Yesterday, Sam, Jared and I were out around town and had multiple people ask us about the recent craziness in the stock market.  If you're not caught up with what's been going on here's a quick update.  On Tuesday the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 272 points.  The next day it rose 274 points only to plummet 300 points on Thursday, marking the Dow's most erratic 3 days since August 2011.  It would appear that our old friend Volatility has come back for a visit.  So, what’s causing all the commotion?

Due to the large number of Baby Boomers in retirement or retiring soon, much is being written on the merits of delaying Social Security from age 62, (Early Age), to 66 (Full Retirement Age) or even waiting until 70 (benefits must begin). Forget the rules of thumb and the pat answers. This is one of those cases where 'one size' absolutely does not fit all. There are simply too many nuances and special considerations unique to each person for general advice to be worthwhile.

I'm here to free you up from that awkward moment at the cocktail party when you ask the guy next to you what he does for a living and he responds, "I'm a financial advisor."  After 18 years as a financial advisor I've learned to embrace that awkward silence when the person I'm talking to pauses momentarily, presumably waiting for me to solicit their business.  The financial industry has created this phenomenon for itself by focusing more on product sales and stock market prediction than good solid advice.  Fortunately, our society has come up with a clever way to break that silence in the form of a question.  "What's the stock market going to do? "

The financial decisions we make on a daily basis, even some relatively small ones, can have a huge impact on our future. That's because of the power of compounding. We understand that a relatively small sum saved over time can grow into a very large amount in the future. But we rarely recognize how compounding can work for or against us in our purchasing decisions, which are more frequent and significant than savings decisions. This is an area where the concept of opportunity cost can be especially helpful.

It gives us great pleasure to announce that Jared Korver has joined our growing Beacon family. Jared comes to us from Ernst & Young LLP, where he worked as a CPA in its Raleigh, NC tax practice. He gets considerable joy from serving people and solving...

I'll be the first to admit that the idea of "financial planning" can sound about as exciting as an invitation to a friend's daughter's third grade violin concert. Throw in the fact that we are in-the-moment creatures, not naturally focused on the future and we begin to understand why planning is such a challenge for us. We are so busy managing the chaos of our daily lives, we simply can't afford to take the time to consider a future that seems to be coming at us faster than we can adjust.

If you visited the Yahoo Finance web page on Wednesday, you may have seen this headline: "Dow 6,000: Wild prediction or worthwhile caution?" The article behind the headline is about a guy named Harry Dent. Dent has made a number of market predictions over the past few decades--his...

It's that time of year again--kids are going back to school, last trips to the beach are being taken, and mornings here and there are beginning to feel a tinge of crisp coolness (at least in Raleigh). Fall is coming. And with it comes an increase in planning. With the kids going back to school, conversations may begin (or restart) about taking them out of the public school system, or putting them back in. Perhaps college is around the corner and there are worries about paying for it. We start thinking about holidays and whether or not we'll travel, and if so, for how long and with whom? We brace for the increased busyness at work, some of us with an excitement and eagerness, and others of us with dread. The former start to question if they'll ever want to retire, and the latter wonder how soon they can.