What Fantasy Football Can Teach You About Diversification (or Your Financial Plan)

The football season is upon us again here as the fall rolls around and neighborhoods and workplaces are buzzing with Fantasy Football fever.  The Fantasy Trade Sports Association commented that the Fantasy Football market is more than a 70 billion dollar industry today and growing.   With so many people joining multiple leagues, what can this popular game teach us about how we manage our portfolios and diversify our assets. Do Your Homework? It’s shocking how many people don’t know what they own in their 401(k), IRA, or their brokerage accounts.  You may have purchased a target fund or some growth and income fund, but you don’t actually know what you own.   Moreover, you may not understand the risks on how much you could gain in one year or how much you could potentially lose in one year.  It’s important to read the prospectus before you invest, look at the track record of the investment you will be making, and learn ...

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My Roth IRA turned Five

Why is age 5 so important for your Roth IRA.  Well, there is a little discussed rule around Roth IRAs.  We know that they grow tax free.  We know that we can take contributions out at any time without penalty.  We also, know that at age 59 ½ we can start taking from either our IRA or our Roth accounts. But what most people miss is the 5 year clock on Roths.  The Roth rules say that to take distributions tax-free and penalty-free, your Roth account has to have been open for at least 5 years.  That means when you turn 59 ½ your account also has to be at least 5 years old.  I’ve been asked by clients if the clock resets each time they make a contribution; or does each contribution have its own 5 year clock.  The answer is no.  The clock starts when the account is first opened. In 99% of cases, the clock is a ...

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Don’t Forget To Protect The Golden Goose

I have delivered insurance checks in my career and nobody has ever told me they have too much life insurance after a loved one dies. It’s really ironic because there are many media pundits who beat up on having unnecessary life insurance, but those writers don’t have to pick up the pieces after a major breadwinner dies in a family. Recent studies still say that the odds of dying are 1 out of 1. LOL. Even though I think that most families are woefully underinsured when it comes to life insurance, the greatest gap I see amongst Generation X and Generation Y is an apathetic amount of disability insurance. Most people who work for companies believe that the amount of disability insurance they get through work will be adequate to cover their situation should they sustain a long term disability. The stark reality is that most Gen X’ers an Gen Y’ers don’t even read the benefits manual to understand the ...

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How Does The My RA Work?

Trapped in my office by the Snowpocalypse that hit Atlanta on last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to watch the State of the Union (#sotu) Address delivered by President Obama.   There is a whole lot of financial topics we could talk about on Your Smart Money Moves, but I’d like to review the topic around the new proposed investment vehicle called the MyRA.  Since we already have the SEP-IRA, SIMPLE-IRA, Rollover IRA, Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, Beneficial IRA, etc., wouldn’t it have just been easier to call it the My IRA instead of the new urban dictionary word called MyRA? The concept behind the MyRA account would be a new type of bond within a Roth IRA-type umbrella.  Contributions would not be tax-deductible, but earnings would be tax-free when you withdraw it in the future.  It’s unclear about how closely the rules on this account shadow the rules of the current Roth IRA. The investment vehicle would be a new ...

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Is Your Retirement Plan Full Of Swiss Cheese

Last year, I did a piece on retirement planning assumptions.    As I continue to see more and more plans done by other financial advisory firms, I become more concerned about consumers.    Most projections that are done in business or in your personal household need to carry assumptions.   These are the variables in the equation that allow to make a reasonable assessment about what needs to be done when you are trying to achieve your goals.  When you last did your projections for retirement through the tools offered from your 401(k) plan or the nifty 35 page book your financial advisor put together, are you sure the assumptions that were made were explained to you clearly?  You may have left feeling great about yourself only to realize now that your plan is full of gigantic Swiss cheese like holes.   Here are ten assumptions you need to consider within your plan.  I highly recommend as a smart money move you use conservative ...

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Did You Just Receive An Inheritance?

At some point in your life, you may receive an inheritance when a family member or loved one passes away.    One of the questions we often get asked about revolves around how to make smart money moves when this type of event happens.    Here are some of the things I would recommend considering if money or property is bestowed upon you. 1. Do Nothing For 60 Days –  When people inherit property, investment assets, or collectibles far too often I see people immediately buy themselves something or sell assets too quickly.    Make sure you take a complete inventory of everything you received, revisit your financial plan, and just simply build yourself a due diligence period before making any concrete decisions.   Allowing this time to pass will give you the ability to make more fact based than emotional decisions. 2. Understand Tax Implications –  Based upon the size of the overall inheritance, you could potentially owe estate taxes which will be ...

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Smart Financial Moves After A Divorce

Divorce is one of those life events that may be one of the most difficult transitions any person has to make.  Some of the divorces end up amicably, while others end up with such irreconcilable differences that the two parties never speak again.   While lawyers usually end up in the middle of the finances when a couple gets divorced, here are five things I would recommend you consider reviewing after a divorce. 1. Check Your Credit Report–  When people are married, it isn’t always discussed on who is the owner of a particular credit card or loan obligation.  Reviewing all of your credit cards and loan obligations to make sure you are not joint on any of those items after the divorce, and ensuring your credit report is in good standing is an important step to take. 2. Review Your Beneficiary Designations–  Remember that items such as your 401(k), IRA’s, and insurance policies have a named beneficiary.  Despite what your ...

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