Wealthinking Blog

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Welcome to Wealthinking

The purpose of this blog is to show what comprehensive financial planning looks like and feels like on the day-to-day.  Each post is drawn from the actual work we do with clients and is rooted in the best of current economic thinking. You'll see such traditional topics as finance, taxes, retirement planning, and investment management through the lens of what real people actually care about—their own personal hopes and dreams, navigating various life transitions, and understanding the world around them.  We’re glad you’re here and invite you to join the conversation.

Paula

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Wealthinking by Paula Hogan

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Psst—The Social Security Earnings Test is Not a Tax

  
  
  
  

 

 The Social Security earnings test is one of many public policy rules complicating your already complicated decision about when to retire.  Let’s take a look at how this rule impacts your financial planning, and then pull the camera back to think about it from a public policy point of view.

Three Good Things and Financial Planning

  
  
  
  

 

At the Canadian Applied Positive Psychology national conference last month, there was a cornucopia of intriguing ideas about what supports the good life, with each idea refreshingly presented from a data-based, scientific point of view.  Positive psychology is a recognized discipline within the field of psychology.  In the words of Harvard professor Tal Ben Sha-Har, it is the scientific study of optimal human functioning—the science of happiness.

Planning the Ideal Vacation

  
  
  
  

 

I am just back from a busman’s holiday, feeling quite happy and relaxed, and the experience has me thinking about the notion of “the ideal vacation”.

Macroprudential Policies and Your Financial Planning

  
  
  
  

 

Lots of people are worried that the current low interest rates in our economy are spurring excessive risk taking, pushing the markets for stocks, junk bonds, and perhaps also the housing sector, towards bubble-like conditions.  In a speech to the International Monetary Fund last week, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen addressed this concern head on, and in doing so raises some interesting financial planning ideas as well.

Financial Industry Regulation: Why You Should Care

  
  
  
  

 

Like many industries, the financial advisory industry is in regulatory upheaval, with public policy implications that are consequential to you. 

Financial Planning for Retirement – What Works

  
  
  
  

 

Here are five core suggestions for optimizing your financial planning for retirement.

A note from Rick Miller PhD on our co-authored chapter:

  
  
  
  

 


I am very happy to report that a paper I co-authored with my colleague Rick Miller PhD and presented at the 2012 Wharton Pension Research Council is now published as a chapter in The Market For Retirement Advice by Oxford University Press.

Interesting mainly to fellow advisors and academics (and also to my mother, because she’s my mother!) our article Explaining Risks To Clients: An Advisory Perspective probably won’t make the “most emailed” list.


How Do You Recognize a Tax Planning Opportunity?

  
  
  
  

 

Everyone talks about the importance of tax planning, but how do you recognize a tax planning opportunity? Here are some sample fact patterns that in the current tax environment send a strong signal for considering a more proactive and nuanced tax planning strategy.

What Your CPA Needs to Know About Your Tax Planning

  
  
  
  

 

Tax planning is not what it used to be. The rapidly increasing complexity of tax law means that the traditional rules-of-thumb no longer work. Current best practices require a multi-year view of expected cash flow and then nudging taxable income into the optimal year.

Financial Planning and Unintended Consequences

  
  
  
  

 


By definition, unexpected and often quirky, unintended consequences are fun to think about. They can be positive or negative in character and they pop up in many places including in financial planning. 

Identifying negative unintended consequences is a tried and true strategy in policy debates when you want to skewer an opposing proposal. Identifying positive unintended consequences is more uplifting. For example, here are two historical examples of positive unintended consequences as reported by Wikipedia:


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