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Richard Rosso

Richard Rosso

Richard Rosso has been in the financial services industry for 26 years. He is a Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Investment Management Analyst. Richard has helped individuals and families make holistic financial decisions working for companies like Dreyfus and Charles Schwab. He has been part of the Clarity Financial family since November 2012. Richard is a featured writer for MarketWatch and a contributor to Money Magazine,, Nerdwallet, Christian Science Monitor and USA Today. He is featured regularly on Houston television and radio, including Fox, KPRC, KHOU and 740AM KTRH. He has been quoted in and interviewed for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and New Yorker Magazine. Richard is a personal finance manager and senior investment advisor for Clarity. Richard M. Rosso, MS, CFP, CIMA Senior Financial Advisor ClarityFinancial, LLC

Articles by Richard Rosso

Medicare Q&A with Aetna’s Chris Ciano.

16 days ago

To better understand Medicare, especially Medicare Advantage, I queried Christopher Ciano, president of Medicare at Aetna®, a CVS Health® company. He is also a caregiver to his 93-year-old parents. Therefore, I thought it would be beneficial for readers to gain his perspective.
(Note: Open Enrollment is from October 15 through December 7.)
QUESTION: Please give us your vision of the future for Medicare programs. What would be the most significant changes you anticipate over the next decade overall?
COVID-19 has already impacted Medicare programs and will likely continue to have an impact for the foreseeable future.
Telehealth – A strong area of growth.
One of the areas where we’ve begun to see tremendous growth is in digital health, particularly telehealth. Medicare plans will continue to

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Retirement Income Planning Truth with Jim Otar. Part 1.

23 days ago

Income is the lifeblood of retirement. 
In Part 1, wisdom from the early chapters of Jim Otar’s new book about retiree income challenges is explored.
A one-person revolutionary.
In 2004, I discovered the work of Canadian-based planner and Chartered Market Technician Jim Otar. As a result of his work, I changed my approach to planning. Compared to conventional financial gurus, Jim’s research showcased how stock market cycles changed over time and negatively affected a client’s retirement income planning success, sometimes permanently.
My thought is he’s not popular with mainstream financial professionals who constantly tout a neverending bull market. Bulls never seem to run out of steam to these folks. Jim showcases how markets truly behave:

Furthermore, the above illustration showcases

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Don’t Ignore These Retirement Mistakes. Part-2.

September 3, 2020

In Part-1, we explored mistakes investors make due to bad advice, flawed research, and emotional distress.
In Part-2, we continue the journey into a world of COVID and possible economic fallout, much remains unknown. Retirees, and those planning to retire, possess little financial bandwidth for error.
Retirement is not the end of the road. It is the beginning of the open highway.”
Today, retirees face a tremendous challenge: How to generate predictable cash flow with real interest rates on fixed-income investments such as bonds, at zero or negative. As a result, the willingness to take on greater stock market exposure has increased.
Unfortunately, current valuations portend to low future returns for stocks. Furthermore, in the case of a massive correction or bear cycle, older investors

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Don’t Ignore These Retirement Mistakes. Part-1

August 20, 2020

Retirement mistakes. In Part-1, we explore the mistakes that investors make due to bad advice, poor research, and emotional distress.
“The art of a happy retirement is in the creation of meaningful circles and the beauty of the variations among them. It’s a consistent rotation around sources of fulfillment and purpose that create a force of their own. In that moment, the art of living emerges.”
Rich Rosso.
The internet teems with irresponsible retirement advice.
Guidance for retirees and those planning for retirement is often wrong.  Financial pundits fail to distinguish wealth accumulators or those still working, from people who depend on portfolio distributions to meet household spending needs.
The genesis of mainstream financial advice came during the most significant bull market in

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We Are In The Winter of Household Finances.

June 24, 2020

We are in the winter of household finances. The “Fourth Turning” is upon us, as we explore how to navigate an uncertain future and maintain financial stability.

To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3.

William Strauss’ and Neil Howe’s seminal tome – The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy – What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny – is a popular read among the RIA Advisor team. We reference it often, especially as the premise of The Fourth Turning grows increasingly prevalent.
As there are seasons to life, there are periods of heat and freeze to a culture – eras of discovery, turmoil, tranquility, war. Winter is the powderkeg. The cold front began in 2007. At grassroots levels, we must prepare

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Financial Friction Burns Wealth.

April 29, 2020

Financial friction burns wealth in 5-insidious manners.
What is financial friction?
Financial friction burns wealth when money is lost.
Financial friction burns wealth when there’s resistance  – the heat of conflict, clash of opinion. When money lies between two opposing forces, friction can destroy wealth.
What are the elements of financial friction that burn wealth? What are financial gaps that require attention?
Friction #1: The Gap Between an Estate Plan and Family.
Priorities have changed as we spend more time at home. A strong focus on family.  Attorneys across the country now witness renewed interest in estate plans. Young and old contemplate what happens when they’re gone.
Formal estate planning is essential – Proper wills, powers of attorney,  advance directives in case of

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Anatomy of The Bear. Lessons from Russell Napier.

April 1, 2020

One of my annual re-reads is Russell Napier’s classic tome “Anatomy of the Bear.”
A mandatory study for every financial professional and investor who seeks to understand not only how damaging bear markets can be but also the traits which mark their bottoms. Every bear is shaken from hibernation for different reasons. However, when studying the four great bottoms of bears in 1921, 1932, 1949 and 1982, there are several common traits to these horrendous cycles.  I thought it would be interesting to share them with you.
First, keep in mind, bear markets characteristically purge weakness – weak companies, weak advisors, weak investors. I want you to consider them less a bloodletting and more a cleansing of a system. There will be unsuitable investors who will never return to the market and

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March 24, 2020

“Much of what passes for orthodoxy in economics and finance proves, on closer examination, to be shaky business.” The Misbehavior of Markets – by Benoit Mandelbrot & Richard L. Hudson.

If as households we do crumble financially yet another time, will this ‘outlier’ event finally teach us a valuable lesson? One we’ll never forget (again)? I mean, how many Black Swans or events that create wholesale economic and financial devastation must we endure to work diligently, effortlessly, to shore up our family’s finances?
Unfortunately, as humans, we focus on risk and financial stability too late. Always. Too. Late. We are creatures of complacency and mainstream financial advice does nothing but fuel our overconfidence bias. Only when a storm is upon us, wreaking havoc, do we seek to board the

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Three Ways to Avoid the “Lost Highway” of Financial “Advice.”

March 4, 2020

Now boys don’t start to ramblin’ roundOn this road of sin are you sorrow boundTake my advice or you’ll curse the dayYou started rollin’ down that lost highway
Hank Williams.

On the road to personal financial milestones, investors aspire to reach multiple destinations that are important to them – whether it’s saving for a college education or retirement, we all seek to assess travel risks, regularly track progress and hope to avoid hazardous conditions.

We all long to  -cheer – “I have arrived!”

However, there is imminent danger on the path to our destinations; like a low fog that hangs heavy, there are forces out there which blind and misdirect investors from the major road onto a lost highway. Unfortunately, obstacles to wealth are created by Wall Street, mainstream financial pundits

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6 Considerations for Long-Term Care Coverage.

February 19, 2020

Retirement is a a continuous road; mile markers that represent age may be visualized along the path.
However, if one looks to retire at 67 and in relatively good health, it’s a challenge to comprehend what quality of life may be like at 80. It’s easy to understand how 40 may not look too different from 60 from a quality of health perspective. The stretch from 60 to 90 may be so dramatically different, it’s a challenge to envision.
How does one contemplate their own increasing frailty?
People tend to avoid the topic of long-term care which is defined as financial and caregiver resources required to perform daily activities such as bathing and dressing. Services range from temporary home health services to full-time care through assisted living or memory care. At RIA, we find that investors

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Where’s the Adult Merit Badge for Super Savers?

February 5, 2020

Super Savers are a special breed.
They are not concerned about keeping up impressions; they exist outside the mainstream of seductive consumerism.
Call it a mindset, call it walking a different path; perhaps it’s an offbeat childhood money script. Whatever it is, those who fall into this category or save 20% or more of their income on a consistent basis are members of an elite group who strive for early financial independence.
Speaking of independence: At RIA we believe households should maintain 3-6 months of living expenses in a savings account for emergencies like car and house repairs.  They should also maintain an additional 6 months of living expenses as a “Financial Vulnerability Cushion,”  whereby cash is set aside for the big, life-changing stuff like extended job loss especially

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#FPC: New Advisors: Stop Doing These Two Things.

January 24, 2020

The higher stocks ride a glide path of zero volatility, the greater the risks for investors and their financial partners to fall victim to overconfidence. After all, we are human;  when it comes to money and emotions our brains are no smarter than a lizard’s. 
As markets continue to be  hyper-fueled by unconventional monetary and fiscal policy in the form of tax cuts, it’s normal to suffer from chronic FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. It feels like this charging bull is invincible.  You don’t hear much in mainstream financial media about corrections, bear markets, or recession, either. It’s at these times when things are going smoothly that I’m most suspicious. It doesn’t mean I’m going to take it out on a portfolio. Nor does it mean I’m bearish.  It does mean I’m going to aggressively seek

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Rosso’s 2020 Reading List – Part II

January 16, 2020

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin.
I’m not sure what I would do without books. On weekends, I can be found in antique stores searching out volumes written in many instances, over 100 years ago from authors most of us never knew existed. These treasures don’t cost much. The words are priceless.
I find that absorbing fiction and self-improvement as well as financial or economic titles, fosters an ability to think creatively.  As much as you’ll hear that money is about numbers, it’s equally about emotions and intuition.
After all, what are investments but stories?
The next 5 tomes for 2020 are mostly tied to emotional and physical health. The health + wealth connection is one of the most important equations of our

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Rosso’s 2020 Reading List

January 1, 2020

Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading. – Lena Dunham.
I’m not sure what I would do without books. On weekends, I can be found in antique stores searching out volumes written in many instances, over 100 years ago from authors most of us never knew existed. These treasures don’t cost much. However, the words are priceless.
My reading interests are varied as I strive to fight myopia. I find that absorbing fiction and self-improvement as well as financial or economic titles, fosters an ability to think creatively. As much as you’ll hear that money is about numbers, it’s equally about emotions and intuition. After all, what are investments but stories? Money matters are much grayer than you’re lead to believe.
Business Insider is prolific

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The SECURE Act: It’s Reality & What You Need To Know

December 18, 2019

Like a thief in the night, in a rare bipartisan agreement, Congress passed the Setting Up Every Community for Retirement Enhancement Act or the SECURE Act. The most creative element of the act admittedly, is the name. All is needed now is the President’s signature which is a foregone conclusion. I’m torn by this Act.
There are several good elements to it; however, those who plan to leave significant wealth through non-spousal inherited IRAs are going to face formidable issues with this bill, which I will expand upon.
The possible passage of the Act is one of the reasons we’ve been expanding RIA’s initiative to help clients with surgical, occasionally aggressive, Roth conversions.
SECURE will take effect on January 1, 2020. Here are the highlights:

70 ½ and still working? We’ve got a

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It’s a Wonderful Time of Year to Face Financial Ghosts.

December 11, 2019

What are your ghosts?
Ghosts of the past are notorious for creeping into the present, especially when holidays roll around.
If you’ve unpacked an ornament from 30 years ago or got lost in a memory while watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, then you understand.
The ghosts of Financial Mistakes Past are sometimes not so kind. In other words, they’re not mindful of seasons; they aren’t warm and fuzzy either. Rattling chains of the ghosts of financial mistakes can be uninvited guests for years to come.
December is the month to objectively review your financial history – expose the good and bad – then, outline tactics to sever ominous chains and sprout wings to the beneficial for 2020. Oh, watch for financial disciplines or lack of them that may conjure the ghosts of financial future.

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Never Forget These 10 Investment Rules.

December 4, 2019

“Psychology is probably the most important factor in the markets, and one that is least understood.”
– David Dreman
A motive of the financial industry  is to blur the lines between investor and trader. I’m convinced it’s to make investors feel guilty for taking control of their portfolios. After all, Wall Street firms ares the experts with YOUR money.
How dare you question them?
Sell to take profits, sell to minimize losses, purchase an investment that fits into your risk parameters and asset allocations; it’s all enough to brand one as ‘trader’ in the buy & forget circles  that are paid to push the narrative that markets are on a permanent trek higher and bears are mere speed bumps. Wall Street has forgotten the financial crisis. You can’t afford such a luxury.
And, if you’re a reader of

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10 Financial Planning Rules You Shouldn’t Ignore.

November 6, 2019

Financial planning is misunderstood.
Ask consumers or brokers what financial planning means to them and the conversation steers toward the portfolio or a pitch for investment and insurance products.

“I asked for a financial plan –  he gave me a brochure about long-term care insurance.” – Anonymous.

So, you’re considering holistic financial planning? I commend you. 
Here Are The 10-Rules
Rule #1 – Take a holistic approach to every financial decision.
Money doesn’t exist in a vacuum; money is fungible.
Consider money concerns as a circle, or a wave. There’s a ripple effect to every decision you make on every facet of your financial picture.
Proper planning integrates every asset, liability and source of income along with your ability to save, invest, manage risk and debts.
How did you make

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Medicare Advantage? A Couple of Things To Consider

October 30, 2019

It’s that time of year again.
Medicare Open Enrollment season began October 15 and runs through December 7th.
If you’re Medicare-eligible or in Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage, I’m confident you’re getting bombarded with advertisements and collateral materials. Remember, this is the annual opportunity to review your Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug D plans to make certain costs and benefits still meet your personal needs.
By now, recipients should have received Evidence of Coverage or an Annual Notice of Change to determine if their plans will change for 2020. I find that many retirees either inadvertently ignore these notices or regardless, do not spend 30 minutes to an hour every year comparing their current plans to others that are available.
According to The Senior

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3 Tips To Avoid A “Save Taxes NOW!” Mentality

October 16, 2019

We scramble to do whatever we can to save on taxes.
Unfortunately, there’s little firepower in the form of itemized deductions since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was initiated. The estimates that nearly 90% of taxpayers will continue to take the expanded standard deduction which has increased from $6,500 to $12,000 for single filers; $13,000 to $24,000 for those married filing jointly. If you recall, the income tax changes under TCJA expire at the end of 2025.
CPAs, professionals in the financial industry and the media constantly tout the advantages of pre-tax accounts like traditional 401ks and deductible IRAs to help consumers reduce their current tax liabilities.
The sole focus on tax reduction today could be a shortsighted mistake paid for dearly down the

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5-Things Your Broker Wont Tell You – Part 4

September 18, 2019

Social Security is America’s pension.
Without Social Security included as part of a retirement income plan, even disciplined savers may experience financial vulnerability in retirement.
With the inclusion of Social Security or an inflation-adjusted income annuity that lasts a lifetime, a retiree may depend less on variable assets like stocks to create a predictable retirement income, especially during market cycles characterized by poor sequence of returns risk. Investors in distribution mode must now pay attention to the imminent headwind in stock market returns.
When investment assets perform poorly over a series of years perhaps decades, guaranteed income sources like Social Security can decrease the burden on a portfolio alone to shoulder the distribution burden. In other words,

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5-Things Your Broker Will Ignore – Part 3

September 4, 2019

At our extensive Retirement Right Lane Classes which fill seats all over Houston, our planning group spend hours with a wide demographic of attendees who give up their Saturdays to tackle head on, the challenging topics that are crucial to financial survival in retirement.
An important goal of the class is to rewire the years of bad advice consumers have been given from an industry which thrives on outdated theories. From “pre-tax investment vehicles are the greatest invention since electricity,” to “you need to take Social Security at 62 because it’s going away,” our planners are proud to address myths and help hundreds of people avoid permanent mistakes, maximize retirement, Medicare benefits and reduce taxes in the creation of lifetime retirement income. I only touch on a few of the

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5-Things Your Broker Wont Tell You – Part 2

August 21, 2019

Valuations Matter.
As I mentioned briefly in Part 1 of the series,  investors about to the enter the retirement distribution phase of their lives or seeking to extract money from a basket of variable assets like stocks and bonds to re-create a retirement paycheck, must be keenly aware of portfolio risk and prepare for a cycle of muted portfolio returns.
Newbies to the retirement experience and those who aspire to retire within the next 3-5 years must seriously consider comprehensive financial and distribution planning to ensure the retirement income paychecks they require are realistic, tax-effective and sustainable over a lifetime.
I passionately believe that people who retired last year and those looking to retire within the next 5 years will need to deal with a tremendous headwind to

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5-Things Your Broker Will Ignore – Part 1

August 14, 2019

Investors mistakenly believe their financial partners are students of holistic financial planning. Outside of sell-side biased market information pumped out daily by an employer’s research department, there are several areas of study that many brokers would prefer to avoid.
Worse are the practitioners who confidently communicate erroneous Medicare and Social Security advice which results in consumers leaving thousands of lifetime income dollars on the table. Then, there are the brokers who utilize comprehensive financial planning as a tool to sell products with little focus on sequence of returns risk or lower future asset class returns that may drain a retiree’s investment nest egg faster than anticipated.
There are 5 areas of concern investors must consider (even though brokers will

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The Most Important Trait To Look For In A Financial Advisor

July 24, 2019

Daniel R. Solin, a New York Times best-selling author who penned a series of popular books with the overarching theme of how to be the ‘smartest,’ with money, recently wrote an article where he shared what he believes is The One Trait That Predicts Advisor Success. Mr. Solin makes a convincing case for curiosity as the dominating trait that separates a great advisor from a marginal one.
I agree curiosity is critical to success not only to prosper in a chosen vocation, but for success overall in life (which is mentioned by Mr. Solin). Although biting curiosity bordering on obsession along with an insatiable need to learn should come natural to successful advisors, it’s not the most important quality.
Oh, curiosity and a thirst for knowledge is absolutely near the top of the list.

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How “FaceApp” Can Help You Save More For Retirement

July 17, 2019

FaceApp is taking over social media.
It also may help procrastinators focus on long-term goals, like retirement.
The face recognition smartphone application is available for free download; a Pro version is available for a fee. The features available in the free version are enough to motivate you to immediately (possibly dramatically), increase your retirement account contribution percentages.
So, what is FaceApp?
FaceApp is artificial intelligence facial software which allows users to change up their face – add smiles, beards, impressions, change hair colors, hair styles, add glasses, tattoos, makeup. All in a manner that appears hauntingly realistic. Users can also hit the ‘age editor,’ to see how they look young and most important, old.
Whether it’s off the mark or not, staring at an

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What You Need To Know About Medicare & The “BENES” Act

July 10, 2019

The Medicare Rights Center a national non-profit consumer advocacy organization, fields thousands of questions as it assists older adults to make sense of the complexity of Medicare.
The Center publishes its Medicare Trends and Recommendations report each year; the work is a highlights compilation of the roughly 15,000 helpline questions and 3 million online queries fielded by staff and volunteers. Their Medicare interactive web pages garner millions of views per year. So, if you have questions about Medicare believe me, you’re not alone!
Three main areas of concern provide crucial insight for those who are new to Medicare enrollment or face ongoing healthcare cost challenges.
Complex enrollment periods are a mess to navigate.
There’s no rhyme or reason to Medicare enrollment – the

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Teens & Summer Jobs: 3-Ways To Maximize The Experience

June 26, 2019

The labor market is tight. However, summer jobs for teens, especially in leisure and hospitality are in demand.
While just 35% of teens aged 16-19 participated in the labor market last year, global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. predicts job opportunities could increase around 5% this year and the teen participation rate could rise as well, according to its 2019 annual outlook.
How can you as a parent make the most out of your teen’s first summer job? Here are 3 money tips. Don’t let an opportunity to make the most of the experience fade away before the new school year starts.
Celebrate the ‘rite of passage’ from payout to paycheck.
Most likely, there’s been a long-standing allowance agreement at home. Sure, you taught the basics of

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A Generational Dose of Financial Reality

June 19, 2019

Financial wellness is difficult to achieve without steeled resolve for fiscal self-preservation and an endlessly skeptical nature about the information provided by mainstream financial media.
You as saver, investor and commander of assets and liabilities that steer the household balance sheet toward achievement of financial milestones such as retirement planning, must carefully navigate popular financial advice which has progressively morphed into statistical click-bait.
The stock market is sliced and diced to present its prettiest façade. Investing time frames that I argue best fit the lifespan of vampires not humans indeed connect to consistent double-digit returns.
Statistical foreplay makes it easy to promote risk assets like stocks as the solution to every financial ailment. I posit

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3-Steps To Holistic Financial Wellness

June 5, 2019

Investors tend to narrowly define wealth management as portfolios and products. Unfortunately, many financial professionals permit this shortsightedness as it aligns with their aspirations to sell investment vehicles, then move on to the next prospects.
However, this pervasive myopia is a tremendous oversight; investors and financial consumers miss out on the advantages of holistic financial processes and the robust long-term fruitful actions which follow.
We find that people who embrace holistic financial wellness make cogent decisions when it comes to savings rates, debt management, meeting or exceeding financial goals and yes, even portfolio risk management.
If you’re not fortunate enough to partner with a financial professional who can assist with the planning and questions that arise

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