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Blog

Welcome to our Blog! At Baron Silver Stevens, we feel it is important to empower our clients with information that can positively affect their lives.

Throughout our Blog, you will find interesting articles, updates on our firm, and practical financial planning tips.

Return of Volatility- What to do with your portfolio

Return of Volatility- What to do with your portfolio
Last year we saw the return of volatility to the stock market. This was a hard pill to swallow after a very smooth ride in 2017. In 2018, the stock market had two notable downturns. At one point, the SP500 was down 19.8%. But here we are, mid-way through February and the SP500 was back up to 2,753 (as of the close of business on 2/13/19). Remember, the SP500 hit its peak in September when it closed at 2,930. We’ve gone through a lot of ups and down to end up in roughly the same spot. So what do we do from here? We believe that with portfolio management, it is better to prepare than it is to repair. By “prepare” I do not mean market timing as we know this is next to impossible to do with any level of consistency. Rather, we believe it is important to design
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3 Steps to Prepare for Tax Season

3 Steps to Prepare for Tax Season
Coming fresh off of your New Year celebrations means that April 15th is approaching. And while no one likes to think about it, tax season is quickly approaching. Tax Day 2019 is on Monday, April 15th and that means that it is time to start preparing to file. Anyone who has prepared for tax time before knows the process seem like endless gathering and sorting of information. Unfortunately, there is no getting around that, but there are some steps to take now that can help you breeze through it more efficiently and with fewer headaches. Getting organized is an important aspect of potentially minimizing your tax burden. As with the majority of things in life, being prepared is your key to success. Today, we examine 3 simple and effective steps to properly preparing for tax season: Decide How to File You really have two choices here: file your taxes yourself
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The Financial Knowledge Dilemma

The Financial Knowledge Dilemma
Knowledge is power in every aspect of life. Imagine driving a car without a basic understanding of the rules of the road, or even how to operate it. That’s quite a scary thought. What’s even scarier? Many Americans are operating their personal finances with only the barest minimum of knowledge. One study found that, when asked five basic questions about finances and the markets, 61 percent of Americans were unable to answer more than 3 questions correctly.¹ That same study also found that 18 percent of Americans routinely spend more than their household income. Additionally, it found that one-in-five Americans have overdue medical bills. The reality is that knowledge puts people, retirees especially, in a powerful position. Unfortunately, however, far too many Americans lack the power to control their financial futures. But education lays the foundation for a journey towards a successful and sound financial future. One of the obstacles
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Small Business Retirement Plans: Here’s what you need to know

Small Business Retirement Plans: Here’s what you need to know
As an entrepreneur, you have likely spent years studying your craft, developing your skillset and expanding your business. You’re good at what you do. But unless your business specializes in business management itself, you may still have some questions about the best ways to run your company, manage cash flow, and maximize your profits. One area we see business owners run into some confusion is when it comes to idea of installing a retirement plan. Should you offer a retirement plan? If so, what type? What are the costs? Are they worth it? What plan is best for my company? Which one is fair to my employees and to myself as a business owner? These are common questions people face. On the one hand, a retirement plan can make you a more attractive employer and can also help you offset taxes. As the owner of the business, you’re also allowed
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What Your Financial Advisor SHOULD Be Doing For You

What Your Financial Advisor SHOULD Be Doing For You
The idea of paying money to someone for them to tell you how to handle your own money can be a difficult concept for people. After all, you can do your own research and listen to the news and that should be sufficient enough to determine where and how to invest, right? The most common and costly error folks make is thinking that if they know what to invest in, their financial life will turn out the way they want it to. But there’s so much more to it than that. A good financial planner helps you make a “financial game plan” that addresses not only retirement goals but also how you should navigate life’s expected and unexpected transitions. They take these complex issues and make them more digestible so you can understand how your money is implicated throughout different walks of life. A good financial planner will provide clarity.
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7 Important Reasons to Set Financial Goals

7 Important Reasons to Set Financial Goals
No matter what stage of life you may currently be in, setting financial goals is imperative. A Harvard Business Study conducted in the late 1970s, revealed that only 3 percent of the students in its MBA program had put pen to paper to write down their goals and a concrete plan. Ten years later, that same small segment of students who wrote down their goals were earning ten times as much as the remaining 97 percent of their class. While there are debates regarding the legitimacy of this study, the outcome highlights an undisputable fact: setting well-defined, written goals is critical to accomplishing them. Setting goals as they relate to your finances is the first step in achieving financial health and security. Identifying and thinking through both short-term and long-term financial goals will play a tremendous role in dictating your financial future. The following are some of the most important reasons
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Do It Yourself Retirement Planning- Consider this:

Do It Yourself Retirement Planning- Consider this:
Did you know that when Andrew Carnegie was drafted by the Army to fight in the U.S. Civil War, he paid another man $850 to report for duty in his place? Granted, this was common at the time but this is a prime example of how this tycoon mastered the art of delegation. In the early 1870s, Andrew Carnegie co-founded what would later be known as Carnegie Steel Company. By 1902, he was the richest man in the world. According to Carnegie, “No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.” Undoubtedly, without Carnegie’s ability to delegate and outsource tasks, he would never have grown into the success that we think of him today. So, let’s talk about delegating/outsourcing. Throughout your career, you built a skillset that allowed you to complete jobs or projects better than anyone else. Once you
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Is It Smart for Retirees To Pay Off Their Mortgage?

Is It Smart for Retirees To Pay Off Their Mortgage?
Reaching retirement and relishing in a ceremonial mortgage-burning party was a twentieth-century custom recognized by many Americans. At that time, there was no better reason to celebrate than rejoicing in the liberty that comes with paying off your mortgage. Fast-forward to 2018, where mortgage-burning parties rarely, if ever, occur. Why? Well for starters, etiquette experts strongly disagree with the custom. But beyond that, financial advisors are now pushing baby boomers to reevaluate whether or not paying off mortgage debt makes sense. A recent survey from American Financing, a national mortgage banker, revealed that 44 percent of Americans ages 60-70 still have a mortgage upon retirement. Baby boomers seem to be much less debt-averse than the previous generation of Depression-affected retirees, pushing them to reconsider the benefits of paying off their mortgages. As such, retirees will look to a financial advisor to conduct a strategic analysis of an individual’s financial situation, revealing
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Let’s Think About Investment Risk Differently, Here’s How:

Let’s Think About Investment Risk Differently, Here’s How:
Most of us know that there are risks when it comes to investing in the public markets and that we should build our investment portfolios within a general level of risk. We take risk questionnaires and use prior life experience to classify ourselves as a conservative, moderate, or aggressive investor (or somewhere in between.) But what does “risk” really mean? Traditionally, most asset managers and financial advisors use the term “volatility” or “standard deviation” to define risk. Both of these terms refer to the amount of short term price fluctuation an investment is expected to experience. The more the price of an investment goes up and/or down, the higher the volatility/ standard deviation, therefore the “more risky” the investment is.   Although this is all statistically accurate, we think the biggest risk for most investors is a bit simpler- not achieving your financial goals. Think about it like this: in your
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Why Are We Still Talking About Active vs. Passive?

Why Are We Still Talking About Active vs. Passive?
For the past few years, a big debate in the investment world has been active investing vs. passive investing and which style is better.  Active investing involves picking stocks with the hopes of outperforming the market or achieving a higher rate of return with lower risk than a particular benchmark. Most commonly, active investing is practiced in the form of purchasing an actively managed mutual fund. Active investing is also commonly associated with higher fees than passive investing. Passive investing, on the other hand, most frequently involves purchasing an index mutual fund or an ETF that seeks to mirror an index. Instead of trying to beat the market, the passive investment seeks to earn market returns minus fees, and the fees are generally lower than that of actively managed funds.  But everyone is focused on the wrong things here. The conversation shouldn’t be about active vs. passive, as if one style of investing is the best for every asset class in every market for every
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