News & Insights

At Bell School, First Graders Are Already Planning for College

To celebrate Financial Literacy Month, we spoke with Ms. Emilie Kaim, first-grade teacher at Chicago Public School’s Alexander Graham Bell Elementary School. Ms. Kaim has championed the Climb to Safety program since its inception. The class was piloted in her room and she advocated for its inclusion at Bell with the principal. This year marks her 27th year teaching first grade at Bell with 27 students participating in Ms. Kaim’s financial literacy class.

Five Tips for International Travelers With Norm Mindel

Norm Mindel may be a veteran financial advisor, but he has also earned the title of world traveler. Norm has visited four continents and more than 20 countries, including New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, Spain and numerous places throughout Europe. Just back from his second trip to Australia, Norm shares his thoughts about the country and some of his favorite destinations with five tips for international travelers. 

20 Reasons Why It Is Better With a Human Financial Advisor

These days, more and more people are asking, “Why should I choose a human financial advisor to help me make decisions about how to invest my money?” To this end, we offer this true-to-life list of all of the perks of working with a living, breathing financial advisor.


Nirav Batavia Featured in CBS Chicago News Story on Rising Interest Rates

On March 15, the Fed increased the federal funds rate by 0.25% to a range of 0.75% to 1.00%. Forum Partner Nirav Batavia was featured in a CBS Chicago news story on rising interest rates.


Protecting Tomorrows with Mary Anne Ehlert: The ABLE Act

On February 23, Forum Partner Mary Anne Ehlert was part of a speaker panel for the webinar “The ABLE Act: EnABLE Savings for Life.” The group covered various topics on the ABLE Act, which amends Section 529 of the IRS code and allows individuals to set up accounts and save for loved ones with a disability.

In addition to sharing the webinar here, we asked Mary Anne to discuss the benefits of setting up and funding an ABLE account for a loved one with special needs. Following are Mary Anne’s comments on ABLE, how such an account can be a valuable addition to a comprehensive special-needs life plan and why ABLE accounts are not replacements for special-needs trusts.


Dave Butler Takes the Helm From David Booth to Assume co-CEO Role at Dimensional

Last week, Dimensional Fund Advisors announced that David Butler, Head of Global Financial Advisor Services, has been appointed co-CEO to lead the organization with current co-CEO Eduardo Repetto. Co-founder David Booth, who previously served in the role, will continue with Dimensional as Executive Chairman.

Forum Partner Jonathan Rogers worked for Dimensional in the Financial Advisor Services Group in Austin before joining Forum and spent several years on Dave’s team. In that close-knit environment, Jonathan had the opportunity to learn from many of the people who have shaped the field of modern finance. Today, Jonathan serves as a Forum partner, advisor and co-chief of Forum’s investment committee.

Thus, we thought it was fitting to share these words of congratulations from Jonathan on behalf of our entire organization.

The Dow at 20,000

On January 25, the Dow crossed 20,000 for the first time since it was created in 1896. Some investors may assign more value than is warranted to the historic moment, not realizing that the Dow represents an extremely small portion of the market in which more than 2,400 U.S. stocks are traded on the New York Stock Exchange with more than 10,000 stocks worldwide.

Dimensional Fund Advisors: “The Active-Passive Powerhouse”

Dimensional Fund Advisors was founded in 1981. Today, the firm has $460 billion in assets under management (as of December 31, 2016). Dimensional’s story was featured in The Wall Street Journal article “The Active-Passive Powerhouse” by financial author Jason Zweig.  

Why Indexing Is Good but Dimensional’s Approach Is Better for the Long Term

While indexing is an improvement over active stock picking, Forum predominantly uses Dimensional funds because Dimensional’s approach is better for the long term. 

Quarter-End Summary

Throughout December, there was no shortage of stories looking back on 2016. Whether to serve as a reminder or for nostalgia, we are drawn to best-of lists and year-end recaps. With that in mind, we have assembled a list of four major events, each of which affected global financial markets in 2016.


Caution! Predictions Ahead

What inevitably follows year-end retrospective season are commentators speculating about what might unfold over the year ahead. These prognosticators have the power to distract us from our goals with loud predictions. Whether dire or optimistic, such comments should not convince us to change our plans.




At the Intersection of Art and Investing: An Article from Jason Zweig

Financial author Jason Zweig grew up in the dusty and sparkling world of art and antiques in the 1970s. For those who delight in tales of discovering hidden works of art, this recent article is an excellent find.

Note: True to his calling as a veteran investing columnist, Zweig also points out the striking similarities between the antiques market and the financial markets. 

Season of Giving: Four Organizations That Inspire Us

As we look back on 2016, we want to acknowledge four organizations whose year-round efforts strengthen our community. We are inspired by their unwavering commitment to helping others.  

Forum is proud to support the following organizations.  

Q&A Series: Protecting Tomorrows with Mary Anne Ehlert

For the first time in history, people with disabilities have a greater likelihood of outliving their parents and guardians. This is why it is essential to plan for a loved one’s future. Families need to make sure everything is in place, so when they are no longer able to act as caregivers, their loved one can still live a high-quality life.

Planning begins by asking family members about their hopes, dreams and fears regarding their loved one with special needs. The next crucial step is to review the key planning steps and complex legal and financial issues related to planning. The following questions and answers address some of those issues.

Forum Partner Mary Pat Wesche Receives the 2016 DuPagePads Spirit Award

Forum Partner Mary Pat Wesche has been named the recipient of the 2016 DuPagePads Spirit Award. Since 1985, DuPagePads has been providing interim and permanent housing as well as ongoing support services to individuals in crisis in an effort to end homelessness in the local community.


Readers Continue to Choose Print Books Over Other Formats, According to Recent Survey

Print books continue to be the favored format for readers. A Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year found that, “65% of Americans have read a print book in the last year, more than double the share that has read an e-book (28%) and more than four times the share that has consumed book content via audio book (14%).”1 

Mary Anne Ehlert Featured in Reuters Article on Retirement Planning for Special-Needs Families

Forum partner Mary Anne Ehlert was featured in the November 3 Reuters article “U.S. Special-Needs Families Face Complex Retirement Planning.”

A highly regarded specialist working with families of individuals with disabilities, Mary Anne is also the president and founder of Protected Tomorrows, which helps families plan a safe and fulfilling life for loved ones with special needs or who are aging. 

Markets and Presidential Elections

In July, we posted a commentary on markets and presidential elections. With Election Day 2016 fast approaching on November 8, what follows is an excerpt from that article.

Considering The 100-Year Life

The far-fetched notion that we could live to be 100 years old is a real possibility, according to a new book from Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott of the London Business School.

In a recent article from World Economic Forum, author Peter Vanham wrote that the authors of The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity saw medical progress as a driver of living a longer life. However, as Vanham noted, that means we should care more about our health and well-being today. The conclusion: We should spend less time at work and spend more time working on saving for retirement, staying healthy and enjoying the relationships we have with family and friends. 

Article: “Making Billions With One Belief: The Markets Can’t Be Beat”

The Wall Street Journal article “Making Billions With One Belief: The Markets Can’t Be Beat” by Jason Zweig features the story of Dimensional and how it invests.

According to the article, “Dimensional Fund Advisors LP, or DFA, is the sixth-largest mutual-fund manager, up from eighth a year ago, according to Morningstar Inc., adding nearly $2 billion in net assets per month at a time when investors are fleeing many other firms.”


Eugene Fama on Modern Finance

Three years ago, Eugene Fama was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. Lars Hansen and Robert Shiller were also named 2013 Nobel laureates along with Fama “for their empirical analysis of asset prices.”1

After the announcement from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in October 2013, Dimensional Fund Advisors posted the following retrospective on Fama’s academic career and the evolution of modern finance.

Quarter-End Summary

Baseball fans and investors have something in common. With a view from the stands, they cannot control what happens on the baseball field or in the stock market. However, while some investors fear the month of October, those who follow America's national pastime have reason to cheer. For the hopeful fans of teams advancing to the postseason, October baseball is a whole new ball game. 

Conversations with Norm Mindel and David Booth: “A Kid from Kansas”

In “A Kid from Kansas” David Booth tells Norm Mindel about his journey to Dimensional and why everybody should have a place where they can be a rock star.

Forum Partner Mary Pat Wesche Obtains Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® Certification

Forum Partner Mary Pat Wesche, CPA, PFS, CFP® has obtained her Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® certification. With this advanced focus on the financial issues associated with divorce, Mary Pat expands upon her experience helping individuals in transition.