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MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics
Why Panic is Not an Investing Strategy
Mark Zaifman   |    Tue, May 15, 2018 @ 11:44 AM

With the political news, or should I call it the political storm-y brewing in DC, we might recall that it was only a few months ago that talk of a trade war with China and potential tariffs on steel and aluminum created dizzying volatility in the stock market.

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Don’t Let the Tax Tail Wag the Dog
Mark Zaifman   |    Tue, Feb 27, 2018 @ 10:59 AM

It’s often one of the most common mistakes investors make. By that I mean, letting the amount of capital gains tax owed on the sale of your asset, whether that’s a stock, bond, real estate or business, dominate your decision process.

It’s never easy to pay taxes, especially a 20% capital gains tax. So instead of diversifying your overall investment portfolio and not concentrating too much of your net-worth in say one stock for example, you let it ride.

Soon, five, ten, twenty+ years goes by and now this asset that has strongly increased in value and makes up close to 50% of your total investment portfolio. You know having too many eggs in one basket is risky, you know and have seen and read enough about the importance of diversification and maintaining a well balanced portfolio, yet still, even with that self-awareness, you’re allowing the tax tail to wag the dog.

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Why You Need to Know Your Legacy Plans Before you Retire
Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, Jan 31, 2018 @ 11:41 AM

The dictionary would define 'legacy' as:

a gift or a bequest that is handed down, endowed or conveyed from one person to another. It is something descendible one comes into possession of that is transmitted, inherited or received from a predecessor.

A financial planner would define legacy simply as:

"the amount of inheritance you plan to leave to your heirs and or charities/organizations upon your passing.

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The Power of Setting Financial Goals for the New Year
Mark Zaifman   |    Thu, Dec 14, 2017 @ 03:15 PM

Think about the last time you set a challenging goal for yourself. Maybe your goal was getting to a certain weight. Maybe it was acquiring a higher paying job. Whatever your goal was, there’s a good chance you set your goals at the start of a new year. So here we are again, with 2018 around the corner.

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5 Money Tips For Your First Year of Retirement
Mark Zaifman   |    Tue, Nov 21, 2017 @ 09:54 AM

As you transition from work to retirement, you should be prepared for the inevitable emotional roller coaster ride you’re about to go on.

Year after year, client upon client all report that their first year of retirement, from an emotional point of view, is the most difficult year of all. What may surprise you is that the emotional challenges occur regardless of your net-worth.

Imagine, that after 40+ years of working and being accustomed to receiving a bi-weekly or monthly paycheck, suddenly, there are no more paychecks coming your way.

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The Biggest Mistake Couples Make With Their Money
Mark Zaifman   |    Fri, Sep 15, 2017 @ 12:12 PM

 

Of all the many challenges couples face in life, whether married or living together - deciding how as a couple you’re going to manage your money tends to be the most confounding.

Some couples choose to keep their money absolutely separate. This is mine, that’s yours, and never the twain shall meet, or something similar. Of course, this option which seems very straight forward, clear and easy, comes with its own set of problems not usually envisioned when initially making this choice. The main problem being, you’re not working as a team when it comes to coordinating your cash flow, investing and tax planning strategies. As a consequence, you’re missing the opportunity to optimize your finances. You would never run a business this way, so why would you manage your cash flow this way?

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One Reason People Fail at Retirement
Mark Zaifman   |    Fri, Jun 23, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

One of the main reasons people fail at retirement is they give too much money to their children.

Let’s say you’re in your 60’s when you retire or even early 70’s. At this time in your life, your children are adults, yet they’re still hitting up Mom & Dad for cash. What’s up with that? And how can or more likely, will that impact your financial security? Although every parent wants to see their children succeed, giving too much money away can cause a severe drain on a couples retirement resources and jeopardize their own financial security.

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When it Comes to Retirement Planning, Denial isn’t Just a River in Egypt
Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, May 10, 2017 @ 01:07 PM

Let’s call this blog my annual financial planning public service announcement for those two years or less away from retirement.

At the end of the day, a financially successful retirement requires an honest assessment of where you are today, financially speaking. Although that sounds like a pretty obvious task to undertake, herein lies the problem.

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Update: Tax Planning Techniques & the Rise of the Backdoor Roth IRA
Mark Zaifman   |    Tue, Mar 21, 2017 @ 02:59 PM

I wrote this blogpost, Tax Planning Techniques & the Rise of the Backdoor Roth IRA a couple years back due to the intense interest from many clients about the Backdoor Roth IRA tax planning technique. It’s a bit surprising this savvy technique has not been shut down. It’s of course entirely legal and perhaps could be called a tax loophole. That said, as long as this option is available, why not take advantage of it? Tax planning at its core is about deferring taxes to a later date and or minimizing your current tax liabilities.

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The Latest Research on Retirement Planning Changes Everything
Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, Jan 25, 2017 @ 04:00 PM

There are some big changes happening in the world of retirement planning. Some big and really good changes. First some background.

One of the most studied and researched topics in the field of financial planning is NOT the study of the accumulation phase of your life, where you’re saving and investing for the future. Instead, the subject that draws the most attention in the academic as well as professional world of personal finance, by a longshot, is that of the withdrawal phase of your life. The phase where you begin to distribute the money you’ve saved either with a planned retirement income strategy or a flying by the seat of your pants strategy.

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