While we in Key West are dealing with thieves who break in to our homes in the middle of the night (yes, it recently happened to me), we also need to be aware that individuals from around the world are hoping to break into our computers. They would love to have access to our bank, credit card and brokerage accounts so we have to be vigilant on an ongoing basis to prevent that from happening.
We care all likely aware that cybercriminals have been sending “phishing” emails for years. They are hoping to gain our personal information such as our user name, password, and credit card details and of course, our Social Security number. Emails that mimic banks, online payment processors, auction sites and popular social web sites such as Facebook are commonly used to attempt to lure us into providing such information. I must admit they have done a very good job of creating logos that look real!
As a financial planner, the most common question that a new client will ask me is if they will be able to afford to retire. Whether a “youngster” just starting to save or an “oldster” getting ready to retire in several years, individuals want to understand what goal to shoot for.
I am always pleased to assist youngsters in starting to save as I know they have years for the power of the compounding of money to assist them. A contribution of $100 per month over 40 years at a 7% annual rate of return compounds to $253,557 or $515,365 over 50 years. Millennials seem to get it, or perhaps they have parents and grandparents urging them to start saving early.
In a “Your Money” column in the New York Times published in October 2013, John Wasik did a great job of delivering the status quo message about portfolio expenses. He reminds us that John C. Bogle, Founder of the Vanguard Group, and many others, have performed studies that demonstrated that active managers cannot beat a passive index because of the fees charged in actively managed funds. He reminds us that these consist not only of the well-known and often discussed fees in a fund’s expense ratio, but also include ‘hidden’ fees like the cost of managers who leave too much money in cash (which does not earn market returns), and fund transaction costs. The article goes on to mention a recent paper by William Sharpe, the Nobel Prize winner this year in Economics, who compared the expense ratio of Vanguard’s Total Stock Market Index Fund to a more expensive actively managed fund, and found that the costs of active management were $2,000 for a $10,000 investment over ten years.
As my clients, friends know, I love to travel. A semester abroad at the University of Copenhagen provided me an opportunity to travel through Europe and I have had wanderlust since. I have traveled through more than 35 counties and have memorable experiences that will stay with me forever. For that reason, I often encourage my clients to take vacations; after all, we don’t know when our health will change and we’ll no longer even be able to travel. You don’t want to be one of those people who will someday look back with regret on the things you didn’t do.
It’s true that opposites sometimes attract. But what do you do when you and your significant other are opposites when it comes to investment strategy? You might be an aggressive, pedal-to-the-metal investor, while your partner is more financially conservative. (Or vice versa.) A difference like that can be a huge obstacle to developing a sound financial plan.
So what can you do?
As full time financial planners, we spend a lot of time getting to know the daily struggles and triumphs of their clients, and have picked up a number of helpful life lessons along the way.
Here are our top eight: