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Investment Efficiency

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

Efficiency measures what is produced against the inputs required to produce it. Efficiency is generally reduced by some form of drag, such as friction, cost, energy, or time, but there can be great reward in improving efficiency. An investment portfolio produces greater wealth as the friction of expenses, taxes, and under-performance relative to markets are reduced. While the most efficient way to achieve the returns of a particular market is to own that market. The most practical way of doing that is through the use of an Exchange Traded Fund or ETF. We use the VTI offered by Vanguard to efficiently

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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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Quarterly Statements and Market Volatility

By | The Friday Brief | 2 Comments

Lofty expectations for corporate earnings have combined with rising interest rates and increased global trade tensions to bring volatility back to the stock market after a long hiatus.  It would appear that daily, multiple percentage point swings in stock prices may be the norm, at least for a while. While it’s perfectly normal, expected and even healthy for the market to behave this way, it’s never comfortable to watch your nest egg gyrate with the daily fluctuations in the market.  The financial media doesn’t help with their attention-grabbing headlines.  So what should you do if the current level of stock

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Good money, Bad money

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When my son Charlie came home from the NICU in February and was going to doctors appointments with some frequency, one of the things that came up was that he, like many newborns, had a case of torticollis. Torticollis is basically the tendency for a baby’s head to lean one way and an associated difficulty for them to lean it the other way on their own. It’s not serious if you do some pretty straightforward physical therapy, which simply involves stretching the baby’s neck muscles and retraining them to work in a more symmetrical way. On the other hand, if

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Hurricanes and Market Turbulence

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The last ten years of fair-weather markets have spoiled us a bit, but storms do come, and they can be ferocious. Just as Hurricane Michael came out of nowhere, so did a stock-selling spree that shaved more than 5% from the S&P 500. We are once again reminded that stock markets do not move in straight lines, and that emotions often get the better of investors. The US economy is strong. Corporate earnings have grown more than 20% for the past two quarters and are on pace to do the same for the third quarter of this year. Unemployment at

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Navigating the Challenges that come with Aging

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It’s safe to assume that, short of an untimely end, we will all continue to age. And yet, as financial planners, our experience has shown us that most address the topic of aging in one of two ways: either by having a vague conversation about downsizing at some point and leaving it at that, or by waiting until a crisis occurs and then being forced into action. With aging an inevitability for all of us, doesn’t it make sense to spend more time planning for what we hope our lives will look like in our 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and

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What Are Your Priorities?

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One of the most important exercises in financial planning is laying out your priorities. A priority list and its order provide necessary guidance as to how we should best go about achieving our goals, and which ones are more important than others. The exercise is made all the more challenging in that we actually have two sets of priorities in our lives: Aspirational Priorities – those that we list when talking to our financial advisor or sharing with friends, and Confirmed Priorities – those actually reflected in our spending. The first represents our hopes and ideals, while the second confirms in

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Health Savings Accounts as a Retirement Planning Vehicle

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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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Disaster Relief? A Call To Action.

By | The Friday Brief | One Comment

What an odd phrase, if you think about it: Disaster Relief. You can get relief from an itchy bug bite, or from a golf ball on a cart path, or even relief of certain types of debt. But relief from a disaster? It’s oddly inadequate to consider relief in those terms, especially when confronted with the images I’m sure you’ve all seen of towns like Wilmington and New Bern and Lumberton and Fayetteville and all the rest under several feet of water as a result of almost three feet of rain at the hands of Hurricane Florence. I don’t have

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