Welcome to the 'No-Guilt' blog!
People come to here because they want to build financial confidence and take meaningful action. We provide the context for those things that affect your financial health. Our goal is to help you live in the 'No-Guilt Zone'.

Top 7 Myths About Financial Planners: Part 1

U.S. households generally agree they need a financial plan to achieve long-term success and security.  However, too many households—including those with engineers and scientists—hold beliefs about financial planners that make them hesitant to seek out or work with a qualified financial planner.  

Here are eight truths to dispel the myths about “real” financial planners.

Myth 1: Financial planners are the same as stockbrokers, insurance agents and other financial salespeople.  

Continue reading
1383 Hits

The urgent need for a universal fiduciary standard

I closed my last entry with the question: Under which standard would you rather the professional financial advice giver work: suitability or fiduciary?

The answer is obvious, but let me share with you what’s happening behind the scenes.

For decades, the term fiduciary has been foreign to the investing public. Over the last decade and with enactment of Dodd-Frank, it is now entering the public consciousness. (The Dodd-Frank Act is the most extensive financial regulatory laws enacted since The Great Depression. Among other things, the laws aim to prevent another financial crisis and increase consumer protections).

Continue reading
1213 Hits

It's All about Context...The Coming Recession

Last time I addressed the jobs report and the reporting of partial truths about a weakening U.S. jobs situation. The data just does not paint a picture of collapsing job recovery, but shows a slow and steady increase in the number of new jobs. 

The current U.S. unemployment rate of 8.3% equates to a 91.7% employment rate. This means that for every 1000 people in the workforce 83 are out of work for every 917 who have a job. Simply put, the vast majority of the U.S. workforce has a job. And they are buying groceries, making rent and mortgage payments, and are spending on all those other things that make up the U.S. economy.

Continue reading
1567 Hits

It's All About Context...What is the Stock Market Indicating About the U.S. Economy?

Since 2010, the U.S. stock market has shown incredible resiliency and is nearing new highs, even with all the ongoing concerns about the European fiscal crises, the downgrade of U.S. debt, and the impending U.S. fiscal cliff. Using the stock market as a forward-looking barometer of the economy, the post-recession highs suggest very positive expectations for future business conditions. Some media commentators contend, however, that these new highs indicate a stock market bubble or at least the formation of one. When we examine the facts, what is the market indicating about the economy right now?

This chart plots the S&P 500 (black line) against actual earnings (red line).1 The chart also includes the latest consensus among economists about the earnings forecasts for 2012 and 2013 (two red dots), which are subject to change. Notice how grossly distorted S&P 500 stock prices were during the bubble from 1993 to 2000—the gap between the black line and red line. Those excessive stock valuations contributed to the soft returns of the 2000s as they came back into line with underlying fundamentals. After the financial crisis of 2008, earnings and stock prices began moving together again. Over several recent quarters, earnings actually exceeded stock prices. This data suggests that the U.S. is not experiencing a stock market bubble or heading toward one in the near term.

Continue reading
1434 Hits

Bad News Sells

Have you ever wondered why the news is so depressing? It's simple. Really!

Bad news sells! News editors and publishers know that fear is a more powerful emotion than greed. Greed sells, but fear sells a lot more.

Over the past 12 months, investors have been bombarded with a steady stream of discouraging economic and financial news. What are investors to do?

Some doom and gloomers recommended keeping money on the sidelines. Other advised to avoid the markets altogether. In either case, does this mean investors have to pay constant attention to their portfolios and make adjustments based on news events?

Continue reading
1543 Hits

Find your financial balance.

Our Financial Self-evaluation Tool helps you identify your financial blindspots and increase your financial power.

Download a free financial self-evaluation


Find balance in your Financial Life

Download our Financial Wheel of Life Self-Evaluation