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Recent blog posts

ETFs Grow in Popularity Despite Risks

Posted on in Finance

From virtually nowhere, exchange-traded products have grown to over $3 trillion in assets. A small portion of these products are exchange-traded notes (ETNs), but most are exchange-traded funds (ETFs): typically, pools of securities that trade like stocks.
A large amount of ETF assets, in turn, are in funds that track major stock market indexes such as the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ 100, as well as small-company indexes, foreign stock indexes, and so on. These ETFs tend to be low cost and tax efficient, so many supporters of a fiduciary standard for advisors believe that the new rules favor ETFs as being in the best interests of many investors. Indeed, one Morningstar analyst has asserted that an estimated $1 trillion of investment assets will shift into ETFs.

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Business owners should have an exit strategy: a plan for the time when they’re either unwilling or unable to keep running their company. Often, that planning can include a current disaster plan for relatively young business owners and a future long-term succession plan for a smooth path to retirement.

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What the New Fiduciary Rule Means to Investors

Posted on in Finance

In April, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) made headlines with its final rule covering conflicts of interest among investment advisors. Media coverage focused on the difference between a “fiduciary” standard and a “suitability” standard. Financial advisors and investment firms have been debating this issue—often heatedly—for years, and the DOL action probably will bring about changes within the industry.
The new rules also have a message for investors, especially those who rely upon an adviser. This lesson may not be astounding but it’s worth keeping in mind: You should know what investment advice is costing and whether you’re getting your money’s worth.

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Should You Pay Summer Interns?

Posted on in EEOC

Each year, many companies—large and small—offer summer internships. The interns are frequently college students between academic years, and they usually are unpaid. Recently, such arrangements have come under fire from those contending interns should be put on the payroll.

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Planning for Today's Pensions

Posted on in Finance

The concern that few private sector workers can look forward to pensions after retirement has become a pivotal pressure point among retirement discussions. The traditional pension, a lifelong stream of income to a retiree and perhaps a surviving spouse, is becoming a rarity for those who are not long-term government employees.
Nevertheless, millions of people do have a form of pension these days, one that kicks in after age 70½. At that age, required minimum distributions (RMDs) typically begin from retirement plans, such as traditional IRAs and 401(k)s. With proper planning, RMDs can serve as a long-term pension and also provide benefits to a surviving spouse.

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Does it Make Sense to Buy a Timeshare?

Posted on in Finance

Negative opinions are easy to find, and there’s little doubt that high-pressure sales pitches may lead to some bad decisions. Nevertheless, millions of Americans own timeshares. Surveys indicate that purchasers tend to be well educated, with comfortable incomes. Can so many capable and accomplished people all be wasting their money?

The answer to this question is that timeshares can’t be crammed into a single basket and treated as a universal good or bad deal. There are an infinite number of buying opportunities, with enormous variations from one arrangement to the next. If you look at a timeshare as a big-ticket purchase rather than as an investment, and if you read the terms of the agreement carefully before making any commitment, you might decide to add a timeshare to your vacation plans. Or you might not.

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