Staff Directory 6370670

Ross Levin

Columnist | Your Money
Ross Levin is founding principal and president of Accredited Investors Inc., Edina, a fee-only wealth management firm. His Gains and Losses column runs on the fourth Sunday of the month. A compilation of these columns can be found in his book, "Spend Your Life Wisely." Send emails to
Recent content from Ross Levin
Look for the lessons in life's financial losses

Look for the lessons in life's financial losses

We visited our daughter and her husband the night they closed on their new home. As we were bringing things in, we heard loud crackling.…
Jammed closet? What you need probably isn't more hangers.

Crowded closets? Time to take a hard look at how they got that way

The lesson: Spend your life wisely.

Uncertainty clouding your money moves? Here's how to sort things out

We just had an election and things are a bit confusing. The current president isn’t ceding power to the president-elect and the Senate has two…

Why it can make financial sense to allow yourself to feel sad

With a lot of tough stuff going on, if we don't experience our feelings, if we simply push ahead and stay positive, the consequences can follow.

Are your financial decisions working out? Don't be afraid to revisit and revise them

  Every year in preparation for watching the Super Bowl, I get a 1-pound bag of peanut M&M’s to eat by myself. The first quarter…

Things to consider when you are ready to retire

The pandemic may have accelerated plans, leaving you feeling unprepared.
Jar full of money in hands. Saving money concept

It pays to focus on how your money will support your values

Rather than focus on what your money can do for you, let's talk about what you can do for you.

Want a better life in 5 years? Here's how to get started

Most job interviewers will ask, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" We have learned to answer so we sound ambitious, but not too…
One Hundred Dollar Bill With Medical Face Mask on George Washington.

When will things get better? 3 keys to getting past this

We know that transitions have beginnings, middles and ends, but they don't always occur in that order.

In times like these, it's a sound financial strategy stick to little things

Here are some that you can do that may buy you some time until things eventually stabilize.
Sure, that puppy is cute, but are you ready for all the work involved?

Fighting those impulse buys during pandemic can add up to deals later

You may have heard about the marshmallow test, a social science test created in the 1970s by Walter Mischel. Put a marshmallow in front of…
A currency trader works at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, June 26, 2020.

Want to get back into the stock market? Here's one way to do it

Aggregate data reveal that almost a trillion dollars has moved into money-market funds this year between February and May. And as we know, the market…
There are not good or bad real estate markets, there are better or worse markets. It is one of the rules in buying and selling homes that remains cons

Looking to buy or sell a home? Here are 10 things you need to understand

The actual value is the price one person is willing to pay for it at a particular point in time.

We don't know when this will end, so we must deal with the now normal

Let’s say there is a 90% chance that social distancing has smoothed things over until we find a cure for COVID-19. There is a 90%…
As countries re-examine their reliance on far-flung supply chains that could include this terminal in Hong Kong, take time to check your personal supp

To improve your resilience, take time to improve your supply chain

Only three things can get you through work stoppages — government support, your ability to borrow, and your personal savings

Scarcity is playing a big role in our lives right now. Here's how.

Scarcity creates this tunneling effect where we are laser-focused on only one thing.
An opinion affects strategy.

Our opinions often guide our investments, and that can be costly

When an opinion leads to strategy decisions, how can you reduce the expense of the mistake?
The Fearless Girl statue stands in front of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, March 16, 2020 in New York.

To chart your next move in financial markets, think 'here,' not 'there'

There are many models outlining what could happen, although models are not maps. We don't really know how much better or worse things will be.
Markets plunged Monday, causing many investors to think about rebalancing their portfolios.

Market panic is a virus we can contain

Before you quarantine your investments, let's examine what is going on.

Navigating right, wrong and in between in financial planning

I was trying to convince someone what a great thing something was going to be. I was charming and unconvincing. He was the same. So…
Getting retirement right starts with being comfortable with your own story

Getting retirement right starts with being comfortable with your own story

Sometimes a fear of what could happen is more limiting than dealing with what is actually happening.

After strong decade for stocks, resist making assumptions

If you think back to the end of 2011, were you thinking about calling your broker? I don’t mean calling her about your excitement regarding…

You just might be better off by accepting financial planning mysteries

Even if puzzles are complex, they are solvable. Good advice adds to desired outcomes.

It's a good time to notice those who are struggling

Thanksgiving is a good time to take stock.

Taxes don't have to be as painful as we make them out to be

In Minnesota, we are acutely affected by taxes and we have three choices: eliminate them, limit them or appreciate them.
Make sure your kids want the cabin before you leave it to them in the will.

It is time to talk about the family cabin

Because parents are often not open with their adult children, chaos may ensue.

Long-term care, climate change and your finances

There would seem to be nothing in common between long-term care and climate change. But there is. Insurance companies cannot properly price it. This is…

Why you need to ask questions of your financial adviser

A new client recently was asking many questions in a meeting, ending with one about whether there are ways to see their account directly from…

Build on areas of agreement to resolve money dispute with partner

I have learned a lot in over 35 years of doing this. And I am still learning. But I can give you something I have…

Financial planning jargon could be costing you money

Financial planning has a lot of confusing jargon. Here is a short course on what some of these things really mean.Financial planners get paid in…

When talking money, try these five steps to get to the real issue

When the Mueller report came out, to no one's surprise, many Democrats and many Republicans came away with starkly differing takes. No amount of chatter…

A lesson in learning to help others

It started with the "Be Kind" billboard as we approached Green Valley on our way through Wisconsin. My wife and I looked at each other…
Hand of young adult pointing elderly person where to sign

Legacy letter can explain your money values to your heirs

Money and values are intricately intertwined. When you reach the stage of life where you want to pass on your life philosophy on the subject…

Market jitters? Calm down, and follow this plan

When you opened your year-end investment statements, you felt sick and were looking for someone to blame, weren't you? Everything had seemed so hunky dory…
Decluttering phenomenon Marie Kondo.

How to apply Marie Kondo's 'Tidying Up' to your finances

As Kondo tidily sums up, "People cannot change their habits without first changing their thinking." That works for financial perspectives, too.

Buying opportunity? Time to panic? How to think amid roiling markets

Let’s be honest — if you are an investor, you are uncomfortable in this volatile stock market. But should you be? There is only one…
Joan Gabel answered questions last Friday from the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. On Tuesday of this week, the regents selected her to beco

Funny thing about the U's presidential search council: It worked

Our diverse, eclectic group helped the U land a terrifc candidate. Here's some of what I learned.
A canning jar filled with currency sits on a shelf

How to keep money issues from turning bitter

Here are a couple of ideas on how to handle things before the resentment builds.

Figuring out who you aren't can help your financial planning

If we are conscious of who we aren't, we are more likely to make decisions that connect our actions and values.
Rising interest rates may not be good for your adjustable rate mortgage, but they are great for any money that you may have in savings.

Do not leave money around — use savings vehicles

Look at options other than savings accounts with banks.

Feel the need to take action? It pays to think small

Think in terms of the least you can do rather than the most you can do.

Money planning benefits when you separate facts from opinions

Unless someone we trust plays a critical devil's advocate role, we can't see our own blind spots.
Buying a home is the worst kind of transaction: an emotional buyer and an emotional seller negotiating in an imperfect market.

Here's how you can avoid the pitfalls of home buying

The stakes of buying a home feel incredibly high.

Being grateful pays dividends, but you have to work at it

When most of us think of greed, we think of the Gordon Gekko type of greed. Many of us are appalled by it. But most…

What people mean when talking about money is open to translation

If you are not speaking the same language to your partner, or to yourself, you are going to find yourself not living the life you want to live.

Death and money: Get past your fears, and decisions will come

Change is even more inevitable than death or taxes, so fighting to keep what we have disrupts the natural order.

Money issues aren't usually about money. So what are they about?

They are almost always about what money represents to us.

Financial security comes with learning to confront change

Here are some ways to help manage that.

When it comes to money, it pays to be a skeptic

Especially when it comes to financial planning, a skeptical view can be helpful.

Want to make better use of your time? Understand what you consume

I recently went to a three-day silent retreat. This meant leaving behind my wife, phone, Vikings/Packers game, newspapers, tweets and Netflix episodes of “Longmire.” There…

Three ways to help make the right choice in money decisions

When people come to our offices after a major change such as a death or divorce, they are sometimes frozen. What I often hear is…

Balancing immediate pleasure and ongoing costs of money decisions

I am riding 50 miles in August for a charity event and I have only ridden a bike a few times in the last 30…

Stop fooling yourself about your financial decisions

I was walking our dog around the lake when a young child on a scooter, accompanied by his running mother, cried out, “I’m never doing…

Facing those tough issues can yield a big pay off

What are you doing when you are not doing what you know you should be doing? There are always times when we make a decision…
Pope's advice on giving is a financial-planning eye opener

Pope's advice on giving is a financial-planning eye opener

I like to think of myself as generous, but now I realize it has been somewhat conditional.

In financial planning decisions, motives are key

I was writing early one morning about motivations and I think that I touched on why clients often have difficulty making money decisions that help…

Here's what a financial adviser should do for you

In a perfect world, everything lines up exactly the way we wish it. But how do we make decisions when our principles and values are…

This year, skip the resolutions and try designing your life

Rather than spending New Year’s Eve on resolutions, what if you decided you were going to spend January designing your life? Prof. Dave Evans and…

Changing tax laws key reason to boost charity giving

Hey everyone! A major sale is likely to occur next year so you better rush to buy right now! What? Well, a tax law change…

Ross Levin: Your financial outlook could benefit by seeking other viewpoints

When U2 sang, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,” they perpetuated the greatest myth of all time. The truth is we always find…

Thinking about moving? Here are key things to consider

Home is where the heart is. When did we lose sight of this and replace the heart with subzero refrigerators and walk-in closets? Where and…

Ross Levin: Your money mistakes can still pay off, if you learn from them

I have a confession that, as a sage financial professional, is somewhat embarrassing to make. Many years ago, I lost money investing in a friend’s…

Not sure you're making the right decision? It's likely wrong

Several years ago, my wife and I stopped someone in his front yard and asked if he wanted to sell his house. Much to our…

Unsettled markets require frank talk

Today’s markets are causing a great deal of anxiety for anyone with a 401(k) plan. And, unfortunately, when people have money anxieties, it often leads…

2016 resolution: Accept how things are, rather than how they should be

My wife gets frustrated by e-mail attachments. Some she can’t open, others she doesn’t want to open. Attachments are rarely satisfying and never simple. So…

For a better 2016, tie up loose ends now

I finally bought a new coat for my predawn and evening dog walks. I had put off buying one for months. I finally decided to…

Investors should confront, not ignore their fears

Our daughter was uncharacteristically nervous during a presentation she was giving. The more she tried to ignore her plight, the more flushed she became. She…

Before you figure out money, think about happiness

I was running around the lake and noticed a runner slapping hands and making inspiring comments to everyone he passed. I laughed out loud when…

How to respond to the return of market volatility

An errant swing caused my golf ball to smash into a beehive causing hundreds of bees to swarm only 75 yards away from me. I…

Money spat? Consider the other person's point of view

I’m going to say a name and I want you to give me your reaction to it. Ready? Donald Trump. I suspect that you immediately…

Think of your home as a car, not an investment

I was 22 when I bought my first car, a used green Audi. I loved this car. Every day that I got into it, I…

Words of advice for graduates, with benefit of hindsight

After two college graduation ceremonies last weekend, I was thinking about the commencement address I have not yet given. Thirty-five years after my own graduation,…

Levin: Reducing financial clutter can change one's life

As our daughters graduate from college in May, we are helping them move. Thanks to their somewhat ascetic lifestyle, this should be relatively easy. I…

Levin: Aligning your money with your purpose in life

May I have the courage today To live the life that I would love, To postpone my dream no longer But do at last what…
Caption Caption

Minnesota's tax attitude can make the state easy to leave

We are converting groups of Minnesotans from 'owners' of the state to 'renters.'