Do you think Estate Planning isn’t for you? Think again. Here are some pitfalls to avoid.

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To say estate planning can be problematic is a gross understatement. Administering an estate can be compared to undertaking a renovation—it’s almost guaranteed something will go wrong. It can be relatively minor, or land the estate in court and cause irreparable harm to family relationships. Most problems can be avoided or minimized and managed via good planning. This involves more …

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When should you take CPP? If you’re 60 or over it’s worth considering. Here are the break even points.

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By far, the most popular question I get on CPP is whether it makes sense to take CPP early. Let’s start by reviewing the rules. Although the normal age of benefit for CPP is 65, you can take CPP as early as age 60 but if you take it early, you will receive a reduced amount. A change in reduction …

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Beware of extra surcharges on your hotel bill. One guy had a mandatory $10 tip for the bellhop added to his bill – and the Bellhop never even got it!

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Today, Peter Greenberg sat down on CBS This Morning to discuss how many hotels are like airlines and charge guests extra fees. In 2013, hotels earned an additional $2.25 billion from fees and surcharges, which is a 6 percent increase from the previous year. It’s also nearly double the amount hotels were earning a decade ago. So, what are these …

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Don’t bank on an AVERAGE retirement. You could drown in a river with an average depth of 1 foot!

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The four most dangerous words in long-term financial planning are, “Let’s assume I’m average.” Averages can play an extremely useful role in grounding our expectations and showing us what’s realistic and what’s not. They’re not, however, an infallible guide to how you should conduct your affairs, because they don’t show you the gap between worst and best cases. >>Read more

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The stock market problem: Too much up; not enough down. Corrections are part of investing.

Ken Stern, Aligned Capital Partners Too much up, and not enough down. That’s the problem with the stock market today, believe it or not. Investing pros are worried that after a five-year surge to new highs, the stock markets are going to fall. They will fall, and it will be ugly. Expect screaming headlines and big play on TV newscasts. …

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The Perfect Investment portfolio? No one knows what will happen next so it’s prepared for all environments, but committed to none.

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Ken Stern, Aligned Capital Partners Like most people who write about finance, I have a problem. My job makes it effectively impossible for me to manage my own investment portfolio. When I first became a full-time investment writer back in 2007, I had to sell all my stock … in Diageo (I don’t even want to think about how much …

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Ensure you don’t run out of money before you run out of breath!

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Shortly after my great-uncle and great-aunt retired, they came up with what seemed like a foolproof plan. They would take the modest pension that my Uncle Jim had accumulated since emigrating from Scotland, sell their house, and say goodbye to brutal Lake Erie winters forever. As my Aunt Mary told my parents, they intended to spend “the last few years …

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A portfolio is like a bar of soap. The more you touch it the smaller it gets.

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Ken Stern, Aligned Capital Partners Set up a long-term investment plan and stick to it. It’s easy to say and difficult to do. What makes it so hard are the inevitable market extremes, which range from “I can retire today” euphoria to “I hate the stock market” depression. At both ends of the spectrum, it’s hard to see how your …

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Buy Low/Sell high is the secret to successful investing. Buy High – Sell Low? That’s backwards but most have a hard time keeping this discipline.

Ken Stern, Aligned Capital Partners If you think about it, Buy Low, Sell High is the secret to investing.  Logically, it’s tough for anyone to refute that statement.  So why is it so hard to do?  It’s simply because psychology gets in the way.  I’ve said many times that when it comes to money, psychology is more powerful than logic. …

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