Do You Need a Tax Preparer to Help with your 1040 Form?

With tax season upon us, you have a decision to make. Should you file your tax return the old fashioned way with pen and paper tax forms? Do-it-yourselfers might prefer affordable online and software tax preparation applications. Delegators can choose a franchised tax prep service or a qualified tax preparer — preferably a CPA or […]

Recipe for Retirement Plan Disaster

It’s the single largest portfolio holding for many investors. Directing it wisely can make the difference between thriving and struggling in retirement. With the 2011 retirement plan year upon us, how do you go about making fund choices? Some of us approach it like the stars of Top Chef improvising a dish — a little […]

Study Gold’s History Before You Invest

Should you invest in gold? Many investors believe that gold is the best investment of all. Late-night ads for gold are commonplace and GLD is now one of the three largest ETFs. Boulder Valley residents have had an appreciation of gold since the big strike in Gold Hill more than 150 years ago. But what […]

So How did Your Stock Portfolio do in 2010?

With 2010 in the books, your inbox and mailbox has already been flooded with annual investment statements. For most of you, it was a positive year thanks to the strong fourth quarter. You would probably say last year went pretty well for your investments. Certainly in absolute terms, this is true for most of us. […]

Be Careful with Advice on 2011’s Hottest Investments

At the end of the year, the financial press is filled with financial retrospectives and prognostications. Pick up your favorite monthly financial magazine and you’re treated to articles that tell you the best stocks and mutual funds to own for 2011. That a calendar event has any bearing on why it may be time to […]

Don’t Get Caught Up in Shady Investments

For Boulder County investors, 2010 has been a year of fraud. We have seen an unprecedented number of seemingly unrelated schemes that have squandered the savings of many unfortunate investors. While this column has covered fraud in the past, this year’s crop merits a fresh look. The latest case surfaced last week when former Boulder […]

Grants, Part-Time Work Can Limit Higher Ed Debt

Higher education commands reverence in Boulder County. National publications report that we are one of the most educated metropolitan areas in the country. Educated parents naturally beget educated children and accordingly most area residents see higher education as a necessity. We are also tremendously concerned about funding higher education. Recently its cost has increased at […]

What’s Your Long-Term Care Plan?

Even though you may not know it, you probably have a long-term care plan. You may not have shared it with your spouse or family, or articulated it out loud. If you’re in your 50s or older, deep down you have an idea of what would happen if you or your spouse needed assistance to […]

Escape Taxes for Generations

New Roth IRA rules this year invite high income earners to join the tax-free party. For them, it’s an income and estate planning opportunity nonpareil. If you have the wherewithal and will to let your Roth span generations, it could help you turn $120,000 into over $5 million with no taxes or penalties. Roth contributions […]

Calculating Financial Aid Can Be Tricky Before College Admission

Many high school seniors already have embarked upon the nerve-racking process of applying to a private college. Historically they wouldn’t worry about college deadlines until after the holidays. Now that we are in the Era of Early Decision, some students must submit applications as early as Nov. 1. Early Decision turns up the heat on […]

The Three T’s of Superior Portfolio Returns

Most investors aspire to superior portfolio performance. It’s what drives us to seek alpha, the additional return of a particular investment over its asset class. But alpha isn’t necessary to surpass your fellow investors. By keeping in mind the 3 T’s — Timing, Transactions, and Taxes — above average returns could be yours. Let’s first […]

Are You Comfortable Taking Risks?

Perhaps the most critical decision you can make about investment management is how much risk to take. Once you have determined an appropriate level of risk, you can start making asset allocation decisions such as the percentage of your portfolio to be held in stocks. This analysis is vital to your financial success as asset […]