Objective information about financial planning, investments, and retirement plans

What I’m Reading – Triple Crown Edition

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The Belmont Stakes offers the chance for California Chrome to become horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner since 1978.  Win or lose he is destined for nice life after racing as he will surely command enormous stud fees that will enrich his owner’s.  We will certainly be watching and rooting for him.

Kentucky Derby 2014-0186

Here are some financial articles that I’ve read lately that you might find interesting and useful. 

Stan Haithcock offers some great insights for annuity holders in How to evaluate your annuity contract at Market Watch.

There is a new king in terms of 401(k) assets as reported in Vanguard Passes Fidelity to Become Number One in 401(k) Assets at Bloomberg.

Jim Blankenship shares Mechanics of 401(k) Plans – Loans  shedding light on this often misunderstood aspect of 401(k) plans at Getting Your Financial Ducks in a Row.

Scott Holsopple explains What to Do With ‘Orphaned’ 401(k)s at US News.

Russ Thornton discusses The Lifestyle Cost Of High Investment Expenses at Wealthcare for Women.

Michael Zhuang declares Variable Annuity: Bad Investment! at Investment Scientist.

Mike Piper of Oblivious Investor always does an excellent job of explaining complex topics in easy to understand terms, so consider checking out his latest book.

If you are new to The Chicago Financial Planner here are our three most popular posts over the past 30 days:

Financial Advisors to Follow on Social Media

Life Insurance as a Retirement Savings Vehicle – A Good Idea? 

Peyton Manning and Investment Success

I hope you enjoy some of these articles and hope you have a great weekend.

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Conference Season in Chicago

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Although this year is an exception, we generally have a short non –winter season here in Chicago.  For my money there is no better city for a conference when the weather is nice. 
Sponsors of financial conferences have certainly noticed this and “conference season” is in full swing through early fall.
Yesterday I attended a one-day session sponsored by Pension & Investments Magazine called the 401(k) Investment Line-up Summit.  There were some excellent sessions geared toward retirement plan sponsors and those of us who provide consulting advice to them.
Tomorrow and Friday I will be attending the Fi360 Conference downtown.  I’ve been a user of their Toolkit product for a number of years and have a great deal of respect for the organization.  I am looking forward to many of the sessions.  I will be posting about my experience at the conference here next week.
In May I will be attending the NAPFA (the largest professional organization of fee-only financial advisors in the country) conference here.  It’s always great to see many of my fellow advisors.  As good as the conference sessions might be I always learn more from ad hoc conversations with my fellow advisors.
Finally in June I will be attending the Morningstar Investment Conference.  This conference has really grown over the past decade and always provides insights into the investment process and into specific investment vehicles.
You might be saying to yourself, that’s quite a time commitment.  These conferences are great opportunities to learn from great speakers and to talk shop with other advisors.  My clients pay me for what I know it is my responsibility to stay current within my industry.
Thankfully I really enjoy learning about financial planning, investments, retirement plans, and related areas.  These conferences are hardly all fun and games.  The days are typically long and I generally commute back and forth from home to downtown each day for local events.  There are conference fees and the added cost of travel for out of town events.
Overall the benefits far outweigh the costs in terms of time and money.  Next time you talk with your financial advisor or if you are trying to select one ask them how they keep current and what types of conferences they attend.  There’s no right answer, but listen and judge their response for yourself.
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