Articles (189)

Article Library

  • Mark Hebner and Murray Coleman

    Dividends and the Lag in Fund Values

    by Mark Hebner and Murray Coleman — Tuesday, December 18, 2018

    At the end of each quarter, investors can see dividend and/or capital gain distributions from their mutual funds. The mechanics may seem confusing, so we want to take the opportunity to review the ...Read More

  • Murray Coleman

    Bad Brokers

    by Murray Coleman — Tuesday, March 20, 2018

    Despite a push by regulators to raise legal standards for how brokers work with investors, misdeeds keep popping up in the public record. The latest development is that the Securities and Exchange Commission has settled with Ameriprise Financial Services over allegations the ...Read More

  • Mark Hebner

    IFA By the Numbers - 2018

    by Mark Hebner — Friday, January 5, 2018

    As we begin 2018, it has become a tradition that we reflect on the prior year by collecting our IFA statistics (or, what has grown to be known as IFA By the Numbers) on the abundance and wealth of information we provide in dedication towards replacing speculation with an ...Read More

  • Mark Hebner

    Rebalancing Portfolios

    by Mark Hebner — Tuesday, December 12, 2017

    It is important for investors to rebalance their portfolio to achieve risk control and maintain long-term investing ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    2017 Year-End Distributions & Portfolio Management

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Monday, November 6, 2017

    At Index Fund Advisors, it is standard operating procedure for us to tailor how we manage client portfolios at year-end in anticipation of dividend and capital gains distributions from the mutual funds that we buy. The gist of this strategy is that we do not want to buy into ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    What About A Reverse Glide Path Strategy?

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, October 24, 2017

    Most investors are aware of the standard “age in bonds” asset allocation strategy. Naturally, as you get older the higher your allocation to bonds. A 20 year old would have an 80/20 stock/bond split while a 70 year old would have a 30/70 stock bond split. The ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    Newly Issued Fiduciary Rule Explained

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, August 9, 2017

    One of the hottest topics in the financial services industry over the last two years has been the Department of Labor’s “Fiduciary Rule” as it applies to retirement assets. There have been many debates in the U.S. Congress and practitioners alike about the ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    Non-Fiduciaries Behaving Badly

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    It should go without saying that doing business should always involve doing the very best for the person on the other side of the handshake. Unfortunately, this is not a requirement from a legal standpoint. The concept of caveat emptor, or “buyer beware” pervades ...Read More

  • Index Fund Advisor's Qualifications

    by Mark Hebner — Tuesday, April 25, 2017

    The financial advisory business has a very low barrier to entry. Actually, let me rephrase that. It has absolutely NO barrier to entry. Your neighbor, hair stylist, or even your pastor can give financial advice. Deciding which financial advice to follow is the hard part. Believe ...Read More

  • Understanding the Limitations of Our Own Faculties

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, March 30, 2017

    “We're blind to our blindness. We have very little idea of how little we know. We're not designed to know how little we know.”– Daniel KahnemanThe Intelligent Investor   Working in the financial services industry has been an interesting adventure. As an ...Read More

  • Separation Between Economics and Markets: An Important Distinction

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, March 28, 2017

    It should be quite obvious to anyone that economics have an effect on markets. Predictions about employment, GDP growth, inflation, fiscal and monetary policy, trade balance, all have an effect on global enterprise and therefore have an effect on markets. What may not seem as ...Read More

  • What To Do With a Concentrated Stock Position

    by Derick Kann — Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    Many investors receive company stock or stock options from their employer as part of their overall compensation. What may seem like a small part of their overall portfolio, company stock can become a much larger part of an investor’s overall assets as time goes on, thus ...Read More

  • 2017 Contribution Limits

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, February 23, 2017

    The beginning of the year is a great time to remind investors of the contribution limits for various savings vehicles in order for them to maximize their tax-preferential savings and avoiding, what can be, costly penalties. Contribution limits for 2017 for various accounts are ...Read More

  • Index Funds Advisors

    Tax Preparation Documents from Your Custodians

    by Index Fund Advisors — Thursday, February 9, 2017

    As we start approaching April 18th, we wanted to keep our clients informed of when their 1099 Composites will be available online at Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, and Charles Schwab. The chart below details when tax preparation documents will be available for each custodian: ...Read More

  • Rule or No Rule: You Should Insist on a Fiduciary

    by Mary Brunson and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, February 7, 2017

    The fiduciary rule issued last year by the Department of Labor (DOL) and backed by the previous administration is now under review at the request of the new administration and implementation may be delayed.   Setting aside the political aspects, let’s focus instead on ...Read More

  • Saving for College: Is the 529 Plan Optimal?

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Friday, January 13, 2017

    Over the holiday weekend, I was having a discussion with a family member about saving for college given the recent birth of their daughter. This particular family member was looking into a 529 plan, but was concerned about some of the restrictions involved with having a 529. One ...Read More

  • Index Funds Advisors

    The Value IFA Brings to Your Personal Finances

    by Index Fund Advisors — Tuesday, January 10, 2017

    As an investor it is important to understand the value your advisor provides for the fee they are charging you. While many traditional financial firms believe the majority of their value comes in the form of an actively managed investment portfolio attempting to outperform a ...Read More

  • Retirement Funds: The "Off Limits" Money

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, December 28, 2016

    Saving for retirement, let alone saving enough for a retirement, is a difficult endeavor for most investors. With the majority of baby boomers being underfunded for retirement, the overall conclusion that investors having enough knowledge, resources, and will power to prepare ...Read More

  • Financial Planning: The Importance of Asking Why?

    by Mark Hebner — Thursday, November 3, 2016

    “Why?” It’s the question that our children often use and abuse to the point of our own mental and emotional capacity. While we end up resorting to the very popular choice of last resort -“cause I said so” – I often appreciate curiosity and ...Read More

  • IFA By the Numbers - 2016

    by Mark Hebner — Monday, October 31, 2016

    It has become a tradition that we reflect on the prior year by collecting our IFA statistics (or, what has grown to be known as IFA By the Numbers) on the abundance and wealth of information we provide in dedication towards replacing speculation with an ...Read More

  • The Importance of Hiring A Fiduciary as Your Wealth Advisor

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, October 27, 2016

    Fiduciary: one often in a position of authority who obligates himself or herself to act on behalf of another and assumes a duty to act in good faith and with care, candor, and loyalty in fulfilling the obligation[1] It should go without saying that the financial services ...Read More

  • Your Wealth Advisor: The Educator and the Coach

    by Mark Hebner — Monday, October 24, 2016

    “Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible, But Not Simpler” – Albert Einstein The role of a Wealth Advisor is constantly evolving. Most of our parents remember the days where the majority of “advisors” were simply stockbrokers who earned ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    Withdrawal Rates During Retirement: Are We Being Too Conservative?

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Monday, September 26, 2016

    How much can one afford in retirement? It is the holy grail of retirement planning and has been through multiples evolutions over the last few decades. Why? In short, we are trying to give a solution based on uncertainty about the future. What are returns going to be like ...Read More

  • The 3.8% Medicare Tax: What You Need To Know

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, August 11, 2016

    On January 1, 2013, the US Government introduced a new Net Investment Income Tax of 3.8%. This tax only affects certain households or individuals that meet certain thresholds of net investment income or modified adjusted gross income ...Read More

  • Index Reconstitution: The Price of Tracking

    by Dimensional Fund Advisors — Thursday, June 2, 2016

    With the annual reconstitution of the Russell indices approaching, it is a good opportunity to revisit how index reconstitution events affect trading costs and returns. Index funds are an innovative solution for investors that provide diversified investments at low fees. On any ...Read More

  • Tom and Denise

    Reverse Mortgages: What You Need to Know

    by Tom Allen and Denise Delaney — Tuesday, May 17, 2016

    There has been a sharp rise in the reverse mortgage market in last the decade within the United States. According to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA), the annual number of reverse mortgage loans issued has grown from 157 in 1990 to over 58,000 in 2015. ...Read More

  • Family Limited Partnerships: What You Need To Know

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, May 10, 2016

    Wealth transfer strategies are an extremely important topic when it comes to financial planning. Establishing the proper legal conduits to ensure the maximum amount assets transferred to beneficiaries according to a client’s best wishes is one of the biggest value ...Read More

  • Fort Lauderdale Joins the Evidence-Based Investing World

    by Tom Allen and Brendan Connelly — Monday, April 11, 2016

    Being a part of the passive investment community can be very isolating at times. It is a constant uphill battle against an industry that is built largely on an illusion. Most of the headlines and stories by active managers that we read in any online or print publications are ...Read More

  • The Leap Year Approach to Investing

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, March 3, 2016

    2016 marks another special year for those who happened to have a significant event, like a birthday or wedding anniversary, fall on February 29th. The Leap Year, which is that extra day that we get every 4 years to help align our calendar year with an actual solar year ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    The Value of Tax Loss Harvesting: An Update

    by Mark Hebner — Monday, February 29, 2016

    In August of 2014 we released a study that attempted to quantify the value of providing tax loss harvesting services using a data sample from our own clients’ experiences. As we mentioned in the original study, there has been dispute among investment professionals on ...Read More

  • Good Advice

    by Mark Hebner — Wednesday, February 17, 2016

    In today’s climate of one-page financial plans, bargain-basement fund pricing and automated investment tools, you may wonder whether you still need a living, breathing financial adviser. You do. But with a twist. First, we need to redefine traditional financial advice ...Read More

  • Tom and Becky

    Social Security Changes: Is the "File and Suspend" Strategy For Me

    by Tom Pohlen and Becky Vasquez — Friday, February 12, 2016

    Understanding the ever-changing landscape of our government’s Social Security system has grown more complex over time.  Whether it is a question as simple (on the surface at least) as when to file for Social Security, or something much more complex as to trying to ...Read More

  • Are You Saving Too Little or Too Much for Retirement?

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, February 10, 2016

    How do we enjoy our resources today without sacrificing future financial security? What is the delicate tradeoff between current and future consumption? These questions are extremely important. At one extreme we find the vast majority of Americans who spend almost all of their ...Read More

  • Shifting the Conversation: Benchmarks for Managing Income Uncertainty

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Monday, February 1, 2016

    In order to find the right solution, you must ask the right question. Within retirement planning, particularly within the realm of target date funds, we may have been asking the wrong question for some time now. Many investors are well aware of traditional target date fund ...Read More

  • The Retirement Plan Puzzle: Advisor is the Key Piece

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Friday, January 29, 2016

    The retirement plan industry has come out of the shadows in the last three decades. For the better half of the last century, the topic of retirement plans could have rivaled watching the grass grow in terms of entertainment and intellectual curiosity. Why? Most citizens whose ...Read More

  • 5 Actions You Should Take Going Into 2016

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, December 29, 2015

    As we button up the end of another year here at IFA, we wanted to remind clients of some of the things they should be thinking about when it comes to their finances going into ...Read More

  • Portfolio Rebalancing: A Reminder on Why We Do It

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, December 17, 2015

    As we come to the end of the year, many clients may be wondering whether or not there needs to be action taken within their portfolio. Some asset classes, like International/Developed Small Cap stocks, have done quite well year-to-date, while others, like Emerging Markets Value, ...Read More

  • IFA's Take On What's Appropriate for a Performance Monitoring Report

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, October 28, 2015

    One of the most important functions as an investment fiduciary is to monitor our entire investment lineup that we advise for our clients. It is almost like a report card for the advice we give. But not all performance-monitoring reports (PMR) are universal, and IFA’s take ...Read More

  • Advisor Risk - How Would You Rate Your Advisor's Risk?

    by Mark Hebner — Wednesday, October 21, 2015

    When it comes to investing, we can identify many risks investors assume, either knowingly or not. At Index Fund Advisors, we see it as our core mission to get investors to take the risks that are worth taking (e.g. market, size, value, term and default) and avoid the ones that ...Read More

  • The Role of the Advisor in a Retirement Plan

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Friday, October 9, 2015

    We recently came across an article from Employee Benefit News that highlighted the overall disconnect that participants in small companies have with their 401(k) plan. The author stated very clearly, “small market participants, in particular, have less access to support ...Read More

  • Considering an Annuity? Understand Their Role BEFORE Committing

    by Tom Allen — Tuesday, September 15, 2015

    Financial planning is very similar to performing a juggling act. We are constantly monitoring and maintaining many different parts of a client’s financial well-being. Investments, insurance, estate planning, charitable giving, all with an overlay of behavioral coaching may ...Read More

  • The Importance of the Employer Match - Putting the Cart Before the Horse

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Friday, September 11, 2015

    Index Fund Advisors is a big fan of employer-sponsored retirement plans. Giving employees the opportunity to save for retirement by utilizing the incentives embedded in the U.S. Tax Code is of tremendous benefit to both the employee and the employer. We have written articles in ...Read More

  • When Times Are Turbulent – Invest and Relax

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, August 25, 2015

    No doubt the recent volatility in the market place has investors unnerved. Friends, family, neighbors, work colleagues, are all giving their opinion on where we stand and what will happen in the near ...Read More

  • Acting as a Trustee: Understanding What You Can and Cannot Do

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Friday, August 7, 2015

    Most of us, either through personal experience or someone we know, have had to go through the experience of being a trustee. There may even be some of us out there who don’t even know that we were a trustee (anyone own a business with a 401(k) retirement plan?). ...Read More

  • IFA Client Study - Maximizing Your Return Relative to a Benchmark [VIDEO]

    by Mark Hebner — Tuesday, July 28, 2015

    What has been the value of following or not following the advice of Index Fund Advisors (IFA), regardless of what happens in the financial markets? A similar question was addressed by Vanguard Research in their Advisor’s Alpha article, where they estimated ...Read More

  • IFA is Ahead of the Trends in Retirement Plans

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, July 7, 2015

    A recent article published on summarized the recent trends in retirement asset size and location. Not surprisingly, more and more assets are being geared towards individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and defined contribution plans (401(k), etc.) as investors are ...Read More

  • Celebrate Financial Independence - Invest & Relax

    by Mark Hebner — Thursday, July 2, 2015

    In the next few days most of us will be thinking more about barbeques and bottle rockets than about freedom and independence. Cheers to those who fully partake in the uniquely American holiday. It’s with a grateful heart that I suggest we take a moment to think about both ...Read More

  • Why Winning in the Margins Matters in Retirement Planning

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Friday, June 19, 2015

    “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it…he who doesn’t…pays it.” - Albert Einstein A very interesting article published in the Financial Advisor magazine discussed some of the top reasons why people ...Read More

  • The Power of Market Returns

    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Thursday, March 26, 2015

    “Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.”    - Albert Einstein While perusing the Wall Street Journal, we came across this delightful article about a retired janitor (Ronald Read) in Brattleboro, Vermont who passed away at the age ...Read More