Financial planning, investment management, lifelong learning.

Recent Posts

In the News: Fancy yet Frugal Life Hacks

Mosaic / Sep 7, 2018 / Mosaic News

No one wants to look cheap, especially at an event, unless the aesthetic they’re going for is “intentionally tacky.” Similarly, no one wants to overspend. Where’s the happy medium?

When it comes to trimming spending in order to prioritize savings goals and other personal initiatives over keeping up with the Joneses, there are thrifty ways to engineer a stylish presentation without breaking the bank. 

Just ask our own Liz Revenko:



Should You Let The Government Help Pay Your Advisory Fees?

Mosaic / Aug 23, 2018 / Retirement Planning / Investments

One of the many changes enacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) was the elimination of miscellaneous itemized deductions starting in 2018. This category included deductions for investment expenses which allowed you to deduct investment and custodial fees, costs-related trust administration, and other expenses, to the extent that they and other costs exceeded 2% of your adjusted gross income (AGI).

One strategy to deal with the elimination of this tax break is to deduct the investment fee for the management of your IRA directly from the IRA.

Let’s look into how this strategy plays out.


Spotlight on Client Advisor Mary Ballin, CFP®, CDFA®

Mosaic / Aug 14, 2018 / Mosaic News

Over her more than fifteen years with Mosaic, Mary Ballin, CFP®, CDFA® has become known for her gracious character and talent as a close listener who respectfully meets her audience at their level.



In the News: Children & Retirement

Mosaic / Aug 3, 2018 / Mosaic News

The July news roundup brings a wealth of retirement-related advice, from tips on discussing retirement with your partner to considering how inflation can impact your portfolio, and more.

The team has also been musing on children and personal finance this month, and several articles cite Mosaic on covering smart planning tips for expectant parents as well as tips for money matters that can crop up with adult children.


Read on for the thoughtful details:


Total Return: A Modern Approach to Retirement Income

Mosaic / Jul 19, 2018 / Retirement Planning

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?


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:


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 / Financial Planning / Saving, Budgeting and Debt Management / Kids and Money

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.



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 / Financial Planning / Saving, Budgeting and Debt Management / Kids and Money

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.


In the News: Podcasts, Personal Loans, Planning Pieces and Grad Presents

Mosaic / May 1, 2018 / Mosaic News

Mosaic experts were featured in a plethora of media over the past month, from articles to podcasts to press releases. We're proud to note Mary Ballin's new CDFA® certification, bringing her personal passion ever closer to her professional aims. Geoff Zimmerman tackles his first podcast, pulling out all the analogical stops.

Sabrina Lowell offers tips on gifting graduates funds earmarked for a Roth IRA, Norm Boone weighs in on how beneficial professional organizations are, and more, in our link roundup:


Over 70 & Charitably-Minded? Here's How to Leverage the TCJA

Mosaic / Apr 11, 2018 / Retirement Planning / Charitable Giving / Tax Planning

If you are a charitably-minded investor who is  age 70½ or older, and you have money in individual retirement accounts (IRAs),  the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) may provide some worthwhile planning opportunities to cut your tax bill more so than in prior years. 

How can charitably-minded seniors leverage the TCJA? Let's walk through a few scenarios.


In the News: Lending Adult Kids Money? And Mosaic Receives Top Rank!

Mosaic / Apr 5, 2018 / Mosaic News

Our monthly link roundup featuring Mosaic experts in the news has a surprise or two this month. 


Tax Reform and the Alternative Minimum Tax for Couples and Individuals

Mosaic / Mar 14, 2018 / Tax Planning

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 has drastically altered the alternative minimum tax (AMT) landscape for 2018 and beyond.

The TCJA completely eliminated the AMT for corporations; while the AMT still exists under the TCJA for individuals and couples, several material changes affect middle and upper-middle class taxpayers, making it less likely for this population to be hit by the AMT. Despite this welcome change, certain taxpayers may end up with a larger tax bill under the new system.  Lastly, some high earners may still find advantages to falling in the “AMT sweet spot.”

Let’s take a closer look at what’s changed.