Weekly Blog

Brake Check

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   I had an interesting experience driving my daughter home from camp on Sunday.   We were driving through a small town in central Wisconsin when a vehicle made a right turn at an intersection a block or so in front of us. Everything…

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Weekly Blog

Women and Asset Protection – How Insurance Can Help

Women are successful professionals, business owners, and knowledgeable investors. At some point in their lives, women may have to manage their own finances due to divorce, widowhood, or remaining single. Every day, women face a variety of risks to their life, their health, and their property. Although you can’t eliminate many of these risks, you…

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Weekly Blog

What Can A Financial Professional Do for Non-Profits?

As of 2017, about two-thirds of all nonprofit organizations in the U.S. had annual budgets of less than $1 million.[1] For these non-profit organizations where every penny has a purpose, having the services of a financial professional can be incredibly valuable. Below, learn more about the different ways a financial professional can help non-profits succeed. Fiduciary…

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Weekly Blog

How Grandparents Can Help Grandchildren with College Costs

As the cost of a college education continues to climb, many grandparents are stepping in to help. This trend is expected to accelerate as baby boomers, many of whom went to college, become grandparents and start gifting what’s predicted to be trillions of dollars over the coming decades. Helping to pay for a grandchild’s college…

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Weekly Blog

You Are Here

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   It is generally good to know where you are.   When hiking in the woods, you bring along a compass and a trail map. When driving in unfamiliar territory, you use Google maps or your car’s GPS to keep your bearings.   The…

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Weekly Blog

Market Math

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   If you made it past the title of this blog, congratulations! Most people likely saw “math” in the title and casually walked away without making eye contact.   Whether you like it or not, math runs your world. You can either choose to…

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Weekly Blog

Critical Decision

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer Within the next few days you will face a critical decision. Your June investment statements will arrive via e-mail or in the mail. There are three potential approaches you could take because you honestly already know what your statements will tell you.   Option…

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Weekly Blog

How Much Disability Income Insurance Should You Have?

The amount of individual disability income insurance you should buy depends on three things: how much income you’ll need if you become disabled, how much money you can afford to spend on premiums, and how much insurance you’ll be able to purchase under the insurance company’s guidelines. Determine how much income you’ll need if you…

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Weekly Blog

Tips for Talking to Your Kids About Your Finances

Many parents may find it uncomfortable, or even believe it is unnecessary, to inform their children about personal finance matters. Yet, communicating openly with your family members can help to reassure them about your financial and health care wishes. This may also ease the decision-making process for your family in many important areas. As time…

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Weekly Blog

Insurance Nerd Day: 6 Interesting Insurance Facts

Insurance may provide a safety net for when things go wrong and might allow you to navigate life a little more confidently. Insurance Nerd Day is July 18. In celebration, here are six interesting facts about insurance you may not know. Insurance Originates from a Marriage Engagement The origin of the word “insurance” comes from…

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Weekly Blog

An Introduction to Estate Planning for the Sandwich Generation

For members of the “Sandwich Generation”—those currently in their 40s and 50s who are caring for children and their parents who are over 65-years old—estate planning may seem like a low priority. After all, when you’re juggling multiple caregiving responsibilities daily, sitting down to draft a will is easy to put off. But estate planning…

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Weekly Blog

Four Tips for Gaining Financial Independence

The golden rule of financial planning: if you can plan it, you can pursue it Over the past July 4th, we celebrated our country’s history of declaring independence and guaranteeing basic human freedoms. But true freedom includes financial independence, as well. Self-sufficiency isn’t guaranteed, but every one of us has the opportunity to achieve it.…

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Weekly Blog

Basic Facts of Life Insurance

  Thinking of a future without ourselves in it, is not the most pleasant of thoughts…however, it is necessary to do so for the financial future of your family. Life insurance may provide you with the opportunity to bequeath money to your survivors, while at the same time, provide the necessary liquidity to help pay…

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Weekly Blog

Will Rising Mortgage Rates Slow Down Housing?

The housing market has been frustrating for buyers and a boon for sellers, but there are signs that those frustrations might be easing – depending on where you live. Would-be buyers have struggled with historically low inventories, crazy bidding wars and now have to add rising mortgage rates to their worry list. Sellers on the…

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Weekly Blog

Tax-Deferred Annuities – Are They Right for You?

Tax-deferred annuities can be a valuable tool, particularly for retirement savings. However, they are not appropriate for everyone. Five questions to consider Think about each of the following questions. If you can answer yes to all of them, an annuity may be a good choice for you. Are you making the maximum allowable pretax contribution…

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Weekly Blog

Variable Annuities

Some basics A variable annuity is a contract between you (the purchaser) and an insurance company (the issuer). In return for your premium payments, the issuer agrees to make periodic payments to you (if you elect this option), beginning either immediately or at some future date. Annuity premium payments may be made with after-tax dollars…

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Weekly Blog

May IAG Grapevine

Jennifer Von Ruden assumed responsibilities as IAG’s Chief Compliance Officer on April 1 and also joined as a partner in our firm. Anne Sapienza and her fiancé, Tim Johnson, are planning a small wedding on September 24, 2022. Tom Peterson’s son, Gabe, graduated from Marquette High School and plans to attend the University of North…

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Weekly Blog

Older Americans: Growing Targets of Financial Fraud

America’s older generations grew up in a different world where it was customary to be courteous and trusting. Unfortunately, these exemplary standards of conduct could get some individuals into trouble. Con artists bank on the willingness of older Americans to trust in a variety of too-good-to-be-true investment “deals.” Therefore, many people already experiencing financial difficulties…

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Weekly Blog

Survival

It has been a rough six weeks. The financial markets have persistently declined, interest rates have risen, and you may be getting weary of bad news.   These are the times that test an investors’ patience. These are the times where the siren songs of foolish decisions get louder. These are the times for gentle…

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Rhymes

Today the Federal Reserve is likely to announce its first .50% increase in its overnight bank lending interest rate in over 20 years. On May 16, 2000, the Federal Reserve increased their target interest rate from 6% to 6.5%. As you may recall, the stock market peaked in March 2000 as a massive run up…

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Weekly Blog

Charting Your Future: Small Business Lessons from Good to Great

The best-selling book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap. . .and Others Don’t, offers surprising insights into the success of “great” companies that consistently and significantly beat average market returns on a sustained basis. The author, Jim Collins, and his research team set out to discover what makes a good company great.…

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Weekly Blog

If Social Security Falls Short

Are you worried about the current state of the Social Security system and how its future may affect your retirement income? It’s important to take a long, hard look at your current savings strategy to ensure you’ll be able to compensate for this, or any other, retirement income shortfall. Here are some important savings strategies…

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The R Words

It all starts with a whisper, an ever-so-slight loss of confidence, or a shadow of doubt that briefly crosses the mind. The economy looks strong, unemployment is low, consumers are generally in strong shape, and the present is positive. But what about the future? What about inflation? What about soaring food and energy costs? What…

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Weekly Blog

The Principles of Financial Literacy

Financial literacy refers to the skills and knowledge that allow an individual to make informed and effective decisions through their understanding of finances. Financial literacy starts by building a basic understanding of ‘money matters’ to create a sense of economic well-being, self-trust, and financial confidence. The principles of financial literacy include: Saving- Saving is preparing…

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Tax Reduction Trading™

It is no secret that the first three months of 2022 were a bit tumultuous in the financial markets. Stock traders responded to the uncertainty surrounding the invasion of Ukraine by selling. Bond traders responded to the uncertainty surrounding the Federal Reserve’s battle with inflation by selling. About the only strategies that had a positive…

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SECURE 2.0

Last week, by a vote of 414-5, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bipartisan bill that would make significant changes to retirement planning. The Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021 (H.R. 2954) is a sequel to the SECURE Act of 2019 which also passed with strong bipartisan support. Its nickname is SECURE Act…

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Inversion

A mere three months ago, bond traders were a fairly relaxed group of people. The 10-year Treasury bond yielded a modest 1.52% per year and had been trading around that mark for nine straight months. While inflation was bumping up, the Federal Reserve assured the markets it was transitory due to pandemic-related inefficiencies and there…

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Underdogs

I root for underdogs (unless they are playing Wisconsin teams, of course). There is something about an underestimated team exceeding the experts’ view about their abilities and defeating a supposedly superior opponent that gives me great satisfaction. It takes tenacity. It takes confidence. It takes effort. And it usually takes a little bit of luck.…

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Fear Fear

There is a lot to pay attention to in the world today. From armed conflict to viruses to inflation to supply chains to politics to the financial markets. It is almost getting difficult to decide which of these deserves the most attention. I can tell you that even long-term investors are starting to feel a…

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Genie

This past weekend my daughter was involved in her school’s production of Alladin and His Magic Lamp. She played Alladin. It was quite a whirlwind. Casting was on Monday, practices ran Monday through Friday (except for the ice day on Tuesday) with shows on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Thanks to Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre,…

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Average

From as young as I can remember, winter has been one of my favorite seasons to be outside — from sledding, to fort-building, to simply walking in the peaceful serenity of a world being blanketed by snow. I will even admit to you that I may enjoy shoveling occasionally. Counterbalancing this appreciation for the white…

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Rumors of War

What exactly is Vladimir Putin up to? No one really knows except maybe the highest echelons of his inner circle. There are no secrets about Russian troop movements, ship relocations, and joint military exercises in Belarus. This is certainly not a stealth operation. There are several plausible reasons for Putin to start rumors of war.

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Olympic Ingredients

I admit I get suckered in to watching the Olympics when they are on in my house. I think it is the combination of my admiration for those far more gifted than I, the interesting personal stories that are told, or the drama of the competition. It takes a lot of personal ingredients to earn…

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Pi

You may not have thought about pi since your high school geometry class, but it is a magic number. It starts with 3.1415926535 and goes on from there forever. Pi was also the main character in the book (and movie) “Life of Pi,” a fictional tale of a young boy who survived 227 days on…

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Apprehension

These two words can strike terror in a parent’s heart: student driver. My middle child started drivers education class this quarter. As his book knowledge of driving grows, so does his input regarding his parents’ driving habits. I am choosing to use such opportunities as positive educational experiences instead of reacting to the slight jabs…

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Magawa

While most of you likely have a fairly negative impression of rats, they have many redeeming qualities that could benefit you if you can overcome centuries of negative press coverage sensationalizing their shortcomings. Just last week a heroic rat was memorialized globally for his efforts to save lives. According to this article, Magawa was an…

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Spike

There have been quite a few spikes in the news over the last month. From the Badgers’ women volleyball players capturing the national championship to the spike in COVID cases to the Omicron variant’s more effective spikes. However, no spike has caught our attention more in the new year than the spike in interest rates.…

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Expectations

The optimism of high expectations can either be highly motivational or grudgingly disappointing. Did 2021 meet your expectations? Going into 2021 most people were fairly optimistic that 2021 would bring an end to the COVID pandemic and a return to normal life. Those high expectations were seeded by the lows of 2020, and 2021 simply…

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