Our Commentary & Updates

Find all of our archived newsletters and communications right here in one convenient location.

Below, we're featuring several pertinent articles that were published prior to the launch of our new website. 


WHAT IS A GOOD ADVISOR WORTH?   (November 21, 2014)

Today, we had the honor of helping one of our clients sign up for Social Security benefits.

Our client had a past work record under the Social Security system, but has worked under OPERS for the past 17 years and doesn't plan on retiring for a few more years. The client hadn't really considered filing for Social Security at this time, but after examining the family's earnings statements and doing a little research, we determined it would be a good time for him to apply for SS benefits since he had already reached Social Security's FRA (Full Retirement Age).

The result? The client will be receiving a monthly Social Security benefit of $1,400/month beginning next month, along with a lump sum amount of more than $8,000. Needless to say, the client is very happy! The best news of all? The client plans on investing the majority of the money received from Social Security and using the rest to pay down their mortgage in preparation for their "true" retirement under OPERS a few years from now.

We're happy to go the extra mile for our clients and we love success stories like this. The most rewarding part of our job is knowing we made a positive impact in the lives of our clients!

True, financial advisors charge fees and it's tempting to try to handle things, including your investments, on your own. But the value provided by a good advisor (and there a lot of them out there) will trump the "burden" of their fee every time!


TIMELY IRA IDEAS  (March 21, 2014 - updated for 2016)

With IRA season in full-swing I thought this would be an appropriate time to hit the high points on some of the ideas we’re currently using with our clients. The following info is meant to be somewhat generic as everyone’s circumstances are a bit different. If you’d like more info on how these ideas would apply to your personal situation, don‘t hesitate to give us a call! (-Br...ian)

2016 IRA CONTRIBUTIONS – As a reminder, taxpayers can still make IRA and Roth IRA contributions for 2016 up until the April 18th deadline for filing their 2016 tax returns. The 2016 contribution limit for most taxpayers under age 50 is the greater of earned income or $5,500, while taxpayers ages 50 and older can contribute up to $6,500.

RETIREMENT SAVER’S CREDIT – In addition, there is a “Retirement Saver’s Tax Credit” available for many taxpayers that provides a tax credit for contributing to retirement accounts such as 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, IRAs and Roth IRAs. The amount of the credit ranges from 10%-50% of your eligible contributions up to a maximum of $2,000 ($4,000 if married filing jointly). Eligibility for the credit is determined by income and filing status.

HERE’S A GREAT IDEA – If you’re eligible for a tax credit while saving for your retirement, why leave money on the table? The tax credit could actually help you fund up to 50% of your eligible IRA/Roth IRA contribution for 2013! Certain taxpayers may even qualify to deduct their 2016 IRA contribution and then take the tax credit for the same contribution!

OK, I’M INTERESTED, WHAT DO I DO NOW? - You still have some time left to make your 2016 IRA/Roth IRA contributions and to file your 2016 tax return before the April 18th deadline. Whether you’re interested in contributing to your existing retirement account or are just beginning to save on your own, give us a call ASAP! We can help you determine your personal IRA contribution limit and eligibility for the tax credit for 2016. We can also help you choose which type of IRA account to contribute to and help you to direct your investment to an appropriate custodian.

WHAT IF I ALREADY FILED MY 2016 TAX RETURN? - No problem. You still have until the April 18th deadline to make eligible IRA & Roth IRA contributions for 2016. If you’ve already filed your 2016 tax return without making an IRA/Roth IRA contribution and/or taking the Retirement Saver’s Credit, you can always amend your tax return after making your contribution for 2016.



What do you think most taxpayers did with their 2012 tax refunds?

According to a recent "Taxing Subjects" newsletter article from Drake Tax Software, here are the most popular answers:

  • 39.4% Paid Down Debt
  • 28.7% Used it for Everyday Expenses
  • 12.3% Made a Big Purchase
  • 11.3% Took a Vacation

What DIDN'T they do with it?   SAVE IT or INVEST IT!

Tax season is right around the corner. What do you plan to do with your refund this year?

One good option would be to consider making a deposit into an emergency fund, IRA, Roth IRA or 529 Plan with a part of your tax refund.  In fact, you can still make IRA and Roth IRA contributions for last year up until the April 15th, 2014 filing deadline for 2013 tax returns!  All four of these savings vehicles are important components of a family's financial plan.  Not coincidentally, all four are also options for directly depositing all, or part of, your income tax refunds!

If you decide to make this prudent financial decision, you'll be ahead of 91.7% of other Americans!

We're here to help you, of course, if you'd like to explore one or more of these options!


CONGRESS "PUNTS"...AGAIN!  (October 17, 2013)

The governmental shutdown and yesterday’s “Congressional punt” have once again brought the National Debt to the forefront of discussions in our country.  The National Debt has reached its $17 Trillion limit, also known as it’s “ceiling” and Congress voted yesterday to raise that “debt ceiling” yet again.

But what does it even mean that we’re $17 trillion in debt?  Most people in America have trouble comprehending monetary figures that extend into seven digits (millions), much less trillions. 

Seventeen trillion sure seems like a lot of money, but how much is it really?  Let’s try to put this into some sort of perspective…

  • Seventeen trillion $1 bills stacked one on top of the other would reach over 1 million miles high, more than 4 times the distance between the earth & moon.
  • $17 Trillion, divided up, would equal $52,678 of debt for every man woman and child in America.
  • If you spent $1 million every day, it would take you 51,000 years to spend $17 Trillion.
  • With $17 Trillion, you could feed, cloth, and educate every child in the world.
  • With $17 Trillion, you could pay every teacher’s salary in the United States for the next 153 years.
  • With $17 Trillion, you could buy the American supply of bacon for the next 8,500 years.
  • With $17 Trillion, you could start your own space program, spend $2 Billion more than NASA every year, and stay in business for 850 years.
  • With $17 Trillion, you could buy every sports team in the world and still have $16 Trillion left over.

How’s that for some perspective?  We, as a country owe that much money.

When you or I incur too much debt or spend more money than we make, we find ourselves facing tough choices and consequences.  We’re forced to increase our income, reduce our expenses and try to find a way to dig ourselves out of the mess we’ve created.

So, how do we, as a country, begin resolving this problem?

Without commenting on the merits of any particilar option, here are some of the most logical choices up for debate:

  1. Begin spending less than we bring in by ensuring we always balance the federal budget.
  2. Immediately increase our nation’s revenues through higher taxation.
  3. Introduce policies that will spur business growth and strengthen the economy, which in-turn, lead to increased tax revenues.
  4. Make huge spending cuts, whether they’re across the board or targeted at specific programs, like Social Security, Medicare or poverty alleviation.

What did Congress do yesterday?

They simply chose to kick the can down the road.  They effectively voted to increase the limit on the country’s credit card and decided to hold off on everything else until a later date.   And in the meantime, they’ll keep on "spending" - and, thus, adding to the National Debt while and placing more of a burden squarely on the backs of current and future American taxpayers.

Wouldn’t it be great if we, as citizens, had the same option to continue spending without regard to future consequences?  Just think of all the great houses, cars, boats, vacation homes and televisions we'd have!  Imagine the vacations we'd take.  The colleges we'd be able to send our kids to!  Imagine the lifestyle we'd have!  Heck, many of us might even decide to give more money to worthwhile causes!

But, in reality, that decision wouldn’t work out too well for us, as individuals.  That's because we, the people, (unlike our elected officials) do have limitations and consequences tied to our budgets and our spending.  If we behaved in this manner, we’d be left with more debt and higher monthly payments to service that debt – but our incomes wouldn’t have increased at all to offset the increase in our bills.  We’d just be further upside-down than when we started.  Continue this pattern for too long and we risk falling into bankruptcy.

Ultimately, that will end up being the case for our country, too.  

Don’t you think it makes sense for our Congress to abide by the same basic financial principles that apply to the rest of us?  

Simply put, there is no mathematical way to continually spend more than we bring in, while we keep increasing our debt with no plan to pay it off.  That type of plan does not lead to financial success for American families – and it won't work out well for our country, either.    

Something has to give.

Our Congressional representatives are charged with the responsibility of being good stewards of our tax dollars and they're failing misterably.

Don't we have the right to expect more from our elected officials?  

(STATISTICS: PoorRichardsNews.com)



In light of last night's dramatic come-from-behind victory by our beloved Cleveland Indians, I thought it would be fun to throw out a little stock market/baseball correlation.

The Cleveland Indians clinched their last World Series title on October 11, 1948, with pitcher Bob Lemon getting credit for the deciding game 6 win. On that date, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ("Dow Jones"/DJIA) closed at 182.41. Yesterday, the DJIA closed at 15,334.59. That's an increase of 8,300% during that time span.

If our families would have celebrated the Tribe's World Series championship by investing $12,000 in the DJIA the following morning, they'd be millionaires today! Not too shabby, huh?

Remember, we’re here to help you with all of your investment needs including 401(k) rollovers, IRAs, 403(b)s, managed money and college funds.

Roll Tribe!