Blog

At Plancorp, we don’t wait for you to ask the right questions.
We take the initiative to offer insights and guidance — real enlightenment for real life.

Five Star Professional: 2018 Winners

The Five Star Wealth Manager and Five Star Investment Professional awards recognize professionals in the financial services industry who are committed to excellence. The organization conducts market research to define and promote professional excellence in the professions we serve. Five Star Read more…

The Plancorp Recipe for a Balanced Portfolio

When I’m not busy reviewing client investment portfolios or researching fund options at Plancorp, I’m an avid cook and baker.  I love to compose a gourmet dinner or whip up my favorite batch of chocolate chip cookies from scratch, while of course following my tried-and-true recipes.  Read more…

How Much Money to Put in Your Emergency Fund

Emergency funds. Everyone has heard of them, and most of us know we need to have cash ready for unexpected expenses. But what many do not know is how much money they, specifically, should set aside. Read more…

The Top Five Benefits of Investing in a 401(k)

On average, Social Security replaces around 40% of income for retirees, and even less for high earners. So unless you’ve got a cushy pension lined up, that means the majority of your retirement income will be a result of your own planning and investing. Enter the glory of the 401(k). Read more…

Behind Kathy Lambert's 'Connections to Success'

Kathy Lambert, Co-Founder and CEO, opened Dress for Success Midwest in 1998 after reading an article about Dress for Success (DfS), New York. The article explained how DfS provided interview appropriate attire to women in disadvantaged situations, helping them be on the same playing field as other Read more…

How a Donor-Advised Fund Saved My Parents $15,000 In Taxes

 “It’s the perfect opportunity to save taxes!” This is a statement that is typically only exclaimed by tax accountants, but as a CPA, this opportunity had me excited. I was able to proactively tax plan for two of my favorite people, my parents. After a 30+ year career, my dad was planning to retire Read more…

How to Put Your Paycheck to Work

You work hard for your paycheck. So shouldn’t your paycheck work for you? If you’re like most people, you’ve wondered what to do with your money. It can be tempting to spend it as it comes in, even if you know you should be saving. But to get the most out of your income, it’s important that you Read more…

Market Correction Update

Stock markets have been choppy lately, with the S&P 500 off more than 10% from its highs. A decline of this nature is broadly labeled as a “correction.”   While it’s never fun to see your portfolio take a hit, losses are a normal part of investing. During bull markets since 1945, the S&P 500 has Read more…

The Best Way to Repay Your Debt: Debt Snowball or Debt Avalanche?

There are usually two ways to get to where you’re going, right? One may be the direct route on the highway with more cars and more traffic. The scenic route has fewer cars and may be more pleasant, but takes a bit longer. Read more…

Your Will: Will It or Won't It?

It is commonly thought that the transfer of wealth upon someone’s death is largely, or even exclusively, dictated by that person’s document known as a Last Will & Testament, or simply, Will. In fact, the term “Will” is often used synonymously with one’s estate plan. Because of this, people too Read more…

The Era of RIAs

In a world where the DOL Fiduciary Rule is presumed dead- and we have different regulatory bodies, primarily the SEC, coming in with new rules- transparency has become paramount. Read more…

20% Qualified Business Income: Summary of Proposed Regulations

As we pass the 3rd Quarter estimated tax deadline for 2018, we shift ahead in thinking about year-end planning and projections.  One of the biggest tax planning opportunities arising from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the new 20% Qualified Business Income (QBI) Deduction for business owners of sole Read more…

The Money Tree (and Other Basic Investing Principles)

How old were you when you first started seriously thinking about money? For me, it was when I was eight, based on “The Money Tree” book that I “authored” for a third-grade assignment. Read more…

Financial Confidence Boost: Your Financial Plan

A financial plan is more than just a budget or insurance policy. It is the actions you need to take to reach your financial goals (think: helping fund your daughter’s college tuition or buying that second home on the lake). Your financial plan is unique, but to ensure confidence in the planning you Read more…

Peter Lazaroff Discusses Future Market Outlook on CNBC

I recently appeared on CNBC’s Worldwide Exchange with Brian Sully to talk about how investors should think about the market today. Read more…

The Most Common 401 (k) Mistakes People Make- And How to Fix Them

As a Retirement Plan Advisor for Plancorp, I spend a lot of my days talking to retirement plan participants about their 401(k) plans. In conversations and presentations, I get to educate participants to help them get the most of their retirement savings. Read more…

Savings Rate or Rate of Return? How to Focus Your Attention for Long-Term Financial Success

As a young professional, one of the best pieces of advice I received was to save and invest 15% of my salary for my future. Read more…

Behind Anne Zanola's 'The Breast Trivia Night Ever!'

The purpose of InspireHer is to inspire financial confidence in all women through education and impactful support. By giving women a platform to be curious, inspire and be inspired. This interview was conducted with Anne Zanola and outlines the incredible story of how The Breast Trivia Night Ever Read more…

Life in Transition: Part 2- Planning for Kids and College

Life is full of milestones, turning points and new chapters. Some are more difficult than others, but they all lead to growth and another step in our journeys. Read more…

Life in Transition: Part 1- How to Plan for Marriage

We all have points in our lives where it seems like we’re on the verge of a new chapter. For some, it might be a career change. For others, a new baby. Whatever transitions you’re personally facing, know this: Read more…

3 Considerations for Dividing Assets in a Divorce

Divorce is one of the most tumultuous life events someone can experience. Add kids to the mix, and it only gets more complicated.  The number of decisions that need to be made in a relatively short period of time can be extremely overwhelming, for example: Read more…

How Markets Work

My father-in-law, Tom, is the king of buying and selling used cars. Every two or three years he sells his car and buys another used car. And if he doesn’t come out ahead every time, he seems to at least break even. Read more…

Investment Accounts 101

Like most subjects, investing requires a thorough understanding of the basics. Whether you’re creating a portfolio for the first time, going through a life event (marriage, birth of a child, divorce, etc.) or just want to take a closer look at your finances, you’ll need to first understand the core Read more…

Student Loan Repayment, Simplified

Graduating from college is a fun and exciting time of life. For most students, this time also brings the realization of a new reality: student loans. By taking proactive steps, you can reduce your stress and make better budgeting decisions. Read more…

Got Company Stock? Don’t Make This Common Mistake

I meet with a lot of executives, managers, and other highly compensated employees of publicly-traded companies, and I often spot a big red flag in their portfolios: They have lots of money tied up in the stock of the companies they work for. Read more…

Collecting Social Security on a Former Spouse: What You Need to Know

Social Security is complicated enough as it is—let alone when you’re trying to navigate it in the light of a divorce or loss of a partner. Read more…

The 4 Social Security Questions I Hear the Most

Social Security is like math class: it can be intimidating and complicated, but it’s ultimately extremely beneficial when leveraged properly. Read more…

Time for a Checkup: Indicators of Financial Wellness in Your Workplace

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” -Benjamin Franklin Read more…

Lessons from "Less Stress, More Time" Workshop

We often think of “fight or flight” mode as it applies to animals. When your dog hears thunder, maybe he growls—or sprints to hide under the bed. But what do you do when faced with a stressful situation? Read more…

Tackling the Investment Gap

We’ve heard a lot about the wage gap in the last decade or so, but the investment gap is just starting to get more press. Despite the fact that more and more are identifying themselves as their family’s primary breadwinner, bill-payer and budget-maker, women continue to lag behind men in long-term Read more…

Q1 2018 Newsletter: Chris Kerckhoff Named a Forbes "Best-In-State Wealth Advisor"

Each quarter, Plancorp publishes a newsletter to keep our clients apprised of everything from market activity to Plancorp happenings. Click to view the Q1 edition, and feel free to share with family, friends or colleagues. Read more…

St. Louis Business Journal: Larry LeGrand Named SSM Health Board Chair

With more than 35 years of experience in personal finance and corporate income tax planning, Larry LeGrand is Plancorp’s go-to expert on everything tax-related. He was recently named the new chair of SSM Health, succeeding David Cosby who completed his term as chair at the end of 2017. Below is an Read more…

The Trouble with Being an Optimist

People tend to tell me I’m a positive person, even if I don’t always feel like I am. Whether you consider yourself an optimist or not, chances are you blindly trust that at least some figures in your life—perhaps your attorney, CPA, pastor or financial advisor—are inherently “good.” After all, it’s Read more…

Going Global with Your Portfolio

If you’re like me, the wrap of last month’s Olympic games left you wondering: What do I watch on TV now? The global competition gave us all new respect for how much time and dedication Olympic athletes put in for the games, a sense of inspiration for the next generation, and a view into how global Read more…

3 Keys to Loving Where You Work

One of the best parts about my job as Chief Talent Officer at Plancorp is introducing new people to our firm and our partners at BrightPlan. Not only do I get to tell them about the cool things we do to help people achieve their financial goals, but I also get to hear their answers to questions Read more…

Advisory HQ: Plancorp Named Among “Top 9 Best Financial Advisors in St. Louis”

Plancorp has been named to the list of “Top 9 Best Financial Advisors in St. Louis” for the third year in a row. The publication highlights our Women’s Initiative, “InspireHer,” which promotes financial literacy for our clients and women of the community. To learn more about the InpsireHer Read more…

How to Deal With Lifestyle Creep

If you place your hand in a bowl of lukewarm water and start heating it, you’re unlikely to notice the rising temperature. Your hand adapts to the gradual change. Read more…

Chris Kerckhoff Named a Forbes "Best-in-State Wealth Advisor"

Congratulations to President and CEO Chris Kerckhoff on being named to the 2018 Forbes Best-In-State Advisors list, released late last month.  An excerpt from the Missouri is below, and you can view the list in its entirety here. Read more…

How Tax Reform Impacts Business Owners

While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act impacted both individuals and businesses, changes to the business tax scheme were comparatively more comprehensive and permanent. As a business owner, the magnitude of the changes may seem overwhelming. Instead of getting caught up in the details of every Read more…

How to Prepare for a Market Downturn

One of the first things to accept as an investor is that you will occasionally lose money – sometimes a lot of money – on the way to earning a decent return in stocks. The market will take unpredictable twists and turns throughout your lifetime. Read more…

Is This Normal?

Last week’s volatility was higher than a typical week in the market, but it wasn’t all that unusual from a historical standpoint. Read more…

Are You a Saver or an Investor?

Picture yourself holding a $100 bill in your hand. What sounds more appealing: Read more…

Credit Scores and Credit Reports: What They Are and Why You Should Care

We look to measure success in different ways throughout our lives: report card in school, GPA in college, performance reports in our careers. In order to do well at something, we have to know how we’re being measured. Read more…

City Wire USA: Peter Lazaroff on Investments, His Career and more.

I had the opportunity to a answer a few questions about my personal investment choices, career and worries, to name a few. An excerpt is below, and the interview can be found in its entirety here. Read more…

5 Reasons to Choose Goals-Based Financial Planning

In many areas of our lives, the importance of goal-setting seems obvious. If you go on a diet, you say you want to lose a certain number of pounds. When you go on vacation, you plan where to go. These statements seem elementary. Read more…

Small Business Monthly: Chris Kerckhoff Named One of the Best Wealth Managers in St. Louis

Today, Small Business Monthly featured President Chris Kerckhoff in its list of the St. Louis area's best wealth managers. The full list of winners can be found below or at the link above. Please note: The wealth managers included in this list were nominated by Small Business Monthly readers. Read more…

Why Physicians Need a Financial Advisor

Physicians in most specialties have no “products” to sell other than their expertise and advice. For that reason, productive use of time, both at work and at home, is critical. It has taken on increased importance among resident physicians at the beginning of their careers, for whom lifestyle Read more…

RIA Channel: Peter Lazaroff on Democratizing Financial Planning Advice

Just days after the launch of BrightPlan, I bumped into my friend Julie Cooling of RIA Database at Schwab IMPACT. She graciously invited me to talk about the launch, which you can view by clicking the image above. Read more…

What Tax Reform Means for Parents

Since I moved to St. Louis, the question I’ve been asked most is “What high school did you go to?” The good news is that under the new tax reform, there are now some income tax strategies to utilize when paying for that private high school, or even kindergarten through eighth grade. 529 plans can Read more…

Why I’m Thrilled to Open Plancorp’s Doors in Nashville

It's been nine months since I walked into our president’s office to make a fairly bold ask: would Plancorp support me in a move from St. Louis to Nashville? Read more…

U.S. News & Report: Jessie Weiss on Older Investors Learning from Millennials

I recently had the chance to speak with U.S. News & World Report about how “Older Investors Can Learn a Lot From Millennials.” Read more…

Full Hearts Don’t Mean Empty Wallets

Okay, okay, all the mothers out there were right: there is nothing like the love you feel for your children. Read more…

CNBC: Peter Lazaroff on Books to Help You Become Wealthier in 2018

Lorie Konish at CNBC included my brief about “The Elements of Investing: Easy Lessons for Every Investor” in her piece “8 Books to Help You Become Wealthier in 2018”. The piece highlights a few books investors can use as resources to better understand their savings habits. Read more…

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