Chad R. O'Connell AIF

Recent Posts

2019 Changes to the Hardship Withdrawal Rules

Posted by Chad R. O'Connell AIF

Nov 8, 2018 11:10:01 AM

There have been several recent legislative changes, most notably the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (“Tax Cuts Act”) and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (“Budget Act”). These changes can impact certain elements of 401(k), 403(b) and other retirement plans, as well as numerous health & welfare benefits. The changes to 401(k) and 403(b) plan hardship withdrawal requirements under the Budget Act will have the most significant impact.

What is changing?

The Budget Act made several changes to the hardship withdrawal rules that will become effective on the first day of the plan year that begins in 2019. The legislation:

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Posted by Chad R. O'Connell AIF

Jul 13, 2018 12:30:12 PM

News of an escalating trade war between the United States and China dominated headlines late last week as both countries formally imposed substantial tariffs on one another. In response to the Trump administration’s 25 percent tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods (largely industrial and technology products), the Chinese government levied tariffs of equal size on certain U.S. goods (largely agricultural products). The U.S. government is expected to launch a second round of tariffs on China, worth another $16 billion, in the next few weeks. Then on July 11, the White House announced it is preparing yet another wave of tariffs targeting China, this time a 10 percent levy on consumer and other goods worth $200 billion, to go into effect sometime after August 30.

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Topics: wealth management

The Rules of Prudent Investing

Posted by Chad R. O'Connell AIF

Apr 5, 2017 12:21:25 PM


Overview: The following rules can help investors build and adhere to a well-designed investment plan. These guidelines may be instrumental in giving investors the best chance of achieving their financial goals.

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Topics: investment strategy, diversification, performance

Bond Ladders in a Rising Rate Environment

Posted by Chad R. O'Connell AIF

Mar 23, 2017 3:57:36 PM

With a glut of information from the financial media, many investors have heard the drumbeat of rising interest rates. Market pundits are predicting higher rates due to rising inflation expectations coupled with an economy that is slowly picking up steam. The Federal Reserve has given more credence to the pundits by increasing the Federal Funds Target Rate twice in its past three meetings, causing investors to ask, “Will my bond ladder protect me in a rising rate environment?”

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Topics: interest rates, bond ladder

A look back at 2016: What did it mean for your portfolio?

Posted by Chad R. O'Connell AIF

Jan 20, 2017 3:55:22 PM

With Weston Wellington, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP.

Every year brings its share of surprises. But how many of us could have imagined that 2016 would see the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, Bob Dylan receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Donald Trump elected president, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average close out the year a whisker away from 20,000?

The answer is very few—a lesson that investors would be wise to remember.

At year-end 2015, financial optimists seemed in short supply. Not one of the nine investment strategists participating in the January 2016 Barron’s Roundtable expected an above-average year for stocks. Six expected US market returns to be flat or negative, while the remaining three predicted returns in single digits at best. Prospects for global markets appeared no better, according to this group, and two panelists were sufficiently gloomy to recommend shorting exchange-traded emerging markets index funds.1

Results in early January 2016 appeared to confirm the pessimists’ viewpoint as markets fell sharply around the world; the S&P 500 Index fell 8% over the first 10 trading sessions alone. The 8.25% loss for the Dow Jones Industrial Average over this period was the biggest such drop throughout the 120-year history of that index.2 For fans of the so-called January Indicator, the outlook was grim.

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Topics: portfolio, markets, election, 2016 financial markets

New Market Highs and Positive Expected Returns

Posted by Chad R. O'Connell AIF

Jan 12, 2017 12:10:59 PM

There has been much discussion in the news recently about new nominal highs in stock indices like the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500.

When markets hit new highs, is that an indication that it’s time for investors to cash out? History tells us that a market index being at an all-time high generally does not provide actionable information for investors. For evidence, we can look at the S&P 500 Index for the better part of the last century.

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Topics: wealth management, S&P500, stock markets, election, Dow Jones, volatility, 2017, return on investment

Quelling Myopic Loss Aversion

Posted by Chad R. O'Connell AIF

Oct 28, 2016 6:37:00 AM

The Information Age has changed our lives. It has never been easier to access information. Good things have come from this technology: connecting with friends across the globe, communicating with colleagues more efficiently, learning about unusual subjects.

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Topics: wealth management, investing,, investments, investors, investment performance, myopic loss aversion, market performance, dopkins wealth

5 Investing Principles Savvy Investors Know

Posted by Chad R. O'Connell AIF

Oct 31, 2015 1:50:00 PM

If the majority of investors understood the true benefits of a buy-and-hold strategy, some of the thousands of trades placed each day would likely not be made. Likewise, some of the products that thrive on being complex would see a not-surprising decline in popularity — if investors knew about their many disadvantages. The following are 5 key investing principles that investors should know.

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Topics: investing,, investments, investors

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