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Ask the CFP

Resilience is the Key

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.” – William James, American Philosopher (1842-1910) Question: What are your thoughts concerning the financial markets response to Brexit and the overall performance of stocks and bonds so far for the year? Answer: We’ve certainly had our share of uncertainty and volatility in the first half of 2016. There are a variety of reasons but let’s start with Brexit. This is the term given to the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) after 40 years. Obviously, this hit markets hard and the long-term effects remain ... Read More »

What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com In the last column we discussed how financial planning involves so much more than just managing an investment portfolio. We explored several aspects of cognitive changes associated with Alzheimer’s and the concerns this evokes relative to financial planning. As promised, today we’ll cover five distinct financial management issues related to conversations with caregivers and family members dealing with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive ability changes. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) AgeLab developed a five-element framework to discuss financial planning in the context of dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. I was invited to visit MIT’s ... Read More »

Myth Busters: Alzheimers and Dementia Planning for Uncertainty Part II

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “Strengthen me by sympathizing with my strength, not my weakness.” – Amos Bronson Alcott (1799-1888), American philosopher and Louisa May Alcott’s father. Question: I’m concerned about the possibility of my parent developing Alzheimer’s or experiencing some sort of cognitive decline. What advice can you offer? Answer: Having experienced this heartbreaking disease in my own family is one of the reasons I chose this career. Having the difficult and tender conversations with those we love before it’s too late is critical. It’s important to discuss financial, legal and caregiving plans with our families at all ... Read More »

Money in Motion; What’s Next?

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.”  – Dwight D. Eisenhower Question: My business sold and the transaction will close next quarter. What are your thoughts on how to proceed? I don’t want to overlook anything. Answer: As with all major changes, my first recommendation is to go slowly. The financial strength, stability and integrity of the professionals and institutions you work with is critically important. There will be plenty of people who’ll be happy to offer suggestions on what you should do with the proceeds, unfortunately, all of them may not have your best interest at ... Read More »

Ask the CFP

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “All men by nature desire knowledge.” – Aristotle 5/29 is National College Savings Day Question: I hear a lot about 529 Plans but I’m not really sure what they are. Could you explain what makes them special? Answer: May 29th is more than the day before Memorial Day or the day when the Indy 500 is held, 5/29 is National College Savings Day. The term “529 Plan” refers to Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code that deals with specialized college savings accounts. These plans may provide tax benefits to the contributor, owner, custodian and ... Read More »

Too Much of a Good Thing?

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Ask The CFP® Practitioner Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “We can be sure that the greatest hope for maintaining equilibrium in the face of any situation rests within ourselves.” – Francis J. Braceland, former U.S. Surgeon General  Question: My portfolio contains a fair amount of stock in the company I retired from. One of my children still works for the same company. What are your thoughts on how much is too much to have invested in one company? Answer: The situation you’re describing is referred to as a concentrated equity position. This is generally defined as any single holding that’s three or more ... Read More »

Knowing When to Ask for Help

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com Humble people ask for help.” – Joyce Meyer, American Author Question: I’m not sure if I need the help of a financial advisor. At what point should someone seek professional help with their finances? Answer: Most of our new clients approach us when there is a significant change in their lives such as preparing for retirement, marriage, divorce, or a death in the family or relocation to Southwest Florida. If there is a diminished interest in overseeing your own investment portfolio and the desire to have a face-to-face relationship with a professional it may be ... Read More »

The Saudi Prince, Oil and Electric Vehicles

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “Straight roads are for fast cars, turns are for fast drivers.” Colin McRae, British Race Car Driver, 1968-2007. Question: How will sales of Electric Vehicles (EVs) impact oil demand and how prevalent is the use of EVs at this time? Answer: More Electric Vehicles (EV) on the road will certainly reduce oil demand. During the last quarter of 2015 the total number of EVs in use worldwide reached the one million mark. To put this in perspective, there are roughly one billion cars in use and the number of EVs on the road is one ... Read More »

Files and Piles: Should It Stay or Should It Go Now?

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify. ~ Henry David Thoreau  Question: How long do I need to keep my financial documents? I have tax returns, investment statements, credit card bills and loads of other paperwork. I’m not sure if I need to hang on to it any longer. Help! Answer: Here we are on April Fools’ Day, the first day of the month when individual tax returns are due. It’s likely that you’ve at least started on your taxes and have already tackled stacks of documents, e-files, and scanned receipts from the ... Read More »

Election Day and the Markets

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. –Franklin D. Roosevelt Question: Does the stock market do better when there is a Democrat or a Republican in office as President? Answer: It’s a common misconception that financial markets do better when Republicans, or the Grand Old Party (GOP), occupies the White House. This is because they’re known for being “pro-business.” In contrast, Democrats are believed to support higher taxes and increased regulation, which tends to slow down economic and market growth. Therefore, the implication is that markets don’t do ... Read More »

Chasing Windmills

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com The essence of portfolio management is the management of risks, not the management of returns. All good portfolio management begins and ends with the premise! – Benjamin Graham (1894-1976), author of “The Intelligent Investor.” Question: Should we be worried about the economy heading into a recession? Answer: My answer might be “yes” if stock market volatility alone indicated the likelihood of a recession. Luckily, the economy and the stock market aren’t always connected. Presumably, financial markets move on information signifying company valuations like earnings, growth and profitability. Reality tells us that individual investors who participate ... Read More »

The January Effect

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes.” – Sir Francis Bacon Question: Is it true that how the stock market behaves in January indicates what it does for the rest of the year? Answer: “As January goes, so goes the year,” was conceived in 1972 by Yale Hirsch, the creator of The Stock Trader’s Almanac. The January Effect simply means that January’s market performance, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, is an indication of how the market will do for the year. Back-testing to 1937, ... Read More »

Domicile, Residence and Homesteads, Oh My!

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” ~ Confucius Question: As a retiree from another state, with homes in both places, I’m confused about the difference between residency, homestead and domicile. I read all the information on various workshops and seminars on this topic, yet I’m still confused. Please help. Answer: Actually, it’s not as complicated as it may appear. Let’s start with a little history to help understand the background of the subject matter and the differences between the three terms. Homestead In 1862, during the Civil War, Abraham ... Read More »

The China Syndrome: The Week That Was

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil.” ~ Thomas A. Edison Question: Could you explain what happened to the stock market during the first week of 2016? Answer: That’s a tall order, but here’s my best shot at describing a few of the market moving events that took place during that first week. For starters, China took center stage, overshadowing everything else. To borrow from the 1960s BBC political satire show featuring David Frost, “that was the week that was.” For anyone associated with financial markets in ... Read More »

Avoiding the Traps

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com Man is the only kind of varmint who sets his own trap, baits it, then steps in it. ~ John Steinbeck   Question: Eager to begin the New Year with a fresh start, I’m wondering what separates successful investors from those who obtain mediocre or poor results? Answer: As the John Steinbeck quote above implies, we tend to be our own worst enemies. It’s safe to say that the classic emotional and psychological traps fall into five categories. These pitfalls, left unchecked, can sabotage otherwise sound financial planning. Trap 1: Overconfidence We trust ourselves, and ... Read More »

Family Financial Huddle

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “Give me the gift of a listening heart.” ~ King Solomon   Question: Our family will be together for the holidays. I’d like to take advantage of this time to discuss a few financial matters. What advice can you provide to make this conversation as valuable and productive as possible? Answer: Providing your family with the gift of communication is commendable. This is an opportunity to share financial philosophies, discuss planning strategies and listen to how others feel about monetary matters. Keeping the lines of communication open and flowing with information is vital to the ... Read More »

STASH CASH?

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “There are two times in a man’s life when he should not speculate: when he can’t afford it, and when he can.” ~ Mark Twain Question: With interest rates so slow and the stock market basically flat for the past year, how much money do you suggest I keep available in cash? Also, do you think interest rates will rise? Answer: The classic textbook answer to your question is to have a minimum of three to six months’ worth of living expenses readily available. If you’re still working then you may face additional risks, such ... Read More »

What is a Corporate Inversion?

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “The only source of knowledge is experience.” ~ Charles Kettering   Question: The term corporate inversion is in the news lately. Can you explain this and discuss why would a company want to invert? Answer: The dictionary definition of invert is “to turn something upside down, change the position, order or relationship of things so that they are the opposite of what they had been.” Corporate inversions are a hot topic in the presidential debates and are regular discussion items on financial news channels. Most recently, we’re hearing about the New York based drug maker ... Read More »

Estate Planning: Avoiding the “Oops”

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com   “The only source of knowledge is experience.” ~ Albert Einstein   Question: My brother passed away and his will and estate plan had not been updated. This left everything in disarray with the family fighting. What can I do to avoid this type of chaos for my family? Answer: My condolences on the loss of your brother. Life is unpredictable and each day is a gift. Situations change personally and professionally and estate documents are often overlooked and not updated. Grief and uncertainty never go well together. Proper planning is a gift you can give ... Read More »

Avoid Charity Scams

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ASK THE CFP® PRACTITIONER Darcie Guerin darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com “Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.” ~ Sophocles, Greek playwright born in 495 B.C. Question: How do I distinguish reputable charitable organizations from others that may be scams? Answer: It’s interesting that you ask this question now because I just received several calls requesting donations for the victims of the South Carolina floods and was leery of making donations to unknown entities. We know that as year-end approaches, the push will certainly be on for donations to numerous organizations. Weeding out the worthy ones from the unworthy can be tricky. For instance, in ... Read More »