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Calvin Christensen
Tax Planning

Now that another year is ending, it’s a good time to take stock of where you are on your journey toward financial security. Of course, you could find many different “measuring sticks” to assess your progress, but you can certainly gain considerable information just by asking yourself some basic questions.

Here are a few to consider:

How close am I to my retirement goals? Your comprehensive investment strategy should include a reasonably good estimate of how much money you will eventually need to sustain the retirement lifestyle you’ve envisioned. At least once a year, you should evaluate how much closer you’ve gotten to your goals than the year before.

Am I making sufficient progress toward my goals? When assessing your progress, try to determine if your portfolio is properly allocated between stocks, stock-based vehicles, bonds, government securities, certificates of deposit and other investments. read more »


When you retire, you may well have accomplished some important financial goals, such as sending your children through college and paying off your mortgage. Yet, you can’t relax just yet, because your retirement could easily last two or three decades, which means you’ll need at least two or three decades’ worth of income — which, in turn, means you’ll need the proper savings and investment strategies in place. And, just as importantly, you’ll also need to be aware of the types of risk that could threaten these strategies.

Let’s consider some of these risks:

Longevity — None of us can say for sure how long we’ll live. But it’s still important to have an estimate, based on your health and family history. read more »


You’re probably accustomed to measuring the progress of your investments, and the overall condition of the investment world, by checking on indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500. And since these types of benchmarks focus almost exclusively on American companies, you might get the idea that the best investments are located right here in the United States. But that impression would be false — because there are, literally, a world of investment opportunities beyond the U.S. borders.

In fact, as of the end of 2010, U.S. stock markets constituted less than a third of the total global stock market value, according to the World Bank. And you can probably just look around at the products you use in your daily life to identify many successful foreign companies. read more »


On Sept. 5, we observed Labor Day, which is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. Of course, if you’re like most people, work is essential to your life, both as a means of personal fulfillment and as a necessity for achieving your financial goals, such as a comfortable retirement. But if you’re going to attain those goals, you’ll want your investments to work as hard as you do.

For that to happen, you’ll need to take these steps:

Know your investment objectives. Whether you work in an office, a manufacturing plant or any other venue, your goal is to produce a clearly identifiable result. And the same should be true for the way that you invest. read more »

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