Total Return: A Modern Approach to Retirement Income

Geoff Zimmerman / Jul 19, 2018 / Retirement Planning / Investments

A common goal expressed by clients phasing into retirement is a desire to invest to generate income to live on while leaving their principal intact. Why? They probably saw it used successfully in the past.

When many of our parents invested, they lived off the interest and dividends from their portfolios, replacing bonds as they matured and leaving their stock holdings untouched.

Why is this approach, often referred to as investing for income, or income-only investing, not necessarily the best idea for modern-day portfolios? 

Why might your advisor suggest a different tactic, and what should you keep in mind when it comes to generating retirement income?


4 Ways to Save Your Retirement from Lifestyle Creep

Sheila Schroeder / Jul 12, 2018 / Life Balance / Financial Planning

As we become more financially successful, many of us may find ourselves living large without quite knowing how we got there. Sometimes we find that things we once wanted have now become “needs.” As a result, though our paychecks are bigger, so too are our expenses—and this can have a real impact on meeting our personal financial goals.

Lifestyle creep, otherwise known as lifestyle inflation, occurs when your standard of living improves as your discretionary income rises. Like ivy growing up a tree, if it gets out of control, it can choke your budget. 

Read on for 4 concepts to help you navigate the creep.


Divorce: Taking a special needs child into account

Mary Ballin / Jul 5, 2018 / Financial Planning

Divorce is one of the most stressful life transitions a person can go through, but that stress isn’t the same for everyone. Your divorce can be significantly more stressful if children—particularly those with special needs—are involved. 

Children should always be a focal point of any divorce proceeding. But children with special needs change how a divorce should be negotiated, so let’s break down some of the unique considerations that need to be taken into account if a special needs child is part of a household that is divorcing. 


In the News: risk, LGBTQ workplace inclusion

Mosaic / Jul 3, 2018 / Mosaic News

This month, Senior Financial Planner Steve Branton takes the Mosaic news roundup prize for appearing in two publications, discussing two very different topics.

Recent research notes that while American consumers are generally comfortable with higher levels of risk than they were in the past, they are still terrified of it. How does one navigate such a polarizing duality? 


If your business prides itself on inclusion, here are several small yet impactful ways you can let your employees know that it isn't just a platitude. 

Read on for the thoughtful details:


Strategies to protect your wealth at every stage of your life [INFOGRAPHIC]

Steve Branton / Jun 20, 2018 / Retirement Planning / Financial Planning

“How do I protect what I already have?”

It’s a wealth management question we hear every day.

After all, you’ve worked hard to gain what you have. You’d hate to see it frittered away.

Finalizing your wealth protection strategy is best accomplished when you and your financial advisor build a plan that reflects your risk tolerance and long-term financial goals. At the same time, there are things you can do to put yourself on the best possible path before that meeting. Thats where this article comes in.

Today I want to discuss the strategies you can use, loosely based on your age. We see folks every day that have addressed these issues at all ages; some are proactive twenty-somethings, others are later to the game, and some are addressing them at retirement.


Newsletter: Here's the latest edition!

Mosaic / Jun 14, 2018 / Mosaic News

A new issue of the Mosaic newsletter, Effective Financial Strategies, is out now! 


What’s Inside:
  • Often, those planning for retirement think the right approach is what worked for their parents. Senior advisor Geoff Zimmerman explains the concept of investing for total return and how it can help ensure the highest possible retirement income at low risk
  • Lifestyle creep, otherwise known as lifestyle inflation, can have a real impact on your financial goals. Sheila Schroeder explains 4 effective tactics to reduce lifestyle creep, including how to reframe your thinking when it comes to increasing expenses. 
  • After spending the effort to create an estate plan, you’re going to need to be able to discuss your wishes and directives with loved ones and you’ll need to store your plan properly.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Mosaic’s founder Norm Boone has practical tips on communication and storage for your estate plan
  • In this issue’s spotlight article, we interview advisor Mary Ballin on her personal approach to financial planning and how earning the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® credential has enhanced her work.

Saving for College: The Guide to 529 Plans for 2018

Mosaic / Jun 12, 2018 / Saving, Budgeting and Debt Management / Financial Planning

A 529 plan can be a powerful tool to help fund a family’s education goals for their children. These plans have excellent value, and with the new changes made to them under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), families have greater flexibility in funding their educational savings need.

This guide goes into the nuts and bolts of 529s, including their benefits, limitations, and variety. Ready? Lets dive into the details.



6 Ways to Combat 'Bag Lady Syndrome'

Liz Revenko / Jun 7, 2018 / Retirement Planning / Saving, Budgeting and Debt Management / Women's Issues / Life Balance / Financial Planning

Women worry more than men about their financial security, according to an annual nationwide survey by the American Psychological Association and Harris. Nearly a third of women polled say they worry about finances all or most of the time, and nearly half reported stress in struggling to pay for basics. In addition, in a 2013 study by Allianz, almost half of women reported that they “sometimes” or “often” fear losing all their money and becoming homeless.

Extreme anxiety over finances is common enough among women that it has been dubbed “bag lady syndrome.” What is bag lady syndrome? This definition represents the fear of running out of money, losing your home and ending up destitute and alone, save for some plastic shopping bags stuffed with whatever you can carry.

This anxiety can erode a woman’s mental and physical well-being, place strain on her relationships, affect her career and even create the very situation she fears, no matter how money-savvy she really is. It can make a woman feel alone.


In the News: New Grads, Crowdfunding, Social Security & More

Mosaic / Jun 5, 2018 / Mosaic News

Mosaic experts were featured in a range of publications in May, covering topics from crowdfunding to reverse mortgages. Among other gems gleaned from this news roundup, we learn that nearly half of Americans age 50 and over failed a 5-question true or false quiz on Social Security conducted by MassMutual, reports What other information are people missing?

Read on for bits of wisdom on retirement and other financial topics, including an overview of commonly-missed Social Security details, how to handle crowdfunding, why reverse mortgages might not be a good thing for the estate planning-minded retiree, and more:


Savings Plans for College, and When to Start Saving

Mosaic / May 31, 2018 / Saving, Budgeting and Debt Management / Financial Planning

For many families—even those with significant savings and means—the cost of college has become daunting. According to FinAid, the nation’s current student debt amount is rising at a rate of $2,698.30 per second.

CollegeBoard reports that the average cost of tuition and fees with room and board is now $20,770 per year for public, four-year in-state school and $46,950 for private nonprofit four-year school—and these figures continue to grow faster than the rate of inflation.

This has caused families and their students to stretch all financial means available, sometimes without fully understanding their options.

Independent nonprofit organization The Institute for College Access and Success, reports on the wide range of average debt by state in their Project on Student Debt, and their other published data sets report that private loan borrowing is increasing, asserting that almost half of all private loan borrowers (by Stafford Loan Usage) could be using more affordable federal loans.

If you are unable to fully fund a college student’s education with your own resources, how can you best avoid having to take on overwhelming debt?


Liquid Alternatives Outlook Panel [VIDEO]

Mosaic / May 23, 2018 / Mosaic News / Investments

Our own Principal and Chief Investment Officer Kevin Gahagan participated in a moderated panel for Asset TV on liquid alternatives. As liquid alternatives have saturated the marketplace, Kevin offered his expert point of view to illuminate what investors need to know.

It’s incumbent upon us to continue to provide that education, because the last thing we want is an investor making an uninformed decision.


All about Asset Allocation

Norm Boone / May 17, 2018 / Investments

If your mother warned you against putting all your eggs in one basket, she grasped the basic concept of asset allocation in financial planning.

A well-balanced mix of asset types can help insulate your portfolio against severe market fluctuations that might disproportionately affect any one type of asset.


What's the risk of living underinsured?

Norm Boone / May 15, 2018 / Risk Management / Insurance

If you’re underinsured, you’re taking an unnecessary risk that could jeopardize your long-term financial well-being and keep you and your family from achieving your financial goals.

If you’re living underinsured, you could be placing your financial health at risk, no matter how diligent you are about other aspects of wealth management. Insurance is a vital component of holistic financial planning.

How so?


Upcoming Women’s Circles: Values, Goals, & Money

Liz Revenko / May 9, 2018 / Women's Events

I’m happy to announce our upcoming Women’s Circles! This will be a refreshing direction after spending last quarter on taxes. This quarter, we’re focusing on the intersection between your values, goals, and money.

How does making effective financial choices start with understanding your values and goals? 


Bay Area home renovation in the works? What to know before you begin

Steve Branton / May 3, 2018 / Financial Planning

The region around San Francisco is one of the highest-priced home markets in the world, and it costs more to renovate here, too. However, your renovations can also have a much higher payoff when it’s time to sell your home.

Renovation can be a wonderful experience that elevates the value of your property and your enjoyment of your home for as long as you’re in it... It can also become a nightmarish drain on your finances that drags on for months or even years.

Of course, as with life, there are no guarantees of success when you decide to renovate or remodel your Bay Area home, but a bit of knowledge and planning will help make the process as smooth and beneficial as possible.