Monthly Archive for: ‘November, 2014’

How much are you paying for investments & advice? New rules tell you exactly how much.

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Ken Stern, Aligned Capital Partners Now that the cost of do-it-yourself investing has been pounded almost into the ground, we need to do something about people who have advisers. A DIY investor can build a simple but effective portfolio of exchange-traded funds with commission costs of $10 down to nothing per transaction, and only a tiny cost of ownership. In …

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Optimize your after-tax income. If you own a corporation, listen up. You likely know some of these strategies.

Understanding The New Wealth Surtax2

When running a private business, you need cash flow to support your lifestyle. The challenge is minimizing personal taxes, while optimizing income. But removing money from your company for your benefit requires careful planning. Here are some of your options to extract cash. Each has unique considerations and income tax consequences. Salary and/or bonus These options are deductible by the …

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There are many reasons to buy life insurance – some of which may surprise you. Here are 6 good ones.

Life Insurance Senior Couple

For many people, their first experience with life insurance is when a friend or acquaintance gets an insurance license. In my case, a college friend, recently hired by a major insurance company, contacted me (along with all of his other friends) to buy a $10,000 policy underwritten by his company. Unfortunately, however, this is how most people acquire life insurance …

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

Signing Testament

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!


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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