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On Our Minds

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What’s the Difference Between a Will and a Trust?

Estate planning is an important subject that almost everyone—but especially older people—needs to address. Many believe that estate planning is for those with substantial means. However, estate planning determines how an individual’s assets are preserved, distributed, and managed, so even people with assets limited to a residence, bank accounts, and a retirement plan need to form a plan. 

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Sale and Dividends

There are two ways to make money in stocks:

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100% of the Time

I think about this chart often during discussions with clients on having too much exposure to single stocks.

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Bond Length Matters

Duration describes the time it takes for a bond holder to get all their money back and/or the change in price for each 1% change in the interest rate.

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S&P 500 Wins Again

This chart from an article in today’s Wall Street Journal shows the percentage of funds that underperformed the S&P 500 in the last 12 years. Again, passive indexes beat 85% of the active managers last year, and the majority have done so for 12 consecutive years. This is one of the reasons why we champion passive index funds. 

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Car Dealer Profits

I am reminded of this chart every time I drive by a car lot. Before the pandemic, financing and insurance profits made up 70% of the dealer’s profits. Now, due to price appreciation of their inventory, that percentage has changed. However, the dollar profits from financing and insurance continue to increase. Car dealers have become more like finance and insurance companies.

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Stay Invested

Below is a great chart from Putnam, which shows that over the last 15 years, if you missed the top 10 best days of market gains, your return would have gone from 10.66% to only 5.05%.

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Vanguard vs. iShares by BlackRock

Since we use both Vanguard and iShares by BlackRock Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) extensively, one of my pleasures over the last few years has been seeing each company try to outdo the other by lowering costs. As they continue to lower costs, they gather more and more investments. As referenced in a recent Bloomberg article, together they account for 64% of the ETF market as Vanguard is getting close to the size of BlackRock.

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Too Much Cash

In a compelling article by BlackRock, they make an argument that even though we are facing higher than normal inflation and turmoil, that fear is driving investors to hold too much cash.

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How to Be Financially Responsible with Your Income Tax Return

Getting a tax return mailed or transferred directly into your account is exciting. And although it’s easy to let that excitement lead you to thinking about which fun items you'd like to buy and trips you want to take, a tax return can put you in a better financial position for the future if used responsibly. 

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