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The Mortgage Pay Down Question

On a recent trip to Boston, I had a chance to go see Paul Revere's house, the oldest standing house in Boston. During the tour, I was told that Mr. Revere put a down payment on the home in 1770, and then took out a mortgage of five years for the balance of 160 pounds. Boring to some (OK, probably most), but I found this fact fascinating. Not only were mortgages in existence 240+ years ago, but even someone who was apparently quite well-off had one!
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Spending Your Way to Happiness

Does your spending bring you happiness? According to Smart Money, people don't spend money on the right things. In fact, if pleasure is your goal, forget about buying THINGS. Instead, buy experiences, which bring us a lot more happiness.
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The Record Dow

The natural inclination of the mind at a time like this is to assume that the trend of the recent past will continue into the future; that there's a sort of permanence to current market conditions. As a response, the primary thing I'm saying to clients is "don't get attached to it because everything is impermanent, especially the market's level." That doesn't mean I predict it’s going to go down. But I do predict it’s going to change, constantly.
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Oh, Baby!

Life brings changes. As a financial advisor, pregnancy is often when clients come to me for guidance and help. When my husband and I found out our life is changing, as a new baby will be arriving next October, I immediately began planning. The unique thing about planning for a baby is that no matter how much you read or research, so much of becoming a parent lies in the unknown. Many important life changes come with a bundle of unknown answers to critical questions. As a financial planner, my aim is to shed light on those answers, so our clients can move confidently in the direction life is taking them.
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Doubling Down

A few nights ago, I finally got a chance to watch Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, a movie that perfectly depicts the rise and fall of what was once known as a great company. In the movie, one scene is particularly ominous: The head of HR at Enron is asked if employees should put all of their 401(k) money in Enron stock, to which she enthusiastically replied "Absolutely!"
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Note from Our CIO: Is the Market Too High?

It seems like almost every day someone asks me if the stock market is too high and therefore due for correction. Doesn't an all-time high for the S&P 500 mean it is more likely to go down than up from here, especially given that it has been at this level twice before, and both times, those highs were followed by two of the worst market declines since the Great Depression?
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Be Wary of The News Machine

Rarely does a week go by without a comment from a client regarding something he or she heard from an expert in the news. With a staggering variety of news sources, we are inundated with so much information that it is practically impossible to process it all. Almost unconsciously, then, we tend to listen to the news and commentary (which aren’t mutually exclusive) that are consistent with the conclusions we are inclined to draw ourselves. So the question becomes, "What, if any, are the beliefs or biases that dictate what gets through to us? How are we selecting our news?"
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Oh, Behave!

On a recent vacation to New Zealand, my Kiwi friend Martin told me about his father, Frank, an elderly man who, over his lifetime, owned 26 pieces of real estate. I figured Frank would be sitting pretty now, either living off 1) the income and principal of a huge investment portfolio that holds the sales proceeds of all that real estate or 2) a semi-stable income stream from the real estate he didn't sell. Unfortunately, neither is true. Frank barely gets by, relying entirely on a modest pension income. If he has any extraordinary expense, Martin will be forced to supplement Frank's income. So how did this happen?
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