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Social Security Short-Changes 100,000+ Widows

A recent audit report of the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General estimates that the SSA has underpaid 110,000 widow(er)s $285 million. While SSA is working to correct the 101 widow(er)s that were actually discovered in their sampling of 200, it is unclear how others affected by this error will be identified and corrected.

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The Effect of Returns on Planning Projections

I recently wrote about why I Hate Predicting Investment Returns. As I continue to meet with clients and potential clients, the reality of return expectations continues to be a necessary part of the discussion. Toward the end of the previous post, I made the statement, “This (lower return) expectation is being baked into my discussions with clients and the planning projections we do.” Here is what that means in practice using an example.

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Financial Rules of Thumb: Harm or Help?

I come across a lot of averages and rules of thumb in the financial planning profession. While they can be helpful at times, they can also be dangerously wrong. As a non-financial example, the average depth of the Chesapeake Bay is 21 feet. That’s interesting information, but hardly useful if you are going to navigate a large vessel through its waters.

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Quantifying the Value of Financial Planning Advice

One of the largest obstacles financial advisors have is explaining what we do and how it benefits clients. Most of the advice that is delivered is intangible, making it difficult to quantify the value of that advice. Several recent studies, which attempt to provide more definition around this, have been summarized by Michael Kitces into the following one page summary.

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