All Posts By

Ryan Smith, CFP®, RICP®

Do It Now

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

My family and I just returned from a trip to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, a journey we’ve made three times over the last two years as we’ve tried to get a handle on why Emily hasn’t been feeling well. During our last visit the team of specialists we met with gave her, in my words, a “non-diagnosis-diagnosis” of a “non-differentiated” auto-immune illness. They realized something was going on, they just couldn’t say what. When I think back to when Emily’s symptoms first began, I’m reminded of how quickly things can change. I’m sure the progression wasn’t this dramatic (or maybe

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Four ways the SECURE Act may impact you.

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

There is a bill working its way through Congress that could impact every retirement saver and, potentially, their heirs. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act has four important provisions that you should be aware of: It increases the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) age: Currently, everyone must begin to withdraw from their IRA or 401(k) in the calendar year they turn age of 70 ½. (There are narrow exceptions where 401(k)s are concerned.) In response to people both working and living longer, this bill would push the RMD age back to 72. There’s no indication as of

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“How much do people spend on vacations?”

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

As Jack reminds me almost daily, next week is his last in kindergarten which means summer is just around the corner. Soon we’ll all be packing our bags and heading to the beach (or elsewhere) for a vacation. As I was thinking about my family’s summer plans, I was reminded of a question a client emailed me a few months ago (Used with permission. Name changed.): “How much do people with about the same income as Charlie and I spend on vacation, groceries, home improvement, cars, etc. I’ve looked online and this varies a good bit. Wondering if you could

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The Ugly Truth of “Failure to Launch”

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There’s a scene in the 2006 movie, Failure to Launch, where a couple is lamenting the fact that their adult son still lives with them. “The boy’s thirty-five years old!” says one. “It’s just not fair,” says the other. “We were good parents and now we’re supposed to be done!” If you’ve seen the movie, which I proudly admit I have not, you know it’s a satirical tale of a man in his mid-30’s who refuses to leave the comfy confines of his parents’ house. And why should he? He has no responsibilities, no bills, and nothing that threatens the

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Start Paying Attention

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A few years back I read a great article by personal finance writer and artist Carl Richards. He was lamenting how all the budgeting strategies he’s tried over the years have failed. He’s cut credit cards, only used cash, and tried all sorts of other stuff to better control his spending. But, nothing changed until he tried something altogether different. Here’s what he had to say: I love the No. 9 Unwich (it’s a wrap with lettuce instead of bread). Over the last few years, I’ve probably ordered it for lunch more than 50 times. One day, I realized that

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Gerald Should Have Shared His Password

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You remember Bitcoin, right? The flashy cryptocurrency that no one understood but everyone was talking about in 2017? It hasn’t been making as much noise lately, mostly due to the fact that the price has fallen from a high of nearly $20,000 per bitcoin to less than $3,500 over the past 14 months. Well, it’s back in the news again, but this time it has nothing to do with price, investment potential or an opportunity for the average person to actually make use of it. On January 15th, it was revealed that a gentleman named Gerald Cotten passed away on

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How to Lose 2,000% (Don’t Forget About Everyone Else)

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In 1994, three of the brightest, most successful and fiercely calculating minds in finance formed a hedge fund called Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM). John W. Meriwether, former head of bond trading at Salomon Brothers, was joined by Myron S. Scholes and Robert C. Merton. The latter two would share the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences three years later. Prior to opening, they raised just over $1B. For awhile, the fund, which employed various and complex bond trading strategies, enjoyed some success, as you can see from the chart to the right. But then, in early 1998, it blew up. With

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Bond Portfolios Have Been Corrupted

By | The Friday Brief | 2 Comments

I happened across this tweet last night: We got an official holdings list for Janus Henderson Global Unconstrained Bond Fund (i.e., Bill Gross's fund) today: https://t.co/2r5AKChE73 What it seems to more definitively confirm is that 1) Aetna stock was a ~15% position, 2) there was no offsetting position to hedge it. 😮 https://t.co/VNemKYc9Z1 — Jeffrey Ptak (@syouth1) November 29, 2018 If you are unfamiliar with Bill Gross, he founded the mutual fund powerhouse PIMCO and for a long time ran the largest bond fund in the world, PIMCO Total Return. He’s something of a legend in the bond world. For

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Beacon Flash: How to navigate your employer being acquired

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With the recent announcement that Red Hat is being acquired by IBM for $34B, we thought it would be helpful to share our thoughts on how employees of acquired companies can smoothly navigate a transition like that. Watch as we discuss what to do with your 401(k), how your benefits may be impacted, and the potential income tax consequences that come with public company acquisitions.  

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