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Annuities

At some point in your life you probably have come across the term annuity. In general annuities have gotten a lot of press, both good and bad. What it really comes down to is, while investing in annuities may not be for everybody, they can be exactly what’s needed for certain investors.

Many who come into our office have associated annuities with being bad. But, when we ask them "why?", they don't really have a good answer. "I've just heard they are bad investments", is the typical response.

The first thing you must realize is that there are many different types of annuities: fixed, variable, immediate, equity indexed, which I will get into more detail below.

In general, annuities are products that are designed to provide a steady stream of income for a set period of time. Contract holders pay into an annuity to build up the account value, and then they have the ability to get a check either for life, or for a certain period of time depending on what the contract says.

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7 Mistakes Investors Make Planning for Retirement

Every year we meet with a multitude of families and examine their financial game plan and each year we see the same financial mistakes being made over and over again. Even though most of these mistakes are fairly easy to fix with the right plan in place, we still see over and over people falling victim to them. This is what inspired us to put together 7 of the most common mistakes investors make in preparing for retirement.

When most people come into our office they are always concerned about their investments. Is this X fund better than this X fund? Should I have technology stocks? Should I be in the healthcare sector?

Even though these concerns are warranted, there are much bigger problems that need to be addressed first. Even worse, the bigger mistakes are the ones that they don’t even see! When it comes to retirement investing, serious missteps can cost you. Hopefully reviewing these common mistakes below can help guide you toward a more financially secure retirement.

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6 Things to do When the Markets are Down

If you had a perfect ability to predict how far the market would fall and when it would bottom out, it would make sense to move money in and out. But you do not. So what can you do when markets are down? Check out the top 6 things to do when your investment accounts are down.

Turn off the TV

This is my first piece of advice for investors when the markets start to go down. DO NOT LISTEN TO THE NEWS. The media has been quick to report that yield curve inversions have historically been associated with an increased likelihood of an economic recession. The equity markets have experienced weakness as sellers react to the news. Bond prices meanwhile surged as some readied to an immediate recession.

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Why the stock market must go down

It is likely that in the last couple weeks, you saw your retirement portfolio decline somewhere between 2-4% on August 5th. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted nearly 770 points to record its worst trading day of 2019. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite fell for their sixth-straight sessions to pull back 2.98% and 3.47%, respectively.

If you’re a normal person reading this, then you are probably worried and fearful that this decline could continue. With all the uncertainty about tariffs, China and President Trump’s policies, it is normal to feel uneasy about the near future of the stock market and more importantly, the value of your investment accounts.

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Why I Don’t Believe in Stock Picking

By Rosario Greco, CFP®

One frequent question that comes up often in client meetings is whether they should invest in the stock of a particular company.

“Is it a good time to buy Technology stocks?”

“Should I invest in stocks in the healthcare sector?”

“Thinking of putting some of my retirement money into this new company that invented XYZ product. Thoughts?”

Almost universally, my response is:

“No.”

“No.”

“No.”

The reason I believe you shouldn’t be a stock picker is simple. Unless you are investing with money that you are literally never going to need in your life, the risk of individual stock investing is simply too high for us to recommend it, no matter how amazing the company seems.

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Investing is Not a Sprint but a Marathon

By Greco-Nader & Associates

Successful long-term investors are like marathoners in that they must be well prepared, resilient, disciplined and focused in order to complete the race. Sprinting, like short-term investing, is really a different sport.

To understand the difference, look at the histogram below which represents values for the S&P 500 index, an index of stocks generally considered representative of the overall market. Here, returns are shown as “rolling”, meaning that they go back from the current year. So rolling 20-year returns in 2019 would go from 1999-2019, but a rolling return in 2020 would go from 2000-2020.

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Playground Principles: The Bond/Interest Seesaw

By Greco-Nader & Associates

You may have heard that there’s a relationship in financial terms between ‘bond prices’ and ‘yield’ that acts like a see saw.

First, it’s important to understand what these terms mean. Bonds are financial promises to pay investors back with interest. If investors provide a bond issuer money, they promise the investors will get their money back over a period of time. They are purchased at a price that fluctuates often.

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How To Make Your Budget Stick

By Greco-Nader & Associates

Unfortunately, when most think about “budgeting” we think about having to sacrifice things we like, being cheap, and cutting our spending.

The bottom line is budgeting isn’t easy. It takes effort to consistently make it work.

If you use spreadsheets to track your budget, it’s a manually intensive process. If you use applications like Mint, which can connect to your credit card activity, you have to remember to label transactions properly that are showing up unclassified or the data won’t be accurate.

We find that people struggle to stick to budgets, which is why we like to approach budgeting with a very specific mindset.

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Time and Energy:

Finding your personal ROI, and how to benefit from it

By James Greco

They say time is money, right?

Everybody would agree that their time is worth something.

Wondering how to create a larger return on your time?

First you need to calculate what your time is worth. The concept of this is determining your “opportunity cost”. That is, the determination of how much replacing an activity with a payment for someone else would cost.

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Overwhelmed by Student Loans?

Look into these 2 strategies to reduce your debt.

By Greco-Nader & Associates

A mountain of debt is probably not what you would have predicted for your life after college. No, you likely expected to get a fun job, a spouse with a nice house and a couple of kids who play in the backyard with your dog. Yet here you are tied to a different set of responsibilities, as the first repayment is often due six months after graduation.

Are you struggling with student loan debt? You’re not alone. Over 44 million people in the U.S. are in the same predicament, according Forbes. For most people, it’s not a tax-deductible expense. Even worse, except in extreme circumstances, you can’t get rid of the debt even in bankruptcy. It will stay with most people for decades if they don’t pay it off.

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By Marissa Greco and James Greco

James and I wanted to bring you guys some important financial topics to think about for every age group. As you move into different age groups, your financial focus will shift. Here are some general thoughts:

1. Lay a Foundation (in the 20s)

At this age you just graduated from college and hopefully get an entry level job. You want to focus on creating a budget for your expenses because we find that when many individuals have money for the first time in their life. Due to this, they tend to spend instead of concentrate on saving. You’ll also want to try to learn how to use a credit card effectively and make sure to pay it off at the end of each month to avoid building debt.

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Are you Maxing out your 401(k) Savings?

By Greco – Nader & Associates

Maxing out your 401k contributions in a year seems like an easy feat for those who have enough cashflow to do so, but it is surprisingly much rarer than you think. The maximum limit for 401(k) contributions in 2019 is $19,000, with an additional $6,000 catch up limit for those 50 and older. Many people are aware of the contribution limits but only 13% of participants maxed out their 401(k) in 2017, according to a 2018 Vanguard report about its investors. What’s even more interesting is that, these investors had higher incomes, were older and had worked at the company a long time.

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Why I Share My Financial Journey (and why you should too)

By Marissa Greco

Recently I was talking to a friend who wanted to buy a house. “How much is your mortgage monthly?” she asked.  She was immediately embarrassed and stated, “Sorry you don’t have to answer that.” In another situation a family member asked me “What did you spend on your wedding,” and slid in directly after, “If you don’t mind me asking.”

Many of us have been taught not to talk about our finances in front of our friends and family. In a society where we share virtually everything, we are still uncomfortable talking about the Benjamin’s. As a result, you don’t share your salary with your colleagues. You don’t even share your net worth your spouse. You try not to ask your long term friends about their mortgage costs or wedding costs, even it helps put your budget in perspective. 

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The #1 Reason you are Still Living Paycheck to Paycheck

By Marissa Greco

Over the past of couple years, I’ve worked with clients who make $60,000 a year and regularly contribute to their 401(k) as well as build healthy savings accounts. They’re able to go on vacation and purchase what they want and need.

I’ve also worked with clients making $600,000 a year who live paycheck to paycheck.

Whether we realize it or not, we as humans, tend to adapt to our environment. And we do the same thing with our paychecks – increasing our cost of living with every pay raise.

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Company Stock Concentration Vs. Sound Investment Diversification

As an employee of a company, do you ever feel like you are faced with this dilemma: company loyalty versus sound investment diversification?

How do you decide on the right amount of company stock to keep and the right amount to sell and invest elsewhere?

The saying of “don’t keep all your eggs in one basket,” although simple to understand, is not necessarily easy to implement.

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