The Obvious Winner of the Upcoming Elections

We have figured out who will win the election. The people we serve often ask us how the upcoming election will impact their investments. While many seem to have strong feelings about one or both candidates, ultimately we see this as an economic question and so we always attempt to offer an economic answer. And in that regard, we don’t have major economic concerns regardless of who wins. Trump’s “America First” policies (lower corporate tax […]

photo of scattered "I Voted" stickers

Introducing Sam Plotkin, CFA, speaking on “Financial Markets and the Business of Providing Financial Advice”

We had such a lovely Open House! Sam Plotkin introduced himself with a presentation on his thoughts about the investment markets. Happily, Gary recorded it via Zoom so you can watch his very entertaining and informative 20 minute presentation here:

10 Things You Should Know About Inherited Money

If you’ve inherited money, start by knowing it takes a while for the money to land. The executrix needs time — months and months — to get things retitled. Then it takes time for the IRS or the state to release a lien or expedite an audit. Do NOT expect the money all at once. While the estate is being settled, there may be income kicked off by the assets that have not yet been distributed. […]

Hedge Fund Hunters

Market Update: What just happened with Game Stop, and does it affect you?

In case this is on your mind, I thought I’d write to you about what I see as going on AND explain how/when we use nontraditional investing tools at ProsperiTea Planning. Primarily, you need to know that we are NOT a hedge fund and this does NOT affect you. What makes something a “hedge” fund? They use additional tools to juice up gains over and above the income you’d get from dividends and interest from […]

Why, Where & How of Roth IRAs

Someone contact me recently about how to set up a Roth IRA. It’s a common enough question that it feels like a good time to revisit this topic. In this article I’m going to tell you exactly why, where and how to set up a Roth IRA and even make three investment suggestions for three generic situations. Your specific situation could differ, of course. But first, what? A Roth IRA is a little bit like […]

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. people get an Investment Policy Statement (“IPS”) . It establishes what asset allocation we agree is appropriate for the person’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 people 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 […]

College Savings Plans

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 […]

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. (Update on 12-22-2017: they can also be used for private school now. It doesn’t change any of this advice.) First: when SHOULD you use a 529 plan? When you’re trying to create a trust fund on the cheap. If a […]

College Savings Plans

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 […]

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 […]

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 people 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 people. 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 […]

The case against buying gold and silver

Several of my people have asked me questions where the answer is “buy gold” and I’ve been wary about putting that advice together. I’m going to explore this issue a bit, first by getting a handle on all the reasons it is BAD advice. 1. Neither gold nor silver are productive assets.  They won’t earn interest or dividends, losing you the opportunity costs of what you could have been doing with that money in the […]