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MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics
5 Myths of Financial Planning
Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, Nov 02, 2011 @ 10:36 AM


Over the years, I’ve heard the same concerns again and again by people who are dipping their toes into the financial planning waters for the first time. As when I started Spiritus Financial nine years ago, my aim continues to be on financial education and empowerment, not on selling. The more you learn about money – the more successful you’ll be financially. So here they are, the five most common myths I’ve encountered in my financial planning practice.

1) High allocations to bonds, CD’s and other fixed income investments will reduce risk

I suppose that depends on how one defines risk. I define it as running out of money before you run out of life. If a major allocation to fixed income will produce returns that virtually assure you of depleting your portfolio in this lifetime, how can one define that as a low-risk portfolio?

Adding the appropriate allocation to equities may create more fluctuation, but it could reduce the risk of running out of money. Before constructing an investment portfolio, one must not only measure 'risk tolerance,' but the return necessary to achieve their goals.

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Investment Strategies Based on Serving, Not Selling
Mark Zaifman   |    Sat, Sep 03, 2011 @ 10:18 AM

Last week, one of my investment management clients called and asked me to review his 85 year old mother’s investment statement and offer my opinion about her overall investment strategy or lack thereof. He was worried that his Mom’s portfolio was being churned and burned.

Even before his fax came through, I had a bad feeling. When I reviewed her current investment statement, it didn’t surprise me to see that 85% of her now dwindling portfolio was invested in stocks and that on average, 42 stock trades were being bought and sold each and every month. I wish I could say this was an isolated incident, but it’s not, not by a long shot. Elder abuse, especially when it comes to investing, is on the rise.

I’ve seen enough statements like this one that betray an investor’s trust to last a lifetime. It always gets me thinking - this could be my Mom being taken advantage of.

Beware of Being Sold the Investment Performance Sizzle

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Invest, Pray, Love
Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, May 18, 2011 @ 05:57 PM


Last week I’m having lunch with a few of my friends. And as usual, since I’m the investment guy of the group, everyone feels compelled to share their latest stock tip of the month with me as well as their latest score in the market.

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The Worst Mistake You Can Make When Investing Your Hard Earned Money
Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, May 11, 2011 @ 02:38 PM


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7 Essential Steps to 21st Century Retirement Planning
Mark Zaifman   |    Tue, Apr 19, 2011 @ 10:22 AM
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Top 7 Mistakes Made on Beneficiary Forms in Estate Tax Planning
Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, Feb 23, 2011 @ 01:48 PM
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Couples & Financial Planning - Friction, Fun and Love
Mark Zaifman   |    Tue, Feb 08, 2011 @ 11:04 AM
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IRS Audit Red Flags & Tax Deductions to Know About
Mark Zaifman   |    Fri, Feb 04, 2011 @ 12:04 PM

 

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Guessing About Your Future vs. Financially Planning For It
Mark Zaifman   |    Fri, Jan 21, 2011 @ 03:00 PM
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Planning and Investing in Uncertain Times
Mark Zaifman   |    Thu, Jan 06, 2011 @ 06:11 PM

For the investor that loves a high degree of uncertainty, these are the best of times. More volatility offers more opportunity to make money.  For the investor that prefers calmer more predictable markets, these are stressful times indeed.

Yet the truth is that even the most detailed, well thought out investment plan I could possibly develop for a client could go kaput next week due to a million reasons beyond our control.

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