Economic Updates & Financial Articles

Economic Updates & Financial Articles

Economic Updates:

Financial Articles:

 


Weekly Economic Update for 2/26/2024

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Stocks vaulted to new heights last week on the back of an artificial intelligence (AI) semiconductor company, marking investors’ belief that AI has the potential to transform the U.S. economy.

Stocks Rally To Record Highs

Stocks traded in a fairly tight range for the first half of the short week, yawning at the lack of economic data while awaiting earnings results from one key company that creates chips that power the artificial intelligence operations of many firms.

A strong Q4 corporate report and long-term message from Nvidia Corp. pushed the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to new closing highs on Thursday.

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Eight Mistakes That Can Upend Your Retirement

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Pursuing your retirement dreams is challenging enough without making some common, and very avoidable, mistakes. Here are eight big mistakes to steer clear of, if possible.

No Strategy: Yes, the biggest mistake is having no strategy at all. Without a strategy, you may have no goals, leaving you no way of knowing how you’ll get there—and if you’ve even arrived. Creating a strategy may increase your potential for success, both before and after retirement.

Frequent Trading: Chasing “hot” investments often leads to despair. Create an asset allocation strategy that is properly diversified to reflect your objectives, risk tolerance, and time horizon; then make adjustments based on changes in your personal situation, not due to market ups and downs.1

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Your Emergency Fund: How Much Is Enough?

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Have you ever had one of those months? The water heater stops heating, the dishwasher stops washing, and your family ends up on a first-name basis with the nurse at urgent care. Then, as you’re driving to work, you see smoke coming from under your hood.

Bad things happen to the best of us, and sometimes it seems like they come in waves. That’s when an emergency cash fund can come in handy.

One survey found that over two in three Americans are not confident that they have enough emergency savings to cover a month's worth of expenses. Another survey found that 43% of Americans said they wouldn’t be able to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense with money from their savings account.1,2

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Weekly Economic Update for 2/19/2024

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks fell last week as investors reacted to disappointing inflation updates and other economic reports that fell short of estimates.

Stocks Snap Winning Streak

Markets were quiet Monday but opened lower Tuesday in response to the January inflation report that showed higher-than-expected consumer prices. But stocks regained some momentum on Wednesday and rallied Thursday despite disappointing reports on both retail sales and industrial production for January.1,2

News of higher-than-expected wholesale prices on Friday put investors back on edge and kept stocks from ending the week on a positive note. The weekly loss broke a five-week winning streak.3

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Getting a Head Start on College Savings

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One study estimates the average cost of raising a child to the age of 17 for a middle-income family is about $310,605. As a point of comparison, the median home price in the U.S. was $417,700 at the end of 2023.1,2

If you want to add the cost of education to that number, you can expect to be paying an additional $24,030 a year for the cost of a public four-year in-state university.3

But before you throw your hands up in the air and send junior out looking for a job, you might consider a few strategies to help you prepare for the cost of higher education.

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A Taxing Story: Capital Gains and Losses

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Chris Rock once remarked, “You don’t pay taxes – they take taxes.” That applies not only to income but also to capital gains.

Capital gains result when an individual sells an investment for an amount greater than their purchase price. Capital gains are categorized as short-term gains (a gain realized on an asset held one year or less) or long-term gains (a gain realized on an asset held longer than one year).

Keep in mind that the information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.

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Weekly Economic Update for 2/12/2024

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

The stock market experienced solid gains last week, concluding the trading week on a positive note, thanks to robust corporate reports and favorable inflation news; this propelled the S&P 500 Index to achieve a new record high at the end of the week.

S&P Tops 5,000

At the start of last week's trading, stocks faced downward pressure due to comments by Fed Chair Powell over the weekend, signaling that the Federal Reserve had no immediate plans to initiate interest rate cuts. Consequently, the yield on the two-year U.S. Treasury note, highly influenced by monetary policy, increased to its highest level in two months.1

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What Is a 1035 Exchange?

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According to the most recent information available, Americans have individual life insurance with a total face value of $14 trillion.1

Due to a variety of factors, these individuals may find themselves in circumstances where the specific life insurance policy or annuity contract they own does not suit their needs. They may want to exchange products without incurring a taxable event.2

That’s where Section 1035 of the Internal Revenue Code comes in. A 1035 exchange provides a means for exchanging an annuity contract or life insurance policy without being treated as if it had been surrendered or sold. Keep in mind that a 1035 exchange can be used only when it involves the same contract or policyholder and the same type of product.3

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Three Key Questions to Answer Before Taking Social Security

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Social Security is a critical component of the retirement financial strategy for many Americans, so before you begin taking it, you should consider three important questions. The answers may affect whether you make the most of this retirement income source.

When to Start?
You have the choice of 1) starting benefits at age 62, 2) claiming them at your full retirement age, or 3) delaying payments until age 70. If you claim early, you can expect to receive a monthly benefit that will be lower than what you would have earned at full retirement. If you wait until age 70, you can expect to receive an even higher monthly benefit than you would have received if you had begun taking payments at your full retirement age. The decision of when to begin taking benefits may hinge on whether you need the income now or can wait, and whether you think your lifespan will be shorter or longer than the average American.

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Weekly Economic Update for 2/5/2024

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks pushed higher last week as investors cheered mega-cap tech corporate reports and a better-than-expected employment report.

Stocks at New Highs

At the beginning of the week, stocks surged, anticipating fourth-quarter corporate updates from tech companies and the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting; this led to the S&P 500 Index reaching a new record high on Monday.

The market remained relatively stable for the rest of the week until Wednesday, when the Federal Reserve announced its decision to maintain interest rates within the 5.25-5.50 percent target range. The Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) news unsettled investors, who anticipated that rates would remain unchanged but expected more specific guidance on the Fed's plan to lower interest rates.1

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Five Most Overlooked Tax Deductions

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Who among us wants to pay the IRS more taxes than we have to?

While few may raise their hands, Americans regularly overpay because they fail to take tax deductions for which they are eligible. Let’s take a quick look at the five most overlooked opportunities to manage your tax bill.

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Important Birthdays Over 50

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Most children stop being "and-a-half" somewhere around age 12. Kids add "and-a-half" to make sure everyone knows they're closer to the next age than the last.

When you are older, "and-a-half" birthdays start making a comeback. In fact, starting at age 50, several birthdays and "half-birthdays" are critical to understand because they have implications regarding your retirement income.

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Weekly Economic Update for 1/29/2024

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks continued their upward climb last week as excitement around big tech continued; positive economic reports stoked investors’ belief that the Federal Reserve has pulled off a soft landing.

Stocks Power Ahead

Big tech was back last week, pushing the Dow and the S&P 500 to new highs early in the week as markets resumed the late Q4 rally.

The so-called “Magnificent Seven” stocks—comprising 28% of the S&P 500 Index—resumed their pole position at the head of the pack as investors maintained their artificial intelligence (AI)-related bullishness and rewarded widespread cost-cutting at many tech giants. While the rally fizzled on Friday, the week’s gains were slow but steady.1,2,3

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Roth IRA for Kids

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Small business owners may find it challenging to find ways to provide additional benefits to their children who work for the company. One often overlooked choice is including a Roth individual retirement account (IRA) as part of their compensation, a strategy that offers the potential to benefit both the children and the business.

Small businesses play a significant role in labor markets. They employ 61.7 million Americans, 46.4 percent of all private-sector employees. Over the period from 1995 to the present, small businesses have been responsible for generating 17.3 million net new jobs, which accounts for an impressive 62.7 percent of all jobs created since 1995.1

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Weekly Economic Update for 1/22/2024

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks finished higher last week, with big tech again leading amid lingering uncertainty over how continued economic strength would influence the Fed’s rate decision.

Stocks Dip, Then Rally 

Stock prices dropped early in the week before rising to new highs as the week ended. The four-day trading week began with more Q4 bank earnings, which disappointed. The news pushed the financial sector and the broader S&P 500 Index lower on Tuesday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury climbed after a Fed Governor said the central bank may not adjust rates as much as markets expect. That and a stronger-than-expected holiday retail sales report put pressure on stock prices.1,2,3

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Retiring Wild: National Parks and You

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For many older adults, finding time to experience nature can be one of the greatest pleasures in retirement. And what better place to take in America's splendor than one of our over 400 National Park Service sites? For over a century, generations of retirees have explored these stunning landscapes, marveled at the diverse wildlife, and discovered the physical benefits of a retirement spent in the great outdoors. But recent research suggests that the mental benefits could be even more important for retirees. Read on to learn more.1

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Essential Financial Figures | 2024

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Stay organized and informed with this printable, newly updated resource of essential financial figures and dates.

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Weekly Economic Update for 1/15/2024

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks pushed higher last week, led by big tech names and boosted by December inflation reports that were mixed but positive enough to shore up investor confidence in Fed rate cuts this year.

Stocks Rock And Roll

It was a rocky week that ended on a high note. Stocks rallied Monday after the prior week's decline. Tech shares led, with the Nasdaq posting its best day since November 14.

On Tuesday, stocks initially tumbled but recovered most of their losses late in the session. Stocks rallied on Wednesday ahead of inflation news the following two trading days. Stocks fell initially on Thursday in response to a hotter-than-expected inflation report, reflecting investor concerns about the certainty, timing, and extent of Fed rate cuts later this year.

On Friday, the start of earnings season brought mixed results from a handful of major banks. By close, stocks had recovered most of their losses, ending the week with solid gains.1,2,3,4,5

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Managing an Inheritance

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Inheriting wealth can be a burden and a blessing. Even if you have an inclination that a family member may remember you in their last will and testament, there are many facets to the process of inheritance that you may not have considered. Here are some things you may want to keep in mind if it comes to pass.

Keep in mind this article is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for real-life advice, so consider speaking with a legal or tax professional before making any decisions with an inheritance.

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Stop Wasting Money

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Benjamin Franklin once said, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” One way to find the money to meet your spending or saving needs is to examine your current spending habits and consider eliminating money wasters.

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Weekly Economic Update for 1/8/2024

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks retreated in the first trading week of 2024, struggling a bit after a celebratory end to last year as investors second-guessed Fed signals and fretted over lingering inflation concerns.

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The Financial Literacy Crisis

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Imagine driving a car without a basic understanding of the rules of the road or even how to operate it. Scary thought.

Here’s another scary circumstance – one that is all too real. Many Americans are making financial decisions with minimal financial knowledge of investing, budgeting, and credit. The TIAA Institute conducted a survey on U.S. financial literacy, asking 28 basic questions about retirement savings, debt management, budgeting, and other financial matters. The average respondent answered only about half of the questions correctly.1

Another recent survey conducted by the Census Bureau found that almost 40% of Americans say that it has been somewhat or very difficult to pay for usual household expenses in the last seven days.2

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Making a Charitable Contribution

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Why sell shares when you can gift them? If you have appreciated stocks in your portfolio, you might want to consider donating those shares to charity rather than selling them.

Donating appreciated securities to a tax-qualified charity may allow you to manage your taxes and benefit the charity. If you have held the stock for more than a year, you may be able to deduct from your taxes the fair market value of the stock in the year that you donate. If the charity is tax-exempt, it may not face capital gains tax on the stock if it sells it in the future.1

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.

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Weekly Economic Update for 1/1/2024

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks posted a slight gain last week amid a shortage of news and light holiday trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.76%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 added 0.49%. The Nasdaq Composite index advanced 0.32% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, increased 1.13%.1,2,3

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What Is a Roth 401(k)?

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While many people are familiar with the benefits of traditional 401(k) plans, others are not as acquainted with Roth 401(k)s.

Since January 1, 2006, employers have been allowed to offer workers access to Roth 401(k) plans. And starting in 2023, retirement rules were updated to allow more retirement plans the ability to offer Roth contributions.1,2

As the name implies, Roth 401(k) plans combine features of 401(k) plans with those of a Roth IRA.3,4

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When Life Insurance Becomes Taxable

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In 1900, the average life expectancy of a newborn was only 32 years old. By 2021, that number more than doubled to 71 years, and the trend is expected to continue.1

Living this long may have unexpected tax consequences. Here’s why.

Many older life insurance policies mature at a specific age, typically 95 or 100. If the insured individual attains that age, the policy’s cash value may be paid out to the policy owner in lieu of a death benefit payment.2

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Weekly Economic Update for 12/25/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Investor optimism and fears of missing out on future gains propelled stocks higher in the last full week of trading before year-end.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.22%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 0.75%. The Nasdaq Composite index advanced 1.21% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, added 0.51%.1,2,3

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Weekly Economic Update for 12/18/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Markets reacted positively last week to cooler inflation and the idea of potential rate cuts next year, adding to the gains of the market’s year-end rally.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.92%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 2.50%. The Nasdaq Composite index picked up 2.85% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, tacked on 2.75%.1,2,3

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How Boomers and Millennials Differ

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We are in the midst of an unprecedented transfer of wealth, with trillions of dollars being moved from one generation to the next. This transfer challenges many commonly held notions as new values and interests become more prominent. In short, the economy is changing, and while some of these new practices might raise an eyebrow or two, not all of these ideas are without merit.

For someone from the boomer generation, it might be easy to become upset with or confused by millennials' differing points of view. However, taking note of the differences between the two generations can foster better communication and understanding.

The younger generations, including millennials, Gen Z, zoomers, and whatever else you call them, have a different perspective on wealth than their forebears. As these generations reach middle age, an interesting trend has emerged in emphasizing YOLO (You Only Live Once). Now that these generations have the steering wheel, they seem to be stepping on the gas and running full force into exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

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White Elephant Inheritance

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Have you ever had to deal with a "white elephant"? Not the actual pachyderm, but what Merriam-Webster calls "a property requiring much care and expense yielding little profit" or, more simply, "something of little or no value." Of course, we're not talking about the sort of "white elephants" you might get in a humorous gift exchange over the holidays, like a tacky t-shirt that isn't even your size or an inexplicable kitchen gadget.

Not everyone has a rich uncle who will present them with a simple cash gift in his will. A "white elephant" is a gift that may cause more issues than it resolves, much as an elephant might eat an unwitting recipient out of house and home. It's an asset that comes to you via gift or inheritance and needs to be quickly sold, liquidated, or transferred to avoid further expenses of time or money. In such cases, it is crucial to understand how to disclaim an inheritance properly and avoid holding the burden. The average American household stands to inherit $46,200. Not all those bequeathments are straight cash, and some might prove inconvenient or troublesome.1

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Weekly Economic Update for 12/11/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

A late-week, two-day rally left stocks higher, adding to November’s gains as the last month of trading for 2023 began.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat (+0.01%), while the Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 0.21%. The Nasdaq Composite index advanced 0.69% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, was up 0.37%.1,2,3

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Do Your Kids Know The Value Of A Silver Spoon?

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You taught them how to read and how to ride a bike, but have you taught your children how to manage money?

The average debt for student borrowers is $40,499. And nearly 11% of new graduates will default within the first twelve months of repayment.1,2

For current college kids, it may be too late to avoid learning about debt the hard way. But if you still have children at home, save them (and yourself) some heartache by teaching them the basics of smart money management.

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Four Steps to Valuing an Estate

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Determining the value of an estate is a fundamental first step in estate management and a critical requirement for settling a decedent’s estate.1

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Weekly Economic Update for 12/4/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

A Friday rally turned an otherwise mixed week for stocks into a solid performance.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 2.42%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 0.77%. The Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.38% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, ended marginally higher by 0.13%.1,2,3

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What If Your Kids Decide Against College?

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As a parent or grandparent, you may have diligently saved money in a 529 account to help fund your child's or grandchild's college education. But what happens if they decide college isn't the right path for them? It's a valid question that many families are facing as more and more people choose alternatives to traditional four-year colleges.

It's a more common situation than you might think. Fewer students are going to college, and the expenses continue to climb. American undergraduate enrollment rates peaked in 2010 and have steadily declined since. During the same period, college costs have risen over 12 percent.1,2,3,4

A 529 plan is a college savings plan that allows individuals to save for college on a tax-advantaged basis. The state tax treatment of 529 accounts is only one factor to consider before committing to this savings plan. You should also consider any fees and expenses associated with a particular plan. Whether or not a state tax deduction is available will depend on your state of residence. State tax laws and treatment may vary, and state tax laws may differ from federal tax laws. Earnings on nonqualified distributions will be subject to income tax and a 10 percent federal penalty tax.

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Find That Lost Retirement Account

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Do you have a long-lost retirement account left with a former employer? Maybe it’s been so long that you can’t even remember. With over 24 million “forgotten” 401(k) accounts holding roughly $1.35 trillion in assets, even the most organized professional may be surprised to learn that they have unclaimed “found” money.1

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Weekly Economic Update for 11/27/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Investor enthusiasm for stocks remained strong last week, buoyed by declining bond yields in a holiday-abbreviated trading week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 1.27%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 1.00%. The Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.89% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, was flat (+0.03%).1,2,3

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Financial Strategies for Women

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Nearly 60% of women take sole responsibility for making investment decisions, yet only 19% of women feel very confident in their ability to fully retire with a comfortable lifestyle.1,2

Although more women are providing for their families, when it comes to preparing for retirement, they may be leaving their future to chance.

"Female investors thrive and often outperform their male counterparts."

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Making a Charitable Gift

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Why sell shares when you can gift them? If you have appreciated stocks in your portfolio, you might want to consider donating those shares to charity rather than selling them.

Donating appreciated securities to a tax-qualified charity may allow you to manage your taxes and benefit the charity. If you have held the stock for more than a year, you may be able to deduct from your taxes the fair market value of the stock in the year that you donate. If the charity is tax-exempt, it may not face capital gains tax on the stock if it sells it in the future.1

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.

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Weekly Economic Update for 11/20/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks extended their November rally last week as investors cheered lower-than-forecast inflation data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.94%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 added 2.24%. The Nasdaq Composite index rose 2.37% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, increased 3.36%.1,2,3

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Should I Accept a Free Credit Lock?

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In today's increasingly connected world, protecting your information is arguably more important than ever. Your credit report consists of a slew of personal details, such as your financial activity, credit accounts, loans, and payment history. Because of the importance of your credit report, credit bureaus such as Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion offer credit locks to help protect consumers in the event of identity theft or fraud.

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Weekly Economic Update for 11/13/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

A powerful Friday rally left stocks higher last week, extending the market’s early November gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.65%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 advanced 1.31%. The Nasdaq Composite index jumped 2.37% higher for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, edged 0.25% higher.1,2,3

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The Lowdown on Those Free Credit Scores

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The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003 provided individuals with valuable rights to the credit information companies keep on them, but did you know that the credit score provided to you may be different than the one provided to lenders?

The first thing you should know is that you have a right to see your credit report once annually without cost. You can find free credit reports online. The report will contain important information that may affect your credit score.

While your credit report can be obtained for free, your credit score will cost you money, except in the case where you have been denied a loan on the basis of your credit score, in which case you may obtain your credit score for free. However, many banks and lenders are now providing their customers with free monthly credit score updates.

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Keep Your Umbrella Handy

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In 2021, the U.S. had a record 24.5 million millionaires, up from 20.2 million in the previous year. An increase in personal wealth may bring greater financial flexibility; it may also bring greater liability. Individuals with high net worth, or those who are perceived to have high net worth, may be more likely to be sued. And personal injury claims can cost millions.1

Umbrella liability insurance is designed to put an extra layer of protection between your assets and a potential lawsuit. It provides coverage over and above existing automobile and homeowners insurance limits.

For example, imagine your teenage son borrows your car and gets in an accident, seriously injuring the other driver. The accident results in a lawsuit and a $1 million judgment against you. If your car insurance policy has a liability limit of $500,000, that much should be covered. If you have additional umbrella liability coverage, your policy can be designed to kick in and cover the rest. Without umbrella coverage, you may be responsible for paying out of pocket for the other $500,000, which could mean liquidating assets, losing the equity in your home, or even having your wages garnished.

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Weekly Economic Update for 11/6/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks ripped higher last week on a dramatic retreat in bond yields triggered by easing inflation and a slowing labor market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 5.07%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 surged 5.85%. The Nasdaq Composite index rocketed 6.61% higher for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, gained 3.12%.1,2,3

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A Brief Guide To Condo Insurance

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The ownership structure of a condominium unit is different from that of a single family house. Here’s what you need to know when purchasing insurance for your condo.1

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Weekly Economic Update for 10/30/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Amid a busy week of corporate earnings reports, stocks slumped on cautious earnings guidance, fears of higher interest rates, and growing anxiety over the increasing amount of Treasury bonds and notes coming to market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.88%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 declined 3.29%. But the Nasdaq Composite index gave up 4.48% for the five trading days. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, retreated 1.82%.1,2,3

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Intellectual Property and Your Estate

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Among the many considerations to ponder when forming your estate strategy, intellectual property (IP) is among the more important and misunderstood. The phrase itself may be somewhat confusing, as people may not know whether it applies to them or their assets. To clear things up, let's start by defining what exactly is meant by intellectual property.

IP embraces four distinct areas of consideration: patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Let's look at each of these in a little more detail:

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Reviewing Your Life Insurance Needs

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Life is an ever-evolving journey marked by significant milestones, personal growth, and unexpected changes. As life unfolds, your financial and insurance needs also shift, changing from year to year, decade to decade. A good example of this is life insurance. If you have a life insurance policy that you haven't reviewed recently, it may no longer align with your current needs. That is why reviewing your life insurance periodically may be a good approach.

Several factors affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder may also pay surrender charges and face income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.

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Weekly Economic Update for 10/23/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Rising bond yields and uncertainty over whether this was the close of the Fed’s rate-hike cycle dragged markets lower last week despite solid corporate earnings results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 1.61%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 2.39%. The Nasdaq Composite index, which has led for much of the year, slumped 3.16%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, retreated 1.67%.1,2,3

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Estate Strategies of the Rich and Famous

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Famous people are all too human. Tabloid newspapers and celebrity magazines and websites make bank chronicling their every moment, from going out for a coffee to attending glamorous premieres and glitzy concerts. And, yes, whenever they make a mistake, those same outlets bring it to your phones and tablets in real time. 

Sometimes these “oops” moments follow our celebrities long after they’ve taken their final bows, as their heirs and other interested parties battle over their estates. You might think that these stars, with their giant entourages, must have trusted financial professionals in their lives, assisting them in creating estate strategies–but in many cases, you would be wrong. Whether it’s because they have misconceptions about estate strategy or because they passed unexpectedly, these celebs have seen their legacies turn into games of tug-of-war. 

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Weekly Economic Update for 10/16/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks ended mixed last week amid the outbreak of hostilities in the Middle East and higher-than-expected inflation data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.20%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 0.45%. But the Nasdaq Composite index slipped 0.18% for the five trading days. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, advanced 2.37%.1,2,3

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A Penny Saved is Two Pennies Earned

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The famous saying from Poor Richard’s Almanack is frequently misquoted. It was published by founder Benjamin Franklin in 1737: “A penny saved is two pence clear.” Finding ways to manage expenses is one of the cornerstones of a sound financial strategy.

Here are some simple and inexpensive energy-saving tips that may help you save money.

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Weekly Economic Update for 10/9/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

A Friday rally overcame a shaky week, sending stocks mostly higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.30% for the week. Meanwhile, the Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 0.48%, and the Nasdaq Composite index added 1.60% for the five trading days. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, fell 2.37%.1,2,3

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A Bucket Plan to Go with Your Bucket List

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John and Mary are nearing retirement and they have a lot of items on their bucket list. Longer life expectancies mean John and Mary may need to prepare for two or even three decades of retirement. How should they position their money?1

One approach is to segment your expenses into three buckets:

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9 Facts About Retirement

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Retirement can have many meanings. For some, it will be a time to travel and spend time with family members. For others, it will be a time to start a new business or begin a charitable endeavor. Regardless of what approach you intend to take, here are nine things about retirement that might surprise you.

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Weekly Economic Update for 10/2/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Rising bond yields and government shutdown fears left stocks in mostly negative territory for the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.34%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 slipped 0.74%. The Nasdaq Composite index was flat (+0.06%) for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, fell 1.95%.1,2,3

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Weekly Economic Update for 9/25/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Rising bond yields and fears of a government shutdown hammered stocks last week, with technology shares bearing the brunt of the retreat.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.89%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 dropped 2.93%. The Nasdaq Composite index tumbled 3.62% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, fell 1.77%.1,2,3

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Navigating Retirement Pitfalls

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Much is written about the classic financial mistakes that plague start-ups, family businesses, corporations, and charities. Some classic financial missteps have been known to plague retirees, too.

Calling them "missteps" may be a bit harsh, as not all of them represent errors in judgment. Either way, becoming aware of these potential pitfalls may help you to avoid falling into them in the future.

Managing Social Security. Social Security benefits are structured to rise about 8% for every year you delay receiving them after your full retirement age. Is waiting a few years to apply for benefits an idea you might consider? Filing for your monthly benefits before you reach your full retirement age can mean comparatively smaller monthly payments.1

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Year-End Charitable Gifting and You

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Are you making charitable donations at year's end? If so, you should know about some of the financial "fine print" involved, as the right moves could potentially bring more of a benefit to both you and your chosen charity.

Keep in mind, this article is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for real-life advice. Make sure to consult your tax, legal, or accounting professionals before modifying your charitable gifting strategy.

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Weekly Economic Update for 9/18/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks ended the week roughly where they began as investors digested a mixed set of new economic data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.12%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 slipped 0.16%. The Nasdaq Composite index fell 0.39% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, added 1.23%.1,2,3

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3 Estate Challenges for Blended Families

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Preparing your estate can be complicated, and if you're a part of a blended family, estate decisions can be even more complex and nuanced. Blended families take on many forms but typically consist of couples with children from previous relationships. Here are a few case studies to help illustrate some of the challenges.

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Inventorying Your Possessions

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Only four in ten Americans have a home inventory, despite the fact that 3.4 million Americans were displaced by natural disasters in 2022.1,2

It’s great to have insurance against damage and loss, but if you can't show proof of your possessions, it may result in a protracted settlement process with your insurance company.

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Weekly Economic Update for 9/11/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Concerns that the Fed may raise interest rates soured investor sentiment, sending stocks lower in a holiday-shortened trading week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.75%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 declined 1.29%. The Nasdaq Composite index dropped 1.93% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, lost 1.28%.1,2,3

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AI Tools Changing Retiree Entrepreneurship

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Artificial intelligence (AI) tools have become a game changer in various industries, and they are also proving incredibly useful for retirees looking to start consulting or a small business venture. These tools can simplify tasks, streamline processes, and help retirees navigate the world of entrepreneurship more efficiently.1,2,3

One of the biggest challenges retirees may face when starting a business is writing tasks. Writing can be difficult and tedious for some, but AI tools can help alleviate this burden. AI-powered writing assistants can generate content, proofread, and even suggest improvements. These tools use advanced algorithms to analyze text and offer better sentence structure, grammar, and vocabulary. Retirees can rely on these tools to produce high-quality written content without spending hours perfecting it themselves.

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Weekly Economic Update for 9/4/2023

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THE WEEK ON WALL STREET
 
Falling bond yields–spurred by weak economic data–helped lift stocks to weekly gains.
 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 1.43%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 2.50%. The Nasdaq Composite index increased 3.25% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, picked up 2.71%.1,2,3

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