Four Reasons to Turn Off Financial Media and Go Outside
If you are like most of us, you consume a fair bit of business and financial media. Sometimes, I bet it makes you crazy. Maybe it's time you talked with a fiduciary Certified Financial Planner professional in West Saint PaulRead More
Five Ways to Improve Your Retirement
For those of you seriously considering retirement, here’s some advice on how to make it better. Maybe it's time to talk with an experienced, well-trained, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional in West Saint Paul, Minnesota.Read More
10 Reasons to Be Optimistic About Your Financial Future
One of my core beliefs is to be grateful. My family and I have it pretty good. I work hard to remember that to appreciate it. Maybe you should talk with a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul about your financial future.Read More
Should I Worry About the Debt Ceiling?
Once again, the debt ceiling is in the news and is a cause for concern. Maybe you should talk with a fiduciary financial planner and Certified Financial Planner™ professional in West Saint Paul.Read More
Three Things to Do Before a Recession
If you are like me, you are hearing plenty of talk about a recession. There's much to think about. Maybe you should talk with a fiduciary financial planner, or a Certified Financial Planner professional in West Saint PaulRead More
Taxes are Done . . . What’s Next?
If you are like most of us, you filed your income taxes last week. I always find it a bit of a relief. Now 2022 is done and we can focus on the future. Maybe it's time to talk to fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul, MinnesotaRead More
What Investments are Best for This Volatile Market?
Markets have been pretty jumpy all year. Seems like we always get big moves in the daily prices. This might have you thinking about updating your investments. Maybe it's time to talk with a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul.Read More
What Will the Market Do Next?
If you are like me, you are hearing a lot of speculation about the markets these days. Maybe it's time to visit with a fiduciary, fee-only financial planner in West Saint Paul.Read More
Four Things to Remember as You Delay Social Security
Most families today, do NOT plan to live on Social Security alone. But, it's a government-backed, guaranteed annuity with a cost-of-living increase, so maybe you should talk with a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint PaulRead More
What’s a Solo K and Why Would I Want One?
It’s tax season, so some of you are winding up your taxes. If you are a business owner and want to save more for retirement next year, you might want to talk to a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul.Read More
So, What’s The Debt Ceiling and Why Should I Care?
Most of us have heard plenty in the media about the U.S. debt ceiling. There is friction with politicians about what to do about the debt ceiling. Maybe you want to talk to a financial planning fiduciary in West Saint Paul.Read More
What’s Dollar Cost Averaging and Why Do I Want to Use It Now?
Nobody likes to see market prices fall. But it’s a normal part of the market cycle. Maybe dollar cost averaging would help you reach your financial goals. Maye a visit with a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul would help.Read More
Should Your Children ALWAYS Inherit Equally?
It’s very common when clients talk about estate planning for them to speak about “treating all the kids equally.” But sometimes, your situation is different. Maybe you should talk with a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul.Read More
Tax Checklist – 5 Actions to Take Before April’s Filing Deadline
If you are like most folks, you started to get some of your tax filing documents. If you are due a refund, you are probably eager to file and get your money back. Maybe you should talk with a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint PaulRead More
Happy National FFA Week
This week is National FFA Week 2023. I grew up the son of a high school agriculture instructor and FFA advisor in Newark, Illinois. My dad worked with high school ag students and FFA members. I remember my dad fondly this week.Read More
9 Tips for Smarter Retirement Income
If you are approaching retirement, you might be asking yourself where you should get money to pay your bills after your paycheck stops. It’s so easy as it sounds. Maybe you should talk with a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul.Read More
Once Upon a Time, I was a Farm Kid
It was 10 years ago that Ram Trucks ran a Super Bowl Commercial celebrating farmers. The commercial always moves me. And it reminds me of calling to be a fiduciary financial planner for families in West Saint Paul who embodies farm values.Read More
How Often Should I Look at My Investment Balance?
In these volatile times, with the markets down about 18% over 2022, and large changes in investment prices hitting screens more often, it’s easy to worry about your investments. But how often should you check your account...Read More
What Do I Need to Know About Required IRA Distributions?
Everybody born after 1967 knows that the IRS requires distributions (RMDs) from tax-deferred retirement accounts when the owner reaches a specific age. Maybe you should talk with a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul about it.Read More
What’s in the SECURE 2.0 Act?
The SECURE 2.0 Act is now law. It changes quite a few rules about retirement savings and might even help you move toward your goals faster. Maybe you should talk with a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul about how it affects youRead More
Three Questions to Clarify Your Financial Planning
As the saying goes, “Money can’t buy happiness.” But in our modern American society, money does provide the ability to do a lot of things. Maybe a visit with a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul could help you clarify your plansRead More
The Only Goal That Matters is Yours.
As the year draws to a close, you may find yourself reflecting. How did this last year go? Really? Maybe to figure it out some advice from a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul would help.Read More
What is Anchoring in Financial Planning?
I have often observed that humans are crazy. We are often irrational investors. It’s part of what makes us humans. A fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul might help you better manage some of your irrational investment choices.Read More
All I Want of Christmas Is . . . Less Stuff
One of the most challenging personal finance issues we all face is an ever-expanding definition of “need.” As we try to prepare to retire, Maybe it would help to talk with a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul, MinnesotaRead More
Five Things to Improve Your Retirement
One of the most common reasons for people to engage with a fiduciary financial planner is to improve their chances of a successful retirement. So maybe you should talk with a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul.Read More
Remember and Honor the Fallen
Today is the 81st anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. I invite you to remember the 2,403 service members and civilians who were killed on December 7, 1941. A further 1,178 people were injured in the attack, which perRead More
If you are better than 50 years old, you are probably thinking about retirement. You might be asking yourself, “when should I retire?” You might benefit from the help of a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul.Read More
How Much Retirement Savings Do I Need?
For many folks I talk with, this is a common question. And my answer, for those who know me, is a bit predictable. Maybe you should talk with Richard Dunn CFP fiduciary financial planner in West Saint PaulRead More
Three Mistakes Most Investors Make in Scary Markets
Markets continue to be volatile. If you are like most people, you find yourself thinking . . . “What should I do?” Maybe a visit with a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul would help.Read More
Why Do I Need to Plan for Long-Term Healthcare Expenses?
November is Long-Term Care Awareness month, and most of us will need some kind of help as we age. So you might want to talk with a fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul.Read More
How is Inflation Hitting My Family?
Regular readers might remember when I wrote about inflation in May. The rising cost of goods and services continues to be a challenge for many families, maybe it would help to talk with a fiduciary financial planner.Read More
Social Security to Increase by 8.7% in 2023
For those taking Social Security benefits, the waiting is over. Benefit checks will be going up by 8.7% in January. If you have questions about how to maximize your Social Security benefits, talk with a fiduciary financial planner in St PauRead More
Are Annuities a Good Idea?
One big thing that annuities offer, is a guaranteed outcome. Most folks know that guarantees NEVER come free. Ask your fiduciary financial planner in West Saint Paul how much predictability you need and how much you should pay for it.Read More
Do My Kids Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness?
If you have college-age kids like me, you may be asking this question. One of my favorite resources for the college planning process is the team at College Inside Track. Below is an update for them on the new Student Loan Forgiveness...Read More
Do I Need to Review My Medicare Plan?
If you are better than 65 years of age, you should be signed up for Medicare. If you are not, you need to check with a Medicare expert to confirm what’s best for your situation. Everybody needs to keep a few deadlines in mind.Read More
Will Fed Rate Hikes Cause Recession?
There is lots of talk about interest rates in the media these days, “How much will the Fed raise rates?” “How many times will the Fed raise rates?” “Will rising Fed rates cause a recession?” So,...Read More
What About Those 87,000 IRS Agents?
President Biden recently signed the Inflation Reduction Act, a sweeping energy, tax, and healthcare law that is partly designed to reduce the deficit. The legislation includes $80 billion in increased IRS funding over ten years. The...Read More
Are My Student Loans Forgiven?
Your student loans might be forgiven, maybe. On August 24, 2022, President Biden announced a plan for additional student loan debt relief. Below are some details as we know them so far.Read More
Three Social Security Claiming Tips for Widows
If you have lost a spouse and both of you have a work history, then you have several choices for claiming Social Security benefits as a survivor. It's important to carefully consider your options to be sure your get all the benefits to...Read More
What is the Social Security COLA for 2023
If you are like most families, the rising cost of living has been a challenge. How much will the Social Security COLA help you in West Saint Paul? Maybe a visit with a financial planning fiduciary will help.Read More
Do I Own Enough Stock?
As with my financial planning questions, my answer to the question: “Do I Own Enough Stock” will be predictable, and probably irritating, but . . . it depends. Maybe a visit with a fiduciary in West Saint Paul will help you decide.Read More
What Do I Need to Know About the Inflation Reduction Act?
The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law on August 16, 2022, includes healthcare and energy-related provisions, a new corporate alternative minimum tax, and an excise tax on certain corporate stock buybacks. Additional funding is...Read More
What’s the Average Savings for a 60-Year-Old?
Some of my readers might know that I turn 60 this year. So, this question is interesting to me just based on my age, but it’s also a common question. How do you compare?Read More
When Do I Invest My Excess Cash?
This calendar year has been pretty challenging for most investors. As I write this, the value of the S&P 500 index, the 500 largest US companies, is about 4,130. It’s been as high as 4,819 and as low as 3,637. Is now the time to invest?Read More
What Does the Mid-Term Election Mean for My Investments?
Generally, I believe that politics in general and elections in specific don’t have a lot to do with your real, long-term, financial goals. The data shows that over the course of 20 to 40 years, politics wash out. And for most of...Read More
What’s the ONE Most Important Thing to Bring Financial Success?
As you work toward financial goals, you will find no shortage of “great ideas” you need to consider. There are always people happy to tell you about “the next great thing.” Usually, they are being paid ...Read More
The Power of Gratitude
I saw this over the Independence Day Holiday and thought I would pass it along. Maybe your family is like mine. It seems we hear a LOT of bad news lately. So, I was VERY happy to see this item that reminded me to be grateful . . .Read More
You May Need to Drain Your Inherited IRA Sooner Than You Think
The IRS has a proposal pending that could be a big deal for heirs inheriting retirement accounts. Heirs who received retirement accounts used to have the option to stretch out spending down the account. Not any more. . .Read More
What is Stagflation? And Should I Be Worried?
Experts tell us that stagflation is defined by stagnant economic growth and elevated inflation. So, people can find it hard to get a raise. They might get laid off. And everything costs more when they go to a store. Stagflation is...Read More
What Should I Do in a Bear Market?
It’s been a difficult year in the investment markets. And most people feel like they should “do something” when markets are down 20% from their peak. I am a fiduciary and I counsel clients that if their goals have not changed,...Read More
5 College Planning Tips for Parents
The school year is just about finished in Minnesota. For those of us with kids in High School, our thoughts turn to the college selection process. What do we need to do before school starts? What should we do next? Here are FIVE tips...Read More
Should I Worry About Recession?
You have no doubt heard much talk about the risk of a coming recession. Yes, I think we can expect a recession. The only question is when. Maybe a conversation with a fiduciary financial planner would be good.Read More
What’s Your Number?
If you have been thinking about retirement for a few years, you might remember a big financial service company that ran an advertising campaign about finding your retirement number. Maybe a fiduciary financial planner could help you.Read More
Should I Buy I Bonds?
With inflation at recent historic levels, many folks are asking whether they should buy Series I Savings Bonds Well, the answer, of course, depends. Each situation is different, you might want to talk with a fiduciaryRead More
How Much Is Inflation Hitting Me?
Most of us have noticed that it’s more expensive to fill our cars with gas and to fill the cart at the grocery store. But, really, how bad is inflation biting your family? It depends on where you live and the choices you make....Read More
Should I Be Scared of the Bear?
The investment markets continue to be volatile. It seems likely that very soon, the S&P 500 will fall below 3,840 and into a bear market. What does the bear mean for you? Maybe a fiduciary financial planner could help you find out.Read More
Do I Really Need a Budget?
Most families find they gain a ton of insight and power when they track their spending and reflect. With the help of a fiduciary planner, you can make fabulous progress toward your goals.Read More
Will Fed Rate Hikes Cause Recession?
There is lots of talk about interest rates in the media these days, “How much will the Fed raise rates?” “How many times will the Fed raise rates?” “Will rising Fed rates cause a recession?” Maybe a bit of fiduciary perspective will help.Read More
What Could Possibly Go Wrong . . . in Retirement?
As a financial planner who is always my client’s advocate – a fiduciary advisor – I work hard to help my clients identify their financial priorities and make plans to reach their goals safely. But things can change . . .Read More
How Much Savings is Enough?
From time to time, I get the question: “Hey, how are we doing compared to your other clients?” It’s funny, other people’s experience has nothing to do with your experience, but humans are just like that. They...Read More
Volatility is Not the Enemy . . . Panic is the Enemy
We are clearly in a volatile market cycle. We should expect to see more large moves – UP and DOWN in the coming weeks. Fiduciary perspective will help keep things in perspective.Read More
What Does All This Market Volatility Mean?
The markets have been doing some crazy things lately. And we are hearing plenty of crazy news. As a financial planner who is always focused on my clients’ best interests – a fiduciary advisor – I try at times like...Read More
What Should I Think About the Fed Rate Increase?
I suppose you have heard about the March 16 Federal Reserve announcement. The Fed increased interest rates for the first time since December 2018 with a 25-basis point hike (0.25%). Several more hikes (up to six) are expected later...Read More
What Should I Think About Inflation?
Some of us remember INFLATION from the 1970s and 1980s. I graduated high school in 1980, so I remember some of it. Does the recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) report we are going back to the 1970s again? While nobody knows for sure,...Read More
Is a Qualified Charitable Distribution Right for You?
Whether you’re fully or partly retired, you may find that your assets are sufficient to cover your lifestyle for the remainder of your retirement. Maybe you should consider helping a charity with your distribution.Read More
Weekly Market Insights: Ukrainian War Stresses Economy
It's been a pretty stressful week in the markets. There's been plenty of ugly "news" Here is a summary of the weeks' markets with a bit less excitement. I hope you like it.Read More
Should Investors Be Worried About Ukraine?
We all woke up this morning to the terrible news about Russia and the military invasion of neighboring Ukraine. While none of us knows for sure how things will play out, investors are understandably watching closely to see the impact...Read More
When Do I Need to Take a Required IRA Distribution?
When Do I Need to Take a Required IRA Distribution? \Most retired folks know that IRS rules require owners of retirement accounts to take distribution when they reach a certain age. It’s called the Required Minimum...Read More
5 Tips to Start the Year Financially Healthy
As you think about moving from working for a living to living comfortably in retirement, there is a lot to consider. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Now that the Holiday Season is behind us, I suggest you take a minute to review a...Read More
Do I Need a Trust?
If you are like many of my clients, from time to time, you get to feeling that maybe you need a trust. Typically, this feeling is the result of something you saw on cable, read in a book or article, or perhaps advice from a neighbor or...Read More
Seven Things to Own in Retirement
My practice is focused on helping families move from “saving to get retired” to “living comfortably in retirement.” Part of that process is understanding your retirement goals. As you reflect on what’s...Read More
Should I Be Worried About Markets in 2022?
If you are like me, you may be hearing a lot of exciting speculation about the year ahead for investments. Of course, what you are hearing will depend on your sources of information. Some folks are more excited about the year ahead and...Read More
7 Things in 10 Years
What Do I Do About Inflation?
You may have noticed news items on November 10 about the Consumer Price Index rising by 0.9% for the month of October and posting a 6.2% increase over the last 12 months. This is probably not a surprise if you have been to a...Read More
Five Great Gifts for Grandkids
Now that we are in the Holiday season, it’s time to think about gifts for your family. If you are interested in a Holiday gift that helps a grandchild learn about money and investing, here are five ideas to consider.Read More
Which is Better, Whole Life Insurance or Roth IRA?
Regular readers know that my standard answer to most questions is the same, “It depends.” But in this situation, there is a bit more. Whole life insurance and Roth IRAs both have a place in a family’s financial...Read More
Are Annuities a Good Idea?
I was talking with a client recently and the subject of annuities came up. They said that they had heard that, “you should stay away from annuities.” So, I mentioned that, like most everything in financial planning, staying...Read More
How Will Inflation Affect My Investments?
It’s been a long time since we had “serious” inflation. More than 30 years. In the 1990s we averaged about 2.9% inflation, in the 2000s we had averaged about 2.5% inflation and in the 2010s the average was about 1.8%...Read More
10 Ways to Cut Taxes Before Year End
As we settle into November, thoughts turn to the end of the year. As they year winds down, there are still things you can do to reduce your 2021 tax bill. 1.) Check Your Withholding If you were hit with a big tax bill last April it...Read More
What Are ESG Investments and Should I Own Them?
I often get clients and friends asking about “good” investments or “bad” investments . . . or ESG investments. Generally, my answer is always the same. It depends on your goals. Some investments might be great...Read More
Can I Count on Social Security Being There for Me?
In planning conversations, this question comes up a lot. Many folks have heard a lot of talk about how the Social Security system is “broken” and won’t be there for future generations. There is a lot of debate about...Read More
It’s Open Enrollment Season
It’s that time of year again, when many company-provided insurance policies allow open enrollment.We’d like to piggy-back on that concept by offering you an open enrollment of another kind. If you give us a call or reply...Read More
Should I Retire Next Year?
For many Americans, the question of when to retire is hard. There used to be a “standard plan” for many families. Most folks stayed at one job for a career. The company provided a pension. You understood what you needed to...Read More
It's FAFSA Time: What You Need To Know
The FAFSA process starts each fall on October 1. If you have children in high school, you very likely are thinking about college for them. And, if you are even thinking about college for your kids, you need to complete the FAFSA (Free...Read More
Investment Choices: Are Target Date Funds Good or Bad?
Target date funds are often found in retirement savings plans at your work. The description “target date” comes because these funds are described as designed for a specific time frame. Maybe for retirement, maybe for your...Read More
What is the Difference Between Saving and Investing?
A key concept to understand as you work to secure your financial future is the difference between saving and investing. When I work with clients, I am always a fiduciary. I’m an advocate for my clients’ best interests at...Read More
How to Not Run Out of Money in Retirement
If you are like many Americans thinking about retirement, one of your biggest worries may be: “Have I got enough money to retire? What if I run out?” Research shows that you are not alone. Worse Than Dying. A research...Read More
Stock Market Highs - What's Next?
We have hit more than 50 new stock market highs in 2021. It seems the markets have been rising for A Long Time. Does this mean the end is nigh? Should you panic? Regular readers know that I believe the most reliable way to grow wealth...Read More
What is Risk Tolerance in Investing?
Risk tolerance is a measure of how much fluctuation in value you can stand in order to receive growth of your principal over time. Sound simple, right? Or maybe is just sounds like financial mumbo jumbo. The term risk tolerance is used...Read More
What is Probate and How Do I Avoid It?
If you are like many of my older clients, you have heard that “you have to avoid probate, it’s horrible and expensive.” So, what is probate? Specifically, probate is a legal term for a process in which a will is...Read More
5 Ways to Stay on Track and Meet Your Retirement Goals
If you are like most Americans, you don’t have a great handle on your progress toward financial goals. One of the reasons may be that most folks DO NOT use outside help to create a financial plan or to manage their investments....Read More
What Are The 6 Key Components of Financial Planning?
What are the 6 Key Components of Financial Planning? The traditional description of holistic financial planning looks at all these areas of your financial Life: Cash flow and net worth. Risk protection strategies. Property casualty...Read More
What is the Meaning of Financial Independence?
Like so many topics in the financial world, the answer to “What is the Meaning of Financial Independence?” depends on your situation. Most of financial planning is highly personalized. Your goals, your priorities, your...Read More
Should You Be Concerned About Inflation?
As your fiduciary financial planner, I am your advocate at all times. So, I'm always watching for factors that might threaten your financial goals. I recently came across this article and thought you might find it helpful. As always,...Read More
11 Characteristics To Look For—or Avoid—In a Financial Planner
When you decide you need a financial planner, it’s hard to sort through them all to find the one that makes the most sense for you. I’ve put together a list of things to look for—and things to avoid—when...Read More
What is a Fee-Only Financial Advisor?
The financial service industry is full of fancy titles and complicated terms. It’s easy to get confused. The good news is that the definition of a fee-only financial advisor is pretty straightforward. Fee-only advisors are...Read More
What’s the Difference Between a Financial Advisor, a Financial Planner and a Fiduciary?
The financial service industry is famous for a lot of labels and certifications. So it can be confusing. What’s the difference between a financial advisor and a financial planner? Financial Advisor is generally anybody who works...Read More
8 Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor
One of my favorite quotes is: “If you ask great questions, you’ll get great answers.” To get the best experience from a financial planner, you really need to know what questions to ask. Whether it’s your...Read More
How Estate Planning is an Important Part of Your Financial Plan
One essential part of all my financial plans for EVERY client is estate planning recommendations. There are two primary reasons for this: FIRST – In order to assure that your financial priorities for your family are achieved, you...Read More
Why Should Creating an Emergency Fund Be My First Financial Priority?
People often ask why I recommend that their first financial planning priority should be an emergency fund. The answer is that “life happens.” There is always an unexpected expense that pops up. Maybe it’s a fender...Read More
What is Elder Law, and How Do I Choose an Attorney?
I recommend that all my financial planning clients have updated estate planning documents as part of their holistic financial plan. Often, those documents include some amount of elder law planning. The estate planning attorneys with...Read More
What’s the Difference Between Property and Casualty Insurance and Why Are They Important?
You own property and casualty insurance for the same reason you own any insurance, as a way to manage risk. Insurance is a contract that allows you to transfer risk to the insurance company for an annual fee. The fee makes sense when...Read More
How To Build Wealth Starting From Nothing
Regular readers of this space know that financial planning is not a black-and-white process. Advice on how to build wealth really depends on what you consider wealth. Maybe that means having enough savings so that one day you can stop...Read More
Why Would Anybody Buy an Annuity?
If you are like some of my clients and friends, you have seen some cool marketing messages about great “guaranteed income” retirement annuity products. And, maybe, you also have seen a few marketing messages that talk about...Read More
Whole Life Insurance Policy vs Roth IRA: What’s the Difference?
Some clients and friends have been asking about the difference between whole life insurance and a Roth IRA. Usually, the question comes to me after a visit with a “financial planner” who works for a life insurance...Read More
What Is The 5 Year Rule For A Roth IRA Conversion?
Regular readers of this space know I LOVE Roth IRAs and their stepsister Roth 401(k)s. They are an outstanding wealth building tool that I believe most people do NOT use enough. Lately, I have been getting lots of questions from...Read More
Can Parents Contribute To A Roth IRA For A Child?
Regular readers know that that I LOVE Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s. The opportunity to save money for retirement into a bucket where it grows without tax and can be removed without tax is FABULOUS. So, you and your spouse each max out a...Read More
Why Don’t I Trust My Advisor?
If you’ve ever wondered about whether to trust your financial advisor, you are not alone. Only one in three people are confident their financial advisor always puts their interests ahead of the advisor’s, and about half of...Read More
American Rescue Plan Act Provides Relief to Individuals and Businesses
On Thursday, March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA 2021) was signed into law. This is a $1.9 trillion emergency relief package that includes payments to individuals and funding for federal programs, vaccines and...Read More
How Much Can I Spend in Retirement?
As people move from working to retirement, they face a number of challenges in adjusting to their new life. But most don’t expect spending money to be one of them. Many families have been saving for retirement for decades. And...Read More
Start the Year in Context
If you are like many of the people I know, you are VERY glad to see 2020 end and to turn the page to a new year. It is my wish for all my friends and clients that 2021 be a year where the best day of 2020 is the worst day of 2021. I...Read More
Three Reasons for Optimism in 2021
As the year draws to a close. I want to take a moment to offer some perspective as we move forward. The COVID-19 pandemic continues and the impact on our economy and our communities is still unfolding. I expect that 2021 will hold a...Read More
What Do I Do Now About the Election?
I am writing this before the polls close on Tuesday. So, who knows how things turned out? We had record voter turn out and a high degree of engagement from both Republicans and Democrats. And, most folks are at least a little concerned...Read More
Withdrawing From Your Roth IRA Creatively
Roth IRAs have been with us for more than 20 years. That’s about as long as we’ve had Google, and the same amount of time since the last presidential impeachment hearings. Some things have changed a lot in that time, and...Read More
FAFSA for 2021-2022 Academic Year Opens on October 1
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for the 2021-2022 year opens on October 1, 2020. The FAFSA is a prerequisite for federal student loans, grants, and work-study. In addition, colleges typically require the FAFSA...Read More
What Should I do With My Investments In Advance of the Election?
Well, of course, this is one of those questions that depends. Most everything in financial planning depends on your particular situation and your overall goals. One thing is for sure, over the next few weeks leading up to November, we...Read More
Five Times to Check Your Financial Plan
Any plan you make is outdated as soon as you finish it. Planning is a PROCESS not and EVENT. To be truly effective, any good plan monitors progress and adjusts to changing conditions. It’s very easy for families who commit to a...Read More
Why bother with my 401K?
Once upon a time, a deposit to a traditional 401(k) gave you a powerful wealth building tool. Today, things are a little different. First, let’s review all the good reasons to participate in the 401(k) when it’s offered at...Read More
Should I Be Preparing For the Worst?
In these crazy times, we have lots to think about. With the Great Pandemic raging and unemployment soaring, some of us find ourselves thinking about mortality and about the fragility of good health.Read More
Beware These Common Investment Mistakes
Have I Missed the Pandemic Rally? This has been a crazy year. Markets fell about 34 percent in 33 days bottoming out on March 23, 2020, then rebounded to post the best 50 days in history. And as of July 1, the markets celebrated the...Read More
We are Half Done with 2020 & What a Long Strange Trip It's's Been
As July kicks off, we mark the half-way point of the year, and I’m reminded of the Grateful Dead song that says, “What a long, strange trip it’s been . . . .” – Robert Hunter in the Grateful Dead song...Read More
What Should You Do With Your Investments if We Get a Second Wave of COVID-19?
These days there is no shortage of news and commentary about the Covid-19 pandemic and what it means. If you are like me, it can get to be a bit much sometimes. But, with unemployment around 14.7 percent and business profits disrupted...Read More
Is it too late to buy stocks on sale?
Most of you know that the S&P 500 Index fell from an all-time high on Feb. 19 into bear market territory (a close down 20 percent from the high) in a record 16 days. And in less than five weeks, it closed down 34 percent from the peak...Read More
How much cash should I have on hand in case of an emergency?
When the market falls 6 percent in one day, it most likely feels like you need more cash on hand than usual. Conversely, when the market is climbing 45 percent in roughly 60 days you may decide you want to dump everything in the...Read More
8 Things to Ask A Financial Planner
One of my favorite quotes is: “If you ask great questions, you’ll get great answers.” To get the best experience from a financial planner, you really need to know what questions to ask. Whether it’s your...Read More
14 Retirement Mistakes to Avoid
As a professional retirement planner, I go through the process of retiring approximately 12 times a year with my clients. I see firsthand the process and hazards that families deal with as they shift from working for a living to...Read More
Two reasons to make cash part of your financial portfolio
Regular readers of this space know that one of my favorite answers to financial planning questions is, “It depends.” And, of course, the answer to “How much cash is enough?” is “It depends.” Cash...Read More
5 Characteristics of That Will Get Us Through COVID-19
As I write this, the U.S. stock market is continuing the crazy swings we’ve been enduring during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the market has continued sideways in May, we have just ended a historic market period. We had one...Read More
Recessions aren’t all bad. Here’s why.
On April 29, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released an advance estimate of U.S. economic growth in the first quarter of 2020. The estimate showed a decline of 4.8 percent for the quarter. Remember that this analysis is based on...Read More
How should I start preparing for retirement?
As a financial advisor, I don’t think it’s ever too early to start planning for retirement. Ideally retirement planning starts as soon as an individual starts earning money, even on their very first job. However, specific...Read More
Reasons for optimism in today’s market climate
It continues to be crazy time in America. In Minnesota, we have a “stay at home” order in place. No school for the kids. No face-to-face meetings. No in-person church. Things are challenging. We still don’t know...Read More
How to be like Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett is one of the most famous investors in America. The first week of May, Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway holds its annual shareholder’s meeting. Buffet writes an annual letter to shareholders...Read More
Four Great COVID-19 Financial Resources
I’m sure that you are dealing with ongoing uncertainty due to the global impact of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Whether you’re concerned about your health, your employment, your loved ones, your retirement, or all of the...Read More
Does Social Security ever contact you by phone?
I’m hearing more about telephone scams where the scammer is pretending to be a government employee. Scammers will try to scare and trick people into giving them their personal information and money. The scammers may threaten...Read More
Three Ways a Presidential Election Impacts Investments
Regular readers of this space know that the economic experts I trust are confident that we are on the cusp of a recession. The coming recession is a real challenge to your financial goals over the next 12 months. A recession is...Read More
Three Tips to Help You Reach Your Financial Goals
We are about three weeks into 2020. If you are like most Americans, you may have already given up on your New Year’s resolutions. About 40 percent of Americans set a resolution and about 60 percent of them fail within six months...Read More
Three Ways to Protect Yourself Against a Recession
We’ve been hearing conflicting reports about whether a recession is looming. A recent survey of 500 Americans shows many are worried about a recession and plan to adjust. If you’re in that category—or even if...Read More
What Do I Need to Know About the SECURE Act?
The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 was passed by Congress and signed into law at the end of 2019. The SECURE Act, as it’s known, represents the most sweeping set of changes to retirement...Read More
Four Secrets to Make 2020 Great
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” –The Dalai Lama As the year winds down, I find myself thinking of the year ahead and how to make it better. Regular...Read More
6 Financial Accounts You Should Have to Set Yourself Up For Success
In preparation for the new year, let’s think about getting our financial house in order. A great place to start is to organize your accounts. Here are the six financial accounts you need: 1) Master checkbook. This is where your...Read More
Do I have enough savings to retire?
A few families I’ve met with lately have seemed uncomfortable and even embarrassed as we talked about their situation. I see this a lot. Many people think that they are supposed to have a certain amount saved or have achieved...Read More
Do I Have Too Much Stock in My Retirement?
Is it possible to have too much stock in your mix of retirement investments? A recent Fidelity Investments analysis suggests maybe so. Fidelity is one of the largest retirement plan custodians and its analysis looked at more than 30...Read More
Five Wealth-Destroying Habits to Avoid
Regular readers know that I expect the economy to slip into recession within the next 12 months. This is based on the expert analysis of veteran economists whom I trust. However, I’ve been thinking this for the last two years,...Read More
10 IRA Mistakes to Avoid
Humans make mistakes. And the Required IRA Distribution rules can be tricky, especially if you’re new to retirement distributions. So if you are better than 70 ½ years old and you own an IRA, you may want to review this...Read More
11 characteristics to look for—or avoid—in a financial planner
When you decide you need a financial planner, it’s hard to sort through them all to find the one that makes the most sense for you. I’ve put together a list of things to look for—and things to avoid—when...Read More
10 ways the financial planning industry has changed
In recent years, the financial planning profession has changed a lot. Technically the profession is 50 years old, so you would expect some changes. But specifically, I’m thinking of all the changes I have seen since I started in...Read More
Should My Daughter Buy a House?
It's the American Dream to own your own home. But, it's not always the best financial choice.I’ve received several calls lately from the children of clients who were looking to buy a house. They wanted to talk about taking money...Read More
Four truths about retirement
There are lots of ways to think about retirement, from excitement to dread to worry, to all of the above at various times. With my clients, I find it helpful to provide some wisdom that can guide their thinking as they approach this...Read More
5 Tips to Avoid Running out of Money in Retirement
As we think about retirement, one common goal is to make sure the money lasts as long as we do. With that in mind, here are five tips to help make sure your money lasts. Calculate your net worth. If you look at everything you own and...Read More
5 Tips to Avoid Running out of Money in Retirement
As we think about retirement, one common goal is to make sure the money lasts as long as we do. With that in mind, here are five tips to help make sure your money lasts. Calculate your net worth. If you look at everything you own and...Read More
Should I roll over my 401(k)? Six questions to ask yourself
If you are thinking about leaving your long-time employer and wondering about whether to move your retirement savings away from their retirement plan, there are a few things to consider. Saving into a company-sponsored retirement plan...Read More
Four Reasons You Need a Beneficiary Form
If you participate in the retirement savings plan at work such as a 401(k), 403(b) or Simple IRA, you own an IRA, or you own life insurance, you have been asked to fill out a beneficiary form. But why? If you are married, you might...Read More
Retirement is Dumb, Do I Still Need a Financial Plan?
When the Social Security program was initiated in 1935, the full benefits began at age 65. At that time, the average man could expect to live 12.7 years more (age 77.7) and the average woman could expect to live 14.7 (age 79.7) years...Read More
Does an inverted yield curve predict a recession?
I was asked about the coming recession at the soccer field this weekend. For people in the real world like my clients and the parents of my son’s soccer team, the economy is not an important topic unless they lose their job or...Read More
How to avoid going broke in retirement
A big scary question for many folks is, will they have enough money in retirement? You might think that if everybody is worried about it, then somebody might come up with a solution. Well, they have . . . sort of. Maybe you have...Read More
Have a Target Date Fund retirement account? You still need to plan.
Have a Target Date Fund retirement account? You still need to plan. If you participate in a company-sponsored retirement saving plan, you very likely own a Target Date Fund (TDF). Based on the date you plan to retire, a TDF will own a...Read More
10 Facts to Know About Medicare
If you are getting Social Security benefits, you are signed up for Medicare. If you are not taking Social Security, you should sign up for Medicare about 90 days before your 65th birthday. Do not skip it. There are late-enrollment...Read More
6 Social Security Traps to Avoid
For some, Social Security benefits are only a small part of their retirement income plan. But even so, we all pay into the Social Security system and the benefits will continue as long we live, so it’s a valuable benefit we...Read More
Smart investing during a recession
It was 40 years ago last week that BusinessWeek magazine proclaimed the end of stock investments. Stock markets have gone up and gone down since then. But mostly up. S&P 500 closed at 42 on Aug. 13, 1979 2,926.32 on Aug. 13, 2019...Read More
Wondering how much you need to retire? These questions can help.
For most families, saving for retirement is their largest financial goal. It’s become part of the American dream to quit working and just have fun someday. However, as we wind down the second decade of the 21st century,...Read More
How will a trade war affect the U.S. economy?
The current market volatility is distressing. Any time we see the markets fall by more than 3 percent in a single day, it can be pretty unpleasant. But the news isn’t uniformly bad. A few things to note: Volatility is always...Read More
When should I take Social Security?
Data shows that a majority of Americans are losing thousands of dollars each year because they chose to start taking Social Security at the wrong time. One national study shows that retirees as a group will lose $3.4 trillion in...Read More
Why is insurance needed?
Part of my job is to help families think about—and prepare for—bad things. It can be tricky because humans mostly don’t like to think about bad things. After all, they’re bad and it’s unpleasant to think...Read More
5 places to get retirement income
For many families, the entire point of saving for retirement is to create an “income engine” that produces income to pay for life in retirement after the wages stop. But creating that engine can be tricky because of how...Read More
Four steps to build and maintain wealth
It’s easy to look at people around you who seem to have accumulated more wealth than you and believe they know some big secret that you don’t. Actually, when you break down what people do to build and maintain wealth, it...Read More
9 steps to declaring your financial independence
This week brings us U.S. Independence Day. It’s a reminder of several conversations I’ve had with clients and friends lately. In each case it was mostly the same conversation with different details: What will retirement...Read More
8 things to know about bear market cycles
Since the S&P 500 index of the 500 largest U.S. stocks set a record high on June 20, many people are wondering how much longer the bull market can last. Markets started their climb in March 2009, and we have not had a bear market...Read More
11 Tips on Financial Planning for New Graduates
My daughter graduated from high school on June 2. This fall will be the start of a special year in our family’s financial life: I will have two college students at the same time. These are the days. With graduation at the top of...Read More
Why be a financial planner?
Last week, I buried my father. He died at home, in his sleep, at age 85. For most of us, we’d call that a pretty good deal. But it’s hard to say good-bye to your father. Above is a picture of him holding me as a newborn....Read More
What to do if your elderly parent is being scammed
If you are better than 50 years old and your parents are still alive, you have probably wondered from time to time if they might get caught in a scam. It’s a reasonable concern. Seniors are commonly the victims of financial...Read More
How to decide where to live after retirement
Over time, we all face choices about where and how we live as we age. Below are 10 options for retirement living options. Aging in place The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) says that 87 percent of retiree homeowners...Read More
Should I take Social Security at age 62?
As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, I will tell you that deciding whether to take Social Security benefits early is a big decision. It’s important to get professional advice to be sure you make the correct call...Read More
How much should you pay a financial advisor?
I refer to most financial broadcasting as “financial pornography” because the majority of this information is based on fantasy that’s all very exciting and engaging. There are flashing visuals about stock price...Read More
What does a Financial Planner Do?
If you’re thinking about looking for a financial planner, you may be wondering what exactly a financial planner does and what value he or she can bring into your life. The answer I give when people ask me what a financial...Read More
What is Risk Tolerance?
If you are talking with an investment representative, a stockbroker or a financial advisor, you most likely will talk about “risk tolerance.” Risk tolerance is a term used in the investment business to talk about the...Read More
Why would anyone buy an annuity?
I bet you have seen some cool marketing about great “guaranteed income” retirement products. Conversely, I will also suppose that you have seen a few marketing messages that talk about annuities being the spawn of the...Read More
What’s keeping me from retiring?
If you are asking this question, you are not alone. A new survey from PWC, a global tax and business services firm, shows that baby boomers want to retire soon, but many have doubts about how to make that happen. Almost 60 percent of...Read More
Do I need a financial advisor in retirement?
Many people nearing retirement age wonder whether they would benefit from securing the services of a professional financial planner. The answer is, most likely, yes. A good planner, who is your advocate (a fiduciary advisor) in all...Read More
Tax savings for 2018
The new federal tax law takes effect for tax year 2018. One of the biggest changes is a near doubling of the standard deduction to $12,000 on single returns, $18,000 for head-of-household filers and $24,000 on joint returns....Read More
What is Financial Risk?
Risk is a topic that gets a lot of attention in the financial planning business. But it’s a term that’s not really well understood. There are many technical definitions of financial planning risk. And there is the...Read More
How to have enough money in retirement
One way to be sure you don’t run out of money in retirement is to carefully plan in advance. I like to talk about the Retirement Red Zone, the five years before you retire and the 10 years after. This window is when a lot of...Read More
How Soon Can I Retire?
If you are a regular reader, you can predict that my answer to the question of when you can retire is, “It depends.” That’s because it does depend what exactly you want out of your retirement and what exactly you...Read More
What’s My 401k Statement Trying to Tell Me?
For most Americans, their 401k savings program at work is their single largest retirement asset. According to a recent report from Transamerica, “Thirty-nine percent [of baby boomers] expect their primary source of retirement...Read More
Hate thinking about money? Here’s why it’s still important.
From time to time, I hear people say something like, “Thinking about financial goals gives me a bellyache. Why would I pay somebody to talk about them?” If that’s how you feel, you’re not alone. Most Americans...Read More
What You Should Know About Your Life Savings
Lately, I’ve been hearing some confusion on the part of folks I’ve been talking to about their financial goals. For example, a person said to me, “I’m not sure I want to save money into my IRA this year because...Read More
What Should I Do with My Savings Bonds?
Sometimes a client tells me that they have a portion of their savings “invested” in savings bonds. Usually I get a bellyache when I hear this. Here’s why: Savings bonds are savings vehicles, like money market...Read More
Why Bother with an IRA in 2019?
You probably hear from different sources that you should consider funding an IRA, but you may be wondering, why bother? Here are four good reasons: You can still contribute for tax year 2018 up to $5,500 or $6,500 if you’re...Read More
What Can I Expect From My Financial Goals for 2019?
Best new year greetings to all my friends and clients who take the time to read this. Thank you for your part in making 2018 one of the best in my professional career. I am blessed to work with wonderful clients, wonderful business...Read More
What’s with All the Market Volatility?
Markets rise and fall over time. With the current bull market stretching back to March of 2009, it can be easy to forget the part about falling. But history shows that the S&P 500 index averages a 13.8 percent decline at some point...Read More
8 Steps to Retirement
Now that you are a “certain age” you may find yourself thinking about retirement, or as I like to call it, the day you quit working for money and start working for fun. These days, retirement is trickier than it used to be...Read More
I’m reminded today of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. I think we have all seen the movie. It’s a story about George Bailey, who resides in the fictional town of Bedford Falls and runs the family business, the...Read More
What can you expect in the first meeting with your financial planner?
Your first meeting with your new financial planner is an important event. This is the person you’re trusting to advise you on matters that will materially affect your life and the lives of your family members for years to come. A...Read More
What’s a Roth IRA?
At year end, it’s time to think about topping off your IRA and most people should be thinking about their Roth IRA. Choosing between a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA can have major tax and estate planning implications. A...Read More
8 Important Tasks For Your Financial Plan Before Year End
Year end marks several important deadlines that you don’t want to forget. If you fail to meet these deadlines, you will lose out on the benefits for this year. Here are eight important tasks to take care of before Dec. 31, 2018:...Read More
What’s a Financial Planner Worth?
If you ask me, my services to my clients are priceless, but I know that’s not a very satisfying response. The true answer for your family of how much return on investment you get from a financial advisor will, of course, depend...Read More
Is This the Beginning of the End?
With the recent volatility in stock prices, many people are wondering about their financial future. Stock prices are down from the highs. Since prices have moved around dramatically from day to day and even within the day, it’s...Read More
Five Myths of College Planning
I have three kids. We are in the midst of college planning for my middle child, Peggy. October 1 was the first time you could complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It’s one of the important steps in...Read More
7 Year-End Tax Tricks
While you may be thinking about the kind of tricks mischievous kids play on houses that don’t give out Halloween candy, now is also a good time to consider how your taxes for 2018 will shape up. With two months left in the...Read More
Five Things to Know About Your 401(k) in a Divorce
Retirement accounts are often the largest asset a person owns, so it’s no surprise that they routinely get split as part of a divorce settlement. But under law, a retirement account is the property of the “worker” and...Read More
Can I Retire Early?
As always, whether or not you can retire early depends on your situation. How do you want to live in retirement? How much do you have saved today? How long do you plan to live? When I was a young person just starting out in my career,...Read More
4 Ways to Cope with SALT Limitation
In Minnesota we are accustomed to paying lots of state income tax. We have the 20th highest state tax. Typical state and local taxes in Minnesota amount to 11.57 percent of adjusted gross income — about 7.56 percent more than the...Read More
What’s Your Retirement IQ?
Most people have a lot pre-conceived notions about retirement—some of them true, some of them false. I put together a list of 10 of the most common ones I hear on a daily basis so you can test your knowledge about how to put...Read More
When do I need to do a required IRA distribution?
Most retired folks know that IRS rules require owners of retirement accounts to take distribution when they reach a certain age. It’s called the Required Minimum Distribution or RMD. But sometimes people get some of the details...Read More
Why Open a ‘my Social Security’ Account?
If you’re thinking about retirement, you should check your Social Security benefits. One ingredient in every financial plan I do for clients is to run a Social Security maximization analysis to evaluate options. Making the...Read More
When Do Most People Retire?
Traditionally pension plans paid out at age 65. You can thank the “Iron Chancellor,” Otto von Bismarck of Germany for that. When he introduced a social security system to appeal to the German working class and combat the...Read More
What Happens if My Financial Planner Retires?
Financial planning is about thinking ahead, prudently planning for the future. With that in mind, it’s only natural that from time to time you might ask the question: “What happens when my financial planner retires?”...Read More
What is an Independent Financial Planner?
When you visit a Ford dealership and look at cars, do you ever expect the new car advisor to suggest that a Toyota might better meet your needs? No. Everybody knows that the “advisors” at a car dealership work for the...Read More
Have I saved enough for retirement?
Many people wonder if they are at risk to outlive their money. Nobody likes the idea of running out of money in old age. Based on 91 years of market history and some reasonable assumptions, if you have been doing a good job of saving...Read More
What About This Trade War?
On July 5 the Trump administration placed tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports . Then on July 10 it placed an additional $200 billion of tariffs on Chinese goods, from clothes to refrigerators. How large tariffs could affect the...Read More
How Long Will Retirement Savings Last?
If you are 56 today, you will likely live to age 86, according to the Social Security Administration life expectancy calculator. That is an average, so half my readers will live longer than age 86. How can you be sure that you have...Read More
What Should I Look for in a Financial Planner?
So your youngest kid just graduated from college. You just realized you have 30 years of work history. You found a notebook from your first year at work and you notice a goal you wrote down: “Retire by age 50.” This year...Read More
Protect Yourself Against the Coming Market Decline
Twelve things you can’t control about the next market decline, and 13 things you can control. As we near the half-way mark of the year, the MSCI world stock index is up about 1 percent for the year. So far, not a great year for...Read More
Is a Roth 401(k) right for you?
In the Revenue Act of 1978, the 401(k) retirement savings plan was born. This law gave employees the choice to receive a portion of their earnings as deferred compensation held in a special account. The employees did not pay tax on...Read More
How am I doing on retirement savings?
“How am I doing on my investment or retirement goals?” is a question I get pretty often, most often from acquaintances, not clients. The questioner is usually looking for a comparison to other people her age to gauge...Read More
Father’s Day Advice
"A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry With Father’s Day coming soon, I reflect as a father, and a son, on the opportunity I have to help my children have a better life. So I thought I...Read More
Dollar cost averaging benefits
The stock markets have been rising since March 2009. The average market expansion lasts about five years, so many experts believe we are due for a pull back. It’s all part of the normal market cycle. The current market phase is...Read More
Are Women Better Investors Than Men?
Do you and your spouse disagree on investment strategy? If you are like a lot of married couples, the answer is probably “Yes.” And, there’s a reason. As with many things, men and women come at investing differently...Read More
Why Would I Roll Out of My 401(k)?
Many people wonder why they would ever roll out of their 401(k) into an IRA. Whether it’s a good idea or not depends on the details of your situation. If you work with an advisor who has extensive training in all aspects of...Read More
How to prepare for a stock market crash
I often get the question from friends and clients: “What should we do about the coming market crash?” The long-term clients I’m blessed to work with already know my answer: “Nobody can predict a ‘coming...Read More
Richard Dunn is now a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional
After a long period of study and successful completion of six different examinations, I am proud to say that I am now a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.So as you, your family or friends begin to wonder about the...Read More
Aren’t I Too Old for Life Insurance?
Growing up on the farm, we would get a surprising number of unwelcome visits from insurance salesmen. One of the least complimentary things you could say about somebody was that they reminded you of a life insurance salesman.Of course,...Read More
Have I Saved Enough for Retirement?
The answer to this question is the same as to many financial planning questions: “It depends.” It depends on how much you’ve saved so far and how much you will need to spend during retirement. But if you are like most...Read More
Four Great Money Myths Revealed
Many of us never got any formal financial training, so there’s a lot we think we know that we don’t actually know. As Mark Twain once put it, “It’s not what you know for sure that gets you in trouble. It’s...Read More
How to Guarantee Your Child a Full-Ride College Scholarship
After one of the most exciting tournaments in recent memory, March Madness has sadly come to an end. If you’re like a lot of parents, watching the men’s college basketball tournament can give you dreams of watching your kid...Read More
What is the CFP® Certification?
You may have heard of the CFP® certification. The letters stand for Certified Financial Planner™ professional. It’s probably the most widely recognized professional designation in the personal financial planning...Read More
What Should I Know About My Family’s Money?
I was talking with a client recently and she mentioned a dear friend who had recently lost her husband. While the friend was working to settle the estate, to her surprise she found that she was not listed on some accounts and that she...Read More
Where is My Old 401(k)?
Almost 12.5 million Americans change jobs every year, according to Retirement Clearinghouse via Forbes, and have to figure out what to do with a company-sponsored retirement account. If you are like a lot of people, most of your job...Read More
Can I Fund My Retirement Driving for Uber?
Working independently, on your own schedule, for Uber or another “gig” job can be a great source of supplemental income. But one key difference between this work and a traditional job is the retirement savings options....Read More
What Should I Do Before I Retire?
It’s a simple question with a not so simple answer. Today, as most workers approach the Retirement Red Zone (the 5 years leading up to retirement and the 5 years after), they are faced with challenges. No longer can they count on...Read More
What Should I Do About the Market Decline?
Sometimes I get asked by friends and clients, “What should I do about the market decline?”I often tell them that, unfortunately, by the time the markets have declined, it’s too late to do much. Imagine you just bought...Read More
Do I Need a Financial Advisor?
It’s a good question. But the answer is like a lot of financial planning advice: unsatisfying.That’s because the only truthful answer is: it depends.So how do you know if you need a financial advisor? Here are some...Read More
What Comes Next for the U.S. Economy?
Now that we have an updated tax code, what should you expect from the markets and the economy overall in the coming year? It’s always been true that changes to the tax code create unexpected benefits and consequences. This time...Read More
Roth IRA vs. Traditional IRA
The Roth IRA is turning 20 this year. For some of us, it’s still a new idea while for others, it’s been a fixture of their entire investing life. Whatever your perspective, it’s a great tool and it’s been used a...Read More
A Tale of Two Investors
Imagine a client who is very conservative--a risk-averse investor. It’s 1999, and she has watched from the sidelines as tech stocks have skyrocketed. Year after year, she’s seen tech equities beat cash and bonds like...Read More
Financial Advice for the New Year
2017 was certainly an interesting year in the world of finance. The gains in the stock market surprised nearly everyone. But will the good news continue in the year ahead? How will things change?We don’t know what the future...Read More
When Will the Stock Market Correct?
Classic rock fans may remember the Grateful Dead song that goes, “. . . when life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door.” Those lyrics sound like they were written for 2018. It seems everybody is asking when...Read More
How Does the New Tax Bill Affect Me?
Congress just passed a controversial tax bill. There has been much discussion about what it “could” mean, but now it’s passed, let’s look at what we know. New tax brackets The number of brackets remains the same...Read More
Five Investing Traps to Avoid
We all know somebody who thinks they’re the smartest person in the room. They know the best vacation spots, the hottest bands—and the best wealth building ideas. But just because they know the difference between echidnas...Read More
Who Needs Friends?
I remember the time my sales training coach said, "We are not trying to make friends. I got all the friends I need. What I need is more clients." He was urging us to be more direct in asking a prospect to buy our products. Like a lot...Read More
Millennial Parents Are Different
I’m a baby boomer. I was born in 1962 during the trailing years of the baby boom and I was raised by parents who can remember the Great Depression (the one from the 1930s, not the one from 2008). My parents are savers. They saved...Read More
Planning for your financial goals
Most folks don’t have a financial goal at all. Many feel their true financial goals are unrealistic, or they don’t see a path to achieve them. But putting goals into words can be the first step toward a sound financial...Read More
Black Monday – Those were the days
Imagine if on Monday the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down by 5,326 points. Or if the S&P 500 Index was down by 585 points. That's about 22 percent in a single day. Stock market crashThat's exactly what happened on Black Monday,...Read More
What Should I Do About the Tax Overhaul?
Many clients have been asking about the new tax overhaul. They are concerned it might have a negative impact on them and are wondering what action to take right now to protect themselves. There’s no need to panic about the tax...Read More
Thank You to Those Who Have Served in Our Armed Forces
On November 10, 2017, we will observe Veteran's Day. In honor of this national holiday, I want to take a moment to thank America's military veterans.There are roughly 21.8 million veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces as of 2014,...Read More
Why Aren't My Investments Doing What I Expected?
Have you ever opened up your investment account statement to find yourself disappointed in the numbers you’re seeing? Many investors are surprised, and often dismayed, by the performance of their investments. The problem might...Read More
Social Security Raise for 2018, Sort Of
One of the great things about the Social Security retirement benefit is that is pays you each month for as long as you live and it has a Cost of Living Adjustment each year to keep pace with living expenses. Recently announced changes...Read More
Hack-Proof Your Life Now
You’ve probably seen the headlines about 143 million credit records being leaked at Equifax, a consumer credit reporting agency. Before that, more than a billion accounts were exposed at Yahoo, and 110 million records compromised...Read More
Should I own stock in retirement?
Some investors are concerned about the volatility of the stock market, yet all retired investors do better with investments that grow faster than the rate of inflation. Stocks have historically been the best asset class to keep ahead...Read More
Thinking about retiring? Do some planning.
You don't get a haircut just once. Things change and evolve, adjustments need to be made on a regular basis. It’s the same way with your financial game plan. Financial planning is a process, not an event.Let me tell you about...Read More
Should I Get Credit Insurance?
My client asked me recently about "credit insurance" to protect against the recent Equifax data breach. My answer was no. But a credit FREEZE is a good idea.You have probably seen the headlines about 143 million credit records leaked...Read More
How do I know if I can retire?
Once upon a time there were jobs that could sustain you for your entire working life. Many of those jobs had valuable pension plans. If you worked there for 30 years, you could quit, take the pension and pay all your bills without...Read More
I just inherited one million dollars. Now what?
It’s usually a pipedream people entertain to explain why they aren’t working on their financial plan today: “As soon as I win the lottery…” “When I get my inheritance…” “If only I...Read More
Transferring a Company Retirement Account
If you have ever changed jobs, there is a chance you left your retirement account behind. If you are changing jobs right now, you have some options about the company retirement account. You might want to get some good advice.Are you...Read More
What does it take to retire at age 62?
You are eligible to receive reduced Social Security income benefits as early as age 62. What does it take to quit work and live off your investments at age 62? Most Americans start receiving Social Security checks at age 62, according...Read More
Planning for Retirement Income
There is no time like today to start planning for retirement. Times flies when you are having fun, so start your retirement planning now, because "someday" is closer than you think.When it comes to retirement, it may seem like...Read More
Should You Tap Retirement Savings to Fund College?
Many parents wonder whether they should use retirement funds to pay for college for their children. If your child is looking at attending college in the near future and you’re looking for ways to help your child with their...Read More
Assisted Living Options
Nobody likes to think about it, but there will come a day when each of us needs some help as we get older. Having a plan to get that help and a plan to pay for it makes everything easier when that day comes. Nearly all assisted living...Read More
Don't Say NO to FREE Money
Many people work for a firm with an employer sponsored retirement plan. Often those plans offer matching money to increase your savings. Don't miss out.Planning for retirement can be a very intimidating thing, and oftentimes it may...Read More
Easy Tax Savers Before Year End
Even in the busiest time of the year, you can still take a moment to cut your tax bill.As the year winds down, many folks are thinking about the family and holiday celebrations and might not be thinking of tax day on April 15. Here are...Read More
Women Outlive Men?
If you’re worried about living longer than your partner, you might wonder whether women really do live longer than men. Although it’s not the same for every couple, on average, women outlive men by five years, which means...Read More
Importance of Hiring a Fee-Only Financial Advisor
Are you properly planning for your retirement? The reality is that most people in America aren’t doing enough to prepare for life after retirement. The average 50 year old person has just over $40,000 saved for retirement. This...Read More
Retirement Planned Investment
Everyone hopes that at some point in their career, they’ll have enough financial stability to retire. Unfortunately, individuals are having to work longer than ever before because daily life is so expensive. There always seems to...Read More
Extended Care Investment
No one wants to think about needing extended healthcare after retirement, but it’s an important factor in planning for retirement. Without setting aside funds for extended healthcare now, you may find that, when you’re in...Read More
If an investment is successful, many people assume that they should stick with it and watch it grow. However, that is not always the best strategy if you’re looking to have a well-rounded, successful portfolio that fits the...Read More
Rebalancing Your Portfolio
Seeking advice when it comes to finances is a good idea, as long as you are seeking advice from the right individuals. Obviously, asking a gambler what you should do with your money is not the brightest of ideas. Instead, asking...Read More
What are the Differences Between a Roth IRA and Traditional IRA?
When it comes to planning for retirement there are a variety of ways that you can go about saving. If your employer offers a retirement plan and match, you should definitely take advantage of this opportunity. While becoming less...Read More
Are You Paying Too Much for Your 401(k)?
A recent study shows that more than 90 percent of investors do NOT know how much their 401(k) costs. You can often reduce the cost of your retirement investments.According to a NerdWallet study, roughly 92 perent of Americans have no...Read More
Dow 20,000 – It's Just a Number
The Dow reached the 20,000 mark recently. What does it mean? What should you do?It's been hard to miss the news that the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 U.S. companies recently hit the 20,000 mark. It's been almost 8 years since the...Read More
When Should I Start Saving For Retirement?
At Dunncreek Advisors, we feel as though we get this question a lot. If you are wondering when the best, or right, time to start saving for retirement, the answer is yesterday. We say this not to worry you, but to stress the importance...Read More
Do Women Outlive Men?
For many couples, the idea of living longer than a spouse can be challenging to think about, but it is often the case that one partner will live longer than another, at least for some small amount of time. For women, it may be...Read More
Investing for Retirement
While many people in St. Paul, MN, don’t necessarily enjoy getting old, the thought of retirement is sure to put a smile on the face of a lot of individuals. Some people in this country may choose to never retire, but for many of...Read More
Are You Paying Too Much for Your 401(k)?
A recent study shows that more than 90 percent of investors do NOT know how much their 401(k) costs. You can often reduce the cost of your retirement investments.According to a NerdWallet study, roughly 92 percent of Americans have no...Read More
Investing in Extended Care
When you’re thinking about your life in 10 year, 20 years, and maybe even in 30 years, you probably like to avoid thinking about your healthcare needs. For many of us, we want to focus on the life we’re living now, and we...Read More
Ag Jobs for Those Who Want Them
Part of an effective legacy plan usually includes at least one off-farm job. The supplemental income and benefits are often key to a successful transition from one generation to the next. Good News! The USDA says that there are more...Read More
Make Your Farm Great Again – Keep the Kids in the Business
With the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President there has been a lot of talk about his family and their role in the family business. For many farm business owners this is common. Is it always good for the business? We have seen a...Read More
How to Setup a Budget That You Can Stick To
One of the most common frustrations we hear at Dunncreek Advisors has to do with sticking to a budget. While budgeting isn’t always fun, it’s a critically important way to live within your means, and to prepare yourself...Read More
Retirement Planned Investments
At DunnCreek Advisors, we’re invested in helping you have a successful retirement; that’s why we provide retirement advising services in St. Paul, MN. Our retirement financial advisors can help you formulate a retirement...Read More
Happy Birthday – Welcome to AARP
We are all getting older. Maybe you noticed. One rite of passage is the arrival of your AARP application on your 50th birthday. It's a great wake up call to get your retirement in order.It came in the mail. Just another envelope to...Read More
It Pays to Understand Annuities
Annuities are a very popular retirement tool. Since they are contracts with an insurance company, they can sometimes be complicated. Here are 8 Tips to Find the Right Annuity.When you reach a certain age, you are likely to get...Read More
Is Your Farm Family Equipped for the Future?
Estate planning is one part of a farm families finances that often gets overlooked. In fact, research has shown that approximately 60% of American farmers do not have an estate plan in place. Not taking the proper steps in planning for...Read More
Planning Financially for College
It seems like college tuition continues to rise year after year. For those of you that have toddlers currently, who knows what a year’s tuition will be for your children when they reach college. While you can’t control...Read More
Fee-only financial planning
Are you looking for someone to manage your money, but not sure where to start? Sure, you would assume that any financial advisor would do, but unfortunately that is not always the case. It’s important to keep a keen eye on the...Read More
Regularly Reviewing Rules Around Your Homestead
Depending on the state that your farm resides, there may be legislation in place that could help your homestead property financially. For instance, in the state of Minnesota, a special law provides an estate tax exemption for...Read More
Investment Strategies for Retirement
When planning for retirement, there are several factors to consider when creating a realistic retirement plan. While it used to be easy to predict how your retirement would work, these days, it’s not so simple. Many of us have...Read More
Importance of a Long Term Health Care Plan on the Farm
There comes a time in everyone’s life where they can no longer function in the same manner than in their earlier years. While this can be extremely sad for a family, it can also be financially devastating as well. Not only does...Read More
Implementation of the Game Plan Is as Important as the Legacy Plan
If you are a farm owner who would love to see your farm passed down for generations to come, it is important that you pay attention! Simply coasting through your last decades of life, not updating your farm transition legacy plan may...Read More
Benefits of Revocable Trusts for Farm Families
For any farm owners, it is imperative that some financial planning takes place. While we understand that growing up on the farm may mean that you don’t have much of an interest in financial planning, it still is very important....Read More
Is An Operating Agreement Appropriate for Your Farm?
Once a business owner, specifically an owner of a farming business, decides to team up with Dunncreek Advisors and create a legacy transition plan, it’s important that they determine if added legal protections, like an operating...Read More
9 Wealth Accumulation Mistakes
Many successful people make the same mistakes with their money. It's hard to make great choices and be truly ready for retirement. Here are nine mistakes to avoid.If you are a farm business owner, an urban professional, or a farmer,...Read More
Things You Don't Know About Social Security Income Benefits
Retirement income is critical to any business transition or retirement plan. Social Security income benefits account for 52% of all income for Americans older than 65 and most people are not aware of all the benefits to which they are...Read More
Four Blind Spots That Can Wreck Your Transition
Whether the transition you face is a transition out of the farming business or just the transition from full-time employment into retirement, beware some common blind spots. When faced with an important life transition, most people...Read More
What the Heck is a Fiduciary?
You may have heard about the new rule from the Department of Labor that requires retirement accounts to be managed consistent with a fiduciary standard. Here's what's up. The Department of Labor has issued a rule in April of 2016 that...Read More
4 Tips to a Happy Retirement
As you approach your transition out of the working world you will face your one-and-only retirement. Here are four things to beware about.As a fiduciary, fee-only financial planner in St. Paul, I have helped dozens of people prepare...Read More
What to do if Your Family Farm is Worth a Lot of Money
Are you at the point where you’ve got to decide: do we stay or do we go? Do you struggle with making the decision of selling the family farm versus keeping it? At Dunncreek Advisors in Minnesota, we can explain your options to...Read More
Holding on to the Family Farm May Not Always be the Right Move
Does your family have a family farm that lately has been causing more headaches than happy memories? Let’s face it. Managing a farm on a daily basis is no easy task. While it may have been successfully run in the past by other...Read More
Eight Signs Your Estate Plan is Off Track
A critical link in the chain that makes a smooth and productive transition to the next generation is an effective estate plan. Here are a few things to review to be sure you are on track. Will based estate plan, or no plan -- Wills can...Read More
Tough Times Can Make for Rocky Transitions
For your farm business to successfully transfer to the next generation, you will need enough cash flow to support two family units at least for a time.Commodity harvest is in full swing across the Corn Belt. Prices are low, as usual...Read More
Stay Out of Your Own Way
Poet Robert Browning said "less is more." As we work toward our financial goals, we should stay focused on less things.Many humans, like me, have a tendency to make things more complex than necessary. As we work toward financial goals,...Read More
The Important Succession Questions Around Whether or Not it’s Worth it
Have you ever asked yourself life’s most important question, “what is the point to what I am doing?” Or maybe it’s more like, “why am I am doing what I am doing?” For our farm clients at Dunncreek...Read More
When Was the Last Time You Reviewed Your Life Insurance?
Lots of folks have life insurance. Often they got it a long time ago. Mostly they think that it's handled and they don't need to think about it. But, often, they are wrong. A quick check is worth the trouble.If you got "hit by a grain...Read More
Importance of a Trusted Legacy Planning Advisor
Death is not easy. Sure, a passing that is expected is a little bit easier to swallow than one that suddenly occurs, but either way you can be left heartbroken. When financial stress around a legacy plan adds to the stress during this...Read More
Should You Provide A Gift to Your Tenant From an Estate Plan?
If the land that you own has had a consistent tenant year after year performing operations such as farm work or running a business, chances are that you probably have a close relationship. When reviewing your estate plan, the question...Read More
Are You Making One of These 6 Retirement Errors?
It might surprise you the mistakes that can derail your retirement plan.Retirement planning can be a tricky area to navigate because it involves hundreds of rules, and violating them can result in unnecessary taxes and penalties. It's...Read More
3 Questions Regarding Your Estate Plan
With so much going on in our daily lives, it is difficult to keep up with things like your estate plan. However, if you sit down and think about it, staying up to date with your estate plan should actually be a top priority. Rather...Read More
Hidden Costs of Mutual Funds
What does it really cost to buy a mutual fund? Almost every retirement portfolio includes some mutual funds. But you may be surprised at the costs you don't even know you are paying to own these products.For many families, investments...Read More
Why Are You Not Beating the Market?
Often people wonder why their personal investment account is not growing as fast as the indexes they hear about in the news.Unless your investment account owns all 500 stocks in the S&P 500 in the same proportions as the index, your...Read More
Big Picture Strategy for Farm Transition Plan
As you consider the farm business legacy and transition plan, it can seem rather daunting. There are a lot of details involved. Sometimes it helps to step back and understand the big picture.Regardless of the particulars of your...Read More
Questions to Ponder Regarding Your Estate Plan
When is the last time you reviewed your estate plan? If it has been any longer than about 3 years ago, it is time for you to dust off the cobwebs and evaluate your existing estate plan. Although it is easy to forget about your estate...Read More
Retirement: Surprising Cost of Healthcare
Sometimes as we think of moving out of the workforce into retirement, we think that we won't need much to live on. It's easy to be wrong, especially when it comes to health care costs. Recent studies show that retirees will need $130...Read More
Is Your Nest Egg Enough?
When you get serious about retirement, one important question is, "How much savings will I need?" Even if you plan to rent out farmland for retirement income, you still need a nest egg. Part of the challenge to answering the "how much...Read More
How to Pick a Financial Advisor
When you decide you need advice to meet your financial goals, be sure to keep these keys in mind as you select your advisor. Currently there are very few common standards in the financial service industry, so it's easy for someone to...Read More
Counting Down to Retirement
In order to be successful in retirement start early and count it down carefully. 10 Years Out from Retirement When you get within 10 years of your target retirement date, it's close enough to be real. You can actually imagine...Read More
Five Keys to Winning the Retirement Game
Whether you are 65 or 35, these keys will help you lay the groundwork for a retirement plan that wins for you. Things just aren't like they used to be. No more of simply graduating high school and off to the factory. Then 40 years...Read More
Key Questions Around Your Estate Plan
When is the last time that you reviewed your estate plan? Here at Dunncreek Advisors, we believe it is important to take a look at your plan at least every 3 years, or any time an important life event has occurred in regards to any...Read More
Importance of a Buy-Sell Agreement For Your Legacy Plan
When you have a family business, there are plenty of decisions to make. In all honesty, your employees rely on you for their well-being. Their wellness is in your hands. So as you make your day-to-day decisions within your business,...Read More
Thinking About a Farm Transition? Start with Questions. Part 2
Farm business transition requires careful consideration. These questions help. This is part two of our list of questions that can help you decide if the time is right for a farm business transition. Are the parents willing to provide...Read More
Thinking About a Farm Transition? Start with Questions.
When you ask good questions, sometimes you understand the issues better. Am I ready for a farm business transition? When is the best time to start? How do I know when I'm ready to start?When you ask good questions, sometimes you...Read More
Preventing a Family Feud Financially
The passing of a close family member is never easy. While our focus should be on the enjoyable memories that we had with our loved one, our mind often gets overwhelmed as one deals with a loved one’s estate. The best way to...Read More
Six Tips for Legacy Planning
Legacy planning is a part of the financial preparation process that seldom gets enough attention. Individuals are taught from an early age the importance of a legacy plan. When you ask your friends or coworkers about if they have a...Read More
Pass Down the Family Farm: 100 Bushel Beans
Recently my dad and I were discussing the amazing advances in crop production he’s seen over his lifetime. It’s something many of us take for granted. People outside agriculture don’t even see it. But it’s truly...Read More
Assessing Business Transfer Readiness
With any small business, one significant measure of long-term success is exiting the business on your own terms. Many people are surprised when they learn that exiting a business was unsuccessful. Others are surprised when they learn...Read More
Goals for Your Farm Legacy Planning
Whether it’s the 4th of July or President’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day or Memorial Day, there is a lot of discussion about legacy and what each of those days and people mean to our country. We think there should also...Read More
Retirement Income Needs to Keep Pace
As we talk about transitioning the business to new management, we must create income for the outgoing owners. The retirement income plan needs to provide adequate income for rising needs over time.Read More
God Made a Farmer
Life is funny.Today, by chance, I was reminded of a speech I heard in November 1978 in Kansas City, Missouri, at the National FFA convention when I was a Junior in high school and an FFA officer.Read More
Consider Immediate Annuities
As we talk about transitioning the business to new management, we must create income for the outgoing owners.Read More