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Financial Spring Cleaning: Life Insurance Audit


So much of the maintenance of our personal finances falls into the category of “boring, but important.” But when it comes to life insurance, our subconscious resistance to the topic is further compounded because, unlike retirement or career planning, your pot of gold at the end of the life insurance rainbow is actually a headstone.

We don’t like to talk about life insurance for numerous reasons, but especially because it requires acknowledgment of the fragility of our own lives, and of those we love. But considering the extremely high probability of our mortality, life insurance is one of the most important topics to include in your financial spring cleaning.

To ensure your life insurance planning is on track, ask and answer these five questions:

1. Where are your policies? Yes, it’s important to know where your original, physical policies are (and it’s a good idea to communicate that information to the Personal Representative in your will). But you also want to ensure that all of the policies you think you own are, indeed, active.


How Correlations Are Influenced

It’s been said diversification is the only free lunch in investing, with the largest benefits of diversification coming from adding assets with low, or—even better—negative correlations.

However, when designing portfolios, investors also need to be aware that correlations are not constant—they are averages of the relationships of returns. Thus, it’s important to understand not only that correlations can drift, but also under what circumstances the correlation of returns are likely to increase and decrease.

For example, while the correlation of high-yield bonds to stocks tends to be low, during bear markets caused by recessions, their correlation tends to rise toward 1 (at exactly > SEE MORE

Correction Protection In Liquid Alts

Late January through early February saw the global equity markets undergo a “correction.” From the close on Jan. 26, 2018 to the close on Feb. 9, 2018, the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) lost 8.7%. The Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA) experienced an even greater loss of 9%. And the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) lost even more, dropping 10.1%.

A globally diversified portfolio, weighted approximately by market cap (U.S.: 1/2; developed markets: 3/8; emerging markets: 1/8) would have lost 9.0%. Even the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND) lost 1.3%, reminding investors that stocks and bonds can experience losses at the same time.

Correction Protection

Recently, I’ve written about four liquid alternatives I believe investors should consider including in their portfolios. How did they perform during this period? Before reviewing > SEE MORE