Required Minimum Distributions: Minimizing the Tax Impact


A required minimum distribution (RMD) refers to the amount of annual withdrawal an investor must take from their qualified retirement accounts (IRA’s, 401k’s, 403b’s etc.) once they have attained 70 ½ years of age.  The IRS maintains a mortality table for investors to use in order to calculate what amount they must withdraw each year. …

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Exchange Traded Funds: Not Always a Passive Approach


The use of exchange traded funds (ETF’s) has become widespread in recent years.   The early incarnation of the ETF was essentially an Index fund which could be traded on an exchange intraday, as opposed to a traditional index fund which was bought and sold directly via the issuing mutual fund company.  In recent years, a…

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A Strong Case: Equal Weighting vs The Dividend Aristocrats


The case for passive investing is a compelling one.  Year after year we hear stock pickers say the same thing, which is “now is the time for active management”.  Yet year after year the data becomes more compelling that stock picking is not a reasonable way to expect to outperform the broad markets.  Standard &…

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Real Estate Investment Trusts: Public vs Private


Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are an asset category with a long history of solid investment returns that do not always demonstrate a direct correlation to the rest of the investment universe.   They have served as an excellent diversifier when combined with other traditional investments. REIT’s are companies that own or finance properties that produce…

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A Look Back At The Financial Crisis: Where Are We Now?


Those of us that lived through the financial crisis of 2008 as active investors remember it quite well.  Many who never invested at all may still remember it rather vividly.  What often gets overlooked is how quickly financial markets recovered in terms of asset prices.   In the aftermath of the financial crisis, the US…

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Umbrella Policy: Should You Have Coverage?


Insurance coverage is a vital part of financial planning.  When most people think of insurance they envision life insurance, auto coverage, homeowners or even in some cases long term care coverage.   However, one of the most overlooked and reasonably inexpensive insurance is that of umbrella insurance.   An umbrella policy is a form of insurance…

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Tax Law Changes in 2018: What You Need to Know


In late 2017 congress finalized the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) which was effective beginning in January 2018.   There were a number of changes to both corporate and personal income tax rules.  A number of these tax laws have a sunset provision that is due to expire beginning 2026.  Let’s take a look at…

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How to understand high yield/junk bonds


The high yield fixed income market, also known as “junk bonds” is often one of the most misunderstood asset classes by many investors.   In recent years with interest rates at historically low levels, many investors have attempted to look at different investments to enhance the cash flow generated from their portfolio.   One such area has…

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Should you worry about market volatility?


How often have we heard that markets are volatile, and you simply need to stay invested rather than panic? To the average investor, the answer is likely countless times. So how reliable are such cliché like statements about investing? The answer is; extremely reliable, so long as you don’t attempt to out think financial markets….

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Back Door Conversions: A Tax-Free Growth Opportunity


Many investors find the thought of using the ROTH IRA for tax-free growth as a very attractive option, but ultimately never participate. This is typically due to their income, which can phase out an investor from making a contribution to a ROTH IRA if it exceeds certain thresholds. However, investors are offered the opportunity to…

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