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Articles on Wealth Management Topics

Making the Most of Health Savings Accounts (HSA's)

Health Savings Accounts, or HSA's, were only introduced in 2004, and already there are over 20 million of them. Much of that growth, however, has taken place in the last few years, driven by the recent popularity of high-deductible health insurance plans. I've owned an HSA since 2011 and am a big fan of them, so let's discuss the benefits of these relatively new accounts.

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Should You Withdraw from your Retirement Accounts or File for Social Security?

Almost half of retirees take Social Security at age 62, the earliest possible age you can sign up for these benefits. And the vast majority of retirees request benefits before their full retirement age. While the decision of when to file for Social Security benefits must be based on individual circumstances, I would argue that many retirees would be better served to wait longer to access this lifetime, inflation-adjusted stream of income.

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The Importance of Investment Time Horizon in Asset Allocation Decisions

Clients who've endured conversations with me about their recommended asset allocation know how much I stress the importance of their investment time horizon. During a recent discussion about investment ideas, my dad suggested "What's your time horizon?" be my epitaph. Maybe so, but considering in advance when you will need the money you're investing can keep you from making the worst kinds of financial mistakes. And keeping your investment horizon in mind during periods of market turbulence should help keep you on course for attaining your financial goals.

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Cost-Effective Annuities to Exchange for Those You've Been Sold

To pick up where we left off in our last blog post, immediate annuities can play a useful role in a retirement portfolio. But like any other financial product, there are cost-effective, well-engineered annuities and expensive, poorly-designed ones. Here are some welcome and interesting annuity features that you may be unaware of if your only prior experience with annuities is through an insurance salesperson:

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Do Annuities Have a Role to Play in Your Retirement Portfolio?

If there's one investment vehicle that causes more controversy than any other, it has to be the annuity. Opinions among financial professionals are usually divided along the lines of compensation model. Commission-based brokers and insurance salespeople tend to think more highly of them, and to recommend them more frequently, than Fee-Only financial planners.

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Let's Talk Retirement Withdrawal Rates

Years ago, I was quoted in Newsweek as having said, "If you can't get by on the wise 4 percent withdrawal rate [from your retirement nest egg], you should have a serious talk with yourself and your spouse about your priorities, trade-offs and aspirations." While it's certainly nice being mentioned in a national magazine, the material I contributed to the article had nothing to do with withdrawal rates from retirement portfolios, and financial planning rules of thumb are next to useless.

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