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The Mallard Money Blog

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Mitigating Fear in a Bear Market

While bear markets are scary enough, this one not only came swiftly, but was also compounded by the uncertainty and fear of watching a global pandemic roll across America. This is not only affecting everyone in some way, but may also be infecting some of our own family and friends. Worse, this is all unfolding as we look around at our communities, which appear as ghost towns as a result of social isolation.

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The Secret to a Fulfilling Retirement

Retirement is hard. It is emotionally hard even if you are fully financially prepared for retirement. It can be jarring for many new retirees to go from an environment of structure, deadlines, and meetings to...well, pretty much none of that. With days no longer occupied with these responsibilities, retirement is like a blank canvas. While this can be liberating, it can also be intimidating as you first gaze upon the pure white canvas—especially if you have no idea what you want to “paint”!

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SECURE Act Makes Big Changes to IRA's

The SECURE Act has been passed by the House, Senate, and signed into law by the President last week. SECURE stands for Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement. While some provisions are intended to raise revenue, most of the changes are designed to boost retirement savings. While there are many tax changes, I will briefly (i.e., not detailing all of the nuances) describe just the three biggest changes affecting clients in this blog post.

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Enough is Enough

Financial planning for clients during the income stage of life has generally involved strategies for accumulating and growing wealth. While growing wealth is absolutely essential for our retirement security, it is hard for people to know when enough is enough.

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Five Simple Steps to Wealth

Most wealthy people were not born rich. In fact, 80% of wealthy people are first generation millionaires. In other words, never assume you are born into a standard of living that you can’t move out of. Your circumstances may not be ideal, or you may have been dealt a poor hand. However, even if your circumstances are not your fault, it remains your responsibility to manage your financial future. Don’t expect to be bailed out by family, the lottery, or the government. My goal is to empower you to take small steps towards wealth, even when you can’t see the immediate results.

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Set Up an Alternative to a Private Foundation!

You don’t have to be as wealthy as Bill & Melinda Gates in order to set up your own private charitable foundation. There is an alternative to a private foundation for those of us not as wealthy as the Gates called a Donor Advised Fund (DAF). What is a Donor Advised Fund (DAF)? Simply put, a DAF is your own private charity, funded in a lump sum or over time with cash or securities. You can then invest the dollars in your DAF and allow it to grow, or you can direct your DAF to donate some or all of the funds to the charities of your choosing whenever you decide.

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Bill's Father Discusses His Retirement Community (CCRC)

My father and his wife moved into a CCRC last year and in no way feel they have moved into a nursing home. Instead, they would say it is closer to a cross between a college campus and a country club. He was recently featured in the 2.5 minute video (above) for their community (Garden Spot Village) to show the under-represented side to CCRCs: the youthful, adventurous, and active side experienced by many of the physically active residents.

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Naming Beneficiaries - A Key Ingredient

Naming the beneficiaries of your 401(k), IRA, or life insurance policy may appear pretty straight forward, but there is one important nuance that should be strongly considered and may result in your estate not passing to the individuals you desire.

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Corrections: My Favorite Graphic

The following short must watch video reviews my favorite graphic from JPMorgan Asset Management. I use it to illustrate a few key points: 1. Corrections are to be expected. 2. Corrections can't be predicted. 3. The corrections are always worse than the calendar year returns. 4. Corrections are the emotional price we must pay to capture the expected returns of the stock markets.

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The Power of Positive Investment Thinking

During volatile times in the markets, everyone needs words of wisdom and comfort to fall back on. Being mindful of our thoughts and words during volatile market times is especially important because it is certainly worrisome to watch portfolio values go down. Finding positive words will not change your portfolio's value, or where the market goes, but they can change how you feel, and therefore how you act.

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Is the Stock Market Overvalued?

Investors have been reading about the market being overvalued for years. Of course, the tacit assumption is that the stock market is poised for a big “drop”. While there are many valuation metrics, the most popular is the CAPE Ratio popularized by Robert Shiller (also known as the Shiller P/E Ratio).

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Dispelling Gifting Myths

One of the great joys of financially independent clients is gifting to family members during their lifetime. Unfortunately, there are many gifting myth's that linger. We routinely receive questions that go something like, "How much am I allowed to gift to my daughter this year without having to pay gift tax?"

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Is The World Getting Better?

Pessimism and an overly dramatic world view saps your faith in the future. However, when armed with the facts, your faith in the future (and your portfolio) can be restored - resulting in a better overall investment experience and optimistic outlook on life.

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