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  • Financial Planning
    • -Estate Planning
    • -Comprehensive Financial Planning
    • -Retirement Planning
    • -College Planning
  • Portfolio Management
    • -Individuals and/or Small Businesses
    • -Other Portfolio Management


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Designations & Memberships

  • American Association of Individual Investors
    American Association of Individual Investors
    The American Association of Individual Investors is a nonprofit organization with about 150,000 members whose purpose is to educate individual investors regarding stock market portolios, financial planning, and retirement accounts.
  • Financial Planning Association
    Financial Planning Association
    The Financial Planning Association (FPA®) is the largest membership organization for personal financial planning experts in the U.S. and includes professionals from all backgrounds and business models. We help connect thousands of consumers to competent and ethical planners who uphold the FPA Standard of Care.
  • Certified Financial Planner
    Certified Financial Planner
    A standard certification for advisors, designees are exposed to nearly 100 topics on integrated financial planning. Major topics include, but not limited to: insurance, employee benefits, securities, state and federal tax, estate tax and planning, asset protection, etc.
  • Chartered Financial Analyst
    Chartered Financial Analyst
    Widely considered the gold standard for investment professionals, this six decade old charter is only given to designees who can demonstrate competence, integrity, and dedication to the field of investment management.

Articles and Answers

Insights by Kirk Kreikemeier

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How should I plan for my retirement if my employer doesn't offer retirement benefits?
With a Traditional and Roth IRA, you can still contribute for the 2012 tax year through 4/15/2013. Limits are $5k in '12 and as stated above, $5.5k in '13. If married and have the cash, that is $21k now!If you use a traditional, you have higher income thresholds to retain deductibility (unlimited...  (more)
Answered Feb 2013
Where should I put my riskiest holdings, taxable or tax-sheltered portfolio?
Yes your primary consideration is the appropriate asset allocation. But once you have that, it is worth picking up additional value by considering asset location. In addition to the comments mentioned, if you have both a Roth and Traditional IRA, put your highest expected return assets in the Roth...  (more)
Answered Sep 2012
My company offers a dozen or so mutual funds that I can invest in my 401(k). I can look at 1/3/5 years performance data, etc, but how can Bright Scope help me figure out how to allocate my paycheck deduction to these funds for the best possible return?
This reminds me of an ad I saw showing an airplane's cockpit with the numerous gauges and dials. The line was something like "managing your own retirement plan is easy, once you know what you are doing." So yes, check the sources that David mentions but make sure after you have all the gauges and...  (more)
Answered Sep 2012
What are your thoughts on having a college savings account in my kids' names instead of in mine?
I favor holding the assets in the parent's name in a 529 savings plan. This has multiple advantages:1) retain control of assets after child turns 18 (in case they don't want to use for school)2) parental assets counted at lower % toward expected family contribution in financial aid calcs3) 52...  (more)
Answered Sep 2012
What's a safe withdrawl rate for retirement?
I agree you should look deeper at your specific circumstances given the complex interaction of variables. In addition to after-tax analysis and determining what type of accounts your assets are held, the original "4% rule" research paper and subsequent updates point out another key variable - infla...  (more)
Answered Sep 2012
Am I saving enough for retirement?
It does require analyzing the complex interaction of many variables. But don't let that stop you from beginning to save now. In addition to contributing your dollars, make use of other favorable features - 1) matching employer contributions from 401k, 2) tax deferred vehicles, 3) time, 4) power of...  (more)
Answered Sep 2012
From a tax perspective, what is the difference between a 401K and an IRA account?
First a few basics worth mentioning: assuming all pre-tax dollars contributed to either, withdrawals are taxed at ordinary income (see exception below), so realize you are converting capital gains to income which may mean higher, albeit delayed, tax rate after contribute enough to pick up max empl...  (more)
Answered Mar 2014
How do I log onto my account and see what my contributiions are and how would I go about requesting a loan from my assisting account?
401k loans can provide you a source of liquidity but also carry risks. Two are 1) if you leave your employer (quit or fired) you must pay the loan back within 60 days (check plan details); 2) if can't pay back or if you miss payment on existing loan, will be treated as distribution which will be ta...  (more)
Answered Sep 2012
How can I assess the performance of the Fixed Asset segment of my portfolio versus the overall market average?
This is drilling into a topic that is very important, and also somewhat difficult to do unless one is familiar with the various asset classes and appropriate indexes. If just want broad fixed income that is approximate only, use ticker AGG as already mentioned. If want more accurate and nuanced, r...  (more)
Answered Sep 2012
I have a 401k from my previous company which is still being managed by them. I am not sure if I should rollover my 401k to my new company and get someone else to manage it. Can you please provide me with some options I can explore.?
One clarification in your question - it is you who must manage your 401k, not your previous or even current employer. The plans provide investment options that you must choose, monitor and rebalance.One point already mentioned I will emphasize is the ability to begin drawing from a 401k at age 55 ...  (more)
Answered Jan 2013
What is a bond ladder and how do I set one up?
Also be aware of credit risk if using individual bonds that are not treasuries or CDs. In the current rate environment (Oct '12) I am not a fan of either right now. There are some fixed date maturity exchange-traded-funds that would allow some diversification across investment-grade and high-yield...  (more)
Answered Oct 2012
Where do I find information on commodities backed ETFs?
I believe commodities deserve a place in the asset allocation. But you also need to be aware of some key issues. Do your homework or ask for help. Some key issues are:1) underlying sectors - even broad commodity index differs, especially the % to energy2) implied carry of futures - if futures c...  (more)
Answered Oct 2012
How do I get more affordable health insurance?
Another alternative is a high deductible insurance policy combined with a health savings account (HSA). Your fixed premiums will very likely be lower but you must pay the first say $2,500 - $5,000 out of your own pocket (or HSA that you funded). This must be compared to lower deductible alternativ...  (more)
Answered Oct 2012
What is the difference between a broker and an advisor?
You are already on a great site that can help find "fee-only" advisors. You pay fee-only advisors directly, you know exactly what you are paying and they help you find the strategies, investments, products based on your needs.In the "financial advisor directory" you can search for "fee-only" advi...  (more)
Answered Oct 2012
What is the best way to get my debt under control after being unemployed?
Congratulations on the new job and also the foresight to establish a home equity line (HEL) of credit while still employed. I am a fan of getting rid of high-rate debt first. Your mention of the HEL implies you have some flexible, economic considerations. Be aware the minimum payment on high-rate...  (more)
Answered Oct 2012
I have money in my retiremend fund, and i need to get it out.?
I too am assuming this is a 401k and follow the previous answer. However, you should think of this as two steps - 1) moving the account via a "direct transfer" from your previous employer to an IRA account at a financial institution like a brokerage company, and 2) begin to withdraw the funds from ...  (more)
Answered Sep 2012
$30,000 After tax contributions in my 401K. $282000 Total what is the best way to manage this preparing for retirement?
Setting aside how the funds should be invested (which as correctly stated don't have enough information) I think you are asking about moving the funds from the 401k after you leave the company. You state "Shouldn't be in great need of withdrawals..." but if you may be before age 60 and need to use ...  (more)
Answered Oct 2013
My Mother is 64 and my Father is 69. He gets SS benefits, however my mother did not work enough to get any. Just found out that she could have applied for spousal benefits when she turned 62. Can she apply now and get 2 yrs of back pay from 62 to now?
Good suggestions from the other posts. I want to point out the different benefit amounts received at the different ages are equivalent after adjusting for life expectancy and interest. So don't worry about 'missing out' if you choose to delay which may be a wise move. Another spousal benefit is i...  (more)
Answered Nov 2012
I have small business with myself the only employer , I would like to open 401k account but I want to find the rating for the plan and know the administrative cost /hidden cost that I will be paying for, is there website or book that can help choose?
Be aware the SEP and SIMPLE options will not have the potential costs of TPA or Form 5500. For those two plans, one of the key considerations is how much your business earns and how much you would like to contribute. For 2012, the SEP allows 25% of earnings up to a max of $50k; SIMPLE a max of $11...  (more)
Answered Nov 2012
What are the downsides of TIPS?
A nuanced but important detail is separating real yields from nominal yields. Nominal includes both real and inflation and is the fixed rate earned on regular bonds. Real yields are what you earn on TIPS PLUS the fluctuating inflation component. Until recently real yields on TIPS were negative d...  (more)
Answered Sep 2013
How do i allocate more of my 401k to cash in a company 401K. Does cash mean bonds?
These are good answers given that you stated you want to move some of your funds to cash. You state you are retiring in 3 years. The amount you need to withdraw near-term needs to be safe, but recognize you likely need to retain an appropriate risky asset allocation.Also be aware of interest rate...  (more)
Answered Apr 2013
What's the best distribution between college savings and retirement savings?
Yes retirement first - 'your children can get student loans; it is difficult for you to get retirement loans.'One thing to note on 529 Plans vs. Roth for taxes ... many 529 plans offer state tax deductions on contributions if use home state. Yes watch fees and investment choices, but a state tax d...  (more)
Answered Jan 2013
How do you define/differentiate a high net worth individual versus an individual client?
Perhaps your questions is motivated by the "Advisor Client Types" pie chart in our profiles. That is driven by regulatory filings with the SEC or State regulator. Section 205-3 of the Advisers Act defines High Net Worth for filing purposes as a client with at least $1mm of assets under management...  (more)
Answered Mar 2014
What are the advantages to using a health savings account (HSA)?
The financial aspects have been well covered. One critical benefit of an HSA is what it does to your medical spending behavior. Unlike common medical insurance that has much higher fixed premiums and encourages "getting your money's worth" by utilizing medical services without regard to cost, an H...  (more)
Answered Sep 2012
My dad just retired at age 70 and wants to know if he should leave his 401k with his company or move it. Where would be the best place to move it?
Since your father is 70 the advantage of being able to withdraw from a 401k at age 55 is not applicable and the typical limited 401k choices, especially in fixed-income, lean toward a move. However, if the 401k has a 'stable value' option that may be an attractive choice right now that is not avail...  (more)
Answered Jan 2013
What is a spousal IRA?
An additional consideration is the higher income limits on whether an IRA contribution is deductible depending if you are covered by a retirement plan at work. In most cases those using spousal IRAs are not working and therefore not covered. For example, in 2012 if joint filing and covered by a pl...  (more)
Answered Sep 2012
What fund(s) would you suggest if I want moderate allocation with approx 60% in stocks and 40% in bonds?
Given your request for a 60/40 split you have some good answers above. I want to highlight your 40% bond allocation. In the past this was the safe part of the portfolio. It still has the lower volatility of the two, but be aware many balanced funds index against the US Aggregate for the 40% bond ...  (more)
Answered Sep 2013
What should my kids do with their UGMA accounts?
Given the stated intent of expecting the UGMAs be used for college, I agree with Andy's point about considering a 529 UGMA. Your oldest is 18 so the benefit of future investment gains growing tax-free and if used for college remaining tax-free may be limited. Also his time horizon is very short as...  (more)
Answered Sep 2013
I am 38 years and I want to get the balance off my pension fund what do I need to do?
Yes contact the HR dept. of the employer. But if you have a 'cash balance' defined benefit plan and you have left the company, you can do a direct transfer to an IRA without tax consequences if done properly. If you have a traditional defined benefit plan that provides a monthly benefit, see Steve...  (more)
Answered Sep 2012
Can I transfer my childs 529 plan to another state?
Another consideration is whether your state allows a state tax deduction for contributions. Consider two scenarios:1) If your state allows deduction and your accounts are currently held with home state, be aware the state may reclaim past deduction (read plan docs)2) If your state allows deduct...  (more)
Answered Sep 2012
Invest at home or invest abroad?
I agree with "both". In general people are under-invested abroad. A newer benchmark that captures world investing is the All Country World Index or AWCI. Recently I have seen investment choices show up in 401k's that track the AWCI-ExUS. Here is a link to the iShares ACWI index fact sheet.http:...  (more)
Answered Sep 2012
    *Answers are submitted by advisors without compensation.

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    U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
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    • as of date
      Jan 25, 2020
    • license status
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    Last updated on Jan. 26, 2020
      • $27.0M
        Total Assets Under Management
      • $0
        Total Assets Under Advisement
      • 48
        number of clients
      • $563.4K
        Estimated Average Account Balance Per Client

    Pebble Valley Holdings, Inc

    Last updated on March 16, 2020
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      • $233.1K
        Estimated Average Account Balance


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