From Clutter to Clarity: What to Toss and What to Keep

By Michelle Santaferro, organizing expert and owner of Organomics

Like many during this time of year, you may have found certain documentation painful to retrieve and scattered in several locations.  But there’s good news: you can create a system to quickly file and find anything you need financially. Let’s look at the steps you can take to retrieve things quickly.


Michelle will be speaking at our upcoming workshop on Friday, April 27th. Register today and join us!

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Workshop: From Clutter to Clarity

Friday, April 27th, 2018 – 9:00 am

Are you drowning in data? From stacks of paper to digital notifications and email alerts, all our “stuff” can feel very heavy. How can you conquer the clutter? Join Michelle Santaferraro from Organomics for a workshop on organizing the chaos, simplifying the storage, and streamlining your system for dealing with paper. She’ll cover the “7 Stages of Documentation” a step-by-step process you can use to change your perspective on paper and bring simplicity back to your home or office.


The Difference Between Financial and Investment Advice

There’s never been a better time to be an investor. Advances in technology have leveled the playing field in a truly unprecedented way. While these advances are great for you, they make offering value as financial advisors more difficult.

So as we continue to see improvements in technology I believe investment management will become more and more of a commodity. That means real financial advice will be a huge differentiator in the financial services industry. Anyone can create a portfolio, asset allocation or investment strategy. We are even told robots can do this with this concept called “Robo-Advisor”. What most people actually need is advice about how their investments fit into their overall financial plan, and more importantly their life. Believe me – robots cannot do this, nor do investment products do this. It takes an experienced, skilled, listening Advisor.

Both investment management and financial advice are necessary components for long-term success, but it’s important to understand the differences.

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The $58,000 Latte Habit

Creating a habit of saving is hard, really hard.  It requires discipline and few people enjoy discipline.  But your daily disciplines (or lack thereof) can have a profound impact on your future.

Consider the daily latte.  The average medium latte at Starbucks costs $3.65 assuming you don’t “doctor” it up with extra flavors, different milks, etc. That cost is pre-tax. We know that $3.65 can add up, but what does it add up to?  Let’s look at some simple math behind a latte habit.  The chart below illustrates the future value of that cup of coffee, depending on your consumption.

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Meet Bob, The World’s Worst Market Timer

Did you invest some money on Jan. 26th? Do you ever feel “the curse” of investing at exactly the wrong point? Like your investing is too late, at the wrong time, or maybe that you’re just unlucky?

Well meet Bob – the World’s Worst Market Timer. Bob began his working career in 1970 at age 22 and was a diligent saver and planner.

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The U.S. Economy & Markets

I am an optimist by nature. I feel this optimism is not pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking, but rather a view to the future that is based on a sound historical tract record and the economic progress we see across the globe. This optimism springs from characteristics that aren’t uniquely American, but we certainly are blessed by a population that exhibits many of these attributes:

  • Hard work
  • Ingenuity and creativity
  • Kean intellect
  • An entrepreneurial spirit
  • Productivity, efficiency, and a striving for improvement
  • Cutting edge mentality
  • Yet fun, fruitful, and an ever growing vision of what the future might hold

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It’s Just the Road

In the last few days stocks have taken a beating.  Volatility has finally returned after a near two year hiatus.  Friday February 2nd saw the largest single one day drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average history.  The following Monday (Feb. 5th) saw some of the largest intraday swings in history, ranging from down over 500 points on the Dow to closing up over 500 points, with several corrections along the way.  Hopefully you were wearing your proverbial seat belt.

Many investors are calling this a “top”, the beginning of the next great recession, the last stop on the “Bull Market Express”, or even the end of the road. But here is the reality… it’s just the road. This is not the end of the road. This is not even a bump in the road. It’s just the road. History tells us that market’s do this. They move up, they move down. They trend sideways. They are at times, irrational.

So let’s put all of this recent activity in perspective.

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What is “Normal”?

Over the last ten days the stock market has experienced higher levels of volatility than we’ve seen in some time. The result has been many headlines highlighting the downfall of a strong market. It’s left many people wondering if this is normal and healthy, or a sign of worse things to come.

But what is normal? In my experience, the only “Normal” setting I see is on the clothes dryer. Really normal is just a comparison of our experience today vs. our experience lately. Read more

Think $1M is Enough for Retirement? Think Again.

Remember when $1 million was a target goal on which to retire? Today, even that may not enough – especially for Baby Boomers getting ready to retire – and the situation is even worse for Gen Xers and Millennials.

The amount you’ll need in retirement depends on a number of factors such as:

  • How long you live
  • Where you live
  • Inflation rates
  • Your lifestyle

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Outlook 2018: Return of the Business Cycle

The LPL Research team proudly presents Outlook 2018: Return of the Business Cycle, highlighting the opportunities and potential challenges that may lie ahead for market participants as we get back to the traditional drivers that we’d expect to push the economy and markets forward. Instead of relying on central bank intervention and accommodative monetary policy, we’re turning to some new lead characters to take charge, namely fiscal policy and better business fundamentals. The supporting roles of this new environment will also be key to sustaining economic growth and delivering stock gains.