Welcome, Taper

The Federal Open Market Committee’s statement that it will begin to taper its bond purchases in January is a good sign that the US economy continues to heal, in our view.

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Lessons Learned in 2013

In 2013, interest rates rose, bonds fell, equities soared, and US income-tax rates climbed higher. Before starting to place bets for 2014, investors would be wise to think about some important lessons from 2013.

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The Marriage of QDIAs and Managed Volatility in US DC Plans

Probably the best way to connect US defined contribution (DC) plan participants with the angst-reducing benefits of managing volatility is through a plan’s qualified default investment alternative (QDIA)—especially if the QDIA is a target-date fund.

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The Market Hits All-Time High. So What?

Dianne F. Lob (pictured) and Ding Liu With the US stock market repeatedly reaching all-time highs in recent weeks, many investors are becoming leery of investing in stocks. Focusing on the market’s level is a mistake, in our view. It’s market valuation, not level, that matters. 

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Reality – Expectations = Happiness

Many US investors may be disappointed when they open their account statements.  Despite the widespread news that the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 21% in the  first 10 months of 2013, most US investors’ taxable portfolio returns were far lower—typically somewhere between 5% and16% range.

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Risk Management: An Ounce of Prevention

Seth J. Masters (pictured), Daniel J. Loewy and Martin Atkin They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But if the sickness is excessive portfolio volatility, “prevention” can entail more than one step.

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Retirement Planning: When You Have to Compromise

Kathleen M. Fisher (pictured) and Tara Thompson Popernik Sometimes things fall into place nicely, and you can chart your course to a comfortable retirement relatively easily. You choose a suitable asset allocation, using tax-deferred accounts to their best advantage and optimizing your Social Security payouts. But what if things don’t work out so well?

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Putting Tax-Deferred Accounts to Best Use

Kathleen M. Fisher (pictured) and Tara Thompson Popernik The common wisdom about retirement planning is to fund tax-deferred vehicles such as 401(k) plans and IRAs to the max—and we agree. But how to put these accounts to best use is more complicated.    

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Investing in Retirement: Bonds Aren’t Enough

By Kathleen M. Fisher (pictured) and Tara Thompson Popernik What should you invest in after the spigot of earned income is turned off? It’s a vexing question, especially since we expect lower stock and bond returns going forward.

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Retirement Planning Today: Clearing the Hurdles

By Kathleen M. Fisher (pictured) and Tara Thompson Popernik “Money isn’t everything,” proclaimed American fashionista André Leon Talley, “but it is when you start thinking about…your retirement days.” While retirement may bring more time for entertainment and family, today even prospective retirees of substantial means (or fabulous taste) may not feel confident that their experiences [...]

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