Blog 2018-03-16T01:07:17+00:00

Articles of Interest

On Guard for the Fragile Decade

Some call it the “fragile decade,” that first 10 years of retirement when market movements can have a profound effect on a portfolio’s ability to sustain income and financial security for the years ahead.  It has a lot to do with the sequencing of returns. In the years leading up to retirement, many investors have discretionary income to make meaningful contributions to retirement savings, and they’re not yet drawing from those nest eggs.  If markets are down, they’re buying in at lower prices with better upside prospects ahead.  But once that employment income must be replaced, at least in part, by withdrawals from retirement savings, the impact of a significant market downturn can be magnified. Suppose one starts retirement with a [...]

A New Oil Paradigm Shuffles the Deck

A plunge in oil prices is feeding consumer pocketbooks and reshuffling the economic and strategic cards across the globe. OPEC’s recent decision to sustain current production levels looks like a high stakes game of chicken.  These countries produce 40% of global oil but failed to anticipate the magnitude of the U.S. production surge – up 80% in six years.  That increase is greater than the output of every OPEC country except Saudi Arabia.  And it has coincided with recovering production in some previous trouble spots just as economic activity appears to have stalled in some key corners of the world. This is a decidedly different dynamic from the well-worn story of tight oil supplies and rising demand from China and other [...]

Roth IRAs Are Increasingly Popular, Especially With Younger Investors

Analysis released last year by the Internal Revenue Service shows younger investors are choosing Roth IRAs over the traditional variety in large numbers.  Fund manager T. Rowe Price confirms that as of year-end 2013, investors under 34 have eight times more money in Roth IRAs than in traditional IRAs. There’s logic to that, assuming young investors are looking at currently low marginal tax rates, lots of years to enjoy tax-deferred growth, and easier access to a portion of their Roth assets if a need arises a few years down the road.  But as those same workers edge into higher marginal tax brackets the argument gets a little more nuanced. The main lure of the Roth IRA is the promise of tax-free [...]


I recently set up a SIMPLE IRA plan for a business in Corvallis. Their goal was to help their employees save for retirement while not spending a small fortune on administrative costs.  If this is the case for your business, you may want to take a look at a SIMPLE IRA plan. Who is eligible: Businesses with less than 100 employees, tax-exempt organizations, and government entities. Who must be covered:  Any employee earning $5,000 during any two preceding years. Required Employer Contribution: Dollar-for-dollar match up to 3% of pay OR 2% of gross pay up to $245,000 for all eligible participants who earn at least $5,000. Maximum Contribution:  $12,000 deferral plus a $12,000 maximum match.  Those over the age of 50 may make an [...]

Will Stock Selling by Boomers Tank the Market?

For the better part of two decades some market sages have warned that stocks could face a stiff, steady headwind as retiring baby boomers trim their equity holdings in favor of more conservative allocations and start spending their nest eggs. It’s the flipside of the view that the great bull market of the 1980s and ‘90s was partly fueled by the boomers surging into the prime earning and saving phase of their lives. Demographics certainly can influence markets, but it’s probably more of an indirect effect tied to the relative dynamism of the national economy. Recent studies question the idea that retiring boomers will tank stocks.  Several years ago the U.S. Government Accountability Office determined that demographic variables account for less [...]

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