Selecting A Qualified Financial Advisor

During times of economic hardship, it is critical for investors to make good investment decisions and equally critical to choose a financial advisor who can provide knowledgeable and ethical guidance along with sound fiduciary advice. While investors assume that their chosen advisor has their best interest at heart, that unfortunately, may not always be the case.

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Election Impact On The Market

Now that the major party conventions are behind us, investors are contemplating the implications of this year’s presidential election may have on financial markets. While there have been numerous empirical studies of stock market performance around elections, the only prediction that has proven to be statistically dependable, is that the market strengthens in the last two years of an incumbent’s term.

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Ring In The New Year By Revisiting Your Financial Plan

In order to keep pace with changes in your life, your financial plan should function as a “living” document. As your life goals and aspirations evolve, your financial plan needs to be adapted to support those modifications. The New Year is an ideal time to evaluate, and if necessary, update your plan.

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Tax Efficient Investment Strategies Improve Total Return

Depending on your tax bracket and the type of gains realized, the IRS can chew up to 43.8% of it in taxes.Simply put, tax efficiency is a measure of how much of an investment’s return is left over after taxes are paid. Tax efficiency shouldn’t become so much of the focus that it degrades your portfolio performance; rather it should help preserve gains as much as possible.

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Reconsidering The Role Of Bond Funds

Bonds are an important part of a well diversified investment portfolio. They are widely viewed as a safe, low risk component for investment allocations, with an aim of preserving capital and generating income.  Bonds function like loans. Investors provide money for a period of time to finance projects. When the bond matures, the principal is returned, and interest is paid along the way.

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Considering Dividend Paying Stocks

The quickly changing market landscape makes it more difficult for investors to figure out what strategies will help grow their portfolio. Just when you think you’ve adjusted for market factors, like low interest rates, something new gets thrown into the mix. Uncertainty and the changing marketplace is one reason that investors may want to consider adding dividend-paying stocks to their portfolio.

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Department of Labor's Retirement Account Fiduciary Rule Faces Challenge

Since the passing of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in 1974, the Department of Labor (DOL) has had authority to protect tax-deferred retirement savings accounts. In April 2016, under the Obama administration, the DOL announced a new fiduciary rule for 401(k) and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA).

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Changes in Social Security Rules Impact Retirement Plans

The Freedom of Work Act, which was passed in 2000, changed social security rules to provide benefit options for individuals who either continued to work, or returned to work after filing for social security benefits. Specifically, the rules allowed an individual to suspend their benefits after filing. While suspended, the benefit amount went up each year, earning delayed retirement credits.

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Retiring Zero Interest Rate

Not long ago, the prescription for investing for retirement was simple. Save as much as possible while working, and gradually become more conservative with your investments as retirement approaches. This strategy was frequently implemented in the past by converting growth oriented portfolios, which were comprised mainly of stocks, into income oriented portfolios, which focused more on fixed income or bonds.

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