Making Every Relationship More valuable

At Carlson Investments, we do more than build valuable portfolios. We build more valuable relationships—ones that create assurance through financial acumen and human intelligence.

How we create value

Seasoned professionals

When you’ve been faced with similar situations before and have all the data and facts you need, you’re not making guesses, you’re using expert intuition. And since none of the portfolio managers at Carlson Investments have fewer than two decades of experience, that’s exactly what we do.

Organizational stability

Founded in 1989, employee-owned, and rooted in independence, we understand that building long-lasting relationships with our clients starts with long-lasting relationships inside the walls of our close-knit team.

Proprietary research

The research we create here is time-tested and unique, and we let it take us to wherever the best risk-reward ratio lies.

Access and service

This is not a faceless institution, and you are not an account number. The advisor you meet on Day 1 could be the person who does your annual review in Year 10. Therefore, you’ll always have a clear view of what’s happened, what’s in progress, and what’s to come.

Planning success

Our independent insights and experience allow us to deliver the kind of results that keep clients coming back. 70% of our clients have been with us an average of 10+ years.

Our Firm

Who we are

Over the past 34 years, we’ve found that most people don’t want products and programs from their financial advisors. They want positive experiences and positive outcomes. At Carlson Investments, we see ourselves as more than financial managers.

We’re peace-of-mind managers.

Carlson Investments is a fully independent, fee-only registered investment advisor. Here’s what that means in plain English:

Fully Independent

We’re not tied to any brand or group of investment products or services. That means we work for you—and only for you.

Fee-Only

Unlike commission-based advisors, we don’t make money based on how much of something we can sell you. You pay us a simple, transparent fee to protect and grow your assets, so we only do well when you do well.

Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)

RIAs have a fiduciary duty that legally requires us to keep the best interests of our clients in mind at all times, and always act accordingly. Is the person you are working with held to that standard?

Investment Insights

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4 Crucial Financial Steps to Take When You Lose Your Job

Losing a job can present many challenges and significantly impact your future retirement goals. We understand that this experience can be uncertain and scary, but remember, you are in control. Start by taking a breath. Then, follow these steps to get a good handle on what you will face and help reduce stress by putting a plan in place.

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401(k) Rollovers: Not Just for Retirees

401(k)s can streamline retirement savings by taking advantage of the automated payroll deduction and employer match. However, as you get closer to retirement, a 401(k) may not be the most beneficial type of account. That’s why reviewing your options early based on your financial and retirement goals is a good idea.

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A Guide to International Investing

According to Charles Schwab, 85% of U.S. investors have “home country” bias in their portfolios, meaning the vast majority of their stocks and bonds are from U.S.-based companies.

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A Strong Dollar Means Summer Vacation Deals

If you’ve followed the market, you’ve watched the U.S. Dollar (USD) gain strength for the last several months. Let’s examine the impact of the strong dollar and what it could mean for your summer travels.

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Banking Turmoil – White Paper

The asset side (loans specifically) of bank balance sheets are in great shape. Very few loans are in default. We believe regulators are taking a pro-active, market-based solutions approach towards the bank deposit issues.

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Bonds are Back: Your Primer on the Bond Market

Bonds can be a great tool if you’re looking to balance your portfolio by diversifying your investments and reducing volatility.

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Carlson Quarterly – Q1 2023

Everyone loves a fresh start and after a nasty 2022, markets got off to a strong start in the first quarter of 2023 in the face of investor concerns around recession and inflation risks.

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Carlson Quarterly – Q1 2024

The equity rally off the October 2023 continued into the first quarter of 2024 as the S&P 500 rallied to new all-time-highs with a gain of 10.16%.

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Carlson Quarterly – Q2 2023

The market continues to rally in the face of an endless “Wall of Worry” as the U.S. stock market delivered more gains during the second quarter of the year.

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Carlson Quarterly – Q2 2024

In the second quarter of 2024, the U.S. market demonstrated notable resilience and strength as the S&P 500 experienced substantial gains, driven primarily by the technology and communications sectors, with Mega-cap stocks leading the charge as companies race to be the dominant AI provider.

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Carlson Quarterly – Q3 2023

Following a robust second quarter, the stock market extended its gains into July, driven by strong corporate earnings and an expanding market multiple.

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Carlson Quarterly – Q4 2023

A request for reduced borrowing needs by Yellen’s Treasury quickly followed by a shift in tone regarding additional FOMC rate hikes by Jay Powell led to a massive Q4 rally in stocks to end 2023.

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Cash Management Matters – White Paper

Ever since the Federal Reserve first raised the federal funds rate in March 2022, “cash management matters again” for individuals.

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Cash Management Matters — White Paper

Ever since the Federal Reserve first raised the federal funds rate in March 2022, “cash management matters again” for individuals.

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Dividends Matter — White Paper

Total return is an important metric of equity performance that investors often overlook. The total return of an equity investment is a combination of its capital appreciation or depreciation and the dividend received.

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How to Start a Budget: Because Budgeting = Awareness!

While budgeting seems very constraining, knowing where your cash goes can also be viewed as an awareness practice. Consider that even the super-wealthy take the time to generally understand their cash flows.

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HSA vs. FSA: Which Medical Spending Account is Right for Me?

The end of the year is approaching, which means it’s time to start making many important financial decisions for 2024. This will likely include evaluating benefits you receive from your employer, and there’s one perk that many individuals overlook: tax-advantaged medical spending accounts.

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Identity Theft: What It Looks Like + 8 Ways to Protect Yourself

Unfortunately, identity theft is up 584% over the last 20 years, according to Consumer Affairs. With so much business and banking done online, bad actors have numerous opportunities to steal sensitive information such as social security numbers (SSNs), data from social media profiles, credit cards, and bank accounts.

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Lending Money to Adult Children: The Dos and Don’ts

In some circumstances, a loan to an adult child might be a good solution for both the parent and their child. Check out the benefits and mistakes to avoid, along with some tips for navigating this sensitive situation.

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Mid-Year Tax Planning: Why Review Your Taxes & Finances in June?

Very few people enjoy the “puzzle” that is taxes. While the tax code may be a puzzle, it can be profitable if you understand the rules and maximize your tax savings. Plus, the more you plan, the more you can avoid the stress of tax preparation after the year is over.

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Planning for Retirement: You’re Never Too Young

When it comes to retirement planning, there is no better time to start than today! We push off many things until tomorrow, like laundry or grocery shopping. After all, we’ll get to it later, right? And that may be fine regarding simple errands. However, financial planning for your retirement should NOT be one of those things you put off.

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Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD): What is It + How Does it Work?

Part of planning for retirement is considering your IRA distributions and management. One tool that can offer significant savings and tax benefits while allowing you to do good is a qualified charitable distribution (QCD), a direct transfer from an IRA account made payable to a qualified 501(c)(3) charity.

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Quick Guide to Inflation + How to Protect Your Assets

Inflation is the increase in prices of goods and services across the board. Although it often has a negative connotation, a little inflation is integral to a healthy economy. Rising prices can mean higher revenue and earnings for businesses—if they can raise prices to keep up with their costs.

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Stock Investing for Novices

Are you just starting to explore the opportunities and intricacies of the stock market? Investing in stocks can be daunting for beginners, but with the right approach, it can be a rewarding journey toward financial security and knowledge.

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Summer Financial Bucket List

Summer is here, meaning we’re more than halfway through the year! Now is the perfect time to review your financial situation and adjust as needed.

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Tax-Wise Investing in Your Regular Taxable Brokerage Account

We all know there are two guarantees in life: death and taxes. The government inevitably receives some form of tax revenue from your investments. There are two types of taxes levied upon the sale of a security (i.e., stock, bond, mutual fund, or ETF), known as long-term and short-term capital gain taxes.

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The Importance of the TOD and JTWROS Designations

Many people have heard about the nightmares in dealing with probate after coping with the loss of a loved one. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid these headaches and speed up the process. Learn about Transfer on Death (TOD) and Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship (JTWROS) designations.

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Time in the Market: Not “Timing” the Market

As an investor, you must understand how long you should stay in the stock market based on your long-term goals. Unfortunately, many make the mistake of focusing on short-term rewards, jumping in and out of the market quickly based on the performance of near term events.

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Traditional vs. Roth IRAs: Determining Your Ideal Retirement Account

When evaluating your retirement account options, one of the first things you’ll need to do is decide between a Traditional and a Roth IRA. Each offers its own benefits and has specific requirements. So, which type of IRA is right for you?

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Understanding Your 401(k) Choices: Traditional vs. Roth

You already know that when it comes to employee benefits, you have a choice in your healthcare plan. And now, more employers are giving employees options regarding 401(k)s!

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What is Asset Allocation? The First Step to Protecting Your Portfolio

You’ve heard of it and have a general idea that it’s something you should be doing. But what is asset allocation, exactly?

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What to Look for When Selecting a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)

“How are you compensated?” If you’re in the market for a new registered investment advisor (RIA), this is one of the most important questions you can ask prospects.

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What You Can Learn from Estate Planning Book “In Case You Get Hit by a Bus”

In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You're Not Around Later is one of our favorite financial books. In fact, we found it so valuable that our team decided to showcase it.

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Why All Cap Equity? — White Paper

An All Cap Equity Strategy provides core equity exposure in a simple and straightforward portfolio.

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Why Consolidate Your Retirement Plans? 7 Key Questions, Answered

Everyone needs a plan—whether you’re a football coach before the big game, a college student trying to get through finals, or someone striving for a comfortable retirement. And it’s much easier to stay organized and execute a plan when your retirement accounts are consolidated!

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Why We Consider the Russell 3000 Index the Best Domestic Benchmark

At Carlson Investments, we believe the Russell 3000 index is the best domestic benchmark.

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Finding a better way doesn’t start with you learning about investment strategy. It starts with us learning about you.

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