News & Insights

Market Review – Q1 2017

by Financial Alternatives on 7/13/2017

  • Looking at broad market indices, emerging markets outperformed both US and non-US developed markets during the quarter.
  • Real estate investment trusts (REITs) lagged their equity market counterparts.
  • In US dollar terms, emerging markets indices outperformed both the US and developed markets outside the US.

posted in InvestingNewsletters

Planning Newsletter – Apr 2017

by Financial Alternatives on 7/13/2017

  • Giving evokes gratitude, improves our health and makes us happier.
  • Giving increases social connection, cooperation and can be contagious.
  • From a financial point of view, effective giving maximizes your possible tax deductions.
  • Personal Charitable Gift Funds make giving appreciated investments simple and easy.
  • Giving to charity from your IRA has significant tax benefits.
  • Giving appreciated stock can be a tax efficient way to give money to family members.
  • UTMA and 529 accounts offer tax advantaged ways to pay college expenses and provide gifts to children and young adults.

posted in NewslettersPlanning

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.

Read more

posted in BlogGeneralPersonal Finance

5 Tips on when to file your tax return (and when to expect the information you need)

by Chris Jaccard, CFP®, CFA on 2/28/2017

Depending on your sources of income and the types of investments you have, it may be a good idea to wait to submit your tax return until close to the April filing deadline.  Based on our experience, here are some thoughts on the timing of your preparation and when you can expect to get all the information you need.

1. Potentially File Early

If you have a relatively simple tax return and only have wage (W-2), contract work/rent (1099-MISC), or social security (SSA-1099) income, you should have everything you need to file your taxes by mid-February.  Basic 1099-INT or 1099-DIV forms should be available by early February.  Also note that the IRS does not require banks or investment custodians to send some 1099s if the amount to be reported is less than $10.00, so you don’t need to hold out for “de minimus” information like this.

Read more

posted in BlogPersonal Finance

Market Review – Q4 2016

by Financial Alternatives on 2/7/2017

Newsletter-Cover-Image-QMR2016Q4 (00083159xAE0F3)

  • Looking at broad market indices, the US outperformed both non-US developed and emerging markets during the quarter.
  • US and non-US real estate investment trusts (REITs) recorded negative returns and lagged the US and non-US equity markets.
  • Small caps outperformed large caps in the US and developed markets outside the US.

posted in InvestingNewsletters

Investing Newsletter – Jan 2017

by Financial Alternatives on 2/7/2017

Newsletter-Cover-Image-Jan2017 (00083160xAE0F3)

  • Stocks and bonds were volatile in 2016, but overall it was a decent year for patient investors. Intermediate-term bonds performed in line with shorter term bonds in three of four rising interest rate environments – so no changes are planned in these assets.
  • First Trust Deeds continue to provide a high interest yield and should perform well in an increasing rate environment.
  • New all-time highs in equity markets have historically not been useful predictors of future returns.
  • It is impossible to time the market consistently and profitably.
  • Ensure you are comfortable with the risk in your portfolio so you don’t panic and sell your investments during a severe market downturn.

posted in InvestingNewsletters

Prediction Season

by Jim Freeman, CFP® on 12/16/2016

stockpredictionIn one of our newsletters from October, we included an article entitled, “Presidential Elections and the Stock Market”. The conclusion of the article was:

Trying to make investment decisions based upon the outcome of presidential elections is unlikely to result in reliable excess returns for investors. At best, any positive outcome based on such a strategy will likely be the result of random luck. At worst, it can lead to costly mistakes. Accordingly, there is a strong case for investors to rely on patience and portfolio structure, rather than trying to outguess the market, in order to pursue investment returns.

Read more

posted in BlogInvestments

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.

Read more

posted in BlogGeneralPersonal Finance

Market Review – Q3 2016

by Financial Alternatives on 10/12/2016

Index Performance

  • Looking at broad market indices, emerging markets outperformed all other equity markets during the quarter.
  • The US equity market lagged developed markets outside the US.
  • The Bloomberg Commodity Index Total Return posted a -3.86% return during the quarter.
  • US real estate investment trusts (REITs) recorded negative absolute returns and lagged the US equity market.

posted in InvestingNewsletters

Planning Newsletter – Oct 2016

by Financial Alternatives on 10/12/2016


  • Emotions are running high this election season and investors are nervous about how the election will affect their investments.
  • Tumultuous events have been a constant theme for presidential elections throughout history.
  • In 17 of 18 past presidential elections, a hypothetical $10,000 investment in the S&P 500 made at the beginning of each election year would have gained value 10 years later.
  • Long-term investment success has depended more on the strength of the US economy than on which party occupies the White House during any particular four-year period.
  • Beliefs about which political party is best for the markets may encourage you to vote, but shouldn’t discourage you from investing.

posted in NewslettersPlanning

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