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Financial Elements' Insights

Latest news, updates and helpful advice

Check here regularly for Brenda's thoughts and insights on a variety of topics related to personal finance and investments.
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Liquidity

Are your investments liquid or illiquid? When a holding is liquid, it simply means you can sell it anytime the market in which it trades is open for business, without losing your proverbial shirt in the exchange. If it’s illiquid, you cannot sell it, at least not for anything near what it’s worth.

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What is Asset Allocation?

Asset allocation. It’s so ingrained in how we manage our clients’ investment portfolios, we talk about it all the time. But what is it? What are assets, and what happens when you allocate them?

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Blending Families’ Finances After Remarriage

Before combining two families to create a modern-day Brady Bunch, it’s important to think through all of the financial implications related to children and assets. Start your new family life on the right foot by tackling these difficult conversations early on.

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Financial Best Practices for the Year

Here are some financial best practices for the year ahead. Pick a few of them or take on the entire list. Either way, you’ll be that much further ahead by the time 2020 rolls around.

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6 Ways to Help Aging Parents With Money

It can be extremely hard for parents, particularly older generations, to ask for help. Many won’t say anything, suffering in silence and believing that asking for help is a sign of weakness.

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RIP John Bogle

Remembering John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard and creator of the first index fund.

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Attitude of Gratitude

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. Charles Dickens

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Diversification: The Antacid for Market Turbulence

Concerned about market volatility? It's unwelcome, but not unexpected. It's part of the risk we accept as equity investors. A balanced, well diversified portfolio helps to smooth out the ups and downs and adequate liquidity to meet your needs without selling stocks when they are down is a key to a successful plan.

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Diversifying Your Investment Portfolio

Portfolio diversification is a complex and often misunderstood subject. By learning the true definition of this investment approach, you can become a smarter investor with a greater potential for long-term financial gain.

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Using a Donor advised Fund for Charitable Giving

One of my favorite quotes is Margaret Mead’s: "Never underestimate the- power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has! “ Charitable giving and volunteer work is a part of my life and a part of the lives of many of my clients. Personally, I am committed to several organizations where I feel I can make a difference. You can see more in the Community Section of my website. I’d be honored and delighted to hear about your passions and charitable goals and will help you craft a strategy to work those goals into your financial plan.

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Are You Really Ready to Retire?

Creating a retirement plan is by no means an easy task. There are many factors to consider when determining whether or not you are financially prepared to leave the working world, while still enjoying your current lifestyle. Consider each factor carefully before taking this next step in life.

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Understanding the Hidden Costs of College

The cost of college isn’t just limited to tuition and books. There are many extra expenses that can tend to catch people off guard, like tutoring sessions or club membership fees. Use this list to work towards creating a more accurate financial plan for yourself or your child entering college.

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The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Saving

Saving money is an important part of your financial life that often takes a back seat. If you're tired of not having the proper savings and ready to make a change, this cheat sheet is for you.

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Our Mixed Up, Messed Up Relationship with Investment Risk

The headlines are fast and furious – tariffs and trade wars, immigration debates, oil prices, rising interest rates, company scandals – it seems that there is no end to the risk we face as stock market investors, and this summer, the news cycle has certainly not taken a holiday. Is investing riskier than usual these days? In our experience, probably not. If there is such a thing as “normal” in this world of ours, risk is certainly built into the definition. Besides, investors often love and hate risk in a mixed up, messed up relationship. How so? Let us count the ways.

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Half of a Whole: When You Lose a Spouse

Whether it’s sudden and unexpected or after an already lengthy ordeal, there’s nothing that can prepare you for losing your spouse. Grief and mourning affect each of us uniquely, but all widows and widowers share a painful dilemma: On the one hand, the world seems to demand rapid response to a barrage of critical questions – financial and otherwise. On the other hand, it’s usually a terrible time to be making big decisions, especially if they really can wait. Here are some helpful handholds to hang onto if you have been recently widowed (or you know someone who has), plus preemptive steps to take if you’re reading this in happier times.

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Insights from the NAPFA Conference

I attended the NAPFA (National Association of Personal Financial Advisors) national conference in Phoenix last week. Read on for a recap of some of the more memorable sessions.

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Rebalancing Your Portfolio

Have your reviewed your portfolio? The tremendous market returns of 2017 may have left you out of balance, and the volatility earlier in the year may have scared you and stopped you from reviewing and reallocating your investments. Read on to review why we rebalance, how it works, and why it's not as easy as it sounds sometimes.

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