The Investment Scientist

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[by Tom Warburton] The Markets are always interesting!

As a recap of interesting developments in 2015-Q3 we offer the downloadable link below.

The Executive Summary is pretty simple:
  • Equities – US, International, Emerging and REIT Markets were down
  • Fixed Income – US and Global Markets were up
  • The ‘Best’ Stock Market was Ireland at -1.12%
  • The ‘Worst’ Stock Market was Brazil at -33.06%
  • Commodities were universally weak with Crude Oil turning in the worst performance at -27.39%

Russ Thornton[by Russ Thornton] When sharing the initial results of my survey last week, there was a high level of interest in the topic of Social Security.

And here we are, just a week later, with a couple of significant Social Security changes included in Section 831 of the recent budget approved by the House and expected to be approved by the Senate. 

These are changes that could cost some of you tens of thousands of dollars in lifetime Social Security benefits.

First, a little history . . .

Back in 2000, a law was passed that included a provision allowing you to apply for Social Security benefits and then voluntarily suspend those same benefits. While adding to the already complex choices involved with Social Security benefit elections, this law unintentionally allowed some couples to “double dip” from their Social Security benefits. Read the rest of this entry »

Jim LudwickFor those who are hard core about learning personal finance, I have this to share with you – Jim Ludwick’s Tweets for the Month. Jim is a hourly fee-only financial planner I respect a lot. His tweets cover a wide range of issues

  • Is Wall Street Eating Your 401k Nest Egg?: PBS story: #GarrettMember @SemperFrugalis8:34AM
  • Is this a better way to manage your cash? Give a look to this new strategy: @sergunina #GarrettMember4:11AM
  • RT @SquaredAwayBC: Gulp. Average costs for dementia care $287,038- far exceeding cancer, study finds
  • Why you should file the college aid FAFSA no matter how rich you are: @asergunina #GarrettMember3:58AM

A few months ago, a senior client of mine slipped and fell in his basement. He broke his hip and couldn’t get up to call help. He was only found lying in the basement by his tenant two days later.

His life was saved, but he is permanently wheelchair bound and he will need nursing care that costs over $150k per year. This expense alone will run down his personal wealth in a matter of a few years.

As his financial advisor, what could I have done for him?long term care 3

Three years ago when he was just retired from work, he approached me for retirement planning. Upon hearing that he was living by himself and his children were far way, I was adamant Read the rest of this entry »

For those who are hard core about learning personal finance, I have this to share with you – Jim Ludwick’s Tweets for the Month. Jim is a hourly fee-only financial planner I respect a lot. His tweets cover a wide range of issues…

Russ Thornton

[by Russ Thornton] At some point, 70% of people over the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care and support.

I get a lot of questions from clients about long-term care insurance.

Yet, I find many people are more willing to discuss their estate planning (and their mortality) than the possibility of finding themselves in a situation calling for long-term care.

Typical objections to insurance for long-term care include:

  • It’s too expensive,
  • My kids/spouse/family will take care of me,
  • I’ll pay for it myself out of my savings and investments,
  • or something else.

And let me mention the fact that I don’t sell long-term care or any other type of insurance, so I’m not sharing this information to motivate you to buy something from me.

In fact, long-term care insurance isn’t necessary for many, despite many insurance companies’ and agents’ best attempts to use fear-based tactics to sell you policies. Read the rest of this entry »

images-73As of today, all three market indices Dow Jones, Nasdaq and the S&P 500 are in correction territory, meaning they’ve all fallen more than 10%. Last time this happened was in 2011. Then I wrote an article “How Often Does Market Correction Happen?” to calm the nerve of my clients and readers.

The key insight from that article is this. A 10% correction happened every other year in history, so you shouldn’t be surprised by it, nor should you be panic. In particular, this 10% correction is kinda over-due since that last one was 4 years ago.

In addition, don’t be surprised by a 20% correction over the next month and a half. The last time we had a 20% correction was in 2009. That was 6 years ago. In history, a 20% correction happened every other five years, give and take. 

Read the rest of this entry »


Michael Zhuang is principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only independent advisory firm based in Washington, DC. He is also a regular contributor to Morningstar Advisor and Physicians Practice. To explore a long-term wealth advisory relationship, schedule a discovery meeting (phone call) with him.

You may also get his monthly newsletter, or join his Facebook page for regular wealth management insights. Michael's email is info[at]

Twitter: @mzhuang

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