Objective information about financial planning, investments, and retirement plans

What I’m Reading: Pre-Thanksgiving Edition

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It’s an overcast Saturday here in the Chicago area.  Watching some college football and relaxing.  We are looking forward to having everyone home this upcoming week.

Here are a few financial articles I suggest checking out for some good weekend reading:

Keli Grant asks Which country gives the most to charity? at CNBC.com.

Check out Barbara Freidberg’s first piece as a fellow contributor to Investopedia How Advisors Can Help Clients Stomach Volatility.

Jonathan Clements cautions that In retirement, a big house can lead to the poor house at Market Watch.

Sterling Raskie provides An End of Year Financial Checklist at Getting Your Financial Ducks in a Row.

Ben Steverman suggests Maybe You Don’t Need Long-Term Care Insurance After All at Bloomberg.

Mike Piper answers a reader question Are Dividends More Important Than Price Appreciation? at Oblivious Investor.

Here is my most recent contribution to Investopedia Financial Advisor Salary.

Enjoy your weekend, back to college football.  I’m hoping for a big Packer victory over the hated Vikings this weekend as well.  I wish you, your families, and loved ones a wonderful Thanksgiving.

What I’m Reading: Stock Market Highs – Trick-or-Treat Edition

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This past Friday was Halloween and that means trick-or-treaters dressed in all sorts of neat costumes.  We didn’t have a lot of kids ring the bell so the neighbor girl made out big-time when she and a friend came to the door later in the evening.

Of note in the financial markets on Friday was the fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at a record high level as did the S&P 500 Index.  The NASDAQ finished at its highest level since March of 2000.   No Dead Bodies Here: New Highs for the S&P 500, Dow; Small Caps Soar by Ben Levisohn in Barons provides a good recap.  The new stock market highs on Halloween capped some scary market swings during October which saw precipitous drops around the middle of the month.

Here are a few financial articles I suggest that you check out:

Investing Blog Roundup: Schwab “Intelligent Portfolios” is the latest edition of Michael Piper’s excellent weekly collection of good financial reads.

Barbara Freidberg answers a reader’s question in Should I Buy Bonds Now?

Ben Eisen writes Investors buy stock funds at fastest pace in a year. 

The Myth of the Dumb 401(k) Investor by Morningstar’s John Rekenthaler.

Managing Someone Else’s Emotions provides a nice discussion of one of the toughest parts of a financial advisor’s job via Ben Carlson.

3 Signs You Have a ‘Zombie’ 401(k) by Scott Holsopple.

I recently became a contributor to Investopedia.  Here are my two most recent articles:

5 Things You Need To Know About Index Funds

Closing In On Retirement? Read These Tips

It will be interesting to see where the stock market goes from here.  I’m hoping the rest of 2014 is not as volatile as the month of October has been.

Enjoy your weekend, back to college football and eating our stash of Halloween candy.

Top Blog Posts of 2013

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As we near the end of 2013 I want to thank you the readers of The Chicago Financial Planner for your readership and support.  I hope the posts and on this blog are informative and useful to you as you chart your financial course through life.  Here are the top blog posts on the site in terms of readership for 2013:

financial portfolio review

4 Signs of a Lousy 401(k):  401(k) plans are still a mystery to many of the workers who participate in them and sadly to many of the employers sponsoring these plans.  Here are 4 signs that your 401(k) plan might be lousy.

Life Insurance as a Retirement Savings Vehicle – A Good Idea?:  Life insurance is a key component of many financial plans.  However various forms of cash value life insurance are often marketed for other purposes including as a retirement planning vehicle.  Don’t fall for a slick sales pitch and some optimistic illustrations; understand the pros and cons before writing a check.

Small Business Retirement Plans – SEP-IRA vs. Solo 401(k)If you are self-employed saving for your retirement is totally on your shoulders.  Start a retirement plan if you haven’t already.  This post compares two popular vehicles, the SEP-IRA and the Solo 401(k).

My Thoughts on PBS Frontline The Retirement Gamble:  This report by the popular PBS show sparked a lot of discussion and did a nice job of pointing out some of the flaws in many 401(k) plans and with the whole system of defined contribution retirement plans.  However, in my opinion the show was also terribly biased.  I offer my thoughts on the show here.

401(k) Fee Disclosure and the American Funds:  This post was actually written in mid 2012 in the wake of the new 401(k) participant disclosure rules.  I use the six retirement plan share classes offered by the American Funds to illustrate and explain the portion of the required disclosures that deal with the costs and performance of the plan’s investment options.

Thank you again for your readership and support in 2013.  I wish you and your family a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014.

If you have a question, comment, or would like to suggest a topic please contact me.

Please contact me at 847-506-9827 for a complimentary 30-minute retirement planning consultation and to discuss all of your investing, 401(k), and financial planning questions. Check out our Financial Planning and Investment Advice for Individuals page to learn more about our services.   

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A Feast of Thanksgiving Financial Links

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In our house Thanksgiving is all about having the five of us together and eating way too much, passing out in a food coma and then eating some more.  In between the food, family, football, shopping, or whatever it is that you do over this holiday weekend here are some links to some great financial blogs if you have the time to do a little reading.

Money

Must-read financial blogs

I recently attended the FINCON conference for financial bloggers in St. Louis and had a chance to connect and reconnect with some of these great bloggers.  This is a list of finance blogs that in my opinion offer great financial information and insights.

Getting Your Financial Ducks in a Row

Consumerism Commentary

Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance

Mom and Dad Money

The Dollar Stretcher

Frugal Rules

Free From Broke

AAAMP Finance Blog

Len Penzo dot Com

Modest Money

PT Money

Cash Money Life

Wisebread

Money Crashers

Good Financial Cents

The College Investor

The Reformed Broker

FiGuide

Wealthcare For Women

This is not in any way, shape, or form an exhaustive list and I’ve certainly omitted some outstanding blogs.  None the less, the list above provides a great start in terms of finance blogs you should consider adding to your reading list.

Thanks for the recognition 

I want to thank Crain’s Chicago Business for featuring this blog in their recent article 8 must-read (and locally written) finance blogs.  My blog was profiled in The Chicago Financial Planner: A self-starter’s money guideNote this link might require you to log-in to their free limited subscription option. 

Jean Chatzky, the financial editor for NBC’s Today Show, was kind enough to mention this blog as her top pick for investing blogs in a piece for AARP Personal Finance Blogs You Should Read.

I hope that you and your families and loved ones have a great Thanksgiving holiday and enjoy the time spent together.

Please feel free to add any finance blogs or websites that you feel provide great information in the comment section below.

Please contact me at 847-506-9827 for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your investing and financial planning questions. Check out our Financial Planning and Investment Advice for Individuals page to learn more about our services.  

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Friday Finance Links May 10, 2013 – Happy Mother’s Day (and Final) Edition

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Mother's Day cake

Sunday is Mother’s Day and I know my wife is glad to have our two local kids home this weekend.  On Sunday we will be heading to Rosebud on Rush in the city for lunch, a favorite spot, for the second year in a row.

This will be my last weekly links post, but you will continue to find my latest posts about  topics regarding financial planning, investments, and retirement plans here at  The Chicago Financial Planner.   I will likely continue to do a links post of some sort from time to time.

I thank everyone for your continued readership.  If there is a topic  that you would like me to write about or a question that you would like answered please send me a note via the contact page.

Here are a few links to some great weekend financial reading. 

Personal Finance Blogs

Ryan shares How to Verify a Military or Veteran Charity is Real at Military Wallet.

Jason asks Are We Taking the Wrong Retirement Risks? at Hull Financial Planning.

Robert shares The Single Most Important Trait That Defines Personal Finance Success at The College Investor.

Mike answers Does a Bond Fund’s Yield Tell You Its Level of Risk? at Oblivious Investor.

Posts from Fellow NAPFA Members

Robert Schmansky says The Retirement Crisis Debate Needs New Experts at forbes.com.

Jim Blankenship discusses Fixing an IRA With the “Wrong” Beneficiary at Getting Your Financial Ducks in a Row.

Other financial articles from around the web 

Mark Miller offers More Tips on Long-Term Care Insurance at morningstar.com.

Robert Powell tells us What retirees really want: Peace of mind at marketwatch.com.

In case you missed it here is my latest contribution to the US News Smarter Investor Blog Not All Index Funds are Created Equal.

Here’s wishing everyone a great weekend.   Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there.

Photo credit:  Wikipedia

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Friday Finance Links May 3, 2013 – Dow 15,000 Edition

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English: A view from the Member's Gallery insi...

Today the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed the 15,000 mark for the first time.  Who knows where it will end the day.  What does this mean to you?  It shouldn’t mean anything if you invest according to a coherent plan, other than perhaps that you may need to review and if needed rebalance your portfolio.

Here are a few links to some great weekend financial reading. 

Personal Finance Blogs

Emily compares the Pros and Cons of the 15 vs 30 Year Mortgage at PT Money.

Ken discusses Mutual Fund Expense Ratio: How Much Does It Hurt Investment Performance? at AAAMP Blog.

Kyle asks If Everybody Indexed, Would It Stop Working? at Amateur Asset Allocator.

Posts from Fellow NAPFA Members 

Fern Alix LaRocca warns us to avoid Refi Hell – I Almost Got Taken! at Figuide.com.

Lon Jeffries asks When Did You Last Review Your Insurance Coverage? at Figuide.com.   

Other financial articles from around the web

Andrea Coombes discusses The risks and costs of exotic investments at marketwatch.com.

Dan Solin says CNBC’s Ratings Decline is Bullish News for Investors at usnews.com.

In case you missed it here is my latest contribution to the US News Smarter Investor Blog Improving Your Odds in the ‘Retirement Gamble’.

Here’s wishing everyone a great weekend.  

Photo credit:  Wikipedia

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Friday Finance Links April 26, 2013 – NFL Draft Edition

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Its NFL draft time again.  Let’s hope that UCLA’s Datone Jones, the first round pick of America’s team the Green Bay Packers pans out as well as some recent top picks such as Clay Mathews, Aaron Rodgers, and Randall Cobb.

Here are a few links to some great weekend financial reading. 

Personal Finance Blogs

Julie shares 3 Big Problems with Your Retirement Savings and What You Can Do About Them at The Family CEO.

Jason discusses Seven Reasons Why Being Rich Isn’t Evil at Hull Financial Planning.

Andrea explains Women and Retirement Planning: What You Need to do Different than Men at Take a Small Step.

Miranda asks Are Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) Going Away? at Cash Money Life.

Posts from Fellow NAPFA Members 

Kimberly Howard discusses The Current State Of Social Security at Figuide.com.

Claire Emory tell us that Monopoly Offers Lessons On Investing And Financial Planning at Figuide.com.   

Other financial articles from around the web

Christine Benz poses 5 Key Questions to Ask Before Purchasing an Equity-Indexed Annuity at morningstar.com.

Dan Solin sheds light on A Billion-Dollar Misunderstanding (in Gold) at usnews.com.

In case you missed it here is my latest contribution to the US News Smarter Investor Blog Beware of Financial Fraud. 

Here’s wishing everyone a great weekend.  

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Friday Finance Links April 19, 2013 – What a Week Edition

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Chicago Floods-31

I think that we would all be hard-pressed to recall a week like this one with the tragedies in Boston and in Texas.  In addition there was a large amount of rain locally here in the Chicago area with wide-spread flooding in parts of the city and the suburbs.  Best wishes to all who were impacted.

Here are a few links to some great weekend financial reading. 

Personal Finance Blogs

Jon explains The Two Sides Of Investment Risk at Novel Investor.

Ken discusses Asset Correlation – Definition, Examples, Problems, and Why It Is Important at AAAMP Blog.

Leah explains How to navigate college financial aid offers at Living on the Cheap.

Robert discusses The Best Self Employed Retirement Plans at The College Investor.

Posts from Fellow NAPFA Members 

Sterling tells us How Financial Advisers Get Paid at Jim Blankenship’s blog Getting Your Financial Ducks In a Row.

Alan Moore suggests that we  Just Ask “Do You Have A License?” at Figuide.com.   

Other financial articles from around the web 

Steve Parrish tells employers Why You Should Care About Your Employees’ Retirement Plans at forbes.com.

Elizabeth O’ Brien tells us Why your boss wants you to retire on time at marketwatch.com.

Robert Powell says that Singles swing into retirement with little savings at marketwatch.com.

I took a week off from my contributions to the US News Smarter Investor Blog, but you can check out my prior posts at my author page. 

Here’s wishing everyone a great weekend.  

Photo credit:  Flickr

 

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Friday Finance Links April 12, 2013 – Feels Like Winter Edition

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I think that we’ve had spring here in the Chicago area and that winter seems to be back.  It’s very cold for mid-April and rainy.  I’m looking forward to a low-key relaxing weekend.

Here are a few links to some great weekend financial reading.    

Personal Finance Blogs 

Jason describes The Day after the Initial Diagnosis: MS and Financial Planning at Hull Financial Planning.

Phil shares The True Impact of 529 Plans on Attendance, Affordability, and Financial Aid at PT Money.

Mario explains that Bitcoin is a Bubble Worth Watching in a guest post at The College Investor.

Posts from Fellow NAPFA Members 

Claire Emory discusses Retirement Planning After Losing A Spouse at Figuide.com.

Tom Posey tells us Retirement Hurdles: It’s Not Just The Money at Figuide.com.   

Other financial articles from around the web

Geoff Williams shares How to Protect Your Elderly Parents From Being Scammed at usnews.com.

Jeanette Pavini tells us Don’t let funeral fraud add to the grief at marketwatch.com.

Robert Powell discusses Raiding your retirement to pay for college at marketwatch.com.

In case you missed it here is my latest US News Smarter Investor Blog post Is Insurance An Option If IRA’s Are Capped?

Here’s wishing everyone a great weekend.  

Photo credit:  Flickr

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