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3 Steps to Protect Your Financial Identity

Beginning in 2016, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated every October Nation Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), in an effort to raise awareness of safer online activities. Here are 3 simple steps to protect your financial identity: Prevent Prevent criminals from obtaining confidential information by taking the following steps: Freeze your own Social Security number, plus have others within your span of care (spouse or partner, children, elderly parents) do the same. Store financial documents in a
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A Tale of Two Decades: Lessons for Long‑Term Investors

The first decade of the 21st century, and the second one that’s drawing to a close, have reinforced for investors some timeless market lessons: Returns can vary sharply from one period to another. Holding a broadly diversified portfolio can help smooth out the swings. And focusing on known drivers of higher expected returns can increase the potential for long-term success. Having a sound strategy built on those principles—and sticking to it through good times and bad—can be a rewarding investment
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Why Dismissing Social Security in Your Retirement Plan Is a Mistake

When the subject of Social Security comes up during retirement planning conversations, both younger and older investors often greet it with a healthy dose of cynicism. Such discussions tend to include comments like, “Oh yeah, sure. If there’s even anything left for me” or “Isn’t Social Security going bankrupt?” Sometimes I hear a more draconian stance, like, “I just plan on it not being around when I’m retired.” This last viewpoint actually is quite common. According to a study by AARP,
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Invest in the S&P 500 and forget it? Hope you have a strong stomach!

Invest in the S&P 500 and forget it: Every so often, this advice becomes more and more popular from the media and well-intended TV personalities with the intent to simplify investment management. I’m a huge fan of simplifying; however, this advice can also be misleading, dangerous, and rob you of proven and disciplined long-term opportunities. Why is this so popular now? It just so happens that over the past 10 years, the S&P 500, which we show as Asset Class
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IPOs: Profiles Are High. What About Returns?

Initial public offerings (IPOs) often attract initial public interest—especially when familiar brands become broadly available to investors for the first time. In recent months, investors have had the opportunity to buy shares of ride‑hailing networks Uber and Lyft, workplace productivity services Zoom and Slack, and other high-profile businesses ranging from Pinterest to Beyond Meat. News outlets contribute to the frenzy, building anticipation, tracking the early hours of trading, and casting judgment on the IPO’s success. Investors, perhaps lured by tales of outsized returns, try to get
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Why Is Inflation So Low? (And What to Do About It)

Ronald Reagan famously described inflation as being “as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” While the inflation experienced under President Reagan was all those things, inflation over the past decade would struggle to get a ticket for jaywalking. Since the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, inflation has been low. The Federal Reserve, the government agency responsible for keeping unemployment down and prices stable, has been formally targeting a
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Timing Isn’t Everything

Over the course of a summer, it’s not unusual for the stock market to be a topic of conversation at barbecues or other social gatherings. A neighbor or relative might ask about which investments are good at the moment. The lure of getting in at the right time or avoiding the next downturn may tempt even disciplined, long-term investors. The reality of successfully timing markets, however, isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. OUTGUESSING THE MARKET IS DIFFICULT Attempting to buy
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The Randomness of Global Equity Returns

Investment opportunities exist all around the globe. Across more than 40 countries, there are over 15,000 publicly traded companies. If you listen to the news, however, some countries may seem like better places to invest than others based on how their economies and stock markets are doing at the time. Fluctuations in performance from year to year only add to the complexity, providing little useful information about future returns. Daunted by the prospects of sorting it out, some investors look
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Can You Win in a Lose-Lose Game: Tariffs and Trade Wars

“We’re On The Brink Of An All-Out Trade War!” “Market Futures Fall As Investors Anticipate New Tariffs!” “What Will Happen If Trade Tensions Escalate!?” Chances are you’ve seen headlines like these over the past few months. The media can’t stop talking about tariffs and trade tensions and how they might harm the U.S. economy. But are tariffs really that bad? Is it true that we’re approaching a full-blown trade war with China? In this piece, we hope to untangle reality from
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Tim Maurer’s Top 10 Personal Finance Books

Tim Maurer was assigned a task: put together a list of his five favorite books from the world of personal finance. He came up with 10. In this video, Maurer, director of advisor development for the BAM ALLIANCE, walks us through his wide-ranging library, which includes books that focus on financial planning, behavioral economics, life planning, and a bonus pair that aren’t necessarily about money but can help change the way you look at money.     The Rent Collector,
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