Latest Posts

Courtney and Morgan were featured on the XYPN Podcast!

by Trailhead Plan… on May 17, 2018

Trailhead Planners
Courtney Ranstrom, CFP and Morgan Ranstrom, CFP, CFA were featured on the XY Planning Network's Podcast! We had a great time discussing socially responsible investing, the 'why' of financial life planning, the ridiculous amount of training that into becoming a qualified financial planner, and why we started Trailhead Planners in the first place.  Enjoy!  

What to do with your Company Stock in the Wake of GE's $184 Billion Collapse

by Trailhead Plan… on May 17, 2018

Financial Planning, Investing
Your company stock can be a tremendous way to build your wealth via any combination of restricted stock units (RSUs), Incentive Stock Options (ISOs), or employee share purchase plans.  However, it is best to see these plans as advantageous options for increasing your overall net worth and financial well-being not as the sole harbinger of your financial future.  Though certain executives and founders may hold themselves to a different standard (and that's fine!), most employees should abide well the fate of GE and countless other companies.  Be pragmatic and be savvy.  And remember: Diversify, diversify, diversify. 

More Evidence that Socially Responsible Investing Does Not Harm Performance

by Trailhead Plan… on Apr 26, 2018

Socially Responsible Investing, ESG

Over the past few months, we have been seeing more and more evidence that socially responsible investing can aid investor performance over-time; rather than the common misconception that it necessarily detracts.  As we have written about before, socially responsible investing has evolved into a risk-conscious investing strategy that not only allows investors to invest responsibly, but also in a manner that is aligned with their values.  More, it can have a real impact on the world as socially-conscious shareholders vote for more positive an

Why the Socially Responsible Investor is also a Responsible Investor

by Trailhead Plan… on Apr 16, 2018

ESG, Sustainable Investing

A responsible investor is one whose portfolio is managed in a prudent and efficient manner considering his or her long-term goals, needs, and aspirations. This means his portfolio is fully diversified in a broad array of asset classes using well-suited mutual funds, ETFs, or individual stocks and bonds that fit his risk profile.

Why the Rainy-Day Fund is the Cornerstone of Successful Personal Finance

by Trailhead Plan… on Apr 3, 2018

Financial Planning, Mindful Money Habits, Money Basics

A few weeks ago, my infant daughter was admitted to the hospital after contracting a stomach virus.  Due to some complications and a slow healing gut, what should have been a 3-4 day stay, turned into two weeks of my wife and I living and working out of the hospital while our baby girl recovered.  I came away from the experience incredibly grateful for my daughter’s recovery and health, but also with a new-found respect for what I now think of as the cornerstone of successful personal finance: The Rainy-Day Fund.

Charitable Giving and the New Tax Bill: Part I

by Trailhead Plan… on Feb 13, 2018

charitable giving, tax planning strategies
Part I: Bunching Contributions

The recent changes to the tax code under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in late 2017 are changing the dynamics of charitable giving and leaving many wondering how to best enact their charitable giving strategy. For example, due to the higher standard deduction ($12,000 for individuals and $24k,000 for married couples filing jointly) and the $10,000 cap on SALT taxes (state and local taxes), many individuals and families will no longer benefit from itemized deductions to the extent they did in the past.

Diversification, Emerging Market Outperformance, and the Prospect of a Flat US Stock Market

by Trailhead Plan… on Jan 30, 2018


This just in: US equities have been on a rampage for the last decade.

Here's a fun fact: If you invested $100,000 in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF at the peak of the market in 2007 your investment would have plummeted to a low of $43,500 in March of 2009.  However, had you stayed the course and not sold at the bottom, your original investment would have more than doubled on a total return basis at present market levels.

Why Retirement Needs a Rethink

by Trailhead Plan… on Jan 10, 2018

Mindful Money, Retirement

A few months back, I had an introductory meeting with a married couple who were hoping to retire within the next year or two. The wife made note that she was ready to retire a decade ago. Her job at a large corporation, which once had been glamorous, had been reduced to a glorified call service, where her every word was scripted and her every minute tracked. She was frustrated and burnt-out.

Mindful Money Habit #5: Create a Spending Plan (Not a Budget)

by Trailhead Plan… on Jan 5, 2018

Mindful Money Habits, Sustainable Spending

As we tumble into another year, we must gird ourselves for the inevitable: we are to be bombarded with blog posts, step-by-step plans, and advertisements imploring us to 'get in shape'. It gets worse, as the metaphor isn't relegated only to the fitness industry. There is simply no end to what we can apply this metaphor to! We can, of course, start with our bodies:

Your 12 Step Plan for Seeing your Abs in 2018.

Or, our partnerships:

How to have a fit marriage in 2018.