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Article Title

Author

Description

Date

Tax-Loss Harvesting: Opportunities and Obstacles

Jeffrey S. Williams

Although it’s never fun to endure market downturns, tax-loss harvesting is a tool that – when properly applied – can convert market downturns into tangible tax savings. Read more on determining when and how to take advantage of a tax-loss harvesting opportunity while avoiding potential obstacles.

1/10/17

Presidents, Politics and Your Portfolio: Thinking Beyond Stage One

Ellen A. Winter

Reacting to predictions about a future event – in this case, the U.S. presidential election – before objectively considering its long-term implications can result in less-than-ideal outcomes. Before acting on an event’s initial (stage-one) anticipated results, it’s best to engage in stage-two thinking by asking a very simple question, “And then what will happen?” Read why we advise investors to establish and maintain a well-planned, long-term approach to managing their investments especially when politics are heated and emotions run high.

10/4/16

What If Everyone Were a Passive Investor?

Jeffrey S. Williams

From the start, we’ve embraced an investment strategy that differs from traditional, active attempts to beat the market. While some may call it “passive,” we prefer to think of it as evidence-based investing – a patient, long-term approach to capturing the market’s expected returns. Unsurprisingly, as this approach gains momentum, some who favor active management paint passive investing as the enemy to free market economies. We discuss why we disagree, and why we believe there is a place for all types of investors.

10/4/16

Our Perspective on the Department of Labor’s New Fiduciary Rule

Ellen A. Winter

Earlier this year, the Department of Labor finalized its much-anticipated fiduciary ruling. Beginning in April 2017, anyone offering advice about retirement assets will be legally required to do so according to an investor’s highest interests. Read why we support the ruling, and why we’ve always put our clients’ interests first.

7/6/16

Survivorship Bias and Other Tricks of the Trade

Jeffrey S. Williams

When an analysis of past investment fund returns omits the returns from funds that were closed or merged into other funds, survivorship bias occurs. Learn why the returns of funds that no longer exist matter, and how an analysis marred by survivorship is likely to report overly optimistic outcomes for the group of funds being considered.

7/6/16

Timeless Tips on Tax-Wise Investing: Part II

Jeffrey S. Williams

Continuing our discussion from the first quarter, we explore two other important areas of tax-efficient investing – asset location and coordination among advisors. Asset location is the practice of placing different asset classes in the appropriate type of account to manage taxable income. And ensuring that your financial advisors work together to manage tax-related events is critical.

4/6/16

Healthier Saving with a Health Savings Account

Steven A. Starnes

Although health savings accounts (HSAs) have been in existence for some time, many people are unaware of the tax benefits they provide. Read why we advise clients to maximize contributions to an HSA, if it’s an option available to them, for both current and future health expenses.

4/6/16

Timeless Tips on Tax-Wise Investing: Part I

Jeffrey S. Williams

Read about best practices for year-round tax-efficient investing. These include your own habits as well as the policies and practices of your investment fund managers and financial advisors.

1/7/16

New Year’s Resolution: Prepare for Your Long-Term Care

Steven A. Starnes

While financial and long-term care planning cannot cure dementia, it can help families better manage the challenges that arise. Read about three essential steps you can take to prepare for your long-term care.

1/7/16

Evidence-Based Investment Insights: Part III

Jeffrey S. Williams

Part III of our three-part series on investing with evidence instead of emotion continues with a discussion on the human factor of investing. Read how the study of behavioral finance helps us understand how we can avoid sabotaging our own best-laid investment plans.

10/1/15

Evidence-Based Investment Insights: Part II

Jeffrey S. Williams

Part II of our three-part series on investing with evidence instead of emotion continues with a discussion on portfolio structure. Read how managing the market factors you can expect to control, and avoiding the temptation to react to those you cannot, helps you construct a portfolio that allows the market to build long-term capital wealth on your behalf.

7/1/15

Five Easy Steps for Your Mid-Year Check-Up

Ellen A. Winter

At the half-way point of 2015, we suggest five financial planning steps to confirm you are on track to meet your savings goals for the year and to ensure that you have funds available to cover taxes and other big-ticket expense items.

7/1/15

Evidence-Based Investment Insights: Part I

Jeffrey S. Williams

Before academic evidence showed us otherwise, many investors assumed the best way to make money in the markets was by outwitting others at forecasting future prices. Read why this approach and other outdated strategies have failed to deliver higher returns.

4/1/15

Revisiting the Social Security Decision

Ellen A. Winter

Many people assume they should start collecting Social Security retirement benefits as soon as they can, at age 62. That may or may not produce the best results for everyone. Learn why waiting to collect may maximize the value of your benefits while minimizing longevity risk.

4/1/15

Is the Market Overvalued?

Jeffrey S. Williams

With stock values near all-time highs, coupled with increased volatility in the global equity markets, some investors wonder if stocks have become overpriced – and if we are overdue for a stock market correction. Read why speculating on the market’s near-term movements can distract you from the key decisions that actually do contribute to the long-term success of your portfolio.

10/30/14

Ellen A. Winter

In today’s environment of cyber fraud, there has been an increase in reports of data breaches at major retailers and financial institutions. Learn what basic steps you can and should take to limit your vulnerability.

10/30/14

Personal Financial Efficiency vs. Clutter

Ellen A. Winter

Read why decluttering your personal finances is about more than just reducing paper. Streamlining your bank, retirement and investment accounts can help you save on unnecessary costs, protect your identity, and most importantly, achieve clarity and confidence about your financial well-being.

4/30/14

The High-End, Home-Spun Wisdom of Warren Buffett

Jeffrey S. Williams

We have long admired Warren Buffett’s success in business and investing. However, it is the practical and simple advice he offers to investors that impresses us most.

4/30/14

An Investment Strategy Built to Last

Jeffrey S. Williams

Read why a solid investment strategy should be based on the evidence of how markets actually work, and should make sense not only to financial economists but to investors as well.

1/30/14

Another Year, Another Chance to Optimize Your Wealth

Ellen A. Winter

Sound health care and a financially secure retirement are two costly yet high-priority goals. Learn why getting a head start on 2014 retirement and health care account funding – and taking advantage of the tax incentives available on these accounts – can help achieve those important goals.

1/30/14

Avoiding Home Bias: Going Global With Your Investments

Jeffrey S. Williams

Home bias – the tendency of investors to over-invest in their own country’s securities – may seem like a safe bet. But decades of academic research reinforce the value of diversifying your portfolio to include a meaningful allocation to foreign stocks.

10/23/13

Planning for College Costs: 529 Plans and More

Ellen A. Winter

As the cost of higher education continues to climb, it is essential to plan ahead for college expenses. While 529 plans may be the best option for many families, there are other college savings vehicles that may be more attractive to some.

10/23/13

Improving on Financial Literacy: How Do We Spell Success?

Ellen A. Winter

The results of a National Financial Capability Study are in, and the results may be surprising. Based on a five-question financial literacy quiz administered to over 25,000 adults, it is clear that there is room for improvement in our knowledge of personal finance and money management.

8/1/13

Timeless Wisdom on Fixed Income Investing

Jeffrey S. Williams

For both stocks and bonds, market seasons come and go. Read why a fixed income allocation remains an important component of many investors’ portfolios, even when bond returns disappoint.

8/1/13

Beyond Asset Allocation: Why Asset Allocation Matters

Jeffrey S. Williams

Most investors understand the concept of asset allocation, or the way your money is invested among various asset classes. But they may not know that the accounts in which different assets are held can affect the after-tax return of their portfolio. Learn why an asset location strategy can enhance the performance of your investments.

4/30/13

Teaching Your Children About Money

Ellen A. Winter

Not surprisingly, children learn money habits from their parents. Read how you can talk to your child about personal finance and set a positive example in the way you manage your money.

4/30/13

What Does the Payroll Tax Increase Mean for You?

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

The focus on income tax rates during the recent “fiscal cliff” negotiations may have diverted attention from a tax increase affecting all wage earners: the temporary 2 percent reduction in the FICA payroll tax was not extended. While you can’t avoid the payroll tax increase, there are opportunities to manage your overall tax burden.

2/5/2013

Why Global Diversification Makes Sense

Jeffrey S. Williams

Although some investors are averse to investing in international equities, we believe the stocks of international developed and emerging markets have a place in a well-diversified portfolio. Read about the value of a globally-diversified portfolio investing in both U.S. and international equities.

2/5/2013

Instutional Asset Class Funds Help You Benefit from Asset Class Investing

Jeffrey S. Williams

Asset class mutual funds offer attractive benefits, such as lower operating expenses and less turnover. Read about the features that make these investment options prudent choices for most investors.

11/1/2012

Women and Money: Taking Control of Your Future

 

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

 

Although women have made tremendous strides toward achieving economic equality with men, they still face an uphill climb to financial security. Learn what obstacles women encounter, and what they can do to enhance their money management skills.

11/1/2012

401(k) Fees Become More Transparent

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

New fee disclosure rules, which became effective July 1, 2012, require employers to disclose to their 401(k) plan participants all fees being charged to participants for plan investments and administration. Read what both employees and employers should know about the cost of their 401(k) plan.

7/25/2012

Diversifying a Portfolio with Real Estate

Jeffrey S. Williams

Individual investors have not traditionally had ready access to a professionally-managed, diversified real estate portfolio. With the development and growth of real estate investment trusts, or REITs, that has changed. Learn how REITs function and why a real estate component improves overall portfolio diversification.

7/25/2012

Municipal Bond Worries

Jeffrey S. Williams

Over the past few years, some prominent industry analysts predicted widespread municipal defaults in the US. While this has not yet been the case, no one knows what the future holds for the municipal bond market. However, it does pay to understand the principles of the market and how to manage risk in any fixed income portfolio.

5/2/2012

Consider Exchanging Your High-Cost Variable Annuity for a Lower-Cost Option

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

While variable annuities can be attractive savings vehicles, offering tax-deferred growth and an array of investment options, they have historically been expensive. Read about the trend toward lower-cost variable annuities and why it makes sense to consider converting a high-cost annuity to one of the new lower-cost options.

5/2/2012

Is it Time to Hire a New Advisor?

Ellen A. Winter

As markets and investors’ accounts have recovered following the global financial crisis, it may be time to reevaluate your current investment approach and advisor. Before making any changes, read about some questions to ask and what to expect if your decide to move your accounts.

2/2/2012

Thinking in Real Terms

Jeffrey S. Williams

Some individual investors and professional money managers have shifted their portfolios to money market funds and other cash investments, waiting for the economy to improve before returning to the stock market. Understand why this strategy may be eroding an investor’s wealth rather than protecting it.

2/2/2012

Living With Volatility
Dimensional
Fund Advisors
Investors may feel anxious, afraid and powerless when financial markets experience increased volatility. Read why acting on those emotions can end up doing more harm than good.

10/26/2011

The Behavior Gap

Jeffrey S. Williams
Many stock investors have failed to make good investment decisions, attempting to time the market and not holding funds long enough. Read why investor returns are far more dependent on investor behavior than on fund performance.

10/26/2011

Three Approaches to Investing

Jeffrey S. Williams

Although research indicates that an investment portfolio’s asset allocation is the overwhelming factor in determining its long-term return, some investors – and advisors – use other approaches to investing. Learn about the three primary approaches, and why we believe the Asset Allocation Approach is the most effective and prudent.

7/26/2011

Should You Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

Long-term care is expensive – as is the insurance often used to manage the financial risk of a long-term illness or injury. Understand your options for covering the cost of long-term care, and the factors to consider in assessing what's right for you.

7/26/2011

Retirement Planning Revisited

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

While much is unknown about the future of employer and government-provided retirement resources, knowing your needs and understanding how you can meet those needs is essential. Learn why it’s an especially critical time to reevaluate your retirement goals.

4/22/2011

Investing: Is It Different This Time?

Jeffrey S. Williams

Despite two years of strong equity returns, some investors wonder if they face a “new normal” in which stocks offer lower returns in the future. We look back at other turbulent periods in the history of the US economy and consider the parallels to today.

4/22/2011

Deficits, Debt and Markets

Jeffrey S. Williams

As government spending hits record levels around the globe, there is added concern on the part of investors that higher levels of sovereign debt may drag down economies and financial markets. Read about the impact a country’s deficit and debt levels have on economic growth and market returns.

1/26/2011

Benefits of Working with a Professional Financial Advisor

Jeffrey S. Williams

Studies consistently show that working with a professional financial advisor lead to better results for investors. Read about the advantages of working with such an advisor and how you might evaluate alternatives.

10/25/2010

New Fee Disclosure Requirements for Retirement Plan Sponsors and Participants

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced long-anticipated fee disclosure requirements that will have a significant impact on retirement plan sponsors, participants and providers. Learn what information plan fiduciaries and service providers must provide under the new regulations.

10/25/2010

Should You Refinance Your Mortgage?

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

With mortgage rates at the lowest point in over 50 years, you may wonder if it's a good time to refinance. Read what factors you should consider as you evaluate your decision.

7/21/2010

Rebalancing Act

Jeffrey S. Williams

Once you have an investment portfolio that matches your current goals and risk tolerance, it is important to preserve its structural integrity, since asset allocation accounts for most of a portfolio's return. However, changes in asset allocation inevitably occur as asset classes experience divergent performance. Read why rebalancing is the remedy to the condition known as "asset drift."

7/21/2010

Managing Inflation Risk

Jeffrey S. Williams

As investors have shifted their concern from weathering the financial crisis to anticipating the inflationary effects of federal spending and debt, many are asking how to prepare for potentially higher inflation. This article explores two basic ways to address uncertainty about inflation and highlights asset groups that may prove useful.

4/21/2010

Uncovering Lost Assets

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

Have you ever wondered if there is a significant amount of money somewhere that belongs to you but that you’ve never taken possession of? Learn how to search online for any unclaimed property that may belong to you.

4/21/2010

Changes in Roth IRA Conversion Rules

Ellen A. Winter

Beginning in 2010, the rules for converting a traditional IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan to a Roth IRA are changing. Read why a Roth IRA conversion deserves serious consideration, and what factors should be evaluated in determining if a conversion makes sense for you.

10/20/2009

Too Much Pessimism?

Jeffrey S. Williams

For the current millennium, the return on the S&P 500 is negative and pessimism is thriving. Read about other periods when pessimism – and optimism – have been rampant, and why it is important to understand the long-term relationship between risk and return.

4/20/2009

Revisiting Your Cash Flow

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

Periodic checkups of your cash flow are an essential part of financial planning. Learn why it’s especially important during an economic and financial downturn.

4/20/2009

Retirement Investing in Challenging Times

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

During a period of market volatility and uncertainty, it is tempting to do something – anything – to protect your retirement portfolio. Before taking action, we recommend pausing to consider a number of factors that could affect the long-term health of your portfolio.

1/27/2009

Lessons Learned From the Current Financial Crisis

Jeffrey S. Williams

Read about the important lessons to be learned from the recent turmoil in the financial markets, and how those lessons can help you make wise decisions and avoid mistakes in your portfolio.

10/28/2008

There Remain Safe Places to Keep Cash

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

The safety of many investments, including cash, has been in question in recent months. Learn about the protection available for cash investments.

10/28/2008

More on Global Investing

Jeffrey S. Williams

Read why we believe international and emerging markets equities should be part of most investors’ portfolios, in spite of the perceived risk of global investments.

7/29/2008

To Build Wealth, Start With a 'Big Picture' Strategy

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

Learn why having a comprehensive financial plan in place before you make important financial decisions can result in greater success at building wealth.

4/22/2008

Senate Testimony Recommends Better Disclosure of 401(k) Fees

Jeffrey S. Williams

Although investment-related fees can take a significant bite out of a 401(k) plan participant's retirement account over the years, most participants say they don't know how much they are paying in fees within their plan account. Learn why the GAO wants both 401(k) plan participants and plan sponsors to be better educated about the costs associated with 401(k) plans.

1/2/2008

Year-End Planning: Focusing on Your Investments

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

Read about several year-end opportunities to reduce your investment-related tax liability, including timing December mutual fund purchases to avoid unnecessary taxes on capital gain distributions and making tax-efficient charitable contributions.

12/3/2007

Don't Overlook the Risk of Disability

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

The risk of becoming disabled during your working years is one that you may not have considered. Learn how disability insurance can help ease the financial burden if you are unable to work.

10/1/2007

Jeffrey S. Williams

Read about what we’ve accomplished at Grand Wealth Management in the past three years, and what we plan for the future.

 9/4/2007

Planning for the Cost of Health Care During Retirement

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

The cost of health care during retirement is an expense item that tends to be overlooked or underestimated. Learn why you should pay attention to the rising health care costs – and what you should do now to prepare for future costs.

8/1/2007

Is it Time to Abandon Small Caps?

Jeffrey S. Williams

Read why we believe that small cap stocks are an integral part of a prudent, well-diversified portfolio.

7/2/2007

Plan Ahead for Charitable Contributions

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

It's not too early to plan for the charitable contributions you'll make this year. Read about opportunities and considerations – along with a few timely reminders – to help with your charitable planning.

6/1/2007

Whose Interests Does Your Financial Advisor Serve?

Jeffrey S. Williams

Investment advisers have traditionally been held to a higher standard than stockbrokers. Learn how a recent court decision may change the rules and hold both to the same standard.

5/1/2007

The New Realities of Retirement Planning

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

Read about the modern-day realities of retirement planning, including changes in Social Security and employer retirement benefits, and why it's important to calculate your retirement needs now.

4/2/2007

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

Doing periodic cash flow "check-ups" is an essential part of financial planning. Learn how a cash flow statement is used to assess other financial goals, such as determining how much life insurance you need and how much you should save for retirement.

3/1/2007

Jeffrey S. Williams

Understand how Modern Portfolio Theory is used to design efficient investment portfolios – those that strike an effective balance between return and risk.

3/1/2007

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

A net worth statement is a "snapshot" of your current financial position that can quickly tell you which aspects of your financial life are on track. Read why calculating your net worth on an annual basis makes sense.

2/1/2007

Jeffrey S. Williams

Historically, returns for U.S. and international equity markets do not move in unison. Learn about the value of a globally diversified portfolio investing in both U.S. and international equities.

2/1/2007

Is Your Personal Data Prepared for an Emergency?

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

Make it a priority to ensure that your personal financial data is safeguarded and accessible in the event of an emergency. See our recommendations for creating a personal information repository and quick-reference guide.

1/2/2007

Year-End Financial Planning Checklist

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

It's not too late to save on your 2006 taxes. See a list of year-end planning tactics that might help you lower your tax liability and work toward reaching your other financial goals.

12/1/2006

Lower Volatility Enhances Returns

Jeffrey S. Williams

Investment volatility is detrimental to investment growth. Learn how volatility affects compund returns, and see an illustration of two portfolios with different levels of volatility.

12/1/2006

The Emotional Curve of Investing

Jeffrey S. Williams

Research on behavioral finance supports what we suspected: Many investors let emotions guide their investment decisions, generally resulting in disappointing performance. Read about the hazards of basing investment decisions on emotions.

11/1/2006

The Pension Protection Act of 2006

 

Ellen A. Winter

 

Although the Act deals primarily with employer-sponsored retirement plans, it includes a number of provisions that benefit individual investors. Read about important changes to IRAs, employee 401(k) deferrals, charitable contributions and 529 college savings plan.

10/2/2006

Rising Above The Noise

Jeffrey S. Williams

Investing, which can seem confusing, is simply about making prudent decisions about selecting and holding investments. Learn what academics and institutional investors know, and how you can follow their lead to make smart investment decisions.  
10/2/2006

                                                                                                                                



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