Category Archives: Articles

Dream Planning

dream-800xIn working with financial planning clients, one of the questions we ask is “What are your dreams during retirement?”  About half the people will say they want to travel.  About one in 20 will say something beyond that:  “I want to by an RV and cruise the country”, or “I …

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5 Ways Your Brain Can Sabotage Your Investing

The stock market is a great brawl in which minds with opposing views battle over whether prices will go up or down. Unfortunately, investors are often their biggest foe in this arena because our brains have biological mechanisms to screw us up.

Here are five reasons the self-sabotaging brain does this. Continue reading

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2014 – Interview with SeekingAlpha.com

This is the fourth piece in Seeking Alpha’s Positioning for 2014 series. This year we have once again asked experts on a range of different asset classes and investing strategies to offer their vision for the coming year and beyond. As always, the focus is on an overall approach to portfolio construction. Continue reading

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2013 in Review

The US stock market produced a record year in terms of performance, increasing over 34%. This was all despite some market headlines that seemed to be doom and gloom. The key events were as follows:

Looking back at 2013 through key market indicators we see that there was relatively low

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Casey Smith Interviewed at SeekingAlpha.com

Casey Smith, President of Wiser Wealth Management, was recently interviewed by seeking alpha.com about the firms investment strategy and his outlook into 2014. You can view the article here.…

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Legal: Partnership Agreements

Forming a partnership, even when with a trusted friend or colleague, should be done so with the foresight to protect yourself and your new joint venture. By formally setting the rules of the partnership at the formation of the business, you are setting your business up for success. Continue reading

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2014 IRS Limits – Saving For Retirement

It’s 2014, and the new IRS limits have kicked in. Here’s what you need to know concerning your 401k, IRA and other limits. Continue reading

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Early Retirement – IRS 72t – Avoiding the 10% Penalty

What happens, though, if because of health or company early retirement mandates, you are forced to retire before age 59 ½? How can you access your retirement savings without paying penalties? The answer is 72(t). Continue reading

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Retooling Your Bond Portfolio

Many investors, especially retirees and conservative investors are investing in bonds either individually, through a bond mutual fund or a bond exchange traded fund (ETF). Investors seem to associate bonds with safety, but this may not be the case going forward. How can you protect your bond portfolio in these uncertain times? Continue reading

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Don’t Chase Returns

Very often individual investors choose mutual funds based on the historical performance of the fund. To many individual investors it seems logical that past great performance would only indicate a tendency for future great performance. According to a July 2013 report from S&P, this may not be the case.

Twice …

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Who Needs Long Term Care?

Having a long term care policy in place can help you preserve assets that would otherwise be diverted to custodial care, and give you peace of mind that your care needs will be addressed should the need arise. Continue reading

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Payoff that Mortgage Prior to Retirement

If your house was paid for, would you take out a loan to invest it in the stock market? Amazingly many people reading this would actually pause to think about it. The answer should be no. Continue reading

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2013 ASA JP Morgan 401k Changes

You will or recently have received information in the mail about some ASA JP Morgan 401k plan investment option changes. Continue reading

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The Power Of Compounding

The Power Of Compounding, Vanguard.com

If you’re patient and disciplined, your money can work for you and make a real difference in your account balance over time.

The key is the power of compounding, the snowball effect that happens when your earnings generate even more earnings. You receive interest not

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Janus Overseas.. A Supporting Role

Janus Overseas is one of three international fund choices within the ASA JP Morgan 401k plan. The fund has historically attracted the retirement savings of plan participants due to its superior performance. The fund fell hard in 08 just like any other stock investment during the financial crisis only to …

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ASA Retirement Planning Workshop

The ASA MEC Retirement and Insurance Committee

Announces the annual

Retirement Planning Workshop

 For Legacy ASA Pilots and Flight Attendants

The workshop will be presented by Express Jet Captain Casey Smith, President of Wiser Wealth Management, Inc.

The workshop is specifically designed to cover the Legacy ASA JP Morgan 401k …

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2013 IRS Saving, Gifting and Other Limits

It’s 2013, and the new IRS limits have kicked in. Here’s what you need to know concerning your 401k, IRA and other limits. Continue reading

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Wiser Wealth’s 2013 Outlook – Interview by SeekingAlpha.com

Casey Smith is President of Wiser Wealth Management, a Marietta, Georgia-based fee-only fiduciary wealth management firm offering asset management, tax preparation, estate planning and financial planning services. Wiser’s unique investing techniques have earned Casey speaking engagements at top ETF conferences around the world. When not running Wiser Wealth, Casey doubles as a pilot for an Atlanta-based commercial airline. Continue reading

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The Low Volatility Effect

In any market, your portfolio should be constructed to meet your risk tolerance. But what does this really mean? Advisors should know the historical volatility of their portfolios; many on the selling side of this business don’t have a clue, they just want to sell you a product. For the individual investor there are tools to measure portfolio volatility. Continue reading

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S&P: Romney Vs Obama Win

Standard and Poors recently released a white paper titled “Election 2012: A Time of Polarizing Politics & Heightened Uncertainty” by David B Mazza, head of ETF Investment Strategy, Americas. This paper does a great job of explaining how portfolios could be tweaked based upon who wins the White House. …

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Vanguard Changing Index Benchmarks

Vanguard shocked the investing world today by announcing that they are changing the benchmark of 22 of its funds from MSCI to FTSE indexes. Continue reading

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ETFs are Getting Cheaper

One of the many benefits of using Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) is cost. An investor today can build a complete portfolio using all ETFs for less than 25bps (0.25%). The low cost leaders in ETFs have been Vanguard, State Street and Blackrock’s iShares.

Recently Charles Schwab entered the ETF business …

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Europe – ETF Investment Strategies

Buy and hold investors should always focus on long term healthy asset classes. In regards to investing in Europe, the key question is whether or not Europe will be a financially healthy asset class over the next ten years. Continue reading

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Global Real Estate in Your Portfolio

With the impact that the European debt crisis is having on portfolios, many people are looking for ways to diversify from this impact. Adding real estate to your portfolio is one way to do this. Continue reading

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Indexed Annuities, Better Read the Fine Print

So you purchase the annuity and tie it to the S&P 500 index. This year, the index grows 20%. You would expect to see a 20% return in your annuity, right? Wrong! Continue reading

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Your Financial Future – Can You Fill in the Blanks?

I need to save ___% of my paycheck to reach my financial independence goal to make working optional at age___. My retirement nest egg needs to be built to $_____ to achieve this goal. Continue reading

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Why You Need an Estate Plan

Many people think estate plans are for the rich and not necessarily famous. After all, most of us don’t have millions of dollars sitting around, with heirs who fight with murderous intent. But you would be surprised at how useful – even essential – an estate plan can be for the average citizen. Continue reading

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The Burden of Debt

If interest rates are too high such as to make your minimum payments too onerous to allow much wiggle room, do not be shy about calling the debt provider to ask for a reduction in the rate. They don’t have to honor your request, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Continue reading

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ETFs in a 401k: The Wave is Building

There has been a lot of discussion concerning the use of exchange traded funds (ETFs) as the primary investment vehicle within 401k plans. The barriers that once stood in the way are being removed by innovative record keeping and the growing use of ETFs in private and institutional accounts. Continue reading

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ETF Capital Gains 2011

IndexUniverse.com recently published a report with all the ETFs that pass though capital gains to its investors. Apparently in 2011 only 93 ETFs made this list. Continue reading

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Book Review: The Vigilant Investor

You can go with your gut when choosing between steak or chicken. Use knowledge to choose an advisor. This book will help you do that. Continue reading

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The Stretch IRA

A stretch IRA is not officially in the IRS code. It is a wealth transfer method that allows you to potentially “stretch” and even grow the IRA assets over several generations. The strategy involves adjusting beneficiary designations to minimize so-called required minimum distributions (RMDs) over a long period of time. Continue reading

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4 Tax Saving Ideas

It’s almost 2012. Your business has done better than expected. Here are a few things you may consider to help lower your tax liability before year end, but you had better hurry! Continue reading

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Individual Stocks and Diversification

No matter how aggressive an investor you are, investing in one company, or even a few companies, is not a wise move. Continue reading

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ASA 401k: Janus Overseas Under Performance

A few weeks ago Wiser sent an email alerting our followers of the under performance of the ASA 401k Janus Overseas Fund. A great source for commentary regarding mutual funds is MorningStar, an independent research firm. To read the Morningstar Analysis please click HERE.

In light of these changes, …

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ASA 401k Plan Changes

By now you have received notice that there are some changes happening within the ASA JPMorgan 401k plan. The good news is some of the funds are getting cheaper. Thefrustrating part is this should and could have happened a long time ago. Continue reading

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Congressional ETF Hearing Video

***** Click Here For Video Feed *****           

 

 

During this testimony Harold Bradley from the Kauffman Foundation delivers yet again false information and flawed math about Exchange Traded Funds. Elisabeth Kashner of Indexuniverse.com wrote a great blog on Mr. Bradley’s many errors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 …

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Wiser Third Quarter Newsletter

Click here for the Wiser Wealth Quarter III 2011 client newsletter. 

 

 …

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Hedging a Falling Dollar

We often get questions about what can be done in a portfolio to protect from a falling dollar. Often many people refer to gold for this solution, especially with every other advertisement on Fox News from companies trying to sell you- guess what- gold! Continue reading

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Retirement Plans for the Self Employed

So you quit the corporate rat race to start your own business.  It’s hard work, but you enjoy the freedom and the thrill of being your own boss.  There is nothing that you miss about your old job.

Except maybe your 401(k). 

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A Tale of Risk and Reward

There is no room for greed in investing. In the investing world you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. If you want the reward you have to take on the risk as well. Put another way, you have the potential to be rewarded for the amount of risk that you take. Notice I said “potential”. Reward is not a guarantee. The reason is risk. Continue reading

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The Lure of Debit Cards

But is a debit card really better than a credit card? Studies have shown that we spend more when using a credit card. You’d think that using a debit card would alleviate this problem, since you know that you’re using your own money to make the purchase. This isn’t true. Some smart college students I know have figured out they do indeed spend more using a debit card, and now use cash for most purchases. Continue reading

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When Markets Go Crazy

Worry much about your investments? In volatile markets, it’s easy to feel uneasy. Memories of 2008-2009, when the market lost more than half its value, are still fresh in everyone’s mind. So when the market swings widely nowadays, investors get concerned. Sometimes concerned enough to act.
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Estate Planning – Portability of the Tax Exemption

The 2010 Tax Act1 has made it possible, under specified circumstances, for the estate of a surviving spouse to make use of the unused estate tax exemption of his or her predeceased spouse, a concept referred to as portability of the applicable exemption amount. Some estate planners have suggested that portability makes it unnecessary to continue to draft estate plans that include credit shelter trusts. Continue reading

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8/10/2011 Market Update

Stocks are overreacting to the unfortunate confluence of events: the downgrade of U.S. government bonds, some weaker than expected economic data, and the troublesome but manageable U.S. fiscal position. Along with sovereign debt issues threatening Europe, these factors turned market sentiment ugly. Continue reading

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Letter to Clients – US Downgrade/Global Debt

No one likes to lose, especially money, even if it is just on paper. In times such as these, investor behavior is more important that asset allocation. Continue reading

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Wiser Research – Emerging Market ETFs

Emerging Markets should be a part of every portfolio. With many ETF choices this post dives into Emerging Market modeling. Continue reading

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Save Early for Retirement

At what age is it better to save for retirement? In your early years of working, money is probably tight. It’s hard to find the extra money to save towards such a far end goal, when the rent needs to be paid, and you have a more immediate need to build emergency savings. You might think that waiting until later in life to save for retirement, when your income is likely higher and you can more likely afford to do so, would be the best option.
Continue reading

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Letter to Clients – Global Debt Crisis

The last few days have been very volatile ones for the global stock markets. The headlines of a Greek debt default and the US August 2 debt limit increase deadline are contributing to the uncertainty in the market. Continue reading

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How to pay for College

It’s a blessing and a curse. After much nagging about grades and extra-curricular activities, your beloved Junior or Juniorette has made it into college. Your first thought is how proud you are of your child’s achievement. Your very next thought is, “How in the world do I pay for this?” Continue reading

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Best Execution in ETFs, how much do you really pay?

***Originally published in the July 2011 edition of NAAIM’s “The Active Manager” By Scott Freeze.

Best Execution is a very difficult metric to measure since it is such a subjective benchmark. In a “thinner” ETF with a wide spread, such as MNA (IndexIQ Merger Arbitrage), you have a 20 cent …

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IRA Charitable Rollovers

You have done well for yourself. You’ve watched your pennies, saved aggressively, invested wisely, and now, in your golden years, you have a retirement nest egg that is more than you need. You have a philanthropic bent – an alma mater you’re fond of, a charity that is near and dear to your heart. How can you donate to these worthy causes without sacrificing to the IRS more than you think it deserves?
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Emerging Markets VWO vs DEM

The research staff here at Wiser Wealth recently analyzed all the broad based ETFs that track emerging market indices. The staple in Emerging Markets is currently Vanguards VWO and iShares’ EEM. The comparison articles on these funds are endless. One fund that filtered to the top of the Emerging Market ETF list that might be less known is Wisdom Tree’s DEM. We compared it in this article to Vanguards VWO. The following report helps compare the DEM and VWO Emerging Market strategies as well as the results of the last few years. Continue reading

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Wiser Wealth Interviewed by ETFs Asia

Casey Smith was recently interviewed by ETFs Asia. ETFs Asia is a conference in Hong Kong in late 2011 covering Exchange Traded Funds. Casey was unable to speak at the conference because of a conflict, but did this interview to talk about the development of ETFs in Asia and at home here in the US. Continue reading

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Why use Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)?

The University of Maryland has a study that shows only .06% of active fund managers from 1975 – 2007 beat their corresponding index. Continue reading

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How important is diversification?

How much do you want to put your eggs in one basket? Even a few baskets? Continue reading

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What is risk tolerance, and how does it factor into my investment decisions?

Risk tolerance is how much risk you are willing to take with your investments. Let’s look at the market crash of 2008-2009. In early March, when the market finally bottomed out, how did you feel? Continue reading

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Which should I do first – invest for the future or pay down debts?

Would you borrow money on your house or on a credit card to buy into an investment or put in your savings account? Continue reading

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Which would be better – a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA?

If you do not need to save on taxes now, a Roth IRA is your best option.  The reason is the taxation of earnings.  With a traditional IRA, you save on taxes now on the amount you contribute.  But you pay taxes when you take the money out on both …

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Play Defense with a Solid Portfolio

The pictures and stories from Japan have shocked us all. The human aspect of this country’s struggle to cope with the earthquake and tsunami tugs at our hearts. The same applies to those in Middle Eastern countries crying out for freedom and democracy only to be responded to with bullets …

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Should I contribute to my company’s 401(k) or to an IRA?

The 401(k) and the IRA offer tax advantaged savings.  The differences to consider are in maximum contribution limits and matching money.

Employers typically will offer to match a certain portion of your 401(k) contributions to encourage you to invest for you retirement.  The level is most often a percentage of …

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Where’s the Yield? Generating Income in Your Portfolio

Portfolio yields are under pressure due to the worldwide flight to safety over the last few years, making conservative and income growth portfolios more difficult to manage. While bond investments made a few years ago have done historically well, new investments have greater principal risk with low historic yields. Continue reading

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Egypt – A Better Understanding

“The problem with freedom and democracy in the Muslim world is that it is a figment of the imagination that only exists in the minds of Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.” Continue reading

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An ETN to replace the Variable Annuity?

A new exchange traded note (ETN) has come to market offering a well-known approach to investing found in active investment strategies, but new to the exchange traded products. The US RBS Trend Pilot ETN (ticker TRND) tracks the total return of the S&P 500 (actual return plus dividends), but provides safety in that if the S&P 500 drops below its 200 day moving average, then TRND will “sell” the S&P 500 and “purchase” short duration US treasury bonds. Looking back to 2008, TRND would have been in treasuries during the financial crisis, missing the worst decline in the S&P 500 in decades and benefiting from treasuries climbing to record prices. Continue reading

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Casey Smith Interviewed by etfshub.com – Active ETFs

Casey Smith talked with Shishir Nigam of etfshub.com to discuss the future of Active ETFs and the hurdles that they will need to overcome. Continue reading

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2010 Tax Relief Act – Estate Implications

The 2010 Tax Relief Act has been passed. What does this mean for your estate plan? Continue reading

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Wiser Wealth to Host its Third Annual ASA 401k Workshop

Casey Smith will be providing a 401(k) workshop for Atlantic Southeast pilots and flight attendants on January 12th and 15th. The workshop will be held at the airport Hilton Garden Inn from 9:30am to 1pm each day. There are no strings attached with this event. Casey will simply be there …

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ETFs in the Atlantic Southeast Pilots Brokerage Link?

ignorance is to reject something that you know nothing about.” Financial advisors, individuals, the media and professors are all still learning about the benefits of Exchange Traded Funds. Undoubtedly, ETFs have shaken the investment world by empowering investors at all levels with quick access to low cost diversification. Adding ETFs to the Atlantic Southeast 401k brokerage link will allow investors low cost access to global asset classes. If used properly, ETFs can increase the standard of living of the Atlantic Southeast retirees and allow for current reduced company risk, active management risk and portfolio liquidity. ETFs will allow plan participants to purchase the indexes that the active managers cannot seem to beat over long periods of time.
Continue reading

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Why do they keep trying to sell you that annuity?

There are several types of annuities with the most popular being the variable annuity. The bank salespeople, often falsely referred to as financial advisors, make the sales pitch sound as if these products are the best things since the Wright Brothers took flight. I say buyer beware. Continue reading

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Can An ETF Collapse? The Study that was proven false.

Can an ETF Fail? A study by two PHD’s makes one believe that ETFs are unsafe investments. Continue reading

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Free ETF Trades at TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade offers 100 commission free ETFs. Continue reading

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Vanguard Lowers the Cost of Investing… Again

Vanguard has lowered the floor on S&P ETF index investing. Continue reading

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Active Management Comes To Emerging Market Bond ETFs

WisdomTree has introduced an addition to the ETF landscape with an active ETF in the emerging market bond category.

Emerging market bonds are a unique asset class with extraordinary characteristics which many ETF investors have made part of their portfolios for many reasons. Emerging market bonds have high absolute returns with low correlation to other markets and are high yielding vehicles. Continue reading

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How Poor Investments Happen

Investors tend to do poorly when they react to what the market does instead of preparing for what may happen and taking advantage of long-term forecasts. With a reactionary attitude, investors will rarely do well. Continue reading

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2nd Quarter Market Landscape

First-quarter gains have taken a huge hit against large declines in the second quarter. According to Morningstar’s ‘super sectors’ reports, Information is down 10.46%, Service 12.23%, and Manufacturing 10.92%. Some market data would suggest that an underlying cause of these losses is uncertainty in the market. Continue reading

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Top 5 Estate Planning Mistakes

Top 5 estate planning mistakes

I recently read a report that suggested that only about 20 percent of the population has a formal estate plan. After reviewing the points below, please take a minute to consider whether it’s time for you to create or update your estate plan.

Here are

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Atlantic Southeast – Measuring Portfolio Risk

When building a 401k portfolio, many people simply look at a fund’s performance without considering the risk of the investment. Fund performance should not be the only tool used in selecting mutual funds for your 401k. Another analytical tool that should be used is standard deviation.…

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Atlantic Southeast – Think Small

Think Small

By Kyle Waller, Research Analyst Wiser Wealth Management, Inc & Casey T Smith, ASA ALPA 401k Specialist

In 401K investing, there is a major asset class that does not get the respect it deserves. In fact, it is largely ignored both by investors and plan sponsors. This asset …

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Atlantic Southeast – The Cost of Not Saving

The Cost of Not Saving

By Casey Smith, ASA ALPA R&I Committee 401k Specialist and

Kyle Waller, Research Analyst, Wiser Wealth Management, Inc

The saving rate among Americans is decreasing, yet the need for income in retirement is as crucial as ever with pensions and social security becoming scarce and …

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Atlantic Southeast – Asset Allocation

The stock market has experienced a 5% pull back over the last few weeks and we have seen daily trading volatility similar to that of 2008. This has been caused by Europe’s own financial crisis. In 2008, American taxpayers bailed out their large banks. The European Union is currently bailing …

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Lower Duration For Better Inflation Protection

TIP Securities have been around only since 1997, placing them a time period with only relatively tame levels of inflation. That being said, the need for inflation protection is very relevant, and investors now have access to five TIPS ETFs. They give investors a choice among broad based, intermediate, short-term, and long-term durations. Continue reading

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American Debt

Debt, while once viewed as a negative for the average American, now seems to simply be a part of life. Using credit and having debt outstanding is normal now not only for the most people, but for the government as a whole. The US federal government deficit is currently over $13 trillion and is growing by about $4.09 billion each day. To put this amount into perspective, with a $13 trillion debt obligation, each person in the world owes almost $2,000. That is $2,000 for 6.7 billion people. Continue reading

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Financial Reform Freedom?

The Senate sweats this week over the self imposed July 4th deadline for President Obama to sign the Financial Reform Overhaul Bill. The bill is reported to be over 2,000 pages, and reaches into every corner of the financial industry from credit card transactions to advisors.

The bill ventures into some places where legislation has previously left alone. In many ways, the financial system needs some changes, however, for the most part, the Independence Day bill is more confusing than freedom-promoting. Continue reading

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International Corporate Bond ETFs Have Arrived

PowerShares listed the second-ever international corporate bond ETF for trading this week, behind State Street Global Advisor’s international corporate bond product, falling right in step with the unfolding of the debt crisis in Europe. The PowerShares ETF provides a broad exposure to international, investment-grade corporate bonds issued in developed countries. Continue reading

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Efficient Market Theory and ETFs

One of the most popular ideas in the investing world, the Efficient Market Theory, argues, very simply, that a stock’s price equals its value. This would mean that a stock’s price reflects all publicly known data, including future expectations of the stock’s performance. Continue reading

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ETF Fixed Income Assets Climb in April

ETF cashflows have climbed despite worries about rising rates in fixed income ETFs. Investors also seem to be pouring money into global ETFs even though overseas markets continue to abound.

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Letter to Clients – Crisis in Europe

“Because major developed markets are now so highly linked, there is no way for problems in Europe to remain isolated there; we will see a ripple effect here in the US.” Continue reading

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The Unemployment Report – 5/7/10

The amount of jobs added went up in April even well above what is expected, adding 290,000 jobs to the market. Up from 200,000 added in March. Continue reading

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Goldman Sachs – Not the Real Problem

The government allows companies like Goldman and other brokers to act under suitability rules. This means that a client has to be suitable for the investment, but does not mean that the product is the best for the client. Continue reading

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ETFs in Europe – Amsterdam ETF Conference

ETFs in Europe are starting to get some interest. This is my journal from the ETF Conference in Amsterdam. Continue reading

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Wills and Trusts – In the Box or Off the Web

Dawn Levine an Attorney in Marietta, GA often gets asked what she thinks about Wills done over the internet. Continue reading

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Wiser Helps Those Out of Work – Free Tax Prep

Wiser Wealth Management offers free tax preparation services to those currently out of work. Continue reading

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A Dollar Hedged ETF; How To Allocate Around The Falling Euro

The end of 2009 saw the entry of a new ETF in the already dense ETF landscape:  a currency hedged ETF.  This new feature is of interesting significance due to its packaging inside an ETF.…

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Active vs. Passive – Morningstar’s Second Half 2009 Report

Morningstar has released their Box Score Report looking at active vs. passive investing strategies over the second half of 2009.…

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Faith Based ETFs: Investing with Conviction

Faith Shares launches the first faith based ETFs. Continue reading

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The Cruel World of Financial Advice

You expect that your banker or broker will always do what is in your best interest. Can they? It’s a mixed up world when your financial advisor is your salesman. Continue reading

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Should you put ETFs in your 401k?

ETFs are empowering individual and professional investors with the power of transparency, diversification, low fees, and, compared to many of active fund managers, better performance. …

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My Boca Experience – Inside ETF Conference 2010

I was recently privileged to be on a panel at the Inside ETF Conference in Boca Raton, FL last week.  The event was a great success with over 800 attendees, and was broadcasted live by CNBC.…

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Indexing Inspiration + Gold

Irving Kristol, “an indexer is stock-picker who has been mugged by reality.” Continue reading

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Fiduciary and the “B”

Is the “lack of demand” for the ‘B’ share mutual funds because brokers are cleaning up their act and ditching one terrible product to show that they really don’t need to be fiduciaries to have the client’s best interest at heart? Continue reading

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