Owning Real Estate without the Hassle

You may have noticed real estate funds as part of the asset mix in some of your retirement accounts. Real estate investment trusts (REITs), are securities that sell like stock on the major exchanges and invest in real estate directly, either through properties or mortgages. A REIT mutual fund owns numerous publicly traded REITs. Equity […]

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So what’s actually in the new Healthcare Reform bill?

Many of our clients have expressed major concerns over escalating healthcare costs. Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was finally signed into law last month after a century of trying, we felt it would be helpful to summarize the key reforms given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2,000 page bill.   No […]

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Why should you care about a “Fiduciary Standard”?

Currently the approximately 630,000 brokers, bankers and insurance agents registered to sell securities must determine whether investments are “suitable”—based on how much money you have, what else you are invested in, your tax status and what your investment objectives are. These salespeople aren’t obligated to act as a fiduciary, in your best interest, even when […]

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Is a Roth IRA Conversion Right for You?

Big changes have taken effect in 2010 for people who want to convert Traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs. Effective January 1, 2010, you can: · Convert regardless of your income or tax-filing status · Postpone the tax due on the conversion by splitting the taxable income evenly in 2011 and 2012 (2010 conversions only) The […]

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Decent Decade for Indexers

A TRIFECTA OF TRUTH TO START THE NEW DECADE It’s not just the end of a year, but the end of a decade so it’s a particularly appropriate time to consider where we are, where we’re going, and what we’ve learned. If they’ve done nothing else, the last ten years have proven that investing is […]

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Kennedy Economic Guru and Nobel Laureate Dies

Paul Samuelson, one of the foremost academic economists of the 20th century, has died at age 94. He proposed the monetary policy that suggested a temporary reduction in individual tax rates is a powerful weapon against recession. Kennedy put the idea into practice and set in motion the great boom of the 1960s. He felt […]

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Tempted to Look for the Next “hot thing” in the Market?

Who’s the smartest of them all? We currently see ads and junk mail pieces from money managers saying they are the greatest because they sold out before the crash or bought (emerging markets, junk bonds etc.) just at the right time. Truth be told, facts are facts and though there are some really smart money […]

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Elderly Parent Care Guide

Willow Creek Financial often gets calls regarding issues with elderly parents and other relatives. One of the fund providers we use, Vanguard, has written a brief guide discussing common eldercare challenges and care options. The guide also provides a helpful list of Websites including CarePathways.com sponsored by a group of Registered Nurses. The goal is to assist […]

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Government Intervention and Stock Returns

Should equity investors be alarmed by the prospect of greater government intervention in the U.S. economy? The following link from Dimensional Fund Advisors’ looks at examples of U.S. intervention in the past and examines the record of stock returns around the world over the last thirty-nine years. The evidence suggests that government intervention is just […]

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Your Money and Your Brain

Calming Your Emotional Impulses and Economic Fears Jason Zweig is a personal finance columnist for the Wall Street Journal and the author of Your Money and Your Brain: How the Science of Neuroeconomics Can Help Make You Rich. Mr. Zweig has researched a new discipline called neuroeconomics, which combines biology, psychology and economics to try […]

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