please schedule time here

to discuss views on the economy, financial planning, or sustainable investments.

It is year-end, and it is time to tend to your finances and make sure you get a little extra bump in your finances before the year end. Check this article and check in with your Wealth Strategist to implement! Read the article here

Chris is interviewed in Business Insider article by Zina Kumok about the difficulties that American expatriates can experience. There are many issues with respect to taxation, reporting, and what can be invested in. In summary, expatriating can be a fun adventure, but it requires proper financial preparation. Read the article here

In this video interview, Chris talks about what it takes to specialize in divorce financial planning. For Chris, the first step was to get the CDFA designation. But that's not enough: it requires working extensively in the field, getting additional qualifications including mediation training, and working on many many cases. Read the article here

Federal student loan borrowers will be required to resume payments after January 31, 2022, after a payment pause and interest rates had been dropped to 0% for nearly two years. Many borrowers benefited from this freeze and now must prepare to make payments again or for the first time. Saki tells readers that it is very important to explore your federal repayment options before the freeze ends.. Read the article here

Do you have access to a Roth 40(k) plan at work? These accounts can be a good way to help you grow your retirement assets tax-free, but according to Chris, it's not for everyone. People who anticipate their marginal tax rate in retirement will be equal or lower than their current rate should not opt for a Roth 401(k). Those who are in lower tax brackets, or in transition between careers when their income levels are lower than usual may wan to consider it, though. Read the article here

As a volatile, highly speculative investment, many investors are cautious about cryptocurrency. Many people who are skeptical about cryptocurrency but believe in the blockchain technology behind it see blockchain ETFs as a much more sound investment. Chris tells NextAdvisor that the companies that are supporting the development of blockchain are the shovel sellers during the gold rush of the 1800s- they are the ones who made the money by selling shovels to the people who rushed to dig for gold! Read the article here

Chinese stocks dominate the emerging market indexes these days, accounting for about 40% of the typical fund. That's a big challenge today because your typical Emerging Market fund isn't really that diversified. Chris tells MarketWatch that people should be invested in emerging markets, but there is merit in splitting out China and non-China emerging markets as separate allocations. Read the article here

More than half of Robinhood's users are first-tie investors and 31 is the median age of all users, who tend to have less complicated financial lives. With Robinhood becoming a publicly traded company in July 2021, the article asks if these users want to grow old with Robinhood- even as they get older and their financial lives get more complicated. Would they still want to manage their own positions in Robinhood or will they move away to seek expert advice from financial planners? Read the article here

Should you buy a second home? In this article by Robert Powell, Chris recommends that you have a good plan in place before and after you purchase a second home. Read the article here

In this article, Chris explains how he started specializing in financial planning for women going through a divorce. He started developing this specialty and expertise 12 years ago. The more specialized an adviser is, the better the service the adviser will be able to provide! Read the article here

Congratulations Class of 2021! If you took out student loans to pay for school, you may be wondering what to do about your loans as you get ready to start a new chapter of your life. This article will guide you through the terms you need to know, concepts that are unique to student loans, and actions you can take to take control of your student loans! Read the article here

Investors and economists are worried about inflation, but should you? How does it affect you? Read about how inflation helps borrowers, when it doesn't, and what Chris has to say about loans with variable rates.

In this article in The Street, Chris recounts how Jill came to decide to cover her future Long Term Care liability. We also published it as a blog post. Read the article here! And the blog post here.

Crypto was all the rage when John Puterbaugh wrote this article for NextAdvisor, Time's personal finance section. Shortly aftwerwards, Bitcoin experienced some serious volatility. Regardless, people increasingly ask if they shoulf include Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in their portfolio. Read the article here!

Student loans can take a serious toll on your finances. Learn when you can settle student loans, how it works and why Income-Driven Repayment plans or forgiveness programs might be a better alternative. Read the article here!

Read the article here

In this article for Yahoo Finance's personal finance section, Stephanie Asymkos interviewd Chris to get his views on finance and divorce. Read the article here!

Changes may be coming to the student loan repayment programs when President-elect Joe Biden takes office next month.  Writing for Kiplinger, Saki explains what's in Biden's proposed student loan plan.  The future of student loan debt could look quite different.  Read the article here!

The rules for claiming Social Security are confusing, especially for people who have had more than one marriage and divorce.  Chris explains the details.  Click here to read the article.  

What are the differences between private and federal student loans?  It's important to know if you have student loans.  Writing for Kiplinger, Saki Kurose explains the advantages and disadvantages of refinancing your student loans.  Click here to read the article.

In this article, Ginger Szala writes about financial advisors with a niche-based practice on a specific profession, age group, or gender.  Because niche-focused advisors, like Chris with a focus on retirement and financial planning for post-divorce women over 50, have specific technical expertise, they can understand and help their clients in a way that generalist-type advisors may not be able to.

In this episode of the Wicked Pissah podcast, Chris Chen, CFP® CDFA joins an esteemed panel including Gina Arons, Psy.D., and Atty. David Kellem to discuss  the challenges and benefits of working with clients going through divorce.

Chris Chen, CFP® CDFA joins "Money Talk Tuesday", hosted by the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts, which covers the financial, legal, and emotional ramifications of divorce. 

Do you have an option to take a lump sum or lifetime payments of your pension? The amount offered for a lump sum may be lower than steady payments, but steady payments may be fixed for life and you may loser purchasing power over time.  Click here to read Sarah O'Brien's article about what else you might want to consider in making the decision.

Divorce can bring on many challenges like navigating personal finance matters relating to co-parenting.  Andrea Browne Taylor writes about 10 things you should be aware of after a divorce, including tax rules, college financial aid, and estate planning.   

In this article, Brett Arends examines a do-it-yourself investor's unusual asset allocation which goes against the conventional wisdom on Wall Street to go heavy on U.S. funds. 

As the pandemic causes continuing uncertainty for many companies, Sarah O'Brien for CNBC writes about the decision many retiring workers must make: to take a lump sum or lifetime payments from their pension plans and how it depends on the employer's long-term viability. Read the article here.

Ali Malito discusses a personal finance celebrity's opinion on which individual retirement accounts we should be putting our investments into.  The right thing to do often depends on the individual and should be based on a strategy to minimize taxes over a lifetime.  Check out Ali's article.


Stimulus Checks: Why Buying Stock With Your Economic Impact Payment Is Beneficial

In this article, Stephen Andrew shares experts' opinions about a number of ways to use the coronavirus relief stimulus checks to your benefit, including buying stocks, building an emergency fund, and paying debts. 

Bob Powell now writing for USA Today addresses the temptation to raid retirement accounts if the crisis has depleted your cash. The bottom line is that you should avoid it if you can. 

Writing for Marketwatch, Ali Malito observes that the coronavirus crisis has depleted retirees and pre-retirees assets, putting into question how to manage retirement. We like to think that it starts with a good plan! Check out Ali's article.

Bob Powell from The Street Retirement Daily addresses a widespread tendency for employers to reduce matching contributions to their employees' retirement plans. With Covid-19 ravaging the country, many employers feel that it's the prudent thing to do. Check out this story in The Street.

The return on annuities is often based on actual rates of interest. With rates at record lows, returns on annuities may be at risk. If you are counting on annuities as part of your plan you may want to consider an alternative strategy according to this article by Brett Arends from MarketWatch

In divorce, you have to make sure to address life insurance. Ashley Chorpenning covers the in and out for Forbes in this article.

If you are one of the many Americans that will be receiving a stimulus payment, you might be wondering what is the best way to use the money? Andrew Keshner from MarketWatch has some ideas.

Wondering how you should manage your personal finances in uncertain times? Lucy Lazarony suggest some steps.

If you have Roth retirement accounts you should consider Ginger Szala's suggestions in Think Advisor.

Chris Chen Named a 2020 Five Star Wealth Manager.

Each year, the annual peer-nominated Five Star award program honors wealth management professionals who show a commitment to clients, demonstrate strong industry credentials and are evaluated on the quality of their current practice. We are very proud to be part of this program!

Fractional shares offer new possibilities for investing.  Consider the example Chris provides for how it could work in real time.

People can be either very for or very against annuities. The reality is that they are complex, and if you are considering annuities, you should understand those complexities, because you will be stuck with them for a long time. Check out Bernice Napach's article on this delicate subject.

Have your ever wondered what makes a retirement plan a Pension versus a 401(k) or 403(b)? Investopedia provides specific detail about each type of plan along with Chris's guidance

Annuities can be a complex and often misunderstood retirement savings tool.  Chris discusses the pros and cons of annuities here

Personal longevity is an important factor to consider in retirement planning.  Greg Iacurci from Investment News explores the issue here.

When young adults get into debt, they may choose to use the funds in their 401k plan to repay it.  Sarah Min here.


McKenzie Bezos: 4 Wealth Strategy Concerns

Just recently McKenzie and Jeff Bezos settled the terms of their divorce.  McKenzie now has some wealth protection issues to consider.  Chris discusses what financial planning strategies might apply to McKenzie as she moves foward with her life:

Avoiding common mistakes before or during your retirement is important. Chris and other financial advisors discuss what to be mindful of for retirement planning here

In "Financial Advisers Take Issue with Democratic Plans to Tax the Rich", Jeff Benjamin gets the perspective of financial planners about the latest income tax proposals from the Democratic candidates. Financial Planners tend to be more anti-tax than average. I take the opposite side. It's not that I like taxes any more than anyone else. However, I believe in a democracy, we need to each pay our share. Maybe it starts with cutting loopholes for the well off as well as for corporations. Read more here


Rolling Out Robo-Advisors Has Been Challenging For Early Adopters

Are you considering using a Robo-Advisor for your investment recommendations? Ryan Neal talks to Financial Planners about their experiences and concerns with the technology. The reality is that robo implementation has been difficult. See what Chris has to say here

Have you evaluated your financial health lately? Chris has some ideas about what to consider as you get back on track for success

Are you concerned about the market's wild ride? If you are like most people you will be.  Check this article by Ali Malito for MarketWatch for advice on how to cope with market volatility. Chris suggests differentiating funds that are needed for the short term from the funds that are needed for the long term.


For many retirees, even those who have meticulously planned their retirement income, the amount of taxes they are expected to pay may come as an unwelcome surprise. How can you best plan for a tax efficient retirement? Chris Chen and other financial planners offer common sense suggestions in this CNN Money article.


Most people would be better off not having mortgages in retirement. Relatively few will get any tax benefit from this debt, and the payments can get more difficult to manage on fixed incomes. But retiring a mortgage before you retire isn’t always possible. Financial planners recommend creating a Plan B to ensure you don’t wind up house rich and cash poor – see what Chris Chen has to say.

The change in tax laws affects how alimony and child support are treated, going into effect for agreements signed after the end of the year. So, if divorce is in your near future, it might pay to try to beat the clock, says Chris Chen in this Kiplinger article.

Yes, you can. However your specific needs should drive the number and type of policies you purchase. Read Chris’ input to this story for more information on properly planning for insurance needs.

The latest data from a poll of 1,000 Americans age 22 to 37, finds that nearly half of millennials are spending more money on restaurants and dining out than they are putting into retirement accounts. Thirty-two percent spend more on clothes than they save, and more than a quarter reported spending more on coffee, alcohol and online streaming services. See what Chris Chen has to say from a financial planning perspective.

Seventy percent of U.S. households headed by people ages 65 to 74 had at least some debt in 2016, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest Survey of Consumer Finances. Because paying debt usually gets more difficult on a fixed income, people have the most options to deal with debt if they create a plan before they retire, financial planners say. Refinancing a mortgage, for example, is usually less of a hassle while people are still employed. It’s also typically easier to generate the extra income that may be needed to pay off debt. Read Chris Chen’s thoughts on generating cash flow is retirement.



Insight Financial Strategists’ own Chris Chen has been named to Investopedia’s Most Influential Advisors list for 2018!
The list celebrates financial advisors who have contributed significantly to conversations about financial literacy, investing strategies, life-stage planning and wealth management.


U.S. News and World Report

With a bond tent, an investor gradually allocates a larger portion of his or her portfolio to bonds as he or she nears retirement in order to protect against market downturns. A bond tent can be an appropriate tool for investors who will not have large Social Security payments or pensions, and who will need to rely primarily on income from their portfolio to fund retirement. “The reality is that we cannot predict when a downturn will actually happen and what its magnitude will be. Hence strategies like bond tents are critical to the financial well-being of retirees and near retirees.” says Chris Chen, a financial planner for Insight Financial Strategists in Waltham, Massachusetts.

ESG is a relatively new term in investing. It stands for Environmental, Social and Governance, referring to the three components of what is more widely known as socially responsible investing. In this USA Today article, Bob Powell, with the help of Eric Weigel, Chief Investment Officer at Insight Financial Strategists, explores the intricacies of this style of investment.

Advisors focused on capturing next-generation assets should realize there’s a surviving spouse between them and their millennial pot of gold — and, statistically speaking, it’s a woman. Chris Chen of Insight Financial Strategists in Waltham, Mass., agrees recent divorce and widowhood are “emotionally overwhelming” experiences — but he thinks the hands-off element is sometimes temporary. “What they want is to avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma that they just experienced,” says the CDFA. “They want to avoid also what they perceive as the real hard work of getting on top of the financial issues.”

Under President Trump’s new tax plan, starting in 2019, payers will be no longer be able to deduct their alimony payments. For divorcees in the top tax bracket, the change could mean they effectively pay double in post-tax costs compared to what they had previously agreed to in their prenups.  If agreements aren’t amended to factor in the tax changes, it will be up to divorce attorneys to settle — or judges to decide — whether the amounts or formulas still stand for couples who divorce starting next year. “Folks already don’t like paying alimony, so doubling the effective cost would be painful,” said Chris Chen, a financial planner who specializes in divorce-related matters at Insight Financial Strategists.


Medical Economics

Physicians are riding the digital health wave, investing in startup companies long before they reach the public stock markets as technology and regulation disrupt the healthcare industry. Some physicians see the deals as financial investments, others see them as potential future careers, but all of them should keep the significant risks of early-stage companies in mind before jumping in, experts say. Consider the personal credibility of anyone involved in the deal, says Chris Chen, CFP, chief executive of Insight Financial Strategists in Waltham, Mass. “Financials always look good because they are contrived to look good,” he says. In other words, treat any future projections with skepticism. “Beyond that, look at whether the principals are properly motivated and have credibility from doing this work before.”

If your retirement investments are spread out over multiple individual retirement accounts (IRAs), it may make sense to treat these various accounts as one, a process known as “aggregating.” Aggregation means treating several accounts as one, not actually combining them, and can allow for more efficient planning for distributions and more efficient investment strategy management.

Day trading is treacherous, especially in a volatile market. “If you want to compete on that level, you need the weapons,” Chen said. “It’s like going to a gunfight with a knife.” Day trading in a consistent bull market, like the past year and a half has been, can be easier, since you buy, see the prices go up and sell to make a profit. But during volatility, it’s almost impossible to tell what will happen and how long the ups and downs will sustain, he said.

Just two weeks ago the consensus was that we were going to experience a continuation of the bull market at least into the early part of this year. This is still our view. Read Chris’ thoughts on the recent market turmoil, as well as the views of other financial advisors.

Buying life insurance on someone else and naming yourself as beneficiary might sound like a plot point in a film noir mystery. But taking out a policy on another person makes good sense in some situations. Whether you can do it, though, depends on your relationship and having the other person’s consent.

Credit cards can be a useful convenience when used for day-to-day expenses and paid off at the end of the month, says Chris Chen, a certified financial planner and wealth strategist at Insight Financial Strategists in Boston. “In some cases, it’s very difficult to function without a credit card — for hotels and rentals cars, for instance,” he says. He adds that they are also useful for online shopping, since credit cards offer far more protections than debit cards.

Many non-native workers in the U.S. are young professionals hired by firms seeking workers with highly valued skills. In 2016, more than 870,000 foreign nationals were granted the most common temporary work visas. Should these workers consider contributing to company sponsored plans? This article provides important considerations in answering that question.

Acrimonious couples who were racing to get divorced by Dec. 31 or face dire tax consequences can breathe a sigh of relief. The final tax overhaul bill gives them until the end of 2018 before completely upending the divorce process.

If you’ve decided that a store card isn’t right for you, stay strong and don’t let the sales associate persuade you. “Their job is to get you to sign up,” says Chris Chen, a Massachusetts-based CFP.

Written into the fabric of the new GOP tax proposal is a change in how alimony is taxed. People paying alimony could lose “the greatest tax deduction ever.” And that could ultimately affect those receiving alimony, too.

While many couples dissolve their marriages without significant legal involvement, divvying up retirement accounts, particularly pensions, is thorny. Doing it without a proper legal agreement could stick you with a hefty tax bill and penalties. In some cases, one party may end up with nothing.

For women, divorcing an income-providing, money-managing spouse is bound to do damage to the bottom line – and force some changes. However, with proper planning and education, uncoupling can offer independence and financial power as well.

In this article, Chris Chen and Eric Weigel explain the new trend toward socially responsible investing (SRI) and the accompanying environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics used by investment managers, as well as the evolution of these strategies over time, and important considerations for interested investors.

Getting the flu shot should be a no-brainer,” says certified financial planner Chris Chen, wealth strategist with Insight Financial Strategists in Waltham, Massachusetts. “The low or free cost of the shot is one of the great deals of everyday living, given what it can cost if you get the flu.”


Wicked Local Lexington

Economic and Finance Lecture Series — Money Management & Investment: Retirement: 2 p.m. Nov. 1. Wealth strategist Jim Wood from Insight Financial Strategists LLC will present money management considerations for one’s pre-retirement “accumulation period” and their post retirement “distribution period” at the Lexington Community Center. Call 781-698-4870 to sign up.


Nearly thirty years ago, on Oct. 19, 1987, investors and advisers learned a lesson about stock market volatility that has stayed with them to this day. “I had recently graduated from graduate school with an MBA,” said Chris Chen, a financial planner with Insight Financial Strategists. “Everyone I knew who went to Wall Street that year got laid off.”

Going from a dual-income household in marriage to a single-income household is a big change.  “Alimony and child support are not forever,” Chen says. “You have to plan for when it ends: Continue advancing your career to progress from a lower-paying job, and make sure your expenses are lined up at the right level.”

Read Chris Chen’s take on a new Harvard Business School study that found that employees tend to contribute the same amount to either a Roth or traditional 401(k), indicating some employee confusion around the tax advantages and impacts.


The DO: Money Matters

“New doctors have a lot of pent-up consumption, so it’s natural that they would want to splurge a little,” says Chris Chen, a certified financial planner with Insight Financial Strategists in Waltham, Massachusetts. But giving into temptation and plunking down a wad of cash on a BMW or a Lexus can be a terrible financial mistake, Chen says. Find out why.

Don’t neglect to review your insurance coverage amid the grief and complicated logistics of breaking up. The right insurance creates a financial safety net for the fresh start ahead, and this article outlines the checklist you should be using.

In this article, we’ll go over eight major reasons why you should focus on keeping your 401(k) plan until retirement, rather than using it as a piggy bank.


Financial Advisor Magazine

A rising number of financial advisors nationwide believe that virtual reality (VR) technology geared to financial planning will help clients overcome their limited ability to envision their golden years. Learn more about these tools under development.

As the Department of Labor’s rules that govern the practice of advising clients on investments take effect,  advisors provide insight into their individual philosophy and personal ethical considerations that will guide their roles as fiduciaries.

If you’re planning to remain in a relationship without getting married, consider these guidelines before putting down cash on an investment like a home or car. You owe it to yourself and your partner to be prepared — just in case.

Check out these tips on how to pre-load your spending, a classic method to ensure that you don’t overspend. Advance planning and a thoughtful approach to spending can help you meet your financial goals.

Many baby boomers are still wounded financially by the the Great Recession of 2008. Advisors can help them recover, although many are hesitant to seek advice.

Advisors are fielding questions and concerns from clients worried about the current bull market’s advanced age, and reminding them to take a long term view with respect to their savings and investments.


The DOL fiduciary rule was passed last year to mandate that advisors’ advice should only be in the client’s best interest. Dodd-Frank was passed and implemented in the wake of the Great Recession to help prevent another crash. The Trump administration has suggested that they wanted to get rid of the DOL rule and Dodd Frank.

It is accepted wisdom that portfolios need to be re-balanced. Yet this is task that is more complicated than at first blush.


Investor’s Business Daily

Long Term Care is a critical and complex aspect of a retirement plan. Yet it is often not addressed very well. For most people it is well worth the effort. Check also this blog post by Jim Wood.

Giving money to kids can be more complicated than giving a toy. Jean Chatzky goes over some of the key considerations

Student loans are a major investment these days, leading to a substantial average default rate ranging from 18.9% in New Mexico to 6.1% in Massachusetts, according to Nerdwallet.

The Federal Reserve came through with its long awaited interest rate increase this December 2016. A quarter point increase is small, but it still has impact on people’s finances.

Obviously, men also make mistakes when they divorce. Did we mention the obvious path to try to avoid these mistakes?

There appears to be a gender divide about divorce attitudes that leads to mistakes that women tend to make more than men. In my opinion, the divide is not so much about gender as it is about the relative power of the parties.

For many, the last few years before retirement is a planning scramble. Despair not! There are still things you can do if you are late starting.

It is critically important not to overreact to the new administration. In the end, the US economy will outlast Trump .

A lot of things will change with the new Trump administration. However, if you have a strong long term plan, things will probably work out. If not, get a long term plan! For the short run, you may want to mitigate risks.

Notwithstanding the post election market rally we are likely to face a few bumpy roads ahead. It is important not to panic and not to lose sight of long term goals.

In this Investopedia piece, I review some of the issues with divorce and retirement accounts.


CNS News

How to Ditch Your Bank

Who has never been annoyed at their bank? In the wake of the Wells Fargo scandal, this article by Jeanne Lee of Nerdwallet explores the steps to take when you want to ditch your bank!

A plug for a new book on negotiating from Janet Miller Wiseman. This new book outlines a practical way to negotiate disagreements. Janet Miller Wiseman is a Certified Family and Divorce Mediator and a co-founder of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation. She is also the author of Mediation Therapy: Short-Term Decision Making for Couples and Families in Crisis.

Mark Schoeff at Investment News asked if Trump’s tax avoidance is legal and/or moral, and if it is evidence of the famous Trump business acumen.

Suzanne Wooley at Bloomberg wonders if spouses hide retirement savings from one another . She cites a Fidelity study that states that 43% of people do not know how much their partner makes, much less how much is in their partner’s retirement account. Most people also have no idea what they would need to keep up their lifestyle in retirement.

Why might that be? According to Suzanne’s article, they are a range of factors ranging from people hiding their finances to people not having a culture of talking about money (this is my contribution to Suzanne’s article).

Regardless it seems that most of us could use a course in financial communications .

Suzanne Wooley writes in this Bloomberg article that the Betterment robo advisor can now optimize for taxes as well as asset allocation. It sounds like a compelling solution.

After testing the Betterment, it occurred to me that a client had better understand asset allocation, and now taxes as well, if they want to make good decisions. Sure a robot can implement anything you tell them, but you still need to give them the right input!

A robo cannot integrate tax loss harvesting in one account in your wider financial strategy, including your overall tax planning, legacy planning, risk management and coordinate various accounts.

With the current state of development, robo advisors are best used as a tool for Certified Financial Planner professionals, maybe not so much for end users directly.

In the wake of the Brangelina divorce, Dan Goldstein of MarketWatch delves into the issues of disposing of your home when you are divorcing.

There is nothing easy about divorce or widowhood. Ilana Polyak’s article in CNBC summarizes the issues

There are still too many people who feel compelled to raid their 401(k) in times of stress. This article by Debbie Nason for CNBC captures the issues.

Kate Ashford at Forbes reviews some of the critical decisions about college financing.

It is unfortunate that so many people feel that college was not worth it. Kate Ashford at Forbes explores the issues

Diversification is an oft misunderstood concept. This article by Chris Chen reviews some of the issues.

People often want to know how fast they should pay off their mortgage. It sounds obvious (as soon as possible), but it may not be.

What should Prince have done about his estate planning. Unfortunately, Prince left quite a challenge behind.


Investment News

Chris Chen is happy to figure prominently on this list!


Boston Globe


Health Insurance Taxation Issues Post-Divorce
by Chris Chen, CFP®, CDFATM and Justin L. Kelsey, Esq.

Unintended Consequences of “An Act to Reform and Improve Alimony,” in Massachusetts: Avoiding the Pitfalls on the Road to Reform
by Janet Miller Wiseman, Certified Divorce Mediator, Jeanne Kangas, Esquire, and Howard Goldstein, Esquire, Chris Chen, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.
Originally published by the Boston Bar Association.