Financial Planning Newsletters

February 2019

February 6, 2019

2018 Tax Packets, 2019 Goals, Retirement Plan Limits and more!

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Summer 2018

June 29, 2018

To Travel, Or Not To Travel, The Repeal of Net Neutrality, Cornerstone happenings and more can be found in the Summer 2018 edition of our semi-annual newsletter!

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Winter 2016

December 21, 2016

We’re working more diligently here at Cornerstone to understand the nuances of various types of responsible investments for those clients who wish to take a stand on the kinds of companies they will own. The field has expanded and the approach evolved from just excluding certain companies in a portfolio (for example weapons) to owning those who operate in a way that reflects one’s personal values.

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Summer 2016

July 7, 2016

As the 2016 presidential elections are shaping up more than one concerned client has asked me in the past few months how I think their portfolio might be affected. Usually this is out of concern that the client’s preferred candidate is not elected, leaving the client feeling vulnerable that the new president might direct the country in a way that will negatively affect their investments.

Leading up to the election we could be in for a bumpy ride. Because we don’t have an incumbent president we are looking at one of two “unknowns” who will be taking over in November, leaving us with uncertainty as to the direction of the economy. That uncertainty will likely cause much volatility in the next 5 months.

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How We Spend Our Time

July 28, 2015

When I was a child the only television my father ever watched, and I with him, was the Jackie Gleason Show. Mostly I think he loved the dancing girls. Later in my teens he faced some difficult times and, probably for distraction, began to channel surf (which in those days provided a measure of exercise given the need to get up from one’s seat in order to change stations). Often at the end of a movie he would, sounding disappointed in himself, press the off button with vehemence and pronounce to no one in particular what a senseless waste of his time it had been.

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Happiness

December 18, 2014

I recently met with a client and, as usual, we reviewed the amount of money she withdraws each year from her portfolio. Because she is retired, we want to make sure she doesn’t spend down her assets too quickly. By “too quickly” I mean that she should have some money left at age 95. (At this point most clients tell me “Oh I won’t live to be 95” to which I reply “Well you could! And if you do you don’t want to be destitute!”) As we were talking about the things she likes to spend her money on she mentioned a friend who goes to Florida every winter. “You know” she said wistfully, “she’s richer than I am.” “How do you know?” I asked. “Because I see how she lives” replied my client. My answer to that was, “the way someone lives is not always an indica-tion of their wealth” which led to a discussion about over-spending. As a financial planner I have all too often sat with clients whose lifestyle was way beyond their means.

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Meaningful, Mindful Investing

June 20, 2014

Early in our business when clients would ask about investing in a way that is kind to the environment, or avoids companies that build weapons or treats their employees unfairly, our simple and stock response was that these types of investments generally under-perform the broader market. And that would be the end of the conversation. How this whole issue of Sustainable and Responsible Investing (SRI) dropped off the radar of this writer, a financial planner who strives to live in a way that is gentle to our planet and to the animals and people who populate it is a mystery. Perhaps I was pre-occupied with running a business; perhaps I subconsciously continued to dismiss SRI as a viable option to help clients meet their goals. But it hit me in the face when recently I presented a portfolio design to a new client who looked aghast at the underlying companies within the mutual funds being recommended – chemical companies, frackers, weapons suppliers, agribusiness, tobacco , etc. – and declared they couldn’t’ possibly support these types of investments regardless of return.  Zing!

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Biting into Bitcoins

December 20, 2013

There has been a lot of news lately about the increasing use of bitcoins, a new form of digital currency. Most of us never heard of them before this year, but they have been around since 2009 when they were created by an unknown person known as “Satoshi Nakamoto.” The currency doesn’t exist physically and there are no banks that hold them. They are stored in a digital wallet on the cloud, or on your computer. There are several exchanges where you can buy them, or you can acquire them by selling a good or service in exchange for bitcoin.

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Seasonal Musings

June 28, 2013

As noted in the past, at Cornerstone we get to take our birthday off. Last year at this time I wrote about my trip to Mackworth Island and how good it was to go solo, to walk and sit by the sea, to slow down for a short period and simply just be. I decided this may be a good annual event and was undeterred when heading back this June despite the gray and gusty rain-sprinkled day. A person can sit and think in all types of weather!

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On Growth and Happiness

March 6, 2013

“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth; we are happy when we are growing.”

I’ve always appreciated this quote by William Bulter Yeats and long associated growth with learning. I bought a set of World Book encyclopedias when I graduated from high school and remember opening the books at random. I rebuilt the engine of my ’67 Cougar with my not-yet husband. Yes, learning equals growth equals happiness. But is growth always good?

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