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Sound Financial Advice Is A Matter of Trust

 

 

 

I was meeting with a prospective client recently, a married couple, and one of the questions that came up caught me a bit by surprise. “How do we know we can trust you?” the wife asked. I have had lots of discussions with clients about trust but had never been asked the question that directly before. My response touched on our fiduciary obligations, my credentials, professional standards and codes of conduct, but I could tell that wasn’t exactly what she was looking for. It didn’t seem like a great answer to me either and the question stuck with me until I could give it some more thought.

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How well is your investment actually doing? It's complicated.

 

We have all heard someone proclaiming what an expert investor they are, usually by describing a return they achieved on some investment they made.  But how does one actually determine whether or not they have made a good investment?  Investment yield assessments are much harder to obtain than most people realize.  Further, once one has an accurate calculation of yield, how do they make an objective assessment of how good the return is that they have actually achieved?   Let me start with the three basic ingredients required for every reliable yield calculation:

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Stocks, ETFs, and Mutual Funds

When you think of someone making an investment in the stock market, what do you envision? Perhaps you picture a coworker standing at the water-cooler, mentioning his or her recent stock pick that they're confident will prove to be a winner, or a stockbroker in a suit, waiving and yelling on the crowded and boisterous floor of a stock exchange, trying to lock in a purchase of shares in a specific company the investor thinks is poised for growth. In the modern era of investing however, there are many options for Americans looking to invest in the stock market that take on a much different form than buying individual company stock, such as investments into a fund that contains a basket of underlying stocks or bonds. Employer-sponsored retirement accounts often limit investment options exclusively to these kind of funds. The two most common kinds of funds that investors have access to and can utilize are Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) and Mutual Funds.

 

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Gearing up to Resume your Student Loan Payments

 

The U.S Department of Education has been allowing student loan borrowers to pause their payments interest-free since March of 2020. Currently, payments on your federal student loans are set to resume starting October 1st of 2021. While there is a chance that this deferral opportunity may be extended, my advice would be not to count on it.  You might consider the following steps to prepare for this resumption:

 

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