5 Lessons Learned from the 10 Year US Bull Market

By Eve Kaplan, CFP® We’re celebrating 10 years of a remarkable bull market in US stocks. Here are 5 lessons reinforced during this time: Lesson 1: Stay the Course When Things Get Rough The 2008-09 crash seemed to be The End of the World because the entire banking system (with knock-on effects worldwide) was in […]

Does It Pay Off To Invest In A Financial Plan?

By Eve Kaplan, CFP® Professional Does it pay off to have a financial plan in place? Thanks to a number of new studies, it’s possible to answer this question clearly and unambiguously: Yes.  One such study by Morningstar* tracked households over 15 years and ranked their financial soundness and the quality of their financial decisions […]

Better Annuities Are Fixed Annuities

by Eve Kaplan, Certified Financial Planner ™ In my prior article I explained the kinds of annuities that are “bad” or “ugly” for investors: virtually all variable annuities, including indexed annuities (that are misleadingly categorized at a type of fixed annuity). My objections have to do primarily with cost and the fact that they often are sold […]

Six Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Financial Advisor

by Eve Kaplan, Certified Financial Planner (TM) There are 6 common mistakes people make when engaging a financial advisor — and all of them are avoidable! Before we go through this list, let’s put the issue of paying for financial advice into context. Health and money are two areas of life where everyone benefits from […]

Take a Quiz: Is Your Financial Advisor a “Broker” or a “Financial Planner”?

by Eve Kaplan, Certified Financial Planner (TM) Professional You have a financial advisor, but what kind is he/she? Take this brief quiz to see if you can tell the difference between a “Broker” and a “Financial Planner.” Receive 2 points for all “Yes” answers, and 1 point for all “No” answers: My financial advisor has […]

Showdown in Retirement Planning: “The Wild West” vs. a Uniform Standard of Fiduciary Care

by Eve Kaplan, Certified Financial Planner (TM) Practitioner You might be stuck in “The Wild West” without realizing it. I’m referring to your retirement plan – be it an IRA, 401k, 403b or defined benefit plan. That’s because you likely are missing a Fiduciary Standard of Care. That’s a fancy way of saying your interests, […]

The 3 Main Investment Styles: Pros and Cons

By Eve Kaplan, CFP® There are pros and cons to investing in the three main investment styles: active, passive and “evidence-based investing.” The benefits of “evidence-based investing” will be clearer after reviewing “active” vs. “passive” investing styles. 1. Active Investing through Mutual Funds: “Active” investors aim to “beat the market” (or a portion of a […]

Which is Best: Lump Sum or Pension Annuity?

by Eve Kaplan, Certified Financial Planner(TM) Is a lump sum offer from an employer a better choice than a pension annuity for life? The former provides an immediate up-front amount (say $300,000), but the pension annuity gives you a stream of payments for life (example: $1,350 per month). A number of employers dangle a lump […]

Ring in the Year with Investment Clarity!

 by Eve Kaplan, CFP(R) Practitioner “Out with the old and in the new” – so the old adage goes at the start of each year.  I hope 2014 will bring even more clarity and transparency to the financial planning and investment world so the public is better informed and better protected. Grand Theft, Ponzi-Style: We […]

“The Retirement Gamble”

by Eve Kaplan, CFP(R) Practitioner Have you seen the PBS Frontline documentary “The Retirement Gamble”? PBS ran it again on October 29 on Channel  13 — just in time for Halloween. It’s hard to watch this program without a sense of horror at the way our retirement plan system is rigged to rip off Americans struggling to save for their […]