Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

by Tom Doan

When buying shares of a stock, you may occasionally receive an alert that reads something like this:

“You are attempting to purchase a security that may be held to a higher house margin requirement than most securities. If you have a Margin Account, this will be reflected in your Buying Power. Please Place Order to proceed.”

In the Snider Investment Method, positions with higher margin requirements do not affect our trading and you can disregard the alert.

What is a house margin requirement?

The house requirement is the amount of equity that you must have in the account in order to maintain the margin balance.  In other words, it is the amount of collateral you must have in order to keep carrying your margin balance.

Starting out, you can usually borrow up to 50% of the purchase price of your investments, so with $50k, you can buy up to $100k worth of stock.  The house requirement will vary from broker to broker, but it is usually around 30%.  The amount you borrowed ($50k) stays the same, but if the price of your stock falls, so does the value of the collateral.  If the value of the stocks drops below the 30% requirement, your broker will give you a margin call.

With a margin call, you must either deposit more cash to increase your collateral or sell shares.  If the value of the stock drops to $70k, your equity is now $20k (70k value – 50k borrowed).  With a margin maintenance requirement of 30%, you would need $21k of equity (70 X .30), so you would get a margin call for an additional $1k.

However, some brokers may look at certain positions that are more volatile and raise the margin requirements.  Some positions could have a 50%, 75%, or even 100% margin house requirements.  For positions that require 50% or 75%, you can only borrow up to a maximum of 50% and 25% respectively.  Unlike other stocks, 50% and 75% is also the margin call threshold instead of 30%.  As a result, if you borrow the maximum amount for a position with higher margin requirements and the position decreases in value, you may immediately receive a margin call.  Positions with a 100% requirement cannot be purchased on margin.

How this affects you

In the Snider Method, we do not alter our trading for positions with higher margin.  You can disregard the alert.  This alert is not any type of signal whether this stock will be a good or bad position within the Snider Method.

If your account is not in margin, then this does not affect you.  Even if you have a margin account, this just means the broker will require a higher amount of collateral for these shares if you are borrowing from the broker.  Other trading strategies may look to maximize their leverage with margin, in which case you would have to monitor your positions and balances closely in order to avoid a margin call.  Margin is only used very strategically within the Snider Method and rarely to full capacity.

This is not financial, legal or tax advice. Our goal is your financial success, but all investments involve risk including the possible loss of principal and results will vary. If you are interested in the Snider Investment Method, please read the Owner's Manual for a complete discussion of risks and benefits. More information can be found on our website or by calling 1-888-6SNIDER. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Reading: What are House Margin Requirements?

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by Tom Doan

A common question I receive is “what should I do with my cash balance?”  Traditional investment strategies will likely invest the entire cash balance into mutual funds and various other investment instruments.  But with the Snider Method, your portfolio may be 40-60% in cash and many clients feel like it is just sitting on the sidelines doing nothing.  In actuality, the cash balance is a very important part of the Snider Method.  Let’s take a look at the cash balance’s two main functions.

Allocated Cash

When you generate new positions, there is an Allocated Cash amount for each position.  The Allocated Cash is how much cash you have set aside for purchases of that particular position.  The Snider Method uses dollar-cost averaging, so instead of buying all the shares at once, shares are purchased over time to spread the cost of buying the shares.  Although you are only using a small portion of the cash today, you need the cash to make future purchases tomorrow.  If you invest the cash balance that’s already allocated to a position and the investment loses value, you may handicap your ability to make future purchases.

Market Buffer

In periods where the market declines, if you are fully invested in the market, your portfolio will feel the full effect.  However, in the Snider Method the cash balance acts as a buffer.  In down markets, this will help prevent your portfolio by declining more than the market.  If you decide to invest the cash balance in other stocks, you are exposing the entire account to market risk compared to just 40-60% with the cash balance.

In previous years, we would be able to invest the cash balance in T-Bills.  This provided a short-term investment that could increase the interest the cash earned and maintain the value of the cash through a safe investment.  The low-risk and liquidity of T-Bills preserved the two main attributes of the cash balance, Allocated Cash and market buffer.  However, in today’s low-interest environment, T-Bills will actually cost more in commissions than the amount of interest they would generate.  If interest rates increase in the future, T-Bills may once again become a viable investment for your cash balance.

This is not financial, legal or tax advice. Our goal is your financial success, but all investments involve risk including the possible loss of principal and results will vary. If you are interested in the Snider Investment Method, please read the Owner's Manual for a complete discussion of risks and benefits. More information can be found on our website or by calling 1-888-6SNIDER. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Reading: What Should I do with my Cash Balance?

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by Shelley Seagler

Before you sit down tonight to watch your favorite scary movie, here are three haunting facts to help you get  in the spooky spirit of Halloween:

1.    The Spine Chilling Reality of Social Security

You’d have to be living under a rock to not know that the future of Social Security is in severe jeopardy.   The effect of the Baby BOO-mers entering retirement is two-fold.  First, there will be fewer workers funding Social Security.  In 1950, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 workers. In 2010, it was funded by a mere 3.3 workers, and by 2033, it is projected that there will be only 2 workers to pay for each retiree, making it impossible for the system to properly function.

Second, as more and more people retire, the depletion of Social Security’s trust funds will dramatically accelerate.  It is currently projected that Social Security will exhaust its reserves in 2033.

The lesson is that if at all possible, you must create another source of income during your retirement years.   For some, it means working longer.  For others, it simply means  finding an investment strategy that focuses on generating cash flow.

2.    Skeletonlike Savings

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis the personal savings rate has been on the decline for the past 30 years.  Americans are saving less than half of what they were in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

To put this in perspective, consider the latest statistics from EBRI. Almost half of Americans have saved less than $10,000 for retirement.  Worse, 29% of all American workers have less than $1,000 in retirement savings.

Although it’s not the only factor, how much you have saved is the primary determinant of how successful you will be at funding your retirement.  The message is clear; start early and save, save, save!

3.    The Grave Robbing of  401(k)s

What do you do when you’re faced with flat wages and trying to make ends meet?  For millions of Americans, the choice has been to raid their 401(k).  New research indicates that one in four American workers participating in a 401(k) tap into it to pay for current expenses.   Over $70 billion is being withdrawn annually out of 401(k)s for non-retirement needs.

If you’re younger than 59 ½, you will pay both taxes and a 10% penalty when you withdraw 401(k) funds.  You will also be suspended from making any elective deferral contributions for six months, losing the opportunity to save and in many cases, missing your employer match.

But you think, “I’ll pay it back and catch up, so it’s no big deal right?”  Wrong!  Even if you pay it back, you are forgetting about the time value of money.  By withdrawing those funds, you are cheating yourself out of the opportunity for compounding growth. What’s even more staggering is that many people take out more than one loan.  The long-term impact of this can translate into a significant negative impact on your retirement savings.

If you find yourself considering taking money out of your 401(k), please take the time to understand the possible financial consequences of this decision. Or better yet, just don’t do it.

The bottom line is that your retirement savings should be sacrosanct.  When you withdraw money from your retirement plan, you are stealing from the future you and undermining your retirement security.

This is not financial, legal or tax advice. Our goal is your financial success, but all investments involve risk including the possible loss of principal and results will vary. If you are interested in the Snider Investment Method, please read the Owner's Manual for a complete discussion of risks and benefits. More information can be found on our website or by calling 1-888-6SNIDER. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Reading: 3 Retirement Woes Scarier than Ghosts or Goblins

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by Shelley Seagler

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has wonderful information to help investors educate and protect themselves.  Since it is highly likely that you will at some point be invited to a “free lunch” investment seminar, I think  a particularly beneficial article for you is FINRA’s Investor Alert titled, “Free Lunch” Investment Seminars – Avoiding the Heartburn of a Hard Sell.

As I read it, I couldn’t help thinking about Snider Advisors’ free Information Sessions and the Snider Method Introductory Course.  Although, we don’t offer a free meal at these courses and we certainly strive to provide a good deal of financial education, we make no secret that the end goal of these courses is to help you to decide whether or not the Snider Investment Method is a good fit for your investment objectives.

FINRA’s article makes several useful suggestions including that you, “Turn the tables on the speaker, and ask questions. Ask as many as you want until you are satisfied you know what you are buying and understand the risks and costs.”  Fantastic advice.

It actually lists a handful of specific questions you should ask the speaker.  Although I’d love to answer these questions for you in person, I know that is not always feasible. Luckily, I have this platform. Before I proceed, I’d should point out that Snider Advisors free courses are certainly different than the typically “free lunch” seminar.  First, as I mentioned, we don’t offer a free meal, although we do provide some delicious snacks.  We also offer significantly more than just a two-hour sales pitch.  We strive to give you enough information that regardless of whether or not you actually move forward with the Snider Method, you become a more educated investor.

Another significant difference is that unlike most free seminars, we’re not selling an investment vehicle (annuity, mutual fund, etc), but rather an investment strategy.  Although FINRA’s suggested questions are geared toward evaluating a vehicle, I think they are still quite relevant to what we do.

1.  What are the risks of this investment?

Unfortunately, there is no strategy that can guarantee a huge, risk-free return.  Investing is about trade-offs.  By weighing the benefits of the Snider Method against its risks, we believe you can make a more informed decision. Although you can find a full discussion of risks and benefits on our website, here is an overview of the risks of using the Snider Method.

  – Market Fluctuations

Because we invest in stocks, the market value of your account (the amount you would get by selling out of all your positions) will fluctuate up and down. You will also experience unrealized losses until a position closes (a position is a collection of trades for a single stock). This can be one of the hardest things for a new Snider Method investor to embrace.

  – Variability of Yields (Income)

Your monthly yield is the sum of all income from the positions in your account. There will always be above-average and below-average positions.

  – Variability of Results

Although it’s tempting to believe otherwise, you will not be average.  Averages are created because there are data points both above and below the average. Your results could be higher or lower than someone else with the same size account over the same time period.

  – Lack of Liquidity

In the Snider Method, you purchase stocks, which by their very nature are not a highly liquid investment. This means that if a stock you own drops in price, you will not be able to sell it without incurring a loss.  I’ll go further into the issue of liquidity with questions #4 and #5.

  – Bankruptcy

If one of the companies in your portfolio goes bankrupt, losing money is unavoidable. The Snider Method minimizes the risk of bankruptcy by only investing in companies that pass strict bankruptcy tests. While these tests reduce the risk, you cannot completely eliminate the risk of bankruptcy when investing in stocks.

The bottom line is all investments have pros and cons, including the Snider Method.  Understanding the risks of a strategy or vehicle is the only way you can make informed choices.

2.  How much does it cost initially to purchase the investment?

The price of either the Snider Investment Method workshop or online course is $2,000.  However, we do offer promotional discounts from time-to-time.  If you’d like to know when we make special offers, sign up to receive our newsletter and announcements.  Look for the “Become a Snider Insider” box on our homepage

We also offer a referral discount. If you have a friend or family member who has taken the course, ask them to send you a referral and you’ll save $300 when you take the course.

3.  What, if any, additional or ongoing costs will I have to pay?

Snider Advisors offers optional ongoing trading support for as long as you need or want it. Our team of knowledgeable advisors will be available to answer your questions and help you place your trades each month. The fee for this service is $10 a month.  However, you are not obligated to use it, and you have the flexibility to opt in or out at anytime.

We also offer Lattco, a stock screening tool that helps you identify appropriate stocks for the Snider Method.  The charge for Lattco is $30 in the months that you use it. Once again, you are not obligated to use it.  Although they are not programmed with the specific search criteria Lattco uses, there are similar tools available.

4.  How liquid is this investment? If I need to sell or cash in the investment, how readily can I do so?  

5.  Will my investment be tied up for a period of time? If so, for how long?

These two questions can, and in this case, should be answered together.  Once again, stocks are not a particularly liquid investment. Moreover, in the Snider Method you will make an allocation of cash (principal) for each stock position you open.  We recommend that you expect this principal allocation to be committed for a minimum of two years. Please note that two years is just a guideline: not every position will close within two years and many will close much more quickly.

Keep in mind, the objective of the Snider Method is not capital appreciation.  We don’t buy an asset in the hopes that it will go up in price and we can sell it for a profit.  Our goal is to generate cash flow from the assets we own.

6.  What happens if I decide to sell or cash in my investment? Are there surrender charges? Other fees?

Snider Advisors does not charge a surrender charge or exit fee.  All of our services are optional.  However, as mentioned above, although the rules of the Snider Method try to avoid doing so, if you sell one of your stock holdings while it is trading below your cost basis, you will most likely incur a loss.

7.   For what type of investor is this investment a good idea? For what type of investor is this investment a bad idea?

The Snider Method is a good idea for anyone who wants to generate portfolio cash flow, now or in the future.  You may be a good candidate for the Snider Method if you fit one of the following categories:

     - You have at least $200,000 to invest and you want to draw a stable monthly income now or in the future. If you don’t need income yet, you may want to reinvest the yield for growth.

   - You have between $100,000 and $200,000 and you want to draw a monthly income, but you can tolerate fluctuations because you have other sources of income. Again, here is no law that says you have to take the income. You may choose to reinvest the yield for growth.

   - You have at least $25,000 and your objective is growth.

The Snider Method is not a good idea for someone who has less than $25,000.  For these people, we recommend investigating ETF portfolios.  It also is not a good fit for someone who cannot tolerate market volatility or fluctuations in the price of the stocks they own.  If this describes you, low yield/low volatility vehicles like CDs or Bonds may be a more suitable investment.

If you are solely focused on the short-term, view investing as entertainment, or truly believe you can time the market or pick stocks that will move up (or down) in price, the Snider Method is not right for you.

 8.  Is the investment registered? If so, with which regulator?

Although Snider Advisors does not sell a particular investment, we do sell an investment strategy and make recommendations about which stocks to buy. To make it through our screening process, a stock must be listed on a U.S. stock exchange.  We do not recommend OTC stocks.  We want to make sure that any stock we buy has met the requirements of being listed.

Additionally, I think it’s worth pointing out here that Snider Advisors is a state-registered investment advisor and all members of our support team are registered investment advisor representatives. Both our company and our advisors must follow the guidelines set forth by regulators.

This is not financial, legal or tax advice. Our goal is your financial success, but all investments involve risk including the possible loss of principal and results will vary. If you are interested in the Snider Investment Method, please read the Owner's Manual for a complete discussion of risks and benefits. More information can be found on our website or by calling 1-888-6SNIDER. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Reading: Your Questions, Asked and Answered

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by Shelley Seagler

What do Josh Hamilton, Notre Dame, Peyton Manning, the L.A. Lakers, Tiger Woods and countless others have in common?  The Sports Illustrated jinx –  a legend that very shortly after an athlete or team appears on the cover of Sports Illustrated, they will fall victim to really, really bad luck. For example, in 1974, six days after Evel Knievel graced the Sports Illustrated cover, he missed a canyon jump and was forced to parachute 600 feet down.  Many believe this event was the catalyst that led to the end of his career.

In 2002, Michael Jordan appeared on the cover.  The next day, his wife filed for divorce.  That same year, Sports Illustrated performed an extensive investigation to see if there was any truth to the jinx.  They found that of the 2,456 covers published between 1954 and 2002, there were 913 cases of the jinx, or as they stated, “a demonstrable misfortune or decline in performance following a cover appearance roughly 37.2 percent of the time.”

So how does this relate to investing?  Have you ever thought about what happens to a mutual fund after it appears on Money magazine?  Or receives a 5-star rating from Morningstar? Unfortunately, it’s typically not so different than the Sports Illustrated jinx.

In a nutshell, Morningstar rates mutual funds from one to five stars, with five being the best, based on how well they’ve performed in comparison to similar funds over a 5 year window.  In the table below, you can see the median performance of funds compared to relevant benchmarks in the 3 year window following their Morningstar rating.  While none of the funds fared particularly well, the 5-stars really fell behind.

(Click to enlarge)

Yet while the funds were experiencing this performance, do you know what investors were doing? They were taking their money out of the 1, 2, and 3 star funds and pouring it into the 4 and 5 star funds.

(Click to enlarge)

There’s a name for this behavior.  It’s called performance chasing and it is never a good idea. Ultimately, these investors were taking action based on the belief that because a fund had done well in the past, it was guaranteed future success. But it isn’t that simple. In fact, there are countless studies that show virtually no correlation between high performing funds in one period and high performing funds in future period.

And unfortunately, as the Callan Periodic Table of Investment Returns depicts, mutual funds aren’t the only investment vehicle that suffers from inconsistent performance.

  (Click to enlarge)

The problem with performance chasing is that you are making moves based on what you wished would have happened.  Most people wish they could have gotten in on the big gains bonds made between 1999 and 2002, but by the time they actually made the move, it was too late.

Chasing returns leads to what we call the performance paradox; the more you chase performance, the more likely you are to get farther and farther away from your intended result.  The only way around this is to stop chasing performance.  Stop confusing future expectations with past performance.

Just because an investment is popular today, just because it’s on the cover of magazine, or it’s what all your friends are investing in, doesn’t mean it right for you.  Ignore the crowd and choose your investments because they are a good match for your objectives, risk tolerance and time horizon.

This is not financial, legal or tax advice. Our goal is your financial success, but all investments involve risk including the possible loss of principal and results will vary. If you are interested in the Snider Investment Method, please read the Owner's Manual for a complete discussion of risks and benefits. More information can be found on our website or by calling 1-888-6SNIDER. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Reading: How Investing is like Sports Illustrated

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by Shelley Seagler

It’s been estimated that nearly 66 million people in the United States provide care to a family member.  Yet many people feel unprepared and unqualified when they are thrust into the role of a caregiver.  Luckily, there are experts who can help you with the myriad of responsibilities, decisions, and feelings involved with taking care of a loved one. 

1.  Geriatric Case Manager

A Geriatric Case Manager can help you and your loved one manage all the moving pieces that are part of the transition from independent living to full-time care.  They can thoroughly evaluate the situation, help make important decisions, and offer valuable assistance.  The job of a Geriatric Case Manager is to be an expert on the resources available to you, especially those in your community.  They provide a broad level of assistance, which may include things like arranging Meals-on-Wheels, transportation, and nursing services.

Typically, Geriatric Case Managers charge an hourly fee, which is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid.  (Some long-term care insurance policies offer similar services.)  However, even if you have to pay for it out of your own pocket, you may find enormous benefit in meeting with a Geriatric Case Manager, who can help you deal with the complexities of providing care.  The National Association of Professional Geriatric Case Managers is an excellent starting place to learn more.

2.  Financial and Legal Professionals

The financial ramifications of providing care to a family member can be significant.  A 2010 study by Genworth Financial found that the majority of primary caregivers contribute financially to cover expenses, oftentimes by dipping into retirement funds and savings accounts, reducing their overall savings an average of 63%.  If you are considering withdrawing funds from your retirement account, you should contact a CPA to discuss potential penalties and taxes.   A CPA can also let you know if you are eligible for any tax deductions as a primary caregiver.

As a caregiver, you may be responsible for ensuring that your loved one’s affairs are in order.  This could be limited to making sure bills are paid each month.  However, it could include helping to prepare a will or an advanced directive.  In some cases, you may also need to establish a medical power of attorney.  Admittedly, these topics may not be high on your list of pleasant conversations, but it’s important that certain decisions are legally documented.  There are online resources to help you with these matters, but if it’s financially feasible, it is best to consult with an attorney.

3. Respite Care Professional

The purpose of respite care is to provide relief to primary caregivers.  Respite care professionals provide temporary care to your loved one, either at home or in a facility, so that you can get a much deserved and needed break.  Respite care can last a few hours or several weeks and the price will vary depending on how much care is received and where it is administered.  An excellent source for information is the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center.

Many long-term care insurance policies offer respite care, as does the Department of Veterans Affairs.  (You can read more about VA respite care benefits here.)  Many disability and disease specific organizations, like the Alzheimer’s Association offer assistance and you may also want to check with local churches or service organizations to see if they offer respite care services.

4.  Primary Care Physician  

When you’re busy and stressed, it’s easy to delay routine check-ups.  But more than ever, you must focus on your own health.  You will probably find yourself eating on-the-go, skipping workouts, and not getting enough sleep.   Additionally, the physical and emotional demands you’re under will make you more susceptible to illness and depression.  (Learn more about caregiving and depression.)  You should see your doctor regularly and make sure he or she is aware that you are providing care to a loved one.  A good primary care physician is the best partner to help you maintain your health.

5.  A Mental Health Professional

As a caregiver, you are asked to meet the physical, mental, financial, and emotional needs of someone else – there is no doubt that it can be overwhelming.  And when you’re taking care of a family member, there can be an elevated level of emotional complexity.  It’s crucial to have a strong system of support.  In addition to staying connected to friends and family, you may benefit from online or community support groups.  The Family Caregiver Alliance, AgingCare.com, and the National Alliance for Caregiving offer online forums, as well as information to connect with people in your community.

You may prefer to meet one-on-one with a mental health profession.   Your primary care physician should be able to recommend a psychologist or psychiatrist and many insurance policies offer mental health coverage.  There are also a number of therapists and counselors who charge a sliding scale fee based on your income.

With approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers reaching the age of 65 each day, we can only expect that more and more of us will be called on to provide care to a family member.  It’s important to educate yourself and become familiar with the resources available to you.  You should also create a powerful team of experts that you can rely on to help you provide care to your loved one while still taking as much care of yourself as possible.

This is not financial, legal or tax advice. Our goal is your financial success, but all investments involve risk including the possible loss of principal and results will vary. If you are interested in the Snider Investment Method, please read the Owner's Manual for a complete discussion of risks and benefits. More information can be found on our website or by calling 1-888-6SNIDER. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Reading: The 5 Key Players on a Caregiver’s Team

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by Shelley Seagler

Here’s an obvious concept: if you want to change something in your life, change your behavior.  Certainly, there is nothing revolutionary or particularly profound about that idea, but for something so blatant, it sure is hard to do.

Don’t believe me? Read Alan Deutschman’s, Change or Die.   Deutschman states that in situations where someone will surely face death if they don’t immediately change their behavior, the odds are 9-to-1 that they won’t change.  9-to-1…

So why, even in the face of death, is it darn near impossible for us to change?  One reason is that bad behavior is addictive.  Think about smoking or over-eating. What about gambling?  Imagine walking through a casino.  You’ll inevitably see some lady sitting at a slot machine,  holding a cup of tokens.  You go out and have some fun.  When you come back four hours later, she’s still at the same machine, cup in hand, not one token fuller.  You shake your head in judgment and wonder why the heck she just won’t give up.

If you’ve ever trained a dog, you may know exactly why she is so persistent.  The best way to train a dog is to use intermittent variable reinforcement.  With this strategy, you don’t give your dog a treat every time he exhibits the desired behavior.  Instead, you give him a treat every third time, or fifth time he does it.  The pattern doesn’t matter – what matters is that the dog learns that if he does the behavior enough, he’ll eventually get a treat.  So he keeps doing what you want him to do.  If you train a dog using this technique, it is virtually impossible to break the behavior.

Your brain actually works the same way.  Imagine that it’s your turn at the slot machine.  You excitedly pull the handle or push the button and you………lose.  You do it again and again you lose, and lose, and lose.  And just when you want to give up, you win!  The machine goes crazy.  Lights flash, buzzers buzz, and the sound of money pouring from the machine rings joyously in your ears.  Suddenly, dopamine rushes through your system, causing total euphoria and you’re hooked.  You keep playing the game.  You lose often, but you know if you play enough, you will inevitably win again.  Now, you’re so desperate to feel the rush that you don’t care how much you spend.

Unfortunately, when we look at the behavior of investors, all too often it’s not that different.  Even for those who are trying frantically to avoid the lows rather than chase the highs, behavioral choices can wreak havoc on investment outcomes.  Many studies, including DALBAR’S Quantitative Analysis of Investor Behavior (QAIB), evaluate the impact of behavior.  The most recent QAIB finds that in the 20-year period ending in 2012, the average equity investor underperformed the market by a margin of almost 4%.  Moreover, DALBAR’s research finds that 45% to 55% of this shortfall is caused by psychological factors.

What would your investments look like if you were willing to change the way you did things?

Listen, I get it.  Change is hard.  It’s also scary.  Over the past 7.5 years, I’ve met every single person who has taken one of our live Snider Investment Method workshops. And with very few exceptions, I know that I am meeting someone who has made a deliberate decision to change their financial future.

Sure, a lot of people walk in with confidence and excitement.   But I am well-aware that oftentimes, there is a certain level of discomfort, ranging anywhere from mild anxiety to near-panic.  People worry about logistics – where they will sit, park, and eat.  They obviously worry about who we are and what are they getting into.  But for many, the biggest concern comes from self-doubt.  They worry, “Is it too late for me to learn something new? Am I smart enough?  Will I really be able to do this?”

To these people, I can say with full certainty – yes, you can do it.  First, as our Snider Method instructor, my goal is not to sell you on something.  I stay focused on making sure you feel comfortable and are understanding what the heck I’m talking about.

Second, the Snider Method was intentionally designed to help you manage your behavior.  Based on our specific goals, we have created a systematic, rule-based strategy that eliminates any guesswork and allows you to keep your fear and greed at bay.

Third, Snider Advisors offers ongoing support for a mere $10 a month!  If you are ever unsure about what you’re doing, you can call or email us.  Our goal is to help you stay on track and feel absolutely comfortable using the Snider Method.

Furthermore, if you feel like you really can’t do it, you can get your money back.  You have 90 days after the workshop (or online course) to ask for a full refund.  Simply return your course materials to us, and will refund your course fee.

When it comes to improving your investment outcomes, there’s no doubt that changing your behavior is powerful. You just have to be willing to try. You have to make the decision that your financial future is more important than whatever it is – your fear, greed, apathy, etc. – that is keeping you from changing your behavior.

This is not financial, legal or tax advice. Our goal is your financial success, but all investments involve risk including the possible loss of principal and results will vary. If you are interested in the Snider Investment Method, please read the Owner's Manual for a complete discussion of risks and benefits. More information can be found on our website or by calling 1-888-6SNIDER. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Reading: Making Change

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by Shelley Seagler

By 2030, there will be approximately 72.1 million Americans in the over-65 crowd, more than double the number in 2000.  As this section of the population grows, so does the very real problem of elder abuse.  Elder abuse is inflicting physical, psychological, sexual, or financial harm on a senior adult. It also includes neglect and exploitation.

It is currently estimated that  2.1 million Americans fall victim to elder abuse each year. It’s important to note that not only is the number of reported cases increasing, it’s believed that for every case we know about, as many as 22 cases go unexposed.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

In 2006, the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the United Nations World Health Organization launched World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  On June 15th, we will observe the 8th Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  The goal of this day is to increase awareness about the complex problem of elder abuse, as well as generate support for programs and services.

Research about elder abuse indicates the following:

 - Women and “older” elders are more likely to be victimized1

 - Those suffering from dementia are at greater risk of elder abuse2

 - Elders who experienced abuse had a 300% higher risk of death than those who had not been abused

 - The vast majority of abusers were family members (approximately 90%), most often adult children, spouses, partners, and others.4

- Elder abuse occurs in community settings, such as private homes, as well as institutional settings like nursing homes and other types of long term care facilities.

- The direct medical costs associated with violent injuries to older adults are estimated to add over $5.3 billion to the nation’s annual health expenditure5

What You Can Do

There is much you can do to raise awareness and promote solutions for elder abuse.  Here are a few simple things you can do to get started:

 - Share the word.  Use social media as a way to let your friends know that June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

 - This Saturday, wear purple.  Purple is the designated color for elder abuse awareness.

 - Commit to spending time with an elderly friend or family member.  Isolation is a risk-factor for elder abuse.

 - Attend a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day event.  Click here to find events near you.

 - Volunteer for an organization like Meals on Wheels.

 - Read 11 Things that anyone can do to prevent elder abuse.

Resources for You

Additionally there are many online resources available to you and your family:

National Center on Elder Abuse

10 Things Anyone Can Do to Protect Seniors

Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

Protect Yourself from Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation

State resources and contact information for reporting elder abuse

1National Center on Elder Abuse, Westat, Inc. (1998). The national elder abuse incidence study: Final report. Washington D.C.: Authors

2Cooney C, Howard R, Lawlor B. (2006) Abuse of vulnerable people with dementia by their careers: Can we identify those most at risk? International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 21(6), 564-571.

3Dong X, Simon M, Mendes de Leon C, Fulmer T, Beck T, Hebert L, et al. (2009) Elder self-neglect and abuse and mortality risk in a community-dwelling population. Journal of the American Medical Association, 302(5),517-526.

4National Center on Elder Abuse, Westat, Inc. (1998). The national elder abuse incidence study: Final report. Washington D.C.: Authors.

5Mouton CP, Rodabough RJ, Rovi SL, Hunt JL, Talamantes MA, Brzyski RG et al. (2004) Prevalence and 3-year incidence of abuse among postmenopausal women. American Journal of Public Health, 94(4),605-612.

 

This is not financial, legal or tax advice. Our goal is your financial success, but all investments involve risk including the possible loss of principal and results will vary. If you are interested in the Snider Investment Method, please read the Owner's Manual for a complete discussion of risks and benefits. More information can be found on our website or by calling 1-888-6SNIDER. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

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This is not financial, legal or tax advice. Our goal is your financial success, but all investments involve risk including the possible loss of principal and results will vary. If you are interested in the Snider Investment Method, please read the Owner's Manual for a complete discussion of risks and benefits. More information can be found on our website or by calling 1-888-6SNIDER. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

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by: Josh Stelzer, CFP®

The uncertainty surrounding current political and fiscal policies have undoubtedly had an influence on the behaviors of many investors over the past few years.  It’s perfectly natural to adjust to the environment surrounding you; however there is one area that I’ve seen change that will have a negative impact on many peoples’ lives in the future. People have significantly reduced the amount they are saving for their retirement.

I find this to be intriguing, simply because everyone will be forced into retirement at some point in their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that shoveling money into your qualified retirement account may not be as easy as it used to be. That being said, we have to realize that we are the only ones looking out for ourselves - and our retirement. With pensions virtually non-existent and the uncertainty associated with Social Security, most Americans will be heavily reliant on the income they are able to produce from their lifetime savings. This means one of two things, either save more or find a way to live off of what you have already accumulated.

For many people, living off of what they’ve already saved would result in a lower standard of living during retirement.  Think about this – a 3.5% withdrawal rate on $1,000,000 will only produce $35,000 a year. This income added to the average monthly social security payment (currently $1,261/month) would produce a gross income of $50,132. While this may seem like a livable amount of income, keep in mind this is based on a retirement savings of $1,000,000.

So the question remains, what can you do to give yourself the best shot at retirement? Saving more for your retirement should be your primary focus. Here are a few tips that can help you reach your goal:

1. Take full advantage if your employer offers a match to your 401(k) – This should be an obvious one. If your employer offers a match, you have to take advantage. It’s an immediate return on your investment and it’s surprising how many people “opt out” of these match programs. Contribute up to the match percentage and then look elsewhere for other tax advantaged plans such as a ROTH or Traditional IRA.

2. If you’re over 50, make catch-up contributions to your IRA – If you are over the age of 50, the IRS allows you to make an additional $1,000 contribution to your IRA accounts for a total of $6,500 annually. After the employer match in your 401(k), this is where the next $6,500 of investable income should be directed. Depending on your income level, these contributions may also qualify for an “above-the-line” deduction for your AGI.

3. Reconsider how to fund your children’s college education – While this is definitely an emotional topic and a decision for your household, there are alternative ways to fund your children’s college. Many student loans offer tax advantages with deductions for interest paid (depending on income level). I have yet to find a bank offering loans for retirement income.

4. Develop a retirement strategy, and write it down – Start simple and create an ole fashioned budget. Write down your total monthly after-tax income and every single expense. Once you have this cash flow nailed down, you can decide which type of retirement account best suits your needs. This should be an ongoing process that you review each month. Our lives change as the months go by, and so should our budget sheets. The Snider Advisors My Financial Plan app can offer a great start to this process.

5. Get educated about retirement investing – Meeting with a financial advisor to get started is always your best bet. Advisors can take thousands of confusing investment options and reduce them down to those that only apply to your specific situation. Taking the first step of requesting a financial consultation is often all it takes for people to gain clarity for their retirement picture. Our advisors at Snider are always happy to help you get your retirement affairs in order and you can contact us by submitting a free consultation request by clicking here.

With 10,000 baby boomers retiring every single day, the time to start planning is now. You simply can’t afford to kick the can down the street and hope it all works out. Give yourself a shot at a successful retirement by revisiting your current financial situation.  If you need assistance, Snider Advisors is always here and happy to help.

This is not financial, legal or tax advice. Our goal is your financial success, but all investments involve risk including the possible loss of principal and results will vary. If you are interested in the Snider Investment Method, please read the Owner's Manual for a complete discussion of risks and benefits. More information can be found on our website or by calling 1-888-6SNIDER. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

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