Do you think you would ever have heard of Christianity if the Apostles had gone out and said, ‘I believe in consensus?’ — Margaret Thatcher

Tag archive: "investment"

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The Optimum Asset Allocation to Gold Is Always Zero

David John Marotta

Gold ownership has grown in popularity over the past five years. Fearful of monetary or societal failure, many hope that owning gold will bring them peace of mind. Advocates also suggest that some amount of gold is part of a balanced diversified portfolio. Arguments can be made for gold, but its investment properties are not among them. The optimum asset allocation to gold in an investment portfolio is zero.

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How Much Should I Have Saved Toward Retirement?

David John Marotta

You can use the analogy of the pioneers on the Oregon Trail as a way to think about your retirement planning. These stalwart individuals mapped which landmarks would show they were making progress and what they needed to do to reach each of them. They set out in late April or early May from Independence, Missouri, with the daunting goal of crossing the mountains and reaching their new home before the first snows closed the pass.

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How Much Should I Save Toward Retirement If I’m Starting Late?

David John Marotta

Knowing how much you should save for retirement is critical. But what if you are late getting started? The longer you delay, the shorter the time that compound interest can do its magic on your savings. Retirement planning is like the pioneers who set forth on the Oregon Trail. The hardy souls who began their journey in early spring had to average 15 miles a day to reach their goal. But those who delayed until summer needed to maintain a faster pace. The same is true of saving for retirement.

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How Much Should I Save for Retirement?

David John Marotta

I'm often asked, "How much should I save for retirement?" My standard answer, based on certain assumptions, is that you should save 15% of your take-home pay for retirement over your working career. As your situation varies, you must adjust your safe savings rate.<./p>

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The False Promises of Annuities and Annuity Calculators

David John Marotta

An annuity is a financial product sold as a way to collect and grow funds and then later receive those funds as a steady cash flow during retirement. Annuities have many flavors and features that vary this basic principle, but the basic terms you will hear are "deferred or immediate" and "fixed or variable." Ever-popular annuities sometimes sound too good to be true, which in itself is probably a good reason to avoid them.

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Smart Tax Planning for the Gap Years

David John Marotta

Many families seek financial planning advice specifically for retirement. But if they wait too long, they miss an important tax-planning opportunity. A great strategy is to take advantage of the time between retirement and Social Security at age 70, the so-called gap years. With some planning for this gap, you can move income into the lower tax brackets.

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Fund a Teenager’s Million-Dollar Retirement

David John Marotta

We teach teenagers a lot more about sexuality than we do about money. This can confuse them about what they should be learning. Give this article to a teenager and encourage him or her to start a Roth IRA. For a $4,300 gift spread out over the next seven years plus a little work on the teenager's part, you can fund a teenage child or grandchild's million-dollar retirement. Here's how it's done.

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What Is Comprehensive Wealth Management?

David John Marotta

The world of financial services is built mostly around products and services. So it is often difficult for families to understand the concept of comprehensive wealth management. Advisors who offer comprehensive wealth management are like financial concierges. Their only goal is to meet your needs. If you ask for fresh strawberries, they try to find them for you. And then they ask if you would like dipping chocolate or fresh cream to go with them.

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Are Investment Management Fees Tax Deductible?

David John Marotta

I often get asked, "Are investment management fees tax deductible?" The answer is not a simple "yes" or "no." Like many tax questions, the answer is "It depends." You only receive a tax deduction for the amount that exceeds 2% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) from line 38 of your Form 1040. If your cumulative expenses are under 2% of AGI, you will not get a deduction. For most of our working clients, their miscellaneous deductions fall far short of the 2% AGI threshold. But when clients retire, they are much more likely to qualify.

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How Do Financial Advisors Earn Their Fee?

David John Marotta

Most of our clients are frugal supersavers. Often they have accumulated their wealth not by earning more but by simply spending less. They are the millionaires next door living well below their means, which is why they have means. Few investors even ask how commission-based annuity salespeople earn their fee, but with fee-only advisors the question often arises. Investment fees are generally about 1% of assets under management and drop as assets rise above $1 million. The critical question to ask is "Where do financial advisors add value that might exceed the 1% fee they charge?"

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A nativity scene in Portland, Oregon (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Why Nativity Scenes Matter in the Public Square

Doug Carter

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he explained that our freedoms come from God. “All men are created equal,” he says, and “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” A nativity display on government property reminds us that all humans have unalienable rights- rights which cannot legitimately be taken away- because these rights come from God.

President Bush issues statement on economic bailout in 2008 (White House photo by Chris Greenberg)

Bush Paved Way for Obama Executive Abuse

Robert Romano

To save American car companies in 2008, then-President George W. Bush opted to use $17 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which had been enacted to extend loans to financial institutions caught in the mortgage backed securities meltdown. There was nothing in the law that had allowed the bailout funds to be used for auto manufacturers. The Administration just made it up.

Police car in Cuba (Photo credit: Dick Elbers)

Congress Allows Obama to Slap Them With Cuba

Rick Manning

It only took a couple of days for the ink to dry on Congress' decision to fund the Obama administration's objectives for the rest of the year before it came back to bite them. The choice to fund all of the government for the next nine months, besides the Department of Homeland Security, means that Congress has little recourse to rein in Obama's Cuban bailout.

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It is Time for a Christian Values Party

Dave Daubenmire

This is the way the American political system works. Democrats/liberals are the counterweight to Republicans/conservatives. The constant teetering gives the impression of movement, but the status quo rarely changes. This has never been more evident than what has occurred in Congress since Obama was ‘handed his hat’ in the mid-term elections; except nothing has really changed. The teeter has tottered to Republican control of the Congress, yet the policies that Obama has pushed forward still remain in place.

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The Purpose of the Church

Michael Day

Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California has given us the idea of the purpose driven church and the purpose driven life. So, what are “the five basic fundamentals” of the Christian faith? Where did they come from?

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"We don't intend to turn the Republican Party over to the traitors in the battle just ended. We will have no more of those candidates who are pledged to the same goals as our opposition and who seek our support. Turning the party over to the so-called moderates wouldn't make any sense at all." - Ronald Reagan, Nov. 10, 1964