Today’s financial markets are frightening. Here are a few thoughts to help you weather this crisis and come out stronger than before.
We all rely on advice — from friends, family and, at times, complete strangers. Sometimes you get good advice and other times you get advice that is not in your best interest. But if you get advice from a professional like a doctor, a lawyer or a financial professional, you should be able to rely on knowing that it will always be in your best interest.
You probably wouldn’t take investment advice from someone whose business card said Retirement Wizard, but it is not always so simple to spot a fake credential. You may find it harder to tell the difference between a Certified Advisor for Senior Investing and a Retirement Income Planning Specialist.
A friend sent me the following article from the USA Today insert of his local paper. The article proclaimed “ The 60/40 stock-and-bond portfolio mix is dead in 2016” and went on to explain that with bond interest rates near historical lows, one should reach for higher returns by taking more risk with stocks. The article quoted one adviser who suggested investors in their 60s invest 70 to 80 percent of their portfolio in stocks.
When should you begin taking Social Security benefits? That was a question asked of AARP.org visitors and registered website users . Less than 19 percent selected age 70, though that’s exactly what I tell the vast majority of my clients to do. Most object to my recommendation until I frame the decision in a different way, which is that they can spend money now and still let it grow.
I’m going to try to mislead you, but it’s for a very good reason. What I have for you is a U.S. stock fund that not only has beaten the S&P 500 index, it’s nearly certain to continue doing so in the long run. For now, I’m going to call this mutual fund the Super-Secret Fund, or SSF for short.
Many brokers recommend investing in municipal bonds. Municipal bonds, a.k.a. munis, are a debt security issued by a state, municipality or county to finance its capital expenditures. Most are exempt from federal taxes and even state taxes if you live and file taxes in the issuing state. They are often pitched as being very safe with a long history of low default rates.
In a recent column I exposed my own portfolio and its daring dullness. It is that very dullness which, I believe, is the key to its success. Still, beneath this dull exterior beats the heart of “The Gambler.” Even yours truly gets the occasional urge to buy that risky stock, offering the possibility of a 1,000 percent return, and sometimes I just can’t resist acting on that thrill-seeking urge.
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