The Investments Channel

“Bad” Advice Can Add Value

I deal with many advisors. Some of them give advice that could be considered “bad,” but the benefit to their clients is tangible. Here are a few examples.

Fourth Quarter 2018 - The Year When Nothing Worked

2018 will be broadly remembered as a year when nothing worked and daily stock market volatility spiked. This contrasted with 2017 where seemingly everything pushed higher, and volatility was low. But in 2018, nearly every single asset class and all but one major stock market index (Brazil) around the globe posted negative returns.

An Annuity Hater Revisits SPIAs

I take a lot of flak when I write about annuities. That criticism has come from the insurance industry, because I have been highly critical of products like fee-laden variable annuities with complex menus of riders. But recent discussions and a new analysis have led me to reconsider SPIAs as a source of longevity insurance at a reasonable cost.

Three Ways to Maximize Clients’ Charitable Impact – a Conversation with Jeff Raikes

As 2018 comes to a close, it is a great time to discuss clients’ charitable giving strategies for next year and beyond.

The Five Challenges Facing Advisors in 2019

After talking with hundreds of advisors and interacting online with thousands more, I’ve identified five ominous challenges the profession will face and trends it will need to adapt to in the coming year.

The World's Poor Preparation for Retirement

Private, public and international pension plans are all due for a reckoning.

The 13 Rules for Networking at a Holiday Party

Connecting at holiday shindigs is different from the usual chamber meeting or networking event. Here are 13 quick tips on how to “work the room” while socializing and celebrating. Cheers!

The Hidden Risks of Equities When Saving for Retirement

Should those further from retirement safely allocate more to stocks? I’ll use an example to challenge the popular notion that those with many years left until retirement can safely allocate heavily to stocks. I’ll then demonstrate that pre-retirement investment challenges are more difficult to deal with than generating income after retirement.

How to Assess Unwanted Legacy Annuities

As an insurance consultant to RIAs, I review legacy annuities. Every case is unique, but often I’m reminded why commission-based annuities are one of the biggest violators of consumer value within financial services.

The Four Investment Topics that Generate the Most Hate Mail

I don’t enjoy receiving hate mail, but I do view it as a sign that my columns in the media are opening a dialogue, albeit at times insulting and hostile.

How Risk Aversion Impacts Wealth Management

When the market gets choppy, investors naturally shift course toward calmer waters. But there are better ports in a storm than cash.

Weighing the Week Ahead: Major Market Misperceptions

We have a light economic calendar with a focus on housing. Earnings season would normally be the most important market theme. For now, observers are seeing what they want to see in earnings reports.

Funding Retirement in Post-4% Rule World

It's time to think differently about building sustainable retirement income streams. Since many retirees fund their retirement using a traditional IRA, it makes sense to use a portion of that asset to fund a variable annuity with a GLWB.

Goldilocks and the Three Fears

It is hard to say with certainty what drives trading on any particular day, but it doesn’t seem a stretch to say that over the past few months a combination of tariffs and Federal Reserve rate hike fears have broadly impacted both equity and fixed income markets.

Income is the Wrong Goal for Your Clients

One of the biggest threats clients face in retirement is chasing higher investment income. I’ve seen people go back to work because they concentrated on income and lost their principal. Income is the wrong goal, particularly since much of so-called income is just a ruse allowed by regulators.