Wise Words for Volatile Times

Wise words to soothe volatile times in the stock markets, from some of the best investors: "Investors should remember that excitement and expenses are their enemies. And if they insist on trying to time their participation in equities, they should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful." — Warren Buffett "Most of the time common stocks are subject to … [Read more...]

Planning for Remarriage

If you are thinking of marrying again... For those courageous enough to remarry, there are many financial questions to answer together. How will you combine finances? This issue gets thornier the older you are. You’ll want to create a financial strategy that considers the assets, liabilities, and financial responsibilities that each partner brings to the marriage. Financial planning for … [Read more...]

Yes, There Is Still Time

Still Time to Contribute to Retirement Accounts Yes, there’s still time to make a regular IRA contribution for tax year 2017. You have until your tax return due date, not including extensions, to contribute up to $6,500 for 2017 ($5,500 if you are younger than 50). For most, the deadline for 2017 is April 17, 2018. You can contribute to a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, or both, as long as your … [Read more...]

The Markets in March

The first quarter of 2018 began with strong market gains, but it did not end that way. March was not a good month for the benchmark indexes here, except for the small caps of the Russell 2000. Otherwise, each of the indexes closed March in the red, led by the Dow, which was followed by the Global Dow, Nasdaq, and the S&P 500. March brought more concerns for investors with the administration’s … [Read more...]

Financial Affidavits in Divorce

The financial affidavit When divorce proceedings begin, each spouse is required to fill out a financial affidavit. This form, which becomes part of the court record, shows income from all sources, debt (or liabilities), living expenses, and assets. Each party swears (under the pains and penalties of perjury) that the information contained on his or her affidavit is true. Judges use the … [Read more...]

Is This It?

The long-running global stock rally turned down sharply this week as the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its largest-ever point decline, and as major indexes in the U.S., Europe, and Asia gave up their gains for the year. The Dow is nearing the definition of a correction, which we haven’t seen in a long time. Many inhaled sharply, to say the least. Should We Be Worried? There is one main … [Read more...]

The Reality of Models

While models can be useful for gaining insights into good decision-making, they are simplifications of reality. In truth, the reality of markets cannot be fully explained by a model alone. Think of a weather forecast. Using data on current and past weather conditions, a meteorologist can make assumptions and predict what the weather will be in the future. This may help decide whether to bring … [Read more...]

The Markets in January

Equities pulled back from record-setting gains toward the end of January, but not by enough to erase gains for the month. Unemployment remained low as the number of available job openings continued to recede, possibly signaling a push for higher wages. Fourth-quarter corporate earnings were relatively strong. The government shut down for a few days before approving a stopgap budget resolution. … [Read more...]

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...]

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.

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New York, N.Y. 10010
(212) 537-3899

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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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