Latest Video: Outlook 2015 Spring Update

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New Video: LPL Financial Research

Manager Q&A – BlackRock Strategic Income Opportunities Fund New video available on our website

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It’s Not Too Late for 2014 Tax Planning

As 2013 draws to a close, the last thing anyone wants to think about is taxes.  But if you are looking for potential ways to minimize your tax bill, there’s no better time for planning than before year-end.  And, with the higher rates put in place with the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, being tax efficient is more important than ever.

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Five Ways to Help Measure Investment Risk

Investors who are concerned about market volatility should examine their investment choices from all angles when constructing a portfolio — evaluating not only return, but risk too. There are a variety of risk measures that may come in handy. Of course, numbers don’t tell the whole story, but they may help you determine whether owning a particular investment is consistent with your personal risk tolerance. You and your financial advisor may want to review the following risk measures: Alpha is a measure of investment performance that factors in the risk associated with the specific security or portfolio, rather than the overall market (or correlated benchmark). It is a way of calculating so-called “excess return” — that portion of investment performance … Continue reading

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Life Insurance: Where to Start

Whether you are married or single, a parent or without children, life insurance can play a key role in your financial plans. However, millions of Americans have no life insurance coverage whatsoever, and of those who do, many don’t have enough. Appreciating the importance of having adequate life insurance is one step, while assessing your own unique needs is quite another. Where to Start Many people obtain life insurance when they first have children and then forget about it, except for when the premium bill comes due. But an effective financial plan includes reexamining your life insurance needs continually throughout your life to ensure the assets you’ve accumulated are protected and to provide additional opportunities to create wealth. As a … Continue reading

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June Independent Investor

How to Work With a Financial Advisor The continuously shifting investment climate, the sheer number of investment products to choose from and the emergence of employee-driven retirement savings plans, such as 401(k) plans, have all contributed to the increased need for qualified financial advice. No matter what your level of investment experience or sophistication, you may benefit from developing a relationship with a financial advisor. Financial Advisor: What’s in a Name? A qualified financial advisor is trained to analyze your personal financial situation and prepare a program designed to help you pursue your financial goals and objectives. It might be helpful to think of your financial advisor as a kind of doctor for your financial health. Financial advisors (also called … Continue reading

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Elder Care: How to Help Your Parents Manage

It’s a decision most adults dread: having to take over the financial and day-to-day living decisions for parents who can no longer manage on their own. When caring for your parents, you may need to plan on three levels: managing finances, making health care decisions, and making sure their daily household needs are met. Finding qualified experts who can advise you in these areas may make it easier to manage the situation. Managing Finances If your parents currently are able to communicate, try to initiate a conversation about how they would like their money to be managed. Rather than telling them what to do, be clear that you would like to help and to make sure that their wishes are … Continue reading

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Four Steps to a Simpler Financial Life

For many Americans, financial life seems to be getting more and more complicated. Perhaps that’s because more workers bear responsibility for their own retirement savings thanks to the proliferation of 401(k) and other plans. Or maybe it’s because there’s so much information and so many investment choices to sort through. Whatever the case, here are some suggestions that may help to simplify your financial life. 1. Start with a Plan A little time spent planning now can benefit you later. First, determine short-term financial goals. Do you want to purchase a home in five years? Are your kids heading off to college soon? Is buying a car a top priority next year? Next, think about long-term goals, such as saving … Continue reading

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May Independent Investor

Home Refinancing Basics In recent years, Americans seeking to capitalize on low interest rates have lined up to refinance their mortgages–often resulting in significantly lower monthly payments. While it’s true that refinancing has the potential to help reduce the costs associated with borrowing money to own a home, it is not necessarily a strategy that makes sense for every individual in every situation. So before you make a commitment to refinance your mortgage, take some time to do your homework and determine whether such a move is the right one for you. To Refinance or Not The old and arbitrary rule of thumb said that refinancing only makes sense if you can lower your interest rate by at least two … Continue reading

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Questions to Ask When Drafting an Estate Plan

Because you’ve worked hard to create a secure and comfortable lifestyle for your family, you’ll want to ensure that you have a sound financial plan that includes trust and estate planning. With some forethought, you may be able to minimize gift and estate taxes and preserve more of your assets for those you care about. A qualified financial professional and tax professional can help ensure you are minimizing taxes and maximizing gains for your heirs. You can bring this four-part checklist to your initial meeting to discuss how to make your plan comprehensive and up-to-date. Part 1: Communicating Your Wishes Do you have a will? Are you comfortable with the executor(s) and trustee(s) you have selected? Have you executed a … Continue reading

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