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Wealth Management 101 

Latest From My Personal Finance Blog

Harvest Time: Making the Most of Your Losses

Ah, autumn! The harvest season! Right now, images of pumpkins, squashes, fall fruits, and overflowing cornucopias abound. But what does this have to do with investing? I’m glad you asked. This fall, as thoughts turn to wrapping up for the year’s end, consider the idea of Tax Loss Harvesting. Put simply, if you have investments that have lost value, you might be able to use them to avoid taxes on investments that did better.

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What Is Asset Allocation & Why Does It Matter?

Financial experts like to use jargon — it’s a character flaw, I must admit. And one piece of jargon you hear often is “asset allocation.” While this can sound intimidating, it’s actually a very simple concept. Asset allocation is how you divide (allocate) your savings (assets) between different types of investments. Those types of investments typically include stocks, bonds, cash, and sometimes real estate or alternative investments. When we talk about asset allocation, we typically talk in percentages. As in: let’s allocate X percent in stocks, Y percent in bonds, and Z percent in cash. So, we know what asset allocation is — but why does it matter?

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What Is Diversification? And How Do I Do It?

If you’ve read almost any book, article, or blog on investing, you’ve seen the word “diversification.” But experience has taught me that most investors — even educated ones — still don’t understand what diversification is, how it works, or why it’s important. In my continuing crusade to offer plain English explanations of sometimes complex topics, I’m taking on this vital and often misunderstood concept. Strap in. This is going to be fun! (I promise.)

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How Should I Invest My 401(k)?

Back in August, I wrote all about saving and where to put those savings. One of the first places I advised you to save was in your employer-sponsored retirement plan. For most people, that plan is a 401(k). This month I’ll be laying out principals and rules of thumb you can use in making choices that fit your specific situation.

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In Praise of Simplicity

All too often, clients come to me with investment ideas they like. Some are good and some are not so good, but many of them are complex. As humans, we are often seduced by complexity, as though the more glamorous or intricate an investment instrument is, the better it must be. Why own a set of simple and low cost index funds when you can buy a hedge fund? Why buy and hold when you can trade actively? Is the market falling? Why not short some stocks?! Just think of the possibilities!

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Risk Tolerance: What is it? Why does it matter?

When I sit down to talk with new clients and prospective clients who are considering the decision to hire me, I often ask them about their “risk tolerance” or “risk appetite.” “Do you know what your Risk Tolerance is?” I ask. More often than not, they shrug their shoulders and tell me they don’t even know what Risk Tolerance means. I’m never surprised at this, because there isn’t exactly a class in high school or college that would explain the concept — yet we are all expected to save and invest for our future. In the interest of helping you become a savvier investor, this month’s post is all about your ability to tolerate risk and why it matters.

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