Monday, September 24, 2012

10 Dumbest Money Moves

Ever made a big mistake with your money?  Lots of us have.  In a recent article called "My 10 Dumbest Money Moves - And How You Can Avoid Them," Stacy Johnson of MoneyTalkNews discusses ten frequently-made money mistakes and what you can do to avoid making them.  The ten mistakes he describes include:

1) Not having a goal.
2) Not having a spending plan.
3) Attempting to derive self-esteem from possessions.
4) Doing what everyone else is doing.
5) Starting to save large and late rather than small and soon.
6) Paying interest to buy things that drop in value.
7) Turning down free money.
8) Buying a new car.
9) Buying more house than you need or can afford.
10) Not protecting your good credit.

To read the full article, click here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Coffee, Wine, and Children: Choose Experience and Expertise

By Dan Danford, MBA, CFP®
Founder and CEO of Family Investment Center

It’s the toughest hurdle we face.  People just assume that all investment people and firms are alike.  That’s a bit like assuming that all coffee is alike, or all wine is alike, or all children are alike.  The idea makes me laugh. 

It’s simply not true.  I lead a local team that manages nearly $100 million for clients.  Actually manages it; follow it daily, analyze the investments, and make changes as necessary.  Every single day, and we’ve been doing it for almost fifteen years.  It’s an awesome responsibility, and we take it very seriously. 

Few of your acquaintances have this kind of expertise or experience.  In fact, few people in this region have this kind of expertise.  You may know others who sell investments or insurance or mutual funds, but they probably don’t manage portfolios.  Selling is very different from managing, and it’s very dangerous to confuse the two.

You may know a lot about investing, but it’s likely a very limited view.  Even if you’ve been doing it for a long time, you’ve only observed one set of circumstances.  You know only the investments that you’ve owned since you started.  That’s a very small sample size.

Plus, how would you know that something else didn’t work better?  Every decision has an opportunity cost, and few do-it-yourselfers (even fewer investment salespeople) carefully review all options.  Financial success is always about choosing pathways to a particular objective, but different paths may be safer, or faster, or easier. 

Seriously, I get it.  You want convenience, simplicity, and value for your family.  And you know that finance and investing is important for accomplishing your dreams.  Here’s the key: ask someone who really knows the answers.  Seek out genuine expertise and experience.

Advisors – like coffee, wine, and children – aren’t all the same.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How not to blow it with financial aid

In Rachel Louise Ensign's Wall Street Journal article "How Not to Blow It With Financial Aid," she explains common mistakes parents and students make when seeking help with college costs.  Some of the common mistakes include:

  • Earning too much at the wrong time.
  • Letting the wrong family members hold college money.
  • Making assumptions about what schools will offer.
  • Thinking merit money is all about grades and SATs.
  • Not applying for all the aid you're eligible for.
  • Figuring the "expected family contribution" is all you're paying.
  • Going for the loan with the lowest interest rate.
  • Thinking an aid offer is set in stone.
  • Figuring aid will be about the same all four years.

Click here to read the full article for more information.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Which political party is better for the market?

Have the markets performed better with Democrats or Republicans in office?  You may be surprised!  Check out this article by Jerry Webman, Chief Economist at Oppenheimer Funds: