When it comes to investing our hard-earned savings, it’s difficult to remove emotion from our decision making, especially as those savings fluctuate up and down with the market. For most people these assets are grown over decades through saving and hard work – how could we not be emotionally attached? Especially when considering retirement assets, a portfolio can feel like a member of the family; they’ve seen the good times and the bad, from the job we loved to the one we didn’t, from our youngest child’s wedding to our first health scare. However long you’ve been invested, it’s likely that you know the feeling of watching the markets drop and the inevitable sinking stomach feeling. Perhaps that feeling and the corresponding worry stayed with us longer than it took for the market and our portfolios to recover and now informs our current financial decision-making. Why then, can few of us mark the moments in time when our investments grew significantly and we celebrated their success?
Technology continues to alter and evolve the way in which we transact with each other and the world around us. We’ve moved from computers being a luxury in the late 1980s, when less than 1% of the world’s technology-stored information was in digital format, to today, where people can hold a computer in their hands and nearly all information is stored digitally.
Along with the mass adoption of technology, the traditional means of executing and recording financial transactions has shifted significantly and continues to do so. Major financial custodians are changing some of their longstanding client service offerings in order to keep up with the ways in which their clients transact in today’s economy.
Welcome to a new year! With the holidays and celebrations behind you, it’s time to plan for the year ahead. If you have one or more retirement accounts and are over the age of 70 ½, taking your required minimum distribution (RMD) will be on the “to do” list for you and your financial advisor.
What’s an RMD and why do I have to take money out of my retirement accounts?
The biggest benefit of saving in retirement accounts is tax-free growth, meaning you never pay capital gains tax as the assets increase in value over time (motivation to start saving early!). The IRS, however, doesn’t want you and your beneficiaries to receive this benefit for eternity so, at the age of 70 ½, you must start taking money out of the account. Roth IRAs are an exception in that distributions aren’t required during the original owner’s lifetime but, after the owner’s death, beneficiaries are required to take annual distributions over the course of their lifetimes.
Selecting a financial advisor can be both confusing and daunting – we get it.
What’s the difference between an advisor working at a firm like Morgan Stanley and an advisor working for a local, independent firm? There are actually many differences, but one place to start is understanding the various financial advisor qualifications associated with investment management and financial planning.
Imagine if your doctor followed this standard when recommending medical treatment: you need a treatment for a serious ailment and the doctor recommends a “suitable” treatment. Not the best or most appropriate treatment, but a suitable one. He could offer you superior treatment, but instead he recommends a treatment using a pharmaceutical company that, in fact, pays him a good deal of money for such recommendations.