Something about Mary…

When the 60-something woman walked into the office I could see her fighting back the tears.

From time to time this happened to me as a financial advisor. After all, once you’ve counseled 500+ families about retirement, you’re bound to see some tough situations.

But on that day in April of 2009, it turned into a situation I’d never forget. The kind of situation that would make me sick to my stomach.

As I came out to introduce myself to her (let’s call her Mary), she thanked me for my time. I’d never met Mary before. She’d been referred to us by her husband’s co-worker.

We made our way to the conference room and as I always started off meetings, I asked her, “What can we do to help you today?”

Mary replied, “I’m in trouble. And I don’t know what to do.”

“Okay, what’s the situation?”

“Up until last Friday, I worked at a small regional bank for 32 years. On Friday, the Federal Government came in and seized the bank. They locked the doors. We are officially out of business. Which means I lost my job.”

“I’m really sorry to hear about that. That’s definitely not an easy thing to digest…”

“Yeah, well my job is my last concern. The problem is that I had my entire retirement account invested in the private stock of the bank. The valuation last year said it was worth $750,000. Is there anything I can do?”

I already knew the answer and I suppose deep down she did too…the simple answer was there’s nothing she could do. And the stock was virtually worthless. 

Read More

The Right Small Steps in the New Year Can Make a Big Impact

Have you ever noticed how a lot of financial blog headlines read like they’re introducing the latest diet trend?

Ditch the Starbucks and Retire Ten Years Earlier!

The premise of this kind of financial advice always boils down to the same basic principle: in order to grow your money, you need to spend the money you already have more wisely. Makes sense right? Especially around this time of year, it may even sound like a pretty good New Year’s resolution. After all, what an easy – though somehow simultaneously unattainable – solution to all your (financial) problems.

Abandon your morning latte fix and you’ll become rich, they say.

That’s easy! I can do that! We say.

But for a lot of us, we can’t seem to make it work. We still never feel like we have enough to get by and now, on top of that, we’re especially grumpy in the mornings, drinking the bitter pot coffee from the break room and feeling, well… bitter.

Read More

2016 End of Year Review

A lot can happen in one year…

2016 was no exception. It may have felt like it had more downs than ups, but hey, you made it through. And if you can make it through 2016 then you can make it through any year.

This year was packed with election prognosticating, Britain Brexiting Europe, and doomsday predictions in China. It also had the potential to be a HORRIBLE year for the markets. Turns out it wasn’t. Nonetheless, it would’ve been exhausting had you actually paid attention to the markets day by day.

Still, we thought it’d be fun to a quick once-over of last year’s stressors… these are events that threw the average investor for a loop. Luckily, you’re not an average investor. We can tell because you’re actually reading this!

Read More
retirement-savings-blooom

Dear People Who Want to Retire

I’m 34-years old and barely a millennial. I’ve worked in finance for 10 years, which relatively speaking, is not a long time, but enough to look back with insight and a vested eye on the future. I grew up in Kansas and double majored in History & Sociology at the University of Kansas so I don’t even have a business or finance degree to impress you with. In college, my interests aligned more with understanding socioeconomic status and how groups of people are treated, rather than supply chain management, retirement savings and investment banking. And if I were going to be really honest with you, my biggest concern during my formative college years was making sure there were enough handbills around the KU campus to promote my rock band’s next show at the Granada Theater.

This all changed after my parents’ divorce. Their divorce immediately threw me into the realm of understanding discount points on mortgages, cost basis calculations on taxable investments, and estate and insurance planning in an effort to help my mother. During the marriage, she never earned much and always relied on my father to handle the finances. After the divorce, she had to rely and trust in others. This included an investment professional who, despite my mother being fresh off a divorce, low income, and insufficient savings, put her in a variable annuity. More on that in a minute.

And then there is my wife who, in her late 20’s, also sought guidance in an advisor. At that time, she was single, no kids, had heaps of school loans, zero IRA’s and insufficient emergency savings. Yet, she left a meeting with a trusted advisor with a term AND a whole life insurance policy. What she failed to leave with was a strategy on how to pay off her student loans or a plan for retirement savings.

Read More
stock market returns election

President Proof Your Portfolio

Well, folks. We’ve nearly made it. The election is roughly 24 hours from being over. And with that will come a new person sitting in the Oval office – oh, and…the end of a bajillion political ads peppering our televisions!

Having advised investors for nearly 20 years, I’ve seen this all before.

With each election cycle, without fail, countless advisors, financial news outlets and of course, your know-it-all (INSERT: relative’s name here) will try to predict how the stock market reacts after the election depending on who wins the presidency.

Thankfully, we here at blooom have the real inside scoop on how to president proof your portfolio. Just follow this one piece of advice: RELAX.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself ‘I just don’t see how that protects my investments.’ So, I will explain a bit further: cooler heads always prevail. It is true that certain stocks may go up or down in value differently depending on which candidate is elected and how their legislative initiatives impact certain markets. However, these swings in value are just simple and normal market corrections (see: 401ks aren’t life or death. BUT they can feel like it. So go with me here for a second).

Read More
1 2 3 12