The Stock Market is Not the Economy

Paul FennerBusiness & Economics

John Rekenthaler, who is Vice President of Research for Morningstar, wrote a piece recently, The Stock Market Is Not the Economy.  In his article, Rekenthaler noted that stock prices are only tenuously connected to general economic conditions. Rekenthaler went on to say, “For one, stocks anticipate future developments rather than dwell on current affairs. For another, neither employment statistics nor … Read More

Eight Tactics That Can Help You to Prepare for a Recession

Paul FennerPersonal Finance

At one point during my corporate career, I was unexpectedly transitioned out of my current role.  At the time, my four kids were five or younger, and I had no idea what I would do.  At that point in my life, I, unfortunately, allowed my career to define a large part of who I was. The economy doesn’t have to … Read More

How to Make the Most of Year End Tax Planning

Paul FennerTax Planning

Planning

There should be three times per year when tax planning should be front and center of your overall wealth management plan; Beginning (January/February), middle (June/July), and the end of the year (November/December). Planning at the beginning of the year should be focused on the following; What are your retirement contributions plans?  Are you focused on 401(k), IRA, or both?  If … Read More

Understanding Risk; Four Ways to Help Your Wealth Management Plan

Paul FennerPersonal Finance

There are typically three risk profiles that investors are assigned to within the financial services industry, which is conservative, moderate, and aggressive. These categories are usually defined by an investor’s; Time Horizon – age and when you expect to need assets, Long-Term Goals & Expectations – views of how an investment should perform, Short-Term Risk Attitudes – views towards short-term … Read More

One of the Best Retirement Savings Vehicles You May Not Know About

Paul FennerRetirement Planning

One of the best retirement savings vehicles that many people may not realize is a Healthcare Savings Account (HSA).  An HSA is a tax-advantaged account created for individuals covered under high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) to save for medical expenses that HDHPs do not cover. Rather than using these accounts for current medical costs, you should consider utilizing the multiple tax … Read More

Three Factors That Affect Your Social Security Decision

Paul FennerRetirement Planning

I am often asked the critical question of should I take my social security benefits early or wait until full retirement age or beyond?  Issuing a blanket response or answer to that question can lead people down the wrong path, especially on this subject.  While many people would benefit the most by waiting until they reach their full retirement age … Read More

What is Asset Allocation and How Does It Impact Your Investments

Paul FennerPortfolio Management

One of the key drivers of investment performance is asset allocation.  Extensive research by Vanguard has shown that 88% of your investment returns can be traced back to your asset allocation.  Asset allocation is the balance between three main asset classes, equities (stocks), fixed-income (bonds), and cash and equivalents. As I laid out in the piece, Risk Perception vs. Your … Read More

Four Ways to Protect Yourself from Ponzi Schemes

Paul FennerPersonal Finance

I had a friend text me this story about Kevin Garnett, who is yet another high profile athlete or entertainer who has come out on the wrong end of some horrible financial advice (see here and here).  Within the text, my friend asked, “how does this happen to people?”  My response is, as long as there are people with money … Read More

Six Last-Minute Strategies to Save for College

Paul FennerEducation Planning

Advising parents who haven’t started saving for college a little too late can be a very difficult conversation.  Telling a student who has worked diligently over the last 3 or 4 years to get into a prestigious college or the college of their dreams that they can’t afford to go is gut-wrenching. The Cost of College is Still Increasing While … Read More

3 Tactics to Help Simplify Wealth Planning

Paul FennerPersonal Finance

The best wealth management plan has nothing to do with “outside forces” beyond your control, but rather everything to do with what’s most important to you.  Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the supposed complexity surrounding financial decisions, a straightforward wealth management plan can bring clarity and peace of mind about which strategies will work best for your situation. What, How, … Read More