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James D. Kinney, CFP®

Reducing Financial Anxiety and Stress, One Plan at a Time

Financial Pathways



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Advisor Services

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


Funds Used With Clients

There are no funds listed for this advisor at this time.

Firm Client types

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No timeline events available.
Employer Years Dates
Financial Pathway Advisors, LLC 8 years, 7 months Sep 2011 - Present
Financial Pathways LLC 4 years, 8 months Jan 2007 - Sep 2011
Cfd Investments, Inc. 6 years, 8 months Jan 2005 - Sep 2011
Creative Financial Design, Inc. 6 years, 8 months Jan 2005 - Sep 2011

Designations & Memberships

  • 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 College Planning Specialist
    Certified College Planning Specialist
    Designees specialize in assisting families in reducing the financial impact of sending children to college while preserving their other financial priorities. Knowledgeable in financial aid strategies, tax capacity planning, investment planning, and exit strategies.
  • 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.

Articles and Answers

Insights by James Kinney

Budgeting in the 21st Century.
Published 2015-01-13 09:03:11
What is Your Ideal 401k Savings Rate?
Published 2015-01-13 09:00:31
Financial Planning and Obamacare Tax Credits
Published 2014-05-19 08:36:07
Best Practices for Emergency Reserve Funds
Published 2014-05-01 08:18:40
Naming Children as Beneficiaries
Published 2014-01-31 10:58:14
Putting Bond Risk in Perspective
Published 2013-10-14 09:35:18
Financial Planning and Divorce
Published 2013-07-03 09:56:20
Making the Most of Social Security
Published 2013-06-26 13:54:59
College vs. Retirement
Published 2013-06-24 18:42:29
    *Articles are published by advisors without compensation.


    Ask a financial questionAsk a question
    What do fee-only financial planners charge?
    A firm that charges hourly fees might be best if you are looking for targeted and limited advice. This is an ideal solution if you are getting your household budget on track, need help with college planning, buying a house, basic financial planning, or some other limited scale project. Such a firm ...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    Should I roll over my 401k into an IRA? What should I do?
    It is not "better off" in the 401k. You can open a very low cost IRA at a firm like Vanguard and continue contributing with your choice of investments. In any case, many plans will require you to move money out when balance is less than $5000. I would strongly encourage you to maintain regular mo...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    What is the best way to use my 401k to help my parents with medical expenses?
    Nicole, Your willingness to help your parents is admirable, but slow down and consider all options. First someone should be looking at your parents situation to determine what options are available to them. For instance, medical providers will often negotiate very generous long term payment pla...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2014
    Should I continue contributing to my 401k plan that receives no match from my employer?
    I concur - there are many questions here. What is your current income? What is expected retirement income - which is partially estimated by asking how much of your assets is in qualified vs. non-qualified accounts? Is Roth an option? If your household income is high, though, you should not look ...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    What are my options & how do I make the best choice for me and my family?
    As for your other concerns, if you are still young your best plan for nursing home is a sound retirement plan. As you get older might make sense to consider insurance schemes. And for college, start saving monthly into a 529 plan. Just as with the target date retirement funds, there are similar f...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2014
    Where does RIA charge his fees from (fee only)?
    Either way, it is client preference. For instance, some clients prefer not to have fees paid from an IRA or tax deferred account while they are trying to accumulate funds in those accounts. They would rather pay out of current income. These clients may request a direct invoice from their RIA. Ot...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    My 401k account has 23 or more places to invest and I don't know to much about investing.could use some help.
    I would agree with Michael about Target Date Funds - but you need to understand that they will go up and down with the market - so if you choose to invest your savings you need to be able to just keep the money going in and forget about the ups and downs. If you can't accept the fact that your acco...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2013
    How is a Non-Traded Real Estate Investment Trust (NTREIT) different from a Limited Real Estate Partnership...or are they different at all? An advusir said I'd receuve about 6% but principal would be safe. I'm not so sure.
    If he said "Principle will be Safe" he is misrepresenting the product. Your principle is at risk. You are investing in a company - just as you do when you buy an individual stock. Yes the company owns tangible income producing assets (real estate) which presumably will never lose all its value, b...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    Is low inflation good for retirees?
    It depends is correct. Generally it is thought by many economists that deflation is bad for the economy - but that doesn't necessarily mean it is bad for everyone in the economy. Lets say you are a retiree with a substantial pension (they do still exist!) - you would be tickled pink with an econo...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2015
    Where can I get a loan if I have a bad credit?
    Larisa, There is likely no source of loan for this purpose. If you change the question to read "Who would be willing to lend me money when I can't repay the people I borrowed from before?" - you can clearly see that that answer is likely no one.Possibly bankruptcy is the only way to discharge the...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2014
    43 y.o. & 50000 in a 403b. OK to use for living expense during 3 yr PhD? Stafford Loan iffy. Will gross 60000/yr after.
    Not sure if qualifies as a possible hardship withdrawal. Education costs in the form of tuition and fees are listed, but not living expenses. This is likely your problem with Stafford too, it is supposed to be for qualified tuition expense, which doesn't apply for a PhD program. It may be an expe...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2014
    Is there a limit as to how many IRA's one can have?
    Ok, just clarify. Yes you could, not sure why you would. The annual contribution limit applies to all iras combined, so you can't contribute more money by having more accounts if that is what you are thinking....  (more)
    Answered Apr 2014
    My employer is changing 401K providers. We get 1 choice: a target date retire fund. Options? Losing my diversification.
    I agree with Biran and Tunc. It may not be fun or sexy, but it is effective. If you expect a 2030 retirement date and want to be more aggressive, then go into a 2040 fund. Don't think that's diversified? Look under the hood. You will likely find US and international stocks, bonds, cash, real es...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2014
    Short and long term investing?
    In my opinion, no answers on this board will prepare you to invest on your own. You will be far better off with professional advice from someone who takes the time to sit down and understand your goals, and can explain the risks and potential rewards of various approaches. It's not that any of th...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2014
    I am to receive part of my ex husbands 401k?
    But further to Howard's comment, IF the QDRO has been submitted to the plan administrator you may request a rollover of funds to your own retirement account (IRA/401k, etc.) or take a taxable withdrawal (which may be exempt from penalties - speak to a CPA or CFP familiar with divorce issues). The t...  (more)
    Answered May 2014
    Savings account (stuffed mattress) vs. Index Fund? Mutual Fund? ETF? Where do I begin investing?
    Further to the idea of using an advisor, be familiar with the various ways advisors are paid, and choose one that is right for you. Commission based advisors make money only if they sell you a product (insurance or mutual fund for instance). Fee-only advisors charge you a fee based on either the a...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    Which ONE of the 5 highest yielding DOW 30 stocks (currently) would you recommend and why?
    All large company stocks are fairly valued at any given time by the market. To say one is better than the rest is to imply that you have better pricing skills than the market as a whole. With large heavily traded stocks, this is highly unlikely. Mr. Armijo offers reasons to buy Intel - but his re...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2014
    Is it worth it to itemize my charitable donations on my taxes?
    Not to dodge this question, but it is really something that is impossible to answer without having access to your tax information. Many people benefit from the deduction. Some would be better off not deducting, as Curt points out. My answer would have to be - ask your tax preparer. Or if you pre...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2014
    Can I move my balance from my employer's 401k to a traditional IRA?
    I see the new fee disclosure regulations are starting to have an impact already. As for your question: What they said. If you are not eligible for an in-service distribution, then make your voice heard that you want a lower cost plan! ...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    Which remaining debts should I pay off first?
    I am wondering how you came into all of the debt, and if once all this is done you are making ends meet.? Can you really afford this motorcycle without going into debt again? If you will be forced into debt again in order to pay for your monthly bills, I would say sell the bike and use the proceed...  (more)
    Answered Aug 2014
    Do you feel there is any need for a retirement fund that's managed by an investment group?
    Tom, Hi, seems we are neighbors. Well this is difficult to answer. The fee by itself is not necessarily bad. The manager needs to be paid. Hopefully he does a lot more for you than just manage assets - he should be helping plan retirement cash flows, distribution plan, helping you with much more...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2013
    Major differences between Growth Vs. Value Investing?
    Melissa. Consider it this way. Two companies each make $1 million per year. One is growing quickly, and investors think it will soon double its sales. It reinvests all the money it makes to build plants and hire people so it can continue growing. Because investors think profits will be higher i...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2013
    I resigned, as a line employee, from the Auto Club of Southern California in 2007. In mid 2010 ACSC sent me a retirement form form option to take lump sum from their retirement plan. I submitted that form in May 2012. Now ACSC retirement manager tell me that I cannot get lump sum amount and must app
    It is also possible that the plan is underfunded at this time, and is not permitted to make lump sum distributions. The Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) places restrictions on the ability of defined benefit pension plans to make lump sum distributions if the pension fund is less than 80...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    What options to I have with my 403B; former co. changed from Fidelity to TIAA?
    If you have retired, you should be able to rollover your funds into an IRA with Fidelity, or any provider. If the money has already moved to TIAA, then just call them and tell them you want to do a direct rollover of funds to your IRA. At the same time, you will contact Fidelity or other provider...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2014
    I am recently retired, have a 403b but have money in a bank account also. WHat is the safest and best way to keep this money available to use as I need.
    I agree with others. If you just retired and are in good health, you need this money to last for a very long time. You need an investment and distribution strategy that will give you income you need while ensuring that you do not exhaust your savings too soon. That may mean that you will want to ...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    What are the benefits of having life insurance tied to a 403B? Are the costs worth the insurance?
    My answers are none and no. Tying together life insurance and investment decisions just complicates the two issues. The 403b is investment, so invest the money directly in a suitably diversified portfolio of investments based on your age (more fixed income / guaranteed funds as you get older, more...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2014
    At what age should my kids start building their credit?
    It is good for them to have the credit card, but make absolutely certain that they pay the balance every month on time! Kids have other things on their mind when at school, and paying the credit card bill on time may not be among their highest priorities. Establishing credit isn't the goal, establ...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    I am retiring in February. I will receive a lump sump payment from my 414(h) of $105,000.00 before taxes. I want to pay off my car loan, put a large down payment on house and have some to survive on until Social Security Disability kicks in. is there a way to do all of this and not loose $29,000.00
    Yes, simple answer is there is no way to pay off your car loan and make large downpayment without losing the tax shelter. And it makes no sense to pay a whole lot of tax to save a relatively small amount in interest payments. As the others have said, splurge on some good and personalized financial...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    I have a roll over IRA from my employer.
    Two items to emphasize from what Helen said. You should file the form 8606 if you are making AFTER tax contributions. If they are pre-tax (which generally are not permitted if you are participating in your employers retirement plan), no form filing should be necessary. Also, note that Helen indic...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2014
    My wife and I have about $240,000 in 401k, $40,000 equity in our second house (which we rent out for close to mortgage costs), and I am 46 and she is 44. What else can we do to maximize our ability to retire at 60 at close to 100k per year in today's $?
    I second the advice that it is NOT too soon to draw up a preliminary financial plan with a local Certified Financial Planner. You can find a local planner on this website, or on the Financial Planning Association or CFP Board of Standards website. Be wary of those who start recommending product sol...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    After leaving my company how do I get my 401K out to roll over into another plan?
    Above answers are fine if you are rolling to an IRA. If you are rolling to your new employers IRA it is a little different. There are some advantages to keeping money in 401k wrapper. For instance many 401ks have loan provisions, IRA accounts do not. If rolling to a 401k, again call the 800 nu...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2014
    How can I benchmark my expected retirement income against others my age/ work income level?
    What John says is true. When you are ready to get serious about retirement planning, it is time to move beyond simple one size fits all rules of thumb and start doing the math. Forget the 4% rule! and the 80% of pre retirement income guideline. These are fine as very rough guides, along with othe...  (more)
    Answered May 2014
    For small businesses, what is (typically) the minimum number of participants to start a 401K plan?
    As Brian said, there is no size limitation. However, a very small group may find it easier and less expensive to setup a SIMPLE IRA or 401k. As a creature of Congress, the acronym "SIMPLE" is a bit of a misnomer, but these programs may be less expensive to administer and maintain, with none of the...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2013
    My 401K options changed from several to a few options, some that I can't find. Should I be worried about my options?
    Many fund administrators use proprietary funds for 401k plans. These funds are often a different share class of the same funds that do trade online and have tickers, but it can often be difficult to match them up. It is very difficult not having a ticker for those of us who like to keep track of o...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    What are the 401k loans withdrawal rules?
    Every plan has its own rules. Some do not permit loans at all. You need to contact your plan administrator or HR dept. to determine this. If the plan does allow loans, there are a few limits. Loans are typically capped at $50K or 1/2 of your account balance. Loans need to be repaid on a 5 year ...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    Does it make sense to pay off debt vs. further savings.
    I would add a couple of other thoughts. 1. Make sure you have cash for emergencies set aside before you start paying off debt. If your jobs and income are safe and stable, then enough to pay about 3 months expenses should be sufficient. 2. As others have stated, consider the interest rates, but a...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    I've heard it is illegal for retirement plan sponsor to pay vendors’ fees from a retirement plan's plan assets. True?
    KCNot exactly true. The best answer I can provide is to direct you to a Department of Labor publication that addresses the topic. There are several types of expenses, some paid by the investor, some by the sponsor, some can be paid from plan assets.  (more)
    Answered Oct 2013
    Can I leave my 401(k) while still employed and under 60?
    You can leave the plan completely, but you will likely pay a very high price. Since you are still working, you have taxable income for the year. If you were to distribute the entire balance, that is additional income on top of income from work, so that will be taxed at your highest "marginal" rate...  (more)
    Answered Aug 2013
    Can I cash in my retirement?
    Most likely, as John mentioned, if it is a 401k or an IRA you CAN cash in (401k you generally have to be no longer employed there) but that doesn't mean you SHOULD. Before you do, figure out how much you will need to pay in taxes and penalties. Do not rely on the amount the plan custodian may with...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2015
    If I receive monthly payments on retirement plan can I roll any of that plan into a IRA account.
    You must have EARNED INCOME (job, self employment, etc) to make an IRA contribution. So technically, the answer is no, you can't directly take a distribution from one retirement plan and then deposit it into another. . ...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2014
    Buy a house, or max out 401k?
    This depends to some extent on your circumstances. If you can buy a house that you will be comfortable in for a long time (at least 5 years), then it is beneficial in my view to get that ball started sooner rather than later. Plan to buy enough to be satisfied, but don't reach too far. Expensive ...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2014
    Will an annuity carrier accept an Inherited IRA transfer from a brokerage account?
    Yes, it depends. But another question: do you really want to put an IRA (with tax deferral provisions) into an annuity? One of the few attractive features of annuities is tax deferral, and you already have that with an IRA. True, deferred fixed annuities give you a fixed rate of return with mini...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2014
    In a divorce does the spouse have to wait for the other spouse to retire so they dont get penalized for getting it early?
    As noted, a pension plan may have certain restrictions regarding payouts, but I believe (and I will defer to the CPA's in the community) distributions from a qualified retirement plan as a result of a QDRO are exempt from the 10% early distribution penalty. ...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2015
    Are fixed rate annuities a good idea for how much of a retirement portfoio?
    Good question, and one we advisors struggle with in today's low interest rate environment. First of all, I would suggest you obtain professional advice on this issue, because the right decision is very personal based on your unique circumstances. Health, budget, risk tolerance, and other financial...  (more)
    Answered Nov 2013
    Is a fixed rate annuity a good idea for someone nearing retirement and has an old 401k to transfer from an old job?
    Tom, you are right to be concerned about safety - I wonder though if you have had this discussion with the advisor who is managing your assets? The entire portfolio should be managed for your own unique income and safety needs. It is possible he is already investing very conservatively for you - i...  (more)
    Answered Nov 2013
    Where do i start when planning a retirement if my employer does not offer any plan?
    As Pam noted, you want to be wary of those individuals who pose as "financial planners" or "financial advisors" but whose primary motive is to sell you financial products. Kyle directed you to a website run by the CFP Board of Standards - which is a good start because Certified Financial Planners t...  (more)
    Answered May 2014
    Are anuities accrued or cash contribution? How do I find out? Can I cash it out?
    If you are receiving fixed term or lifetime payments from an annuity, sorry to say there is no easy way to cash out. You would need to get an offer from a third party to buy your future annuity payments (you can find these operators online) - but you will have to take much less than the annuity is ...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    I am no longer employed at pml how do I get money out of account?
    Patricia, As Joe indicated, unless you are retiring, it is best to take the retirement money you saved at this account and either a) roll it into your new employers retirement plan or b) roll it over into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) where it can continue to grow tax deferred for retireme...  (more)
    Answered Aug 2013
    I have a 401k plan with AON , I would like to keep my account there and have an outside advisor manage it without moving it from the company , is this permissible ?
    Some financial planners also work for an hourly fee basis. They will sit down with you from time to time to review your investment options within your 401k and help you decide what to do. You are responsible for ultimately implementing the advice on your own. This can be a very low cost advice so...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    I want to know if I should consolidate my three 401k plans.
    You have 3 options. 1. Leave them alone. I generally don't like leaving money in ex-employers 401ks. Harder to manage 3 accounts, if they are small, they get forgotten over time. So I don't like this one. 2. If your new plan will accept the old money, you can roll the old plans into the new one...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    My wife has a 401(k) account with her employer. It has about $900,000.00 in it. I see her employer has a Roth 401(k) available. Would it be prudent to convert her current account to the Roth 401(k) or just open a Roth 401(k) for her last few years?
    Be sure you understand that if you convert $900,000 in the 401k to a Roth in a single year, your income from that event would be $900,000 plus your salaries, so if you both made $50000 a year you would have TAXABLE income of $1,000,000. This would put you in the highest tax bracket for the year, so...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    If I were to leave my job today; would the company keep 20% of my 401k for taxes?
    What all they said, but also you are also generally under no obligation to do ANYTHING with the money. You can leave it in the 401k indefinitely if you wish. However, if your balance is below certain thresholds, the plan can require you to either roll it over to another plan (or IRA) or take a tax...  (more)
    Answered Nov 2014
    I am a server there how much percentage do i put in weekly?
    Congratulations. Saving for retirement is very important. How much is an interesting question, it depends on many factors. Age is one. If everyone started saving 10% of their pay for retirement at an early age, we would have no retirement crisis in America. So this is a good goal if you are you...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2014
    I recently learned that a distant relative left me a cd valued at around $6000. I would like to invest it.
    Vanessa, That sure is good news. So if you receive a small windfall, what should you do with it? That really depends on your overall financial situation. Before you start investing, the rest of your financial situation should be stable. If you have expensive debt, the $6000 would probably be pu...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2014
    Should we allow our adult son to move home or help him out financially?
    Mercedes, The answer here really is - it depends on your son, his level of maturity, his motivation and habits, and whether you would be helping or enabling. If your son is highly motivated and mature, and just suffering a streak of bad luck, then there is probably no harm in this. If he is more...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2014
    Should I invest in gold?
    The difference between gold and every other asset class used as an investment is that Gold produces no income of any kind. Real estate investments earn rent. This is the basis for their value. Companies generate earnings, which are the basis for the value of their shares. Bonds produce interest ...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    An advisor told me to go to cash on Dec 31. My question is when should I get back in?
    I agree with others - if this advisor knew when to get out, then he MUST know when to get back in, right? So ask him! Truth is, no one knows. Very few professional OR retail investors can consistently call the peaks and troughs of the market. Most experienced professional advisors won't even tr...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    Does beneficary of 529 get left over at age 21?
    No. The beneficiary has no right to the money as long as the account owner is alive. ...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    I worked for Arthur Andersen LLP (later changed to Andersen LL) for 23 years until the firm's collapse in 2002. I am now nearing the retirement age (62 in September) which was the normal retirement age for their retirement plan. I need to get in contact with the plan administrator or find out how
    If the above recommendations do not work, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp has produced the following document providing guidance.  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    Is it worth combining my 401k's when they both seem to be doing about the same? Additional investments on top of 401k?
    Good job saving aggressively! I echo what Larry says - it isn't that the older account is "better" - and the returns are not due to any magic at T Rowe Price (although they are a fine shop). The returns are due to the fact that the money in that account was invested heavily in stocks in 2013, whic...  (more)
    Answered May 2014
    What happens when you are not an employee of your employee? How do you cash out of your 401K?
    You don;t have to contact your former employer at all. You can deal directly with the plan custodian, such as Fidelity or Vanguard. There should be an 800 number on your statement. Call them up and tell them what to do. They should be able to validate your employment status themselves. Ideally y...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2014
    What are the best companies to move my funds from my prior employers 401k to? Lowest cost for best result?
    You are right to be concerned about costs in small accounts. A $25 annual IRA fee may be no big deal if you have $100 G, but it is a significant charge on your $3000 account. Add in brokerage transactio fees, mutual fund fees, etc., and a small account can start to wither under the assault. Vangu...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    My daughter turned 27 in December,she was a full time student through August.She got married in September.She filed her return as Married filing seperate so we could keep her as a dependent for the education credit.She only earned 2700 for 2011.Can we kee?
    I think Bob is asking if he can keep claiming his daughter as a dependent even though she is married and not living with them. This is a better question for a CPA, but I believe the guideline for an adult being a dependent is that you need to be providing more than 1/2 of the individuals financial ...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    Looking for trading strategy for EzTrader and tips to open an account in Binary Options. Thanking you in advance.
    You probably won't find many traders in this forum, which is mostly Certified Financial Planners. Active trading isn't something most of us are big believers in. And if you need to ask about trading strategies in an online forum, I doubt it will work out very well for you....  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    I have a TransAmerica 401K through my employer. Every fund choice is a fund of a fund, increasing fees. Typical?
    John is correct in noting that you need to expect to pay some fees somewhere somehow in the plan. It is unreasonable to expect to pay the same fee as if you bought the fund direct from Vanguard due to all the costs involved in 401k recordkeeping, reporting, and management. He is also correct that ...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2014
    Can an advisor assist with setting up/pymt options from ESOP account?
    Don't see why not. Seek a local advisor who will accept hourly fee engagements. Search this website, or search National Association of Personal Financial Advisors at to find an advisor near you. ...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    Cost Basis for Shares/Funds with a Front Load?
    A good example of an area where active management might add value is emerging markets. An index based on emerging market stocks might heavily overweight a small number of countries, such as China and India. That might expose an investor to excessive market risk if one or more of these countries un...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2014
    Some of us out here are just dropped into doing financing, we really only want to keep it simple.
    Leota, Some of us are good at some things, some are good at other things. I am terrified to work on plumbing in my house. Doesn't mean I'm incapable of learning if I set my mind to it - I just don't have the time or interest to learn. So that means I need to hire a plumber. Ditto for you. If yo...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    Can I divide payments of inheritance money to me over several years?
    Also depends on the form the inheritance takes. If assets are in retirement accounts, you may have the option of taking distributions over your lifetime, or over 5 years - but such distributions will be considered ordinary income. If the asset is in an annuity, you may be offered the option of li...  (more)
    Answered Aug 2014
    I would like to buy a home, can I get money out of my 401k for this and if so how do start?
    It is not a very good place to get money to buy a home. For some strange reason, the IRS allows first time homebuyers to withdraw up to $10,000 without penalty - but this exception does not apply to qualified plans such as your 401k. This means you can't take money out of your 401k without paying ...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2014
    Should I close my fidelity professional managed account and continue to monitor and rebalance annually myself?
    In fact, however, the fact that you were less in stocks than most aggressive investors will certainly have limited your losses in recent months. It is the market. I will caution you this - if you are an aggressive investor, but seeing your portfolio down by 6% or so troubles you so much - DO NOT m...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2015
    What debt should I pay off first?
    Be very careful how you tread here. If you use all savings to pay debt, you have no emergency reserve fund. You may be able to fall back on credit cards...but if your credit score has been damaged, there is no guarantee the card companies will leave your credit limits intact. I agree with the ide...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2013
    I paid $100,000 more in the cost of bldg a house. Do I get that money back before or after the sales price is divided?
    This is actually a legal question rather than a financial question. It really will depend on how the deal was structured at purchase. If you put up more money, deal should have specified that you own a larger share of the property, and thus a greater share of the appreciation. (better to agree in...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2013
    Can my employer "single out" individual employees and not reward them with a bonus contribution to our 401k?
    It depends. They probably can't do as you say within the 401k. 401k money is either contributed by the employee from payroll deductions, or by the employer in matching funds. Bonuses can't just be directed into a 401k. However there are so called "Executive Deferred Compensation" programs that a...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2014
    I have an annuity though my union, i need to withdraw it to pay debts, they refuse my request, are allowed to do so?
    This depends on the contract. Annuities are contracts, not investment accounts. It may be that they are only permitted to use the funds to make pension payments. This is particularly true if the annuity is part of a defined benefit pension plan that is underfunded. To get a more clear answer, yo...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2016
    Are funds that guarantee a rate of return a wise investment?
    If this is a variable annuity or indexed annuity with "living benefit" riders, usually referred to as Guaranteed Minimum Income benefit or Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal benefit, then be very careful that you understand what "5% gain" means. You can usually access the "guaranteed" gain ONLY by agre...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    I am 55 and would like to roll my pension into my 401k. Can I take money out the 401 k later without penalty?
    Assuming your 401k accepts rollovers, you can do this. The pension assets will not be treated any differently than other 401k assets when disbursed. As long as you are over 59.5 years of age, there will be no penalty on distribution, but distributions will be taxable income. ...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2014
    If I am fully vested, quit my job and caah out my 401k will I receive the employer matching contributions if under 55?
    If you are vested you are entitled to the employer match, but please reconsider the cash out. Rather, rollover to your new employers plan or an IRA of your own. If you cash out you undo all of the good work you've done getting an early start saving, and that money will go to the IRS in the form of...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2014
    How do I know if I need a financial advisor?
    Further to Michaels comment - there are many people who are knowledgeable enough to do their own financial planning - perhaps! But I have had some very very knowledgeable clients bring in plans they did for review by "an impartial set of eyes" and I can usually point to some room for substantial im...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2015
    How do I find out if Exelon's 401(k) permits partial in service transfers?
    You need to call the plan administrator (usually the number is on your statement) and ask them. By transfer I assume you mean a rollover to another plan (such as an IRA)? If you do this, make sure it is a direct rollover, where check is made out to your IRA custodian. Otherwise it may be deemed a...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    I am an ex employee of Federal Express and I participated in the 401k plan from 1984 to 1989 and wish to know if I still have retirement as I was told when I cashed in part of it when I resigned. I was told I could not withdraw the balance until I retired?
    Bonnie, Not sure what you mean by "still have retirement". If you cashed in part of the 401k account, the remainder should still be there. If it is truly a 401k (rather than a pension - which is different) then you can withdraw the money anytime after you are 59.5 years of age without a penalty. ...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    What do I do with my annuity? At 30 years old I could use it to pay down my house or switch it to a 401k I control.
    You are vague on how the money is coming to you from the annuity, as William points out, annuity lump sum is not available to you, except for rollover to 401k or IRA, until you are 59.5. With all the taxes and penalties it would be an easy decision - roll it over to the 401k. ...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2014
    How do I withdraw my Humane Society of El Paso Inc., profit sharing plan? I am no longer employed there.
    Before you withdraw the money, realize that you will pay a tax penalty unless you leave it in a retirement plan. Your options are: Leave it where it is. Even though you don't work there, you should be permitted to leave the money in the plan where it can continue to grow. Note you may not be ...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2014
    Would it be a good financial strategy for us to roll over all our 401k IRAs to an annuity? Please see details below.
    Don't get too excited about the "guarantees" until you really understand them. And when you do understand them, you are probably ready to take the CFP exam for yourself! Most of these contracts are loaded with fine print that benefits the insurance company, not the annuitant. For instance, many c...  (more)
    Answered Nov 2013
    My student loans are consolidated, is there a way to reduce the burden w/o accruing massive interest or a huge payment?
    Wow. That's a lot of loan debt to handle. Now, you are telling me that you are doing standard repayment on a consolidated loan that you took out 8 years ago. Standard repayment on most student loans is 10 years - so you would be almost done with payback. Did you extend payment at that time? How...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2016
    How do I get my 401k from an employer I'm no longer employed with?
    Most plans will include an 800 number for the plan administrator right on the quarterly statement. Just call them up and tell them what you want to do. You can move the funds to your current employers 401k or into your own tax deferred IRA account with no tax penalty through what is known as a dir...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2015
    If I were to purchased a 55+ home as a secondary home, would the first time home Buyer Credit apply?
    I don't understand, if it is a second home, how would you be a first time homebuyer? ...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2015
    I need advise to productively invest 20,000!
    Wow, how to answer that? There are so many factors that go into this. What is the investment goal? How soon will you need the money? Are you prepared to see your investment potentially lose value for a time, should that happen? Do you have an adequate cushion of cash reserves before you invest...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    Looking to borrow out of my 401k. How can I go about this?
    Also be very careful and realize that if you are terminated or leave employment, you will need to repay the loan in lump sum, or else the entire balance will be considered an early distribution and subject to tax and penalties. Generally I am not in favor of borrowing from retirement accounts excep...  (more)
    Answered May 2014
    Should I borrow against my 401k for a first time home loan? Currently living in Southern CA and thinking about an?
    Tina, If I am understanding myself correctly, you are wanting to buy a rental /investment property, not a primary residence. Based on what I see, your biggest financial problem right now isn't that you don't own enough investments, it is that you do not have any emergency savings. You are making ...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2014
    Will the dollar colaspe and lose its global currency status?
    Anything is possible in the long run, but it is hardly an immediate threat. The debt and deficit bombs that could conceivably cause economic Armageddon will not blow up for quite some time, namely as the second half of the boomer generation starts growing old. Right now, the deficit is actually sh...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2014
    As I'm 64 and have a 401k loan, can I pay taxes on the loan amount and consider it paid off rather than continuing.
    As John points out, you CAN, in that there is no penalty. But does that mean you SHOULD? To answer this would require a bit more information on your cash flow needs, retirement plans, tax status and income situation. At first glance I would say why would you want to pay tax on all of that income...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2015
    Need help to analyze my financial portfolio?
    One of the problems with "leaving the market and going to cash" is that making the decision to get back in can be very difficult indeed. Is now the best time? Well, no one will be able to tell you that. If you got out pre-crisis in 2007 - good call, as perhaps you escaped the worst of the 2008 ca...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2015
    I want to know can my spouse get my 401k if i get a divorce?
    I am not an attorney, and this is not legal advice, but this response is based on my experience. Your 401k (and pension if you have one) is a marital asset, yes. Typically the court will divide retirement assets equally, at least the part that was accumulated during the term of the marriage. Ther...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2015
    I am set to retire October 1, 2016. Should i continue to max out my 457b plan?
    The answer is probably....but as with so much in financial planning - it does depend on the individual circumstances. If you haven't already sat down with a financial planner to estimate your cash flow / income needs in retirement, now is probably a good time to do so. There are a few cases where ...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2016
    Are the Franklin Templeton family of funds a good investment even with the 5% front end loads they charge.
    Real simple, as some have alluded to, the 5% front load pays your advisor. There are several ways to pay an advisor. Other than the sales load (commission), the most common is to pay a fee based advisor a fee (often about 1%) to manage your accounts for you. Over the course of 5 years, simple mat...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    How do I set up pretax 401k contributions to meet company match when my commission income varies from check to check?
    What John said, but in addition, I would caution you not to allow the company match to define your retirement savings amount. If you need to save more to achieve your retirement goals, do it - even if it means you are saving in excess of the match. It sounds as if you make some decent money, and ...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2016
    I am retiring in 2016 with a generous pension, also a deferred retirement option plan, in addition social security.
    Agreed, not enough information. There is no "right" or "wrong" for asset allocation in retirement. If you really do not need this money to live on for many years, then you may wish to continue investing this money for growth. I have clients who have money they will likely ever spend, and we may c...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2016
    How and where should I rollover my 403K plan with VOYA (ex-ING)?
    Vanguard is the low cost leader, if low cost is indeed what you are looking for. For a small additional fee, they will even provide some very generic asset allocation advice. Of course, if you want cheap and generic you could just buy a Target Date fund which is supposed to be invested based on th...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2014
    How much should my retirement plan service provider fees be on top of the underlying funds available?
    1% of $500,000 is $5000 per year, not an extremely high amount for a Third Party Administrator to charge for all the reporting and recordkeeping required of a 401k. So i wouldn't think it is obscene. You say funds are low cost, which is important - you wouldn't want to add the administrator overhe...  (more)
    Answered Nov 2015
    Social security?
    If you have already started collecting your own benefit, you are not able to switch to start collecting your spousal benefit. If you are collecting your own benefit, your spouse (who is at least full retirement age) can still file a restricted claim for spousal benefits as long as he/she has not al...  (more)
    Answered Nov 2015
    How do I determine traditional 401 vs. ROTH 401?
    If you are in a very high tax bracket today, my projections always seem to favor the traditional - assuming that you use the tax deduction in order to invest more money. In other words, if the choice is investing $1 in traditional or 70 cents in the Roth, my math always seems to suggest that the tr...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2016
    What is the difference between a broker and an advisor?
    The problem with the question as you ask it is that the term "financial advisor" is now used by all manner of brokers, insurance agents, etc. - so much so that the term is now meaningless. If you are looking for broad based advice based on your overall life situation, you will probably want to be w...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2016
    Can my advisor manage my 401-k for me?
    There is no reason why not if you want him to. He probably can't collect management fees from the 401k, so there will need to be some other means of payment. You may also ask youself whether it is worth the money - since most 401k plans have so few fund choices anyway, you may be just as well payi...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2013
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