Should You Be a Do-It-Yourself Tax Preparer?

When my husband was between jobs he decided that it would be a good idea to seal the driveway himself instead of hiring professionals to do it.  The driveway looks great, but it was not worth the time, hassle and uncertainty that went into the job.  The professionals may have been able to come up.. read more →

What All Star’s Reading #1

One of the ways we continually strive to improve the service and advice we provide to our clients is to read. Our reading is constant. It helps reaffirm many of our investment and planning beliefs, while also serving to challenge them. It helps us improve. We spend many late nights catching up on the news.. read more →

We Are Here For You!

As the summer ends and fall is around the corner, I just want to say “We are here for you!” Please give us a call anytime you have a question or concern. I know most people like to refocus on their investments after enjoying the MN summers. We have added a new member to our.. read more →

Sticker Shock: The Cost of Caring for an Aging Parent

During recent financial reviews some of you have brought up the subject of caring for aging parents and the costs associated with that care.  The Financial Planning Association of Minnesota addressed this issue in a recent article we thought may be helpful. Sticker Shock: The Cost of Caring for an Aging Parent First the good.. read more →

Why own Emerging Bonds & Stocks? – Their performance is terrible as of late!

As you look at your current quarterly reports you will notice an under performance in all four of our model portfolios relative to the domestic markets and the risk adjusted returns. This under performance is due to our emerging markets allocation of bonds (down 6-9% for Q2) and emerging stocks (down 8-9% for Q2). At.. read more →

Caveat Emptor When Buying Annuities

The financial services industry has done a poor job with making things simple and easy to understand for the majority of the public. There are 50-page mortgage documents, 100-page fund prospectuses, and we currently have an unnecessary and onerous debate in Washington on a widespread fiduciary standard (it should be as simple as the client.. read more →

How Do I Choose The Right Advisor?

Last year, we posted a blog that talked about a Broker vs. Fiduciary (fee only independent advisor). There was a video that we posted along with it that explains these differences by comparing them to a Butcher vs. Dietician. The more we had this conversation with our clients and prospective clients, the more we realized.. read more →

What You Need to Know About Divorced Spousal Benefits!

Surprisingly divorced spouses have more flexibility than married spouses in determining when and how to begin taking Social Security. In order to qualify for a divorced spousal benefit – equal to half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement amount – one must meet the following basic requirements: (1) your marriage must have lasted longer than 10.. read more →

Retirement Withdrawal Strategies – Is the 4% rule of thumb still appropriate for you?

Many personal finance websites, calculators, and newsletters have long advocated that most retirees would be able to take 4% from their savings in their first year of retirement and then increase that withdrawal amount in accordance with inflation every year for at least the next 30 years.  While even the creators of this rule of.. read more →

Bob’s Adventures in Africa!

Words cannot express the feeling in my heart after experiencing the sounds, smells, generosity, and pure joy of Africa and its people. By definition, a life changing experience. By Grace, a new view on life’s priorities! I will no longer complain about a cold shower, or the idea of deserving 3 squares a day. I.. read more →