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A Response to the “60 Minutes” Segment on Municipal Finances

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The following addresses the “60 Minutes” segment from Sunday, December 19 on the state of municipal finances. The “60 Minutes” segment did not expose any new problems in the municipal market. Rather, it highlighted some growing concerns surrounding state fiscal problems and their potential effect on local governments. In fact, Meredith Whitney, who appeared in...

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Why “Name Your Price” Insurance Can Cost You Dearly

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Many people zero in on price when buying insurance. However, that strategy is only safe if you never file a claim. Tom Hopkins of The Delp Company discusses why it’s important to consider more than just the price tag of insurance. A national insurance company has implemented an interesting marketing strategy: Tell us the premium...

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The End of Social Security’s Interest-Free Loan

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The end of Social Security’s payback option means there is less room for error when devising a strategy to maximize your Social Security benefits. The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) announced December 8 that, effective immediately, the ability to “pay back” Social Security benefits will be allowed only during the first 12 months following the...

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Issues to Consider With a High-Dividend Approach

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With the current low yields on fixed income securities, the financial media have produced many articles regarding high-dividend strategies. The following discusses two fundamental flaws with using these strategies as alternatives to either high-quality fixed income portfolios or to other equity strategies. While the financial media tout high-dividend strategies as alternatives to other prudent investment...

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Understanding Interest Rate Risk

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Many investors have responded to worries about interest rate risk by keeping their fixed income investments restricted to money market accounts and very short-term fixed income securities. The following discusses the risks of following such a strategy and what should be considered. Over the past year, we have received questions about the potential impact of...

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Corporate Bonds Versus Treasury Bonds

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While it is true that corporate bonds have outperformed Treasuries, we have not and do not recommend owning corporate bonds for two main reasons: 1) they contain some of the same risks that stocks do; and 2) the historical outperformance has been very small. One of the most important concepts of fixed income investing is...

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Interest Rates and Expected Returns

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Many people are questioning whether they should stay in fixed income or branch out to other strategies with higher expected returns, due to low interest rates. The following discusses viewing expected returns between investment strategies. The low interest rate environment has many people wondering about using their fixed income allocation for other strategies, such as...

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