Last week during her Congressional testimony before the House, Fed Chair Janet Yellen did a good job of expressing the Central Bank's view that interest rates needed to rise eventually and she did so without jarring the markets. Since the financial crisis of 2008 and 09 the Federal Reserve has pulled out all the stops to keep the US economy moving ahead. The last and most controversial phases of their policy were labeled QE1, 2, and 3, short for Quantitative Easing.

Two years ago, when Michael Jordan turned 50, Wright Thompson wrote a captivating piece on the man from Wilmington. Thompson documents the struggles Jordan has faced as he grows older,Jordan becomes further and further removed from his younger genius. To read it is to be confronted with a man who is flailing wildly for a sense of identity, struggling to understand what purpose he could possibly have now that he can no longer do what he feels he was made to do.

Two and a half years ago we published a Brief titled with the same question. Remarkably, it still attracts readers to this day. The question is both a simple one, often evoking just as simple and quick an answer "NO," while at the same tugging at our logic, values, beliefs, and view of the world.

Whether planning for it years ahead or slamming into the possibility through an unexpected layoff, retirement can be a scary concept for most of us. There are the obvious questions of wealth: specifically, will we have enough to maintain a comfortable lifestyle for our remaining years,...

When we bring up the question of inheritance for the first time with new planning clients, their answers usually range from 'nothing, we want to use it up' to 'they get whatever's left.' Most share without reservation that it is a subject on which they have spent little or no time considering. Understandably so, the subject of death is morbid, and talking about an amount at the end of our lives seems silly given all the unknowables ahead of us.

Today's post marks a milestone for the Friday Brief as the 600th issue of a weekly series that dates back to June 29, 2001. Thank you so much for your loyal readership. In appreciation, I'd like to share some pearls of investment and planning wisdom picked...

At Beacon, we are big fans of Seth Godin, a marketing genius and prolific author and blogger. While Seth usually speaks the lingo of creative and marketing folks, his message resonates remarkably well with the rest of us. Take for instance the following recent post entitled...

2014 marked another good year for the stock market.  With a 13.7% gain including dividends, the S&P 500 finished in positive territory for the sixth year in a row.  The market never goes up in a straight line and 2014 was no different. Several major geopolitical events including Ebola, ISIS, plummeting oil prices and the Russian invasion of Ukraine caused volatility during the year.   In fact, the S&P 500 fell 7.2% from its September 18 peak before bouncing back in late October and November.   Here's a chart of the S&P 500's 2014.

As 2014 draws to a close, we remember its challenges, victories, and defeats, but when we reflect more deeply, we realize how important are the relationships we shared them with. Accomplishments mean little if we cannot enjoy them with our friends. And challenges become more bearable with the support of those who care.