If you would like to discuss views on the economy, financial planning, or sustainable investments, please schedule time here

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.



Investment News

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.


Insurance News Net

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.


Magnify Money

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.


Investment News

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

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!


PR Buzz

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 Shoeff 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!


Wealth Management


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.