Economic predictors are not a reliable predictor for market results

When 2012 began with lingering concerns about the weak U.S. recovery, the debt crisis in Europe and political uncertainty, many financial pundits predicted a lackluster year for stocks and more market volatility. Some predicted a eurozone breakup triggered by impending debt defaults in Greece and Portugal. The global economy was showing early signs of a slowdown, and many investors were weighing the potential economic impact of the U.S. elections and the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

Should recent market performance be your overwhelming focus?

For those who watch the investment markets, the first half of 2012 was a strange and harrowing experience. The first four months of the year saw American stocks, in aggregate, grow by almost 10 percent, building on one of the best January performances in history. Then came May, when the Wilshire 5000—the broadest index of U.S. stocks—gave back 6.22 percent of its value. June was a muddle until the final day of the month, when the Wilshire 5000 gained back 2.53 percent in a single trading day and essentially saved the quarter. On the same day, the S&P 500 gained 2.49 percent and the NASDAQ exchange was up 3 percent.

Life insurance check-up may save you money and heartache

Once you have purchased life insurance, it is tempting to file your policies away and forget about them. But it is critically important that you review them on a regular basis, especially as the circumstances in your life change. An annual policy review could save you a lot of heartache down the road and could save you money on premiums. The objective of a policy review is to ensure that your life insurance coverage is in alignment with your current financial needs. This review should be undertaken with respect to choices made within your will(s) and any trusts you have established.

Choosing a Trusted Advisor

Following are 11 principles we’ve adopted to help us serve as a trusted advisor.

Why women are better investors than men: what men can learn from them

In the battle of the sexes, it can be said that men are physically stronger than women. But there are some things that women are much better at — like investing in stocks. In 2011, the Vanguard Group commissioned a study about women and investing. A review of 2.7 million IRA investors during 2007-2009, a period that included a dramatic slide in stock values, showed that men were 10 percent more likely to move out of stocks during great volatility. After this downturn, the S&P 500 Index of stocks was up 56 percent from March 9 to Sept. 30, 2009. In addition, the study found that women had more diversified portfolios than men did.

Kraft Asset Management, LLC receives awards from BAM Advisor Services

Kraft Asset Management, LLC (KAM), an affiliate of KraftCPAs PLLC, recently received two awards from BAM Advisor Services, LLC (BAM). Among BAM firms with $100 million to $250 million in assets under management (AUM), KAM had the largest increase in AUM (43 percent). It also had the largest new client among the more than 130 […]

Dealing with a volatile equity market

When dealing with a volatile market, sometimes the most difficult challenge is to manage your emotions. Even if you view market volatility as a normal occurrence, which it is, it can be tough to handle when your wealth is at stake.

A small book with a big message

The Investment Answer Poses the right questions The recently published book, The Investment Answer: Learn to Manage Your Money and Protect Your Financial Future, has gained a lot of attention based on the inspiring personal story of one of its co-authors, Gordon Murray. Mr. Murray decided to tackle this project only after his doctors told […]

Secrets to maximizing your Social Security benefits

For most retirees, their greatest fear is running out of money. An important part of most retirees’ income is Social Security benefits; but unfortunately, most retirees fail to maximize their benefits.

When can I safely retire?

In a perfect world you (or your advisor) could predict with certainty how much your investments will earn from year to year for the remainder of your life. Inflation and interest rates would remain stable, or at least predictable. It would simply be a matter of accurately estimating your contributions to those investments over time and the anticipated future cash needs to achieve your financial goals.