Five-Year Rule for Roth IRAs

The Roth IRA Five-Year Rule The Roth "five-year rule" – often misunderstood – in part governs when you can take tax-free distributions of earnings from your Roth accounts (IRAs, Roth 401k, or other work-based Roth accounts). Your Roth contributions can be withdrawn tax-free at any time. But the for the account’s earnings: The rule says that to take a tax-free distribution of earnings you must … [Read more...]

New Flexibility for PPP Loan Forgiveness

Relief for Small Businesses A new law called the “Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act” or PPPFA, passed June 5, makes major changes regarding how much time business owners have to use the loan and how the loan money can be spent. Many had complained that the PPP was too restrictive considering the varying circumstances of small businesses. The original PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan … [Read more...]

Three Questions to Increase Happiness

Three Questions to Increase Happiness Shelter-In-Place Offers Opportunity for Reflection: What makes us happiest? Our quarantines and shelter-in-place this year have been difficult for many, but it would be a shame not to use the current situation to learn more about ourselves, says Shlomo Benartzi, PhD, an expert in behavioral finance and a professor at the UCLA Anderson business school. He … [Read more...]

The Markets in May

The Markets in May 2020 The month of May saw some U.S. states and foreign countries ease the restrictions put in place for the COVID-19 pandemic. As economies slowly picked up, confidence in stocks grew, driving values higher. However, optimism was kept in check by weak economic reports and growing tensions between China and the U.S. The unemployment rate hit its highest level since the Great … [Read more...]

Investing: Strategy vs. Reaction

Investing: Strategy vs. Reaction You can always count on market swings to challenge your patience as an investor, but these current swings – and the reasons for them – are unprecedented in their speed and depth. Tune Out the Noise The media generates news 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they need to fill all that time. You can check the market and access the news any time and … [Read more...]

Key Benefits of the CARES Act

Key Benefits of the CARES Act - and a Note About Financial Literacy Financial Literacy for the Pandemic **NOTE: Our "Financial Literacy for the Pandemic" Zoom calls, which were held weekly during the first few months of the pandemic, will move to monthly as the questions have subsided but many people still need help with financial issues as a result of COVID-19. We will be sending the usual … [Read more...]

The Markets in April

The Markets in April 2020 T.S. Elliot wrote “April is the cruelest month” in his poem The Waste Land, and he was not far off this year. The month began on a bad note for stocks as each of the major indexes lost value. Economic reports reflected the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: historic job loss and unemployment claims that rose each week, shuttered businesses, negative crude oil prices amid … [Read more...]

Cybersecurity Tips

Cybercriminals will always exploit the headlines, and they have not stopped with the Coronavirus. In this pandemic, we need to be extra skeptical about emails and social media. Hackers are always trying to take advantage of our fears and emotions. There are many new schemes and scams out there, some of them cleverly real. Here are some tips that cybersecurity expert John Sileo told us about that … [Read more...]

Financial Advice for You – And Those In Need: Pandemic Times 2020

Financial Advice for You – And Those In Need March 23, 2020 -- We are in uncharted territory, that’s for sure. As one client told me this week, “I’m now more concerned about my health than my wealth.” It’s easy to feel anxiety about a multitude of things, and there is plenty to worry about now. On top of all of that, there are extreme weather warnings across the United States -- tornados, … [Read more...]

Time to Refinance?

Is It Time to Refinance? The Federal Reserve has just cut interest rates by .50% in response to growing concerns about the impact of the coronavirus on the economy. What does that mean for mortgage rates? The Federal funds rate doesn’t move in lockstep with mortgage rates, particularly 30-year fixed mortgages. But mortgage rates are indeed expected to fall alongside the lowered Fed funds … [Read more...]

Insuring Your Valuables

If you have valuable personal possessions – such as jewelry, furs, antiques, art, coin collections, and the like -- insurance is often necessary. But your homeowners' or renters' insurance might not be enough. Limitations on coverage Generally, homeowners’ insurance policy covers the theft, damage, or destruction of your personal property, and there are several limitations. Your personal … [Read more...]

The Coronavirus and You

We don’t know how bad this is going to be. That’s the scary part. We can wash our hands, wear masks, talk about morbidity percentages, but the extent of the coronavirus – and its impact on the markets – is unknown. So what to do? We can look at the historical context of previous plagues and pandemics and viruses and their impact. It does help ease our minds to look at the history of pandemics … [Read more...]

The Markets in February

The Markets in February Spurred by a growing number of new cases of the coronavirus and amid political uncertainty, the markets experienced a massive sell-off, the largest we’ve seen since 2008. Investors' fears during the month of economic tumult caused by the coronavirus were too much to ignore, despite a statement from Fed chairman Jerome Powell that the central bank was prepared to cut rates. … [Read more...]

The New SECURE Act

What's up with that new SECURE Act? We’ve had several questions from clients about the SECURE Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act), which was signed into law in late December 2019 as part of a larger federal spending package. This legislation has some positives and some negatives among its new requirements. It gives incentives for employers to provide retirement … [Read more...]

The Markets in January

What happened in the markets in January January was full of ups and downs amid much lots of market uncertainty. The month began with many of the benchmark indexes losing value (except for the Nasdaq) only to surge ahead during the middle of the month. Then at month’s end, fears of a widespread coronavirus pushed down stocks. Only the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained value in the month, as each of the … [Read more...]

Blue Spark Capital Advisors

We're a fee-only Registered Investment Advisory and financial planning firm based in New York City and the Berkshires.

We specialize in working with women after divorce, death of a spouse, or other life transitions such as retirement or job change. We provide financial planning and investment management services.

We believe in a holistic approach. Movement in each piece of your financial plan impacts the others, so we consider your entire picture.

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130 West 19th Street (8th Floor)
New York, N.Y. 10011
(212) 537-3899

93 Church Street
Lenox, Mass. 01240
(413) 551-7000

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"Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful."
– Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
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