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Ask the CFP

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 »

Market Cycles and Bicycles

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “The only investors who shouldn’t diversify are those who are right 100 percent of the time. For those properly prepared in advance, a bear market in stocks is not a calamity but an opportunity.” — Sir John Templeton, 1912-2008   Question: Would you explain market cycles and why they matter? Answer: Understanding market cycles and keeping the ups and downs in perspective can be a challenge especially when discussing market or economic activity. There’s no doubt that markets are cyclical, and that often makes it difficult to adhere to a long-term investment strategy. ... Read More »

And They Lived Happily Ever After…

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com Marriage is not simply a romantic union between two people; it’s also a political and economic contract of the highest order. Elizabeth Gilbert, American Novelist, Author “Eat, Pray, Love”   Question: I’m a widow in my late 60s contemplating marriage. What financial issues should I consider? Answer: Congratulations! Although monetary matters are one of the largest causes of divorce, addressing these concerns before saying “I do” will likely increase the success of your relationship and provide peace of mind. To have and to hold Start with the basics by deciding where you’ll live ... Read More »

The Sandwich Generation’s Balancing Act

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com   He plants trees to benefit another generation. Caecilius Statius, Roman Poet   Question: My husband and I are looking forward to retirement. Because our parents and children may need help financially, we’re not sure how to balance everyone’s potential needs. Help! Answer: You are not alone. Many pre-retirees and retirees are concerned about the financial, physical and emotional needs of family members. Statistics show that almost half of baby-boomers provide financial assistance to aging parents — paying for groceries, medical and utility bills — while also helping their adult children. Depending on ... Read More »

What’s All the Buzz About?

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “Fraud is the daughter of greed.” - Jonathan Gash, The Great California Game Question: Please explain high-frequency trading (HFT) and what this means to individual investors? Answer: Simply stated, high-frequency trading describes computer-based stock market activity. The practice relies on mathematical technology and trading systems known as algorithms which allow traders to buy and sell securities within nanoseconds. The notion of high-speed stock market trading isn’t new. What’s new is Michael Lewis’ book “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.” While promoting his book that explores the world of high-speed fiber optics trading, Lewis ... Read More »

Increase the Confidence Factor

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “Go as far as you can see. When you get there – you’ll be able to see farther.” - J.P. Morgan  Question: “How do I know if I will outlive my money?” – Julie F., Marco Island. Answer: Most Baby Boomers, retirees and pre-retirees — especially women — wrestle at some level with the dilemma of depleting their assets. Increased longevity and economic uncertainty are valid reasons to be concerned. The first step before you run off to one of the many lunch or dinner presentations and do something with your nest egg that ... Read More »

Tax Questions Answered

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “The difference between death and taxes is death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.” Will Rogers Question: I’m working on my tax return. What can I focus on to save money and make this easier for next year? Answer: By now, you’ve likely received most of the necessary information to prepare your return. The next step is to concentrate on organizing and documenting taxable income and deductible expenses. If you’ve been diligent throughout the year with recordkeeping, the process shouldn’t be too overwhelming. For most of us, the days are gone when we could ... Read More »