2017 in Review

The year 2017 was full of news that had us riveted to the screen to see what would happen next. The stock market grew despite events that could have been challenging at any other time in history, such as the Russian probe, Federal interest rate increases, damaging hurricanes, domestic violence, and a potential struggle over the debt ceiling. The President and Congress tried, without success, to … [Read more...]

When Rates Go Up, Do Stocks Go Down?

Should we worry about interest rates? Research shows that changes in interest rates and bond prices are largely unpredictable. So an investment strategy based on attempting to exploit these sorts of changes isn’t likely going to be fruitful. Despite the unpredictable nature of interest rate changes, you may still be curious about what might happen to stocks if interest rates go up. Unlike bond … [Read more...]

Do You Need a Will?

Who Doesn't Need a Will? A will is often the cornerstone of an estate plan, and in most cases, yes, you should have one. A will can enable you to leave your property to anyone you choose - be it your partner or spouse, a child, other relatives, friends, a trust, or a charity - as well as make clear your intentions for healthcare and financial matters if you are incapacitated. Guardian for Minor … [Read more...]

Year-End Tax Strategies

The House and the Senate have passed their versions of a tax reform bill and there are many similarities, including the limiting of itemized deductions to mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and property taxes, as well as the doubling of the estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions from $5.6 million to $11.2 million in 2018. It’s possible, but not certain, that … [Read more...]

A Primer on Charitable Giving

Charitable giving can play an important role in many estate plans, although this may change with upcoming tax law changes. Philanthropy’s true reward is deep personal satisfaction, but it can also give an income tax deduction, let you avoid capital gains tax, and reduce the amount of taxes your estate may owe when you die. There are many ways to give to charity other than tossing bills into … [Read more...]

The Markets in November

The Dow rose more than 300 points on the last day of November, closing above 24000 for the first time in its history. Hopes for the tax overhaul bill likely supported this. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted favorable gains for the month. The Nasdaq continued strong performance in 2017, gaining over 2.0% in November, while the small caps of the Russell 2000 climbed nearly 3.0%. The … [Read more...]

Divorce and Social Security

By Matt Carey How does divorce affect Social Security benefits? Some people don’t realize that after a divorce, you can choose whether to claim retirement benefits based on your own earnings record or on your ex-spouse's earnings record. Of course, that’s provided certain requirements are met. What requirements must be met? You could qualify to take benefits based on your ex-spouse's record if … [Read more...]

What Is a “Custodian?”

Change of Custodian A custodian is a financial institution with regulatory responsibilities for an investor’s securities, a “house” where your investments live. Blue Spark Capital Advisors is changing custodians to Fidelity from TD, a move that we believe is better for our clients in several ways. You should have received the paperwork, call us with any questions. Investments that you entrust … [Read more...]

CNBC News: Maura Griffin on Same-Sex Planning

CNBC News: Blue Spark's Maura Griffin on Same-Sex Financial Planning Financial advisors recommend couples thinking about same-sex financial planning have a discussion about how the Supreme Court decision will affect their finances and consider the ramifications of all possible outcomes. "One size is not for all, so one broad answer wouldn't address the factors involved. The financial choices are … [Read more...]

The Markets in October

Market News Despite continuing White House drama and several serious natural disasters, stock growth remained steady for much of October 2017. Favorable corporate earnings reports, a strong jobs sector, and growing consumer income overcame any trepidations. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted monthly gains, led by the large caps of the Dow, which gained over 4% for the month and is … [Read more...]

Can We Make Divorce Easier?

Know Your Options in Divorce By Matt Carey Divorce is often traumatic, with a large emotional impact on all parties. And the financial ramifications of dissolving a marriage can be no less devastating. I’ve found that many put the financial considerations last on their list. It’s very easy to want to “get it over with” but many have regrets later. That’s why it is important to bring on … [Read more...]

The Trouble With Averages

The US stock market has delivered an average annual return of about 10% since 1926. But short-term results don't tell that story. In fact, in any given period, stock returns can be positive, negative, or flat. So it’s helpful to your peace of mind to look the range of historical outcomes. Exhibit 1 shows calendar-year returns for the S&P 500 Index since 1926. The shaded band marks the … [Read more...]

Self-Employed: Tax Issues

Being self-employed has many advantages beyond being your own boss. But it also comes with challenges, especially how to handle taxes. As we head into the final quarter of 2017, here are some things to know. Retirement plans for the self-employed If you are self-employed, you don’t have access to an employer’s 401k plan, but there are other avenues to save money for retirement. These … [Read more...]

How to Evaluate an Early-Retirement Offer

In today’s environment of corporate cost-cutting and restructuring, many employers are offering early-retirement packages. But how do you know if the offer is a good one? By evaluating it carefully to make sure that the offer fits your needs. What’s the severance package? Most early-retirement offers include a severance package based on your annual salary and years of service at the company. For … [Read more...]

The Markets in September

Trading during summer months is usually slow, and the third quarter of 2017 proved no different. The market regained some confidence in September, pushing stocks ahead of August closing values. Each of the indexes listed here posted gains, led by the small-cap Russell 2000, which rose 6.09%, followed by the Global Dow, the Dow, and the S&P 500, which each closed up about 2.0%. The tech-heavy … [Read more...]

Blue Spark Capital Advisors

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

We provide planning and investment management services and financial coaching to women, men and their families.

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


Contact Us

41 Madison Avenue (40th Floor)
New York, N.Y. 10010
(212) 537-3899

93 Church Street
Lenox, Mass. 01240
(413) 551-4445

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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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