investing


Socially Responsible Investing – as seen from a fiduciarily responsible investment advisor

I’ve been taught that investing is something that is best done passively: buy a diversified portfolio that tries to maximize expected return (by asset class) while minimizing overall risk of the portfolio (by having non-correlated assets.) I’ve read books like “The Incredible Shrinking Alpha” and scholarly papers. Both explain that we aren’t going to come up with some bright idea that beats the market through our particular genius, other than by sheer chance. I’ve been […]


What is a Custodian?

What’s a custodian? That’s the Fort Knox for your money. They safeguard it, they do reports (including tax reporting), and they’re who you write the checks out to. They provide some sort of software for you to access your account, too. For individual investors who are doing things themselves, the lines get blurred a lot of the time. I commonly see people confused because they know Vanguard funds are good, and think you have to […]


What is my Investment Policy Statement?

All ProsperiTea Planning and Tea T.I.M.E. clients get an Investment Policy Statement (“IPS”) . It establishes what asset allocation we agree is appropriate for the client’s risk tolerance and risk capacity. We create individualized target portfolios that considers what you have already and where you have it, as well as how to get the highest return for the lowest risk. Or, to put it another way, how to have the least risk for the highest […]


Book Review: “Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth” by Nick Murray

One of the members of my financial planning study group mentioned that he gives all his prospect clients a copy of “Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth” by Nick Murray. I was intrigued: I like to give the prospects something that pertains to them. It’s a tangible benefit I prefer over marketing things like pens or mugs with my company name on them. I have a bit of a library in my office of books I’ve bought […]


Why use my Custodian?

There is an enormous difference between working on individual retail accounts and working with the tools a professional custodian gives me. Benefits to you include: Better access to institutional-class funds. Because of my fiduciary business model and professional credentials, I’m authorized to use DFA funds (Dimensional Fund Advisors). I can only access them through my professional custodian, though. These are generally acknowledged to be as good as (or better) than Vanguard funds. No-load access to otherwise-loaded mutual […]


Book Review: “The Age of Deleveraging”, a tome by A. Gary Shilling

I heard Gary Shilling speak at a conference last month and his discussion of demographics was interesting and insightful so I sought out his most recent book: “The Age of Deleveraging: Investment Strategies for a Decade of Slow Growth and Deflation”. This book was 500 pages long. Five hundred. I told B. I felt like I was taking a graduate level course in economic forecasting. I’m not even sure how to integrate this book into […]


My thoughts on 529 College Savings Plans

I’m not in love with 529 plans. I think they are really fabulous in a few settings, but most of the time they’d be my third or fourth choice for ways to save for college. First: when SHOULD you use a 529 plan? When you’re trying to create a trust fund on the cheap. If a grandparent or aunt or family friend wants to give money towards a child’s education but doesn’t want it to […]


Legal disclosures

Important Consumer Information All written content on this site is for informational purposes, only. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of Wendy Marsden, CPA, CFP®, either acting as Firm Principal for Tea & Taxes Company or doing business as ProsperiTea Planning. Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and no representation is made as to its accuracy or completeness. All information and ideas should be discussed in detail with your individual advisor prior to implementation. Fee-only […]


Book Review: “Your Money & Your Brain”

This book explains just how stupid you really are. I’ve heard this mentioned a couple of times and so, when I saw it on the shelves at the local library (what, you don’t cruise the 332 section of the library just on spec?) I picked up Jason Zweig’s “Your Money & Your Brain: How the New Science of Neuroeconomics Can Help Make You Rich.”   I liked it. I dislike the subtitle, though.  I bet there […]


Book Review: “Show Me the Money” by Ron Groenke

I’d subtitle this one, “First, buy a stock right before it goes up… One of my clients passed along a book for me to read: “Show Me The Money: Covered Calls and Naked Puts for a Monthly Cash Income” by Ron Groenke. It was all about the uses of covered calls and naked puts and how much money a few good stocks you have in your portfolio could make for you by selling these options […]


Three book reviews on investing

I’m reading up on retirement planning both because I’m trying to rationalize why I bought a vacation property (it’s part of my retirement portfolio! Really!) and because I’m supposed to be making a living counseling people on financial matters. (Perhaps I should be quiet about the cottage.) I’ve recently read three books that say the same thing in vastly different ways. The first is “The New Coffee House Investor: How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall […]


Book Review: “Parlay Your IRA into a Family Fortune” by Ed Slott

I’ve been having a mid-life crisis of sorts regarding the value of tax-deferred savings. I decided to go back and reread the “conventional” wisdom before I disrespect it in front of my clients. Ed Slott is one of the foremost experts on IRAs in the country. He knows every single nuance of how to milk an IRA to the absolute tip top tax advantage possible. He speaks from the same perspective as I do as […]


Book Review: “Wealth, War & Wisdom”

Financial Wellness Lessons Learned from WWII Confucius said, “Study the past if you would divine the future”.  With that in mind, I’ve always been a fan of history.  I recall reading Greek comedies in high school and realizing that they were the same plot as Shakespearian comedies as 70’s sitcoms.  People are people are people.  Study what people did in the past under various pressures and you can get a pretty good clue about what […]