Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

*Note: Some might find the content and language used on Last Week Tonight as offensive and/or profane and might not be suitable for children.  Viewer discretion is advised.        Recently John Oliver on Last Week Tonight dove into the topic of Retirement Planning. If you have never watched Last Week Tonight, be prepared for […] […] Read more

Save Yourself

I often meet with people that are older, and for a number of reasons, find themselves woefully unprepared for retirement.  One of the first questions they (usually the husband for some reason) ask is:  “Can we be really aggressive with our retirement savings to make up for our small nest egg?”  My answer never goes […] […] Read more

The Bubble Gum Test

The easy part of financial planning is the investments.  The aim is to keep your investments simple, diversified and low cost.  The hard part for most people is simply living below there means and saving money for later.  I find some people are born savers and others are not.  Some people inherit poor money habits […] […] Read more

Less is More.

My wife recently updated our kitchen after eight years of pleading with me.  I’m not proud that it took me eight years to give in to her reasonable demands but I am proud that we paid cash for the renovations. On my wife’s Facebook page all of her friends teased me about being so stingy […] […] Read more

Standards Matter

Fiduciary Standard vs. Suitability Standard Explained: In the financial world advisers operate under two very different legal standards:  The fiduciary standard and/or the suitability standard. Under a fiduciary standard, the adviser is held to the highest legal code of conduct when it comes to you and your money.  They must put your interests above their […] […] Read more

The $10,000 Question

A question that I am often asked goes like this:  “I have $10,000 (or some other dollar amount) in savings earning nothing.  Any ideas on how I can do better with it?” First a word of caution.  If you ask any broker that gets paid to sell you products (in other words they do not […] […] Read more

Say It Ain’t So!

Here is the true story of someone who recently contacted me for help: She retired from the Federal Government in 2008. Went to a retirement seminar where the adviser got her to withdraw all of her money from the government TSP plan and invest it in an annuity. In 2010 the adviser told her to […] […] Read more

What Would Warren Do?

Ever wonder what advice Warren Buffett (one of the world’s most famous and successful stock market investors) will give to his estate trustee about investing after he is gone? Check out point number 6 from this article on the ABC news website (you may need to copy and paste the link to your browser): […] […] Read more

Understanding The Roth IRA

I love the Roth IRA and often recommend opening one to people who qualify.  To contribute the maximum in 2013, a married couple filing taxes jointly needs adjusted gross income under $178,000. Here is why I like Roth IRA’s: 1.  Tax diversification:  Most of us have heard about the need to diversify our investments but […] […] Read more

A Legal Financial Scam

Most of us don’t have enough money for a person like Bernie Madoff to rip us off.  But common investors are being ripped off every day by a far more basic “legal” scam:  Brokers cherry picking good past investments and then implying that the great past performance represents their client’s actual results. A good Certified […] […] Read more

My 2014 Financial Plan

Sometimes I feel like a preacher who doesn’t believe in God. Most people could make a decent financial and investment plan on their own (without a financial adviser) in about 20 minutes.  My plan for 2014 would look something like this: 1.  Spending Plan:  Know how much money comes in and how much money goes […] […] Read more

Where Have All The Financial Planners Gone?

Peter, Paul & Mary sang a beautiful song titled:   “Where have all the flowers gone?” If I could sing (which I can’t) my rendition would go something like this:  “Where have all the financial planners gone?  Gone to be portfolio managers every one.  When will they ever learn.  When will they ever learn.” All […] […] Read more

Jack Bogle’s Blog

Here is a link to Jack Bogle’s blog and a good 10 minute interview he did on November 12, 2013 with Bloomberg T.V. The founder of Vanguard is a great teacher and his blog is an outstanding resource for those willing to listen!   Have a good weekend,   Kurt Houghton     […] […] Read more

Fast Food and Retirement Plans

I always feel pressured by over-eager sales people when I order at a fast food place so I usually know what I want to eat before I ever get near that counter. Retirement plan’s are the same way.  Before you start talking with sales people, know what you want to order by considering the questions […] […] Read more