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Ask The CFP® Practitioner


“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” ~ Nido Qubein, President of High Point University Question: Your last column was on the length of this bull market. What could end the positive momentum? Answer: The same factors that cause markets to go up can bring them down. Detrimental changes in employment figures, […]

Ask The CFP® Practitioner


“Common sense is not so common.” ~ Voltaire, French Philosopher (1694-1778) Question: Is this the longest bull market in history? Answer: That depends on how a bull market is defined. This particular run began on March 9, 2009 and at the time this is being written, financial markets are up for nine and one-half years. The most agreed upon definition […]

Managing a Different Kind of Risk

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“Go where the money is and go there often.”    ~ Willie Sutton, Jr., notorious bank robber (1901-1980). Question: How can I protect myself from scams and cybercrimes? Answer: Risk management is a primary purpose of financial planning. Cybercrime, although different from market risk, is an attempt to deplete net worth. This issue was last addressed in a column on January 27, […]

Keep Moving Forward

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“It’s a never ending battle of making your cars better and also trying to be better yourself.”              ~ Dale Earnhardt, professional auto racing driver (1951-2001) Question: What are your thoughts on self-driving cars? Answer: Autonomous vehicles, or AVs as they’re known, represent a growing subcategory for the automobile industry. AVs are the marriage of […]

The Future is Now

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“Individual income can grow only as fast as productivity rises.” ~ Alex Berenson (born 1973), American writer Question: How will my income portfolio be affected by rising interest rates? Answer: When it comes to making predictions, I’ve learned that it’s best to plan for the occasional economic wildcard and look for trends rather than absolutes. Between 2008 and 2015 the […]

Why Skipping a Generation Can Be a Good Thing

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“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” ~ Nelson Henderson, Scottish rugby player (1865-1943) Question: Could you explain generation-skipping trusts and how they might benefit our family? Answer: By definition, generation-skipping trusts (GSTs) are any trust whose beneficiaries are two or more generations below the grantor. For example, as a […]

Summer School

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“We all learn by experience, but some of us have to go to summer school.”  ~ Peter De Vries, American novelist, 1910-1993. Question: Our grandchildren are spending time with us this summer. What can we can do while they’re here with us to help teach financial responsibility as they get older? Answer: There’s no better way to build a strong […]

Cautious Optimism

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“We either live with intention or exist by default.” ~ Kristin Armstrong, three time Olympic Gold Medal Winner Question: What are your thoughts on how the economy is doing, and what is expected for the remainder of the year? Answer: Economic activity is often measured and evaluated by leading economic indicators (LEIs). There are twelve LEIs so it’s not unusual […]

An Agreement in Principle

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“The future depends on what we do in the present.”                    ~Mahatma Gandhi Question: Can you explain the trade and tariff talks between the United States and China? Answer: The United States and China are the two most influential economies in the world today. Trade bickering began on December 11, 2001 when […]

The Trend Is Your Friend

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“The genius of investing is recognizing the direction of a trend – not catching highs and lows.”             ~ John Bogle, Founder of Vanguard Question: With unemployment rates so low, shouldn’t wages be higher? Answer: It’s logical to expect wages to go up when the economy strengthens and the demand for workers increases. Economics 101 […]


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