An Odysseus Agreement To Earn Buffett-Like Returns

In the Greek poem, The Odyssey, Homer illustrates an age old flaw in human nature. Odysseus, the hero, is warned by goddess Circe that when his ship is sailing by the island of the Sirens, the irresistible songs of the Sirens will lure him towards the island and destroy his ship.

The sirens are symbolic of the flaws and biases that seem to be a natural part of our brain’s chemistry. Homer suggests a solution to keep these flaws in check. To counter the allure of the Sirens, Odysseus orders his crew to tie him to the mast of the ship and to ignore his future pleas for release until they have passed the dangerous islands. Odysseus commits himself to a rational course of action at a neutral time to ensure that he does not get swayed by emotions during the time of distress. Read the rest of this entry »

“Market Volatility” Really Means “I Don’t Know”

What does the financial news media mean when they say, “brace for more market volatility”?

Over several decades in the investment business, I have consumed many thousands of hours of financial news from the likes of CNBC and Fox Business News. Over that same time period I have heard the term “market volatility” used ad nauseam by news anchors and Wall Street analysts in reference to every kind of investing situation. I would guess you have, too.

Here are several recent examples from a CNBC print article on their website Brace for More Market Volatility in the Second Half of 2013. http://cnbc.com/id/100848558

“Investors, buckle your seat belts. Markets in the second half could be driven by more volatility, though most strategists expect equities to ultimately end the year higher than their current levels.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Difference Between Mutual Funds and ETFs

This is a question we get a lot here at Callahan Financial Planning, and with all the recent news and new options, I thought it would be a good topic to revisit.

As a refresher, let’s start with a quick note on what Mutual Funds are:

  • An Investment Company that invests shareholders money in a (usually) diversified portfolio of securities like individual stocks or bonds.
  • Assets are held in custody at a third-party bank, and are subject to regular inspection by the SEC in addition to any independent auditors to the bank and mutual fund. Read the rest of this entry »

Selecting Investments Or An Investment Advisor

This is the fourth in a four part series designed to help you determine the best way to proceed with your previous employer’s company retirement plans, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s and more. Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Whether or not you choose to keep your previous employer’s 401(k) where it’s at, roll it over to your current employer or move it to an IRA, you will still be responsible for its management and investment direction.  As discussed in the previous post, that can be a challenge if investing is not your specialty.  Don’t worry – we can help.

Our investment management service, Conflict Free Planning, ensures that a financial planner can help you identify the advantages and disadvantages to holding your investments in a employer retirement plan or an IRA. Read the rest of this entry »

Should I Leave My 401(k) With My Previous Employer?

This is the second in a four part series designed to help you determine the best way to proceed with your previous employer’s company retirement plans, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s and more. Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Are you one of the many people that still have company retirement plans (401(k)s, 403(b)s, etc.) held at your previous employer(s)?  As with all decisions we face, the decision to rollover a company retirement plan must be done with adequate information and disclosure so that you know in detail all of the advantages and disadvantages related to each possible choice.  With that in mind, lets discuss the pros and cons of keeping your retirement funds in your previous employer’s 401(k). Read the rest of this entry »

What Should I Do with My 401(k) After Changing Jobs?

This is the first in a four part series designed to help you determine the best way to proceed with your previous employer’s company retirement plans, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s and more. Part 1| 2 | 3 | 4

What do you think about when you get a new job?

If you’re like most, you’re focused on what the new employer expects from you, learning your position, new processes and dozens of other details that come along with a new position.

This can be a very stressful time for any individual and although it’s the last thing anyone wants to think about, it’s important to remember your company retirement plan(s).  These include 401(k)s, 403(b)s, SIMPLE IRAs, Thrift Savings Plans and more.  If you’re not consciously thinking about your 401(k) or other employer sponsored plan it can be easy to think “I’ll get around to it later” and eventually forget about it all together. Read the rest of this entry »