Archive for the 'finance' Category

Market View – Time to be All In

The markets have shaken off the effects of politics and global turmoil and have once again taken off into new bull market territory. As it should. The Recent news bodes well for a continuation of growth in corporate earnings, which should fuel the market’s continued rise.

In addition, President Trump and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell held a press conference reiterating their commitment to getting tax cuts/reform done by year’s end. The parade of optimism regarding tax cuts is energizing the market. While politicians will debate the pros and cons of tax cuts, as an investor, make no mistake about it, a tax cut will add fuel to an already growing economy. The big negative; that should take years to play out, is that the Federal Reserve will face very little resistance to raising interest rates well into the foreseeable future.

  • Q3 earnings results are not only clear and present, but results are better than expected among most household name stocks. Goldman Sachs (GS) tore the cover off the ball, figuratively speaking. The Wall Street investment giant easily surpassed top and bottom-line estimates. This marks the fourth quarter in the last five that Goldman Sachs has beaten earnings estimates, for a 4-quarter trailing average of 11.6%.

    Morgan Stanley (MS) also beat expectations for both earnings and revenues. Investment banking revenues, in particular, grew 18.4% in the company’s Q3.

    Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Netflix (NFLX), and United Healthcare (UNH) also beat earnings estimates. Pharma sales in the quarter grew an impressive 15.4% for JNJ.

    Economic numbers also add support.

    Crude Inventories decreased by 2.8 million barrels
    •       CPI, Core CPI increased by 0.1%
    •       Retail Sales increased by 1.6%
    •       September results for both import and export prices beat expectations

But always remain cautious. The stock market doesn’t raise a flag saying “I’m done, time to get out”! People lose money, lots of money in Bear markets because they are unexpected. Make a plan now, for both up and down markets…and stick to it!



Is a Market Correction Imminent?

The following commentary was first posted on my other business site – FTP is a robo (online) advisor that provides specific investment recommendations for individual’s 401k plans. Recommendations are specific to the investments available to each plan. If you, or someone you know is looking for investment help with their 401k please suggest they check out our site:

I was watching the investment news the other day, and in an interview a well-known money manager was asked when he expected a 5% correction. I honestly didn’t expect him to take the bait, but instead he responded that a 5% market drop could happen at any time; it could be imminent, could be weeks, could be months away. News sites across the internet then blasted out headlines like, “Top Money Manager Says Stock Market Correction is Imminent”. My answer would have been, “A 5% market drop is not a correction, it’s just a couple of bad days!” But this is the stock market world we now live in. ANY drop of any kind, even just 5%, is met with Chicken Little’s coming out of hiding and screaming about the beginning of the next great selloff.

For perspective, a real correction is a drop of at least 20%. Drops of 40% or more typically come once a decade (note: financial crisis was 10 years ago). !0% drops are normally once or even twice per year. Point being is that volatility is the norm for the stock market. It is not to be feared, but planned for and taken advantage of.

The reality is that, yes the market is very highly valued by any and all measurements of value. But high values do not mean an imminent correction. Major bear markets, the -40% kind are precipitated by a slowdown in corporate earnings. The tech wreck came because technology advancement finally started to slow. PC’s and laptops had the speed and memory to match most needs; the internet while slow, was at least capable of providing access to countless new web oriented services; millions of miles of fiber optic cable had been laid… Earnings started to slow. An overvalued market started to crash in the spring of 2000. While the 2007 bear market is termed the “financial crisis”, it was the effect that the financial crisis had on corporate earnings that caused the market to crash. Earnings crashed…stock market crashed.

We are just not there in today’s economy. Corporate earnings are growing. Europe is growing. China is at worst, no longer a drag on the global economy. Deregulation, tax cuts and maybe a premium break for the middle class and small businesses saddled with Obamacare all bode very well for the future of the economy and earnings. A 5% “correction”? Sure, anytime and it won’t be a problem. But the next big one? Still a ways off, but with valuations so high it would be wise to have your exit strategy planned.

At Fund Trader Pro many of the 401(k) plans will be reviewed at the end of the month. Barring a big change in two weeks we expect plans to remain fully invested and allocated aggressively – foreign, emerging markets and U S Growth oriented funds have dominated this year. We expect that to continue…but are plans are at the ready should we be wrong.

For 401 Advisor, LLC clients we are staying true to our dividend income strategies. While yields are getting harder to  come by, the market keeps throwing us a few bones here and there. We’ll be looking to pick up a few unloved, but higher yielding gems over the next few weeks.


Investopedia Q & A

Below are some questions and answers that I received on this past week. Links are provided to the full answer.

Why aren’t there advisor fee structures that are more fair to the client?
There are two answers to your question. First, perfomance based fees are prohibited except for accredited investors by the SEC. While there are several categories of accredited investors, like institutions… Read More
Are bond funds a good investment choice for the risk averse?
Understand a couple things about bonds: the market value of a bond will fluctuate with interest rates – value goes down when interest rates go up, and vice a versa…. Read More
Should I consider investing in Target Date Funds with later target dates?
In my opinion target date funds are not a good choice. Once you get out past 20 years for the target date these funds are nearly 100% in stocks. I… Read More


This Bull May Still Have Room to Run

The following article was originally posted at

This may seem like a cop-out, but let me explain. I am not necessarily saying that this bull market will continue to run, (and anyone who thinks they actually know whether it will or not is a fool), but what I am saying is that I am sick and tired of all the talking head talk that this bull must be near its end because 1. It has gone on for so long, or 2. We are at new highs, so market must go down.

First let me touch on a real basic physics lesson. If you are trying to measure how far something has gone, like a bull (market) you need to know two things. Both the time involved and the speed at which it has travelled. Think of it this way. After two hours of running participants will be scattered all over the course during the Boston Marathon. Simply calling the race after two hours would leave many slower runners with plenty of race yet to run while the top runners have finished.  Current market analysis seems to ignore the speed factor.

If we apply this to the market let’s see how far we have really come during this “extended” rally. In the graph below we are looking at GDP after four separate recessions. Thinking of speed as the rate of GDP growth, this rally is made up of amateur runners vs. the Kenyan runners of the 1934 – 1940 recovery!

Chart 1. Economic Recoveries

Post Recession GDP Recoveries


While annual change in GDP is not correlated to the stock market, over the long term the two are coincident if not causal. From the above it can be seen that the economy has not yet grown substantially over the last seven years. Below is a chart comparing total GDP growth over each period in constant inflation adjusted terms.

Table 1. GDP Growth Comparison

GDP $ Growth Post Recession Total growth in GDP
1934 – 1940 47%
1976 – 1982 14.30%
1983 – 1989 29%
2010 – 2016 12.70%


Based on the data above the economy grew at more than twice the recent amount in the ’83 – ’89 recovery, nearly 4 times as much in the ’34 – ’40 recovery and even outpaced growth from ’76 – ’82. Keep in mind that was the time of “stagflation” and 1982 was the second year of the Great Recession!

It seems to me that the current economy has substantial room to grow and by extension the stock market as well.

A Look at the Stock Market

There is also a discussion point made that says that the above analysis maybe correct, but the stock market is way ahead of the economy. Therefore a stock market correction is overdue, even if we avoid an economic recession. Balderdash! It is all a matter of perspective.

The chart below shows the return on an investment in SPY, the SPDR’s S&P 500 Index ETF from 8/31/2000 – 06/05/2017. The start date is the market high before the start of the “Tech Wreck” – 9/11 market crash from 2000 – 2002. The horizontal white line shows a level 0% return from the start.

Chart 2. SPY Total Return

SPY from 2000

Source: / Bill DeShurko

The bull has run its course argument looks at the market performance from the bottom in 2009 to the present. And in fact the market has had a cumulative return of 320% since then. However, the early returns off the lows only resulted in an investor recapturing their losses from the tech wreck and the financial crisis as the return since the breakeven point from 2000 is only 135%.

[Author’s Note: Let me summarize that for you. An investor in a low cost ETF Index Fund (SPY) from 8/31/2000 – 9/26/2011 would have lost about 50% of their money twice and made absolutely zero money for 11 years! Nice strategy….]

But measuring a bull market from the bottom of a bear market seems disingenuous to me. A bull is about making money. For any investor from before the bear market, the bottom back up to the previous level (the 0% line above) is just a matter of a recovery of losses. Recovery is not a bull market. Defining a bull market from a market low is akin to saying a cancer patient starts their recovery from the day of surgery or start of treatment. That is not recovery! Recovery starts after the treatment is over and barring a relapse ends when the Doctor gives the “cancer free” pronouncement. Similarly bull markets don’t start until after the treatment  period.  As seen above bear markets can relapse too. A better definition of stock market recovery is to start when the market reaches its previous high and stays above that level. By that definition this Bull started in September of 2011 and has provided us with a 135% gain.

The question is, “How does this stack up historically?”

Since 1900 the stock market has gone through bull and bear cycles. Unless the market drops by some 60% or so we broke the old high in 2000 and have stayed above it since 2011. An 11 year bear market. About average since WW II.

Chart 3. Secular Stock Markets




Looking at bull markets by comparison from 1940 – 1965 the market gained a cumulative 955%! And during the great bull from 1980 – 2000 another 1099%. By comparison our current 135% gain seems rather paltry! We certainly aren’t at the end of this bull market just because we are at record highs!

So What Does Matter?

Earnings, earnings and earnings. S&P 500 corporate earnings growth has been anemic since 2011, with a fairly rare non recessionary drop in 2015. With growth returning in 2016 and expected into 2018 it would be rare for a bear to start as earnings are growing. But without an economic jolt from corporate and personal tax cuts all bets are off. Deregulation will certainly help smaller businesses but I’m not sure it is enough to spur wage growth. If wages and earnings can grow simultaneously I would not bet on an early end to this Bull Run.

And one final note: a 10% drop is not a correction, it used to be a one or even two time annual event. A real bear means a 40% drop or more, and likely over a multi-year period.

Sell Off?…Really?

For decades the iconic bull of Wall Street has symbolized the spirit of the American charging_bull_new_york_city_566247entrepreneur. Risking their own wealth to make fortunes by creating new businesses with the help of the financiers of Wall Street. Hard charging traders and investors became legendary making and losing fortunes. The likes of Jesse Livermore, George Soros, Jim Rogers and even Jordan Belfort, made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

This past Friday the NASDAQ exchange dropped about 2.5% in a day. Let me remind readers, the NASDAQ is the home of the technology leaders Amazon, Face Book, Google, Apple and many more. The “Teck Wreck” from 2000 through 2002 saw the NASDAQ drop 90% in value!!! Since the NASDAQ is typically where growing and emerging companies list their stocks, the index is typically very volatile as many stocks are very sensitive to the ability of the company to generate an ever increasing stream of earnings. Any risk to these earnings can cause volatility. So when the market dropped 2.5% on Friday I yawned, went out and played golf and went about my normal weekend activities.

The financial pundits had a very different reaction. I saw and heard comments like: “Slammed”, from the Wall Street Journal; “Sell off Wrecks Tech” at; and “Rout” at The TV media was in a frenzy with topics on hedging, managing portfolios in a crash, debates on whether to sell and go to cash or not…

Again, the NASDQ only dropped 2.5%! And it was just one day! (editor’s note: one day does not create a trend).

I was left a little embarrassed. And would like to suggest that maybe the Wall Street Bull be replaced by a new figure that better represents the new modern “Wall Street”…

Sta Puff Man          ….the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!

Common Risks in Retirement

The following article was recently updated at 

My comments are under the Interest Rate Risks sub head. If you are considering an annuity, you may want to read this first.


The most careful plans and preparation for retirement can fall apart due to an unexpected death, illness, a stock market crash or a pension plan that goes bankrupt. In addition, it is not unusual for people to live more than 30 years in retirement, due to increased rates of early retirement and rising life expectancy – which, in itself, presents a major risk that retirees will outlive their assets.

The longer the time spent in retirement, the harder it becomes to be certain about a retiree’s financial outcome. In planning for retirement – or living it – you must understand the risks that lie ahead and how they could undermine your financial security.

Types of Post-Retirement Risks

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) in the United States identified a number of post-retirement risks that can affect retirees and their financial security. They’re grouped into four categories. People preparing for retirement or already in retirement should consider them carefully:

  • Personal and family – Changes in your life or the life of a loved one could affect your retirement income stream.
  • Healthcare and housing – These include the risk that failing health will require moving to a facility with professional caregivers.
  • Financial – These risks revolve around inflation, investments and stock market activities.
  • Public policy – Government can make decisions that could affect retirees.

“There are many unexpected demands for a retiree’s funds. For that exact reason every one needs a realistic emergency fund. If a retiree needs to take large amounts of tax-deferred money early in retirement, it may result in future dollars being spent today. It not only decreases the amount of lifestyle money available; the money is gone, along with the potential to earn a return (compounding effect) that was to assist the retiree in the future. Spending dollars today takes away the future growth of that money, which may have been critical to maintaining a certain lifestyle or not outliving your money,” says Peter J. Creedon, CFP®, ChFC, CLU, chief executive officer, Crystal Brook Advisors, New York, N.Y.

Personal and Family Risks

Employment Risk

Many retirees plan to supplement their income by working either part-time or full-time during retirement. In fact, some organizations prefer to hire older workers because of their stability and life experience. However, success in the job market may also depend on technical skills that retirees cannot easily gain or maintain. Employment prospects among retirees will vary greatly because of demands for different skills and may change with health, family or economic conditions.

Choosing the point at which you want to retire is integral to retirement planning. Later retirement is an alternative to increased saving, but there is no certainty that appropriate employment will be available. Working part-time is an alternative to full-time employment, and part-time jobs may be easier to obtain. (Read more about working past retirement age in Stretch Your Savings by Working into Your 70s.)

“Not having employment at any point can reduce your retirement income from Social Security as well as if you have a pension from your employer. It may also take longer to collect your pension if there is a stipulation regarding years of service,” says Allan Katz, CFP®, president, Comprehensive Wealth Management Group, LLC, Staten Island, N.Y.

Longevity Risk

Running out of money before you die is one of the primary concerns of most retirees. Longevity risk is an even larger concern today as life expectancies have risen. The life expectancy at retirement is just an average age, with about half of retirees living longer and a few living past age 100. Planning for only enough income to live to your supposed life expectancy will be, happily, inadequate for about half of retirees. But the downside of living longer is increased exposure to other risks that are listed below.

Those who are managing their own retirement funds over a lifetime have to perform a difficult balancing act. Being cautious and spending too little might needlessly restrict your lifestyle – especially in early retirement when you are the healthiest and most mobile – but spending too much increases the danger of running out of money.

A pension or annuity can mitigate some of the risk because it provides an income stream for life. However, there are some disadvantages, including loss of control of assets, loss of ability to leave money to heirs and cost. Although it’s unwise for people annuitize all their assets, annuities should be considered in retirement planning. (For more information on how annuities can provide steady income in retirement, read Inflation-Protected Annuities: Part of a Solid Financial Plan and Personal Pensions: Repackaging the Annuity.) But also carefully investigate any company where you’d place an annuity, be cautious of fees and consider other options, such as laddering bonds. There are also interest rates to consider when buying an annuity (see below).

Death of a Spouse

The grief over a spouse’s death or terminal illness contributes to high rates of depression and suicide among the elderly. Then there’s the financial impact: A spouse’s death can lead to a reduction in pension benefits or bring additional financial burden, including lingering medical debts. Also, the surviving spouse may not be able or willing to manage the finances if they were usually handled by the deceased spouse.

Financial vehicles are available to protect the income and needs of survivors after the death of a partner or spouse, such as life insurance, survivors’ pensions and long-term care insurance. Estate planning is also an important aspect of providing for survivors. (For information about estate planning, see Top 7 Estate Planning Mistakes.)

Change in Marital Status

Divorce or the separation of a cohabiting couple can create major financial problems for both parties. It can affect benefit entitlement under public and private retirement plans, as well as individuals’ disposable income. (For more information, read Divorcing? The Right Way to Split Retirement Plans.)

Splitting the marital assets will almost certainly lead to an overall loss in standard of living, especially if it was necessary to pool income and resources to maintain the standard of living to which both parties had become accustomed. Some experts believe that an individual may need about 60% to 75% of a cohabiting couple’s income to maintain his or her standard of living. This is because some expenses, like rent and utilities, remain the same, regardless of the number of people living in a household.

Although divorce rates among older couples are far lower than for younger couples, it is not uncommon for a retirement-age couple to get a divorce. Prenuptial agreements may be used to define each party’s right to property prior to marriage. (Read more about prenuptial agreements in Marriage, Divorce and the Dotted Line. Or maybe a postnuptial agreement is for you – read Create a Pain-Free Postnuptial Agreement to find out.)

Unforeseen Needs of Family Members

Many retirees find themselves helping other family members, including parents, children, grandchildren and siblings. A change in the health, employment or marital status of any of them could require greater personal or financial support from the retiree for that individual. Examples of financial assistance include paying healthcare costs for an elderly parent, paying higher-education fees for children or providing short-term financial assistance to adult children in the event of unemployment, divorce or other financial adversities.

“Bailing your adult kids out of their repeated financial mistakes can derail your retirement. For some people it’s like taking an unexpected cruise every year with all of the expense and none of the fun. It’s important to set boundaries on excessive gifts or emergency checks when you leave your steady paycheck behind. Or, if you think this may be an issue, tell your financial advisor about it so you can work those expenses into your retirement income plan,” says Kristi Sullivan, CFP®, Sullivan Financial Planning, LLC, Denver, Colo.

Retirement planning should recognize the possibility of providing financial support for family members in the future, even if this does not seem likely at or before retirement.

Healthcare and Housing Risks

Unexpected Healthcare Needs and Costs

These are a major concern for many retirees. Prescription drugs are a major issue, especially for the chronically ill. Older people usually have greater healthcare needs and may need frequent treatment for a number of different health-related issues. Medicare is the primary source of coverage for healthcare services for many retirees. Private medical insurance is also available, but it can be costly. (Read Getting Through the Medicare Part D Maze and 20 Ways to Save on Medical Bills for tips on managing prescriptions and other healthcare costs.)

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) says that healthcare costs can be mitigated to some extent by committing to a healthy lifestyle that includes eating right, exercising on a regular basis and using preventive care. In addition, long-term care insurance can pay for the cost of caring for disabled seniors.

Change in Housing Needs

Retirees may need to change from living on their own to other forms of housing, such as assisted living, which combines care with housing, and independent living, which combines some assistance with housing. Housing that includes care can be quite costly, and the most appropriate form of housing for an individual in a given situation may not be available in the chosen geographic area or may have a long wait for entrance.

The likelihood of requiring day-to-day assistance or care rises substantially with age. When this will need to happen is often hard to predict because it depends on one’s physical and mental capabilities, which themselves change with age. Changes can occur suddenly, due to an illness or accident, or gradually, perhaps as a result of a chronic disease. (Read more about your options in Long-Term Care: More Than Just a Nursing Home.)

Lack of Available Facilities or Caregivers

Facilities or caregivers are sometimes not available for acute or long-term care, even for individuals who can pay for it. Couples may be unable to live together when one of them needs a higher level of care. For people who have lived together for decades, this can result not only in increased costs, but in emotional stress.

In general, little advice is available from the state or the financial-services industry on planning for long-term care costs. This may lead consumers to make uninformed decisions or to defer them and hope for the best.

Financial Risks

Inflation Risk

Inflation should be an ongoing concern for anyone living on a fixed income. Even low rates of inflation can seriously erode the well-being of retirees who live for many years. A period of unexpectedly high inflation can be devastating for those living on a fixed income.

According to the SOA, retirees and would-be retirees should consider investing in equities, a home and other assets, such as Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) and annuity products with a cost-of-living adjustment feature. These types of products help offset inflation. In addition, would-be retirees can choose to continue working – even if it is only on a part-time basis. (Learn how inflation-protected securities can help in Curbing the Effects of Inflation.)

Interest Rate Risk

Lower interest rates reduce retirement income by lowering growth rates for savings accounts and assets. As a result, individuals may need to save more in order to accumulate adequate retirement funds. Annuities yield less income when long-term interest rates at the time of purchase are low. Low real interest rates will also cause purchasing power to erode more quickly.

“In today’s interest rate environment, an annuitant is locking in a payout based on today’s interest rates for the rest of their life. The interest rate used for calculating your payout will be in the 2% range. The question to ask is, ‘Are you really willing to lock in that low an interest rate for the rest of your life?’” says William DeShurko, chief investment officer, Fund Trader Pro, LLC, Centerville, Ohio.

Lower interest rates can reduce retirement income and can be particularly risky when people are depending on drawdown from savings to finance their retirement. On the other hand, a problem also exists if interest rates rise, as the market value of bonds drops.

“With interest rates so low, retirees need to understand the impact higher inflation and rates will have on their bond investments. Bond prices move inversely to interest rates. For example, if a bond has a duration of seven years and rates jump 1% higher, they could see the value of their bond fall by about 7%,” says Dan Timotic, CFA, managing principal of T2 Asset Management in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.

Increases in interest rates can also negatively impact the stock market and the housing market, thereby affecting the retiree’s disposable income. As such, high real interest rates, over and above rates of inflation, make retirement more affordable. (See Why do interest rates tend to have an inverse relationship with bond prices? for related reading.)

Stock Market Risk

Stock market losses can seriously reduce retirement savings. Common stocks have substantially outperformed other investments over time, and thus are usually recommended for retirees as part of a balanced asset allocation strategy. However, the rate of return that you earn from your stock portfolio can be significantly lower than the long-term trends. Stock market losses can seriously reduce one’s retirement savings if the market value of your portfolio falls.

The sequence of good and poor stock market returns can also impact your retirement savings amount, regardless of long-term rates of return. A retiree who experiences poor market returns in the first couple of years in retirement, for example, will have a different outcome than a retiree who experiences good market returns in the first couple of years of retirement, even though the long-term rates of return might be similar. Early losses can mean less income during retirement. Later losses can have a less-negative impact, as an individual may have a much shorter period over which the assets need to last.

Business Risks

Loss of pension funds can occur if the employer that sponsors the pension plan goes bankrupt or the insurer that is providing annuities becomes insolvent.
Defined-contribution plan accounts are not guaranteed, and plan participants bear losses directly. However, unlike pension plans, the balances in these accounts usually do not depend on the financial security of the employer, except for the employer’s ability to make future contributions and in cases where plan balances include employer stocks. Depending on an individual’s allocation, the risk of such losses is based on the market performance of the investments or on possible failure of the employer’s business if the account is concentrated in employer stock. Ultimately, most investments will always be subject to business risk.

Public Policy Risk

Government policies affect many aspects of our lives, including the financial position of retirees. These policies often change over time along with government policy. Policy risks include possible increases in taxes or reductions in entitlement benefits from Medicare or Social Security.

Retirement planning should not be based on the assumption that government policy will remain unchanged forever. It is also important to know your rights and to be aware of your entitlements to state and local authority benefits.

The Bottom Line

Even the best-laid retirement plans can fail as a result of unexpected events. Although some risks can be minimized through careful planning, many potential risks are completely out of our control. However, understanding what the potential post-retirement risks are and considering them in the retirement planning stage can help to ensure they are mitigated and properly managed.

“The number one risk is the lack of a plan for the course of retirement. Without a plan, the journey will not have a chance to be what you envision,” says Kimberly J. Howard, CFP®, founder of KJH Financial Services, Newton, Mass.

How Our Fiduciary Standard Protects You

• Always put your best interests first.
• Act with prudence, providing you with
the skill, diligence and good judgment of a
trust advisor.
• Provide full and fair disclosure of all important facts.
• Ensure all investment advice and analysis is accurate and complete.
• Avoid conflicts of interest and fairly manage, in the clients’ favor, any unavoidable conflicts of interest.


You may have heard media reports about a new fiduciary rule for retirement accounts that President Trump has rescinded. Understandably, you have questions about how this might impact to your accounts. The rule was designed to ensure recommendations made by financial advisors to their clients regarding their retirement accounts are always made in the best interests of the client without any conflicts of interest.
The good news is that doesn’t affect your accounts at all. As a Registered Investment Advisor, we are already under the highest fiduciary standard – so enacting the rule or rescinding it doesn’t change our status. We have had this higher standard in place all along and will continue to do so. It’s always been part of our DNA.
As your financial advisor, we have been serving you as a fiduciary all along
A “fiduciary” who manages an investor’s assets has a legal and ethical obligation to put the investor’s interests first. That means helping the investor make decisions in his or her best interests. This fiduciary standard has always been at the core of our firm’s mission to our clients.
Here’s how we protect you and your investments:
• We always put your needs first. We are committed to the highest professional and personal standards, and this commitment remains as strong as ever. Our sole focus is on your financial needs and goals and how we can best help you pursue them.
• We always act in your best interests. We are committed to putting your needs and goals before those
of our firm. We strive to avoid any conflicts of interest, and if they arise and are unavoidable, we disclose these to you immediately. We provide a high level of transparency around any fees or expenses associated with your accounts, so that you always know what you own and what you’re paying for it, so there are never any surprises.
• We are an independent and objective resource. As an independent firm, we provide you with objective, unbiased advice based solely on your needs and goals. We provide guidance that is truly objective, unencumbered by any potential conflicts of interest. We have no vested interest in promoting a particular product or service. Our only interest is that your financial objectives are met.

In financial services, there have traditionally been two types of standards: the suitability standard and the fiduciary standard.
The suitability standard is defined as determining whether an investment product or strategy is “suitable” for the investor based on his or her financial objectives and risk comfort level. Many advisors operate under the suitability standard where the advisor simply determines whether a recommended product or strategy is suitable for the client.
The fiduciary standard is a higher level of responsibility for the advisor. The fiduciary standard goes beyond suitability and requires that any advice on products and strategies be provided in the best interests of the investor. The fiduciary standard of care requires that the advisor take into consideration whether the fees are reasonable, whether there are any conflicts of interest, and whether the investments are adequately diversified.
As your advisor, we adhere to the fiduciary standard, and we believe this model of disclosure and transparency is in your best interests. In our view, you deserve to have your needs put first and the strategies and investment products we recommend should align according to those needs.
Our fiduciary standard mandates that every single recommendation we make must be based on your best interests, and there is no circumstance when we can place our interests above yours. By adhering to the fiduciary standard, we believe we can provide you with the highest standard of care for all your investment and retirement needs.
When it comes to managing your money, your financial relationships should be built on a foundation of trust, integrity and transparency. Not all firms and advisors adhere to the same legal and regulatory standards.
We remain committed to earning and maintaining your trust through expert advice and effective strategies

Investopedia Q & A


How can a nontraditional college student gain more income to provide for a brighter future?
Well you could try and win the lottery, search for an unknown rich relative, or marry rich. Rule those out and your best alternative is to get that degree… Read More
Are qualified dividend paying stocks a reliable source of passive income for retirement?
Yes…Yes…and Yes!!! Not only are taxes lower on dividends then an IRA withdraw, but think of it this way; if you take regular distributions from a mutual fund within your IRA,… Read More
Does rolling over 401(k) funds to an IRA for charitable contributions satisfy my RMDs?
Regardless of the purpose, you can always roll over a 401(k) plan investment into a rollover IRA without paying taxes. Since the money is not taxed at this point and remains… Read More
How would rolling over my 401(k) to a Traditional IRA affect my contribution limit for 2017?
Rolling over a 401(k) plan account will have no effect on the amount you can otherwise contribute to a regular or a Roth IRA. Congratulations, you have a nice start on… Read More
Should I hold on to a temporarily suspended stock?
Well, if its been suspended, you don’t have much choice! Once the stock begins trading again, you will need to make that decision. My suggestion is to do as much… Read More
What should we do with two mature IRA CDs?
I see some form of this question all the time, and it is confusing. An IRA is not an investment, it is a tax designation that applies to virtually any… Read More
I received a lump sum pension when I retired. Can I roll this lump sum into a 401K or IRA?
You can roll it into an IRA and defer taxes until you make withdrawals. If you already received the money, you have 60 days from the receipt to deposit it… Read More
Are penny stock mutual funds a solid aggressive investment?
You assume that an “aggressive” mutual fund will make you more money than a less aggressive mutual fund. Why? Aggressive means more risk. Risk means there is an increasing possibility… Read More

Why the 1%Will Continue to Broaden the Wealth Gap

I recently came across the graphic below,  it illustrates why the top 1% are where they are. I know Amazon sells everything to everybody, but over $200,000 of sales a minute? Wow. Just consider if every company depicted could monetize each transaction for say, just a penny each? Do the math. Warning: you need to understand exponential numbers as your calculator probably doesn’t handle enough zeroes on its display.

In our hyper-charged world of politics, the top 1% are vilified by many. But the founders of the firms below represent a good part of that list. Many provide services that are free to the user. How do you regulate that? NetFlix provides a service for a fraction of their cable competitors. They are rich, not because of gouging their customers, but because the internet has created a massive market that we could not have imagined 20 years ago.

Volume can work in reverse too. What if Amazon’s margins decreased by a penny a transaction? That is the risk with such high volume companies for the average investor. A tiny hiccup in earnings can cause a massive sell off in stock price. Go back and follow the stock price of a few companies during the tech wreck.

Here is the direct link to The Visual Capitalist with a clearer image.


Q & A at Investopedia

I have recently started working with I will be providing original articles, quotes for other writers and answering Questions submitted by readers. Below are the questions and answers for the past week. Please click the “Read More link to view the entire interest. Please click to Follow me as well and you’ll be notified of my postings as they are posted.investopedia-logo

Which retirement account should we set up for our children?
I would go for an individual stock or two that are “Dividend Aristocrats.” These are companies that have increased the dividends paid to their shareholders for at least 25 years,… Read More
How should I keep my savings with a bigger investment goal in mind?
That’s what banks are for, you trade off low return for low or really no risk. Don’t think you are a dummy for doing so, there is $14.6 trillion dollars… Read More
Can my employer keep the interest earned from my 401(k)?
Definitely not, if what you say is what is happening. First, a 401(k) is an off shoot of a profit sharing plan. Point is that the plan document, which he… Read More
Now that the DJIA has reached 20,000, is it still a good idea to invest in the market?
Great, but loaded question! First, yes the market has gone straight up since 2009. But until 2013, it was only regaining what it lost in the financial crisis. This is… Read More
Is further action required on my end for a miscalculation of my RMD?
The way we handle this is to correct the RMD with draw immediately, which it appears you have done. The IRS actually says that they may impose a penalty of… Read More
Is it worth it for my husband to contribute to his 401(k), despite his age?
The RMD for a 74 year old on $25,000 is just over $1,000. So by contributing $25,000 to a 401(k), you defer taxes on $25,000 of taxable income. According to… Read More
How can I supplement my income until I am able to withdraw from my retirement account?
If your non-qualified savings is over $30,000 ($1,000/month x 30 months), then just keep the money in the bank and make your $1,000 withdraws. If your savings is less, or… Read More
Should I retire at 66 years old and use my IRA for income before taking Social Security?
Definitely “Yes.” There are two advantages to delaying your Social Security payments. First, your annual payments will increase by about 8% per year between now and age 70. You can… Read More
Which investment vehicle will produce the most long term growth for my children?
Comparing a Roth to an index fund is apples vs. oranges. A Roth IRA is a designation for an account with specific rules that allow for tax free earnings. You… Read More
Do I have control over how my employer-sponsored 401K assets are invested? What are my options?
A 401(k) is generally a self directed retirement plan. Your employer chooses a list of fund choices, but you determine which funds to use for your personal portfolio. This can… Read More
Mr. DeShurko is a registered representative of Ceros Financial Services, Inc, (Member FINRA/SIPC). Ceros is not affiliated with 401 Advisor, LLC or Fund Trader Pro. The views expressed are those of Mr. DeShurko and do not necessarily reflect those of Ceros Financial Services, Inc., its employees or affiliates. • 937.434.1790

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Charles H. Dow Award Winner 2008. The papers honored with this award have represented the richness and depth of technical analysis.