Economic Updates & Financial Articles

Economic Updates & Financial Articles

Economic Updates:

Retirement in Sight Newsletter:

Financial Articles:

 


Weekly Economic Update for 1/24/2022

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks extended their January retreat as worries over inflation and rising bond yields continued to exert downward pressure on prices.  

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 4.58%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 sank 5.68%. The Nasdaq Composite index dropped 7.55% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, slipped 0.61%.1,2,3

Read More


Updated Premiums and Deductibles for Medicare

TOP

Medicare’s premiums and deductibles have seen a larger-than-expected rise this year. For example, Medicare Part B monthly premiums have risen to $170.10, a 14.5% increase. The deductible for Part B rose to $233. The Part A deductible increased to $1,556.1,2

If you didn’t take advantage of the recent open enrollment period, you aren’t alone. According to a recent survey from MedicareGuide.com, 67% of beneficiaries hadn’t looked at their choices by mid-November, while the Kaiser Family Foundation discovered that 71% don’t review their options at all during the open enrollment period.1

Read More


RMDs Get a Small Reprieve

TOP

For the first time in nearly 20 years, the IRS has released updated actuarial or life expectancy tables. Those who take required minimum withdrawals (RMD) from retirement accounts may already know we use these tables to calculate your RMD. Using these new tables is relatively simple, but here are some considerations to keep in mind.

What’s my RMD? We determine the required amount you must withdraw annually by dividing the previous year-end balance of your qualifying accounts by what the IRS calls a “life expectancy factor.” The newest tables assume we’ll live longer, which may impact the amount you need to withdraw.

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 1/17/2022

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Deteriorating investor enthusiasm for high-valuation growth companies and a mixed start to the fourth-quarter earnings season made for a volatile week.  

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.88%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 slipped 0.30%. The Nasdaq Composite index fell 0.28% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, gained 1.31%.1,2,3

Read More


Retirement In Sight for January, 2022

TOP

HOW MUCH WILL SAVING AN EXTRA $1K EACH YEAR HELP YOU?

Did you ever wonder what might result from such a small boost to your retirement saving effort, even in midlife? While there is no ready answer to this question thanks to the many variables inherent in financial markets and investment choices, some ballpark math offers an illustration of the potential upside.

Suppose you put $1,000 more per year to a retirement account that returns a hypothetical 8% each year. Across ten years, the extra $10,000 you contribute to that account would be expected to have a value of nearly $22,000. Across 20 years, your $20,000 of additional contributions could reach $46,610. Putting just a little more into your retirement account each year could boost your retirement assets. Keep in mind the hypothetical 8% return does not reflect any investment or combination of investments. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Past performance does not guarantee future results.1  

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 1/10/2022

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

A jump in yields sparked by a more aggressive sounding Federal Reserve sent the market lower to start the new year.  

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.29%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 declined 1.87%. The Nasdaq Composite index was hardest hit, dropping 4.53% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, slipped 0.55%.1,2,3

Read More


Monthly Economic Update for January, 2022

TOP

U.S. Markets

Stocks rallied in December as early data suggested that the health impact of the Omicron variant was less severe than initially feared.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 5.38 percent, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 4.36 percent. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, climbing 0.69 percent.1

Read More


Quarterly Economic Update for Q4-2021

TOP

THE QUARTER IN BRIEF

The stock market kicked off the fourth quarter with a powerful rally in October and added to those gains into November until investors were blindsided by news of the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, and testimony by Fed Chair Jerome Powell that escalating inflation and an improving labor market warranted consideration of an acceleration of its bond purchase tapering plans.

Markets, as a rule, do not like surprises and uncertainty and the combination of a new variant and a suddenly more hawkish Fed sent stocks into a skid that largely erased the November’s accumulated gains. Market reaction to the Omicron news was exacerbated by when the news hit--on Black Friday, a day that typically provides less liquidity since many investors and traders are on holiday. 

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 1/3/2022

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks closed out the year on a mostly positive note, adding to the year’s gains as concerns about the economic issues of Omicron infections receded.  

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.08%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 picked up 0.85%. The Nasdaq Composite index was flat (-0.05%) for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, posted an increase of 0.80%.1,2,3

Read More


Outlook 2022

TOP

By any measure, 2021 was a strong year for investors. But what’s in store for 2022? From my perspective, I expect that many of the same forces that influenced markets last year will play a role again in the year ahead.

COVID-19 remains tragic and unpredictable. The pandemic was one of the primary drivers of financial market activity in 2021. I hope that the worst is behind us, but I would not be surprised to see COVID-related events influence markets in the New Year.

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 12/20/2021

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stock prices retreated last week as global central banks joined the Federal Reserve in taking steps to tighten monetary policy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.68%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 dropped 1.94%. The Nasdaq Composite index tumbled 2.95% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, managed a gain of 0.47%.1,2,3

Read More


IRA Deadlines Are Approaching

TOP

Financially, many of us associate the spring with taxes – but we should also associate December with important IRA deadlines. This year, like 2021, will see a few changes and distinctions.

December 31, 2022, is the deadline to take your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from certain individual retirement accounts.

April 15, 2022, is the deadline for making 2021 annual contributions to a traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and certain other retirement accounts. This extension from the traditional April 15 deadline follows an extension of the traditional tax deadlines.1

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 12/13/2021

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

A more benign reassessment of the possible economic risk posed by Omicron sent stocks sharply higher last week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 4.02%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 advanced 3.82%. The Nasdaq Composite index gained 3.61% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, rose 2.74%.1,2,3

Read More


Fed Chair Changes His Tune

TOP

If you weren’t paying close attention, you might have missed it.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell dropped the word “transitory” when describing inflation during his recent testimony to Congress.1

Powell had told the story of transitory inflation for the past several months while the Consumer Price Index showed eye-popping, year-over-year gains of 5% to 6%.2

But now it appears that the Fed Chair has changed his tune.

Read More


Retirement In Sight for December, 2021

TOP

WHEN YOU ARE WITHIN FIVE YEARS OF RETIREMENT

If your anticipated retirement date seems about five years away, think about some of the proactive steps you could take before that date arrives. Acting now could save you some stress later on when you move from your full-time career to the next phase of your life. Take an hour today to candidly assess how much money you spend in a typical month – your essential and discretionary outlays. You can draw a comparison between this monthly number and the monthly income you are likely to have once retired. Choices can be explored to try and narrow any income gap, if needed. It helps to have a cash reserve as you leave your career or business, because arranging that first Social Security payment or retirement withdrawal may take longer than you initially anticipate. 

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 12/6/2021

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks took investors on a wild ride last week as the Omicron variant and Fed comments upended market expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.91%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stumbled 1.22%. The Nasdaq Composite index dropped 2.62% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, lost 0.62%.1,2,3

Read More


Updated Premiums and Deductibles for Medicare

TOP

As Medicare’s open enrollment period is due to end December 7, recipients of the program are preparing for a larger-than-expected jump in prices for premiums and deductibles.1,2

For example, Medicare Part B monthly premiums are set to rise to $170.10, a 14.5% increase and much higher than the estimate of 6.7%. The deductible for Part B will rise to $233, a 14.8% increase. The Part A deductible will increase to $1,556, up $72 in 2022.2

Read More


The Power of the Consumer

TOP

A confident consumer can be a powerful ally in an economy. But when the consumer starts to have questions, we can measure consumer confidence in everything from retail sales to home buying to the personal savings rate.

In recent months, consumer confidence has been falling as inflation expectations have been rising. So, if inflation slows, does that mean the consumer will regain confidence? It’s possible, but other factors can influence consumer confidence, including perceptions of COVID-19.1,2

Read More


Monthly Economic Update for December, 2021

TOP

U.S. Markets

Reports of a new COVID-19 variant in late November roiled markets as a wave of selling erased the month’s earlier gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average took the hardest hit, dropping 3.73 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.83 percent while the Nasdaq Composite managed a small gain of 0.25 percent.1

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 11/29/2021

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

News of a new, highly virulent COVID variant triggered a market sell-off on Friday, sending stocks into negative territory for the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 1.97%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 slumped 2.20%. The Nasdaq Composite index lost 3.52% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, dropped 1.68%.1,2,3

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 11/22/2021

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks were mixed last week in choppy trading as investors battled the crosscurrents of good economic data and a troubling rise in COVID-19 infections globally.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 1.38%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 added 0.32%. The Nasdaq Composite index gained 1.24% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, dropped 0.59%.1,2,3

Read More


Powell News Kicks Off Volatile Season?

TOP

The holiday season is often a quiet, positive time for the financial markets. The phrase “Santa Claus Rally” was coined in the early 1970s to reflect the stock market’s upward bias during the November-January stretch.1

But this year, the markets might face some crosswinds as we travel through the holidays.

The stock market initially reacted well to news that President Biden will nominate Jerome Powell to lead the Federal Reserve for a second term. But trading became choppy as the session continued.2

Read More


Is Inflation Peaking?

TOP

You see it in prices at the grocery store and the gas station. You feel it in your monthly budget. So why don’t the financial markets seem too concerned about inflation?

Remember, financial markets are considered “discounting mechanisms,” meaning they are looking six- to nine-months into the future. And by June 2022, the financial markets expect that inflation will lower than today.1

One lesser-known indicator helps support that forecast is called the Baltic Dry Index. It measures the cost of transporting raw materials, such as coal and steel. The index has been trending lower for several weeks, which in the past has suggested that prices may be more manageable in the months ahead.2

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 11/15/2021

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks posted small declines last week as investors digested recent stock market gains and an unexpectedly high inflation read.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.63%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 retreated 0.31%. The Nasdaq Composite index slipped 0.69% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, dropped 0.78%.1,2,3

Read More


Biden Signs Infrastructure Bill

TOP

At the White House on Monday, President Biden signed a $1T bipartisan infrastructure bill set to enable enhancements for transportation and utilities over the next five years.1

For each of those five years, $550 billion will be invested into both the physical infrastructure of the nation (roads, highways, and rail) as well as bringing broadband internet to areas it hasn’t been previously available.1 

The bill will also create jobs in many parts of the country. Projects ranging from replacing lead pipes in water systems and upgrades to bridges will now move from the planning stages, and into the real world.1

Read More


2022 Contribution Limits

TOP

Preparing for retirement just got a little more financial wiggle room. This week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced new contribution limits for 2022.

Staying put for 2022 are traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), with the limit remaining at $6,000. The catch-up contribution for traditional IRAs remains $1,000 as well.1

For workplace retirement accounts (i.e. 401(k), 403(b), amongst others), the contribution limit rises $1,000 to $20,500. Catch-up contributions remain at $6,500.1

Read More


Retirement In Sight for November, 2021

TOP

IF THE SECURE ACT 2.0 BECOMES LAW, WHAT CHANGES?

When the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act became law on January 1, 2020, it altered rules for retirement accounts with a goal of helping both retirees and pre-retirees. More rule changes might be ahead, because a legislative sequel, known popularly as SECURE Act 2.0, is now proceeding through Congress.

The SECURE Act 2.0 would give retirement savers aged 62-64 the chance to make much larger "catch-up" contributions to common workplace retirement plans, starting in 2023. During those three years, they could make their standard yearly catch-up contribution, plus an additional yearly catch-up contribution of up to $10,000. Businesses that sponsor such defined-contribution plans would have to automatically enroll eligible employees at a base 3% contribution rate, which would rise 1% a year to a ceiling of 15% unless workers choose to fund their accounts differently. Some retirement accounts have required minimum distributions (RMDs) starting at age 72; the SECURE Act 2.0 would gradually reset that RMD threshold to age 75 during 2022-2032, potentially allowing more compounding for retirement accounts. In addition, the menu of investments in retirement plans could potentially include income contracts, and plans sponsored by non-profits could become more like the ones sponsored by for-profit businesses.1

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 11/8/2021

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

A Federal Reserve announcement on tapering, a fresh batch of corporate profits, and encouraging economic data lifted stocks to another weekly gain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.42%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 advanced 2.00%. The Nasdaq Composite index led, tacking on 3.05%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, added 1.58%.1,2,3

Read More


When Bad News Is Good News

TOP

Financial markets can be challenging to understand. But when markets enter a “bad news is good news” cycle, it becomes even more difficult to follow along.

At its November meeting, the Fed outlined its plan to taper monthly bond purchases, which will end this pandemic-era policy response by July 2022.1

Bad news, right? The bond purchases were one of the ways the Fed supported the economy. Stopping the program would be like removing the punchbowl just as the party was getting going.

Read More


FANNG is now MAMAA

TOP

CNBC’s Mad Money host Jim Cramer created the popular FAANG acronym to denote some of the largest, most powerful companies in the world: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google. Recently, changes in those companies are reflected in Cramer’s new acronym: MAMAA, which stands for Microsoft (replacing Netflix in this grouping), Alphabet, Meta, Amazon, and Apple.1

Keep in mind that any companies or people mentioned in this letter are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation or recommendation. Any investment should reflect your objectives, timeframe, and risk tolerance. 

Google renamed its parent company Alphabet in 2015, but few outside the media refer to it as such. The same may be true for Facebook’s change to Meta.

Read More


Monthly Economic Update for Novmeber, 2021

TOP

U.S. Markets

A strong corporate earnings season renewed investor enthusiasm for stocks and propelled the market to healthy gains in October.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 5.84 percent while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 6.91 percent. The Nasdaq Composite led, surging 7.27 percent.1

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 11/1/2021

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

A fresh wave of positive corporate earnings surprises sent markets to new record highs last week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.40%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 1.33%. The Nasdaq Composite index picked up 2.71% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, was up 0.68%.1,2,3

Read More


Tax Changes: What’s In, What’s Out?

TOP

While it’s still too early to draw any final conclusions, Congress is getting closer to outlining what tax law changes are under consideration to pay for the proposed $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Plan.1

For now, it appears that changes to capital gains and personal tax rates are off the table. The conversation is shifting to a new corporate minimum tax while adjustments to estate taxes may be still under consideration.1

Investors cheered as some of the tax-law uncertainty was lifted. In October, the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index tacked on nearly 7 percent.2

Read More


Wise Decisions with Retirement in Mind

TOP

Some retirees succeed at realizing the life they want; others don’t. Fate aside, it isn’t merely a matter of investment decisions that makes the difference. There are certain dos and don’ts – some less apparent than others – that tend to encourage retirement happiness and comfort. 

Retire financially literate. Some retirees don’t know how much they don’t know. They end their careers with inadequate financial knowledge, and yet, feel they can prepare for retirement on their own. They mistake creating a retirement income strategy with the whole of preparing for retirement, and gloss over longevity risk, risks to their estate, and potential health care expenses. The more you know, the more your retirement readiness improves. 

A goal to retire debt free – or close to debt free?  Even if your retirement savings are substantial, you may want to consider reviewing your overall debt situation.1

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 10/25/2021

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks rallied last week on a stream of positive corporate earnings surprises.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.08%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 advanced 1.64%. The Nasdaq Composite index gained 1.29% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, was up 0.23%.1,2,3

Read More


Are Estate Taxes Changing?

TOP

To help raise revenue to pay for President Biden’s Build Back Better Plan, Congress is considering a number of tax law changes, including adjusting estate taxes.

One of the proposals would reduce the estate tax exemption to anywhere between $3.5 and $5 million, with an effective date of January 1, 2022. Another proposal would bring new rules to grantor trusts, including a change to how life insurance held in a trust would be taxed.1,2

At this point, many ideas are being evaluated, but nothing is final. Corporate tax rates, individual tax rates, and capital gains taxes are also on the negotiating table.

Read More


Gridlock in the Supply Chain

TOP

While the world has begun to recover from the economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, the delayed reaction has been felt in the supply chain. Industrial shutdowns around the world slowed production to a relative crawl, leaving many businesses struggling to meet consumer demands, both during lockdowns and since.1

Challenges continue, even as manufacturing picks up, with worker shortages and a fight to locate the materials needed for production complicating the struggle. President Biden worked an agreement with the port of Los Angeles in recent weeks to operate 24 hours a day, which has helped reduce the number of container ships offshore to 58 from a peak of 73.2

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 10/18/2021

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

A strong opening to the third-quarter earnings season sparked a late week, broad-based rally that helped stocks finish the week with solid gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.58%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 added 1.82%. The Nasdaq Composite index led, gaining 2.18% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, was up 1.37%.1,2,3

Read More


Are Capital Gains Taxes Changing?

TOP

There are a lot of questions about President Biden’s Build Back Better plan and potential tax law changes, including an adjustment to capital gains taxes.

One of the proposals Congress is considering sets the top rate for taxing capital gains at 25%, up from 20% under current law. Another would raise the capital gains tax rate to 39.6% for taxpayers earning $1 million or more. Still another would make the change to capital gains tax retroactive, with a start date of April 2021.1,2

At this point, many ideas are being considered as legislators look for ways to raise revenue to help pay for the Build Back Better plan. Corporate tax rates, individual tax rates, estate tax rules also are on the negotiating table.

Read More


Proposed Tax Changes in Congress

TOP

Investors are watching the Build Back Better Act. This $3.5 trillion bill, refined through months-long negotiations, may be approaching a final vote in the House of Representatives. If the BBA becomes law, it would finance large-scale infrastructure projects, authorize a major expansion of parts of the country’s social safety net, and fund college education, grant, and entrepreneurial programs over the next ten years.1,2

This information is designed to provide general information on the subjects covered. It is not intended to provide specific legal or tax advice and cannot be used to avoid tax penalties or to promote, market, or recommend any tax plan or arrangement. Remember that tax laws and tax rates are constantly changing.

The passage of the BBA would mean higher taxes for the wealthy and big businesses. To help pay for all these initiatives, the new law may raise the capital gains tax rate. Americans in the highest federal tax bracket (households earning $400,000 or more) would again face a 39.6% marginal income tax rate, up from 37%. Itemized deductions for taxpayers earning more than $400,000 might be capped at 28%. The country’s corporate tax rate would be lifted to 26% from the current 21%.2,3

Read More


Cash Alternatives for Charitable Giving

TOP

The year is winding down, and you may be thinking of giving. In fact, you may want to explore the different ways in which you can donate to a charity or non-profit organization, apart from just making a cash gift. Consider some of the alternatives.  

Keep in mind this article is for informational purposes only. It's not a replacement for real-life advice. Make sure to consult your tax and legal professionals before modifying your gift-giving strategy.

Donor-advised funds. DAFs are essentially charitable savings accounts. Some are created and run by 501(c)(3) non-profits. Others are offered by brokerages and banks.1,2

Read More


The Social Security Administration Announces 2022 COLA

TOP

On October 13, 2021, the Social Security Administration (SSA) officially announced that Social Security recipients will receive a 5.9 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2022, the largest increase in four decades. This adjustment will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2022. Additionally, increased payments to more than 8 million Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2021.1 

Biggest COLA Increase in Decades? While many predicted a bump of as much as 6.1% given recent movement in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the announced 5.9% increase is still substantial. Some fear that rising consumer prices may dilute the impact of the increase with inflation currently running at more than 5 percent. While this remains to be seen, Social Security beneficiaries will no doubt welcome the largest adjustment in many years.1

Read More


Retirement In Sight for October, 2021

TOP

ROBOCALLS, ROBOTEXTS: PROTECT YOURSELF, AND YOUR MONEY

Are you getting more unwanted text messages on your phone than you used to get? That is partly the result of a good thing – robocalls have declined. Robotexts, however, have increased. As robotexts bilked Americans out of $86 billion in 2020, you want to be wary of even the most innocuous messages coming your way.

The number of robocalls fell by 29% from the end of June to the end of August, partly because the Federal Communications Commission required U.S. phone carriers to adopt Secure Telephone Identity Revisited and Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs (STIR/SHAKEN) by June 30. This is a blocking technology designed to foil caller ID spoofing (a tactic that 35-40% of robocalls employ). Faced with STIR/SHAKEN, spammers and scam artists have shifted their focus toward texts. If you get what seems to be a robotext, texting back STOP is not the answer. By doing that, you verify your phone number as a target for more robotexts (and your number could end up on a list of targeted numbers that may be sold to other marketers or cybercrooks). Instead, block and report the robotexts to your phone carrier. You can also forward robotexts to the Federal Trade Commission at 7726 (the keypad shorthand for the word SPAM); the FTC will then alert your phone service provider to the robotext.1

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 10/11/2021

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

The overhang of bumping against the federal debt ceiling was lifted last week with an agreement to extend the debt ceiling through early December, helping propel stocks to a weekly gain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased by 1.22%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 added 0.79%. The Nasdaq Composite index gained 0.09%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, was flat (+0.11%).1,2,3

Read More


Will Fed Chair Powell Get a Second Term?

TOP

Financial markets tend to function best when they have clear, strong leadership. When there’s concern about who’s the boss, markets can struggle.

Jerome Powell’s first term as Fed Chair ends in February 2022. Until the past few weeks, Wall Street overwhelmingly believed he would be nominated to a second term by President Biden.1

But Powell’s prospect for being renominated appears less certain than ever. During an appearance by Powell before the Senate Banking Committee in September, a prominent committee member stated that she would not support his nomination. Other senators have voiced concerns, but this was the first time that a key senator declared opposition.2

Read More


Ready for Medicare Open Enrollment?

TOP

Medicare’s annual open enrollment period begins October 15 and ends December 7. During this time, current Medicare beneficiaries have the option to adjust their coverage for the coming year. Any changes to your plan will go into effect on January 1, 2022.1

This is an opportunity to reassess your current coverage and identify potential areas for improvement. Maybe you’ve recently changed medication, find yourself underutilizing coverage, or are in need of additional benefits.

Read More


Will the IPO Market Heat Up?

TOP

If the stock market outlook brightens, there are expectations for a bumper crop of initial public offerings to make their debuts over the next several weeks.

Somewhere between 90 to 110 IPOs are preparing to come public by the end of the year, which would make 2021 the biggest year for total capital raised since 2000.1

But a sluggish stock market may disrupt the best-laid plans. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost nearly 5 percent in September—snapping its seven-month winning streak.2

Read More


Monthly Economic Update for October, 2021

TOP

U.S. Markets

The stock market hit a pocket of turbulence in September, with investors turning cautious amid Delta variant infections, slowing economic growth and ongoing policy debate in Washington.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 4.29 percent while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 4.76 percent. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 5.31 percent.1

Read More


Quarterly Economic Update for 3Q 2021

TOP

THE QUARTER IN BRIEF

Overcoming rising Delta variant infections, a slowing economic expansion, and growing inflation worries, stocks raced higher through the course of the first two months of the third quarter, propelled by strong corporate earnings, the absence of compelling investment alternatives to stocks, and a “buy on the dip” investor mentality. Investors, however, turned more cautious in September, wary of the season’s rocky reputation, persistently high levels of COVID-19 cases, the length of time that the market has gone without a meaningful retreat, and the fiscal and tax policies under discussion in Washington, D.C.

Amid this caution and absent any positive catalysts, September turned volatile, with stocks retracing their earlier gains as seasonal weakness was exacerbated by the mounting financial difficulties of a debt-laden, large property developer in China and rising bond yields.

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 10/4/2021

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Higher bond yields and a legislative stalemate in Washington, D.C., added up to losses for the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 1.36%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 2.21%. The Nasdaq Composite index fell 3.20%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, shed 2.58%.1,2,3

Read More


End-Of-The-Year Money Moves - 2021

TOP

What has changed for you in 2021? For some, this year has been as complicated as learning a new dance. Did you start a new job or leave a job behind? That’s one step. Did you retire? There’s another step. If notable changes occurred in your personal or professional life, then you may want to review your finances before this year ends and 2022 begins. Proving that you have all the right moves in 2021 might put you in a better position to tango with 2022.

Even if your 2021 has been relatively uneventful, the end of the year is still a good time to get cracking and see where you can manage your overall personal finances.  

Read More


Roller-Coaster Week in Washington

TOP

Debates over government debt, taxes, and infrastructure have captured the attention of the nation this week. All eyes are on Washington and Wall Street as these events play out, with potentially far-reaching consequences that seem to shift hour by hour.

Throughout September, the markets have reacted to legislative decisions that could raise taxes for some, as well as hotly contested measures to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling. Markets appear headed to some of their lowest monthly returns in over a year.1

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 9/27/2021

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks prices were whipsawed last week, dragged initially lower by financial contagion worries and later lifted by a supportive Fed policy statement.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.62%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 advanced 0.51%. The Nasdaq Composite index was flat (+0.02%) for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, ticked higher by 0.20%.1,2,3

Read More


Fed Rescues September

TOP

A funny thing happened in the investment markets the other day. September was living up to its reputation as a volatile month, but then the Federal Reserve came to the rescue. 

The Fed concluded its Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Wednesday, September 22. It announced that it might start tapering its monthly bond purchases soon, perhaps as early as November, and could raise interest rates sometime next year.1

Before the Fed news, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down nearly 4% for the month.2

Read More


Fallout from the Chinese Property Market

TOP

There’s a famous saying about a hurricane starting from a butterfly flapping its wings on the other side of the world. That “butterfly effect” is certainly happening in terms of the Chinese property market’s influence on financial markets around the world.

For America, the concern contributed to the worst single day for the S&P 500 since May of this year. With building on a decline in China, the effect is felt in related industries in the U.S., such as construction equipment and investment firms.1

Read More


Are Your Taxes Going to Change?

TOP

Most likely, you’ve heard what’s brewing in Washington, D.C., called by one of these names.

The Build Back Better Act. Or the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill. Or the Jobs and Economic Recovery Plan for Working Families.1

Regardless of what name you’ve heard, one fact is clear: It is likely to be months before any action is taken. 

When bills are being worked on—especially one that’s this size—it’s a good time to take a quick Civics refresher. Right now, the bill is “in committee” with both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The committees are filling in the policy details and the exact financial figures, which can be a long process.2

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 9/20/2021

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks weakened ahead of this week’s Federal Reserve meeting and amid persistent concerns about the Delta variant’s impact on the economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat (-0.07%), while the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 0.57%. The Nasdaq Composite index lost 0.47% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, dropped 0.65%.1,2,3

Read More


Annual Financial To-Do List

TOP

What financial, business, or life priorities do you need to address for the coming year? Now is an excellent time to think about the investing, saving, or budgeting methods you could employ toward specific objectives, from building your retirement fund to managing your taxes. You have plenty of choices. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Can you contribute more to your retirement plans this year? In 2022, the contribution limit for a Roth or traditional individual retirement account (IRA) is expected to remain at $6,000 ($7,000 for those making “catch-up” contributions). Your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) may affect how much you can put into a Roth IRA. With a traditional IRA, you can contribute if you (or your spouse if filing jointly) have taxable compensation, but income limits are one factor in determining whether the contribution is tax-deductible.1

Read More


The Underutilized Benefits of a Health Savings Account

TOP

Healthcare can be one of the priciest yet essential parts of life’s journey. And yet, many struggle to utilize the financial tools that may help. Take Health Saving Accounts (HSAs), for example.

In 2019, 55% of those with HSAs that did not record a distribution also did not receive either employee or employer contributions. This suggests that the lack of distributions are due to account holders becoming disengaged from their accounts, rather than not having access to this cost-saving financial tool.1

And yet, for those looking to help manage the financial impact of healthcare, a Health Savings Account (HSA) may be just the ticket.

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 9/13/2021

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

In a quiet week of news, stocks moved lower amid simmering concerns over the Delta variant’s effect on the progress of economic reopening.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 2.15%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 dropped 1.69%. The Nasdaq Composite index fell 1.61% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, slipped 0.63%.1,2,3

Read More


The Best, the Brightest, and Inflation

TOP

If you are feeling a bit confused about the direction of inflation, you’re in good company. Some of the best and brightest economists in the country are having a tough time getting their arms around the current inflation trends.

The most recent Producer Price Index reading came in above economists’ estimates at a record level of 8.3% compared with a year earlier. Producer prices can be an indicator of future price changes at the consumer level.1

One way to gauge inflation is to watch the people responsible for managing inflation – the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors. In recent weeks, several governors have indicated they are comfortable with how the economy is recovering. So comfortable that they appear ready to slightly change course with monetary policy in the next few months.2

Read More


Making Sense of Seemingly Inconsistent Numbers

TOP

It can be incredibly difficult to make sense of data. A report coming from one body may tell you one thing, and another report might seem to offer a wholly different perspective.

Such is the case with August’s jobs numbers from the Department of Labor. There was a vast difference between the number projected in surveys of economists (720,000) and the number we received: a 235,000 increase for nonfarm payrolls. Adding to the confusion, the unemployment numbers dropped in the same period: from 5.4% to 5.2%.1

You might be better versed in these matters than the average person. For example, you might understand that these numbers are calculated differently, and with totally disparate factors considered. That accounts for how unemployment can decrease, yet jobs numbers come in so low. 

Read More


The September Effect

TOP

The stock market notched its 7th straight month of gains in August, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index has set 53 new highs so far in 2021.1

During August, stocks rallied as investors looked past the increased number of COVID-19 Delta  variant cases and barely reacted when the Federal Reserve said it might begin tapering its monthly bond purchases by year-end. 

But it's a new month, and you should expect to see an article or two about what's called the "September Effect." September is when many professional investors end their fiscal year, which can lead to some overall market weakness.2

Read More


Retirement In Sight for September, 2021

TOP

POSSIBLE CHANGES FOR CATCH-UP CONTRIBUTIONS

Since 2002, Americans aged 50 and older have been permitted to make annual "catch-up" contributions to popular retirement accounts – but according to Vanguard’s 2021 How America Saves report, just 15% of retirement savers do. One factor may be the limits on these contributions. Many pre-retirees who are old enough to "catch up" would like to contribute considerably more to their retirement plans, as they need to ramp up their rate of saving.

Proposed legislation making its way through Congress could allow people over 60 to make larger yearly catch-up contributions to some of the most popular types of workplace retirement plans. Essentially, there are variations of the same bill circulating in Washington. The Senate version would let those 60 and older make annual catch-ups of up to $10,000 to employer-sponsored retirement plans. The House version also has a $10,000 annual maximum, but the enlarged catch-ups would have to be after-tax contributions. An after-tax contribution does not reduce your current taxable income by an equivalent amount, but it may help reduce your income tax burden during retirement. With many seniors needing to save more – much more – before they conclude their careers or sell their businesses, any new laws allowing larger catch-up contributions could be a benefit.1

Read More


Weekly Economic Update for 9/6/2021

TOP

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks were mixed last week amid conflicting economic data and continued spread of Delta variant infections.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.24% during the five trading days. But the Standard & Poor’s 500 tacked on 0.58% and the Nasdaq Composite index rose 1.55%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, gained 1.51%.1,2,3

Read More


Monthly Economic Update for September, 2021

TOP

U.S. Markets

Signs of an improving labor market, strong corporate earnings, and more clarity from the Fed on its tapering plans propelled stocks to multiple record highs during August. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.22 percent while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 2.90 percent. The Nasdaq Composite led, picking up 4.00 percent.1

Read More


Could Custodial IRAs Help Young Adults Buy Homes?

TOP

Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) are for retirement saving, right? Absolutely. Is that their only purpose? Not necessarily.

Imagine using an IRA not only to save, but to facilitate a home purchase. This would obviously be a tall order for an adult, given current home values, yearly IRA contribution limits, and the priority of amassing retirement savings. How about for a child, though? Could an IRA help them out?

This thought has led some families to open custodial Roth IRAs. You can start a Roth IRA on behalf of a child, as long as that child has “earned income” (that is, income from either a W-2 job or some kind of self-employment). The IRA belongs to the child, but until the child becomes an adult, you (or some other adult) act as the IRA’s custodian.1,2

Read More


Reevaluate Your Work-Life Balance This Labor Day

TOP

More than just a bookend to the summer season, Labor Day is a celebration of workers' contributions to the well-being of our country and the economy.

Labor Day was first celebrated on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the Central Labor Union. On June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day a national holiday. Now, the first Monday in September is annually dedicated to the hard work and achievements of American workers.1

Read More


The FAFSA Simplification Act

TOP

As a parent or grandparent, you know firsthand the challenges of funding a child’s education. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Act was passed at the end of 2020 and has changed some of the qualifications for students to receive financial aid.

These changes will affect those applying for financial aid for the 2024-2025 school year. You’ll notice these changes on October 1, 2023, which is when the FAFSA opens for the 2024-2025 school year.1

Read More


The Need for Power of Attorney

TOP

The point of the POA. A power of attorney (POA) is a legal instrument that delegates an individual’s legal authority to another person. If an individual is incapacitated, the POA assigns a trusted party to make decisions on his or her behalf. 

There are nondurable, springing, and durable powers of attorney. A nondurable power of attorney often comes into play in real estate transactions, or when someone elects to delegate their financial affairs to an assignee during an extended absence. A springing power of attorney “springs” into effect when a specific event occurs (usually an illness or disability affecting an individual). A "durable" power of attorney allows an assignee, or agent, to act on behalf of a second party, or principal, even after the principal is not mentally competent or physically able to make decisions. Once a principal signs, or executes, a durable power of attorney, it may be used immediately, until it is either revoked by the principal or the principal dies.

Read More

Meet the team

Have you met our team?

We have a wealth of experience in the financial services industry.

Website Design For Financial Services Professionals | Copyright 2022 AdvisorWebsites.com. All rights reserved