Advisers Stick by Commodity ETFs Despite Dramatic Declines

Treven L. Ayers, MA, CFS, CFP® quoted in The Wall Street Journal. The rise of exchange-traded funds and notes makes it easy for everyone to own commodities, and many financial advisers recommend small stakes as permanent elements of a diversified portfolio. But the average broad-basket commodities ETF has lost an average of 7.9% a year in the past five years through July, according toMorningstar Inc. … Still, some financial advisers say a small allocation to commodity exchange-traded products remains important for a long-term portfolio. Viewing the performance of a commodity ETF or ETN over a specific period of time in isolation would be a mistake, these advisers say, overlooking their diversification and inflation-hedging benefits. “Historically, commodities have demonstrated attractive returns with long-term performance and volatility similar to equities,” says Treven Ayers, chief investment officer at Clearview Wealth Management. In addition, commodity investments may offer low correlation to other asset classes, counter-cyclicality and improvements in risk-adjusted returns, says Mr. Ayers, whose Charlotte, N.C., firm manages $70 million. Commodities have been dragged down over the past 18 months, he says, but that won’t Read on! →

3 Ways to Maximize Your Finances This Summer

Before you check out for summer vacation, consider taking advantage of your free time this summer to do a quick check-in on your financial health. Between packing up the beach chairs and planning your next family outing, see if you can fit these 3 action items onto your summer checklist. Doing so will help ensure you are on solid financial footing and pay benefits as you head into the second half of 2015. Set aside time with your significant other to talk about money Money is one of the leading causes of conflict in a marriage. It can cause anxiety, stress, regret and even shame. But if we get ahead of issues by establishing common goals and the steps to achieve them, your mindset around money can shift from negative feelings to feelings of joy, excitement and fulfillment. Try setting aside 30 minutes each week to talk about big expenses coming up, financial concerns, priorities, and goals. It may seem silly at first, but this exercise can quickly open the door to more healthy and natural conversations around money and Read on! →

Student Loans Weighing you Down?

Over 40 million Americans currently carry student loan debt with average balances of $29,000. If medical school was part of the equation that number could easily triple or quadruple. If you find yourself grappling with hefty student loans and all the decisions that come along with them, make sure you fully understand the details of your loans and all of your options before devising a plan to deal with your debt. The details can be overwhelming, so we’ve done our best to break down some key points for you here. The Basics There are a number of different types of student loans available to borrowers. If you’re in the process of applying for a student loan, understand the details before accepting the loan. If you already have student loans, understand consolidation options and payback choices so you know how to properly deal with them. Federal Loans are loans offered by the federal government which offer benefits that are not available if taking a loan out from a private institution. These include flexible repayment options (see below), deferment (postponing payment for Read on! →

How to Protect Your Personal Data Online

The protection of your personal and financial data is paramount in today’s society. From healthcare and income tax scams to the recent Anthem Insurance data breach, to general email phishing scams, it seems that no one is exempt nowadays from this growing issue. In today’s digital world, where information is at our (and not to mention, potentially dangerous hackers’) fingertips, it is imperative to know how to prevent becoming the latest victim of a financial scam, and how to check up on your credit to know if a breach on your identity has occurred. The key is to be aware of the potentially harmful schemes ahead of time so that you are prepared to properly avoid them, as well as continually stay on top of your personal information in case your identity is ever compromised. Tax Scams Tax season has proven to be a time of year when many scammers prey on individuals in the midst of their tax preparation. Below are a few tax-time scam warnings directly from the IRS: Don’t fall for phone and phishing email scams that Read on! →