For many people, life insurance forms the security foundation of their financial plan. While most financial planners recommend that life insurance be purchased for its protection, and not as a primary savings vehicle, few would argue that cash value life insurance doesn’t have some fairly unique and attractive savings features.
Who doesn’t like options? We love them when buying a car, and we expect them when ordering lunch off a fast-food menu. When buying life insurance, however, too many options can not only increase confusion, it can often lead to making the wrong choice, or worse, no choice at all.
For most people, buying life insurance is difficult enough even when it’s done right.
Perhaps the most important factor in formulating your investment plan is your risk tolerance; that is, the amount of risk you’re willing to assume in order to achieve your most important objectives.
If you listen to any of the world’s leading investors they will tell you that nothing is more important to long-term investment success than a clear investment philosophy. More important than a sound investment strategy? Yes, they will tell you, because strategy, while important, is nothing more than a manifestation of an investment philosophy.
The saving versus paying off debt is an age-old quandary that has plagued people since the advent of consumer debt. Pose this question to a group of financial planners and the responses will be split, roughly down the middle. While there might be as many advocates for savings as there would be for paying down debt, the broad consensus will likely be that it really depends on the situation.
In my opinion, it is impossible to predict future stock market returns. Investment models can produce hypothetical returns but they can’t account for future events. So, in my opinion, investors who manage their investments based on market performance or what they perceive as opportunities for better returns have very little control over the outcome.
After costs, the return on the average actively managed dollar will be less than the return on the average passively managed dollar for any time period.
—William F. Sharpe, 1990 Nobel Laureate
Have you made up your mind on just about everything, even before you know what it is? For instance, when you meet someone, is your opinion of the person formed from the first impression? Or, when you hear a political argument from the other side, is your mind opened or closed? Are you able to concede the “good points” the other side make, or do you dismiss the whole argument?
If you have read any literature on retirement planning or have received advice from a financial professional, chances are you were presented with the 70% rule, the one that suggests that retirees will need between 70 and 80% of their pre-retirement income in order to maintain their standard of living.
The need for retirement planning didn’t really exist until well into the 1970s. Up to that point, people worked until age 65, spent a few years in leisure through their life expectancy which was about 69. Many retirees of that era were able to coast into retirement with a cushy pension plan.
This isn’t our parents’ or grandparents’ retirement anymore. Just a few decades ago, many retirees enjoyed the full benefits of the “three-legged stool” of retirement provide by guaranteed pension payments, savings, and Social Security.
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