Personally Invested In Your Future™

Understanding Your Withdrawal Rate: How Much Can You Afford to Spend in Retirement?

The concept of a retirement withdrawal rate is a critical component of planning for successful financial independence.  The withdrawal rate is a middle ground between two competing forces: maximizing cash flow in retirement, while simultaneously preserving the inflation-adjusted value of your investments over the long-term. By withdrawing too little, you can deprive yourself of discretionary expenses that could be used to support a

Sep 11
Mortgage Rates Update

Mortgage rates in the U.S. fell to three-year lows recently, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage pricing at approximately 3.55% at the end of last week.  The 3.55% rate approaches the lowest 30-year residential mortgage rates ever seen in the U.S. housing market, which occurred in 2016. While most economists initially forecasted flat to rising interest rates in 2019, we have witnessed the

Sep 05
How We Provide Advice: A 150-Point Inspection

One of the most common questions we’ve heard from prospective clients over the years is “If I become a client how will you help me?” It’s a good question and reveals the fact that it can be very hard to understand the services that a comprehensive wealth advisor will provide or the process they will follow.  Vast Array of Issues You can think

Aug 28
401(k) Millionaires in the U.S. Reaches New High

In a bit of promising news for U.S. retirees, Fidelity released a report this week detailing a record number of 401(k) and IRA millionaires in the U.S.  Fidelity estimates that the number of U.S. workers who now have more than $1 million in their 401(k) or IRA to be at approximately 375,000.[1]  Due to a decade-long bull market in stocks and a low

Aug 26
Creating Your Retirement Paycheck (Part III) – It’s Not About Cash; It’s About Cash Flow

This is the last in a three-part series of articles designed to help you better understand how to create a sustainable stream of income in retirement. Here is how we’ve organized the sections by topic: It’s not about returns; it’s about your account balance (read it here) It’s not how much you earn; it’s how much you keep (read it here) It’s not

Aug 22
The Latest on U.S. Inflation

U.S. inflation remains relatively low, with the latest monthly reading of the U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) coming in at an annual rate of 1.8% in July. To put this number into context, since World War II the annual U.S. inflation rate has averaged above 3%.* Currently the U.S. Federal Reserve is targeting a 2%+ rate of inflation for the long-term, though the

Aug 16
Global Interest Rates Turn Negative Yet Again

Over the course of the past decade as part of the recovery from the Global Financial Crisis, we have witnessed an economic phenomenon that has been most unusual—negative interest rates.  Indeed, interest rates on sovereign bonds in Europe have once again fallen below zero in 2019. The German 10-year bond has now spent a record number of days in negative territory, according to

Jul 31
Creating a “Plan B”: How to Anticipate the Unexpected

We know that as life happens, plans change. Nothing works out exactly as planned. It’s in that spirit that in our analysis and consultation process we anticipate unexpected things that could occur by considering all the different ‘what-if’ scenarios and planning for those.  This is what we call our Plan B™. The best financial planning is all centered around a simple question: “What

Jul 30
Nothing Costs More Than Cheap Advice

There is an old saying in business that “nothing is more expensive than cheap advice.”  This maxim articulates an important truth—that sometimes in our attempt to save on fees we reduce the quality of advice that we receive, leading to potentially much higher costs down the road.  It is another version of the adage of being “penny wise and pound foolish.”  By trying

Jul 24
Creating Your Retirement Paycheck (Part II) – It’s Not What You Earn; It’s What You Keep

This is the second in a three-part series of articles designed to help you better understand how to create a paycheck in retirement. (CLICK HERE to read the first one.) To answer that question, we’re addressing the following three topics: It’s not about returns; it’s about your account balance It’s not how much you earn; it’s how much you keep It’s not about

Jul 16
Creating Your Retirement Paycheck (Part I) – It’s Not About Returns; It’s About Your Account Balance

One of the main questions people want to know as they approach retirement is “how am I going to get paid once I stop working?” Saving and accumulating wealth is much different than trying to figure out how to create a stream of income that’s going to last for several decades and keep up with inflation. This is the first in a three-part

Jul 11
Socially Responsible Investing: Allianz Conference 2019

Martin Walsh attended the Allianz Global Investors “ESG University” conference in New York on June 20th.  ESG stands for “Environmental, Social and Governance,” an acronym that is a filter for evaluating socially responsible companies.  The conference was a detailed update for the investment advisor community on socially responsible investing, including the latest research and trends in the field. At Brown and Company, we

Jul 09
3 Types of Questions Every Financial Advisor Should Ask You

A financial plan is only as good as the questions being asked when creating it. But beyond the platitude of needing to ask “good” questions, what does this really mean? After all, does anyone think the questions they ask are not good ones? What ARE the questions a financial advisor should ask you to create the best plan? The way to be less

Jul 01
U.S. Unemployment Rate Hits New Low

According to the U.S. Labor Department, the unemployment rate in the U.S. has remained close to all-time lows in recent months.  The most recent non-farm payroll data indicate an unemployment rate across the broad U.S. working population of 3.6%: a 50-year low.  The news is part of a broad trend of improving economic fundamentals in the U.S. over the past decade. We have

Jun 27
The Defining Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

We all love stories of originality and innovation. Who isn’t inspired by the entrepreneur who was willing to risk it all and, against all odds, succeeded? We all want to hear about the person with strong convictions who swam against the tide, and we want to copy the characteristics of such successful entrepreneurs. But there’s a real danger to pursuing unique ideas. What may appear original

Jun 24
It Matters How We Think About Work

Several years ago, the Principal Financial Group ran an advertisement showing an athletic woman in her sixties wearing a wet suit, carrying a surfboard, and delightedly heading to the shore.  The question was posed “Why do we work?” and then subsequently answered, “For the freedom that a secure retirement brings.”  It ended by stating, “We understand what you’re working for.” It is clear

Jun 20
The Importance of Finding & Collaborating With a Team of Financial Professionals

We often speak with our clients about the need for high quality advice in all aspects of their financial life—not just investing.  As a firm, our approach to working with clients on their financial independence is comprehensive and involves a multi-disciplinary team of advisors. And while many in the wealth management world pay lip service to providing comprehensive planning, in practice the non-investment

Jun 20
Economic Productivity: Are We Missing a Piece of the Growth Puzzle?

There are two primary factors for measuring the change in economic activity in our country, also referred to as U.S. GDP: population growth and productivity growth. In other words, our domestic economy grows as the result of two factors: more people demanding good and services (population growth) and increased economic output per person (productivity growth). Real U.S. GDP growth has maintained a range

Jun 11