Safe Harbor Financial Planning

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Financial Planning Update:

  Surprise! No Selloff in 2013
    by Weston Wellington, Dimensional Fund Advisors, January 2014

The unusually strong performance of US stocks in 2013 was a welcome surprise for investors who are following a simple buy-and-hold strategy and a source of exasperation for many professionals caught flatfooted by the steady rise in share prices.

It was the best year for the S&P 500 Index since 1997, with a total return in excess of 32%. The size and value dimensions were even more rewarding: 2013 was the best calendar year since inception for the DFA U.S. Large Cap Value Portfolio, while the DFA U.S. Micro Cap Portfolio had its second-best performance in 32 years of operation.  more

   Near-Retirees Overestimating Withdrawal Needs

Many preretirees have unrealistic ideas about how much they will be able to withdraw for living expenses after entering retirement.  As retirees shift their focus from accumulating assets to creating an ongoing stream of income, many are not prepared to start planning from a new vantage point. This lack of perspective may explain why, according to a recent survey, many retirees anticipate making annual withdrawals that are too large, and run the risk of outliving their assets.  more

   Reality Show for Investors:  "Survivor"

Anyone studying the long-run history of American business cannot help but observe how many of the prominent firms of one era fail to make it to the next.  Free-market economies are characterized not only by intense competition but also by disruptive change.  Sometimes a company’s toughest competitor turns out to be a firm it has never heard of selling a product or service that didn’t exist until recently.  The list of companies that once dominated their industry but have fallen on hard times is lengthy enough to give every thoughtful investor reason for sober reflection.    more


   Four Tips for Tax Smart Investing

At times, you may be able to use losses in your investment portfolio to help offset
 realized gains.

Savvy investors have long realized that what their investments earn after taxes is what really counts.  After factoring in federal income and capital gains taxes, the alternative minimum tax (AMT), and potential state and local taxes, your investment returns in any given year may be reduced by 40% or more.  Luckily, there are tools and tactics to help you manage taxes and your investments.  Here are four tips to help you become a more tax-savvy investor.  more

The 4 Percent Rule -- What is the Right Amount to Withdraw from Your Retirement Fund Each Year?

With stagnant incomes and roller-coaster investment returns over the past decade, individuals on the brink of retirement might wonder what became of all those “rules of thumb” affecting how they handle their nest egg once they walk away from their jobs.

They’re still there. But the question of how well they work comes down to the individual.   more

  How to Prepare For Your First Planner Visit

If you’ve never met with a financial planner before or if it’s been years since you’ve visited one, you need to find a planner then prepare for your visit.  Generally, you should research individual financial advisers or firms, and you should look to trusted friends and family for advice.  You should interview two or three advisers by phone before you sit down and understand their compensation structure.

 It’s also important to discuss your overall goals with the planner you’re interviewing so you can gauge their ability to help you meet those targets.  more

  Presentation:  Behavioral Biases and Investment Implications

                  Scott A. Bosworth, Vice President, Dimensional Fund Advisors

Research indicates that humans are not naturally wired for prudent, long-term investing.  Scott Bosworth describes common forms of behavioral bias and discusses how these biases influence investment decision making.  He also explains how knowledge and discipline can help investors control their instincts for a better investment outcome.

More Financial Planning Articles. . .

Keeping Your Credit Score Healthy

Moving Toward a No-Debt Lifestyle: Steps to Consider

Ways to Afford Your Retirement Account Catch-Up   Contributions

What's Your Risk Tolerance?

With Premiums Increasing and a Major Carrier Exiting the Market,
Should You Still Consider LTC Insurance?

The Stock-Bond Decision

Getting the Kids Involved in Saving for College

Losing Your Inheritance to Uncle Sam - Or Others

Consider a 529 Plan When Saving for College

What is the Real Reason You Should Invest?


Steven P. Copeland, CFP®   

53 Rossmore Avenue

Bronxville, NY  10708

(914) 771-5277

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