Accredited Financial Counselor, 40 Year Investor, Author, and Financial Coach

what does it mean when the fed expands their balance sheet

What Does It Mean When The Fed Expands Their Balance Sheet?

More investors are starting to realize that macroeconomics plays a significant role in investment returns. And investment returns determine if and how much our retirement accounts grow over time. In essence, our lives are very directly affected by Federal Reserve actions since those actions have a huge impact on the economy, and hence, our investment …

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11 Ways to Reduce Investment Risk While Building Wealth

Do you worry about losing your money? If so, this isn’t necessarily all bad; worry can prompt you to make smart moves that lower investment risk when needed.   The following steps can all help reduce investment risk: increase the percentage of portfolio cash, diversify asset classes, buy undervalued assets, own noncorrelated investments, manage bond risk, …

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retirement accounts

What Percentage of Net Worth Should Be in Retirement Accounts?

The percentage of net worth that should be in retirement accounts is the percentage that will allow you to accumulate as much as possible in those accounts before retirement, as well as be able to pay for your lifestyle throughout retirement. Factors that determine the ideal percentage of net worth to allocate to retirement accounts …

What Percentage of Net Worth Should Be in Retirement Accounts? Read More »

How Much Of My Net Worth Should Be in Cash (Liquid Net Worth, Cash Percentage)

Deciding how much of your net worth to keep in cash is a huge part of managing risk while building wealth, as well as contributing to a peaceful existence as an investor. The simple formula to figure how much of your net worth should be in cash is the amount you need to cover all …

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weighing pros and cons | owning a business vs real estate

Owning a Business Vs Real Estate | What I Learned from Each

Every day more investors are using alternative assets to generate income in retirement for a variety of valid reasons. Small business and real estate are among the most popular alternative investments now given the opportunities and ease of entry for each of these assets. There are many types of small businesses and many types of …

Owning a Business Vs Real Estate | What I Learned from Each Read More »

percentage sign

Types of Asset Allocation

Asset allocation refers to the percentages of investment capital put into the various types of investments. The goal with asset allocation is to achieve maximum return within an acceptable amount of risk. There are four major types of asset allocation: Constant weight asset allocation, strategic asset allocation, dynamic asset allocation, and tactical asset allocation. In …

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estimate future growth of retirement account thumb

How To Estimate Future Growth of My Retirement Account

Future retirees looking to live off retirement account withdrawals need to feel confident they have enough money to sustain those withdrawals for their remaining lifetime. This means estimating how much money you’ll have when it’s time to retire might be the biggest single step in planning for retirement. There are several factors that go into …

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calculator pov | How to Calculate Investment Income

How to Easily Calculate Investment Income and 4 Common Mistakes

True financial independence is being able to live off investment income without spending down your investment capital.  How to calculate investment income: Multiply investment cost by the yield to get the amount of annual income. For example, if an investment that costs $100,000  yields 3%, investment income will be $3,000 a year.   After calculating investment …

How to Easily Calculate Investment Income and 4 Common Mistakes Read More »

Man over 50 with cash

All Weather Portfolio Pros and Cons | ETFs | Performance | Chart | Videos

The All Weather Portfolio is has performed well during certain times in the past. By the end of this post, however, you’ll know why the All Weather Portfolio might work well for the extremely wealthy Dalio family for whom it was designed, and why it may not work so well for investors like you and …

All Weather Portfolio Pros and Cons | ETFs | Performance | Chart | Videos Read More »

Should All Your Investments Be in One Place?

In my own investing for over 40 years and working with financial coaching clients as an AFC (Accredited Financial Counselor), I know the complexity that can come with having multiple investment accounts at different places vs the simplicity of using one brokerage firm. Should all investments be in one place? Benefits of having all your …

Should All Your Investments Be in One Place? Read More »

Pros and Cons of Using a Financial Advisor (with Cost Charts vs DIY)

  When feeling uncertain or overwhelmed about managing your investments, you may consider hiring a financial advisor. In this post I’ll share what I learned about the pros and cons of using a financial advisor after having hired and worked with multiple financial advisors over the years. The pros of using a financial advisor are …

Pros and Cons of Using a Financial Advisor (with Cost Charts vs DIY) Read More »

dessert | How Much Money Do You Need to Live Off Investments

How Much Money Do You Need to Live Off Investments? [Videos+PDF]

Living off investments defines financial independence, but getting there can be challenging. How much money do you need to live off investments? Here’s the formula: Divide the desired annual income by the expected yield. If you want $10,000 monthly investment income, and expect a 5% yield, divide $120,000 by 5% for the amount of money …

How Much Money Do You Need to Live Off Investments? [Videos+PDF] Read More »

money pass computer | open in the money covered call strategy

In the Money Covered Call Strategy | Benefits and Examples

  Selling in the money covered calls can be an excellent income generating strategy for stock investors trying to live off investment income.  An in the money covered call strategy involves selling a call option with a strike price lower than the market value of the underlying stock. This strategy is commonly used when the call writer …

In the Money Covered Call Strategy | Benefits and Examples Read More »

Risk Reward | Start a Business or Invest in Stocks

Start a Business or Invest in Stocks: Which Is Better?

It can be challenging to choose the best opportunity to maximize your valuable time and capital. Is it better to start a business or invest in stocks? For the amount of capital required, starting a business has high income and capital gain potential yet requires far more time from the owner; investing in stocks has …

Start a Business or Invest in Stocks: Which Is Better? Read More »

What Goes Up When Stocks Go Down? 7 Hedging Assets

  Investing within acceptable risk is one of the most important things we can do as investors. Occasional bear stock markets challenge even advanced stock market investors when it comes to managing risk. After investing through several bear markets over the past 40 years, I’ve learned that one of the best ways to lower stock …

What Goes Up When Stocks Go Down? 7 Hedging Assets Read More »

economic and stock cycles

Are Individual Investors Wrong Most of the Time?

We investors, that is, are almost always wrong collectively about which direction the stock market will go. Here’s the holiday looking colorful chart (compliments of AAII) to support my points below: The AAII (American Association of Individual Investors, that’s most of us reading this:) reported that those expecting a rise in stocks over the next …

Are Individual Investors Wrong Most of the Time? Read More »

asset allocation charts

Factors Affecting Asset Allocation

Asset allocation can be the driver of investment returns as well as the primary risk management component in an investment portfolio. Its importance, therefore, cannot be overstated. The factors affecting asset allocation are investor age, net worth, liquid assets, emergency fund, time frame, financial goals, risk tolerance, alternative investments, and investment correlation. As you will …

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strategic vs tactical investing differences

Strategic Vs Tactical Investing

Investors often wonder about the difference between strategic investment vs tactical investment strategies. Strategic investing is usually passive, or buy and hold, and follows a fixed asset allocation among different types of investments, while tactical investing makes investments in assets that appear to be better at any given time based on their return potential. What …

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couple in their 50s

Financial Goals for 50 Year Old

It’s never too early or too late to set financial goals. Financial goals for a 50 year old should evaluate progress toward a previously defined savings goal, as well solutions to decrease spending, increase income, increase savings,  and improve investment returns to enable the accomplishment of retirement goals. In this article, each of these factors …

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How Wealth Is Made

Most people think of wealth as being made only from investing in the stock market. While many investors do successfully grow a stock portfolio over time, you’ll find that most high net worth investors make wealth in other ways. Wealth is commonly made from significant income increases, company bonuses, increases in the value of assets …

How Wealth Is Made Read More »

Plan A to B | Alternative Wealth Strategies

Alternative Wealth Strategies That Worked (And Didn’t)

There are the wildly popular if not overly simplified asset allocation models of investing in stocks and bonds. Then, there are alternative wealth strategies we know the wealthy use that can seem out of reach for us normal investors.    Are they really out of reach for us individual investors? If not, which alternative wealth …

Alternative Wealth Strategies That Worked (And Didn’t) Read More »

Blocks showing growth

Beginner To Advanced Investing Strategies | What’s Best for You?

Does everything you need to know about investing really fit onto one side of a cocktail napkin as touted by more than one wildly famous financial author?   Well, the answer depends on:  Your personal wealth plan How long you have to save and invest  Your net worth How much money you need to retire …

Beginner To Advanced Investing Strategies | What’s Best for You? Read More »

couple over 50 working together

How To Account For Inflation In Retirement Planning

Inflation is a lurking but serious danger that can destroy your ability to live well in retirement. If you’re wondering how to account for inflation in retirement planning, the main thing is to simply do it. First, use calculators that factor inflation into the numbers. Next, plan for inflation a little higher than what you …

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Woman cash | How to Make Money When Stocks Go Down

How to Make Money When Stocks Drop

There are simple ways to make money when stocks drop using more traditional investing methods and there are also more advanced strategies to make money when stocks drop. In this post, I will cover simple to slightly advanced strategies that both investors and many wealth managers use to make money in down markets for their …

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Far Out Time

How Far Out Should You Sell Covered Calls?

  Covered calls can be an excellent income source for stock investors, but it can be confusing to select the best option expiration for the call being sold. The further out the option expiration, the higher the premium and the longer the stock has to reach the strike price. How far out you should sell …

How Far Out Should You Sell Covered Calls? Read More »

man over 50 looking for new ways to retire

New Ways to Retire

An exciting and promising shift is happening right now in the way we retire.   Fortunately, changes stemming from the rise of the internet now lead to rewarding retirement opportunities for those not interested in living on less while working crossword puzzles for brain stimulation in their golden years. The younger generations are living proof …

New Ways to Retire Read More »

couple fulfilling their dreams through their stock market returns

Stock Market Return 2010 through 2019 and Why You Care

Stock market returns by decade are often used as markers for measuring past performance and estimating future performance more reliably for retirement planning purposes. And we all know that stock market gains can be excellent passive wealth builders in most decades, so let’s see what happened last decade, and how can we use that data …

Stock Market Return 2010 through 2019 and Why You Care Read More »

woman in retirement starting consulting business

How to Start a Consulting Business in Retirement

One of the fastest, lowest cost and most fulfilling ways to increase income in retirement is to start a consulting business. If you’re older, like me, and have undoubtedly developed some amazing skills over the years. But you may not be as much of a marketer, or as tech savvy as the younger generations, unless …

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money market vs stocks

How Much to Keep in Money Market Accounts | 15 Factors 

No one wants to run out of cash. By cash, I mean that super safe stash you keep in a money market account that won’t fluctuate in value the way stocks do.   But just how much should you keep in a money market account? It depends on some personal things like your investments, portfolio allocation, dependents, …

How Much to Keep in Money Market Accounts | 15 Factors  Read More »

New Business | New Retirement Strategies

New Retirement Strategies

The old model of retirement no longer works for a lot of people who want to live well in retirement.  Old retirement strategies include basics like delaying social security, working longer and part time employment. But, fortunately, there are now some more innovative and lucrative retirement strategies that can be a real godsend for retirees.   Many millennials are already using some of these new retirement …

New Retirement Strategies Read More »

Money Timer Flag | Alternative Wealth Solution

Alternative Wealth Solutions

Consistently saving money and investing it in stocks and bonds builds wealth over many years. The problem is that this strategy usually takes at least two decades, and most people don’t begin this discipline until it’s too late to save enough to retire comfortably.   Alternative wealth solutions exist, however, for anyone willing to think and invest outside the …

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Bear Chart | How to Prepare for Bear Markets

How to Prepare for Bear Markets | 11 Steps [Video, Chart]

Bear markets are a fact of life for stock market investors but they don’t have to be detrimental to your net worth.   After investing through several bear markets, both alone and with financial advisors, I’ll share how to prepare for bear markets.  While I’m an AFC® (Accredited Financial Counselor), I write from my own investing experience of 40 …

How to Prepare for Bear Markets | 11 Steps [Video, Chart] Read More »

Key Compass | Advanced Investment Strategies

Advanced Investment Strategies (You Won’t Hear from Your Advisor) | Video

Many investors have concerns about passive investing in stocks and bonds based on standard asset allocation models. Or maybe they have seen that passive investing won’t get the results they need to reach their financial goals. Many investors turn to more advanced investment strategies in an effort to increase returns without increasing risk.    Popular …

Advanced Investment Strategies (You Won’t Hear from Your Advisor) | Video Read More »

couple toast

Fear of Retirement Boredom | 7 Cures [Videos]

For those planning to retire soon, retirement can feel scary from both a financial and a lifestyle perspective.  Fear of retirement boredom is a very legitimate reality, especially for certain personalities. Here are 7 ways to address that subtle and almost embarrassing fear that you could be bored to tears in retirement. Read my own …

Fear of Retirement Boredom | 7 Cures [Videos] Read More »

Bear vs Bull | Are Stocks Safe for Retirement?

Are Stocks Safe for Retirement? 8 Important Factors 

Every time I hear a retiree confidently tell me that they are invested in “safe stocks” so they’re not concerned about a bear market, I silently shudder.  Are stocks safe for retirement? It all depends on your risk tolerance, net worth, stock market valuations and other factors explained below.   After investing for almost 40 years …

Are Stocks Safe for Retirement? 8 Important Factors  Read More »

Man Whiteboard | Living Off Investment Income – Advantages and Disadvantages

Living Off Investment Income | Advantages and Disadvantages

True financial independence is reached when you can live off investment income.  Living off investment income has many advantages that often require a shift from traditional investing in stocks and bonds, but there are also a few disadvantages to living off investment income.  In this post, I’ll share and explain the 22 advantages and 6 …

Living Off Investment Income | Advantages and Disadvantages Read More »

retirement key | Alternative Retirement Investment Strategies 

12 “Slightly” Alternative Retirement Investment Strategies 

  If you’re concerned that investing in traditional stocks and bonds with a common asset allocation won’t provide a comfortable retirement for life, you’re not alone. We had those same concerns over a decade ago, along with millions of other investors over 50, and here’s what we discovered: Alternative retirement investment strategies can result in higher …

12 “Slightly” Alternative Retirement Investment Strategies  Read More »

Is Downsizing the Right Choice to Retire Earlier?

Downsizing can be a smart option for anyone who wants to retire soon but lacks the funds to retire comfortably for life. Is downsizing the right choice to retire earlier for you? The answer depends on your overall wealth plan, cost to downsize, alternatives to downsizing,  downsizing calculations and how much it takes for you …

Is Downsizing the Right Choice to Retire Earlier? Read More »

nest egg | What Net Worth Do You Need to Retire

What Net Worth Do You Need to Retire? Huge Aha

Just past midlife, many people get super focused on increasing net worth before retirement.  What net worth do you need to retire? You’ll need enough assets to allow you to cover all living expenses with retirement account withdrawals of 3% to 5%, plus any other income sources, including social security. Also, living expenses should be adjusted for …

What Net Worth Do You Need to Retire? Huge Aha Read More »

drive safe | Is It Safest to Withdraw or Get Investment Income

Is It Safest to Withdraw or Get Investment Income? Challenge

Updated: October 9, 2019 By definition, retirement is the time when you can live off investments. The traditional retirement model is to withdraw 4% a year from your retirement savings to live but an increasingly popular alternative is to get income from investments instead.   Is it safest to withdraw or get investment income to live in …

Is It Safest to Withdraw or Get Investment Income? Challenge Read More »

ten blocks | What Will Stocks Do Over the Next 10 Years

What Will Stocks Do Over the Next 10 Years?

Updated May 6, 2020 At the end of the strong bull market of the 1990’s, a few brave financial experts predicted the next decade would not be a good one for stock investors.  What will stocks do over the next 10 years? Ray Dalio, Warren Buffett, Rob Arnott, Liz Ann Sonders and John Bogle have told us what …

What Will Stocks Do Over the Next 10 Years? Read More »

money puzzle | How Much Money Do You Need to Live Off Investments

How Much Money You Need to Live Off Investments 

Knowing how much money you need to live off investments can seem daunting but it’s really just a few steps and math.   Let’s say you want to generate $ 10,000 a month to live off investments.    We can back into the amount of money you need with the following formula:  Amount of Desired Monthly Income/Expected Yield = …

How Much Money You Need to Live Off Investments  Read More »

risk blocks | reducing risk in stocks

Reducing Risk in Stocks | 13 Lessons from Past Bear Markets

After surviving a few bear markets over the past 40 years as an investor, I’ve learned many financial lessons from them.   Reducing risk in stocks before bear markets take full hold helps investors protect their net worth as well as have capital to invest in stocks again once unusually low valuations are reached.  This sounds almost too obvious to write, but most …

Reducing Risk in Stocks | 13 Lessons from Past Bear Markets Read More »

couple pondering | Are Dividends or Capital Gains Better

Are Dividends or Capital Gains Better?

  You may have noticed that you’ve gotten both capital gains and dividends from investing. Or maybe you’re trying to decide if you should focus on dividends vs capital gains in selecting investments, leading you to wonder:    Are dividends or capital gains better? Dividends are better for investors seeking income as a primary objective …

Are Dividends or Capital Gains Better? Read More »

hands up

Stocks That Went Up in 2008 | Plus ETFs, Bonds, Gold

Toward the end of bull markets, it’s smart to see what stocks went up in past bear markets for recession proof investment ideas. While there have been some short and minor bear markets since 2008, the severe 2008 bear market continues to provide excellent data and investing lessons for everyone.  Stocks that went up in …

Stocks That Went Up in 2008 | Plus ETFs, Bonds, Gold Read More »

money tree | 4% rule dividends

Does the 4% Rule Include Dividends?

If you’re exploring early retirement like we were well over a decade ago, you may be wondering about the income provided from the standard 4% retirement withdrawal rule. Does the 4% rule include dividends, specifically? The 4% rule can include dividends if they exist in the account since the rule is more about the amount …

Does the 4% Rule Include Dividends? Read More »

couple in retirement | when to switch from growth to income

When to Switch from Growth to Income [With Videos]

Growth investing is usually done during an investor’s high income years while income investing is usually done during retirement, but the best time to transition from growth to income can be unclear. If you’re wondering when to switch from growth to income investments, the answer depends on several factors including net worth, income sources, wealth …

When to Switch from Growth to Income [With Videos] Read More »

How to Buy Assets That Generate Income

If you’re approaching retirement, that anticipated time when you can live off investments or at least work fewer hours own your schedule, you’re probably transitioning to income investing. You may be wondering how to buy assets that generate income. The way you buy income generating assets depends on the type of asset you’re buying. For example, …

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man planning retirement

The Best Income Stream to Start Before Retirement

If you’re concerned about having enough income to live comfortably in retirement, you may want to start one or more income streams beforehand but you’re not sure where to start. To choose the best income stream to start before retirement, consider your desired income, eventual capital gain, acceptable risk and lifestyle. It’s easy to get …

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Problem - Solution

Problems with Covered Calls

Covered calls can be an excellent way to increase income from stocks but like all investments, covered calls aren’t perfect. The problems with covered calls include stock market risk, company specific risk, high required capital, forfeiting of potential capital gains, taxes on call income, and ongoing management of unexercised options. It is my belief, however, …

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retirement nestegg | Are covered calls a good strategy

Are Covered Calls a Good Strategy?

In this time of low dividend yields, increasing stock income by selling call options on stocks you already own sounds pretty appealing to yield hungry investors. Are covered calls a good strategy? Covered calls can be an excellent income strategy for stock investors willing to forego capital gains above the strike price should the call …

Are Covered Calls a Good Strategy? Read More »