Wealth Enhancement Discusses Planning For Retirement

July 31, 2009

Planning Together…

The first step in planning for retirement with your spouse is to reach an agreement on your primary objectives. Without that, a strategy is impossible, or at least a lot more complicated and expensive.

I have been amazed at how often I’ve interviewed new clients, couples creating a financial plan, who have fundamental disagreements on what they want from retirement. Sometimes they don’t even realize their differences until I ask them both to write down their ideal retirement. I get back one piece of paper from Mars and one from Venus.

As in all other things with your spouse, communicate clearly and never assume. Lay out precisely what each of you wants and decide how you can make those desires work together. Be specific. I advised one couple that was confident they shared a similar vision of retirement, a home on the beach. Only after I probed further did we all learn that he wanted to live in Florida and she wanted to live in Martha’s Vineyard. Both were shocked, and neither would budge. They had always talked about a beach home, but had never gotten around to specifying which beach.

As part of your review of your financial plan you might also want to confirm that your partner’s plans or wants have not changed. You wouldn’t want to find out years from now that your spouse decided long ago that his view of an ideal retirement had changed, but he had forgotten to tell you.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, a registered investment advisor.

Advertisements

Financial Questions You Should Consider – Necessities or Luxuries?

July 30, 2009

Necessities or Luxuries

Most spending falls into two simple categories: necessities and luxuries. Almost every dollar you spend could be divided in that way. The challenge of dividing our spending in such a way, however, is made more difficult because of the simple fact that most of us are not now and never have been in dire need.

Still, a “necessities versus luxuries” spending breakdown is useful for anyone trying to organize their finances and use their money efficiently. Most people spend most of their money, as opposed to saving, investing, or giving it away. Therefore, whether you are buying necessities or luxuries, spending has to be the starting point for any financial planning. A dollar spent is not a dollar that could be used in another way; a dollar not spent has the same future value as a dollar earned. You can increase the size of your financial pie only three ways: spending less, earning more, or, in some cases, paying less tax.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, a registered investment advisor.


Is It Time For a Financial Checkup?

July 23, 2009

If you are working with a financial advisor already, now might be a good time for a “financial checkup”: to reconfirm your goals and time horizon, and in light of the current market environment, gain a better understanding of your tolerance for risk. All of which can help you determine whether you’re on track for a comfortable retirement.
Now more than ever, investors need a trusted financial advisor, an experienced professional who can guide you through difficult times and help maximize opportunities in good times. Further, we believe that such an advisor should be independent, not tied to the sales quotas of a large brokerage firm, for example, but committed solely to providing objective and constructive advice.

Rebuild | Wealth Enhancement Group Tools

• Wealth Enhancement Group takes a 360° view of you and your financial situation

• We are a 1-stop resource providing everything from tax planning to financial planning there to help you and guide you

• We build relationships with our clients on a foundation of trust

• We have some of the most adept financial planners in the industry and much more to offer you…

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, a registered investment advisor.


Restoring Confidence in Today’s Economy with Wealth Enhancement

July 21, 2009

Despite uncertainty, at Wealth Enhancement Group, we feel confident that in the long run, the financial markets offer the best opportunity to achieve important financial goals. The question is how can you best take advantage of these opportunities? First thing, don’t panic. There are ways to help you get through these irrational times. Consider working with a trusted financial advisor, who can offer the insight and experience needed to help you through difficult times.

Working with you, a financial advisor can:
• Help you identify and continually reconfirm your short-term and long-term goals.
• Help you maintain a customized investment strategy that supports your individual, financial objectives.
• Guide you through fluctuating markets and help you avoid making emotion-driven mistakes in turbulent times.
• Provide you with access to a broad selection of highly diversified securities.
• Walk you through the current market crisis, the upcoming bull market and the next market dip.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, a registered investment advisor.


What is a Bear Market – Part 2

July 16, 2009

A close cousin to a bear markets is a recession. Recessions don’t always begin and end in lockstep with bear markets, but there’s no denying the connection between the two. Of course, right now we’re experiencing both a recession and a bear market, and the combined effects have been overwhelming for many people. It’s important to understand exactly what a recession is. A recession is identified by an organization called the National Bureau of Economic Research, which bases its determination on significant declines in industrial, production, employment, real income and wholesale-retail trade.
Recessions, as unpleasant as they can be, are fairly common. Since World II, there have been 10 recessions, each lasting between 6 and 18 months.

Because they are based on past data, recessions are not officially confirmed until months after they begin. That applies to our current recession. It started in December 2007, but wasn’t confirmed until this past December – a year later. If history is a barometer, we might only have a few months left in this recession.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, a registered investment advisor.


What is a Bear Market?

July 14, 2009

The generally accepted definition of a bear is a decline of 20% or more in a broad stock market benchmark, such as the S&P 500 Index, over at least a two-month period.

Even though we have been in a recession for more than a year now, since December of 2007, the current bear market actually began last September. In comparison, the average bear market in the 20th century lasted 14 months, with stocks declining an average of 32%, and fully recovering their lost ground in 22 months. Since 1950, there have been nine bear markets, including the current one.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, a registered investment advisor.


The Parallels of the Current Economic Crisis and the Great Depression

July 9, 2009

There are few parallels between the current economic crisis and the Great Depression.

• The Depression began in 1929, spanned a total of nine years, with two deep recessions. The current recession began in December 2007, and at this point is only a year long.
• During the Depression, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 91 percent over a three-year period. In contrast, at the end of 2008, the Dow had fallen 38 percent from its high in October 2007.
• Unemployment during the Depression: 24.9 percent. Today: under 10 percent.
• During the Depression, nearly 12,000 banks shut their doors. The current banking crisis has resulted in less than 100 bank failures.
• In fact, runs on banks are a thing of the past, thanks to deposit insurance backed by the FDIC. Which we know has been increased to $250,000 per account holder.

Having learned valuable lessons from the 1930s, today’s government and Federal Reserve are taking a more active role in the current crisis than the Hoover Administration did at the onset of the Great Depression. Today, bailouts, loans, interventions and rate cuts are all examples of a vastly more active approach taken by policymakers.
I will have to say that one similarity between the Depression and the current situation is a high level of uncertainty among investors and bank depositors. Fortunately, due to the more advanced communication tools available today, confidence can be restored more easily.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, a registered investment advisor.