Category Archives: Sign of the Times

Year-End Review: 2014

By Roger Hewins | President

Last Friday was January 9, 2015. Brent Crude — the price of North Sea oil and the most widely used benchmark1 for pricing oil around the world — closed below $50.2 Last June, it was worth $112. I think this qualifies as a collapse in oil prices.

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Five Important Tax Changes in 2015

By Amanda Liberatore | Marketing Copyeditor

It’s a new year, which means it’s time to reflect on past priorities and establish a plan for the months ahead — particularly from a financial perspective. To ensure you stay on track to meet your goals in 2015, there are five important law changes you need to keep in mind:


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Hewins Financial at NFAW14

Karl Schwartz Recaps National Financial Advisor Week (NFAW) 2014

An aging population and an uncertain investment environment mean that investors, more than ever, need professional, objective financial advice. According to a 2013 Society of Actuaries Survey, almost half of pre-retirees and more than half of retirees fail to consult a financial advisor.1

To help recognize the work that financial advisors do and provide valuable resources to investors of every experience level, our firm participated in the inaugural National Financial Advisor Week (NFAW) in Times Square, New York City. Our Consultant Karl Schwartz served as a speaker for the “What Can a Financial Advisor Do for Me?” panel, which took place on Wednesday, September 17.

Scroll down to read a personal account from Karl discussing his participation in the event and reflections on his experience.

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Are CPAs Key to Financial Planning’s Future?

By Ilana Polyak | Financial Planning Magazine

The following is a reprint from Financial Planning Magazine’s October 2014 issue.

At Tolleson Wealth Management in Dallas, CEO Richard Joyner is always on the hunt for new talent to add to his stable of wealth managers. As with many of his peers, Joyner’s firm was having a hard time recruiting seasoned professionals.

A few years ago, however, the multifamily office, with $4 billion under management, switched course.

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IRS Posts New Limits for 2015 Retirement Plan Contributions

By Ann Marsh | Financial Planning Magazine

The IRS has released its new contribution levels for tax-deferred savings plans in 2015 — and the higher dollar figures may mean more to clients right now than in other years.

That’s the message from CFP/CPA Karl Schwartz, a Miami-based advisor with Hewins Financial Advisors, who chalks the greater impact up to slow wage growth.

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The Test

By Roger Hewins | President

October 1st was our 15th birthday. Back in 1999, an intrepid little band started a new company with a handful of good clients, a good team of people and a wish and a prayer. We walked right into the 2000-2002 tech bust, a very bad market and a severe challenge for our new business. Some beginner’s luck we had! Geez.

Fifteen years and two bear markets later, we were just enjoying our birthday and appreciating how much our clients have helped us grow over this challenging decade-and-a-half. But we could not help noticing that things in the world were not good, and markets had become jittery by the end of September. We had a bad September and the first negative quarter in a little while. Nothing serious, but…

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Surviving an Unexpected Layoff

By Sergio Campos | Associate Consultant

Editor’s Note:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest report, the unemployment rate fell to 5.9% last month, the first time it’s been under 6% since 2008. Other indicators of joblessness are also falling: The number of long-term unemployed (those out of work more than six months) is now under 3 million for the first time since the recovery, while less than 700,000 people report that they’ve given up looking for work because none is available, down from more than a million in 2010. Plus, layoffs recently hit a 10-year low.1 

While this might be a positive signal, the jobs recovery is still incomplete. Since the height of the Great Recession, layoffs have become less common across the job market, but it’s still important to keep these lessons in mind, regardless of your current employment situation.

An unexpected job loss can be one of the most difficult things to endure, especially from a financial standpoint. If you and your family rely on employment income to pay for living expenses, losing your job can cause drastic changes to your current lifestyle. While you might be coping with feelings of shock or disbelief, it’s important to pick yourself up and face the problem rationally. You’ve lost your job — now what do you do? This article will focus on a few ideas that can dramatically improve your situation.
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Hewins Financial 15 Years

15 Years of Investing

By Martha Post | Chief Investment Officer

Over the next week or so, we are going to be commemorating our 15th birthday with team celebrations across our regional locations. We opened our doors as Hewins Financial Advisors, LLC on October 1, 1999 in Redwood Shores, CA, just south of the San Francisco International Airport. What a 15 years it’s been! We are enormously proud of the firm we’ve built and the work we do with clients. But the markets haven’t always made it easy.

Throughout the lifetime of our firm, we’ve experienced two bear markets, the 9/11 attacks and aftermath, the financial crisis and the Great Recession of 2007-2008 (plus the Euro crisis that followed), wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now back to war in Iraq and Syria as well.

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Financing Your Future: Paying for College

By Mark Albers, CPA, MST, CFP® | Senior Associate Consultant

Across the country, many people have started or returned to school over the past two weeks. For those attending colleges and universities, a tuition bill awaited them. The average annual undergraduate tuition, room and board expenses for last school year were $18,391 for in-state students at a four-year public institution and $40,917 at a four-year private nonprofit institution1. Those become significant expenses over the course of a college career, and often leave people wondering, “How am I going to pay for this?”

Thankfully, there are a number of resources available to help students and their families pay for their college education. Each resource has its own benefits and disadvantages that should be considered, and most often a student will end up using a mix of several resources.
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Charitable Children in the Making

By Gretchen Halpin | Chief Strategy Officer

In my last blog post, A Mom’s Money Moment, I reflected on how my children thought about money, saving and investing in their future. For many families, charitable giving also plays a role in the young relationship our kids have with money.

As parents or grandparents, we universally wish for our children to have a sense of empathy for their fellow human beings’ needs, but how do we not only educate but implement charitable giving as a part of money management education?

Raising Charitable ChildrenWith digital currency becoming more and more the norm – gift cards and product code gifts replacing the traditional money in the card – it becomes increasingly difficult to demonstrate an allocation of funds to charity.  However, the same technology that takes away the paper money aspects of giving also creates huge opportunities for young kids to participate in a more sophisticated way.  For example, starting an online fundraiser or creating a social campaign is only a few clicks away on crowdsourcing sites such as Indiegogo, CrowdRise and GoFundMe. These sorts of initiatives, with proper parental supervision and support, show children that even the smallest donation or contribution can make a considerable impact—especially when you work with others.

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