Personally Invested In Your Future™

Employee Spotlight: Meet the Team Member (Mary Radke)

This is the latest in a continuing series of posts where we feature a member of our team using a Q&A format so you can get to know them a little better – both personally and professionally. This week we’ll be interviewing Mary Radke, who joined Brown and Company in April of 2019 as a Staff Accountant. Mary is responsible for budgeting, cash

Nov 07
How Do You Plan for Goals That Are at Cross-Purposes?

Goal setting is at the heart of financial planning and, yet, frequently one of those goals has the potential to undermine another one. Consider a few common examples: I want to retire as soon as possible, and I want to pre-fund my children’s college education costs. I want to gift appreciated stock for tax purposes, and I need to grow my net worth to become financially

Nov 05
Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage?

One of the most common questions we get from clients is whether they should pay off their mortgage as they near retirement. Like so many questions, the answer is “it depends.” But that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult to determine the right answer. We believe in using a simple methodology we call the Debt Decision Meter™ in order to evaluate this decision.

Oct 30
Meet the Newest Member of Our Team: Libby Dines

Libby started with Brown and Company in late July 2019.  She’s the most recent addition to our team and we’re excited to have her as part of the team.  When you visit our office, she’s likely the first person you’ll meet.  We all appreciate her positivity and desire to serve and trust that you will as well! Libby is an Administrative Marketing Assistant

Oct 22
Three Common Misconceptions About Medicare

One of the most prominent areas of concern for those nearing retirement is the cost of health care.  For those who are age 65 or older, Medicare can play a crucial role in addressing this issue.  However, the system is quite complex and can feel overwhelming to figure out all its various aspects. We’ll look at the following three common misconceptions about Medicare

Oct 16
Employee Spotlight: Meet the Team Member (Erin Buis)

This is part of a new series of posts where we feature a member of our team using a Q&A format so you can get to know them a little better – both personally and professionally. This week we’ll be interviewing Erin Buis, who joined Brown and Company in February of 2017 as Director of Operations and Compliance. Erin is responsible for the

Oct 14
A Legacy That Really Matters: Resume Virtues vs. Eulogy Virtues

Often the focus of estate planning begins and ends with the execution of proper documents and the titling of assets. However, a proper estate plan should not be limited to those who have passed away and the avoidance of a death tax. Instead, its most important goal should be to provide “A Legacy for the Living.” This requires a multi-generational plan that not

Oct 10
Employee Spotlight: Meet the Team Member (Chad Hamilton)

This is the first in a new series of posts where we feature a member of our team using a Q&A format so you can get to know them a little better – both personally and professionally. We have added three new team members this year, and one of those is Chad Hamilton, who joined Brown and Company in January as Director of

Oct 04
Business Transition Options: Assessing the Pros & Cons of Different Exit Strategies

If you own a closely-held business, it is crucial to have an exit strategy worked out in advance to help ensure that you meet the personal financial and business objectives you’re hoping to achieve.  Below is a visual that shows the four primary exit routes for business owners: To understand which option is most appropriate for you, we suggest that you work through

Sep 26
Creativity Starts with Empathy

One of the wisest sayings is “The more I learn, the less I know.” In 1817, the poet John Keats wrote, in a letter to his brother, about how the world is far more complex than we could ever imagine. Due to our limited experience and perceptive abilities, we only glimpse a small portion of reality. Seeking First to Understand Keats was actually explaining his

Sep 18
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