Understanding the Heart of Your Investment Plan: Asset Allocation

In my previous post on risk tolerance, we discussed the importance of planning to achieve your investment goals.  Today, we’re delving into the heart of that plan – your asset allocation — and how it can benefit you in the long-term. Asset allocation is the specific mix of investments that fit your investment goals. By understanding an investor’s investment time horizon and risk tolerance, a portfolio is constructed to optimize investment returns over time for a given level of risk/uncertainty. Defining the risks and potential returns in an investment portfolio is essential for creating an appropriate asset allocation.  Asset allocation […]

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Investment Hacks for your Bucket List

Investment Hacks for your Bucket List

For many, investing means retirement with images of golden sunsets on a beach. For some, it’s a sport, with lots of stats; for others, it conjures that feeling of dentist-visit dread or even tax-prep tedium. If that last line feels familiar, let’s change things up.   Gone are the days when you have to understand what makes the market move, watch endless streams of stock tickers, or know how to analyze company performance to be a smart investor. And, ciao to the times when investing was reserved for those who had lots of money and paid royally for a personal […]

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4 Ways to Protect Yourself From America’s Retirement Savings Crisis

The forecast for Americans’ retirement savings? Gloomy.   No, I’m not a pessimist. I’m simply looking at savings habits in this country and have come to the realization that in general, most Americans are ill-prepared for retirement.   Our newest article on Yahoo Finance, 4 Ways to Protect Yourself From America’s Retirement Savings Crisis, reveals that we’re not approaching a retirement savings crisis, we’re already in one. How am I so certain? Consider these statistics: 28 percent have saved less than $1,000 for retirement Of those age 55 and older, 29 percent have no retirement savings whatsoever Almost 75 percent […]

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Credit 101: What is credit and how does it work?

Credit. Most of us have it but few of us understand it. According to a NerdWallet survey conducted by Harris Poll earlier this year, most Americans lack basic knowledge about credit. This can have a seriously negative impact on their financial situation.   But on the flip side, building (and maintaining) a solid credit background can strengthen your negotiating power, enhance your career opportunities, and even improve your dating life.   In this post, I’ll share what I know, plus a few tips on building your credit – a smart money habit. Let’s start with a basic definition: Credit is […]

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529 and ESA

A Crash Course in Saving for College

Choosing the right college savings plan is a critical yet sometimes confusing process. Even parents who start socking away money at their baby shower may not fully understand the most common types of college savings plans – 529s and ESAs. Here’s a brief overview that can help you make better informed decisions when funding your child’s education.   529 Plans are operated by a state or educational institution and offer state tax advantages and other incentives to investors. Both regular and pre-paid 529 plans have no annual contribution limits and the account owner retains control over the funds.   Coverdell […]

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Little boy copying his father's pose

Be a Good Financial Role Model and Turn Your Kids into Savers

No doubt you’ve saved up for some important purchases in your lifetime. You understand how the process works, from identifying a financial goal to setting aside a certain amount on a regular basis, to watching your savings grow and, ultimately, achieving your goal. As you reflect on that achievement today, do you ask yourself, “What if I’d started earlier?” Responsible financial management is not innate. Most kids aren’t born savers. In fact, most of them struggle with the concept of deferred gratification during the first 10 or so years of their lives. It takes real dedication to invest for the […]

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5 things every college student should know about investing

Congratulations! High school is now in your rearview mirror. Maybe you were lucky enough to score some cash gifts from friends and family members at graduation; maybe you spent all summer working in order to stash some additional funds.   As you transition to spending most of your time on a college campus, your parents will, no doubt, suggest that you try to become more financially responsible. By this, they likely mean don’t rack up a bunch of credit card debt. Stretch your financial aid as far as you can. If possible, find a way to generate additional income without […]

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3 Ways Boring is Beautiful When It Comes to Retirement Savings

  Who says your financial life has to be exciting? If you’ve read some of my recent blog posts for TradeKing Advisors, you’re aware of how aggressively our emotions can conspire against us, especially when making investment decisions. When market conditions shift unfavorably, your personal tolerance for risk may be seriously challenged, leading you into self-defeating strategies. That’s why the strongest weapon in your financial arsenal is a solid retirement plan. Sure, it’s a little dull. There’s nothing edgy or dramatic about taking a conventional approach to building wealth. In fact, when done properly, your investments will hum along, growing […]

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a goal without a plan is just a wish

Budgeting on Steroids

It’s payday and you just took a quick glance at your bank account. You smirk after seeing the fat balance that’s now officially yours. Then, you realize that you’re out of groceries, several bills are approaching their due dates, your student loan payment will hit next week, and the car is running on fumes as you drive to work. The list goes on. Good thing your paycheck arrived, right?   How will you manage paying those expenses and still have enough money to cushion you until the next paycheck? Do you have a financial plan in place, one that’s built […]

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Family All Together At Christmas Dinner

We need to talk…about money.

Having a hard time discussing money? You’re not alone. According to a survey from the American Psychological Association, 36 percent of Americans are uncomfortable talking about their finances and 18 percent consider money a taboo subject in their families.*   Dr. Barbara Nusbaum is a specialist in financial psychology. When it comes to this sensitive subject, she encourages open communication, despite the tension such discussions can evoke: “We need to recognize that money and planning often bring up a lot of stress and anxiety. In my experience as a psychologist, money is by far the hardest thing to talk about.”** […]

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