Category: Our Commentary

Why Not Loan Money to Family & Friends?

If you have money or people suspect you have money, you will eventually have someone ask you for a loan.  Most likely, that person will be someone you both know well and care about.  Emotionally you may have a strong desire to help, but should you?  After forty-something years of watching this scenario play out […]

SECURE Act- President Signs New Retirement Tax Law


President Trump signed into law the ‘Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement’ (SECURE) Act, which became effective January 1, 2020.  This bipartisan bill offers some useful features along with some very bad changes for both the wealthy and average earners. The Good News Under prior law, you were required to begin taking Required Minimum […]

2020: Your 3 Most Important Goals

It’s a new year and a new opportunity to hit the reset button on goals for the most important aspects of your life. Your first question might be, “Does setting goals really matter?”  As a seasoned politician (Mayor of Mtn. Brook), my answer would be, “It depends…”  Most people go through life, never set any […]

Fourth Quarter Financial Planning Series: Don’t Be A Victim of Holiday Fraud!

With the holiday season in full swing, as evidenced by stores full of shoppers and lots of traffic, it’s also important to remember that this is prime time for fraudsters.  In the crowded business of this season, it’s easy to let your guard down.  Recent research by LIMRA indicates that 36% of those responding to […]

How to Establish Financial “Grit” in 2020!

What does it take for humans to accomplish goals of great significance?  The answer to this question was recently addressed in a 10-year study conducted by The United States Military Academy at West Point, and the results may surprise you.  While the study found that cognitive and physical abilities aid in the accomplishment of great […]

Debt Management for the Holidays

New research shows that, for the first time, Americans collectively owe four trillion dollars of consumer debt, excluding home mortgages.  That’s such a significant number; it can be meaningless for the average reader, so let’s zoom in a bit. In 1950, the inflation-adjusted median household income was about $30,000, with only about $500 in consumer […]

Fourth Quarter Financial Planning Series: Create More Income

So far in this series, we’ve covered Investments, Taxes, Insurance, and estate planning.  For this final section, I’d like to include ideas for supplementing cash flow. With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s hard not to turn your attention to the Christmas holiday season and all its demands, including the need for more cash flow to buy […]

Fourth Quarter Financial Planning Series: ESTATE PLANNING

So far, in this series, we’ve covered Investments, Taxes, and Insurance.  Now let’s look at estate planning with an emphasis on digital assets. Most people understand the importance of having a basic estate plan in place.  Unfortunately, at least one-third of American adults don’t have one.  The reasons vary, but the most dominant is procrastination.  […]

Fourth Quarter Financial Planning Series: REDUCING INSURANCE COSTS

So far, in this series, we’ve covered Investments and Taxes.  Now let’s explore four ways to cut the costs of commonly owned insurance: Homeowners and Auto Insurance– No doubt, we need this coverage, and we need it in adequate amounts.  The trick to slashing premiums 20% or more is through judicial use of deductibles.  Often, […]

Fourth Quarter Financial Planning Series: REDUCING TAXES

In part one of this series ‘Investments,’ I discussed investment to-dos between now and yearend.  Today, I’d like to cover some tax-related strategies that can save you money or avoid tax penalties. File on time. Ok, this is not exactly a 2019 year-end strategy but a reminder of the importance of filing by April 15, […]