Coping with Changes in Government Funding of Retirement Systems

by Chia-Li Chien, PhD candidate, CFP®, PMP® Jan. 28, 2018



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I have called my mom once a week since I first came to the United States back in1988. I married my husband in 1991 and did not return home to Taiwan as originally planned. I have lived in the U.S. far longer than I lived in my birthplace of Taiwan. When I call my mom, she tells me what's going on in her week. Sometimes she updates me on her Monday Karaoke class where my parents sing in Japanese and English with a group of seniors. This past weekend, she was upset that Taiwan's government pension got cut in half due to a recent policy changes. My parents are well off, but the 50 percent reduction in pension was not a pleasant experience. There are millions of pensioners affected. She argued that no other country in the world would do this to their senior citizens. She vented angrily for a while until I shared the research I did three years ago on this very issue.

Predicting Cash-Out Value to Encourage Timely Succession Planning: The New Fortune Telling

by Chia-Li Chien, PhD candidate, CFP®, PMP® Jan. 20, 2018

The Fortune Teller 

The Fortune Teller

When I was born, my maternal grandmother went to a well-known fortune teller and obtained a prediction of my life. The forecast of my life included predictions of what I would be as a professional, what my life would look like, when I would get married, and so forth.  When I was in my mid-thirties, my mom revealed the prediction to me. I have to say that the prediction was generally accurate.

If there was a fortune teller to show financial planning practitioners what their retirement would look like, perhaps there would be an increase in willingness to plan for their succession. In the Nov. 2017 issue of the Journal of Financial Planning, PWC reported that "50% of business owners claim to have a succession plan" in place, but there are only "16% of business owners who actually have a documented succession plan in place." In her April 2017 article, "Overcome succession planning paralysis" in, Kelli Cruz concluded that the reason for the succession paralysis in financial planning practitioners is not about planning business itself, but about owners' fear of diminishing their own social status upon exiting. What practitioners may not know is that there are planning tools to determine a business's market value while there is still time to change the outcome.

Recognize Behavioral Signs before Your Emotions Take over in Making Strategic Financial Decisions

The Challenges of Choosing under Pressure

by Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, PMP® Oct 15, 2016

Recognize Behavioral Signs, Chia-Li Chien



A number of years ago, Betty (not her real name) went into cardiac arrest and John, her husband (not his real name) had the ambulances take her to the nearest hospital emergency room. While restlessly waiting for the emergency staff’s help, the surgeon on call asked John about what resources they should use to save Betty. John was given three options:

Option 1: The resources used will be covered 30% by medical insurance, but they are the best and most reliable ones.

Option 2, The resources used will be covered 50% by medical insurance.  In addition, the resources are better than the default option, but might lead to complications for Betty.

Option 3, The resources used will be covered 100% by medical insurance.  They are, however, the default option and historically lead to complications in the recovery process.

Coping with the Costs of College

Managing Money, Minding the Future


by Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, PMP® Oct 15, 2016


Coping with the Costs of College, Chia-Li Chien



According to the U.S. News 2016 Higher Education rankings, Ball State University (BSU) ranked 176th among national universities and top 93 public schools with a 41% four-year graduation rate. But that contrasts with Indiana University, which has a 60% four-year graduation rate. Recently the BSU student newspaper interviewed me regarding the biggest money mistakes students make. The biggest one is students taking too long to complete a bachelor’s degree.  This is unwise, except for students in double majors, or who are bridging courses to qualify for a professional certificate exam such as CPA, PE, etc.

Managing Major Business Change

Succession Planning To Protect Family Bonds As Well As Business Health.


by Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, PMP® Mar. 22, 2016


Managing Major Business Change by Chia-Li ChienJohn and Mary (not their real names) sold their successful sheet metal business and launched a new enterprise, a fabric business, about fifty years ago. At the time of the launch, they had no need for outside capital. Nevertheless, Mary’s family members insisted on being a part of John’s potentially successful venture. John made sure that he had control of the firm, with 57% ownership for him and Mary—leaving 43% to the rest of the family.

As predicted, John’s company performed really well. But each business, like every economy, goes through cycles. John’s company was no exception; it experienced growing pains. About ten years ago, the company expanded too quickly into China. John’s company proved unable to cash out the capital it had invested in China.  Moreover, John’s China division did not achieve a desirable profit margin. In fact, the division became a losing proposition. That struggle notwithstanding, John’s company limped along for a long time, using John’s own capital to keep the lights on in China.  Because of the capital shortfall, the company was also forced to stop issuing dividends to its family shareholders.

Changing Business Practices to Reflect New Market Realities

Bigger and better don’t always go together.

Chart-1 Source: Yahoo Finance WMT Key Statistics vs. S&P500 as of Feb 21, 2016

by Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, PMP® Feb. 23, 2016

Take a look at Wal-Mart’s 5-year stock price and compare Wal-Mart’s arc to that of the S&P 500 [1 and Chart-1]. You might say, “so, its not doing so hot, right …?” Well, you and I probably have Wal-Mart stocks in a retirement plan like a 401(k) or 403(b). The top three mutual fund holders of Wal-Mart stocks are 1) Vanguard Total Stock Market Index; 2) Dodge & Cox Stock; and 3) Vanguard 500 Index Investment. Because Wal-Mart might just impact your overall retirement dream, chances are you are not happy to learn that its stock price is sliding downward.

Utilizing key C2B trends to help your business evolve 

Creating value for all stakeholders in a digitally transformative economy.

by Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, PMP® Jan. 04, 2016

My mom is in her late 70s. I bought her an iPad in 2013. At first, we were concerned about the practical usage due to her lack of technology exposure during her career days. We were so wrong; she used YouTube daily to karaoke with her friends in her favorite Japanese songs. She connected with many families, friends, and past students on Facebook. She felt closer to her grandchildren as she commented on their postings often. She even housed one of my daughter’s friends from U. of Virginia in Taipei mid-2015. The fast pace and ever-changing nature of technology has made all of these adaptations possible for her.