The Markets in April

The Markets in April As April came to a close, major benchmark indexes posted strong returns. Both the Nasdaq and S&P 500 reached new highs during the month, amid a shrinking trade deficit, favorable economic projections, low inflation, and stable interest rates. The Nasdaq led the way, nearing a monthly gain of almost 5.0%, followed by the large caps of the S&P 500, the small caps of the … [Read more...]

Why Name a “Trusted Contact”

Why name a “Trusted Contact” Do you need a Trusted Contact? Not everyone needs one, as cozy and protective as it sounds. We suggest that you take this step with intention and careful thought, not just because the custodian sends you a form to name someone. In an effort to prevent senior financial fraud, FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) created a rule to allow custodians to … [Read more...]

Hidden Gem: HSAs

Hidden Gem: HSA in Retirement The health savings account or “HSA” is a little-understood vehicle for tax-deferred savings for medical expenses. This tax-preferred account can prove useful not only during your working years but also in retirement. Many people think it is just to defer current-year taxes for medical out-of-pocket costs, but it can be used much more strategically, even in … [Read more...]

The Markets in January

The Markets in January Several markets indexes saw their best January performance in three decades. A strong labor market, low inflation, and a patient Federal Reserve Board all sent encouraging messages, and several market indexes rose to their best January results in three decades. That followed precipitous plunges in December and November. The Russell 2000 led, closing the month more than 11% … [Read more...]

Don’t Fear the Volatility

We have long known of the media’s – and our own – infatuation with extremes: Best! Worst! Delight! Despair! These sentiments fuel our dreams and inspire works of art. But if you allow superlatives to rule your investing, it could lead to trouble. If you get caught up in reports highlighting the near-term extremes and devaluing the tides of time, you risk losing a clear understanding of what’s … [Read more...]

The Markets in 2018

Trade wars, midterm elections, and market volatility were hallmarks of 2018. In an attempt to reduce the trade deficit, the U.S. Administration pushed to rewrite trade agreements with several long-time trade partners. The White House amended the trade agreement with South Korea, imposed tariffs worldwide on steel and aluminum, and renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement (now the … [Read more...]

More Women on Boards

Why Aren't There More Women on Corporate Boards? Why doesn’t your company have more women on its board? That’s the question that BlackRock, one of the world’s largest asset managers, asked companies that had fewer than two women on their boards. BlackRock nudged companies that make up the Russell 1000  Index (the 1000 largest US companies) to explain their strategy, saying that a diverse board … [Read more...]

Sustainable Investing, Part 2

Sustainable Investing, Part 2 In the first part of our discussion of Sustainable Investing, we looked at key building blocks and summarized strategies for building them into a portfolio. Now we’d like to dig a little deeper into sustainable investing. A Standard Challenge   First the promising news: As we touched on before, there are ways to factor in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) … [Read more...]

The Markets in November

The Markets in November November was a very volatile month for stocks. By the third week of the month, benchmarks had given back nearly all of the gains from the year. However, a jump during the last week of November pushed stocks higher, and all major indexes outperformed their October end-of-the-month closing values - led by the large caps of the S&P 500 and the Dow, followed by the Global … [Read more...]

Sustainable Investing, Part 1

Sustainable Investing If there’s a trait most of us share, it’s a desire to make the world a better place. That is why there is increasing interest in sustainable investing. Many of us want to try to earn solid or even stellar returns while contributing – or at least causing less harm – to the greater good. But what is the greater good? What is a decent return on your investment? How do we … [Read more...]

The Markets in October

The Markets in October October was a scary month indeed, as stocks closed the month well below their end-September values. The tech-heavy Nasdaq lost more than 9.0%, while the small caps of the Russell 2000 fared even worse, losing almost 11.0%. The S&P 500 fell close to 7.0% — its largest monthly decline in over seven years. The Dow dropped 5.0%, and the Global Dow sank over 7.0%. A slide … [Read more...]

Charitable Giving in 2018

Charitable Giving The landscape for charitable giving changed with the new tax law, but we are seeing that clients - with or without a tax write-off - still want to give to their favorite organizations and charities. After all, we give to support causes we cherish and to show gratitude for good fortune we have enjoyed. Financial incentives are nice, but not usually your main motivation for … [Read more...]

Buying Time Increases Happiness

Time versus money Time is one of our most valuable resources, and sometimes money is the tool that allows us to buy more time with our families or to do things we enjoy. Does it increase happiness? Researchers took a look and found it does. This was the primary finding of a study by University of British Columbia psychology professor Elizabeth Dunn and other researchers published in the … [Read more...]

Impact of Inflation on Spending

Investing to Outpace Inflation One of the reasons we invest in markets is to protect our money from the corrosive impact of inflation. When prices increase over time, the earning power of a dollar is reduced. That’s what inflation is: the erosion of the real purchasing power of wealth. Inflation is an important aspect of investing. In many cases, the reason for saving today is to support … [Read more...]

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...]

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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Contact Us

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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