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Robert J. Fowler, CFP, CHFC

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A Silent Killer

There are several factors that, from year-to-year, can put a significant dent in your goal toward a safe, secure retirement.  Among these are;  TAXES, SIGNIFICANT DECLINES IN YOUR RATE OF RETURN, AND A THIRD, whic I refer to as the "Silent Killer."We can see the impact of TAXES.  We do our 1040's by every April 15.  We see taxes being withelf drom our paychecks/  We also see tax bills in our monthlu or annual tax bills.  If you want, you can see your d
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Increased Taxes and Your Investments

With new poposals from a new administration, there is a great deal of thought about increasing taxes.  Just two initiativees;  Medicare For All and Free College tuition will likely cost approxiately 100 million dollars over the next ten years.  How will this be paid for?  Simple INCREASE TAXES.  Here are three key sections that you shoud be aware of.Remember when the Affordable Care Act was put into law?  To help pay for that,then
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Rising Taxes?

Politics aside, there is a growing consensus that taxes are going to rise this year.  Obviously, one should be concerned is that how it affects your portfolio.  As the saying goes, "It's not how much you earn that's important, is how much you keep after taxes.  There are several ways form an investment standpoint that you can reduce the harm of a tax increase.The first is under the umbrella of  a SEPARATELY MANAGED ACCOUNT.  In this vehicle,
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Protecting My Investments

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Health Care and High Cash Value Life Insurance

I realize this may sound counterintuitive but I suggest combining Health Care needs with you Life Insurance program.  It is simple by adding a RIDER onto your Life Insurance policy.  Many times clients wait until it's too late to address their long Term Care needs.  They procrastinate for a whole list of excuses;  I'm in good health now, Why pay for something I don't need now, the cost is too high andI may not qulify because of the medication I take.
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Government Regulations vs. Cash Value Life Insurance

One major feature clients like is the absence of government regulations with Life Insurance that includes maximum cash value.  
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A 1035 Exchange

Just last week a client called to informe that he liked and wanted to pursue the idea of Cash Value Life Insurance to ensure that withdrawals are tax-free.  However, he said that he had a fairly old Life Insurance policy and had too much invested in it to cancel and start a new policy.  I asked if he had ever heard of a 1035 exchange?  He replied, "What?"  I then told him of the mechanics.
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Tax-Free Investing

When considering Life Insurance Cash Value, there are factors we must address.  There, first of all, a big push by the mainstream media to push, BUY TERM.  This upsets me because they are clearly interested inselling you a policy and emphasizing the lowest cost.  Well, it's been proven to me that the cheapest is not always the best.Next we have the so-called pundits who wildly jump on the bandwagon by saying Cash Value Life Insurance is "a big rip-off."  That is
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Four-Five Benefits In One Plan

I've developed a grid that characterizes taxes on various investment vehicles.  The five factors are:     
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What? Another Acronym?!

It seems like the media is intent on boiling down financial terms to simple but often confusing acronyms.
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IRA Rollover

In our last blog we discussed contributing to an IRA and how to qualify for a tax-deduction.  You can also establish an IRA through a rollover.  Such an investment can come from a 401(k) plan for a previous employer, a pension plan from an employer, another IRA Plan and othe forms of retirement plans.  There are some rules you must follow.  
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Your IRA

More commonly known as a traditional IRA, it is a tax-deferred savings account that can include stocks, bonds,real estate, commodities and other investments offered through financial institutions.One benefit is the potential for tax-deductible contributions.  If eligible you can make $6,000 contributions ($7,000 if 50 and older).  You can make a direct contribution or a rollover IRA.  Not everyone contributing to an IRA is available for a tax-deduction.  If you are
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Visiting the Opportunity Zone

You may recall President Trump's Tax Reduction Act of 2017. One provision of the Act created OPPORTUNITY ZONES.  They exist in New York and  across many regions throughout the U.S.A.  The provision was a tax-incentive program to encourage private sector investments in these zones.  I broker and market one such program.  It is with Cantor-Fitzgerld, a 
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Features of the 529 Plan

You can start a 529 Plan in one of two ways.  An investor/Grantor (parent and even Grandparent) can make an initial lump sum payment of a minium $1,000.  I offer three different plans.  One let's you begin with a $25 automatic bank withdrawal from a checking account.  Another plan let's you initiate these savings but the minimum is $50 from pre-authorized checking account.Additionally, you have many investment options.  Both plans offer an AGE BASED segment. 
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529 Plans for College Savings

Parents and Grandparents want the very best for their children.
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The Dreaded Paramed Exam

When applying for a Life Insurance policy a vast majority of the time one needs to take a nurse's exam.  This
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Help With Your Goals

There are several areas the people devote themselves to:  health, relationships, finances, career, and perhaps the most important, family.  I recently read a book that helped me
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Tax-Deductible Life Insurance

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Variable Life Insurance

Sometimes when I mention the Index Universal Life to folks, they do not like the restrictions and are not concerned with the fact that in a given year they won't lose any monies.  They are on the aggressive side.  Do I have an option for them?  YOU BET I DO:  VARIABLE LIFE.  Here's how it works.You again purchase a policy.  Many of the fine companies have this brad of Life Insurance.  For your investment option, instead of a dividend pay, no-guaranteed
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Index Universal Life

W
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Universal Life: Where It Started

Continuing on the theme of Life Insurance Awareness month, we turn our attention to Universal Life.  Admittedly the Life Insurance industry is slow to change but it has made attempts to make changes when it sees demographics and consumer sentiments changing.  This is true with the forerunner of various forms of Universal Life.In the mid 1980's where I opened my practice, interest rates hovered in the double digits.  Hard to believe?  Life Insurance was losing sales to pre
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Living Benefits in Cash Value Permanent Life Insurance

This is not a contradiction in terms.  In face it represents one of the many advantages of permanent cash value Life Insurance.  Not only can you accumulate tax-advantaged accumulation of assets but you can attach significant benefits to your basic policy.  These are called RIDERS.  There is a cost factor but they outweigh any cost considerations.  One of the popular of this attachments is called a LONG TERM CARE rider.  Let's breifely discuss it. 
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Life Insurance Awareness Month

Every September our county marks the imporatnace of Life Insurance as one of the most, if not THE most, important cornerstones in every family's Financial plan.  For the past many month I have featured many Blogs regarding the Life Insurance.
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Your Estate

You do not have to be a multi-millionaire to create an Estate plan.  In fact, everyone should write asn Estate Plan with both a competent Estate Attorney and a financial advisor.  Here are the basic components.The first document is a Living Will.  This creates a legal directive to pass on your assets when the inevitable occurs.  It includes Real property (your home and perhspas second home and rentals), Cash Assets such as IRAs, 401k plans, Banking accounts, intengibles and a
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Do You Know Who Your Beneficiaries Are?

With about 50% of marriages ending in divorce and along with deaths; often premature, it is critically important to keep your beneficiary designations current.  By not naming a beneficiary, your beneficiaries may be determined by federal or state law or even by the plan document.Primary and secondary beneficiaries can be named for Life Insurance policies, retirement accounts and annuities too.  Events such as marriage, remarriage, birth of a child or grandchild and of course even the p
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Roth IRA Look Alike

Investors are taking a closer look at Roth IRAs and rightfully so.  Here are some benefits.     *  A Roth IRA is tax-favored, growing tax-deferred     *  You currently can contribute $6,000 ($7,000 id over Age 50)     *  Roth IRAs can be withdrawn tax-free.Yet there are some limitations.     *  For withdrawals you must meet a five year holding period     *  There are income earning contributi
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Helpful Hint

The main intention of my blog posts rests in providing you the investor with clear and concise ideas to help build your wealth.  A while back I suggested that now is a "golden opportunity" to invest with the market at relatively low points.  Two questions arise form the public:  Is now a good time to invest and where should I put my money?  Technically we are coming out of a recession, however brief it was.  Here is another helpful hint.Factually at the end of
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A Lesson Learned? Lesson re-taught

One could easily say 2020 has been terrible:  more than 170,000 deaths due to COVID-19, over 10% unemployment and food banks being depleted.  Yet the S& P 500 and Nasdaq markets at an all-time high.  These are uncertain times for sure but those that stayed on the sidelines these past 100 days have missed the best 100 days ever. The lesson?  You, as a regular investor, are bad at timing the market.  Back in May I bloged "there is a Golden Opportunity here fo
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Winners Rotate

In an effort to help you find the correct asset allocation, I thought it would be helpful to provide you with a  chart and also some helpful nuggets of information.  Because selecting the right combination of investments is just as important as choosing the specific investment.  Each investment has its' own set of strengths and weaknesses.  The ideal balance is to minimize your risk while achieving a desired specific return.  
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Growth Vs. Value

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Permanent Cash Value Life Insurance or Term Insurance

I just shake my head when I hear advertisements on the radio for Life Insurance.  The adds usually begin with a worker changing jobs and he can't take his Group Term policy with hi, which is usually true.  The add goes further to say that they broker many companies and can usally get more coverage for the same or a smaller charge.  They fail to include that you must go through underwriting and often there are health issues that could raise the premium.  Now consider two p
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An Emergency Fund

Life hits us with many surpises, some good and unfortunately some very bad.  To help deal with the many twists and turns of life, I strongly encourage you to create an Emergency Fund.  It is generally recommended to have at least three to six months to cover these expenses.  For example if your monthly expenses run $3,000 you should have about $9,000 in an Emergency Fund.  That may seem like alot but consider your Emergency Fund is not going to be created overnight. 
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What is Correlation?

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Management Fees

"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  This holds true for investments.  Over the past few decades we have experienced several economic drawbacks.  But what would you say If these loses were a bit higher than what we've read about.  This is true and it's because of Management Fees you pay on your investments.  I'll explain the management fees of three of the more common investment vehicles;  Mutual Funds, Annuities an
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TACTICAL VS. ACTIVE INVESTMENTS

There are many styles in investments and two that are frequently debated are a TACTICAL or an ACTIVE approach.  Both offer advantages but can also offer different results.  One of my roles as a financial advisor is to help you understand each of this two styles, answer your questions and ultimately let you decide which method you prefer.  Let's briefly examine both,The TACTICAL method primarily suggests investing to iron out the ups and downs.  In other words, in times of
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The Art and Science of Investing

This is a test only...
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Consider Whole Life Insurance

Life Insurance should be a cornerstone in every ones financial plan.  While there are three types of Life Insurance (Term, Index Universal Life and Whole Life) I would first offer for consideration a Whole Life Policy.  It has many advantages.  Lets take a look at a few.First it, along with the other two, offers a TAX-FREE death benefit.  As you do not deduct the premiums you pay,any proceeds received by beneficiaries are free from taxation.  Yet there are other features
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What Is A Separately Managed Account?

In recent years in large part due to financial regulation, there has been much interest in Separately Managed Accounts.  
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How Do You Assess RISK

It is one thing to say your investments should minimize risk but yet another  goal is to take actual step to ensure your investment really minimizes risk.  I offer three (3) factors used to judge risk on an investment.  They are the ALPHA, BETA and STANDARD DEVIATION.   I would add that in all the investments I recommend to clients it is my objective to provide investments that overall show LESS risk when compared to the S & P 500.  While such a goal can not be
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Social Security (Continued)

To help you decide when to begin withdrawal from Social Security, I have a neat tool called Breakeven Analysis.  
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Social Security: Maximizing Your Income (Part One)

Keeping with our current theme of offering a holistic approach to financial planning, I'd like to discuss SOCIAL SECURITY;  for it affects every working American.  If you are very near retirement, you have an immediate need.  However, if a  millennial or even further away from retirement, you have the power to help your parents or even grandparents make the right decisions when in comes to deciding the many options within Social Security. Let's explore a few basic opt
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Cybersecurity

I am committed to being a holistic advisor.  With that in mind, I am presenting several blog posts on topics not necessarily on finances but advocate important points that impact your finances.  The first being Cybersecurity.
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Are We In A Recession Now?

This is a question I've been asked recently due to the COVID-19 virus.  My answer is a word:  NO.  However, it has been reported just last week in an Economic Report that we are "technically" in a recession.  Officially a recession or bear market is defined as a -20% decline or more in the market. Even if we hold true to that characteristic, we are no where near that.  As of this writing, the S &P 500 down;-6%.Housing is one measurement used to to call
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Rounding Out Your Asset Allocation

In a recent post, I mentioned to diversify your portfolio among 5-6 asset classes.  The five-six are mentioned in post "A Starting Point."  I'd like to add 5 additional classes to aid your truly diversified portfolio.In the equity side consider MID CAP STOCKS.  These investments can be described as 
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How To Buy Low and Sell High

It's been said, videod. and written that every investor should buy a fund or stocks when they are low and then eventually sell when at a high point
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A Starting Point

I'm sure you're familiar with the age old adage, "Don't put all you eggs in one basket."  Great advice but how do 
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Your Behavior

I'm referring how you "behave" toward your finances and investments.  I place a good emphasis on each individuals feeling toward risk and reward.  I go to great extent to discover your preferences and in turn put together a truly individualized plan
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A Golden Opportunity

I do not underestimate the devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic.  I hasten to add that another round could possibly occur in the Fall.  However, there is an equivalent seed of opportunity amidst this disaster.  The S & P 500, a largely representative guage of the market, has been hovering around a 15%-16% drop.  Everything I see in the economy points to an economic and stock market recovery/  Why not take advantage of this downturn and INVEST NOW?  Time and
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