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Financial Security by Design
Newsletter Archive, updated 10/26/2003

Newsletters are in pdf format so that they will look the same on all computers and printers. The necessary software is called "Acrobat Reader." It is free and can be downloaded from Once installed, it pops up automatically to let you view and print pdf documents.

NEW! October 2003. I discuss investing in the current market environment, illustrate that intermediate TIPS provide extra yield compared to conventional Treasury bonds, comment on tax complexity, hybrid vehicles and electronic filing, warn about adverse tax implications of some 412(i) pension plans, review how Social Security benefits are calculated and close with a few comments on year-end planning.

"Financial Focus," a occasional discussion of financial issues appearing in Lifeline, a newsletter and forum for California's emergency room physicians, in collaboration with H. Gene Hern, Jr., MD, MS.

January 2003. My thought, as we enter the new year, is that an investor who delays their re-entry into the equity market is risking the gains they achieved by sidestepping the market decline. I also discuss why I foresee pressure on investment fees in the California market; changes in the delivery of income tax services; why I removed Social Security numbers from tax questionnaires; my ambivalence about expensing stock options and about the administration’s proposal to make dividends tax-free; and why I am not impressed by advertisements offering huge tax deductions for pension contributions.

June 2002. Active management is not a great way to make money, why the increased exemption limits might simplify your estate planning and why an aggregate community property agreement is emerging as the best way to fund a bypass trust with pension assets.

The IRS issued final regulations during 2002 covering beneficiary designations and distributions from IRAs and pensions. Consequently, some information in older newsletters may not be accurate for tax years beginning after 12/31/2001.

November 2001. My reading of the investment tea leaves is that the worst of the market decline is over and that it will be time, in the next couple of weeks, to increase stock allocations. While the sun may be rising, I suspect that the dawn will be overcast and that future market returns will be below the historical averages for the foreseeable future.  Year end tax planning and the unfortunate impacts if California fails to conform to the liberalized pension rules are also discussed.

June 2001. My firm's privacy policy, my take on the new tax legislation, some suggestions for managing your rainy day fund and responding to the upcoming changes in the Russell 2000 index.

January 2001. The market outlook, the coming blizzard of tax forms, recent tax changes including the five year capital gains holding period and the newly revised IRA distribution rules, California's ScholarShare program, Exchange Traded Funds, pecuniary funding formulas and why the Internet is indispensable.

November 2000 e-mail. Some ideas on coping with the current market decline

October 2000. Positioning your portfolio, TIPS, CPWROS registrations for real estate and securities, making your brokerage information secure, the separate share rule for estates and trusts, and year-end planning ideas.   Reposted 1/23/01.

The following newsletters are in HTML format.

November 1999. Sustainable withdrawals during retirement

October 1999. How Social Security benefits are calculated, why the fourth quarter may not be the best time to invest in mutual funds, why it is important to file gift tax returns, and year-end planning ideas.

May 1999. Creating wealth with a Roth IRA, picking mutual funds, using the reference portfolio to illustrate the benefits of market diversification, choosing portfolio components for the reference portfolio,  buying and owning bonds, and evaluating an offer to buy your limited partnership shares. 

January 1999. Interest rates, the 1998 stock market, child and other tax credits and a few words on Roth conversions.  

October 1998. New rules for capital gains, recharacterizing a Roth IRA, a reminder about required distributions, durable powers of attorney and Peter's vegetable garden.

July 1998. The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 and changes to the Roth IRA and capital gains.

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