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Since when is protecting workers’ retirement savings a bad thing?

The current administration has pledged to overturn the Labor Department’s fiduciary duty rule — a new rule forcing financial services providers to offer retirement account investment products chosen in “the sole interest of the beneficiary of the plan.”

In other words, it mandates the behavior that defines a “professional.” To me, the word “professional” has always meant a person who recommends for clients what they would purchase for themselves knowing what they know about the possible alternatives and prices.

Insulating your investments from the effects of ‘policy risk’

In the absence of a “black swan” event — a difficult-to-predict, typically catastrophic occurrence — the stock market is poised to continue a rise that reflects what promises to be lower taxes, less regulation and continued low interest rates, even if the latter rise a moderate degree.

So economic risk appears to be minimal, and this is reflected in the run-up of stock prices since the election. What is not being factored in is something referred to as “policy risk,” which includes the impact of proposals and laws created in recent days by the incoming administration.

Caring enough to provide decent pay

Reflecting on both Martin Luther King’s legacy and the complement of caregivers helping with my father in the final years of his life left me thinking about how the diversity of people from all walks of life creates such a powerful unifying force in society. The demographic bubble of baby boomers now heading deeper into retirement will depend on the strength of that unifying force more than ever in the coming years.

Will we be able to resist the market’s ‘sugar high’?

The story has it that Debbie Reynolds, expressing some adult supervision, told her daughter, Carrie Fisher, that she craved too much immediate gratification. “But immediate gratification takes too long!” Fisher replied.

I worry that a similar sentiment may have become the mindset of many who have experienced the quick 10 percent rise in market values since the election. Fueled by promises, some investors will feel that the next 10 percent boost will be taking too long.

It was a wonderful life

Picture a late-night scene with heavy snow falling and 5 inches already on the ground, with not a car in sight at the single four-way intersection in “downtown” Springfield, Vermont. Dad was giving me, age 15, a ride home from a dinner party, and at the top of a very steep hill leading straight down to the center of town, he said, “Son, let me show you how you drive when it’s slippery out. You pump the brake like this.”

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