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The Difference Between the Fiduciary Standard and the Suitability Standard If You Meet with a Financial Professional, Be Sure to Ask a Critical Question If you make an appointment with a financial advisor on behalf of yourself, your family or your company, make the following inquiry before the meeting ends: “Do you ever recommend any products […]

Investment Expenses

13 Ways to Lower Your Investment Expenses & Planning Costs

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At Balanced Rock, we’re constantly looking for ways to help our clients lower investment expenses and plan more cost-effectively. This is usually accomplished with a combination of tax savings, lower fees and expenses, value-oriented outside service providers, and the use of technology. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, with future investment returns expected by […]

Getting a Jump on Tax Season

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What should you bring to your preparer? You can file your federal tax return starting January 20. IRS filing season will start right on time in 2015, and there is wisdom in filing your 1040 well before April 15. You can get it out of the way earlier, and if you e-file, you can put […]

ESG Isn’t a Trade-off, It’s a Trade-Up

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ESG Isn’t a Trade-off, It’s a Trade-Up We often hear people say, “I like the idea of honoring my values with my investment choices but I’m more concerned about good overall performance and solid returns” or “I’m actually okay with giving up some investment returns because at least I’m investing in companies that I can feel […]

Changes in the Retirement Benefits Landscape for 2015

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A rundown of the big & little alterations coming next year. Each year, the retirement benefits landscape looks a little different, and next year is no exception. Here’s a look at what will change, what might develop, and even what won’t change for 2015.    The 401(k) contribution limit expands $500 to $18,000 next year. […]

fiduciary duty vs suitability standard

A War of Words – Fiduciary vs Suitability

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A War of Words – Fiduciary Duty vs Suitability Standard Here at Balanced Rock, we are constantly fighting a war of words. Fee-Only or Fee-Based? What’s the difference? Fiduciary duty or Suitability standard? Why does it matter? What’s problematic about being sold financial products? Isn’t that what all advisors do? There’s a storm of confusion in […]

Stop trying to pick active mutual funds

Your Actively Managed Funds Are Unnecessary, and Worse

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Your Actively Managed Mutual Funds Are Unnecessary, and Worse Actively managed funds continue to lose, after fees and expenses, to their passive index fund competition. Jason Zweig’s recent article in the WSJ suggests exactly what we at Balanced Rock believe – that the investment expertise of most fund managers would be better used helping clients plan […]

farmers market flower display

Why Farmers Markets? Because Our Votes Count

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Why Farmers Markets? Because Our Votes Count A wonderful teacher I had in high school used to tell us over and over again to “vote with your feet!” I went to a small girls’ school in Shaker Heights Ohio and she was a lovably impassioned history teacher. “Girls, you have got to get out there […]