Posts Tagged ‘Investments’

Considering Investing in Mutual Funds?

Written on June 13th, 2009 by Jason M. Kueserno shouts

The New York Times published an informative article by Tara Siegel Bernard on December 16, 2008 that discusses a lot of the basics of mutual funds.

This is a great article for anyone who is unfamiliar with mutual funds, but who has or is considering incorporating mutual funds into their investment portfolio.

Too often, investors are misled as to key features of the investments they are sold. Having a fundamental understanding of how different investments work serves two important benefits: (1) it allows an investor to better understand and communicate with their stockbroker or financial advisor; and (2) it provides the investor with a better means by which to interpret their periodic statements and other documentation so they can monitor their accounts.

The Kueser Law Firm represents investors that have been the victims of securities fraud, investment fraud, as well as other forms of stockbroker and financial adviser misconduct. In addition, the firm represents consumers that have been defrauded. If you would like to contact the firm for a free consultation, please call 816.374.5865 or visit our website, www.jmkesquire.com, for more information.

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Useful Information about Estate Planning

Written on June 12th, 2009 by Jason M. Kueserno shouts

I stumbled across an article written by Paul Sullivan that The New York Times published on January 26, 2009 that contained some useful information about estate planning.

Although the article is five months old, its content is no less important today than at the time the article was published. Unfortunately, too many people overlook the benefits of prudent (and often simple) estate planning. Many people feel that since issues tend to come up after they have died, that is a problem for their children. Unfortunately, this “problem” often results in irreparably damaging the bond between siblings. Greed and pride often get the best of family members and without written ground rules as to how property is to be divided, disputes frequently arise.

If that is not enough of a reason to do some prudent estate planning, it is also important to consider the benefits of estate planning while you are alive. Medical directives and living wills are often the only way to make sure that your wishes are carried out in the event that you are incapacitated.

If you are considering estate planning, you should consult with an attorney. Each state’s laws related to wills and trusts varies, and it is important that you consult with someone who knows the law. As reported in the article, there are also “do-it-yourself” websites that also offer basic estate planning documents. While these may not offer the flexibility that some people would like to have, they are generally simple and less expensive.

The Kueser Law Firm is licensed to practice in Missouri and Kansas. If you would like a consultation, please contact us at 816.374.5865 or visit our website, www.jmkesquire.com, for more information.

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Where to Turn for Financial Advice?

Written on June 12th, 2009 by Jason M. Kueserno shouts

It seems that each day there is another story about allegations that an investment adviser has stolen money from their clients. Yesterday, the SEC filed a complaint alleging that a New York investment adviser had bilked his clients, many of whom were terminally ill or mentally impaired, out of $6 million.

Where do you turn? The New York Times published an interesting article on June 5, 2009, discussing this issue. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has a publicly available repository of information related to securities professionals (BrokerCheck) and the SEC maintains the IAPD, which is a database containing information related to investment advisers. While these are valuable sources in checking the background of investment professionals, they are often inadequate. The New York Times also published an article about financial planners in their “need to know” series that is worth reading.

Unfortunately, investors do not learn that their adviser has taken advantage of them until after they have suffered devastating financial losses. The Kueser Law Firm represents investors that have been the victims of securities fraud, investment fraud, as well as other forms of stockbroker and financial adviser misconduct. In addition, the firm represents consumers that have been defrauded. If you would like to contact the firm for a free consultation, please call 816.374.5865 or visit our website, www.jmkesquire.com, for more information.

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Fighting Inflation — Tips for Retirees

Written on May 15th, 2009 by Jason M. Kueserno shouts

Robert Powell of Marketwatch.com recently posted an article entitled “Inflation hits hard when you can least afford it: Four ways older Americans can deal with higher inflation rates.”

The article offers four tips for retirees and those approaching retirement. Most importantly, the article states that retirees should (1) live within their means, and (2) calculate retirement expenses. This is good advice because retirees are as guilty as many Americans for failing to properly budget and plan. In addition, many retirees are told that the only way they can support their retirement is to invest more aggressively. This is not true and, in fact, can be devastating when the stock market experiences broad declines, as has happened over the last 18 months (the S&P 500 has declined from approximately 1,540 to a low of 666.79).

If you are retired, or are approaching retirement, and your financial advisor tells you that the only way you can “afford” to retire is by investing more of your money in stocks or stock-based mutual funds, get a second opinion. Although stocks have provided the greatest historical returns over the long-term, retirees and those approaching retirement need to focus on the short-term. As reported on mybudget360.com, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has suffered one-year losses of 18.94% or more in 11 years (see chart).

These one year declines can prove disastrous for retirees. This is why it is important to manage portfolio risk and why the “solution” to affording retirement is not to invest more money in stocks, but rather, to manage retirement expenses. Mr. Powell has also written an article discussing 10 major retirement risks. In this article, he offers tips on how to manage these risks, including stock market risk.

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Social (In)Security

Written on May 14th, 2009 by Jason M. Kueserno shouts

According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. government has determined that the Social Security system will run out of money sooner than expected.

The government’s estimate is that the Medicare fund will be exhausted in 2017 and the Social Security trust fund will be insolvent in 2037. The article quotes recently appointed HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as stating “It’s a wake-up call for anyone concerned about Medicare and the health of our economy.” Politics aside, this news is even more concerning given that one year ago, the government estimated that Medicare and the Social Security trust would be exhausted two and four years later, respectively (in 2019 and 2041).

This reinforces the need for Americans to prepare for retirement, and, in particular, the need for responsible financial planning.

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