In Retirement, Relationships Matter

By Stephen Hart

A story in the The Washington Post about a month ago outlined several new studies coming out about extending longevity in retirement. Two major findings surfaced. First, those that seek out groups such as sports organizations, religious groups, or clubs related to an interest had a much lower risk of mortality in the next 5 years.

The Unintended Consequences of Out-of-date Beneficiaries

Maximizing Asset Efficiency Through Financial Planning

By Stephen Hart

There is a common belief that financial planning begins and ends at planning for a few big goals. And, unfortunately, that’s how many advisors view a planning engagement with a client. Over the last decade, enormous strides have been made in the way we leverage technology when working on a financial plan. This creates two opposing outcomes: the plans have become more reliable and a better representation of the potential outcomes, and the advisor has gotten a bit lazier, or so it may seem. A client may look at the process and say, “you plug my information into some software and create a report, what’s so special about that?” The answer lies in understanding how to maximize the use of your current assets and identifying issues you didn’t even know existed.

Why Go Global?

“International stocks have been trailing U.S. stocks for years. Why should I invest outside the United States and settle for underperformance?"

Two reasons: opportunities to profit outside of the United States AND diversification. Click below to watch a video created by Vanguard that goes into more detail about the benefits of global stock investing.

Is Your Financial Plan Falling Short?

By Stephen Hart

Comprehensive financial planning is becoming an integral part of planning for retirement success. These days many advisors offer “financial planning” free of charge. The formula seems pretty simple right?

“I need $XX to live on, inflation is X%, and I think my investments will grow at X%.”

Run those simple numbers through some rudimentary software and you can pretty easily create some very attractive graphs and cash flow charts. But the truth is, this approach, at its very best, is only an indication if you are somewhat close to meeting your retirement needs. It leaves off the importance of additional goals you have for retirement and in no way accounts for the variability of market returns.

A Closer Look | Fixed Indexed Annuities

By Paxton Kelso

Fixed Indexed Annuities (FIAs), also referred to as Equity Indexed Annuities, are a product with a bad reputation.  Some of that is well deserved, some of it is not. Some is based on the misunderstanding or the self-interest or of the opinion of the source.  For the most part, the bad reputation is the result of misuse by commission-driven insurance agents that frequently have no real understanding of a very complex product.  Claims that the FIA can provide market returns with no downside risk or that the client can “safely assume 8-10% returns” are patently false or gross misrepresentations.  But all you have to do is tune into weekend AM talk radio to hear a slew of them.  One contributor is the lack of regulatory oversight -- these products should be regulated as securities.  The SEC knows it, we know it and the insurance companies know it.  But the insurance lobby has been successful in maintaining regulatory oversight by state insurance commissions – which is to say, very little. 

Tips For Creating Strong Passwords

Increasing challenges in cyber security and protecting your data brings up issues like password strength.The experts at, a website created to provide information on how to protect yourself, your computers and mobiles device and your business against fraud and viruses, offer tips on how to create a strong password.


Tony Robbins explains 'fiduciary' to Main Street

The word "fiduciary" may seem more familiar these days, since the Department of Labor released their rule in April. To give a little background and context, this new rule stems from the loopholes in retirement advice rules.

The Blind Resume

By Stephen Hart

With March Madness almost here, anyone watching a sports show, or a game itself, is probably hearing a lot about which teams are in, who’s on the bubble and who's out. Often times, commentators will create a “blind resume” where the audience is asked to compare certain aspects of a team and decide who should be in or out BEFORE they see who the actual team is.

Updated | Performance of Premiums in the Equity Markets

Please note: This is an updated version of the Performance of Premiums in the Equity Markets presentation that we sent out earlier in the year.

A key concept in understanding our investment philosophy is tilting portfolios toward factors that produce excess return. In this presentation, we examine the market, company size, relative price and profitability premiums over time.

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