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Ask the CFP

The Employment Report and Why it Matters

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By Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.” John Naisbitt, Author of the bestseller, Megatrends, born in 1929.   Question: Financial news channels place a great deal of emphasis on the jobs report. Please explain why this is such an important report and why it matters to individual investors. Answer: The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the jobs report, also known as the Employment Report, on the first Friday of each month. Investors, employers and policy makers eagerly await the findings that provide insight to the relative strength or weakness in the job market. Economic ... Read More »

Serenity Now!

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com Coastal Breeze News inadvertently ran the wrong column under an updated headline in our last edition. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.   Question: Now that we’re solidly into 2015, what is the outlook for financial markets? All this volatility makes me nervous. Answer: Last month we attended Jerry Seinfeld’s performance in Naples. Your question brings to mind the phrase “Serenity Now” from his television show. In the show, Jerry was portrayed as very deliberate and habitual. The same holds true in real life. In fact, I’ve read that it can take ... Read More »

Roseanne Rosannadanna

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “If you want to go fast…go alone. If you want to go far…go together.” — African Proverb   Question: My financial affairs are in good shape, although they might be a bit random and unintentional. I know I need a plan, yet I’m afraid that if I do make changes I’ll do something wrong. World affairs are so volatile, the economy is uncertain, interest rates are low and the stock market is so high; what should I do?   Answer: It sounds like you’re in the right frame of mind to prioritize, organize and gain ... Read More »

Cybercrime on the Rise

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” — Albert Einstein (1879-1955)   Question: According to the news, it appears that cybercrime and identity theft are on the rise. What can we do to protect ourselves? Answer: You’re right; these types of crime are on the rise. The Federal Trade Commission reports that between 2011 and 2013, odds increased by 65 percent that if you were notified of an online data compromise, you’d become an actual victim of identity theft. Because that’s where the money is. Willie Sutton (1901-1980) the notorious ... Read More »

The New Face of Philanthropy

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” — Albert Pike, American attorney and soldier, 1809-1891.   Question: My wife and I make charitable contributions by check each year to several organizations. A friend mentioned that there are other ways to make donations that might give us more tax advantages. Can you explain what some of those approaches might be? Answer: Yes, there are several ways to simplify and potentially improve the tax consequences of your charitable donations. I will ... Read More »

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, ‘I’m possible!’” — Audrey Hepburn   Question: Every year, I make New Year’s Resolutions and never follow through. What suggestions can you make so I’ll do things differently this year, especially with my finances? Answer: Only 5 percent of those Americans who make New Year’s Resolutions actually keep them for the entire year. Florida is the top state for making resolutions, with 65 percent of us committing to some sort of change or improvement in our lives. Of this group, 54 percent are women and 39 percent are ... Read More »

The Oil Change: Slipping on Oil

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “If we never experience the chill of a dark winter, it is very unlikely that we will ever cherish the warmth of a bright summer’s day.” — Anthon St. Maarten, author of “Divine Living”   Question: Would you explain why oil prices are falling and how this affects the economy? Answer: Oil prices have tumbled dramatically since last summer, and this will surely influence the economy and consumer behavior. Like other materials, the price of oil depends on the principles of supply and demand. An added dimension is that oil prices are closely ... Read More »

A Golden Girl’s Plan

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “All great changes are preceded by chaos.” — Deepak Chopra   Question: My father recently passed away, and I’m concerned about my mom, who is retired. What suggestions do you have to help guide her? Answer: Your mom is lucky to have you, and I’m sorry for your loss. Today, more than ever, our financial well-being and physical health are closely related. Having a solid economic foundation and a strong social network both contribute to the quality of life. Rising and unexpected medical expenses threaten financial security as we age. Anything we can ... Read More »

Heed the Greed and Focus on Need

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “Are you a thermostat or a thermometer?” — Martin Luther King, Jr. Question: During the Great Recession, my husband and I had losses in real estate and the stock market. While we’re still “okay” and have sufficient assets for a comfortable retirement, we disagree on how much risk to take with our portfolio. Can you help? Answer: Your situation isn’t uncommon. The desire to recoup losses is human nature. The problems arise when people think increasing risk is the way to recover. Before deviating from your current financial plan there are two important ... Read More »

Investor, Know Thyself

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “The unexamined life is not worth living.” ~ Socrates Question: As a retiree, I’m concerned about the recent market volatility. How will this and all the uncertainty in the world affect my investments and financial future? What are your thoughts? Answer: You’re not alone with your concerns. Ebola, ISIS, Russia, falling oil prices, and slowing global growth, all contribute to economic uncertainty. The market has reacted in the short-term with fear. During the second week of October 2014, broad markets reversed their upward trend down sharply from recent highs. This change sparked activity ... Read More »

Failure to Communicate

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” - From the1967 film, “Cool Hand Luke” starring Paul Newman. Question: I’m trying to organize my financial life and am worried that I’ll overlook something important. Help! I’m losing sleep. What suggestions can you make? Answer: If something is keeping you up at night, it is definitely time to take action. The most common concerns people have are not running out of money and leaving a legacy or inheritance. To address these and other issues, begin with what’s on your mind by prioritizing fiscal ... Read More »

Buckets for Your Bucket List

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “You measure yourself by the people who measure themselves by you.” — Carter Chambers, as played by Morgan Freeman in the movie, “The Bucket List.”   Question: I am retiring at the end of the year and need advice on how to manage cash flow for the next phase of our lives. We’ve accumulated a comfortable nest egg and need guidance to efficiently withdraw funds. Answer: Congratulations, you made it! The simplest way to approach the next chapter is to categorize financial needs and expenses in separate timeframes. An easy and convenient strategy ... Read More »

Nine Months to Baby- Proof Your Finances

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.” - Carl Sandburg, American writer and Pulitzer Prize winner, (1878-1967) QUESTION: Our daughter and son-in-law announced that they are expecting their first child and our first grandchild! What practical financial advice would you suggest we give to them?  Answer: First, congratulations, and welcome to the wonderful world of grandparenting. Besides forever changing our lives for the better, babies have a way of boosting economic activity. In fact, when we became grandparents-to-be, my online shopping activity increased dramatically. Perhaps a future column should address financial ... Read More »

Somebody’s Watching You!

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com   “I know a baseball star who wouldn’t report the theft of his wife’s credit cards because the thief spends less than she does.” — Joe Garagiola   Question: Identity theft and cybercrime attacks scare me. What can I do to reduce the risk of this happening to me? Answer: You’re right to be concerned. Although the above quote by Joe Garagiola may suggest otherwise, identity theft is no laughing matter. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), fraud and identity theft are the fastest growing crimes in the nation. Florida has the ... Read More »

The Future of Social Security: Safe, Stable, Secure or Uncertain?

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “I was too old for a paper route, too young for Social Security and too tired for an affair.” Erma Bombeck, U.S. humorist, 1927-1996)   Question: I’m curious, since I’m planning to retire soon, what is the outlook for Social Security? Answer: You’re in luck, on July 28, 2014, the Social Security Trustees released their annual report providing insight to their financial condition. This is national Social Security awareness week so you’re in good company. Plenty of retirees and pre-retirees are discussing their cash flow needs and income resources. Here are some highlights ... Read More »

Rent or Own?

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” — Maya Angelou, author, 1928-2014.   Question: Many of my friends are selling their homes and downsizing or renting. What are your thoughts about this trend? Answer: Your question hits home (pun intended)! Last month, three family members took part in real estate transactions. Not knowing your age, my response will reference these personal examples to illustrate what’s happening as housing requirements have changed for different generations in our family. There is no right or wrong answer as ... Read More »

Yes, It Is All About You!

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“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” Alan Lakein, American Author and Businessman.   Question: I’m curious, what is the difference between a Financial Advisor and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™? In addition, what should I expect when working with an advisor or planner? Answer: Anyone can call himself or herself a financial planner, yet only those meeting the requirements of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. may display the CFP® certification. Earning a professional designation demonstrates a level of commitment by an advisor to obtain and keep the ... Read More »

Negative GDP

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ASK THE CFP®  PRACTITIONER  Darcie Guerin  darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. Winston Churchill   Question: Please explain negative Gross Domestic Production (GDP) for the first quarter of 2014. What does this mean for investors? Answer: We define GDP as the total output of all goods and services resulting from economic activity in the United States. GDP consists of consumer spending, government spending, business spending, investment and total net exports (exports minus imports). According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, during the first quarter of 2014, GDP decreased at an annual rate of ... Read More »

Suddenly Single

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “Rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” J.K. Rowling, British Novelist, author of The Harry Potter series.   Question: My divorce is final, and I need to focus on my financial situation. Where do I start? Answer: Going through a divorce can be an emotionally trying time, but it is also an opportunity to start fresh. This is the time to make sure your finances are on the right track. Doing so will help you put the past behind you and assist you in assembling the foundation for ... Read More »

Refrigerator Inflation, Frantic Freckles and Laid-Back Lucy

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com You’ve got bad eating habits if you use a grocery cart in 7-Eleven.” - Dennis Miller, American Comedian and Actor   Question: My grocery bill keeps going up even though I purchase the same items each week. According to the media, inflation is low or non-existent. How can this be true? Answer: Inflation is measured by the Core Consumer Price Index (CPI) to indicate price trends. The reason your food shopping experience doesn’t match what you see as reported inflation is that necessities like food and energy aren’t included in the calculation. This ... Read More »