Social Security Administration

Why You Should Login to the Social Security Website

Remember seeing those paper statements from Social Security each year informing you of your estimated benefits? Well you haven’t received them for a while because it was so costly, about $80 million per year, for the Social Security Adminstration. The SSA is now reinstating the deliveries (starting this September), but is sending just one statement …

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Losing Money In Retirement

Will Having a Financial Plan Keep Me From Running Out of Money?

“Will I run out of money before I die?” I wish I could say there was a simple yes or no answer to that question. The answer is more complex, the result of many factors including probability, luck and skill. Nicholas Taleb in his book, Fooled by Randomness, highlights some of the ways in which …

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Investment Portfolio

Women, Confidence & Investing for Retirement

Investing in the stock market can feel a bit like gambling. With study and guidance, understanding certain rules, increased confidence in one’s ability to invest successfully builds as investments appreciate. Knowledge is key. This relationship – between knowledge and confidence – might seem intuitive. Wells Fargo conducted a survey of affluent women regarding their confidence …

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Living Trust

Will or Trust? Guest blogger Jennifer Cowan

This week Marin based estate planning attorney Jennifer Cowan shares her thoughts on the important question of wills vs. trusts. Estate planning is an important component of your overall financial picture. If you haven’t thought about what happens to your stuff when you die…you need to see an estate planning attorney.  One way we provide for …

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money & couples

Money & Couples: Struggle vs. Relief with Guest Blogger Donna Colfer

This week’s post is from money coach Donna Colfer AFC, CMC. She does important work helping people to understand their relationship to money. Her business, Building Wealth From Within is located in Sonoma. From Donna… We have entered a new era of consciousness, embodying more feminine, receptive, and loving energy; a perfect time to re-evaluate …

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Older Couple On Water

Sometimes Love Isn’t All You Need: Planning Considerations for Unmarried Couples

By Jeff Stoffer and Joann Babiak* It is becoming quite common for older people in romantic relationships simply to live together. Marriage may seem unnecessary. However, couples that live together do not have the same legal rights as married couples. Consider some possible scenarios. You’ve lived together for fifteen years. He moved into your place. …

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Industry Experts

Tell Us What Is Going To Happen…Even If It’s Wrong

I attended the FPA NorCal conference in San Francisco this week. In his talk on behavioral finance Barry Ritholtz talked about “expert forecasters”, the people we see daily who are willing to tell us the direction of stock markets, interest rates, gold, etc. One of his slides stated that expert forecasters’ predictions are no better …

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The Brain & Money

On Second Thought: How We Make Financial Decisions

My reading this week led me to the intersection of neuroscience and money. Inspired by Jason Zweig’s book Your Money and Your Brain we’ll look at the reflexive brain vs. the reflective brain. These concepts help us to understand some of the biological forces at play and how our emotions get in the way of making good …

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Investment risk

No Pain, No Gain: Investment Risk & Retirement Planning

Picture the following two scenarios. In the first, you open your mail and find a check for $500! In the second, you go out to your car and discover a $500 parking ticket. Compare your reactions. You feel great about the check, thinking of fun or practical ways to spend the money. The parking ticket, however …

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