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  • Financial Planning

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Employer Years Dates
Mml Investors Services, Inc. 26 years, 2 months Aug 1990 - Present
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Comp 27 years, 4 months Jun 1989 - Present

Designations & Memberships

  • Chartered Financial Consultant
    Designation
    Chartered Financial Consultant
    Invididuals holding this designation understand the fundamentals of financial planning, including income tax, insurance, investment and estate planning.

Articles and Answers

Insights by Evan Levine

Three Pillars Of A Solid 401-k Plan
Published 2013-10-24 11:43:26
Do You Have The Wrong Financial Advisor?
Published 2013-07-11 11:07:28
Are you a "closet" indexer?
Published 2013-01-23 08:18:00
Who Else Wants Good Economic News?
Published 2012-12-18 09:02:02
A Guide To "File & Suspend"
Published 2012-11-29 10:01:21
What's Wrong With Variable Annuities?
Published 2012-09-28 08:41:55
Do You Overemphasize Recent Data?
Published 2012-07-19 13:13:20
How Facebook's IPO made me smile
Published 2012-07-02 06:49:19
The Real Problem With A Reverse Mortgage
Published 2012-05-11 08:12:38
5 Questions Smart Investors Ask Their Advisors
Published 2012-04-27 07:06:22
Are You Being Fooled By History?
Published 2012-04-19 11:40:36
A Guide to Rethinking Retirement
Published 2012-03-22 12:07:57
A Guide To Life Insurance
Published 2012-03-09 08:54:58
Investing For Income In A Low Yielding World
Published 2012-02-24 09:48:51
Guide to College Funding
Published 2012-01-13 08:12:34
What is a REIT?
Published None
    *Articles are published by advisors without compensation.

    Answers

    Ask a financial questionAsk a question
    LSW/National Life Group for retirement??
    Equity-indexed Life insurance is a very complex product and not very transparent. It may or may not be smart for you to continue at this juncture; a more thorough analysis is needed. Our office has considerable experience in this niche area. Feel free to reach me at 516-240-6161 or evan@completeadvi...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    I am the CFO of my company and we offer a 401k plan, how do I know if I am a fiduciary?
    If you are a plan sponsor, you are serving as a fiduciary - UNLESS you have contractually delegated that function to an investment manager that has acknowledged fiduciary responsibility under ERISA section 3(38). Good luck!...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2012
    Will the European debt crisis affect my retirement account?
    I have no idea and doubt anyone esle does, including economists - at least not in the short term. When it comes to complex systems like economics and politics, trying to predict the short term future is almost - if not completely - immposible. There is too much randomness. This creates an inherint c...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2012
    When interviewing a financial advisor, what questions should I ask?
    1) Please describe your overall advising and investment philosophy.2) Will you act as a fiduciary at all times as defined by federal law?3) Will you disclose all compensation clearly - in writing? 4) Will you be receiving third party compensation contingent upon selling me a financial product?5)...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2012
    Why would an investment firm recommend as many as 12 different mutual funds for IRA diversity? Seems like a lot to look at and manage.
    Frankly I think you can achieve adequate diversification with 5 funds or ETF's , maybe even 3. But beyond 7 it is probably done to give a perception of being " more" diversified though it really isn't.....  (more)
    Answered Jan 2013
    Are CDs good investments?
    CD'S are not investments, they are short term cash equivilents and should only be used if you have a precise need for your funds in the very near future. ...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2012
    Should both spouses have life insurance coverage?
    Maybe. Life insurance exists to fill a need: a need for protection. ( It is not an investment and any cash value build up should be a secondary consideration to the need for protection)You can do a simple analysis: how much income would each spouse need if the other was not around? Please consider ...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2012
    We're looking at Great West vs Mass Mutual as a 401(k) provider. Any advantages to one vs the other?
    It's just semantics. The issue today, is less about getting the end provider(s) right and more about getting the middle man/women right. You want to find the right financial advisor....A trusted partner...A liaison that sits right between you and these 800 pound gorillas ....  (more)
    Answered Dec 2012
    What are the top questions to ask a financial planner?
    That's a good question! (No pun intended) please see this brightscope guide for more:https://www.brightscope.com/financial-planning/advice/guide/3257/5-Questions-Smart-Investors-Ask-Their-Advisors/...  (more)
    Answered Aug 2012
    What is the best way to prospect for 401k plans.?
    Approach a lot of them. The sales aspect of any business - even if you are selling client centered, transparent, fiduciary advice - is still a numbers game. The more prospects you approach, the better you will do because only a certain percentage of them will be a good fit for what you are offering....  (more)
    Answered Apr 2012
    With all the new fee disclosure rules and regulations it also brings to the forefront the broker fees. Is there anything we can use to measure the fees we pay to the broker against other brokers?
    Hi Sandy: Brightscope and Judy Diamond (among others) provide National Data on 401-k Plans that includes Fee information. But actually shopping your plan to 2 or 3 providers - and receiving proposals with detailed fee breakdown - is the most hands and accurate on way to do it. It will also give you...  (more)
    Answered May 2012
    What are the advantages of using a commission based financial advisor?
    Dan, If you are looking for isolated, one time, transaction based advice, it might make sense to use a commission based advisor to obtain and execute an idea. If, however, you are seeking a long term relationship with an objective advisor that you will meet and plan with on a regular basis, the com...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2012
    Will working longer and deferring retirement allow me to have more money for when I finally retire?
    Maybe. The considerations are both financial and non-financial. Working longer will definitively allow you more money when you retire ( VIA allowing more time for your accounts to grow, delaying social security for a higher benefit etc..) but it's not just about the money its also about being happy....  (more)
    Answered Jul 2012
    When should I convert my deferred annuity to an immediate annuity?
    You may not be required to convert the annuity to monthly payments at all! It may be possible to roll the money out - in a lump sum - into a regular brokerage account. This way, you can take income if/ when it is needed and still retail a lump sum for emergencies or to be left for your heirs... wh...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2012
    How does Universal Life insurance compare to Whole Life Insurance?
    Just came from a long meeting on this topic - good timing. All permanent life insurance products are complex and not as transparent as I would like but they still have merit for many investors. Here is my best explanation within the limits of this Q&A format ( A phone call or in person meeting ...  (more)
    Answered May 2012
    Is now a good time to buy a home? And how to a determine what I can "afford", eg what is the ideal mortgage payment to income ratio?
    I am buying one myself now and do believe the timing is good. With mortgage rates at historic lows and home prices still low, I cant see a much better time to do it - particularly if you are renting and have nothing to sell. Agree with Victor - I would plan on staying 10 -15 years or more. As for ra...  (more)
    Answered May 2012
    What would the impact of a Mitt Romney presidency be on the economy? Is he considered pro-growth?
    It's pur speculation trying to assess what the impact of any President or elected official will have on the economy or capital markets. It may be fun and inteersting to debate that, but It can be outright dangerous basing investment decicions on such conjecture. Best of luck!...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2012
    My 401k plan has a huge number of investment choices. Where can I find help on how I should pick where to invest in my plan?
    Your companies plan should have a financial adviser that meets with the group and is available for one on one consultations. If they do not and you have not seen anyone stop by I would ask the HR person why? Good luck...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2012
    How do I set up a trust fund for my kids?
    I respect Victors views but disagree. Reading an entire book on estate planning takes too much time and may still leave you perplexed. Instead, find an estate attorney that you trust. A referral is a good way to do that. Nothing beats specialized advice and guidance from a professional that you trus...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2012
    Short and long term investing?
    I think out of the gate, an initial decision should be considered; Do I want to invest on my own, gathering information from various sources as I go along, but ultimately becoming the steward of my own investments?... or do I want to seek out a wealth advisor that I can partner with and then delega...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2012
    Trade off between risk and return?
    Almost perfectilly cooreletad ( More Risk = More Return) ( Less Risk = Less Return) like the law of gravity in a sense....  (more)
    Answered Dec 2012
    I have a small company with 65 employees and want to switch to the lowest cost 401K plan possible to give my employees the highest return on their 401k and not lose a significant amount of money long term due to high expenses. Can someone please recommend a plan with low costs?
    Ty, all good information so far - but you may be able to get to where you want to go without changing any of your current providor(s)! Conversion of the entire plan is no fun and if you could reduce FEE's and improve the plan while staying with your current providor(s) that would minimize the distra...  (more)
    Answered Aug 2012
    On average, how much of my stock portfolio should be in international stocks?
    I would say about 20%....  (more)
    Answered Apr 2012
    Is now a good time to invest in high dividend stocks, in your opinion?
    I have no idea! Not only do I not know if its now is a good time for high dividend stocks, I can't say if "now a good time" to invest in any investment. That's because the future (Particularly near term) is uncertain - no one can consistently predict what is about to happen with markets, economics, ...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2012
    Pre-tax/Roth 401k and Traditional/Roth IRA, what should I enroll?
    Jack, Definitely contribute what your employer is matching, more if possible ASAP. The time to strike is when the iron is hot and once you start contributing you will probably adjust your lifestyle to whats left and not notice it .The decision to go pre-tax/roth or post is a minor one relative to ta...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2012
    Why shouldn't I take 401k loans if I am paying myself back the interest?
    Because an amount equal to what you borrowed with be transferred from your investment selection to an interest bearing account - and you will lose market participation on that amount. Of course your investments can go down in the time period the loan is outstanding, in which case you will end up bet...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2012
    Best course for inheritance money?
    Unless you are very experienced and have the time and appetite to be a landlord a " REIT" will likely prove to be a smarter choice. More information can be found below:http://www.completeadvisors.com/2011/09/22/what-most-investors-overlook-wall-streets-greatest-invention-part-i-of-ii/...  (more)
    Answered Aug 2012
    Where can I find info on investing in start-up business?
    All of the information provided is excellent. To expand on Scott's point, I would only look at start-ups if you have enough saved to fund your core life goals - or you have a plan to invest enough to meet your basic goals: Retirement, Residence, College funding if applicable, et cetera, not counting...  (more)
    Answered May 2012
    As a young professional starting a new career, what would you recommend a Roth IRA or IRA?
    While all of this is good advice, lets not lose the Forrest for the trees. What's most important is your savings rate and asset allocation. Next to those decisions the Roth/IRA decision is insignificant. A young professional saving 14% of income using an 80% equity portfolio will - 30, 40 years fro...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2012
    I intend to take full SS benefit and work full time. Are there any constraints on participating in company 401K or Roth IRA?
    Excellent and thorough answers. I would only add that even though your contributions can continue - you are still subject to minimum distributions the year after you turn 70 1/2. ( Except if it is a Roth) Hence if you are earning income well into your 70's or 80's it may become a " revolving door" a...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2012
    I am the CFO of my company and we offer a 401k plan, how do I know if I am a fiduciary?
    Hi again: Thought you would find the following helpful as a way to prepare for the upcoming changes:http://www.completeadvisors.com/2012/05/23/are-you-prepared-for-the-erisa-deadlines-that-are-around-the-corner/Please call with any questions.Evan...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2012
    How do I determine what my advisors fees are?
    Simply ask the advisor what their fees are; then become quiet and listen carefully to how they respond. Notice if their response is calm and clear - and if you UNDERSTAND what they are saying . If they are responding in an anxious manner, talking a lot and fast, using industry lingo that is confusi...  (more)
    Answered May 2012
    My insurance agent says their are no fees for the investment products he wants to sell me.  How can he make a living if the products he sells don't have fees?
    You mentioned "Insurance Agent". And it sounds like he is recommending an insurance product or annuity These products pays the agent or broker and commission ( and maybe and "override") As of this writing this amount does not need to be disclosed according to the law....  (more)
    Answered May 2012
    Why dont advisors get paid by performance and not a fixed percentge of assets?
    It's a timely and interesting question. Many RIA firms, including mine, charge primarily through a fixed percentage of assets .More than one person has opined that I should receive that % in the year (or quarter) when account goes up, but not when it goes down. I think these folks miss the point of ...  (more)
    Answered May 2012
    Is it OK to have multiple financial advisors each managing a portion of my assets?
    One advisor is the simplest, most convenient and efficient. But it requires a VERY high level of trust and confidence....  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    My husband and are ready to retire. I have a 401K with my prior employer. I am about to roll this 401k over to an IRA. We own our home in full. We also just found a retirement home of our dreams and wish to find the most effective way to purchase?
    I want to second ( or fourth) the views on personalized advice. These internet platforms are a catch 22 because a little knowledge is dangerous and if you take bits and pieces of advice and try to go it alone it may not work as well as partnering with an adviser. I just furnished my house which came...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2012
    Where should I put my riskiest holdings, taxable or tax-sheltered portfolio?
    Frankly I don't think it matters that much. What is most important is your asset allocation: mix of stocks, bonds and cash and your savings rate....  (more)
    Answered Jun 2012
    Ihad almost 90,000.00 in my 403 right before the market disaster in 2008. I am finally up there again. how do I keep from loosing it in the event of another crash?
    You didn't lose it then, nor will you lose it in the future.... IF you do not sell. ...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2013
    Life Insurance as an Investment?
    Life Insurance is not an investment, it's protection. In my view, there are benefits to having Life Insurance with cash value and it's worthy of consideration depending on your situation- but the cash value is a secondary benefit to the protection and as such, should not be viewed as an invetment....  (more)
    Answered Aug 2012
    My email was sent to Steve Goldstein only of Dean Witter?
    If you want to try your question again, I will do my best to provide an answer!...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2012
    Which option offers the most return for retirement:investing in an index ETF or a high yield fortune 500 company stock?
    All great answers. It's a fascinating question which would indeed require a crystal ball to answer accurately. I will say this: as others have pointed out, which the data confirms, investing in any individual security brings more risk then buying the entire index it sits in through an ETF. About 3 t...  (more)
    Answered May 2012
    What's the right life insurance for me?
    Hi Robin,Figuring out the right type of life Insurance for you is behind the scope of this platform. An advisor would need to know about your situation and needs. The first critical step, however, is not the type but the amount. Making sure that there is enough of a benefit that would allow your de...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2012
    Why doesn't my 401k offer in-service distributions if it is my money?
    Its an interesting question. Even if they allow for a distribution ( they rarely do) you must pay a 10% government penalty. I guess it's Big Brother looking after you so you have money when you are older. If that is a good or bad thing, I can't say....  (more)
    Answered Jun 2012
    401K Rollover -- Timing question?
    Karthik, I agree with Donald on all points and would add the following: The first " Big picture" important decision for you is this: Do you want to be a " do it yourself " investor or would you prefer to outsource the managing of your investments to an adviser?If it's the former, Scottrade - or any...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    Can I purchase additional life insurance coverage?
    Lamar, You need to obtain more information. Find out what the rate per1000 is to increase the group life insurance. Also find out if it's portable should you leave the company ( Probably not.) From my experience, it almost always makes sense to purchase additional coverage - beyond what the company...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2012
    Should I purchase an Annuity for my retirement?
    I agree with James. Your pensions and SS behave like annuities (lifetime of steady guaranteed income), so probably no need to buy (another) annuity with whatever's left. In our practice - to supplement pensions and SS - we use what I like to call "homemade annuities". We create a diversified portfo...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    I have 100% of my retirement money in a target date fund. Do you consider that diversified enough or not?
    There is another issue with target date funds. Typically, the portfolio re-allocates to become more conservative as you get closer to your "retirement" ( i.e target) date. For example, if your target date is your age 65 , the portfolio will be extremely conservative by then ( i.e. mostly bonds and c...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    How do I know if I'm borrowing money the most efficiently?
    If you are investing what you borrow in an asset that will appreciate at a greater rate than the interest on your loan, I would consider that efficient borrowing....  (more)
    Answered Apr 2012
    How do I get an auto loan?
    In addition to all of these good answers, here is a different angle; Is it possible for you to find a way to buy a car outright and avoid a loan altogether? I bring this up because I just went through this thought process for myself and concluded the following: I could by a car in excellent conditio...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2012
    What are the benefits of dollar-cost averaging?
    Gerrit, DCA makes sense if your investable funds are available on a regular basis (Monthly, Bi-Monthly) as in the case of salary deferrals for a 401-k, as pointed out. But if you have established a written financial plan - with clearly stated goals, objectives and time horizon.. and a lump sum is a...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2012
    What exactly is estate tax?
    Blair and James are right on the Mark. Let me add a gentle reminder that when Life Insurance is owned by an individual, the proceeds are included in the owners taxable estate. A strategy that is relatively easy to implement would be to transfer the ownership of the policy to an irrecoverable trust o...  (more)
    Answered Aug 2012
    Can you explain the difference between a Roth 401k and a Roth IRA and what someone should consider when deciding between the two as a primary retirement tool?
    Specific counsel would require more information and is beyond the scope of this platform. However - In the end- I would say that the Roth / Traditional Split does not matter all that much; What's most important is the % of your income that you invest - and your asset allocation decision....  (more)
    Answered May 2013
    Where would you put leftover cash after you fund your 401k and if you have no debt?
    Let's not lose the Forrest for the trees here. The Roth / Traditional is not the central issue here .Goals are. The first step is to think about goals... what are you investing this extra cash for? College for kids? Your own Retirement? Long term wealth accumulation? Another short term Goal? ( For e...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    How do I, as a small company plan administrator, evaluate the financial stability of a 401(k) plan provider who offers a turn key operation including investment funds and plan administration?
    By finding the right financial advisor to do it for you....  (more)
    Answered Dec 2012
    Should I invest in gold?
    You can't invest in gold because gold is not an investment, its speculation....  (more)
    Answered Jan 2012
    How do I get more affordable health insurance?
    Do you work for an employer or are you self emplyed?...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2012
    How much commission does my broker make?
    You should feel comfertable asking that question to him/her. If not, you should find a new advisor. ...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2012
    Is it better to have money in a 403b or Roth retirement account?
    Quincy: How long untilyou plan on retiring/ withdrawing these funds? The traditional/Roth decision (in part) is based on your time horizon. What's more important, however, is your underlying investment strategy. What is your mix of stocks, bonds and cash? Are you choosing the funds by yourself or ou...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    How do I know if my advisor is a Fiduciary?
    Ask if they are affiliated with a "broker- dealer". If yes they are a fiduciary to the broker dealer not the investor. Best of Luck!...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2012
    What type of advisor would you recommend that has older clients and has experience in eldercare and financial planning. We are not eligible for Long Term Care Insurance and want to maximize income so we do not run out of money before death.?
    All of this is sound advice. Trust and chemistry and important, this advisor will be a "partner" and a very important part of your life. Here are "5 questions" you can ask her/him when vetting out the right one:http://www.completeadvisors.com/2012/04/Take your time....  (more)
    Answered Jul 2012
    I'm trying to decide where to invest next. I'm maxing out my employer matched 401k, maxing out a traditional IRA, and will soon have an emergency fund in a savings account that I'll continue to add to every paycheck. Where to next?
    Great answers from Danny, Steve and David. I would agree that a written plan and a competent advisor that you trust is key. Whatever you do, please don't go chasing after the investment that has been " hot" recently like many investors do, lest you end up being " Fooled by history". See below for mo...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2012
    What are the pros and cons of term vs. whole life insurance?
    There are definitely " Pros and Cons". Like everything in life, its a matter of weighing them against your particular situation. Here is an orderly way to do that:http://www.completeadvisors.com/2012/03/08/ignore-life-insurance-at-your-own-peril/...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2012
    Should I invest in the stock market or mutual funds?
    Quantitatively, I can't see any reason for holding individual securities at all. Have you seen the study done by financeware about 7 years ago? They tracked hundreds of securities over a three year period and concluded that owning individual securities - on average - offered investors no greater re...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2012
    Can a broker be a 3(21) or 3(38) plan fiduciary?
    Maybe. If they are affiliated with a " Broker - Dealer" it's tricky - and it may be the Broker Dealer who is serving as the fiduciary not the advisor. If they are a registered investmnent advisor and thier documents acknowledge 3(21) / 3(38) it's more straight forward. A good ERISA attoreny can be h...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2012
    What is the difference between retirement 401k plan versus a retirement pension plan?
    Patricia, Though its a generic description, generally a " Pension" refers to a Defined BENEFIT type of plan. That is, you get a fixed monthly income for life at beginning at a certain age.( hence, the benefit is defined) A 401(k) is a Defined CONTRIBUTION type plan. That is, you contribute a certai...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    Selling mutual fund shares in order to invest in ETFs or a Target Date Fund?
    Significantly....  (more)
    Answered Apr 2012
    I'm trying to analyze the average 401(k) plan fees for the past 10 years lets say. Any good public research out there? Thanks?
    Brightscope and Judy Diamond are two that I know of. To what end are you performing this analysis?...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    What happens to leftover money in a 529 plan?
    Technically, any money you withdraw from a 529 plan that is not used for higher education is subject to both income tax and a penalty. You can transfer the account to a sibling or cousin - or just hold it and let it keep growing tax deferred. Down the road you can transfer it to a grandchild or use ...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    Should I have a Roth 401k and a standard 401k?
    I think the last part of Mike's answer is what's most important. Begin contributions as soon as possible and as much as you can handle. The traditional/Roth decision is a tricky one as it depends on unknowable variables - as pointed out by Tont and Michael. If this issue is delaying your contributio...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2012
    What happens if a retired parent is deceased with a retirement plan, how does one go about passing the funds onto the next of kin.?
    It passes based on the named beneficiary(s) regardless of what the will says....  (more)
    Answered May 2012
    Pension payout options?
    Your goals for your retirement and estate , the health of you and spouse, your other assets and investments, your comfort with volatility ( ups and downs of investments)...and more. Good luck!...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2012
    What's the best way to calculate how much long-term care insurance coverage I should buy?
    Harrison,Each situation is diffrent and Long Term Care is a very complex product that can be structured endless ways- in terms of benefit amount, waiting period, benefit period and numerous optional riders ( add -on's). You need to work with a specialist directly. Feel free to call me at 917.696.06...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    What is a Keogh plan?
    Lydia, " Keogh" is a generic term for a retirement plan intended for self emplyed individuals and employees of unicorporated businesses. You can contribute 100% of your income to such a plan up to a maxium of 50k this year. Your earnings will grow tax deferred untill you withdraw them and there are ...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    Should I invest in the stock market or mutual funds?
    I would advise against investing directly into individuls securities b/c when you do - you are taking on unecessary risk. A basi rule of investing is: "you will not be rewarded for risk you can diversify away".There are risks in individual companies that can be diversified away; either through mutu...  (more)
    Answered May 2012
    Can I borrow money against my life insurance policy?
    Yes: you can borrow against your cash value up to a certain amount (usually about 95%) but be aware: with an outstanding loan comes loan interest. And if the loan (or interest) is not repaid - and you are also borrowing for future premium payments - the policy may one day lapse. In addition to losin...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2012
    Is it worth starting a traditional IRA if I can't contribute to a Roth IRA?
    Robert, Lets not lose the forrest for the trees. What's important is that you are investing for the future. If you invest 6-10% of your income in a diversified portfolio ( mostly equities) and keep doing it, your future self will wake up one day financially secure! I Can't say that the choice betwee...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2012
    What happens to my 401K if my company files bankruptcy?
    Ann, your fine as long as none of your investments are in Company stock. You should reach out to your HR department with specific questions. Best of luck! Evan...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2012
    Bull vs. Bear Market?
    Hi Marty,A Bull Market is characterized by " optimism, investor confidence and an expectation that strong results will continue" a Bear Market is the opposite. Some prefer to define a bull or Bear market as a 20% rise or fall in equity markets. The use of " Bull" and "Bear" to describe markets come...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2012
    I am a retired employee of U.S. Bank and would like to know if a Nuveen 401 is the same as my Nuveen IRA? Does your rating apply to both?
    It's the same, but diffrent. Both plans ( assuming traditional ,not Roth) are tax deferred untill you withdraw the funds and are subject to Minimum required distributions when you turn 70 1/2.. The 401 , however, is sponsered by an employer ( In this case, Nuveen) which means you are restricted to t...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2012
    I run the 401k plan for my company and some of our employees occasionally ask for personal advice about how much to save or which funds to choose, am I allowed to give them advice?
    The plan obviously needs a financial advisor who you can send these folks to. Interview a few, try to find one that is an independent RIA( Registered Investment Advisor) , with no Broker-Dealer affiliation, that can serve as a FULL fiduciary. ( Or one who partners with a firm that can serve as a ful...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2012
    How can I find financial information for special needs relatives?
    Marcel,That is a very general question and topic. If you can finds a local financial advisor or planner to work with that would be ideal. You may want to work with an attorney as well. Best of luck. Evan...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2012
    What are some ways to save money?
    Agree with both Russ and Julian. One more point; some like the idea of having multiple accounts for different goals; i.e.. House account, Retirement, Education, Trip around the world.. etc.. You can have a Brick and Mortar Bank account for checking and savings as the core.. then set up multiple on- ...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2012
    I am 70 this year and will have to start taking money out of my IRA. I have been told to role it over into a gold invested IRA. Is this a good idea?
    Gold is not an investment, it's pure speculation. Would you prefer to invest your IRA or speculate with it?...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2012
    I'm in my 30s. What amount should I be saving?
    I agree with Marty completely, It's that simple. My only modification would be if you have a family and are buying a house - or starting a business, 6% is an O.K start. Then ratchet it up until you get to the holy grail of 10%... and one day you will wake up financially secure!...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2012
    Does a financial advisor need 20 years of experience to give me great advice on how to invest?
    I don't think so. When you initially interview an advisor, are they focusing more on " You " or " Your Money"? If it's the latter, that's probably what they are mostly interested in. Also, are they using financial jargon that you don't understand? - that's not a good sign. And are they going your...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2012
    Is it better to max out my 401k early on in the year or spread it out and make regular contributions?
    If it will not adversly affect your cash flow, then yes. Best of luck....  (more)
    Answered May 2012
    How I can get money from my 401 k to buy a house?
    A loan from the plan would be the way to go, assuming the plan document allows for it. The interest you pay back is to yourself, however the amount borrowed does not stay invested ( untill the loan is re-paid) Good luck!...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2012
    What is your best solution for conservative client that needs inflation protection for the next 50 years- currently married age 55 and live to over 100+ expected? What solutions are there to protect cash flow to meet inflation demands in the future?
    Are you looking to invest directly and maintain the strategy alone or would you prefer to partner with an advisor going forward?...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2012
    What is a spousal IRA?
    Spousal IRAs let stay-at-home spouses contribute the full amount allowed to an individual retirement account in any given year even if they earn no personal income - as long as their husband or wife earns enough to cover their contribution.Contributions can be made to either a traditional or to a R...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    Traditional 401k or Roth 401k?
    Probably half and half but it really doesn't matter that much. What's most important is how much you invest and starting asap. I recommend at least 6% up to the max if you can. Best of luck....  (more)
    Answered Jan 2012
    What are your thoughts on having a college savings account in my kids' names instead of in mine?
    All the answers are great but beware of losing the forrest for the trees. The important issue is investing enough and in the right strategy to have enough to meet your goals. Just make sure that you dont let the registration decision hold up implementation of your plan and regular investing....  (more)
    Answered Sep 2012
    What are the most common non-conformities and opportunities for improvement in 401(k) Plans Found in Fiduciary Assessments?
    Lower fees, more transparency, more robust/frequent employee education, better investment lineups, more comparison shopping by the plan sponsor, easier enrollment process, better overall participant service?...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    What does it mean when a mutual fund has "active management"?
    Said slightly differently, active management is when a individual or team is attempting to "Select against" an Index - like Carolyn pointed out. A passive approach is to accept the returns of that Index (minus fees)...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    What are some good low-cost recordkeepers outside of the well-known brands?
    Do you want to go with a "bundled" approcah where the investment manager also serves as the recordkeeper and possibly plan administrator? Or would you prefer to seperate those functions?...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    How do i cash in a 401k that is more than 10 years old??? How do I go about doing that???
    Why do you want to cash it in? What is the intended use for these funds?...  (more)
    Answered May 2012
    Can I write-off my gas as a business expense?
    Tanner,I just asked my accountant the same question! Her answer was that gas/mileage for normal commuting is not deductible. But that was idiosyncratic advice based on my situation and being self employed. I would try to find a local CPA through a referral that can advise you based on your situatio...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2012
    What does it mean by 401k risk profile?
    A risk profile (401-k or other) is a questionnaire that attempts to measure how much ups and downs an individual is comfortable with in their investments. In other words, how hard someone can bang your hand with a hammer, before you say " uncle" . I have not seen many that do that effectively or acc...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2012
    I am trying to find the total fees on the W.W.Gay, Jacksonville, FL 32205 retirement plan and can't figure out how. Can you tell me how?
    What a timely question! I completely agree with David. It's also worth noting that By November 14th of this year, 401(k) plan sponsors/ providers will issue the very first " disclosure of fees " statement which hopefully will contain the information you seek. Good luck, Evan...  (more)
    Answered May 2012
    Tax tips for individual investor?
    Lena, I would advise you to form a relationship with a CPA. Filing a tax return is complicated and the rules are changing all the time. The right CPA relationship can also all serve you has an broad advisor , sharing views on budgeting, investing, estate planning and even life in general. I am an in...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2012
    I am almost 60 can i take out part of my 401k if so what do i do?
    Unlikely you are allowed " in service withdrawls" if you are still employed by this Company. If you are not, you can roll the funds into your own IRA and withdraw funds - subject to ordinary income tax. Best of Luck!...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2012
    How does the Thrift Savings Plan compare to other plans concerning expenses?
    Possibly from an independant RIA fiduciary. Best of luck!...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2012
    Where do I find reliable information on life insurance policies and fees?
    All good points; it is confusing and lots of information out there. Ideally, you can find an adviser who has an insurance background but is independent ( not an agent for one company). If you trust this individual and they are explaining concepts in a manner that you can digest - working with then i...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2012
    When our company changed retirement company monies were withdrawed, but i know there was a small amount left in my account. How can i know what happened to my monies that were left in there?
    Reach out to your H.R department ASAP....  (more)
    Answered Feb 2012
    Since International Paper is better than most, should I keep it or move money to my Vanguard IRA?
    Gail, Be careful not to put the cart before the horse. Investing is a means to an end - not an end in itself. Please take a time out to craft a plan: comprehensive and in writing - preferably with assistance from a caring and competent financial advisor - that articulates your goals, time horizon an...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2012
    Why should I invest in bonds when the typical return is lower than stocks?
    For diversification. As Victor points out, Bonds tend to be "Negatively Correlated" with stocks... A fancy way of saying that they usually move in different directions. So adding bonds to your stock portfolio should, in theory, smooth at the humps and bumps ( while also reducing the expected return,...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    WHERE CAN I FIND A RATING ON ALL 401K PLANS ?
    Brightscope or Judy Diamond....  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    How do I short a stock?
    Only if you can afford - and are emotionally prepared - to lose what you put . Shorting any one security is very risky....  (more)
    Answered May 2012
    Are advisors seeing Alternative Assets going into 401k fund lineups?
    Somewhat. But, in my view it rarely makes sense. Hindsight is always 20/20. Best of Luck!...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2012
    401(k) Plan Fees?
    Yet another alternative is Judy Diamond King Of Pension Funds... they have been around forever and their core business is collecting qualified plan data. ( Yes - there is an actual Judy Diamond - she is the founder who is now retired) Best of luck!...  (more)
    Answered May 2012
    What happens if one of a trust's beneficiaries passes away before funds are dispersed?
    It depends on what the trust says....  (more)
    Answered Mar 2012
    Who can I contact regarding my individual Macy's 401K balance?
    The Macy's H.R department....  (more)
    Answered Feb 2012
    Is there a "golden number" of mutual funds I should invest in?
    To an extent, I would argue against all of these answers because I think it's even simpler. The critical investment decision is simply the mix of Stocks, Bonds and Cash. ( Have we lost sight of the Brinson hood beebower study?) If you spoke through a telephone wire you would sound like Charlie Brown...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2012
      *Answers are submitted by advisors without compensation.

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