Author - Michael Helveston, CFP®, CRPC®

1
Are You Working With an Investment Advisor or a Financial Planner?
2
Why Standard Deviation Matters When Choosing Investments
3
Buying vs. Leasing a Car: Pros and Cons to Consider
4
Non-working Spouses Can Contribute to an IRA: Here’s How
5
Pay Taxes Once, Instead of Four Times, Using Your IRA’s Required Minimum Distribution

Are You Working With an Investment Advisor or a Financial Planner?

The Investment Advisers Act of 1940 states that an ‘…‘‘investment adviser’’ means any person who, for compensation, engages in the business of advising others, either directly or through publications or writings, as to the value of securities or as to the advisability of investing in, purchasing, or selling securities…’

Unfortunately, there is little regulation over what people giving financial advice can call themselves – adviser, advisor (yes, there is a difference), financial consultant or wealth manager – just to name a few.  Therefore, even though we have this definition above there is much confusion among consumers.

Investment advisors are often …

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Why Standard Deviation Matters When Choosing Investments

Not all returns are created equal.

Standard deviation is a common statistical measurement and is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as:  ‘A quantity expressing by how much the members of a group differ from the mean value for the group.’ In other words, it is a measure of volatility that tells you how far apart all of the values are from the average (or mean) value.

For example, if Mutual Fund A has an average annual return of 10% and a standard deviation of 4%, you would expect about 68% of the time for the return to be between 6% and …

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Buying vs. Leasing a Car: Pros and Cons to Consider

Here’s what you should consider.

If the thought of negotiating a deal for your next vehicle turns your stomach you are not alone. Or maybe you love doing endless research and then ‘working’ yourself a good deal. Whether you look forward to the experience or loath it, buying a car has become a necessary evil for most Americans. Once you determine it’s time to stop test driving and move forward, you’ll be faced with the decision to buy or lease. Here are some pros and cons to each:

Buying – Pros:

Length of Ownership – Many people who buy take …

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Non-working Spouses Can Contribute to an IRA: Here’s How

As long as there is earned income from one spouse, an IRA can be funded each year for either spouse or both up to the income amount.  So if you are still working but your spouse is not, you can fund an existing IRA for them or open a new account if they don’t already have an IRA. Earned income is generally defined as wages from a job or self-employment income from a business.

In 2015, $5,500 a year can be contributed to an IRA ($6,500 if 50 or over).  Even if just one spouse is working a second spousal …

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Pay Taxes Once, Instead of Four Times, Using Your IRA’s Required Minimum Distribution

Age 70 ½ is an important age milestone for IRA owners. It’s the so-called ”day of reckoning” when the IRS begins collecting taxes on your deferred retirement savings. Fortunately, this event also triggers tax-planning opportunities. If you have income each year that results in paying quarterly federal tax estimates, you may be able to use your required minimum distribution (RMD) to pay some of your taxes.

You simply elect tax withholding from the distribution in the amount that you need. For example, if your IRA RMD is $20,000 this year, you could ask your IRA custodian to withhold 100% of …

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