Jarrett B. Topel's blog

Beneficiary Bungle

Designating beneficiaries for your retirement accounts and life insurance policies is one of the most critical decisions you can make in the estate-planning process.  Yet, for some reason, many people put very little (if any) thought into the decision.  People spend decades accumulating assets and watching their spending, with the hopes of passing on an estate/legacy to the next generation, but then fail to spend the necessary time and energy to make sure their beneficiaries are correct for their specific situation and goals.  As a financial planner, it is deeply disheartening to see people

Charitable Giving Basics

We have been getting more and more questions regarding charitable giving strategies reently, so I thought it might be helpful to put together a primer with some of the basic strategies and vehicles most commonly used by clients for philanthropy. Charitable giving can play an important role in many estate plans. Philanthropy cannot only give you great personal satisfaction, it can also give you a current income tax deduction, let you avoid capital gains tax in certain situations, and reduce the amount of taxes your estate may owe when you pass on.

Five Most Common Investing Mistakes

As part of the financial industry for the past twenty-plus years I have seen a lot of things.  Drawing on that experience, I thought it would be helpful to share with you a list of five of the most common investing mistakes I see investors make time and time again.  It does not appear to matter whether or not the investor is wealthy, young or old, highly educated or less so.  These mistakes seem to be universal and unflagging over time.  My hope is, that by laying them out for you here, simply and without embellishment, you may have a better chance to buck the trend and avoid making them yo

The Three Little Pigs

Humans are not rational, particularly when it comes to investing. 

Knowing that, is there a way to make this fact work to our advantage as investors?  I believe there is.

One of the best documented irrational human tendencies, as it pertains to finance, is engaging in “Mental Accounting”. 

Mental Accounting is a behavioral finance concept which deals with the fact that individuals tend to make quite different decisions with their money depending on how it was received, and/or, how and when it will be spent, rather than purely on what is in their best interests.

Jarrett's Summer Reading List

Summer is almost here, which means it's time to put away the kid’s school bags, and start packing for our summer trips.  With that in mind, here are my top-picks for a summer reading list, for both financial and non-financial topics.  I am often asked to recommend books of a financial nature, so those included here are from my “all-time favorites” list, while the non-financial titles come from my leisure reading over the past year or so.

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