News & Insights

New Medi-Cal Recovery Laws; another Reason Why Proper Estate Planning is Needed

by Ellen Li, MSBA, CFP® on 5/24/2017

Long –term care in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home care can be very expensive. If you don’t have substantial assets or a good long term care insurance policy, the cost of care may deplete your assets over time.

What happens then?

If you qualify for Medi-Cal, (California’s version of Medicaid), it will pay for the cost of care, subject to recovery (repayment) from the estate when the recipient dies. In the past, the aggressive recovery program  put an inordinate burden on the heirs and survivors who were sometimes  forced to sell the family home to pay the estate claim or forced to sign a “voluntary lien” which accrued at 7% annual interest.

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posted in BlogGeneralPersonal Finance

Scam Watch: Protect Yourself From Phishing Schemes

by Thao Truong on 11/4/2016

It has recently come to our attention that the clients of some of our colleagues have reported a jump in the number of phishing attempts on their investment accounts. Although we haven’t heard this from any of our clients recently, we understand that becoming a cyber-security victim can be very painful and costly.

We continually upgrade our systems and procedures to help prevent and detect unauthorized access, but hackers are getting smarter and bolder. Because security is a shared responsibility, we think our clients and others need to know what a phishing attack looks like and what steps they can take to defend themselves.

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posted in BlogGeneralPersonal Finance

A Meaningful Gift for a Young Person

by Jim Freeman, CFP® on 7/2/2015

“Why Didn’t They Teach Me This In School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By” was written by Cary Siegel for his five children in an attempt to teach them sound financial planning and money management principles.

The book is a quick read and would serve as an excellent introduction to basic financial planning and money management principles for any young person. Siegel breaks his 100 principles into the following seven lessons:

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posted in BlogGeneralPersonal Finance

Chris Jaccard Promoted to Partner

by Jim Freeman, CFP® on 3/19/2015

I am proud to announce that Chris Jaccard recently became a partner at Financial Alternatives, Inc.  Since joining the firm in June 2002, I have been impressed by Chris’ dedication to our mission of providing expert, objective wealth management services and advice to our clients.

Over the years, Chris has played key roles in several areas of the business from back office technology to advanced investment and financial planning.  And as an experienced CFP® and CFA® advisor, I value Chris’ professional expertise and his continued efforts to improve our service to clients.

While I have no thoughts of retiring any time soon, this partnership sets up Chris’s role in the future of our business – to help ensure we continue a tradition of excellent service for many years to come.  We are committed to building a firm that our clients and future generations can rely on for personalized and professional financial planning and investment management services.

Now more than ever, we believe that individuals and families are best served by independent, commission-free advisors who take an integrated approach to wealth management in order to help them achieve success in all areas of their financial lives.

posted in BlogGeneral

What is the value of the CFP® mark and why is it important?

by Chris Jaccard, CFP®, CFA on 6/17/2014

An article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal calls into question the value of the CFP® certification and other credentials through the eyes of investment advisors and wealth managers. Since the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards has stepped up enforcement of its rules over the past year, it’s easy to find critics in the advisor community. In short, they were catching advisors claiming to work on a “fee-only” basis who were actually receiving commissions and fees.

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posted in BlogGeneral

Should You Get Your Financial Advice from a Private Fiduciary or a Representative of a Publicly Traded Company?

by Jim Freeman, CFP® on 3/14/2014

John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard investments has dedicated his life to putting investors first and driving down the costs of mutual funds. In chapter 13 of his recent book, “Don’t Count On It!” he tells an interesting story of a 1958 court ruling that according to Bogle, “played a definitive role in setting the investment industry on a new course in which manager entrepreneurship in the search for personal profit would supersede manager stewardship in the search for prudent investment return for fund shareholders.”

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posted in BlogGeneralInvestments

What the King of Cyber Fraud Can Teach Us

by Chris Jaccard, CFP®, CFA on 9/1/2013

At a recent conference I attended, I learned a little about the story of Tobechi Onwuhara. Tobe spent years near the top of the FBI’s most wanted list, and after his capture in March, he pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering. In less than three years, he stole at least $44 million as the mastermind of a cybercriminal crew.

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posted in BlogGeneralPersonal Finance

Self-Discipline Matters More Than IQ

by Jim Freeman, CFP® on 6/14/2013

A research article by Angela Duckworth and Martin Seligman from the University of Pennsylvania showed that self discipline matters more than IQ in predicting academic performance. This does not surprise me. Hard work, discipline and true persistence are a hard combination to beat over the long-term.

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posted in BlogGeneralInvestments

Running Your Family Like a Business

by Ellen Li, MSBA, CFP® on 4/19/2013

My husband and I just celebrated our son’s 1 year birthday in early April. We marveled at his development in just one year and are delighted to see that he has emerged as a little individual. While we couldn’t help but patting ourselves on the back for overcoming many obstacles as new parents in the first year, we realize that there are many more challenges ahead of us. One of the biggest challenges we encounter is the stress from the chaos of family life and finding a good balance between home, work, and personal relationships. Recently I came across a WSJ article entitled “Family Inc.” written by Bruce Feiler. It offers some good tips on organizing the family using a business concept called Agile Development. Here is a summary:

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posted in BlogGeneral

Scrutinizing Costs Leads to Chris Jaccard Being Quoted In the Wall Street Journal

by Jim Freeman, CFP® on 3/22/2013

Last week, Chris was researching Fidelity’s new commission-free ETF offering when he noticed the fine print: They will charge a fee if the ETF is sold within 60 days of its purchase date.

Shortly after researching this, Chris saw a press request stating that Kristen Grind from the Wall Street Journal was writing an article about Fidelity’s new program; so Chris decided to contact Kristen and express his opinion.

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posted in BlogGeneralInvestments

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Posts are general in nature and do not constitute the rendering of legal, investment, accounting or other professional advice.