Blog

Gift with a tax deduction? In most instances, if you give a gift to a family member, you not only don’t receive a tax break, but you need to be mindful of the amount of the gift in case a gift tax return needs to be filed. Wow.  That sentence just put me to sleep. Let’s try that again. I want to help my kids and/or grandkids prepare to pay for college.  Is a...

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Scott J. Snyder, JD, CFP®, CFA, CIMA®

For many years, Foster Group has approached asset allocation using an analysis we call our Lifeboat Drill.  Setting a proper mix of growth assets like stocks or real estate, and preservation assets like bonds, begins with understanding our clients’ future cash flow needs.  The answers to two questions provide the foundation for our Lifeboat Drill. First, we explore the minimum return rate you must earn on your portfolio assets to meet...

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Scott Snyder and I were meeting with a 20-year client of Foster Group. We’ll call her Susie. She and her husband have done a great job with their finances. They’ve saved. They’ve given money away. They’ve been aggressive in paying down debt. Frankly, they’ve taken the advice we’ve given them and run with it. When we pulled up their financial plan on eMoney (the tool we use to help people make...

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Ross Polking, CFP®, AIF®, MBA®

Physicians are busy, not just because of their practice of medicine, but also due to their community and professional involvement.  Physicians are leaders in their own right and often serve as board members for non-profits, associations, and organizations about which they are passionate.  Their understanding of the entity’s financial circumstances is critical, and their efforts to maintain financial viability long into the future helps realize the mission.  When these organizations...

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Marcus Iwig

I don't like New Year’s resolutions very much. The whole thing feels overwhelming, especially after just surviving the holidays.  Also, it seems like a difficult time of year to make big, wholesale changes!  For instance, deciding to start exercising when it’s ten below out, kids have before- and after-school activities, and if you aren’t recovering from the flu or a cold, you are just about to get it.  It seems...

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Mark Stadtlander

The total return of the S&P 500 index over the past five calendar years (2011-2015) is +80.7%.  The 13 best trading days during those five years (i.e., 13 days out of 1,258 total trading days) produced a 55.1% gain.  Thus, 1% of the trading days were responsible for 68% of the index’s total return. * 20-plus years ago, Jerry and I used to record a cassette tape--yes, that’s right, a...

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Ross Polking, CFP®, AIF®, MBA®

Physicians are becoming more and more accustomed to scrutiny of the cost of their services.  In an era of healthcare reform, the squeeze is on to reduce margin thanks to pressure from the government, insurance companies, and patients.  Declining reimbursements are forcing medical professionals to cut staff, limit time with patients and, in some instances, turn away those seeking specific medical services.  Patients are also bearing a greater cost-sharing burden...

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Joe Bantz and I had an introductory meeting with potential clients earlier this year. They were referred by a friend. Questions – from both sides of the table – set the agenda for this initial meeting. In this case, they had a number of questions about our investment philosophy and fee structure. Joe and I asked about their financial history, hopes and concerns, and their reasons for considering Foster Group. During...

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Kent Kramer

Like many Americans, I keep looking out my window for pigs with wings…the euphemism “when pigs fly” having been recently invoked for:

  1. The Chicago Cubs winning the World Series after a 108 year drought, finding themselves down three games to one to the Cleveland Indians on October 30 (15% probability*)
  2. Donald Trump winning the United States Presidential election after an aggregated index of national polls gave him less than a...

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