Recent Commentary

TheLiveBigWay Digest – Calendar Calculations

TheLiveBigWay Digeston January 15th, 2015No Comments
Retirement Planning

Required Minimum Distributions

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) are, as the name indicates, minimum annual distributions that must be withdrawn from an IRA, as required by the IRS, beginning with the tax year within which the account holder turns 70½. The IRS requires these annual distributions to help ensure that account holders don’t simply continue to accumulate money in retirement accounts, thereby deferring taxation, forever. Uncle Sam wants his cut (read: tax revenue) of the growth in your IRA! Read on to learn more about the ‘what and ‘why’ of RMDs and how Yeske Buie will assist you with the ‘when’ and ‘how’…

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Investing Lessons from Fantasy Football

If you didn’t play in a fantasy football league this past season (and the odds are if you did, you were probably in multiple leagues), then you almost certainly know someone who did. Yeske Buie has had a fantasy football league for the past few years. The league has become increasingly competitive over the last few seasons, especially with the addition of a trophy and a different kind of “prize” for the loser. This year’s winner was the team’s more ardent sports fan: Yusuf Abugideiri. In light of his victory, Yusuf put together his thoughts about investing lessons that can be learned by playing fantasy football.

Game Day Plan
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yeske-buie-02 Ask Elissa and Dave Feature

Our most recent Ask Elissa and Dave questions follows-up on an individual’s recent phone call with Elissa and discusses the end of the year and why it is a busy time for Yeske Buie. Read Elissa’s answer to the question (be sure to scroll down for the latest Q&A) and stay tuned to future Digest posts for more. And, if you have a question for Elissa and Dave, feel free to share your curiosity with us and receive an answer to the questions you’ve always wanted to ask!

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Tax Label on File How You Will Receive Your 1099

While Yeske Buie posts quarterly tax reports to your Client Private Page® for taxable accounts, these reports are for planning purposes only. To complete your 2014 tax return, please refer to your Schwab 1099 for dividends, interest, and capital gains in your taxable account(s), as well as any distributions from your IRA(s). As required by the IRS, Schwab will send 1099s in the mail and post them to your Schwab account between the end of January and mid-February. If you use the Schwab Alliance website, here are instructions for accessing your 1099 electronically. If you have lost your paper copy or are having difficulties accessing the forms online, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

 

 

TheLiveBigWay Digest – Best of 2014

TheLiveBigWay Digeston December 31st, 2014No Comments
Best!

Best of 2014

As we prepare this edition of the Digest, we’re hoping that you had a great end to 2014 and celebrated the start to 2015 with your close family and friends. The end of one year and the beginning of another is a great time to reflect. As we reviewed the Digest posts of the year just ended, we were intrigued by what resonated with people the most and decided to share with you the top five posts from 2014 in each category by popularity.

Yeske Buie Celebrates Its 7th Anniversary

On January 1, 2015, Yeske Buie celebrated its 7th anniversary. Elissa and Dave have been in the profession of financial planning for more than 30 years and in business for themselves for 25 years, Yeske & Co. having been founded in 1990 and Financial Planning Group in 1993. Find out how each firm started and what 7 years means for Dave and Elissa.

7 Golden Balloons
yeske-buie-02 Ask Elissa and Dave Feature

Interested in learning more about Dave or Elissa as financial planners or as avid travelers? Looking for some clarity on a financial planning topic, the markets, or your portfolio? Curious about Yeske Buie, how we operate, or our company culture? Share your curiosity with Elissa and Dave and receive an answer to the questions you’ve always wanted to ask! Read Dave’s answer to our most recent question and stay tuned to future Digest posts for more.

 

 

TheLiveBigWay Digest – The Cracked Crystal Ball

TheLiveBigWay Digeston December 18th, 2014No Comments
How to Invest When Your Crystal Ball is on the Fritz

Translucent Globe on Euros and DollarsIf you could see the future, diversification would be a bad idea. It’s simple logic: if you knew which assets were going to outperform all the others in the coming year, you’d simply put all your (nest)eggs in one basket and reap the rewards of perfect foresight. Of course, the world is a bit messier than that, though it can be hard to remember sometimes, especially when it feels like someone’s throwing a party and you weren’t invited. Learn why this is especially true when we’re talking about the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the S&P 500 Index and see illustrations that prove the challenge of predicting next year’s winners from yesterday’s or today’s.

Social Security Simply Stated

If you are eligible for Social Security benefits, you’ve spent at least 10 years working and paying a portion of your income into the system. As you approach age 62, you are able to receive the return on your “investment” by claiming your benefit. Before you rush into making the decision about when to claim your benefits and how much to claim, be sure you have a good understanding of all your options and know what Yeske Buie can do to help you.

The Key to Social Security Benefits
DC Central KitchenYeBu East Coast Gives Big at DC Central Kitchen

On Wednesday, our staff on the east coast volunteered at DC Central Kitchen’s Evening Meal Prep event. The team put their culinary skills to the test to help DC Central Kitchen’s staff transform 3,000 pounds of donated food into 5,000 balanced meals to be distributed at little or no cost to nearly 90 nearby homeless shelters, transitional homes, and non-profit organizations. Check out our team’s cooking skills and learn more about DC Central Kitchen.

Yeske Buie Holiday Hoursphoto We hope you have been enjoying the holiday season, as we have! Looking forward to the end of the year, we wanted to inform you of Yeske Buie’s upcoming holiday hours. The Yeske Buie offices will be physically closed next week from Monday, December 22nd through Friday, December 26th. The entire team will be available remotely throughout the week if you need anything and will respond to your messages as soon as possible. If you anticipate any needs in particular around that time, please let us know and we will manage your request sooner rather than later. Happy Holidays!
 

 

TheLiveBigWay Digest – Building Better Decisions

TheLiveBigWay Digeston December 4th, 2014No Comments

Decision Architecture: Building Better Choices

Elissa and Dave’s latest paper, Policy-Based Financial Planning as Decision Architecture, was just published in the December issue of the Journal for Financial Planning. Financial planning policies are compact decision rules that make it easier to stick with a consistent course of action in the midst of an ever- changing environment. Developing good policies can be thought of as a form of “decision architecture” in which we structure the policies in such a way as to leverage our natural human proclivities, like sticking with default options. Read more for Elissa and Dave’s thoughts and examples of structured decisions and their enormous impact on outcomes. Decision Archeticture
                                             Interactive Yeske Buie User’s Manual

Yeske Buie User's ManualOur interactive guide to all things Yeske Buie offers practical information ranging from how we serve our clients to how you can get help with any issue. As you explore the Manual, you’ll find a history of our firm’s evolution, in-depth discussions of our investment and financial planning philosophy, a chance to meet the Yeske Buie Team, and a guide to “Why Yeske Buie Clients are Elite.” We encourage you to jump right in and start exploring this wealth of useful and, we hope, interesting information.

Ask Elissa and Dave Feature

Interested in learning more about Dave or Elissa as financial planners or as avid travelers? Looking for some clarity on a financial planning topic, the markets, or your portfolio? Curious about Yeske Buie, how we operate, or our company culture? Share your curiosity with Elissa and Dave and receive an answer to the questions you’ve always wanted to ask! Read Dave’s answer to our most recent question and stay tuned to future Digest posts for more.

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YeBu Live Big Logo 03-15-11Yeske Buie Holiday Hours
We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Looking forward to the end of the month, we wanted to inform you of Yeske Buie’s upcoming holiday hours. The Yeske Buie offices will be physically closed from Monday, December 22nd through Friday, December 26th. The entire team will be available remotely throughout the week if you need anything and will respond to your message as soon as possible. If you anticipate any needs in particular around that time, please let us know and we will manage your request sooner rather than later.
 

 

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Firm News & Events, TheLiveBigWay Digeston November 26th, 2014No Comments

With all the noise and turmoil that sometimes fills our daily lives (not to mention our daily newspapers), we all cherish the opportunity for quiet reflection and the joyful fellowship of family and friends that Thanksgiving Day brings us each year.  On this eve of another Thanksgiving, we wanted to say how thankful we are for all the special people in our lives and to take the opportunity to share again a few suggestions from The Live Big List.  As you may recall, the List was started in 2009 as an attempt to refocus on the things that mattered most at a time of financial turmoil.  As we put it then, “if we can find the place of gratitude for what we have, we can find joy in the most mundane of places, and, hopefully at least get our minds off of how scary the world can feel at times.”  Here are a dozen entries from the 88 items now on the list.

  • - Walk the dog (borrow one if you don’t have one of your own)
  • - Hug someone (be careful, in general it should be someone who you know)
  • – Teach a teenager to balance a checkbook
  • – Read all those books you’ve been accumulating
  • - Watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Love Actually” or some other feel good movie
  • – Write an old fashioned letter to someone
  • – Give a stranger a compliment
  • – Throw a Board Game Night at your house for friends, family, neighbors
  • – Put a puzzle together
  • - Take a leisurely walk around a new neighborhood in your city – be a “tourist”
  • - Call a friend and tell them you value their friendship
  • - Make a charitable contribution

You can read all 88 entries on the Live Big List (and add your own) here: What it means to Live Big in these trying times.

Happy Thanksgiving

TheLiveBigWay Digest – Speaking Globally…

TheLiveBigWay Digeston November 20th, 2014No Comments
Elissa Buie Elissa on Financial Times Top 100 Women Financial Advisers List

Financial Times, the venerable 126 year old London based newspaper, has named Elissa Buie to its inaugural FT Top 100 Women Financial Advisers list for 2014. In compiling the list, FT set out to identify the 100 best women financial advisers in the U.S. The guiding principle was to assess advisers from the perspective of current and prospective investors. More than 400 advisers were evaluated by FT and its sister company Ignites Distribution Research. Learn more about FT’s methodology and Elissa.

United States Contra Mundum

We’ve received a few inquiries of late from clients wondering why their portfolios haven’t been soaring as the S&P 500 has been hitting new all time highs. The reason is that our portfolios are not allocated solely to U.S stocks, let alone U.S large company stocks, as represented by the Dow and S&P indexes. Our portfolios are instead “geographically neutral,” which is to say, we allocate the stock portion of our portfolios to each country and region in a way that’s proportional to their respective share of the world stock market. And, as you might imagine, we believe there are powerful arguments for doing so. Read on to learn more about the virtues of global diversification.

World Market
          ChanDeokGung Palace Elissa and Dave Speaking in Korea

Elissa and Dave have been in Seoul, Korea this week, having been invited to speak at the Korea Financial Planning Association’s annual conference. Dave will deliver the keynote presentation in which he will describe the three phases of good retirement planning and the best, science-based approaches to achieving client success. Elissa, meanwhile, will be discussing the best research-based approaches for developing strong client relationships that lead to financial planning success. Find out more about Elissa and Dave’s presentations and see a few pictures from Seoul.

YeBu Live Big Logo 03-15-11Yeske Buie Holiday Hours
With the holidays quickly upon us, we wanted to inform you of Yeske Buie’s upcoming holiday hours. The Yeske Buie offices will be physically closed on Thursday, November 27th and Friday, November 28th for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will all be available remotely on Friday if you need anything and will respond to your message as soon as possible. If you anticipate any needs in particular around that time, please let us know and we will manage your request sooner rather than later.
 

 

TheLiveBigWay Digest – Making Medicare a Mellow Milestone

TheLiveBigWay Digeston November 6th, 2014No Comments
globe and sethoscope Medicare: Making Enrollment Make Sense

While one’s 65th birthday no longer signifies reaching the “Full Retirement Age” milestone for Social Security retirement benefits, turning 65 still has a unique perk – gaining eligibility for Medicare. Being eligible for the program, however, doesn’t mean that it’s easy to decipher the best course of action amongst the array of options available. We’ve put together a brief guide about the various Medicare components and some of Yeske Buie’s suggestions for making your journey though the enrollment process as seamless as possible.

Yeske Buie in the Media

In the past two weeks, members of the Yeske Buie team have been recognized in various media outlets. Elissa Buie made her fifth appearance on Washingtonian Magazine’s list of Top Money Advisers. The magazine developed its list by surveying hundreds of financial professionals in the DC Metro Region, asking “Whom would you trust with your own money?”. Elissa was one of only 58 fee-only financial planners named. Additionally, Yusuf Abugideiri is on the cover of the November issue of Financial Planning Magazine under the heading, How to Hire the Next Generation. Elissa is quoted throughout the article, beginning with a discussion of how Yeske Buie has helped support the FPA student chapter at Virginia Tech. Learn more about Elissa and Yusuf’s background and interests.

Yusuf FP Mag cover
YeBu Live Big Logo 03-15-11Yeske Buie Holiday Hours
With the holidays quickly upon us, we wanted to inform you of Yeske Buie’s upcoming holiday hours. The Yeske Buie offices will be physically closed on Thursday, November 27th and Friday, November 28th for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will all be available remotely on Friday if you need anything and will respond to your message as soon as possible. If you anticipate any needs in particular around that time, please let us know and we will manage your request sooner rather than later.
 

 

TheLiveBigWay Digest – To Roth or Not

TheLiveBigWay Digeston October 23rd, 2014No Comments
Roth Egg To Roth or Not

A Roth Conversion is a taxable transfer of assets from your traditional/SEP/SIMPLE IRA to a Roth IRA in an effort to take advantage of the tax and withdrawal benefits of a Roth IRA. Not only do assets grow tax-deferred in a Roth IRA, but distributions are 100% tax-free to the account holder (as long as the account holder is over age 59 1/2 or the converted assets have been in the Roth IRA for more than five years, whichever is sooner) and 100% tax-free to his or her heirs for generations to come. Learn more about the ins-and-outs of a Roth conversion and Yeske Buie’s process for determining who among our clients should do one.

Yeske Buie Fall Retreat and Open House

The Yeske Buie Team from both offices will be gathering at Asilomar for our semi-annual retreat next week. As a result, the Virginia office will be physically closed from Monday, October 27th through Friday, October 31st and the San Francisco office will be physically closed from noon on Monday, October 27th through Thursday, October 30th. While we won’t be answering the phone during that time, we’ll be checking emails and voicemails frequently and will respond promptly to any urgent needs. For those of you in California, we hope to see you at our Open House in our San Francisco office on Thursday, October 30th from 4:30-6:30pm!

open house
          image (20) Meet the Team: Dorothy Navales

Dorothy Navales is a member of Yeske Buie’s client service team working in our San Francisco office. Dorothy has over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry and has been with Yeske Buie for over 4 years. Dorothy interacts directly with the firm’s clients on a daily basis. Additionally, her responsibilities include operational and administrative support to enhance the client experience and the support of the financial planning team in serving clients. We asked Dorothy to share a bit about her professional and personal life and learned a lot about her life as a working mother of a promising athlete!

LG, EB, DYFun Stuff: The Baltimore Running Festival

Last weekend, Elissa, Dave and Lauren Grove all participated in a half marathon at the Baltimore Running Festival, Lauren running and Elissa and Dave walking the 13.1 mile course. It was in Baltimore two years ago that Elissa and Dave first walked a half marathon and they’ve walked three since. They like to say that scheduling a half marathon every six to nine months is the only way they can stay motivated to get up early and walk on a regular basis. Lauren, a long-time runner, has completed three half marathons, this latest with an impressive finishing pace of 10:17.

 

 

Ignore the Headlines

Economy and Investing, TheLiveBigWay Digeston October 15th, 20143 Comments

Bad NewsBad news can be like waves sweeping in and breaking along a sandy shore.  The quiet rumble as the watery walls form, break, and lap upon the shingle fades from our conscious awareness until the surge from a sudden harmonic convergence leaves us scrambling for higher ground.  It feels like one of those moments right now, with the ebb and flow of daily crises seeming to have surged past some invisible threshold that leaves us feeling off balance and scrambling for a firm place to stand.  Our sense of well-being is undermined daily by headlines that tell us of strife between Ukraine and Russia, of the Islamic State, sweeping pandemic-like through the heart of the Middle East, sending hundreds of thousands fleeing their homes. And to this human scourge is added the risk of real pandemic as the Ebola virus leaps from country-to-country in our jet-connected world.  All of which can leave us susceptible to heightened pessimism about the world economy and the financial markets and wondering what we should do to protect ourselves.

Unfortunately, we’re all evolved to notice the worst and the news media is only feeding us what we naturally seek as it offers up a steady stream of dark omens.  The good news is that the underlying nature of reality, its deep structure if you will, is geared toward growth and progress, if we’re open to seeing it. Toward that end, we thought we’d take a few minutes to unpack the news of the day and place it within a wider and, ultimately, more optimistic frame.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

We’ve already touched upon some of the things that are truly ugly in the world at the moment and will only say that we trust that our political and other public institutions will ultimately be up to the task of curbing them. While we can always wish for better foresight and faster responses when crises arise, our leaders and public institutions, whether fast or slow, do generally find their way to effective action once properly focused.

As for what’s “bad” in the world, we’ll note recent economic and financial trends that have been filling the headlines.  First, is the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) warning that global growth is slowing, especially in Europe and Japan, where, except for the lone bright spot of the United Kingdom, economic growth this year and next is projected to barely attain one percent. And with inflation in Europe projected at only one-half percent, the fear of deflation has also returned (source: IMF).  Beyond this we’re being told that market valuations in the U.S. have reached dangerous levels, with one increasingly popular measure of market valuation, Shiller’s CAPE, having attained a multiple of 25 compared to a long-run average of 16.   Such observations seem particularly pointed in light of recent market turmoil (the Dow is down by more than 300 points as we write this) with the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index as of Monday suffering a three-day decline that we’re told was the worst since 2011.  So how are we to interpret the seemingly shaky state of the world?

At moments like this, I’m reminded of a scene from Apollo 13, the great Ron Howard film from 1995.  During the “Houston we have a problem” scene, when the astronauts and engineers on the ground are reporting one failing system after another in quick succession, flight controller Gene Krantz stops everyone and says, “let’s look at this from the standpoint of status . . .what have we got on the spacecraft that’s good?”  And so, like Gene Krantz, let’s ask ourselves, what have we got that’s good?

To begin with, we have resurgent growth in the U.S. economy.  After declining in the first quarter, our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) came roaring back in the second, advancing at a 4.6% annualized rate. All of this in an environment of continuing low inflation with the latest 12 month rise in the CPI barely reaching 2%.  And the long run prospects for the U.S. economy look even better when you consider the technology-driven advances in the energy sector that have resulted in the U.S. overtaking Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest oil and natural gas producer. Not only does this development bode well for domestic energy prices and our balance of trade, it has also begun to spark a shift toward “on shoring” energy intensive manufacturing plants.

As for the situation in Europe, worries about economic growth and sustainability in the Eurozone have been an ongoing and favorite theme for the worrying class.  We experienced a sense of deja vu when we recalled our words from two years ago (TheLiveBigWay Digest – it’s like deja vu all over again), “the Eurozone is back in the news today as economic and political events have given rise to fresh doubts that European policy-makers will get their financial house in order.”  A quick check of our international fund holdings, however, shows that they’ve risen 30% from that worrisome time until now, perhaps validating the old Wall Street saw that “the market climbs a wall of worry.”  Another way of looking at the situation outside the U.S. is to note that financial markets are sporting much lower valuations than here, leaving much more upside, especially if (when) economic growth picks up again.

And speaking of market valuations, we must turn back to the U.S. stock market, which has been the target of a growing number of dark prognostications of late.  Many of these come from “market technicians” and the less said about this voodoo art the better.  Let’s just say that charts tell you little or nothing about what’s really going on in the economy and the underlying economy is what matters (see Live Big Digest – Aftershocks edition for the dog and dog walker analogy of the relationship between the markets and the economy).  But what about market valuation measures like “Shiller’s CAPE” (Cyclically-Adjusted Price-to-Earnings), a smoothed measure of the Price-to-Earnings Ratio that is currently at 25 versus a long-run average of 16.  To begin with, that long-run average is calculated using data from 1871 to the present and one must ask how relevant the state of the economy in those far distant times can be to conditions today.  If we instead calculate the CAPE from 1980, we find that the average is above 21.  Jason Zweig, writing in the Wall Street Journal, relates his recent conversation with Professor Shiller, noting that “Today’s level, Prof. Shiller argues, isn’t extreme enough to justify a strong conclusion.”  Indeed, we’ve seen examples of this before.  We recall the year 1995, when the S&P 500 soared 37.5% and many declared that the party was over.  Although no one was particularly paying attention to the CAPE back then, it hit 25 at the end of that year, the same level as today.  What followed were four more years of high returns (22.96%, 33.36%, 28.58%, and 21.04%) before the dot-com bubble burst in 2000 and the S&P 500 saw three years of declines.  However, it’s worth noting that one would have been vastly worse off moving to the sidelines after the gains of 1995.  Even though you would have missed the three down years of 2000 to 2002, staying invested for the full eight years would have given you a 119% gain versus only 37% had you chosen to time the market.

And when this past Monday marked a three day decline in the S&P 500 that was touted as the worst three day loss since 2011, we thought we’d better look that one up.  What we found is that the market has risen by more than 60% since those fateful three days in November of 2011.  Clearly, that was not a sell signal then and we don’t think it marks one now.

It’s Better to be Resilient than Nimble

Cyclical downturns in the economy and the markets are an inevitable feature of our landscape.  We do not believe it is possible to foresee trouble in a way that would support anything like market timing.  Rather, we believe it is better to have a system for assembling and managing an “all weather” portfolio that can withstand the shocks and surprises both large and small that roll through our world, while at the same time harnessing the natural propensity of the U.S. and world economy to adapt and grow.  For more on this, consider two of our prior offerings:

Or, if you’d just like to distract yourself from the headlines with something fun and uplifting, please consider these wonderful videos.

 

TheLiveBigWay Digest – Origins

TheLiveBigWay Digeston October 9th, 2014No Comments
dimensional-fund-advisors Dimensional Origins

DFA founder David Booth likes to say, “it’s about ideas,” and we certainly don’t know of another fund company that has been more about ideas than Dimensional Fund Advisors. And not just any ideas, but the best thinking coming out of academic research in the science of economics. In anticipation of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science’s announcement this coming Monday of the next Nobel Laureate in Economics, we thought we’d share a brief video devoted to the origins of this most idea-driven company.

Spare Your Heirs the Drama: Lessons from Robin Williams’ Estate Plan

Robin Williams wanted to take care of his heirs and guide those handling his estate by making sure his wishes for the distribution of his assets were made clear, and that they would be handled privately. From an outsider’s perspective (since we don’t have access to his current estate documents), he seems to have done all he could, but there was one issue that came up. With that in mind, in thinking about your own estate arrangements, there are some key lessons to be learned from Robin Williams’ estate plan – have estate documents to make your wishes known, determine your privacy preferences, and be aware of the potential gaps.

Robin_Williams
          CNBC Invest the Time to Find the Best Financial Advisor for You

Dave recently wrote an article that was published on CNBC Digital on how to choose the best financial advisor for you. He summarizes three key points in facilitating the search; research, focus, and interview. Read the highlights of Dave’s article and the full version on CNBC Digital.

WEDDJ Group Photo WEBYeske Buie Open House: RSVP Today!

Join the Yeske Buie Team from both offices for our Open House in San Francisco on Thursday, October 30th from 4:30-6:30pm. This year’s event will feature several of Elissa and Dave’s favorite wines, a professional tarot card reader and  palm reader, Yeske Buie souvenir wine glasses, and Halloween themed appetizers and desserts. Read more about the featured wines and foods.

 

 


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson