This holiday season’s magic of making your investments work harder

What’s magic about this holiday season? As much as I wish that Santa with his naughty or nice list could blackmail major corporations to pay larger dividends, the power to boost your after-tax return on investments is up to you or your investment advisor.One way to maximize returns is with tax-loss harvesting. The idea is to harvest in Winter to create tax savings for the next Spring. READ MORE

Guaranteed rates of return of 3.5-4% – don’t drink the kool-aid

Given the volatility in the markets, and the low returns on savings, it is understandable that claims of a “guaranteed return” would be attractive.  Even if it comes from a life insurance salesperson!

Twice last week I was talking with insurance agents who boasted about policies that offer “guaranteed interest rates of 3.5 – 4%.” My reaction?  Concern. READ MORE

What to do with the money you DO have saved for retirement when you ARE ready to retire?

Congratulations!  Over the years…

  • you’ve managed your spending,
  • you’ve saved consistently,
  • and invested successfully so that you have accumulated a retirement nest egg.

All you need now is a portfolio with a focus on distributions rather than accumulation.  The trick is how to change a portfolio from growing principal to protecting principal and generating income. READ MORE

Making sense of mayhem, your portfolio at a glance


Are your ready to get your head out of the sand and face that 201(K) that you once called your 401(K)? In my last e-zine, the subject was “Controlling What You Can in Uncertain Times – Cash Flow as Your Financial Foundation.” Hopefully, I have given you some insights into how you might stabilize the one area of your personal finances that you are most able to control. Now let’s face one aspect of your personal finance you can’t control – the markets.   READ MORE

Annuities…the evil step mother of the investment community just may be cinderella for some retirees


I have found investment advisors who swear by annuities and other investment advisors that just plain swear when you use the (A) annuity word. And in defense of the latter, they are asked to unwind purchases with high expense loaded annuities that charge a second load to get out of the contract. And typically surrendering the annuity is necessary. The annuity is illiquid and the entirety of the client’s investment portfolio was placed in the annuity. So the client paid too much and now has no access to their money. That left a crowd of advisors to sing the praises of the annuity, “They accumulate tax deferred.” And “You may even be able to guarantee the cash flow.” READ MORE

Hidden costs and lost deductions

As you may or may not remember, I do some tax preparation. I say “some” as I just began doing individual income tax preparation last year. Well, this year I had the opportunity to do the taxes of a retiree with significant assets and investment income. And as I saw the total tax liability rise, I began to look for deductions. Finally it struck me that there must be some offsetting investment expenses.