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.

Pandemics and stock markets (lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu)

Pandemics and stock markets (lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu)
The pandemic is here and we’ve found ourselves in bear country without enough toilet paper. When markets fall as rapidly as they have over the last few weeks and the country is going into lockdown, it’s reasonable to be worried about a situation that seems unprecedented. But let’s not panic. Because we’ve been here before. The last outbreak to achieve pandemic status was the H1N1 Swine flu, which hit U.S. soil in April 2009.1 You might hardly remember it because markets were on a tear after bottoming out in March 2009 and the outbreak barely registered on investors. But, some say that COVID-19 is nothing like recent epidemics.  So let’s take a look at one of history’s worst pandemics: The 1918 Spanish Flu. Nearly one-third of the world’s population contracted the disease and more than 50 million died in just 15 months.2 Despite the human toll, the Dow actually rose during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. Chart source:
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Are new retirement advice rules good or bad for investors?

Are new retirement advice rules good or bad for investors?
In recent years you may have seen headlines about new retirement advice rules for the financial services industry. Like many of us, you might have questions: What's a fiduciary? What do the new rules say? What does it all mean for investors? We break it all down for you in this infographic. Financial Lesson: Rules May Change. Our Commitment to You Does Not. We believe every American has the right to honest financial advice that puts them first. As professionals, we’re dedicated to helping our clients navigate their financial lives with objectivity, compassion, and the highest standard of ethics. We're happy to see more investors benefit from the client-centric rules we have embraced since we opened for business. Right now, we're working to incorporate the new regulations into our practice and you may see some changes as we adapt. If we need to make changes to your portfolios to comply
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How Long Will $1 Million Last in Retirement?

How Long Will $1 Million Last in Retirement?
$1 Million used to be the ultimate retirement portfolio benchmark for successful Americans. Being a millionaire brought status as well as the peace of mind of knowing that you could look forward to a comfortable retirement lifestyle with all the trimmings. Is that still true? We ran a series of hypothetical calculations to illustrate how long an average American retiree could expect their million-dollar portfolio to last in each state. Click here to take a look... However, these hypothetical examples leave out a lot of critical details that will impact your own retirement timeline. Here are a few: The expenditures used in the calculation are just averages. Depending on where you live and the lifestyle you lead, you could spend more or less than your state's average. That's why getting a personal retirement income analysis is so important. The expenses used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to construct an
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Passing Along Your Hard-Earned Money Wisdom

Passing Along Your Hard-Earned Money Wisdom
Jump-Start the Money Talk with these Engaging Conversation Starters: Click here to read our newsletter with four thought-provoking conversation starters you can use to jump start the money talk with young people of almost any age. These can open up an ongoing dialogue about some of the most important financial lessons to share with your children and grandchildren. Kids learn their money values from you. Have the hard conversations with them. Money conversations can be hard. Have them anyway. If you really want your children to have good financial habits in the future, you can't afford to not talk to them about money now. While it's best to start when children are young, remember, it's never too late to get the conversation started. Even if your children are going off to college or having children of their own, there are still important money lessons to share, from shopping for loans
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6 Steps to Weathering a Recession

6 Steps to Weathering a Recession
How to Potentially Survive & Thrive in a Recession Economic expansions never last forever. Eventually, they'll be followed by a recession. It's inevitable. And it's a natural part of the economic cycle. While we never know when the next recession will hit—or how long it'll last—history shows that, on average, recessions don't typically last as long as booms. We also know that, no matter when they hit, recessions will stir up anxiety and fear. And that'll trigger panic and rash decisions, which can lead to big losses. So, resist the panic trap that can come with recessions. If you can keep a level head, and follow these six steps, you'll be empowered to weather any recession—and any personal financial hardships you may face outside of recessions. Remember, recessions are normal. A lot of unknowns come with recessions. And that can make it easy to get anxious and lose sight of
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5 Critical Facts You Need to Know About Bear Markets

5 Critical Facts You Need to Know About Bear Markets
Bear Markets Are Inevitable. Here's How To Keep Your Cool. Bear markets come and go. They are a natural part of the market cycle. But we never know when they'll happen or what exactly will trigger them. While we can't predict when or why bear markets happen, what we do know is that bear markets commonly make people emotional and irrational. They can even breed a crowd mentality that causes paranoia and panic. Want my advice? Stop watching what others are doing. Focus on your own needs, portfolio, and risk tolerance. It's nearly impossible to know what other investors are thinking and doing in real time, just like it's impossible to know what the "bottom" is in a bear market. So, try to keep a level head and long-term view. And try to stay realistic. Remember, all bear markets eventually pass! You'll never get to enjoy a market upswing if you
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Harness The Power of Your Money Mindset

Harness The Power of Your Money Mindset
Money is much more than a medium of exchange for goods and services. Money reflects our personal values and the hard work we put into earning it. How we treat money, save it and spend it, is a reflection of our internal beliefs — our money mindset. When it comes to money, we all have strongly held beliefs, whether or not we realize it. Many of these beliefs grew out of childhood and come from lessons we learned from our families or picked up through life experiences. Want to learn more about how your unconscious money beliefs can affect your finances? Click here for access to the full newsletter! Your Mindset is the Key to Financial Health What does the word "money" bring to mind? Are the associations positive or negative? Beliefs about money are complicated. It's a symbol of one's self: respect, love, freedom, control, power, worth, and much more
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Could You Use a Personal CFO?

Could You Use a Personal CFO?
We get it, life gets crazy and many of our clients don’t have time to focus on their own personal financial situation. That’s why we wanted to share the term “Personal CFO” with you. It’s a service we provide to help you manage all the details and people involved in your financial life, so you can make the best decisions for yourself and live your life to the fullest. A Personal CFO is like a Chief Financial Officer for a business, except it’s for you and your lifestyle. No matter how you have built your wealth, you likely have a team of professionals that you rely on for expert advice. From attorneys to accountants, it can be difficult to coordinate these individuals and keep them on the same page in terms of your particular financial goals. That’s where a Personal CFO comes into play. Here are the three main areas we
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5 Thought-Provoking Facts about Retirement

5 Thought-Provoking Facts about Retirement
About 7 in 10 workers expect to work for pay in retirement, but only a quarter of retirees have actually done so. Retirement can have many meanings. For some, it will be a time to travel and spend time with family members. For others, it will be a time to start a new business or begin a charitable endeavor. A wide variety of emotions are linked to retirement. Some feel elation and relief, while others feel dread and unease. From financial constraints and financial freedoms, each person’s path in retirement will be different depending upon their personal beliefs and their ability to seize opportunity. Regardless of what approach you intend to take, here are five things about retirement that might surprise you: In 2017, more than two-thirds of retirees depended on Social Security as a major source of their income The average monthly Social Security benefit at the beginning of 2018
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Being a Savvy Female Investor

Being a Savvy Female Investor
As a woman, you’re expected to manage more than your share. When you’re growing up in your family, you’re more likely to have to help out with chores and household responsibilities than a brother might be…on top of school, a part-time job, and however else you spend your time. As an adult, society says you can have it all. But in reality, that’s only true if you plan to work 25 hours a day. If you’re single or married, have a family or don’t, work in the home or outside of it, being a woman means being constantly moving, working and learning. With that in mind, a woman’s retirement should be easy breezy, right? Not exactly. As it turns out, women and men are also different when it comes to financial planning and investments. Whether due to nature or nurture, women tend to take a more cautious approach in investing. And
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Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft

Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft
We don’t always hear about it in the news, but identity theft is on the rise. Our constant internet usage has given us a large digital footprint. And the more you are online, the greater your risk of criminals hijacking your information and using it to commit fraud. It is nearly impossible to go completely off the grid once you are on it, but there are steps you can take to minimize your risk. And understanding where your personal data might be living is a great place to start. Here are six different ways that personal information shared online can end up in the wrong hands: Retail and social media websites Data collection websites that store your information (White Pages, PeopleFinder) Old website pages you appear on (such as forums or blogs) Personal information on websites (old addresses, contact information) Outdated search results where you may still appear (such as former employer pages)
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Are You Wasting Your Money?

Are You Wasting Your Money?
Personal finance is typically spoken about in relation to big financial decisions. From things like establishing long-term savings goals to purchasing a home, choices made surrounding money are frequently thought about on a large scale. More often than not, smaller financial decisions are overlooked or disregarded, many deeming them too small to make an impact. However, seemingly tiny money choices made daily tend to add up to make a significant impact in the long run, especially when analyzed over time. Deciphering between purchases made based on wants versus needs is an important step in reassessing how you look at small financial decisions. Discretionary spending is a broad, vague category by nature, so spending some extra time to think about how you allocate money there is critical. One way to find the money to meet your spending or saving needs is to examine your current spending habits and consider eliminating money wasters.
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Do Your Retirement Earnings Support Your Life?

Do Your Retirement Earnings Support Your Life?
When it comes to retirement, everyone has a different vision. But the path to retirement is generally the same: you work, you save, and hopefully at some point you’ve saved enough that you can stop working and do something else. How much work before retirement is enough? And how much savings is enough? How long will “retirement” last? Years ago, retirement meant you stopped working, started collecting a pension, and sailed away to Margarita Ville for the last 10 to 15 years of your life. But nowadays, retirement could last 30+ years and could include a second career, travel, making new friends, or really, whatever intrigues you. Nearly 70% of workers expect to work for pay in retirement, but only 26% of retirees actually have done so. So how do you plan for a stage in your life in which virtually anything can happen? With no crystal ball to peer
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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 a
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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 or
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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 to
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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 to
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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. Moving
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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 got
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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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