Don’t let your investments take a ‘vacation’

It’s summer again. Time for many of us to take a break and possibly hit the open road. But even if you go on vacation, you won’t want your investments to do the same — in summertime or any other season. How can you help make sure your portfolio continues to work hard for you all year long? Here are a few suggestions:
— Avoid owning too many “low growth” investments.

0520-ta-bookcover

Think you’re enjoying your weekends? Guess again

“The Weekend Effect” by Katrina Onstad, 2017, HarperOne, $25.99, 304 pages
Zzzzzzzzzip. That was the sound of your last weekend as it passed by. But it probably doesn’t matter, anyhow: It was packed with work, to-do’s, obligations, kids sports and more work. Sometimes, you wonder why you even bother. You might as well just go to the office.

Medical video recording provision creates tricky dispute

Among Vermont workers’ compensation lawyers, one of the most hotly debated issues of the past year has involved the clash between an employer’s right to neuropsychological testing and the injured worker’s right to video record all employer examinations. Neuropsychological testing is an assessment of how someone’s brain is functioning, which includes an interview and the administration of a battery of tasks or questions by a neuropsychologist. One of the requirements of valid neuropsychological testing is that it cannot be conducted with the presence of a third-party observer. Doing so is considered not only allowing an unknown variable that can affect testing, but a violation of the neuropsychologist’s professional ethics. Even a video or audio recording of the actual testing compromises the test, they say.

Sandwich generation: Preserving your future — and theirs

Life is complicated these days. And if you’re part of the sandwich generation, with a parent 65 or older and either raising a child under 18 or supporting an adult child, then calling life complicated may feel like a ridiculous understatement. But while being squeezed in the middle will never be easy, there are a few steps you can take to manage your financial and emotional risks. Your challenge
One or more of your parents may need financial and emotional support. One or more of your children may need financial and emotional support.

0508-ta-book_review

‘Broke’ author on quest to destroy financial illiteracy

“Broke Millennial” by Erin Lowry, 2017, Tarcher Perigee, $15, 276 pages. You are so busted. And that’s never a good thing in relationships, recreation or in finances. Especially in finances. When your wallet is empty, so are both calendar and stomach, but what can you do when even the word “money” scares you?

What does conservative mean for older investors?

If you’re a certain age, or getting close to it, you might hear something like this: “Now that you’re older, you need to invest more conservatively.” But what exactly does this mean? For starters, it’s useful to understand that your investment preferences and needs will indeed change over time. When you’re first starting out in your career, and even for a long time afterward, you can afford to invest somewhat aggressively, in stocks and stock-based investments; because you have time to overcome the inevitable short-term market drops. At this stage of your life, your primary concern is growth — you want your portfolio to grow enough to provide you with the resources you’ll need to meet your long-term goals, such as a comfortable retirement. But when you finally do retire, and perhaps for a few years before that, your investment focus likely will have shifted from accumulation to preservation.

0429-ta-superfandom

Book review: How can ‘Superfandom’ work for you?

“Superfandom: How Our Obsessions Are Changing What We Buy and Who We Are,” by Zoe Fraade-Blanar and Aaron M. Glazer, 2017, W.W. Norton, $27.95, 336 pages. Collect them all. These three words put a smile on every marketer’s face and fear in every parent’s heart. “Collect them all,” as you may remember, was kid-code for “bug your parents until they buy stuff,” making you the envy of everyone in third grade. Your goal now: to capture that buyer’s obsession at the level you’ll see in “Superfandom” by Zoe Fraade-Blanar and Aaron M. Glazer.

Mental health compensation bill removes objective standards

The Vermont Legislature appears poised to pass legislation this session that will broaden workers’ compensation coverage of mental injury claims.
The bill, H.197, contains language that would create a presumption that a professionally diagnosed mental health condition arose out of the course of employment for a class of employees including police officers, rescue or ambulance workers, and firefighters. The bill also proposes to expand the ability of the rest of the Vermont workforce to file stress-related claims.
Providing stronger protections in the Workers’ Compensation Act for fire, police and rescue workers is based in sound logic. These people perform some of the most difficult, vital jobs in our society, and on occasion witness horrific scenes that affect them deeply. From an employer/insurer perspective, it is the other provision, generally broadening compensable mental injuries for all Vermont workers, that is troubling. It raises questions about where the line will be drawn.

Essential conversations about family wealth

How confident are you about your family’s finances? How often do you discuss money with your loved ones? According to the Family Wealth Checkup study by Ameriprise Financial, there’s a correlation between financial confidence and communication. While many families are discussing financial issues, they tend to shy away from diving deep into topics like inheritance and estate planning, leaving some family members with unrealistic expectations. Here are some tips to help you discuss money matters with your family.