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...]

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...]

2020 Retirement Plan Numbers

Thresholds and maximums for retirement contributions and deductions The government left some retirement numbers unchanged and increased some for 2020. The maximum you can contribute to a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA in 2020 is $6,000 if under 50 and $7,000 if 50 or older (or up to 100% of your earned income, if that is less), the same as last year. You can split your contribution between a … [Read more...]

Increased Estate Tax Exemptions

Changes to lifetime tax-exemption totals The lifetime exemption for federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax has increased for 2020, to $11.58 million per person. When you’re doing advanced estate planning — when you're making transfers above the $15,000 annual exclusion for gifts — that is your lifetime gift/estate tax exemption. And it’s a good time to do it soon before … [Read more...]

The Perils of Market-Timing: A Reminder

There is no lack of unquieting news that impacts the markets daily. And volatility looks to be a big player in the markets for at least the near-term. Here are a few important reminders on the perils of trying to time the market – at any time. To take some kind of action may offer brief relief, but market-timing ultimately runs counter to your best strategies for building durable long-term wealth. … [Read more...]

Loneliness and Your Money

How Loneliness Can Affect Your Money Most people feel lonely at different times in their lives, but in a recent study, one person out of 10 reported being lonely or isolated from others “all or most of the time,” according to the Pew Research Center. Loneliness not only impacts mental health, it can also take a toll on finances. The Pew survey found that frequent loneliness is linked to … [Read more...]

The Federal Reserve

How the Federal Reserve Moves the Economy If you follow the news, you’ve probably heard references to “the Fed” as in “the Fed held interest rates,” or “market watchers are predicting what the Fed will do next.” So what exactly is the Fed and what does it do? I learned about the intricacies of central banks when I was studying at Columbia Business School, and here are some of the basics. The … [Read more...]

The Markets in August

The Markets in August August closed on a weak note for stocks, ending a tumultuous month marked by high volatility. Investors sold stocks, fearing that the ongoing U.S.-China trade war would negatively impact domestic and global economies. As a result, gold prices surged and long-term bond yields plummeted as prices rose. Despite the wide market swings, consumers spent more of their income as … [Read more...]

Reviewing Your Estate Plan

Reviewing Your Estate Plan Some people don’t want to create or update their estate plan -  it is unpleasant to think about death. But we nudge clients to review it periodically and keep it accurate. An estate plan is basically a map that explains how you want your personal and financial affairs to be handled in case of incapacity or your death, and it should be checked as your lives change and … [Read more...]

What Is Blockchain?

What Is Blockchain? Clients often ask about bitcoin, but blockchain technology is more interesting and is what really makes bitcoin possible. It’s a data structure used to create a secure digital ledger shared among a distributed network of computers. It was initially designed for the peer-to-peer exchange for the virtual currency bitcoin. However, many businesses are now developing and … [Read more...]

Tax Update Post-TCJA

Tax Update The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made fundamental changes to the U.S. tax code, and the 2018 returns were the first time most taxpayers felt the impact of these sometimes painful changes. Most still don’t understand it. In an April 2019 Gallup poll, 43% of Americans said they were unsure how the new tax law affected them personally. Despite a stated effort to simplify the federal … [Read more...]

The Markets in July

The Markets in July Stocks ran hot and cold in July, influenced by worsening global economic conditions, ongoing trade negotiations with China, and softening domestic business investment. While the Fed’s decision to reduce short-term interest rates was not unexpected, stocks reeled at month’s end. Some analysts questioned the timing of the interest rate reduction, particularly in the event of … [Read more...]

The Markets in June

The Markets in June 2019 June, and the whole second quarter, was full of ups and downs for stocks. The trade war between the U.S. and China ebbed and flowed as news went from positive to negative and back again. Employment was steady and the unemployment rate remained low, but wage growth was moderate at best. Manufacturing and industrial production hit a snag, as did business fixed … [Read more...]

Single women and money

Study: Single women and money Single women – those who have never married, those who have experienced divorce, and those who have outlived a spouse – need to take a more proactive approach to growing and protecting their finances, according to a new study. The Single Women and Money Study found that while the overwhelming majority of single women (97%) believe it is important to be engaged in … [Read more...]

Keep Your Eye Out for Scams

Scams to Watch Out For While scams are especially prevalent during tax season, they can take place any time during the year. A client recently had a call from someone at Social Security, or so they told her. They coaxed this very intelligent woman into revealing quite a bit about her financial life, using profoundly professional-sounding authority and a sense of urgency about her Social Security … [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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