The Advocates Letter – Understanding the Recent Trades and Quotable Quotes

This week’s The Distillery is brought to you by Kurt Box of The Advocates. As CIO, Kurt’s job is to develop an investment strategy to help families live their values by earning a consistent, long-term rate of return in excess of inflation, as required in their wealth plan. His latest piece takes a more in depth look at our recent trades, and provides a few quotes to apply context to the often paradoxical world of investing.   Enjoy!     Before we move into a deeper explanation of the trades that occurred for our clients in the first quarter we’d like to quote ourselves!  It’s pertinent here because the trade itself might not be intuitive at first.  Last quarter we wrote: “When things are not working, whether it’s our specific strategy or, like this year, investments in general, every instinct tells us to act, and the longer we resist that urge the more difficult it becomes. It’s completely normal to… Read More >

College Grads Sell Stakes in Themselves to Wall Street

This week’s The Distillery presents an interesting alternative to student loans. Instead of taking out loans, students can instead agree to hand over part of their future earnings in return for an investment. The student would essentially become one of many risky “small-cap stocks” in a portfolio, whereas the student has the opportunity to potentially avoid high-interest student loan debt. Additionally fascinating (to me) is that the interest rate varies based on the student’s college major selected, and their previous work experience. Brilliant!   We hope you enjoy, and if anyone happens to know someone who has done this, we’d love the opportunity to connect with them and hear about their experience. You can read the full article here. Read More >

What It’s Like to Grow Up With More Money Than You’ll Ever Spend

This week’s The Distillery is a fascinating look inside the mind of Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, co-founder of The Walt Disney Company. She shares rarely-heard details regarding how money has changed not only her view of the world, but how it changed her families’, as Disney stock continued to increase their net worth over the past several decades. Even for all of us “normal” people with less zeros attached to the end of our net worth, her message at the end is crystal clear: “If that [money] is your primary measure of success or value in life, then good luck with that, because it will never feel good.”   We hope you enjoy! You can read the full article... Read More >

Guide to Retirement – 2019 Edition

This week’s The Distillery is a smorgasbord of financial data related to planning for retirement. Every year J.P.Morgan produces a wonderful “Guide to Retirement”, which includes everything from savings rates, to the triple tax benefit of an HSA, to life expectancy probabilities. Whatever interests you about retirement planning will be here, plus more! ... Read More >

Lifestyle Creep: The Biggest Threat to Financial Planning

While in a meeting yesterday with a very nice and financially responsible young couple, Kurt and I were asked the following question: “What’s the biggest financial planning mistake young people make?” While we both gave similar answers, they ultimately boiled down to one single word, Lifestyle. Where you decide to begin your lifestyle in your 20’s and 30’s, and the rate in which you allow it to creep higher through your 40’s and 50’s, has a huge impact on where it ends up as a Retiree. This ultimately determines the amount of money you need in your portfolio to sustain your retirement lifestyle.   Enjoy this wonderfully crafted article on Lifestyle Creep.     For the median person making $57,000 a year, it sounds ludicrous that others making $500,000 feel like they’re ‘scraping by.’ However, they’re humans just like us: we might find ourselves in a similar position in the future. How can we avoid excessive spending ruining our future?... Read More >

Amazon Prime Rewards Review: Perhaps the Ultimate Store Card

This week’s The Distillery is a bit random in that it highlights a single credit card, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card. The credit card game is one of my favorites, but it always needs to come with a  an upfront disclaimer: If you pay off your credit card when your balance is due, get in the game. If you don’t, continue watching from the sidelines. Once in the game, the rewards and sign-up promotions can be addicting, but well worth the analysis and paperwork.   I thought I had completed my lineup of credit cards in my wallet until I came across Amazon’s Prime Rewards Visa credit card. Honestly, I don’t know why it took me this long to discover it. As an avid Prime Member (and this is an important prerequisite to applying) the decision to sign up after reviewing the rewards was practically a no-brainer, especially so, considering we order so many packages from Amazon that my girlfriend is considering buying an industrial shredding machine for our neighborhood to eliminate the space the boxes take up inside our homes.   Here’s to an ever-thickening wallet to sit on 😊     The Amazon Prime Visa Signature card comes with a head-turning number: 5 percent on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases. The card has many of the same features as its predecessor – the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card – and it improves on the regular Amazon Rewards card by offering an unlimited 5 percent rewards rate on purchases.   For current Amazon Prime subscribers, the Prime card is worth the hoopla. Besides the fact that you... Read More >

Just A Little Bit More

This week’s The Distillery is another good read by Michael Batnick of The Irrelevant Investor. He highlights a real life example, NBA player Chris Bosh, of why more money doesn’t automatically equal more happiness. Enjoy!   Chris Bosh, two-time NBA champion, was recently on the Bill Simmons podcast talking about the unhappiness of today’s superstar. Wait, what? It’s hard to imagine how a 23-year old kid who signs a five year, $127 million deal could be anything other than giddy all the time. This type of thing is possible because... Read More >

Killer Vees

This week’s The Distillery glances at the past 9 “Killer Vees” in the S&P 500 since 1970. A Killer Vee is the move that we all just experienced over the last few months in which the market makes a sharp move down followed by an equally sharp move back higher, representing the pattern of the letter “V.” Pretty interesting findings by the author, as well as a nice reference a strategy that we have layered onto our portfolios to help reduce downside risk (momentum). Enjoy!   The S&P 500 just rocketed 18% higher in only 44 days. A bounce of this magnitude makes a mockery of risk management. This is the ninth time stocks have experienced a killer vee bottom since 1970... Read More >

5 Reasons You Need a Financial Advisor

Last week we posted a piece by Chris Mamula, an ardent “do-it-yourselfer” and author of the blog, Can I Retire Yet? He took us through the ups and downs of him and his wife’s journey towards financial independence and the lessons they learned. Prior to posting the blog, I emailed him with a few questions of my own. I was curious to hear what he would do different if he were to go back in time, as well as to find out ... Read More >

Financial Autopilot

This week’s The Distillery is an interesting read from one of my favorite “do-it-yourselfers,” Chris Mamula of Can I Retire Yet? I always enjoy reading Chris’ posts because he writes clearly and provides a non-professional viewpoint of what competent financial planning can look like from someone who doesn’t mind spending a lot of their free time and energy researching and effectively implementing their own personal financial plan. This blog in particular though, made me think even deeper about the true value of our service as financial advisors. Chris, a staunch “do-it-yourselfer,” was able to retire early. However, he admits that it took him at least a decade, and thousands of dollars in missed opportunities and mistakes, to optimize the nuances surrounding the areas of savings strategies, asset allocation, and tax planning. In my opinion, it took Chris a decade of hard work and research to become versed in the six areas of financial planning, without the title of Financial Planner. A few questions I would love to ask him (just emailed him) are: What would you change if you were to do it all over again?” Would you hire a Financial Advisor? Would you trade in the hours of financial planning research for other activities? Perhaps his answer is, “Nothing.” Or perhaps it’s something more insightful that I’ll be able to relay back to the group next week.   In the meantime, happy reading!     In an era of two income households struggling to make ends meet, my story sounds extreme. I retired from my career as a physical therapist at the age of 41 while my wife cut back to part-time work five years earlier at age 35. Some might think we spent a lot of time thinking about money. That assumption would be wrong. We achieved financial independence by our early 40’s because... Read More >