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Mike Branch, CFP

Welcome. I’m a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and independent financial advisor. I help people create lifelong retirement income so they can retire confident and worry-free. Learn more about how I can help in the quick video below.

Talk to me today

651.379.3935mpbranch@focusfinancial.com

From the Blog

“Swedish Death Cleaning” For Your Estate Plan

How the Swedish concept of "Dostadning" can help you get your affairs in order

Photo credit: Tom Skarbek, Unsplash.com

Cory Wessman is an estate planning attorney with the law firm, Erickson & Wessman. His office is in the Broadway Place West building in NE Minneapolis where I work.

He sent the following letter to his clients and I thought it would make a great guest post.

You can find out more about Cory and his services at his website, www.cericksonlaw.com.

Below, he offers great advice for “spring cleaning” your estate plan. If you need help creating and updating your “Master List of Accounts”, let me know. We have this information for all our financial planning clients and are happy to provide it to you in a secure way.

How One Family Leveraged Their Student’s Unique Talent To Pay Less For College

Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash

Every year I do college planning workshops for parents of college bound high school students. These workshops are held at local high schools and parents often contact me afterwards for an overview of their situation. Often, I can help them make more well-informed decisions about how to pay for college and educate them how their college goals affect retirement.

One of my strongest recommendations is to be careful about the school your student chooses to attend. How much you pay for college ultimately comes down to the school your student chooses to attend.

A while back I met with Jennifer and her husband, Michael, to discuss their situation. Earlier this fall Jen sent me the email below. Jen and Mike’s son is exceptional. Their story isn’t necessarily a reflection of what you might experience when shopping for colleges. However, it’s a great example of how one family was able to leverage their student’s unique talents to their advantage.

After the email, I share some of the key takeaways below.

Names and other identifying information have been changed, and I edited the email for length.

Jen writes…

How Much Money Could You Lose In The Next Market Crash?

Most market forecasters predict “increased volatility, but positive returns” for stocks in 2018. However, the truth is that no one knows when the next major market selloff will occur, how long it will last or how steep it will be.

If the last few weeks have reminded us of anything, it’s that markets can change suddenly and go down quickly.

During the crash of 2007/2008, markets saw gut wrenching declines of more than 50%. Since then the S&P, Dow Jones Industrial Average and other major markets have rallied into one of the longest running bull markets of all time. But this too shall end.

If the next major market decline were to happen tomorrow, how much money could you lose in the next market crash?

To find out, read on… 

March Madness: It’s What Happens When You Find Out How Much College Tuition Really Costs

3 suggestions for parents facing crazy expensive tuition bills

Photo by chelsea ferenando on Unsplash

It’s that time of year…. March Madness! Time to get your game on sports fans!

At least, that’s what I have heard.

Truth is, I know next to nothing about men’s college basketball. In fact, I probably couldn’t even name four of the 68 men’s college basketball teams participating in the tournament, much less try to predict which teams will make the Final Four.

Apparently, however, it’s a thing.

According to the American Gaming Association, over 40 million Americans will test their sanity as they fill out their brackets and place their bets as to who will win the coveted NCAA men’s basketball tournament.  Over $10 billion in bets will be placed on this year’s event before the month is over. Odds of completing a perfect bracket (whatever that means): 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Good luck.

Something I do know. College tuition is insanely expensive.

If you have kids going to college next fall, the real madness begins when you get your college admissions letters and schools tell you how much you will need to fork over to attend their school.

3 Big Reasons Why Dividends Should Be Part of Your Retirement Income Plan

Photo by Matthieu Da Cruz on Unsplash

Imagine an investment that offers you a predictable, consistent income that rises over time. One that, while not guaranteed, is reliable and has been used by countless others to generate income during retirement.

What is the source of this idyllic income stream? Dividends. More specifically, dividends from publicly traded companies or mutual funds that own them.

To learn more about what a dividend is, click here.

If you ate cereal for breakfast, drank a soft drink at lunch, and drove to the store to pick up a few things on your way home from work, odds you consumed several products that were made by companies that have been distributing cash to shareholders via dividends for many years.

Dividends might not be the sexiest investment you will ever own, but they should play a vital role in your retirement income plan.

Below are 3 big reasons why dividends should be part of your retirement income plan: