All Posts By

Ryan Smith, CFP®, RICP®

Gerald Should Have Shared His Password

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

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)

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

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

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

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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Health Savings Accounts as a Retirement Planning Vehicle

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

Health Savings Accounts, or HSAs, were created in 2003 through the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act. Early adoption was slow, but growth in recent years has been impressive as more and more Americans become familiar with their many benefits. For years, HSAs have been used as a means to set aside money for health care expenses and receive an income-tax deduction on the contributions. A downside of HSAs is that they must be associated with a high deductible health plan (HDHP) so they may not be the optimal approach for those struggling with health issues or limited cash

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What’s Your Edge?

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

My son, Jack, started kindergarten a few weeks ago. It was a big moment in his life and it was also a big moment in the lives of his parents. It’s when Emily and I started to surrender control of the child we’ve raised the past five and a half years. Emily and I decided to enroll Jack at Neuse Christian Academy, a small, private K-12 school. There are many reasons we chose NCA, most of which are insignificant for today’s post, but can ultimately be summed up by the question: What will give Jack an edge in becoming the

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10 Things to Consider As You Help Your High School Student Prepare for College

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

As we prepare to host Brooke Daly and Lindsey Ringenbach of Advantage College Planning on September 13th at 7 PM, we invited them to prepare a guest post for our Friday Brief. Be sure to read all the way through then watch the video below to learn more about the event.   10 Things to Consider As You Help Your High School Student Prepare for College 10. Encourage your student to make connections with her teachers. Your student (as opposed to you) should be the one contacting teachers to ask clarifying questions about assignments or grades. Your student should meet

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Beacon Flash: “College Planning, Simplified,” with Advantage College Planning.

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

Planning for college can be stressful and confusing. Brooke Daly and Lindsey Ringenbach, from Advantage College Planning, will present information to demystify the process of affording, searching, and applying to college. During their presentation, Brooke and Lindsey will discuss strategies for navigating the financial resources available to students and families. They will also provide information about how to conduct a comprehensive college search and why finding the best fit schools for your student is beneficial academically, socially, and financially. Finally, they will conclude with a discussion about the criteria used in the admissions process. Advantage College Planning offers personalized, step-by-step

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Should You Buy or Lease Your Next Vehicle?

By | The Friday Brief | 6 Comments

After 5 years as a proud minivan owner, my wife and I recently purchased an SUV. For simple trips around Raleigh the van was adequate, but with our frequent treks to see my parents in Florida combined with the taxing drive through the mountains of West Virginia to get to Emily’s family in Ohio, we needed something more reliable. Ultimately, after lots of research and finding a good deal on the vehicle we wanted, plus some email negotiations back and forth (all those articles you find online about how to negotiate the best price really work!), we settled on a

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