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The Risks We Overlook

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I feel comfortable saying most people are aware that death or disability will affect their finances or the finances of the loved ones they leave behind. They may underestimate the impact or fail to take the necessary steps to mitigate these threats, but, at the very least, they recognize it’s a risk. Yet, there are other risks that are often overlooked, and while the results may not be as catastrophic as losing the ability to work (or worse), they can still upend a solid financial plan. Here are a few of them: Co-signing a loan: You may have been asked

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Is Tesla The Next Big Thing?

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Look, first off, I don’t know. And secondly, if you’ve been around us very long at Beacon you know that we are not stock pickers and will never be stock pickers, for reasons that we have laid out many, many times. The title of this blog is meant to be slightly tongue-in-cheek (because Tesla is not exactly “next” anymore) and click-baity (because everyone has an opinion about Tesla). But still! Tesla–a company that as of earlier this week had roughly the same market cap as Ford and GM combined–offers a rich ground for exploration into investing questions, and the question

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Top 11 Financial To Do’s

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Each year I’m given the privilege of speaking with several groups of recent college grads about personal finance.  It’s no secret that even after 4 years of high school and several years of college (and perhaps beyond) most people enter the complex world of personal finance unprepared. I hope my talks encourage those folks to make a few really good decisions about money right out of the gate.  That way they’ll set themselves, and their families, up to be much more financially successful.  Not just for the sake of more dollars but to increase their chances of having a healthier

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The Best and the Worst of Times

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The decade of the teens has been one of the most remarkable in US history in terms of contrasts. Charles Dickens, in his Tale of Two Cities describes it remarkably well: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before
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The President Has Been Impeached

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On Wednesday night, President Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives. The next step is for a vote to take place in the Senate, where a two-thirds majority is required to remove a sitting President. Given the Senate is controlled by Republicans 53-47, the likelihood of conviction is quite low. President Trump is only the third President to be impeached. The other two are Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. (Coincidentally, former President Clinton was impeached on December 19th, putting President Trump’s almost exactly 21 years later.) Former President Richard Nixon was well on his way

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A House Divided

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If it is not clear to you, in 2019, that humans are tribal creatures, then I would suggest you tour an elementary school, which I have done twice in the last two days on behalf of our rising-kindergartner. These people are tribal! They gather into enclaves, and the enclaves form similar opinions on issues and ask the same sorts of questions as the other people in their group, and even start to dress the same. Of course I am talking about the touring parents of prospective kindergartners, but I suppose even the kids themselves show tribal tendencies at the ripe age of

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On Charitable Giving

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Believe it or not, the Holiday season is upon us.  This is often a time of year when we reflect on the things for which we are thankful and spend time with friends and family.  It’s also a time when many people do a large part of their charitable giving.  With that in mind, I thought I’d take a minute to spotlight four alternative ways to give that you may be less familiar with. Donating appreciated shares of stock instead of cash If you have any year-end giving planned and you usually give cash directly to your charitable organization of

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Arm Yourself for Cyber Monday

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First, we want to wish you and all yours, a Happy and safe  Thanksgiving. We are so thankful for you. As we prepare our homes and tables for one of our country’s favorite holidays, an industry of marketers and algorithm-developers is busily preparing its websites to entice, urge, cajole, and maybe even mislead us into buying goods we otherwise might not.  Your best defense against this adversary is knowledge. Today’s Brief is aimed at arming you with defenses against the all-too-common practices of manipulation that are arrayed against you every time you sign onto an e-commerce site, from the best

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Is Saving to a 529 Plan Worth It?

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A few weeks ago, Geoff and I were discussing whether it made sense for a potential client to contribute to a 529 plan (“college savings plan”) for their kids who were entering college in a few years. Yes, the gains would be tax-free, provided the funds were used for qualified expenses, but the short timeframe made it imprudent to invest any contributions in stocks. If growth was minimal, did it still make sense to contribute? That, of course, sparked a larger debate about whether there is any real benefit in contributing to a 529 plan. The gains are tax-free, sure,
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Running, money, and the importance of practice.

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When I was a freshman in high school, someone convinced me it would be a good idea to run cross country as a way to get in shape for basketball season. Looking back I don’t believe that was particularly good advice, since there is very little overlap between “cross country shape” and “basketball shape,” but I ran anyway, and it was “fun.” I was not very good at running 3.1 miles in a row at anything approaching a fast clip, and I mostly hated the actual running part, yet I found the whole experience of being on that team to

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