News & Events

As the Cycle turns

by John Napolitano CFP®,CPA,PFS,MST,RLP® as seen in the Patriot Ledger

Nearly every market has cycles, where they go from being out of favor to in favor; they depreciate and they appreciate. The toughest part is to know where we stand, and how to act with respect to the direction of these cycles and the impact on asset values.

A good example is the interest rate cycle. It’s now been nearly 33 years of a lower interest rate environment starting with the crazy rate spikes in the early 1980’s. Back in the 1990’s, people were thrilled with abnormally high returns in fixed, guaranteed types of savings accounts and locked up these rates for a long time. That worked out well for conservative investors and savers. They were rewarded for their long term lock up and hold as long as rates kept declining.

My Numbers Game - Really?

by Carol Duschinsky LPL Registered Administrative Assistant

 

I always saw myself as a numbers girl. I am very comfortable with numbers. Working with them feels scientific. They are something you can measure. They tell you if you goofed somewhere -"uh you are out of balance. Better check your numbers."  Analyzing numbers is fun -sometimes. "Whoa I am over budget." Okay not always fun, I can get pretty anal posting my receipts but it is my little numbers game.  I never saw myself as creative. Ask me to do something creative and I feel like a duck out of water. But recently I read an interview with Fred Mandell on embracing creativity. Right after that I read an article about Robo-Advisors and the numbers models that they use. Now what do these two articles have in common? Well they both got my creative side thinking about numbers.

Your tax return can tell a lot of tales

by John Napolitano CFP®,CPA,PFS,MST,RLP® as seen in the Patriot Ledger

While you are gathering your tax documents this tax season, let the documents you are gathering do the talking… if they could that is. Because if these documents could talk, they’d tell many of the dangling matters in your financial life that you need to fix to avoid a potential problem in waiting.

Medicare Missteps

By Robert D. Crawford, MBA

As retirees approach age 65, there are many important Medicare choices that they need to understand so they can choose the most favorable benefits that best fits their individual medical needs as well as meeting their budgetary goals.  

Medicare consists of:

  • Part A is sometimes referred to as Hospital insurance,
  • Part B is sometimes referred to as Medical insurance,
  • Part C is sometimes referred to as Medicare Advantage usually a combination of Part A, Part B, and Part D run by Medicare approved private insurance companies.
  • Part D is sometimes referred to as Prescription Drug Plan
  • Medigap plans provided by private insurance companies can be purchased to supplement Original Medicare coverage

Risk is everywhere

By: John P. Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST, RLP® as seen in the Patriot Ledger

When most people think about financial risk, losing money is what they think about. But risk is much broader than just losing money, and the more money you have, the more likely it is that these risks are a part of your life.

Let’s start with your home. Is your home a magnet for the kid’s friends? Do you have a pool, motorcycles, bicycles, trampolines, dogs… You get it. The toys that people with money have are known as an attractive nuisance. Dogs, of course, have nothing to do with money unless your dog goes and bites someone. And if you are not properly covered for this peril, it can cost you a pretty penny.

Faked His Death to Duck Clients?

by Michael Velazquez, CFP®, CPA, PFS

     

That’s what the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) alleges a former New York traffic cop did. You can’t make these things up. The man’s name is Mark Malik and he is being held until he can post a $1 Million bond. His bizarre behavior is reminiscent of the movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street”. In fact, he worked for a company called “Wolf Hedge”. I suppose we should not be surprised if they make a movie out of this too.

Mr. Malik changed careers and became a rising star in the investment world, as Bloomberg reported that his Seven Sages fund had a 92.73% return on investment for 2012. Another ratings agency, BarclayHedge awarded him a “gold star” for his stellar performance.  He claimed he had $100 Million in assets under management but actually only raised $840,000 and never held more than about $90K in his trading account.

It was all a scam. He is believed to have used the money to live lavishly, taking classes at Harvard and buying jewelry.  When investors asked for their money back, he pulled some innovative ploys to keep the money. In one such stunt, he pretended he had died! Can you imagine the dialogue: “I’m sorry, you can’t have your money back, I died”! On another occasion he sought to intimidate an investor by comparing himself to a werewolf!

Financial success can be a high stakes game

By: John P. Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST, RLP® as seen in the Patriot Ledger

One of the biggest ironies of the financial world is thinking that people with a large income, investments and a high net worth are “all set.”

Sure their lifestyle needs are met and these people are never wanting anything from a lack of resources to obtain or do almost anything. But from my experience, the largest impediment to a high net worth family getting their entire financial house in order is their financial success.

They have accountants, lawyers, investment and insurance people crawling around them like ants at a picnic. In fact, it is also possible that because of these ‘ants’, that the high net worth folks have been conditioned to avoid these professionals, as they are frequently trying to get their clients to buy something or do something that does not appear necessary to them.

Root Canal or Succession Planning?

by Michael Velazquez, CFP®, CPA, PFS

Which one is more painful: a root canal or succession planning? It could be a toss-up, but it depends. Before we give you a better answer, let’s first understand the scope of the issue by defining what succession planning is and isn’t and why you should likely be doing it.

The financial side of an in-law apartment

By: John P. Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST, RLP® as seen in the Patriot Ledger

 Elderly parents whose children are willing to allow them to live in their residence are lucky. Although I'm not sure that everyone involved in this arrangement agrees with me. There are at least three or sometimes more people that have to embrace this concept for it to be a smashing success.

For family harmony to work well, both spouses at the child level need to be completely on board. Beyond the elderly parent’s children, the grandchildren should also have a voice about grandma and grandpa living in their home. It would be ideal to create an environment where the grandchildren become an advocate for this move.

Play Ball!

by Michael Velazquez, CFP®, CPA, PFS

As I write these lines, pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training for the beginning of baseball season. It is a most exciting time, full of optimism and anticipation for everyone associated with the sport at any level, whether as a player, coach or fan, pro ball, college or Little League. The Classic American Pastime. A game of chess played with live pieces on a huge lawn. It is the most egalitarian sport; one that does not require you to be 6’5” and 300 pounds; where smaller guys can play if they can turn a double play or hit the cutoff man. Hope springs eternal for rookies looking to make the team, veterans trying to make a comeback, and managers trying to find that big lefty power hitter or pitcher that will land them in World Series.

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