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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

529 plans are a tool for those looking to save for college for their children, grandchildren, or any family member. While most people know that they are one of the most popular saving methods for college, many myths surrounding these...

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Over the past few years, the market has appeared to be on a rollercoaster, providing investors with moments of excitement followed by heart-palpitating anxiety. Staying ahead during uncertain market activity seems impossible, but smart...

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

May is National Small Business Month. As a financial advisor and owner of a small business, I understand the unique challenges and opportunities that come with running a small business. Managing finances effectively is key to the...

Thursday, May 9, 2024

As a parent, one of the most significant concerns is ensuring that your children have the financial resources they need to pursue higher education. With college tuition costs continuously rising, it's no surprise that many parents...

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Did you know, according to CNBC, more Americans are expected to turn 65 through 2027 than at any other time in history? This rapid population increase of older adults is often called the “Silver or Gray Tsunami,” though many new...

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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Learning financial literacy, such as money management, budgeting, and investing, can seem daunting, but is no different than learning how to speak another language. Being financially literate allows you to have a better, more...

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Most American workers who earn wage income and pay Social Security taxes via withholding receive Social Security benefits at some point in retirement. While the Social Security Administration has tried to make the process easier to...

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The US stock market kicked off 2024 in familiar fashion – it kept on going up. After a very strong final two months in 2023, the S&P 500 index rose 10.56% in Q1 2024, culminating in its first new all-time high in over two years being...

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Estate planning is a comprehensive process that involves organizing your assets and making informed decisions concerning how your wealth will be handled before and after death. It is a critical phase of wealth management, essential for...

Monday, April 8, 2024

As high-net-worth (HNW) individuals approach their golden years, retirement planning often becomes a focal point of their financial strategies. One aspect of this planning that sometimes creates confusion or misinterpretation is the...

Thursday, April 4, 2024

As high-net-worth (HNW) individuals approach their golden years, retirement planning often becomes a focal point of their financial strategies. One aspect of this planning that sometimes creates confusion or misinterpretation is the...

Thursday, March 21, 2024

As you all know now, Kurt Pearson has stepped back from day-to-day operations at Compass Financial. We still see him from time to time. He tends to show up when there is something good to eat or something fun to do, and always has a...

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

  Approximately 60 million workers contribute to a 401(k)-retirement plan. A 401(k) is a tax-advantaged retirement savings plan companies offer employees and is funded through elective salary deferrals. There are several benefits...

Monday, March 18, 2024

The federal income tax filing deadline isn’t until April. However, the start of tax season is nearly upon us. Here are some tips for navigating the tax filing process to help lessen some of the stress you may feel as Tax Day...

Monday, March 11, 2024

In the realm of estate planning, the ripple effects of our oversights often linger long after we're gone, impacting the lives of those we leave behind. It’s the uniqueness of this area of planning that makes it paramount to get...

Friday, March 1, 2024

As a high earner not rich yet (HENRY), you find yourself in a good place – where strategic decisions may pave the way for lasting wealth. One crucial aspect of managing your finances includes understanding how to use credit and...

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Student financial aid, like most anything financially related, involves strategy and a bit of finesse to make your money and time work for you. Some might believe that receiving the offer you were hoping for from the Free Application...

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Independence is important in retirement. The more independent retirees are, the more fulfilling their retirement is likely to be. However, living independently as you age isn't always easy and may take some degree of planning well...

Friday, February 16, 2024

Don’t dismiss this newsletter. This is real. It is happening to clients. It is happening to your neighbors, your family. It may have happened to you.  I hope this newsletter gives you things to think about and to be aware of...

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Wealth transfer is more than just a financial transaction; it's an opportunity for families to pass on their values, wisdom, and a legacy of love. Navigating this process requires careful consideration, open communication, and a shared...

Sunday, February 4, 2024

In times of market volatility, when inflation is increasing, the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates to help to cool the inflation spike. During this period, people are anxious and keep a tight grip on their wallets. In time, the...

Thursday, January 25, 2024

When you own a business, you get to deduct business expenses from your business income. This general rule applies, subject to certain limitations, whether you are a sole proprietor with employees or a self-employed freelancer...

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Global financial markets rallied strongly in the final two months of the year, closing out 2023 with impressive quarterly gains. The S&P 500 index rose 11.69% in Q4 and was up 26.29% in 2023. International equity markets followed suit,...

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

When the market moves, whether up, down, or in circles, there are terms to describe these dubious economic fluctuations. Here, we will discuss two of them, deflation and disinflation, and why investors should plan for both.  ...

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Your financial professional can help leverage these changes to impact your tax liabilities It is crucial for individuals to engage in strategic tax planning with their financial professionals, particularly considering the changes to...

Monday, January 8, 2024

Getting close to retirement is exciting, but it often brings a little worry about your financial future. The closer you get, the more you may be concerned with the rising living costs and if your finances are on track to allow you to...

Friday, December 22, 2023

As 2023 winds down and the holiday season is in full swing, I want to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for the continued relationships, trust, and partnership we share. Our Compass team truly appreciates the opportunity to...

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Saving money is a fundamental aspect of personal finance that can significantly impact your financial security and future goals. However, determining the ideal amount to put away isn’t a one-size-fits-all equation. The percentage...

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

A Comprehensive Financial Perspective When the topic of financial planning comes up, most individuals naturally gravitate towards the idea of growing their assets. Stocks, bonds, real estate, and retirement accounts usually dominate...

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Whether you are just entering your golden years or are already several years in, setting goals to stay on track and maintain your health, happiness, and finances is essential. So why not use the New Year's holiday to turn these goals...

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Many high-net-worth individuals are aware of their capacity to impact the world to make it a better place through giving. Philanthropy and charitable giving provide a platform for them to affect positive change beyond wealth...

Thursday, November 16, 2023

In today’s volatile stock market environment, tax efficiency management is used to harvest losses and adjust assets in portfolios. For example, when an investor is reaping long-term gains, paring losses can reduce their tax...

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Just so everybody knows, Taylor Swift is a female musician in her mid-30s and has been making music for 2 decades.   She is ENORMOUSLY popular and has released 10 albums during her time as a musician. She started out as a...

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Proper financial planning includes forecasting future Social Security benefits In a welcome development for millions of Americans relying on Social Security, the Social Security Administration has recently announced a substantial...

Monday, November 6, 2023

One of the more difficult conversations for family members to have is talking about estate planning. There are several reasons for this, including the reality of our own mortality and that of our loved ones. In some families, it is an...

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Retirement seems like a long way off, but it arrives faster than you think. The big question is, are you ready? What exactly does retirement entail? Analysts suggest there are four designated phases of retirement that a person often...

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Deciding on which college to attend is an exciting time. Still, it can also be stressful. The Department of Education has been working to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application process with a few...

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Global financial markets stumbled in the 3rd quarter of 2023. Stocks, bonds, and even gold and silver prices fell as interest rates and the US dollar moved sharply higher over the past three months. Stock market bulls may be tempted to...

Monday, October 9, 2023

Millions of people get help from Medicare annually, and this coverage can be a lifesaver. Despite widespread usage, there are many misconceptions about Medicare. To learn more about this government insurance program as you prepare for...

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

As you near age 65, you may start to think about Medicare. How do you sort through your coverage options? When (and how) do you enroll? And what if you have other health insurance? Here is some information to help you when it's time to...

Monday, September 25, 2023

You may sometimes hear the terms "estate planning" and "asset protection" used interchangeably. They actually have different meanings, and it's important to incorporate both strategies into future financial plans. Below, we discuss key...

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Sectors hit include air travel, insurance, oil production and entertainment The path to retirement can often seem daunting, with the end goal appearing distant and difficult to reach. This sentiment has only grown in recent years, as...

Friday, September 15, 2023

Financial planning is the art of planning for the expected AND the unexpected events in life. Creating a plan involves looking at a client's entire financial picture and advising them on how to work towards their short and long-term...

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Every year, around 3 million Americans are required to evacuate their homes due to a natural disaster.1 What's more, this figure does not include the millions of other individuals who are temporarily displaced as a result of fire,...

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

For some seniors, the mental and physical changes they experience as they age can make it difficult to live independently. This is where a geriatric care manager (GCM) can help. GCMS are trained professionals, typically with a...

Monday, August 28, 2023

Five easy pointers to help you plan during all of your retirement years If you’re retired, there’s good news in that you’ll probably live longer and perhaps better than your parents and grandparents did. The bad news:...

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Go out into your yard and dig a big hole. Every month, throw $50 into it, but don't take any money out until you're ready to buy a house, send your child to college, or retire. It sounds a little crazy, doesn't it? But that's what...

Friday, August 18, 2023

As a financial advisor, one of the things I look at is consumer habits. As we went through the pandemic we saw the average consumer debt go down and savings go up. But, not that things have started to get back to normal we have seen...

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

What if we could?  What would that look like?  How much would a minute cost?  Although we cannot officially “buy time” As you probably know there is a very important relationship between time and money. ...

Monday, August 14, 2023

When people think of life insurance, what usually comes to mind is settling the deceased's final expenses and providing financial support for their beneficiaries. Although these are the most common uses of life insurance, cash value,...

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Tax benefits, flexible contribution options and potential investment growth For many families, there’s a sense of excitement and anticipation that fills the air as high school seniors prepare to embark on their next journey:...

Thursday, July 27, 2023

By focusing on goals and priorities, you can create a new, simplified lifestyle As retirement approaches, many older adults consider downsizing their home as a way to simplify their lives, reduce expenses, and focus on what truly...

Thursday, July 20, 2023

The need for regular saving and investing spans many life stages. Through the years, your goals will change and your strategies will shift, but don’t be alarmed. You’re just progressing through the normal stages of life,...

Friday, July 14, 2023

The US stock market continued its winning ways in the 2nd quarter of 2023, as the S&P 500 index gained 8.3% to close out the first half of the year up 15.91%. And once again, a handful of mega-sized technology companies (7 to be exact)...

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Almost half of all adults are part of the "sandwich generation." These are adults in their 40s and 50s who are helping support or care for a parent while also supporting or caring for a child.1 Being caught between two generations of...

Monday, July 10, 2023

The journey of life is often described by the stages we pass through. Father time has a way of shifting our perspectives and changing our priorities. This is true in life and it’s also true in our financial lives.  The...

Thursday, July 6, 2023

High Net-Worth executives and those that have been self-employed, can experience common problems in their financial planning journey. Here are a few tips for preparing for retirement after earning a high income.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Estate planning helps disperse your assets according to your wishes. The effort may seem daunting at first, but estate planning does not have to be overly complicated. With the proper planning, you may find yourself resting a little...

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

1.  What is long-term care?Long-term care refers to the ongoing services and support needed by people who have chronic health conditions or disabilities. There are three levels of long-term care:Skilled care: Generally...

Monday, June 12, 2023

Having enough retirement income is a top concern for many Americans nearing or in retirement. Even though they may have saved consistently throughout the working years, they may be concerned that their retirement plans will succeed. A...

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

After a disastrous 2022, the 60/40 strategy might be poised for a comeback After a tumultuous 2022, investors are once again turning to the classic 60/40 investment strategy, with many finding renewed success in this historically...

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

529 plans can be powerful college savings tools, but you need to understand how your plan works before you can take full advantage of it. Among other things, this means becoming familiar with the finer points of contributions and...

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Retirement planning is all about the future, your future. Whether you are classified as a millennial, Gen Xers, women, or you are in your 40s-50s, retirement planning is a must. The key to successful retirement planning is starting...

Friday, May 19, 2023

I wanted to write a blog post about how artificial intelligence, things like chatGPT, cannot replace our role as a financial advisor for our clients. I had a list of reasons I was ready to lay out but I wondered what chatGPT had to say...

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

What is it?Life insurance is not only about protecting your survivors in the event of your death. Depending upon the type of policy you purchase, it can also enable you to meet specific life goals: retiring comfortably, paying for your...

Monday, May 8, 2023

After spending so much of your life saving for retirement, it may be challenging to transition from depositing funds to withdrawing them. You may wonder whether there is any way to maintain your lifestyle and preserve your wealth to...

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Retirees and pre-retirees often are caught in a dilemma regarding major purchases and home maintenance expenses.  Now that I'm in that stage of life and we need a new roof, I feel the question and its implications.What is the big...

Friday, April 21, 2023

What does it mean?Getting the most out of your contributionsOptimizing your Social Security retirement benefits means getting the best return possible on each dollar you've contributed to the system. Every pay period, you pay 6.2...

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

It has been said that change is the only constant in life.  So true.  About 33 years ago I started my financial practice.  It has been an amazing ride with significant changes!  Rather than recounting all the...

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

The first quarter of 2023 began in bullish fashion. Eager to put a miserable 2022 behind them, investors lined up to buy stocks in January, pushing the S&P 500 index up over 6% for the month alone. The overall mood shifted in early...

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

When you start to consider if investing is an appropriate option for you, you may have questions. You might want to ask:How do I invest money, and where?How much money will I need?What are some common strategies for someone that has...

Saturday, April 15, 2023

The SECURE 2.0 legislation included in the $1.7 trillion appropriations bill passed late last year builds on changes established by the original Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE 1.0) enacted in 2019....

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

When discussing multigenerational wealth it is common to come across proverbs that acknowledge the fact that generational wealth typically won’t make it past the third generation. In the United States the saying goes, “from...

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Deciding which one comes first so you know where to focus your efforts When it comes to personal finance, there are a number of competing priorities that can make it difficult to determine where to focus your efforts. For many people,...

Sunday, March 19, 2023

The U.S. has not been debt free since 1835 – should you be debt free? As 2023 heats up, talk about the national debt spiraling out of control will too.But what is the national debt and should investors worry about it? More...

Sunday, March 12, 2023

The Importance of Financial Literacy for Children's Future Success The importance of financial literacy for children cannot be overstated. One of the most effective ways to teach children about money management is by encouraging them...

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Well, here I am. I am in a position I never thought I’d be. I can’t control my kids’ money anymore!  When my four kids were little, it was easy to hold the purse strings. My kids would get some money for a...

Sunday, March 5, 2023

The beaten-down sectors from 2022 might be worth another look in 2023 In general terms, the bond market will rally when increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) (inflation) are small and the bond market will fall when increases in...

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

As a retirement savings plan participant, you know that setting an accumulation goal is an important part of your overall strategy. In fact, over decades of conducting its annual Retirement Confidence Survey, the Employee Benefit...

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Myth: Social Security will provide most of the income you need in retirement.Fact: It's likely that Social Security will provide a smaller portion of retirement income than you expect.There's no doubt about it — Social Security...

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Small business owners should conduct an annual assessment of their personal finances. Owners of small businesses have much the same concerns as everyone else, except they are personally responsible for the fortunes of their enterprise....

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

One of my favorite parts of any game, whether it’s a board game or video game, is the ability to make a mistake, learn from it, and then use your new strategy the next time around. Life doesn’t work the same way, and we...

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

You don't want to pay more in federal income tax than you have to. With that in mind, here are five things to consider when it comes to keeping more of your income.1.  Postpone your income to minimize your current income tax...

Monday, February 6, 2023

When it comes to planning for your retirement income, it's easy to overlook some of the common factors that can affect how much you'll have available to spend. If you don't consider how your retirement income can be impacted by...

Monday, January 30, 2023

Regardless of whether you prepare your taxes yourself or use a professional's services, it's a good idea to gather the information and documentation you need well in advance of your actual tax filing date. Below, we've listed some key...

Friday, January 27, 2023

Baby Boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — hold about $20 trillion in wealth.1 Over the next few decades, many Boomers may transfer this wealth to their Gen X, millennial, and Gen Z children, perhaps incurring a...

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Retirement is a major transition point – as you go from saver to spender It's common for people who are retiring to set their retirement date in either the springtime or the early summer. If you happen to be one of those lucky...

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

A December decline in US equity markets partially offset a vigorous rally earlier in the fourth quarter of 2022. Despite posting an overall 7.56% quarterly gain, the S&P 500 index fell 18.11% in 2022. The MSCI EAFE developed markets...

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Financial wellness, like physical wellness, isn’t something you should ignore. Instead, it's a critical concept for anyone who wants to be knowledgeable and confident about their finances, and in fact, financial wellness is so...

Thursday, December 15, 2022

As another year comes to a close there is a lot to be thankful for. Professionally the thing I am mostthankful for is the special relationships we have with our clients.The end of one year and the beginning of another is the perfect...

Monday, November 14, 2022

This newsletter is going to be a bit of potpourri, because it is that time of year… which reminds me of a story.  It was 1987 and we had just moved to Webster City, Iowa.  My mom was trying to spruce up the house for...

Friday, October 21, 2022

Our financial advisors share financial tips for small business owners to help set and pursue their financial goals.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Depending on when you start planning for retirement, there are many age-related retirement planning considerations.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

The 3rd quarter of 2022 was a tale of two-eighths. Beginning two weeks into an 8-week-long rally in which the S&P 500 index gained 17.4%, the quarter’s mid-way point marked a startling reversal. The next 45 days saw the market...

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Have you noticed? There are a lot of news headlines these days, much surrounding money and financial security. So much noise and advice coming at you from all angles. What are you supposed to do with all of this information? Do any of...

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

At the end of the day, we need to determine what you need your money to do for you as it relates to short, intermediate, and long term goals. Once we know that, we can put together a game plan for these different pieces. When you look at it

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Need help choosing a financial advisor? Read some of the questions below to ask a financial advisor & learn the process.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Making a budget can be tricky. Learn how to stick to a budget with these tips for beginners.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Okay inflation isn’t really a four letter word, but it sure feels like it!  Warren Buffett recently said, “Inflation swindles almost everybody.”  So true.  There really is no hiding from inflation...

Monday, May 9, 2022

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

The green shoots are hard to see right now as spring approaches, clouded by war in Ukraine. Democracy is under attack and innocent lives are tragically being lost. But while we keep one eye on overseas developments, the other remains...

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

So, in this month’s version of the Compass Financial Newsletter, I am going to approach things a bit unconventionally.I am NOT going to talk about financial planning or about investment management even though these are great...

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Amid choppy waters over the final quarter that ended with a strong Santa Claus rally, the US stock market finished 2021 with solid double-digit gains for a third consecutive year.  Fourth quarter gains of 10.65%, 7.37%, and 8.28%...

Monday, December 20, 2021

Is it better to rent or buy a house? Find out from the financial advisors at Compass Financial Services in Des Moines.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Our advisors share how much you need to save for retirement and tips to prepare for an early retirement.

Monday, December 20, 2021

It’s never too early to start saving money for your kids. Check out the best savings plans for your child today.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Our advisors explain the ins and outs of a 529 college savings plan! Start saving for your kid’s college today.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Our advisors share the advantages of having a good credit score, how creditors calculate your score and more.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Learn the benefits of credit cards & how to get out of credit card debt from our financial advisors in Des Moines.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Monday, November 15, 2021

As this time of year rolls around again, I am thankful for a good many things. But what I am most thankful for… are those moments that I am REMINDED to be thankful. Sometimes these ‘reminders’ are bold and clear like...

Sunday, October 10, 2021

After a first half of 2021 that saw US equity markets climb well into double digits, all the major indices hit a wall in the back half of the third quarter and closed the period flat to down. Although the S&P 500 index eked out a 0.23%...

Friday, September 17, 2021

Autumn in Iowa. That time of year we are presented with the rich colors of crimson and gold; a mix of hues that offer an intense contrast to the crisp, blue skies of fall. We open our windows, we watch college football, and we fuss...

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Quote: “The highest form of wealth is the ability to wake up every morning and say, “I can do whatever I want today.” If there’s a common denominator in happiness – a universal fuel for joy –...

Monday, July 19, 2021

Financial markets posted solid returns across asset classes in the 2nd quarter of 2021 amid much calmer waters in the US Treasury Bond market. As higher bond prices drove the 10-year US Treasury yield down from 1.75% to 1.44%, trading...

Monday, June 14, 2021

Summer is finally here! After a long 2020 where we cancelled vacations and many of our standard entertainment options were non-existent, the summer of 2021 has arrived! When I think about summer, some of my favorite experiences come to...

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Our industry is famous for coining terms and then using those phrases assuming everyone knows what they mean. Estate planning is one of those terms. What is an estate really? What makes up an estate? What is estate planning?...

Monday, May 17, 2021

Over the last year and a half, I have heard more and more people talk about traveling the country. Some want to fly and some want to go on long road trips. Some want to stay at resorts and some want to camp. I see this trend with not...

Friday, April 23, 2021

I am not quite sure when it happened, but one day after putting our youngest daughter down for a nap, my husband asked if it was time that we set up a will. Setting up a will is not something I had given a lot of thought to, to be...

Monday, April 12, 2021

Market Commentary by Steve Conard, CFP® Global financial markets experienced a choppy first quarter of 2021. While the ride was anything but smooth, major US equity indices all finished solidly in the black, led by the Dow Jones...

Monday, March 22, 2021

Hard to believe, but it has been about a year now since the world changed! With the hard reality of COVID-19, we went into quarantine, where toilet paper became scarce, hand sanitizer became a hot item, and we started masking up. I...

Monday, March 15, 2021

My name is Guy Leman, and I am an owner and financial advisor here at Compass Financial Services. I have been running headlong into the calling of being a financial advisor unofficially for the last 27 years and officially for the last...

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

I was home on a Friday afternoon when my cell phone rang from a number I did not recognize. An automated voice announced it was my credit union and they wanted to review some recent credit/debit charges, such as a $500 purchase at an...

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

When it comes to thinking about your finances, some people feel intimidated by sophisticated or advanced financial topics, jargon, and the array of options available. Have you ever felt this way? If you have, be reminded,...

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

4th Quarter Market Commentary by Steve Conard, CFP® On the strength of a massive November rally, the US stock market’s 4th quarter sprint to the finish line capped a truly historic ride in 2020. Continuing the correction that...

Monday, January 4, 2021

We’re wrapping up our series of money conversations with the Des Moines Financial Advisors at Compass Financial Services by focusing on money management in your 50s and 60s. Until now, retirement may have seemed like a far-off...

Friday, December 11, 2020

As we wrap up one of the craziest years many of us will *hopefully* ever experience, I can’t help but find myself wondering what winter has in store. Ideally, the worst is behind us, and we can look forward to a bright and maybe...

Monday, December 7, 2020

By the time you reach 40, you’re probably making more money. You may also be spending more money! This stage of life often comes with big expenses, such as second homes, children’s college educations, vacations, vehicles,...

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Here is a little secret that we all know, but seldom say aloud. Investing in yourself is often the best way to achieve the highest returns on your money and may just be the most profitable investment you ever make. Investing in...

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

3rd Quarter Market Commentary by Steve Conard, CFP® We all agree that 2020 has been weird by any standard, and the financial markets are no exception. Having shed 34% of its value in 33 days as COVID-19 arrived in the US, who would...

Monday, October 5, 2020

Your 30s can be an exciting time with its own set of new challenges. You may be advancing in your career and earning more money. You may be married with an eye on buying a home or having children. The financial decisions you face in...

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

What a year it has been. I no longer believe that “2020” is perfect vision, because I don’t think any of us saw this year coming…no matter how good your vision is! It’s definitely been a year packed full...

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

You’re a 20-something, earning your first paycheck, and trying to make decisions about all kinds of things. What kind of health insurance plan should you enroll in? How much should you contribute to your 401(k)? How much...

Monday, August 17, 2020

I have reached a point in my financial journey where I am starting to get to make decisions on where to put excess cash flow. I have paid off all my high interest debt, and I have some extra cash flow coming in that needs to be put...

Monday, August 3, 2020

You’ve Lost Your Job. Now What? We’re several months into this pandemic, and some companies are having to make some tough decisions. If you have been impacted by a recent job loss or cut in pay, you are not alone. This is a...

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The US stock market has truly resembled a roller coaster ride through the first half of 2020. A flat January preceded a steady climb to new record highs in mid-February in both the Dow Jones...

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The past few months have been filled with anxiety, stress, and worry. Ever since concerns over COVID-19 seized the country, we’ve found ourselves stuck at home and wondering what happens next? You may have found yourself eating...

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

A lesson from a farmer boy, lemonade and a pig. I have read aloud to our kids for years now, and in all that reading, we keep coming back to a few classic book series. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series is...

Monday, June 1, 2020

The world has changed a lot over the past several weeks. Many of us are feeling uncertain, anxious, and worried about the future. Some have lost jobs and income, others have lost...

Thursday, May 14, 2020

At times it is hard to believe what we have been through the last three months. First there was skepticism that the Coronavirus was actually something to worry about, then there was fear as it started spreading faster, then a...

Friday, April 17, 2020

Stimulus Checks are Coming About 175 million Americans will receive stimulus checks with the first payments going out over the next couple of weeks. Most will receive $1,200 plus an additional $500 per child. The payments are intended...

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

by Steve Conard, CFP® Coming off a remarkable 2019, the US stock market was perhaps destined to take a breather. After a flat January the equity indices gained momentum, posting fresh all-time highs in mid-February before the floor...

Monday, March 16, 2020

My mother passed away about 3 years ago now, and I’m still spending time working through all of her records and memorabilia. First, let me help you understand the enormity of the situation. My mother was a prolific record-keeper!...

Friday, March 13, 2020

It’s been a bumpy ride in the markets over the past couple of weeks. Fears over coronavirus and a possible oil price war caused plunges in the Dow Jones Industrial Index and the S&P 500. As I write this, there is talk of how this...

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

It’s still winter. The temperature can struggle to climb above freezing, there are piles of snow everywhere, and your kids are crazy from being cooped up inside. Who wouldn’t dream of ditching the dreary day-to-day to go on...

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Do the laundry, make dinner, pay the bills, pack the kids’ lunches, clean the house, walk the dog, feed the cat, 5:00 soccer practice. . . This is the ‘to-do’ list rattling around in your head, even before your alarm...

Friday, January 31, 2020

How’s it going with that New Year’s Resolution to be better with your money? For some, being better with money may mean putting another $100 in the bank every month. For others, it may simply mean skipping the $5 coffee in...

Friday, January 31, 2020

The start of a new year may bring a new resolve to exercise more, eat healthy, and be better with your money. If you’re considering a big-ticket purchase in 2020, when you buy could save you a significant amount of money! We...

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The 2019 edition of the financial markets digest is now complete – and what a year it was! US stocks and bonds, global stocks, gold, and commodities (including crude oil) all posted strong gains as Mr. Market rewarded the US...

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Hard to believe it, but 2019 is nearly over! A lot has happened over the last year and with the holiday season wrapping up in the next few weeks, you are likely beginning to look ahead to 2020. As you begin to recuperate from the...

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

It may surprise you to learn that this is the most-Googled money topic in Iowa! The company Student Loan Hero analyzed Google Trends to come up with a list of money topics that people Google the most in each state. Here in Iowa, it...

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

I was involved in an exercise recently where each person mapped out their history and explored the defining moments in their life. We organized all of these moments on our own personal timeline and then were challenged to name these...

Friday, November 1, 2019

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. We had dinner in the crockpot, our baby had just gone down for a nap, and I was putting a puzzle together with our older daughter. My husband was in the next room. “What’s this $150 bill...

Friday, October 18, 2019

The 3rd quarter of 2019 saw the US stock market trade in a narrow range, with the S&P 500 index ultimately closing 1.62% off its all-time high mark set on July 26th. The halting progress obscures the very strong year-to-date S&P 500...

Friday, October 4, 2019

Our Money & Marriage series continues by going back to the very beginning… of your relationship with your significant other! At some point, you’ll consider combining finances: whether you’re living together, getting...

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

What is your financial GAME PLAN and who is on your team? Those who know me well know that athletics is a significant part of my life. Back in the day, I played high school basketball in Waterloo. I played “Six-on-Six”...

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Couples fight about money. There are numerous studies and surveys showing money is the #1 cause of divorce in America. Even if your money arguments don’t lead to divorce, it can cause stress in your relationship. Just bringing up...

Monday, August 19, 2019

Back to school time means back to a routine for many families. Summer vacations were enjoyed, fun was had at the pool, and hot dog cookouts in the backyard were relished (pun intended). Whether you are a family with kids in school or...

Thursday, August 8, 2019

"How Much Do I Need to Retire?" It is the number one question Americans ask about retirement. Type that query into Google and you will get 116 million results. (Seriously, try it!) It’s followed pretty closely by “How do I...

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

School’s out for summer! It’s time for camps, trips to the pool, picnics—and chores! Summer is a great time to get kids more involved around the home and let them earn a little spending money of their own.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Market Commentary by Steve Conard, CFP® Financial markets continued to move higher in the 2nd quarter of 2019, albeit at a more tempered pace than in the prior quarter. All major asset classes participated in the rally; US and...

Friday, June 14, 2019

You’ve made it through the long process of applying, interviewing, and landing the big job. It’s a fresh start professionally, and it can be financially, too! Here are five things to do with your money when changing jobs. 1...

Thursday, May 23, 2019

One of the biggest topics we discuss with clients is how to create and maintain a budget. Knowing what is coming in and what is going out is important, no matter where you are at in your financial journey. You could be working on being...

Sunday, April 7, 2019

At a certain point in my 20s, I finally felt I was “adult” enough to work with a financial advisor. I had questions I just wasn’t comfortable trying to answer myself. Until that point, I didn’t really have any...

Thursday, March 7, 2019

How much is too much to spend on a car? The Federal Reserve Bank of New York just released some startling news: More than 7 million Americans are at least three months behind on their car payments. To put it in perspective,...

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Is it just me or does it feel that time goes faster the older I get? Many of us feel that time passes more quickly as we age…a perception that can lead to anxious thoughts, self-reflection, doubt and sometimes regret....

Friday, February 8, 2019

You typically see your doctor once a year to check on your body’s health and well-being. So why don’t you do the same thing with your financial health? An annual financial checkup can help determine if you’re on the...

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Global equity markets, led by the US, took a nosedive in the 4th quarter after peaking on September 20, 2018. Traders have been ignoring the strong economic and corporate earnings environment, choosing instead to worry about the still...

Monday, January 7, 2019

Drop 10 pounds in the New Year! How to be happier in 2019! Declutter your house and your life! You’ve probably seen these headlines on social media, in the checkout lane at the grocery store or on TV—those New Year’s...

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Somehow, it happened. The calendar flipped to November, Christmas lights are shining in your neighborhood and your commute is suddenly filled with “Feliz Navidad” on the radio. The holidays are coming, and if you’re...

Monday, December 17, 2018

I was recently at a store with my three-year-old son and I told him going in that he could pick out one item. He wanted something that was Iowa Hawkeye-related (proud Dad moment). As we were browsing the toy section, he found a Lego...

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Your bundle of joy has arrived! You are settling into a new routine with your newly expanded family. The first few months can be hazy with round-the-clock feedings, and sleep-deprived parents can blow their budgets on things they think...

Monday, October 22, 2018

I have watched NBC’s America’s Got Talent off and on through the years…and this season, I’ll admit I have found myself tuning in to more episodes than I thought I would. Season after season, I am reminded that...

Friday, October 5, 2018

It’s some of the best news you’ll ever receive: You’re expecting! A new baby will be joining your family. It’s such an exciting time preparing for the new arrival with cute outfits, baby gear, and nursery...

Monday, September 17, 2018

Global equity markets have moved higher since the February 8th low in the S&P 500 Index, albeit with significantly more volatility than in the prior two-year period. Much of the up-and-down trading pattern can be attributed to ongoing...

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Wait, did you read that correctly? School just started, but we’re going to talk about Christmas? We sure are! Turns out, a few months prior to holiday craziness—cue, right now—is the perfect time to talk about...

Thursday, August 16, 2018

For a lot of people, summertime is a time when budgets are often ignored. If you are anything like me, you might have found yourself splurging on trips, patio drinks, baseball games, date nights, and golf outings. You may have built up...

Friday, July 27, 2018

The flurry of graduation is over, the thank-you notes have been sent, and now parents are anxiously awaiting the day when they drop their child off at college. A new world awaits these college freshmen. It’s a time to enjoy some...

Monday, July 16, 2018

So often in our work as financial advisors, we are asked the question, “How do we make the right decision about this?” This question can pertain to many different areas of a person’s life, but it often centers around...

Friday, June 15, 2018

CHANGE: According to Merriam-Webster the definition of “change” is, “to undergo transformation, transition, or substitution; to replace with another.” It was a year ago (this month) that my husband Brad and I...

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

40% of Americans don’t have the cash on hand to pay for a $400 emergency expense. Think about that for a moment. A new report from the Federal Reserve found four out of 10 Americans, when faced with an unexpected expense,...

Thursday, May 31, 2018

3 mistakes to avoid when buying a home Every spring in Iowa, it seems we wake up from winter. The world has been monochromatic for months. Everything is white and gray, dark and drab. One day, a switch flips and we’ve changed the...

Thursday, May 3, 2018

We would all love to earn more money, but if your boss passed you over for the raise or the promotion didn’t come through, you’re not completely out of luck. Here are eight lifestyle changes you can make right now to give...

Monday, April 9, 2018

Volatility returned to global stock markets in February, and has overstayed its welcome, after a historically extended period of calm seas. The financial media is awash in stories about the underlying causes of the recent market...

Friday, December 15, 2017

In this article, we are going to explore some creative options for saving money on everyday items. Often we ramble through life not paying much attention. Many of these ideas are rooted in doing something in a new or different way,...

Monday, October 30, 2017

The 401(k) plan has evolved into the primary retirement savings vehicle for many American workers over the last 35 years. Participants in 401(k) and similar employer-sponsored plans receive several benefits, including tax-deferral on...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Four Common Options Generally, you have four options for handling the money in your account: Option #1. Keep the Money in Your Former Employer’s Plan If your former employer permits, leaving your money where it is may be an...

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

As many of you know by reading my past newsletters and blogs, my husband and I just made a move to Norwalk. This move was not a decision that was made overnight; with my oldest moving out of state, my youngest entering his junior year...

Friday, June 23, 2017

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Whether you are young or old, financial planning for retirement has probably crossed your mind at some point. And if you are like most people, you do not want to find yourself at retirement age without the means to retire comfortably....

Monday, June 5, 2017

When it comes to money and marriage, many couples who have been together for a significant amount of time will tell you that finances can be a major sore spot for the relationship. And while money can certainly be a cause of friction...

Thursday, May 25, 2017

If you spend any time reading financial magazines, there is an uneasy sense that you are falling behind. The world often gives us a warped measuring stick. No matter how hard we try, we just can’t seem to measure up. Out in the...

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A few months ago I wrote about my family’s journey with dementia. I have been overwhelmed with your response. Many clients sent me personal messages wishing me the best through this time. Others have shared their own stories with...

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I have been on a journey that I could have never expected. My brother, sister, and I have been walking with my mother through the journey of dementia over the last 5 years. Although the details differ in each individual case, the story...

Monday, May 22, 2017

Our work as financial advisers provides a unique opportunity to delve into all sorts of interesting situations. One of the most fascinating topics is inheritance. Inheritances are laced with emotions and fraught with pitfalls. Family...

Sunday, May 21, 2017

There are times in life where you pause to celebrate and reflect. Four years ago, I launched on a path with Compass Financial Services to help others with their financial lives. It has been an exciting and educational journey. As I...

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Young professionals in their 20’s have time on their side. They are typically getting started in their careers and have a relatively low income. Often student debt is on their minds, as well as establishing a lifestyle that may...