CarsonAllaria’s Financial Blog on Retirement and Wealth Management

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Income Plans: Different Than Financial Plans?

Retirement nest eggs do not grow themselves. Getting to retirement typically takes years of hard work, a few good investment choices, and an incredible amount of discipline. But, while the formula for success in the years leading up to retirement, or the accumulation...

Medicare, Medigap, and Medicare Advantage

For many, the month of November is the time of year that signifies the end of the year is close and the holidays are coming. For anyone over the age of 65, however, November also signifies another very important season; Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Season…

5 Investing Lessons Football Taught Me

As a former athlete, I’ve had the benefit of being around many great coaches over the years, and with great coaches come great one-liners. Although simple, and sometimes cryptic, these teachable sayings carry much weight. Within them are lessons that are are lessons that are not only applicable….

When Can I Access My Retirement Accounts?

Retirement accounts offer attractive tax benefits that make them a key part to long-term financial planning. However, with those benefits, there are also certain limitations and restrictions to investing in a retirement account. One of the primary limitations is that the money you save into retirement.

How the Financial Media Hurts Investors

Isn’t it interesting how human beings are drawn to drama? For some reason, we watch the news more when there is a crisis, tragedy, or natural disaster taking place. This is precisely why the financial media is always incentivized to create a crisis. This is bad for investors because it causes some….

Are Annuities Bad for Consumers?

Q: Are annuities bad for consumers? A: Like many things in the world of investing, it’s almost impossible to make a broad generalization about a specific investment and then claim that the generalization will apply to everyone. That’s the downside of any broad generalization, whether it’s regarding a type of investment or…

What Financial Advice Should I Give My Child?

Q: My children are getting older and one just graduated from high school. What is the best advice I can give them about money? A: First off, congratulations to your child on graduating! This is a great question and a perfect time to explore some key financial concepts with your…..

5 Reasons to Stop Caring About How Your Portfolio Stacks Up

Regardless of what stage of life you’re in, it’s natural to wonder how your portfolio stacks up to that of your peers. In fact, I’ve received that very question quite often. People will say, “How are we doing compared to your other clients?” And while it is a mostly innocent question, it couldn’t be….

Should I De-Risk Near Retirement?

Market volatility is not something investors are typically excited about experiencing, regardless of age. However, volatility can become even more stressful as your get closer to retirement. Because of this, it is generally assumed that you should invest in a more conservative manner as you approach retirement. Not to….

The Worst Mother’s Day Gift

Our mothers have such an important role in all our lives. They tirelessly care for us from infancy to adulthood, usually sacrificing the things they want to do or have for us. The job of a mother is a 24/7, 365, round-the-clock responsibility, and yet they still manage to show love and compassion along the way. In return, we celebrate all….

What is Values-Based Investing?

What values do you have that you would never want to violate in order to make a profit? You may have heard investment terms like sustainable investing, ESG, and socially responsible investing (SRI). But, what do they all mean? All are examples of values-based investing, where the investor prefers to only invest in companies that align….

How Many Jellybeans Does it Take to Price a Stock?

Imagine a jar is filled with a large number of jellybeans and you have to guess the quantity that is inside the jar. It would be a daunting task for anyone. But, this exercise can offer valuable insight into how market prices are set, and if they are fair and accurate. The main question to be explored in….

How Can I Get On Track for Retirement?

In my experience, I’ve found that many people want to get on track for retirement, but don’t take action because they feel overwhelmed, uneducated, or they think they’ll never be able to get on track, so they do nothing. However, there are a few simple changes that, if made….

Should Higher Earners Choose a Roth or Traditional 401(k)?

Using a Roth 401(k) can be a good strategy if you’re looking for tax-preferred treatment on your investments or retirement savings. After contributions are made on a post-tax basis, earnings grow tax-free and thus, withdrawals are tax-free as well. But, although the benefits may…

Here’s the Prescription

Improving someone’s financial health is a lot like improving their physical health. The challenges include diagnosis of the current situation, development of the appropriate course of action, and sticking with the treatment plan. Click here to read the full article from Dimensional Fund Advisors.

What Positive Financial Moves Can I Make in 2019?

A new year brings a fresh start and a sense of new opportunities. It’s a great time to set goals and make improvements in all areas of life. Financial goals are, of course, wonderful goals to focus on in any year. But, it can be difficult to know where to start when setting financial goals.

What Tax and Contribution Limit Changes Will Take Place in 2019?

More changes are coming for 2019 as contribution limits are set to increase once again. In addition, we will see an even higher standard deduction in 2019 than we saw in 2018. This is good news for those looking to defer more of their income to their retirement accounts. Click for some major highlights of…

Christmas Cookie Investing

There are many treasured parts of the holiday season, including the lights, gifts, and the joyful atmosphere. But, there is one part of the Christmas holiday that seems to be a favorite for those young and old; Christmas cookies. What could Christmas cookies possibly have to do with investing? I’ll get to that. But, first…

Can I Lower My Taxes with a Donor-Advised Fund?

Due to the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Tax Policy center estimates that the number of households claiming an itemized deduction for their gifts to non-profits will be reduced from 37 million to about 16 million in 2018. The result is the TCJA will reduce the marginal….

Behavioral Investing Lessons from Vegas

A group of advisors from our firm recently attended a conference for 401(k) plan advisors and that conference happened to be in lively Las Vegas, Nevada. We expected the poker tables, blackjack tables, and slot machines, but didn’t expect the lesson in behavioral investing. Not being….

Q&A with a Mortgage Lender

When discussing things like refinancing, home equity loans, new home and 2nd home purchases, there are some common questions that arise. We sat down with Scott Gruber, Senior Mortgage Lender with First Mid Illinois Bank and Trust (NMLS#466924) to talk about these topics and more. See….

Lowering Taxes with QCDs

You may have heard that that IRS requires individuals over the age of 70 ½ to begin taking distributions on their tax-deferred retirement accounts, forcing them to pay taxes on a portion of their IRAs, 401(k)s, etc. during their lifetime. These distributions are referred to as Required Minimum Distributions….

How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

I’ve found that most are rarely excited to allocate any portion of their income toward life insurance. However, most understand that life insurance can provide unique benefits for a variety of scenarios. So while it’s not always fun to add new policies to your financial arsenal, it might not be necessary.

Why Robots Are Bad Financial Advisors

In this age of rapidly advancing technology, more and more investors have opted for “DIY” financial planning and robo-advisor investment management platforms. And, with the increasing capabilities of trading platforms, retirement calculators, and auto-rebalancers, why wouldn’t….

Should I Accept my Pension Buyout Offer?

As employees covered by defined pension plans approach retirement, companies are looking for ways to remove themselves from their obligations by offering pension buyouts. For example, instead of providing the retired employee with an income stream for life, the company…

Did I Prepare Well Enough for Retirement?

After years of conversations with those on the verge of retirement, I’ve noticed a trend that seems to be common among those preparing to step into their golden years. The trend is a need for confirmation that all the hard work, discipline, and saving was enough. They want to know that they…

Why Did My Investment Strategy Not Work?

If you’ve been an investor for a while, you’ve probably experienced times where your investment strategy didn’t seem to work like you thought it would. But, what you may not understand is why exactly did it not work? Maybe your strategy didn’t perform as well as the...

4 Things to NOT do After Receiving an Inheritance

Receiving an inheritance is likely unfamiliar territory for most individuals. In some cases, the amount of your inheritance can even be a big surprise. In any case, if you have recently received an inheritance, it’s probably an emotional time. Dealing with paperwork regarding financial…

Sailing with the Tides

Embarking on a financial plan is like sailing around the world. The voyage won’t always go to plan, and there’ll be rough seas. But the odds of reaching your destination increase greatly if you are prepared, flexible, patient, and well-advised. Click to read the full article from Dimensional….

Retiring Early? Don’t Overlook These 5 Things.

Retiring early. To most people, that phrase has a beautiful ring to it. In fact, it’s difficult to find individuals who would choose to continue working if the possibility of early retirement presented itself. However, if you’re fortunate enough to be in the position...

Q&A: It’s Tax Season. What Do I Need to Know?

Tax season can be a busy and confusing time of year. With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 being signed into law in late 2017, this year’s tax season is perhaps even more confusing than usual. To help, we have listed 9 things that you’ll want to know about this tax...

True or False Diversification?

The old adage, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket” has undoubtedly been a simple yet profound guide for investors for decades. The translation is simple; diversify your portfolio so that if unforeseen circumstances negatively affect one of your stocks, it won’t completely derail your entire…

Q&A: How will the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 impact me?

December 22nd, 2017 marked the date of our nation's biggest tax overhaul since 1986 as President Trump signed into law the much anticipated Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. But, many Americans are questioning what the new tax bill will do for them, and it's likely the...

Why Investors Should Consider Dividend-Paying Stocks

Based on current economic forecasts, we could be entering a period when market returns lag behind historical returns, meaning investors might want to do due diligence on all investment strategies to find the best way to meet their objectives. If income is a goal…

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About the Blog

The Wealth Navigator is a financial blog that was created in 2015 to provide pertinent, yet digestible wealth management tips for the average, everyday person. You don’t need to have a PhD in finance or a Series 7 license to understand the posts in our blog. Yet, the strategies covered can provide immense value to readers when implemented.

The blog primarily focuses on the following wealth management topics:

  • Retirement Planning (withdrawal strategies, investing near retirement, Social Security analysis, and Medicare planning)
  • Investment Management (behavioral finance, diversification, markets)
  • Tax Planning (tax-reduction strategies, tax-loss harvesting, charitable giving strategies, etc.)
  • Risk Management (life insurance, long-term care concerns, long-term disability)
  • Estate Planning (generational planning, estate tax reduction strategies, wills/trusts/powers of attorney)

Joe Allaria, a Partner and Wealth Advisor with CarsonAllaria Wealth Management, and a primary writer for the blog, has been featured in several financial publications, including; The Wall Street Journal,, Nasdaq,, Yahoo Finance, and Investopedia.