Should You Take the Annuity or the Lump Sum?

This week’s The Distillery caught my attention not so much because of the title, but more so because it provides a view into the decision-making process we (planners) go through when solving through the same question with clients. Aside from an interesting planning exercise, it shows you just how much of the planning process is art and client-centric, opposed to science and strictly numbers.


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Stay in The Game

This week’s The Distillery isn’t directly related to financial planning, but could be applied to investing or just about anything you’re dedicated to in life presently. In fact, this was the first of many articles I read this week while looking for blog content. I kept thinking, I need something more “financy.” But every time I read something new, I couldn’t stop thinking about the first piece. So much so, that it’s now what you’ve received in your inbox!


Please enjoy this beautifully formulated and absolutely heartfelt piece by Drew Dickson of Albert Bridget Capital...

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Piece of Crap Car

Lately I’ve been drawn to the authors who are writing frankly personal finance topics. This week’s The Distillery is another such piece, with tid-bits of interesting extras sprinkled throughout. For those BMW, Audi, Benz owners, unless you’ve already banked a large portion of future Retirement funds, this article may not sit well with you. However, you’re the exact audience it’s intended for!





I have a new focus on dumb news. My new analyst, Joe Jones, spends an hour or two a day searching for the best in dumb news. I also think that USA Today is the best newspaper in the world. There is wisdom in idiocy. I was unhappily scrolling through Facebook the other day and saw that one of my smart friends had posted a dumb article about the excellent Toronto Raptors basketball player who, despite making nearly a hundred million dollars, still drives a 20-year-old beater SUV. He said of the car: ...

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How Much and How Long?

This week’s The Distillery addresses the classic question of how much do I need to save each year, and for how many years do I need to save that amount, until I am a “millionaire?” The question (and answer) is fairly simple when using average returns to solve for your one million dollars at the end of the rainbow, but a lot of people don’t get there as quickly given that the ride is never as smooth as the spreadsheet math.






If you were contributing $5,000 a year into an investment account with the goal of amassing $1 million, you can get there, assuming like Baron said, you have patience….

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Trying to Put the Struggles of Value Investing in Context

This week’s The Distillery isn’t the most exciting read, but it’s an important read. For investors, we have to constantly weigh our options, selecting the ones we believe will have the greatest future risk-adjusted returns for our particular goals. The problem is, we never know quite how those returns will realize, and sometimes the strategy which has historically proven to provide the greatest risk-adjusted return, is taking longer than usual to do so. Could things be different this time? Likely not, but staying the course is proving to be even more difficult, but oh so important.


We hope you enjoy the author’s well thought out piece on the timely Value vs. Growth debate.



Value stocks have struggled for a long time now. Although the degree of underperformance can vary significantly based on the metric you use and the universe you apply it to, there is no question that the past decade has been a bad one for value investing. And the past five years have been even worse. I have always been a big believer in value, but it is only natural for all of us to question an investment strategy that struggles for this long...


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Should I Invest in Life Insurance?

This week’s The Distillery addresses a question we don’t get too often anymore, but is important because it shows you how we think about life insurance as an investment. In our opinion, life Insurance is first and foremost a risk management tool, and secondarily an investment. But read on for why we and the author share the same opinion.





A listener asks: I mostly hold individual stocks, index funds, and ETFs. But I have also been contributing to a Permanent Life Insurance policy…I’m thinking about canceling this policy because I don’t have any dependents and I know the market will outperform this policy over time. I’m paying $100 a month, at this rate I would contribute roughly $50,000 over 40 years. I could cash out when I retire with something like $120,000. What do you guys think? Can you consider this an investment or is this just insurance.…

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Realistic Personal Finance Hacks

All of the content in this week’s The Distillery has been said before, however, I’ve never heard it expressed so curtly. It’s for that reason I believe, that the author’s message is easier to internalize and relate to. At least that’s how I felt as I thought through my own personal financial choices in life.





Hacks are hard because shortcuts rarely exist. Prizes take time and effort. The personal finance industry – filled with advice that sounds and feels good without moving the needle – needs to recognize this. These aren’t fun hacks, but no one said this was easy. Read more.

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When Does Market Timing Work?

This week’s The Distillery addresses an age-old question, does market timing work? Well of course it does, if you can actually time the market at its’ tops and bottoms! Nick Maggiulli of, Of Dollars And Data, goes a bit deeper though, and quantifies just how precise you need to be around predicting the tops and bottoms to provide any value at all over a standard Buy and Hold strategy. The results are certainly surprising. Enjoy the read!



I know you have probably heard it all before: You can’t time the market.  Give up.  It’s too hard. While I don’t disagree with this advice, it doesn’t actually address what conditions you would need to meet in order to be a successful market timer (without using quantitative approaches).  So instead of writing off market timing, let’s ask, “When does market timing work?”

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What Expenses Can Be Paid from a 529 Plan?

Often times we get questions from clients with kids near or in college asking, what all can be paid for from a College Savings 529 Plan. In this week’s The Distillery Joe Messinger of Capstone College Partners provides a nice summary of which expenses qualify, as well as a helpful tip to keep in mind when considering the sequence of spending your 529 savings.   We hope you enjoy!     Your clients have planned for this moment. Their child is starting their first semester in college. They have saved what they could in a 529 savings plan. Now is the time to pay the bill. What expenses can be paid tax free from the 529 plan? What exactly are “qualified expenses”? What things can they NOT use their 529 funds for?.… Read More >

James Harden and Alpha

Although the title and reminder that the Rockets are down 0-2 to the Warriors doesn’t quite bring a smile to our Houstonian faces this week, the central analogy of today’s blog piece is not only timely, but a good reminder of how little advantage anyone truly has when investing in a marketplace crowded with millions of other investors. Many of which spend all day attempting to gain some competitive advantage over you. At the end of the day, it comes down to can you stay disciplined enough to adhere to your chosen investment strategy over long periods of time.   Enjoy and go Rockets!   I played high school basketball in Indiana.  I won a few honors, but was broadly mediocre, and certainly not NCAA D1 material.  My brother and I were watching the Rockets play the Jazz this past week, and were commenting back and forth on the advantage James Harden gets when the referees allow him...   Read More >