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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, NASDAQ.com, 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

Never Forget These 10 Investment Rules.

3 days ago

“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 www.taxfoundation.org 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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5-Things Savvy Investors Should Know About Social Security

May 22, 2019

The recent Nationwide Retirement Institute® Consumer Social Security PR Study conducted by Harris Poll queried 1,315 U.S. adults aged 50 and over who collect or plan to collect Social Security benefits. Recent retirees, future retirees and those who retired in 10+ years were polled. The results of this study provide a formidable glimpse into perceptions of Social Security and how they change over time.
Here are 5 highlights for future retirees who seek to maximize benefits and understand how Social Security fits into a holistic financial plan that benefits from guaranteed lifetime income.
Current & future retirees see Social Security as their primary source of retirement income.
Social Security as a primary source of retirement income towers over retirement accounts like 401ks and IRAs for

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Is Capitalism Responsible For Socialist Sentiment?

May 15, 2019

In 2009, I shared 2 words on Facebook that I felt would shape the future of our social and economic discussions:
Socialism & Nationalism.
Not trying to be a smarta**, however, I told you so.
A shallow economic recovery (one of the weakest post-WW2), since the Great Recession, intervention by the Fed and persistent greed from U.S. corporations that place shareholders and senior executives above all else, have blossomed dissatisfaction with the very heart of our system.
In 2012, I outlined in my book Random Thoughts of a Money Muse, how I believed the financial crisis would permanently alter the focus of C-Suite executives and corporate boards. My thought was publicly traded companies would operate in a state of permanent recession regardless of business cycle, and lastingly consider

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A Financial Reality Lesson From “The Highwaymen”

April 24, 2019

A misrepresentation gnawed at screenwriter John Fusco.
Influenced by a fascination with outlaws and gangsters ignited by the 1967 iconic film “Bonnie & Clyde,” Fusco has written and directed several films including one of my favorites “Young Guns.” His present work on Netflix, “The Highwaymen,” starring Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson, re-visits a sepia and blood tinctured period of American history when gangsters were lionized by the public.
A citizenry ravaged by the Great Depression, left fiscally abandoned to scrape by survival in squalor of tent cities and busted clapboard houses, perceived the duo along with other criminals like John Dillinger as fighters against an establishment which failed and left the masses to perish.
Bonnie & Clyde, an unmarried, unbridled young couple who

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Your Healthcare In Retirement Reality

April 10, 2019

“I think I’ll take a moment celebrate my ageEnd of an era and the turning of a pageNow it’s time to focus in on where I go from hereLord have mercy on my next thirty years” – Tim McGraw, My Next Thirty Years

Retirement planning is a holistic process that helps one to crystallize the relationship among savings habits, investments and debt. The exercise is designed to project into the future how current disciplines along with expectations can form specific retirement life milestones from needs to wishes. A plan must align a future retiree’s big vision with the specifics of ground-level finances. This is often a challenge.
Retirement is perceived as 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

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9-Ways To Teach Kids About Money

April 3, 2019

Financial literacy is a grassroots effort that begins at home. Or in the car. Or in the bathroom. With money such a big part of our lives, opportunities to build a child’s financial literacy are all around us.
As a child, I was an observer. My mother existed on welfare and dad lived for the moment. Both died with nothing.
Today, with your children bombarded with messages to spend you need to “sneak” money lessons in whenever possible.
Success comes from changing up old beliefs about how you think you should go “money-active” with the kids.
Perhaps it feels awkward to bring up money seemingly out of the blue. I promise, once you begin, lessons and discussions eventually become a habit that will reap rewards for the little ones you care about the most.
Keep the following nine ways in mind to

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Health Is Part Of Your Financial Plan

March 20, 2019

So, have you scheduled your colonoscopy?
How’s the diet going?
How much weight have you lost?
How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
Welcome to client/advisor conversations of the future.
And the future is now.
It’s easy to comprehend how unhealthy people accumulate less wealth, may be forced to retire sooner and suffer shorter life expectancies. If anything, being unhealthy in retirement even if one has the finances, makes for an emotionally challenging existence.

According to De Nardi, Pashchenko and Porapakkarm authors of NBER Working Paper 23963 The Lifetime Costs of Bad Health, unhealthy people accumulate substantially less wealth than healthy people. Among 65-year-old males with a high-school degree, the median wealth of healthy individuals is almost twice that of those who are

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Tips To Consider If You Are At Risk Of Getting A Severance Package

March 13, 2019

With the current economic expansion already extremely long, even by historical standards, there is a rising risk that record low unemployment most likely won’t stay that way forever. 
Could your job be at risk when the next recession comes?
Severance packages are popular when companies seek to reduce workforce, especially older workers. According to Lee Hecht Harrison and Compensation Resources Inc. in their 2017-2018 Severance & Separation Benefits Benchmark Study of over 350 senior HR leaders at U.S. companies, 88% of companies pay severance.
Seeking to accept a severance package is more than a financial decision, there’s an emotional process about to arise. It’s one thing to prepare for retirement; to be placed suddenly in a situation where retirement or a possible dramatic shift in

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Social Security IS America’s Pension

March 6, 2019

Abhorrent income inequality along with issues related to social safety nets like Social Security are political hot potatoes. They should be considered human issues.
I’m certain that most readers regardless of political affiliation have witnessed or experienced firsthand, wage stagnation; people close to retirement who complete comprehensive financial planning realize the positive impact Social Security has on retirement success rates.
Without Social Security included, even those who are excellent savers (I personally witness close to half), may experience financial vulnerability in retirement. Include Social Security or an inflation-adjusted income annuity that lasts a lifetime, and a retiree may depend less on variable assets like stocks to create a dependable, predictable income

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5-Things To Do Before Retirement

February 20, 2019

Saving for retirement isn’t perfect nor as easy as most financial pundits make it appear.
Certainly, people with steeled fiscal resolve exist; those not diverted by a major financial life event that has threatened or postponed retirement plans should consider themselves fortunate.  Sadly, it’s not the norm.
Today, most retirements are imperfect. Two significant stock market events, a decade or longer wasted for investment accounts to breakeven, a financial crisis, underemployment, pre-retirees taking on student loan debt for children and grandchildren and providing overall financial support for adult children – have taken their toll on those 5-10 years from retirement.
One of the best studies on workers’ retirement insecurity comes from Transamerica’s Center for Retirement Studies® As we

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Is Your Investing Like A “Bird Box” Challenge – Part 3

February 13, 2019

In this 4-part RIA series, I urge investors to develop their “Gut Box,” and not remain blindfolded to the stories that are churned out by Wall Street and regurgitated by the front lines of big-box financial retailers. Their objective is to keep money invested in stocks regardless of how long it takes to recover from losses. Losses don’t matter to them. They matter to you.
Which brings me to the scion of Wall Street’s stories. The big daddy. The fable so entrenched it’s a religion.
It’s not if you heard this one – it’s how many times you’ve heard it.

“Stocks are for the long run.”

Heck, there are books about the topic everywhere. It’s a darn religion. To sell stocks or surgically exit markets is like striking a stake into the heart of your broker (or his wallet).
Speaking of stakes: Have

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Is Your Investing Like A “Bird Box” Challenge – Part 2

February 5, 2019

“Some people boast of selling at the top of the market and buying at the bottom – I don’t believe this can be done.” – Bernard Baruch.
In Part 1, I outlined how it can be emotionally healthy to examine investment account statements through bullish and turbulent market cycles. Consider it a healthy exercise in financial awareness; to generate questions or set a meeting to review a financial partner’s overall money and risk management philosophy.
The financial services industry prefers that investors ignore frequent scrutiny of accounts that may generate queries. Although I understand ‘checking in’ too often may motivate emotional investors to make changes haphazardly (which is not a good thing), there’s nothing wrong with curiosity, examination and query (as much as the industry makes you

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Bear Market Awareness Checklist

January 3, 2019

Bear markets characteristically align with economic contraction.
In his seminal tome – “Anatomy of the Bear – Lessons from Wall Street’s Four Great Bottoms,” which should be required reading for advisors and professional investors, author Russell Napier provides comprehensive analysis of market where stocks cycle from overvalued to undervalued (14 years on average) coupled with chronological events which marked bear market bottoms of 1921, 1932, 1949 and 1982.
Mr. Napier found that economic and market troughs occur together which busts a popular myth that stock market activity leads the economy by six to nine months. In fact, the economy can lead the stock market perhaps because investors wait for validation that the economy is undergoing a sustained recovery or central bankers are riding

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What You Need To Know About Bear Markets

December 19, 2018

The bullish pundits of the Twittersphere; the pros who never met a stock market they didn’t like, grow increasingly quiet at these times; or masterfully through the art of words, combined with short memories of investors and blatantly false narratives, still manage to maintain their personas as ‘market mavens’. As wordsmiths, they cleverly ameliorate the damage that market bears create.
It is crucial for investors to do their own homework, seek second opinions, and not allow their financial partners and the media to minimize the potential carnage bears can inflict on portfolios and financial goals.
So, what is a bear market?
A bear occurs when stock prices fall 20% from the previous high. Unfortunately, we haven’t had a bear market in years; even corrections (10% off the prior high), feel

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3-Really Big Lies Of Financial Advisors

December 13, 2018

I’m fortunate enough to meet with investors every week with varied levels of accumulated wealth and honored to listen to life stories. I’m consistently curious as what their guts or instincts tell people about their chosen financial partners and the financial industry overall.
Thankfully, it is rare to personally hear of financial advisors involved in shady activities. My belief is that most client-facing representatives are honest. Unfortunately, more than I’d like to admit are willfully ignorant or plain lazy.
Several common themes emerge which range from where their true loyalties lie (employers), lack of study or reading of material outside what their firm produces, and the worst of it – stale blunt-hammer pleasantries designed to keep clients fully invested in stocks regardless of the

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What Your Financial Plan Says About You

December 5, 2018

“Present time is very brief, so brief indeed, that to some there seems to be none; for it is always in motion, it ever flows and hurries on; it ceases to be before it has come, and can no more brook delay than the firmament or the stars, whose ever unresting movement never lets them abide in the same track.” – Seneca, On The Shortness of Life.
What observations can be made from a personal photo snapped 10 years ago?
Did you wince at your hairstyle or clothes? Maybe you carried less pounds, not so much gray on top. I’m certain you muttered – “I wish I knew then what I do now!”
A photograph is a frozen moment; a special selection from life’s rapidly spinning reel. As years pass, the film of a life reaches hyper-speed. Along the way, financial status such as life, is constant ebb and flow.

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3-Dangers Of Indexing

November 21, 2018

The concept was so simple it was genius. Create a fund that mirrors the stocks of the S&P 500.  In 1974, Nobel prizewinning economist Paul Samuelson suggested the concept, a year later John Bogle from Vanguard made it reality.
Recently, I had an interview with KPRC’s Channel 2 reporter Bill Spencern index funds. I’m proud his segment won the 10pm timeslot. However, we didn’t spend much time on the pitfalls of indexing. Briefly, I’ve outlined several dangers investors need to understand.
The Wall Street marketing machine has morphed and twisted the definition of indexing.
Indexing in its purest sense seeks to replicate a market-cap weighted index and is best for most investors, especially novices. Think the S&P 500, the Wilshire 5000, MSCI EAFE Index, and the Russell 2000. “Smart”

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