Issues...

 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

This checklist covers 28 of the most important planning issues to identify and consider when a client gets married (or remarried). It’s structured as follows: Cash Flow Issues Asset & Debt Related Issues Insurance Planning Issues...

 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Allison says my articles are trending boring again, and so I should write about this instead. Apparently, some of her friends were talking about buying life insurance on their children, and she wanted my opinion. Back in the old days,...

 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

This Information Might Help I’ve written about things I’ve learned from College Inside Track in the past, and I just spent another couple hours with them absorbing everything I could. Below are my rough notes in case they...

 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

If you have dividends from your investments automatically reinvesting, you might want to consider turning them off. It’s usually fine in your 401k and Health Savings Accounts etc, but as financial life gets more complex,...

 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

This checklist covers 23 of the most important planning issues to identify and consider before a client closes an estate for a loved one. It’s structured as follows: Cash Flow IssuesAsset & Debt Related IssuesEstate Planning...

 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

For those few Quicken users left, if you have money at My529 for college savings, this might be helpful. I've discovered a way to enter all the multiple liquidations each month for each child without manually having to select the cost...

 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

This checklist covers 32 of the most important planning issues to identify and consider for a client who is about to retire. It’s structured as follows: Cash Flow IssuesHealth Insurance IssuesAsset & Debt IssuesTax Planning...

 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

This checklist covers 18 of the most important planning issues to identify and consider for a client, whose spouse has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. It’s structured as follows: Heirs & Beneficiary IssuesAssets &...

 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Experience has taught me that the amount of risk people are comfortable taking within their investments is highly variable. Academically, it's easy to get caught up in things like statistical analysis, glide paths, and probabilities of...

 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

This checklist covers 29 of the most important planning issues to identify and consider for a client, whose spouse has recently passed away. It’s structured as follows: Cash Flow Issues Estate Settlement Issues Insurance Issues...

 

Monday, April 15, 2019

As I write this, we have just finished the best quarter for the stock market in 10 years! The only problem is, it followed the worst quarter in 30 years... Source: JPM The “normal volatility” that we hadn’t seen for...

 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

This checklist covers 28 of the most important planning issues to identify and consider for a client, whose spouse has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. It’s structured as follows: Cash Flow Issues Estate Planning Issues...

 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

The QBI deduction rules are complicated. One of the newest planning issues to consider deals with a possible QBI deduction-reduction effect on retirement plan contributions that could impact how small business owners save for...

 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Clients who are receiving a government pension and a Social Security spousal, widow or widower’s benefit based on their spouse or ex-spouse’s work history may be impacted by the Government Pension Offset. To help make the...

 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Clients who expect to receive a Social Security benefit and a government pension may see their Social Security benefit reduced due to the Windfall Elimination Provision. To help make the conversation with clients easier, we have...

 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The number of people that I'm seeing that aren't having funeral services these days is a bit alarming. As somebody that isn't concerned with the pomp and circumstance of the traditions, I do recognize that there is a benefit to those...

 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular...

 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Bethany McLean has had a notable career studying and writing about some fascinating topics including: How Wells Fargo’s Cutthroat Corporate Culture Allegedly Drove Bankers to Fraud The Valeant Meltdown and Wall Street’s...

 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

In most cases, there is at least some kind of step-up in basis when property is inherited. But there are a few exceptions and some subtle distinctions that do occur. To help make the conversation easier, we have created the “Will...

 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

I recently attended a seminar on how to help families suffering from expensive medical crises on a pro bono basis. This hits particularly close to home as I recently lost a friend to cancer. The number one reason that they're getting...

 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

In certain cases, clients may be eligible to make a Mega Backdoor Roth IRA contribution. At a high level, this involves a client making a non-Roth, after-tax contribution to their 401(k), rolling it out of their 401(k) plan and into a...

 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

There are lots of important numbers that advisors need to keep in mind. In some cases, those numbers are annual limits and change each year. Other times, the figures do not change, like the tables to calculate an RMD, but are used...

 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Meeting notes from Rick Kahler, MSFP, CFP®, author and pioneer in financial therapy Rick has been a longtime hero of mine. In fact, at one point he was to be my wife Allison's backup financial planner if something happened to me....

 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

In most cases, there is no step-up in basis when property is gifted. But there are a few exceptions and those exceptions can be difficult to remember. To help make it easier, we have created the “Will I Receive A Step-Up In Basis...

 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

There is a potential for people to make a big tax planning mistake if they don’t tell their CPA's that the money was taken from the IRA and went to charity. The tax reporting is unclear, perhaps because this is a relatively new...

 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

HSA contribution rules seem pretty straightforward at first. However, the rules become complicated in years when there will be a change to coverage. Perhaps a client is moving from individual to family coverage, or they are leaving...

 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Are you are hired by companies outside your employer for on a self-employed basis? I was meeting with a physician recently that is hired from time to time to speak at various events by outside companies. During the discussion, I...

 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Having employer-issued stock in a 401(k) plan opens the door for a conversation on doing an NUA distribution. But to qualify for the NUA distribution, your client must satisfy several very important rules, some of which or often...

 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

As financial planners, we are always looking for tricks to maximize the usefulness of the tools available to our clients to help them meet their goals. One of these tricks that has recently been getting more widespread attention...

 

Monday, January 28, 2019

This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular...

 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular...

 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Unfortunately, on my recent visit, I found out taking pictures isn’t allowed, after a gentle admonishment from security. So, I’ll try to find some good public ones to help break up this note! One of the most interesting...

 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

What you did, earning the money was blood sweat and tears. Your job. Not messing it up. Our job. We don’t just do this five days a week, we are researching financial topics and opportunities constantly. It's what many of us are...

 

Monday, January 14, 2019

This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular...

 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular...

 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Life can get really hard. One of the things that we unfortunately see periodically is incredibly high long-term care medical expenses. Recently, we had someone that was spending over $100,000 a year on their medical issues. It's...

 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

We know markets fluctuate up and down. That ups and downs are a feature of investing, not a bug. See the history of the US Bear and Bull markets since 1926 below. But our brains didn't evolve to tolerate fear without dramatic action....

 

Friday, January 4, 2019

The provisional rules surrounding the Qualified Business Income (QBI) deduction can be complicated. There are several issues that must be considered. To help make the conversation easier, we have created the “Am I Eligible For A...

 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Don't count on sports scholarships! But higher education does tend to pay off, even today. Want a job? You get one. It might not be perfect, but ninety-eight out of a hundred people with a college degree have one. Be careful what...

 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Periodically the Share, Save, Spend program we do with our three oldest kids can be a little bit of a burden around our household. Getting them to the bank can be a challenge, but it's always fun when we do it. Then getting them to...

 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular...

 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

We sometimes have really fun financial planning meetings with clients where we discuss what I refer to as “first world problems.” Many of us in this country are so fortunate that it can be hard to maintain perspective on...

 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Sometimes, financial decisions aren't obvious. The other day, this struck me as I was brainstorming with a millionaire who was planning on buying a new vehicle. We were talking about where to get the funds from, taxes from various...

 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular...

 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular...

 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular...

 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular...

 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

My son Will and I enjoy reading Dr. Suess together. The other night while doing some post bedtime googling on the topic, I came across this amazing Seussian adaptation. Unfortunately, many of us will face difficult situations like...

 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular...

 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I recently heard from Diana Henriques, she is a New York Times best-selling author and wrote The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust. This was turned into the Bernie Madoff HBO movie, and she had the opportunity to...

 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

It was exciting to hear directly from Janet Yellen the other day about her views on where we are and how it relates to economic policy. Here are some of the high points: July of next year will likely mark the longest economic expansion...

 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Helping kids learn about money and how it works is an important job as parents and mentors to grandchildren. I know you've heard us talk about the share, save, spend strategies that we've employed with some success. Recently I was...

 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Recently I was able to hear one of my favorite political strategists, Greg Valliere, while in Washington, DC. Here are some of the short high points. Lots of talk about the shootings and bombings, a negative mood in the country, the...

 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular...

 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

I had the opportunity to hear from former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently. He's had quite a career and now serves on the PIMCO outside advisory committee. There are several outside advisors that hopefully will help...

 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular...

 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

For example, if you would like to view both your spouse's and your own accounts with one login we can get this set up for you. Furthermore, and perhaps more exciting is if you'd like online access with similar information to what we...

 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular...

 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

“Small accounts” to some investment professionals means less than $250,000.00. Some places don’t pay their advisors anything for managing such small accounts aka dreams of retirement and other important goals....

 

Monday, October 15, 2018

This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular...

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

I was reminded that investing is not a pastime, while looking at this collection of seashells in our home. It's a lifetime collection from some unknown person that I purchased for a mere $6 at a garage sale. To me, it represents...

 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The following dozen or so slides represent some of the best illustrations that I know of for explaining some of the things that are currently going on in the world, particularly with finance. Starting with slide four, you can see the...

 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

This is still probably a partial list of the financial terms in this photo, thanks for your replies! 529 (college savings account) - with the 5 and the 2 upsides down QTIP - Qualified Terminable Interest Property TIPS - Treasury...

 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

I was helping a client update their financial plan recently, and when life expectancy came up I took a double take. They had made some major diet and exercise changes and lost ninety pounds! Life changes, often for the better. We...

 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Nope. Source https://www.irs.gov/publications/p555#en_US_201502_publink1000168754 Thanks for taking a look! Tom Gartner, MSAPM, CFP® This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to...

 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A potential client asked me recently how I planned to time the stock market. Here is my response which will help you understand my investment philosophy if you too are considering working with me. I have learned through observation and...

 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The new tax law is hopefully going to save you some cash, or at least you’ll be about equal. Though, there is one big potential negative impact for charities. Consider a typical successfully retired couple. The new standard...

 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

If they are and you have your other core financial planning priorities like retirement in order, this might be helpful. What is one of the best “College” savings tools, now can also be used for K-12 education! Starting in...

 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

I thought this was a terrific graphic from one of my financial planning heroes Michael Kitces. It also brings up one of our concerns when we meet with a potential new client. We want our advice to stick so it makes a positive impact....

 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on advertising between all the property and casualty companies. Progressive, Gieco and The General commercials dominate the television advertising space in this market. What are they...

 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

If you have after-tax investments, you might have recently been given a tax planning opportunity. New long-term tax rates on gains are ZERO for married couples filing jointly up to $77,400, and $38,700 for singles. So, if your income...

 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Finally, Tim, Rich, Jon, and Matt participated in the Tough Mudder this summer and had a blast. Plenty of bruises and cuts, but they did it! These articles represent opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject...

 

Friday, August 24, 2018

We obviously need to avoid jumping to conclusions here. The past doesn't necessarily mean revert. But the numbers are interesting to see. Thanks for taking a look! Tom source: brandes.com This article represents opinions of the authors...

 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

If this is your first time participating in a 401(k) retirement plan, there are a lot of things to consider and decisions to make. I hope this helps a bit. First off, if you're lucky, your company does a match. This is where they will...

 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The marriage penalty for your federal taxes has virtually been eliminated for all but the highest of income earners. This means if you have a change coming, like an upcoming marriage, divorce, or death checking with your CPA could make...

 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Prioritization is a big part of financial planning. We almost always have lots of needs, wants, and wishes but rarely enough to fund everything 100%. A call from a soon to be new father got me to thinking; people could use some help...

 

Friday, August 17, 2018

I sit here on an airplane flying back from a great national retirement plan advisors best practice seminar. About fifty of my peers from very successful retirement planning practices across the country met for two days sharing what is...

 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

On December 31st, 2025 Federal taxes are scheduled to go back to the 2017 rates. While there is a chance of locking them in lower for longer, given our national debt problem, there is a good chance they will revert. As a result some...

 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

I just had an alarming real-life story that might encourage you to get your estate planning done and/or reviewed. Parents of a single child were finally doing their will with the same attorney as their parent's. During this process,...

 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

A local law firm has been sending me well-written articles for ten years. I have enjoyed reading them as they are highly applicable to financial planning, and I’ve often have wanted to share. However, they are never uploaded to...

 

Friday, August 3, 2018

Over the past month, we have had many clients concerned about tariffs, how they actually work and how they will impact the market. This topic has been a great ‘headliner’ for the media. However, let’s dig a little...

 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

We likely have an era of low-income tax rates at least until 12/31/2025. This flow chart might help you think about some of the considerations. This isn’t designed to be an end all be all, so your results may vary. Before making...

 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

It begins the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) phase for most types of retirement accounts. This is mostly because the government wants you to take out money so you will have to pay taxes. As a result, often these funds are at least...

 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Whole 100+ page slide deck here if interested https://bit.ly/2LJlhe3 Thanks for taking a look! Tom Gartner, MSAPM, CFP® This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from...

 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Are you headed toward a smooth retirement or a brutal surprise? Ok, I’ll spare you the cliché quotes about planning, Google brought up 202,000,000 inspirational quips. You probably get the point of this article already,...

 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Every day we are inundated with attention-grabbing headlines from financial news sources, the writers of these headlines use catchy puns, fear, or the reader's curiosity to get clicks and views. Sometimes, the news stories that...

 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

JP Morgan has some good graphics to help explain how the financial world looks. Here are my four favorites from last quarter. This really is a remarkable time. There is a lot of doubt in the numbers though, here is some of the...

 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

This is a note I sent recently in response to an advertisement masquerading as a legitimate news article. Thanks for sending this over, I hadn’t seen it yet even though I skim over 100 news sources daily. This is probably because...

 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Pro-Bono Financial Advice is a particular area where we can make big impacts on people’s lives. Unfortunately, the need is immense, but surprisingly the opportunities to help don’t come as often as you might think....

 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

This question comes up a LOT, particularly when people change jobs, have a big unexpected expense, or wish to pay down debt. This way of thinking about it might be helpful: For example, consider a 35-year-old taking out $50,000 from...

 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

One of my friends likes to tease me about my morbid posts, and this might be the worst... It doesn’t matter what recent observation spurred the thought, but it was really bad. Since the most important thing to me is my family, I...

 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Seeking improved email productivity (read spend less time on low priority emails) I recently upgraded to the latest desktop version of Outlook 365, from 2013. I was excited about the new clutter feature, but I quickly learned it...

 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

These days when I see a fixed 3% mortgage, I want to tell people never to pay it off, but that's the black and white in me. Finance people tend to see things more as probabilities and miss the emotional parts. However, there certainly...

 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Most people take social security early, and I understand many of the reasons why. People don’t think it’s going to be around, short life expectancy expectations, everyone else is doing it, etc. However, I was recently...

 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

I'm seeing an alarming number of people not utilizing their health savings accounts effectively. If you have the means to pay for medical expenses out of pocket, using your health savings account as an investment account is a brilliant...

 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Sometimes Tom’s articles bore me, so he thought I should write an article on a speaker that I heard recently. We have adopted many of his principles regarding money with our children, and I was completely sold on his information....

 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

When I first started driving, there were three ways that you could get to an unknown destination. The first method was just to start driving, and hopefully, you'd get there on time. Taking a Sunday drive through the country...

 

Monday, March 19, 2018

We have quietly been managing portfolios for a small number of clients whose desire has been to avoid holding certain types of investments, for years. This investment style is usually referred to as Socially Responsible Investing or...

 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

It seems the common perception is you need to be nearing retirement or have already accumulated a significant portion of your life savings before considering to work with a planner to build a financial plan. While starting a financial...

 

Monday, March 12, 2018

To Roth or not to Roth by age and income How long do you have to live and how much do you need to earn for Social Security Claiming strategies Motivation to get started, or not even bother? If you don't need a big income in retirement...

 

Friday, March 9, 2018

click on the image for short video

 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

I had a friend come into the office recently that had a question about buying final expense insurance or, put more bluntly, burial insurance. This is life insurance that can be bought without having to go through the traditional...

 

Monday, February 26, 2018

With recent investment performance, we are seeing more grandparents and parents reviewing secondary financial goals, such as college planning. Often when the first child is born, parents and grandparents alike are excited and motivated...

 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

It recently struck me as “not funny” how our latest financial planning software euphemistically refers to my clients dying as “end of plan”. Although I shouldn’t be so harsh, I too like to make light of...

 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Debate abounds whether this health kick will hold, but after some family health scares, I bought myself a treadmill for my birthday. While patiently waiting for my 300+ pound fountain of youth machine, I happened to notice that the...

 

Friday, February 9, 2018

We aren't car people, so why not let someone else waste $50,000 on depreciation, and use the money saved for more important goals? I read a study a few years back on when was the optimal mix of value vs. risk for buying a used car. It...

 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

So should you sell when the market makes a new top? Probably not, since we have likely already done so as part of our process. The main caveat is unless your situation has changed dramatically, for example if you can’t work...

 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

2017 Highlights include: Politics – Continued to produce major headlines. Tax Reform – Approved at the 11th hour, and provided last-minute tax planning for accountants everywhere. Double-digit market returns –In the...

 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

These are from JP Morgan Full JPM Guide to the Markets slide deck available here This article represents opinions of the authors and not...

 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Recently I had the opportunity to learn from Chris Wills from collegeinsidetrack.com. He's a specialist on how to fund a college education. He claims to help about half a million students per year and saves on average over 75,000 off...

 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Mary Beth Franklin writes a weekly Social Security tip column for one of my favorite magazines Investment News, and was recently in town sharing some good information. When looking at SS claiming strategies, wrapping our heads around...

 

Monday, December 4, 2017

If you have a family cabin that you would like to leave as a legacy to your family, this might be of interest. Recently I had the opportunity to learn from an attorney in the Twin Cities that specializes in cabin trusts, Joel Mullen....

 

Monday, November 27, 2017

It seems like every weekday for the last five years someone has asked me, “When is the stock market going to crash?” This has been almost the longest bull run in history at 9 years, and as it stands we're essentially at an...

 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Recently I learned more about some of the specific reasons we give from the Minneapolis Foundation. Now you don’t have to be in a single category, you might see yourself in several. But narrowing this down this can help identify...

 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

‘Tis the season to consider giving, and here is some food for thought: For many people giving to family reduces the amount that will go to the government, and keeps those hard-earned assets in your family instead. There may be...

 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Holistic planning is defined by ISC Financial Advisors as - Evaluating all your moving parts, creating a unique strategy specific to your situation, goals, then working with your professional team to design and implement your plan with...

 

Monday, November 6, 2017

I recently heard a presentation from Amy Florian; she is a “Thanatologist” which is the highest level of certification in grief studies. She lost her husband at 25, and has studied how to help people suffering ever since....

 

Friday, November 3, 2017

I’m a little embarrassed to be so excited about this, but here we go: Schwab is now providing charitably minded clients a checkbook for their IRA’s! In the past, we were whipsawed by last-minute tax law changes on whether...

 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

People often amass large positions of one company stock; it can be from stock options, significant appreciation, inheritance, etc. I see it all the time. Recently I saw a portfolio with two companies that had been held for probably...

 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Well they kept going through my mind recently as I went to see an orthopedic surgeon about my knee that has been giving me some trouble. I popped it, and figured I would walk be able to walk it off. Lo and behold, that was a terrible...

 

Monday, October 23, 2017

When I was growing up during family weddings, there seemed to always be one man who was first on the dance floor and last off at the end of the night. He overflowed with a passionate enthusiasm for life, and left an impression on me. I...

 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Most people assume that when they go to a doctor, the care given will be in their best interests. This has also been assumed by those seeking financial advice from a professional, but, to many investors’ surprise, this does not...

 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Some really remarkable volatility levels and more from SSGA Is this the calm before the storm? Price to book is at 15-year highs for the S&P 500 Index Some industries stand to benefit more from the proposed tax breaks if they go...

 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Are you wondering what to do, when you are faced with a class action lawsuit on one of your investments? You probably get lots of junk mail from companies that you own stock in, but once in a while, there is a piece of paper that might...

 

Friday, October 6, 2017

If you have Schwab accounts with our firm, some of the potential benefits to you include: Quickly view all of your accounts on one page with the household view Access up to date balances, account values and create custom reports Share...

 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Download here: Cash Balance Plans

 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

One of the hardest parts of investing, other than making the money to put to work is controlling one's emotions when times are scary. Preparing yourself in advance to be aware of the risks is a great way to reduce anxiety, and prepare...

 

Monday, October 2, 2017

full slide deck here https://am.jpmorgan.com/us/en/asset-management/gim/adv/insights/guide-to-the-markets This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do...

 

Friday, September 29, 2017

We have recently seen some large swings, both positive and negative in the equity markets. While these swings are typical and expected in any market cycle, they can make some investors nervous. Below are a few thoughts to help you...

 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

My father-law-in asked me to join him on a fly-in fishing trip to Ontario, Canada. When we got to camp, I put together my fishing rod but was having some problems with the reel. Instead of reeling in the fishing line, the reel was...

 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Please read if you have significant assets within your retirement account! There is a planning option that we recently learned about that you may want to consider. Typically, spouses simply leave their individual retirement account...

 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A few clients have reached out to us recently with questions about the big data breach from Equifax. If you are a client or prospective client, and have questions about this information or want to brainstorm regarding your specific...

 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Swings are typical and expected in any market cycle, they can make some investors nervous. Below are a few thoughts to help you navigate this choppy market. Asset Allocation - Make sure your investment account is properly invested...

 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Be careful out there! Check out the history of their inflation here. Take care, Tom

 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Looking for a Financial Planner you can trust? This post gives some things to consider when looking for one.

 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

This a timely message. In "Worrying About Risk Can Be Very Risky" Tony Isola frames the endless turmoil we are seeing in today's world, and how it relates to your finances. A few years ago, I never would have thought we would be...

 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Charlie’s great work has earned him a promotion to an advisor role on the team with Tom Gartner and Tim Jaynes. His primary duties moving forward will be to work closely with Tom and Tim on client service and investment...

 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Knowing That We Don’t Know Knowing that we don’t know certain things, and then planning with that in mind can make a big impact on investment results. Very few people thought that the stock market would rally 10+% after the...

 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Charles Achterkirch Investment Advisor Unless you have been living under a rock, it is highly probable you have seen a news program or read an article on the topic of increasing costs of college tuition. It seems that a lot of the...

 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Chad Duppong, CFP®, ChFC, CLU Certified Financial Planner at ISC Financial Advisors Over my career, there’s one topic that no one wants to talk about when divulging their finances to me. I’m not sure why this topic is...

 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Over the course of the last two years, we have seen many companies either add or switch entirely to a high deductible health plan for their employees. For some companies, the high deductible health plans compliment a major medical plan...

 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Tom Gartner, MSAPM, CFP® Independent Fiduciary Advice Do you remember during the cold war years the President carrying the nuclear “football”? It was a brief case which held the launch codes to authorize the use of...

 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan is famous on Wall Street for being one of the “good guys.” He and his colleagues had a lot of insights about the current state of the world. Below are my distilled notes in case you are...