Blog

  • Financial Priorities Young Families Should Address
    In Educational
    Wise money moves for parents under 40. As you start a family, you start to think about certain financial matters. Before you became a mom or dad, you may not have thought about them much, but so much […]
  • Markets in Under a Minute 8/14/2017
    In Market Commentary
    Last week was a little rough for Wall Street.  The strained relationship with North Korea could be the culprit.  The Dow dipped below the 22,000 milestone and closed at 21,858.32 on […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 8/14/2017
    In Economic Updates
    TAME INFLATION PERSISTS Can the Federal Reserve justify another interest rate hike in the second half of 2017? Given weak inflation pressure, maybe not. The central bank has set a 2% yearly inflation […]
  • Translating Stock Market Jargon
    In Educational
    The meaning behind some of that Wall Street lingo. Have you ever been confused by the jargon used on Wall Street? Perhaps it is time to translate some of those esoteric stock market terms into plain […]
  • How To Make Your Money Work For You
    In Educational
    Compounding interest can be a wonderful thing. Everyone is told to save for retirement early. Everyone is told to save consistently. You may wonder: just what kind of difference might an early start […]
  • Preventing a Debit Card Hack
    In Educational
    How can you plan to protect yourself against this increasingly common crime? Debit card data theft has surged lately. According to FICO’s Card Alert Service, the number of businesses or ATM locations […]
  • Monthly Economic Update August 2017
    In Economic Updates
    THE MONTH IN BRIEF The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2.54% in July as earnings announcements and fundamental indicators provided a lift for the blue chips and other stock market indices. Hiring […]
  • Markets In Under A Minute 8/7/2017
    In Market Commentary
    Markets edging higher. The Dow hit 22,000 last week.  This is the Dow’s third 1,000 point milestone of the year.  It broke 20,000 January 25th and went through 21,000 on March 1st.1 The […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 8/7/2017
    In Economic Updates
    LATEST JOBS REPORT BRINGS GOOD NEWS U.S. payrolls swelled with 209,000 net new workers in July, according to the Department of Labor. That beat the 183,000 estimate by analysts surveyed by Reuters. […]
  • Now there are two kinds of Bitcoin?
    In Educational
    Bitcoin splits in two.  A feud has forced a “hard fork” for the original altcoin. There are now two kinds of bitcoin. A governance dispute over how to manage bitcoin transactions has prompted a […]
  • The Escalators and Elevators of the 401k World
    In Educational
    The individual 401k plan is probably your biggest retirement asset but is neglected the most. The bull market that we are currently enjoying turned eight years old last March.  That has been a […]
  • Has Your Identity Been Stolen?
    In Educational
    Keep an eye out for these signs. As NBC News notes, identity theft hit 15.4 million Americans last year. Perhaps it hit you. You know you have been victimized when you get that courtesy call or email […]
  • Medicare Enrollment Options for 2017-18
    In Educational
    A summary of what you need to know. Key Medicare enrollment periods are approaching. This fall and winter, there are three periods in which Medicare beneficiaries can either enroll or disenroll in […]
  • Before You Claim Social Security
    In Educational
    A few things you may want to think about before filing for benefits. Whether you want to leave work at 62, 67, or 70, claiming the retirement benefits you are entitled to by federal law is no casual […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 7/31/2017
    In Economic Updates
    HOUSEHOLDS ARE FEELING OPTIMISTIC Unemployment is at a 16-year low, and the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index is near a 16-year high. It reached 121.1 in July, rising 3.8 points; analysts […]
  • The Current CD Quandary
    In Educational
    Economists thought inflation would pick up. Guess again. The Consumer Price Index has advanced less than 2% in a year. Mortgage rates are still not far from historic lows. Low inflation is still with […]
  • How Risky are Cybercurrencies?
    In Educational
    Investors attracted by bitcoin & other altcoins should recognize their downsides. Bitcoin. Ethereum. Litecoin. Ripple. These are just four of the cybercurrencies attracting opportunistic […]
  • Are Financial Advisory Fees Tax Deductible?
    In Educational
    In some cases, they may be. Read on. Do you itemize your tax deductions? Then you might have a chance to partly or fully deduct the cost of the advisory fees you pay for the investment, legal, and […]
  • Getting (Mentally) Ready to Retire
    In Educational
    Even those who have saved millions must prepare for a lifestyle adjustment. A successful retirement is not merely measured in financial terms. Even those who retire with small fortunes can face […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 7/24/2017
    In Economic Updates
    WILL STOCKS GET AN EARNINGS BOOST? While the first full week of the Q2 earnings season saw no pronounced rallies, there were also no shocks. By Friday’s closing bell, 20% of S&P 500 member firms […]
  • Which Financial Documents Should You Keep On File?
    In Educational
    … and for how long? You might be surprised how many people have financial documents scattered all over the house – on the kitchen table, underneath old newspapers, in the hall closet, in the […]
  • Reverse Mortgages, Reconsidered
    In Educational
    Once widely disparaged, these loans are getting a second look. Too many baby boomers are retiring with insufficient savings. Some of these boomers are “house rich” and “cash poor,” and in response to […]
  • Do You Have a Financial Wellness Program?
    In Educational
    Companies are luring & retaining employees with this key perk. What do your retirement plan participants wish you would offer? Besides the chance to save and invest part of their paychecks, that […]
  • Saving More Money, Now & Later
    In Educational
    You could save today & tomorrow, often without that penny-pinching feeling. Directly & indirectly, you might be able to save more per month than you think. Hidden paths to greater savings can […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 7/17/2017
    In Economic Updates
    INFLATION PRESSURE WEAKENS The Consumer Price Index was unchanged in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That left its yearly advance at only 1.6%, nearly half a point below the […]
  • Life Insurance Products with Long-Term Care Riders
    In Educational
    Are they worthwhile alternatives to traditional LTC policies? The price of long-term care insurance has really gone up. If you are a baby boomer and you have kept your eye on it for a few years, […]
  • A Look at Self-Directed Brokerage Accounts
    In Educational
    Some retirement savers choose this option in their 401(k) plan. Ever hear of an SDBA? That acronym stands for self-directed brokerage account. If you are enrolled in a 401(k), 403(b), or 457 plan, […]
  • 2nd Quarter Economic Update 2017
    In Economic Updates
    THE QUARTER IN BRIEF After a remarkable first quarter, the stock market cooled off slightly in Q2 – but investors still saw substantial gains. Strong earnings helped take Wall Street’s collective […]
  • Talking to Your Kids About Your Wealth
    In Educational
    How can you convey its importance and its meaning? Are you an owner of a thriving business or a medical or legal practice? Are you a highly paid executive? If you have children, at some point they […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 7/10/2017
    In Economic Updates
    HIRING PICKS UP AGAIN The Department of Labor announced some good news Friday: the creation of 222,000 net new jobs in June, the largest hiring gain in four months. Approximately 4.7 million people […]
  • Japan & the European Union Forge a Major Trade Deal
    In Market Updates
    What are the implications of this new treaty? On July 6, the eve of a G-20 summit, a global trade pact planned for four years took a major step toward reality. In Brussels, Japanese Prime Minister […]
  • Monthly Economic Update July 2017
    In Economic Updates
    THE MONTH IN BRIEF June brought some definite headwinds to Wall Street, but the broad stock market still advanced. The S&P 500 added 0.48% across the month, even with tech shares selling off. As […]
  • Understanding the Gift Tax
    In Educational
    Most of us will never face taxes related to money or assets we give away. “How can I avoid the federal gift tax?” If this question is on your mind, you aren’t alone. The good news is that few […]
  • Will You Really Be Able to Work Longer?
    In Educational
    You may assume you will. That assumption could be a retirement planning risk. How long do you think you will work? Are you one of those baby boomers (or Gen Xers) who believes he or she can work past […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 7/3/2017
    In Economic Updates
    HOUSEHOLD EARNINGS OUTPACE SPENDING According to newly released Department of Commerce data, personal incomes improved 0.4% in May, but personal spending advanced just 0.1% after a 0.4% gain in […]
  • Should Millennials Be Your Money Models?
    In Educational
    Gen Y is doing some things right when it comes to saving & investing. Financially, Generation Y is often criticized for being risk averse & unaware. Is this truth, or is it fiction? In some […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 6/26/2017
    In Economic Updates
    MORE HOMES MOVED IN MAY In a pleasant surprise for economists, both new and existing home sales picked up last month. The National Association of Realtors announced a 1.1% gain for resales, with the […]
  • Will You Be Prepared When the Market Cools Off?
    In Educational
    Markets have cycles, and at some point, the major indices will descend. We have seen a tremendous rally on Wall Street, nearly nine months long, with the S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite, and Dow Jones […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 6/19/2017
    In Economic Updates
    FED DELIVERS EXPECTED & UNEXPECTED NEWS As Wall Street anticipated, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates on June 14. The Federal Open Market Committee voted 8-1 to take the benchmark […]
  • Retirement Insights June 2017
    In Retirement Newsletter
    MONTHLY NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE RETIREES Can Your Life Insurance Policy Help You Out in Retirement? Under certain circumstances, it can play a crucial financial role. Besides a […]
  • The June Rate Hike
    In Market Updates
    The Federal Reserve takes the key interest rate north by another quarter point. On Wednesday morning, futures markets put the odds at 99.6% of a June interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve. […]
  • Having the Money Talk with Your Children
    In Educational
    How much financial knowledge do they have? Some young adults manage to acquire a fair amount of financial literacy. In the classroom or the workplace, they learn a great deal about financial […]
  • Weekly Market Update 6/12/2017
    In Economic Updates
    AN UPBEAT REPORT ON THE SERVICE SECTOR The Institute for Supply Management’s May non-manufacturing purchasing manager index displayed a reading of 56.9 last week, showing expansion in U.S. service […]
  • Monthly Economic Update June 2017
    In Economic Updates
    THE MONTH IN BRIEF May was another good month for stocks. The S&P 500 gained more than 1%, putting its YTD advance above 7.7%. While the housing market showed some spring weakness, hiring bounced […]
  • One Couple, Two Different Retirements?
    In Educational
    After many years together, some retired spouses may find their daily routines far apart. When you see online ads or TV commercials about retirement planning, do they ever show baby boomer couples […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 6/5/2017
    In Economic Updates
    JOB CREATION, JOBLESS RATE DOWN IN MAY A day after ADP’s employment change report estimated a hiring gain of 253,000 in May, the Department of Labor’s latest jobs report told a far different story. […]
  • An Estate Planning Checklist
    In Educational
    What to check (and double-check). Create a will if you do not yet have one. A valid will may save your heirs from some expensive headaches linked to probate and ambiguity. A solid will drafted with […]
  • The Basics for Estate Planning
    In Educational
    Things to check and double-check. Estate planning is a task that people tend to put off, as any discussion of “the end” tends to be off-putting. However, people without their financial affairs in […]
  • The Real Cost of College
    In Educational
    It may not be what you think.  How much will your family end up paying for college? Your household’s income may have less influence than you think – and some private colleges may be cheaper than […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 5/29/2017
    In Economic Updates
    CONSUMER SENTIMENT DECLINES JUST A BIT Ending May at a mark of 97.1, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index fell 0.6 points from its preliminary reading for the month. Economists […]
  • Beware of Emotions Affecting Your Money Decisions
    In Educational
    Today’s impulsive moves could breed tomorrow’s regrets. When emotions and money intersect, the effects can be financially injurious. Emotions can cause us to overreact – or not act at all when we […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 5/22/2017
    In Economic Updates
    CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY SLOWED IN APRIL Against expectations, both housing starts and building permits declined in the fourth month of the year. Newly released Census Bureau data shows a 2.5% retreat […]
  • Keep Calm, Stay Invested…for now.
    In Educational
    Expect more volatility, but avoid letting the headlines alter your plans. Recent headlines have disturbed what was an unusually calm stock market. The political uproar in Washington may continue for […]
  • Why Retirees Need Good Credit Scores
    In Educational
    Careers & businesses end, but the need to borrow remains. We spend much of our adult lives working, borrowing, and buying. A good credit score is our ally along the way. It retains its importance […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 5/15/2017
    In Economic Updates
    A SOLID RETAIL SALES READING Americans bought more in April. The pace of retail purchases hastened by 0.4% last month, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis revised the 0.2% March retreat into a 0.1% […]
  • Retirement Insights May 2017
    In Retirement Newsletter
    Is Social Security Coming Up Short for Retirees? The non-partisan Senior Citizens League says yes, charging that the wrong metric is being used to determine cost of living adjustments (COLAs) to […]
  • What Are Your Odds of Being Audited?
    In Educational
    They are low, unless you show the I.R.S. some conspicuous “red flags” on your return. Fewer than 1% of Americans have their federal taxes audited. The percentage has declined recently due to Internal […]
  • The Rough Consequences of Not Saving for Retirement
    In Educational
    Do you really want to risk facing these potential outcomes? Saving for retirement may seem a thankless task. But you may be thanking yourself later. Putting away a percentage of one’s income, money […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 5/8/2017
    In Economic Updates
    NEW DATA SHOWS MORE HIRING, LESS SPENDING Unemployment hit a 10-year low in April as payrolls swelled with 211,000 net new jobs, a rebound from the meager gains of March. The Department of Labor’s […]
  • Monthly Economic Update May 2017
    In Economic Updates
    THE MONTH IN BRIEF In April, investors kept one eye on impressive corporate earnings and another on geopolitical developments in Asia and Europe. Earnings ultimately drew the most attention – the Dow […]
  • The Importance of Financial Literacy
    In Educational
    Too few Americans understand personal finance fundamentals. If only money came with instructions. If it did, the route toward wealth would be clear and direct. Unfortunately, many people have […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 5/1/2017
    In Economic Updates
    CONSUMER CONFIDENCE DIPS SLIGHTLY The University of Michigan and Conference Board consumer confidence indices descended a little last month, but remained in great shape. The CB index displayed an […]
  • Why You Should Contribute To Your 401k
    In Educational
    This may be one of the best things you can do for your financial health. If you had a chance to save hundreds of thousands of dollars over time at no great cost to your lifestyle or your monthly […]
  • Insurance and Investments
    In Educational
    A good financial strategy is not just about “making money;” it is also about protection. Some people mistake investing for financial planning. Their “financial strategy” is an investing strategy, in […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 4/24/2017
    In Economic Updates
    EXISTING HOME SALES HIT A 10-YEAR PEAK Rising 4.4% for March, resales surpassed expectations – analysts polled by Reuters projected a gain of 2.5%. The National Association of Realtors said that […]
  • Does Your Business Have a 401(k) Plan?
    In Educational
    This employee benefit & hiring incentive may help your office compete. Great employees are hard to find. This truth applies for all businesses, including healthcare offices. The challenge just […]
  • Should You Apply for Social Security Now or Later?
    In Educational
    When should you apply for benefits? Consider a few factors first. Now or later? When it comes to the question of Social Security income, the choice looms large. Should you apply now to get earlier […]
  • How Will You Spend Your Retirement Savings?
    In Educational
    Keep an eye on where it goes, as some destinations may be better than others. You can probably envision how most of your retirement money will be spent. Much of it will be used on living expenses, […]
  • Retirement Insights April 2017
    In Retirement Newsletter
    Why You Might Not Want a Lump-Sum Retirement Payout Do you have the option of receiving your retirement money as a lump sum? You may want to turn that choice down. A new MetLife study, Paycheck or […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 4/17/2017
    In Economic Updates
    PRICES DECLINE IN MARCH In March, the Consumer Price Index retreated for the first time in 13 months. Its 0.3% dip left annualized consumer inflation at a moderate 2.4%. Fuels, autos, and groceries […]
  • Have a Plan, Not Just a Stock Portfolio
    In Educational
    Diversification still matters. One day, this bull market will end. In the first quarter of 2017, the bull market seemed unstoppable. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared past 20,000 and closed at […]
  • Combining Your Finances When You Marry
    In Educational
    How separate (or intertwined) should your financial lives be? Some spouses share everything with each other – including the smallest details of their personal finances. Other spouses decide to keep […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 4/10/2017
    In Economic Updates
    COMPANIES ADDED FEWER WORKERS IN MARCH Just 98,000 net new jobs were created last month, and some analysts think Winter Storm Stella may have held hiring back. Even so, the Department of Labor’s […]
  • 1st Quarter 2017 Economic Update
    In Economic Updates
    THE QUARTER IN BRIEF The opening quarter of 2017 was a historic one for Wall Street as the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 20,000 for the first time. Equities rallied through January and […]
  • A Look at Revocable Living Trusts
    In Educational
    What they can (and cannot) accomplish. Living trusts are created with a clearly defined objective: to avoid probate. Unfortunately, misconceptions about living trusts have spread to the point where […]
  • The Fiduciary Standard
    In Educational
    What designations let you know that a financial professional will abide by this rule? This year, the Department of Labor intends to introduce a new rule regarding retirement plan accounts, with full […]
  • Rental PropertyTax Rules on Rental Property
    In Educational
    The basics on capital gains & deductions. Buying or selling income property has definite tax consequences. A taxpayer should clearly understand them, whether he or she intends to acquire a […]
  • Explaining the Savers Credit
    In Educational
    Have you heard of the Savers Credit? You may qualify if you contribute to an IRA, SEP-IRA, SIMPLE, 401(k), 403(b), or 457 retirement savings plan.1 You can qualify for the Savers Credit for the 2017 […]
  • Disability insuranceMay Is Disability Insurance Awareness Month
    In Educational
    Do you really want to live without this coverage? If you forgo it, you may pay a high price. Disability insurance is an important insurance coverage that most people lack. Many people think of it as […]
  • Monthly Economic Update April 2017
    In Economic Updates
    THE MONTH IN BRIEF Stocks went sideways rather than north in March, with the S&P 500 losing just 0.04%. The Federal Reserve made another quarter-point interest rate move, and overseas, the United […]
  • InsuranceCould Insurance Rescue You in Retirement?
    In Educational
    Certain kinds of coverage may help to sustain you financially in an emergency. You plan for retirement with expectations in mind. You hope to enjoy a certain quality of life, with sufficient income […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 4/3/2017
    In Economic Updates
    PERSONAL SPENDING SLOWS Consumers apparently chose saving over spending in the second month of the year. Last week, a Department of Commerce report noted only a 0.1% gain for personal spending in […]
  • willWhen Someone Dies Without a Will
    In Educational
    Where do things proceed from that point? Every day, people die intestate. In legalese, that means without a will. This opens the door for the courts to decide what happens with their estates.  […]
  • Millennial Women saving moneyAre Millennial Women Saving Enough for Retirement?
    In Educational
    The available data is more encouraging than discouraging. Women 35 and younger are often hard-pressed to save money. Student loans may be outstanding; young children may need to be clothed, fed, and […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 3/27/2017
    In Economic Updates
    NEW HOME SALES GO ONE WAY, RESALES ANOTHER Rising 6.1% in February, new home sales reached a 7-month peak. The Census Bureau said that this gain occurred with just 5.4 months of inventory on the […]
  • Estate planningKey Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid
    In Educational
    Too many people make these common errors. Many affluent professionals and business owners put estate planning on hold. Only the courts and lawyers stand to benefit from their procrastination. While […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 3/20/2017
    In Economic Updates
    FED HIKES, LEAVES 2017 FORECAST UNCHANGED As expected, the Federal Reserve raised the target range for the federal funds rate by a quarter-point last week to 0.75-1.00%. “The simple message is, the […]
  • Health illnessCritical Illness Insurance
    In Educational
    What it is, why people opt for it. Ever hear of critical illness insurance? This isn’t standard-issue disability insurance, but a cousin of sorts. With people living longer, it is a risk management […]
  • InsuranceInsurance for the Small Business Owner
    In Educational
    What kind of coverage do you need, and why? Do you own a small business? Are you starting one? What kind of insurance should you have? Truthfully, you should consider (and preferably have) three […]
  • Interest rateThe Federal Reserve Raises Benchmark Interest Rate
    In Market Updates
    Monetary policy is normalizing due to economic improvement. On March 15, the Federal Reserve raised the benchmark interest rate by a quarter-point to a range of 0.75-1.00%. The increase was widely […]
  • Taxes IRAContributing to an IRA May Provide Tax Benefits
    In Educational
    With the tax filing deadline approaching, have you considered contributing to an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA)? IRAs are one of the most powerful retirement savings tools available to […]
  • Retirement Insights March 2017
    In Retirement Newsletter
    How Much of Your Retirement Savings Should You Withdraw Each Year? When Fidelity Investments asked more than 1,000 pre-retirees to guess the percentage that retirement planners would recommend, 19% […]
  • Should the Self-Employed Plan to Work Past 65?
    In Educational
    Some solopreneurs think they will “work forever,” but that perception may be flawed. About 20% of Americans aged 65-74 are still working. A 2016 Pew Research Center study put the precise figure at […]
  • The 60-Day IRA Rollover Rule
    In Educational
    Will it apply to your retirement savings distribution? If you receive a distribution from your IRA or workplace retirement plan, what will you do with it? You will probably want to arrange an IRA […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 3/13/2017
    In Economic Updates
    COMPANIES HIRED READILY IN FEBRUARY U.S. firms added 235,000 net new jobs last month, and the latest Department of Labor employment report showed the largest growth occurring in the construction and […]
  • ScamWatch Out for These 2017 Tax Scams
    In Educational
    Tax season is in full swing… and tax scams are everywhere.   How can you can tell if a crook is claiming to be the I.R.S. in an effort to steal your money or personal information? Watch for […]
  • Building an Emergency FundBuilding An Emergency Fund
    In Educational
    Everyone should aim to have a cash reserve.  We all would love to have a little extra cash on hand for emergencies. Saving up that cash can be a challenge – but with a little effort, that […]
  • March 2017Monthly Economic Update March 2017
    In Economic Updates
    THE MONTH IN BRIEF  February was a great month for stocks and a historic month for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The blue chips closed at record highs for 12 straight trading sessions, a […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 3/6/2017
    In Economic Updates
    YELLEN: RATE MOVE MAY HAPPEN THIS MONTH  In Chicago Friday, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said that if hiring and inflation indicators continue to meet the central bank’s expectations, an […]
  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 2/27/2017
    In Economic Updates
    A LITTLE LESS OPTIMISM AMONG CONSUMERS February’s final University of Michigan consumer sentiment index came in at 96.3, down from its January mark of 98.5, but well above the 91.7 reading of a year […]
  • Using an IRA Trust
    In Educational
    What is it? What kind of benefit could it provide? Seemingly everyone has heard of an IRA, but few people know about IRA trusts. Perhaps more people should, for an IRA trust may provide a way to […]
  • RothIRAThe Many Benefits of a Roth IRA
    In Educational
    Why do so many people choose it rather than a traditional IRA? The Roth IRA changed the whole retirement savings perspective. Since its introduction, it has become a fixture in many retirement […]
  • Robo-Advisors vs. Human Advisors
    In Educational
    If an investor chooses a non-human financial advisor, what price could they end up paying? Investors have a choice today that they did not have a decade ago. They can seek investing and retirement […]
  • SavingsAmerica Saves Week
    In Educational
    How much are you setting aside on behalf of your goals? “Set a goal, make a plan, and save automatically.” This is the motto of America Saves Week, which begins on February 27.   America […]
  • Retirement savingsLittle Things That May Help Your Retirement Saving
    In Educational
    Over time, these seemingly small factors could make a major difference. Saving for retirement takes decades and demands the investment of significant amounts of your income. As this major effort […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 2/20/2017
    In Economic Updates
    RETAIL SALES ROSE 0.4% in JANUARY Consumer spending on household electronics and appliances powered this gain. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a 0.1% advance. Core retail purchases also rose […]
  • The Advantages of HSAsThe Advantages of HSAs
    In Educational
    Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) offer you tax breaks & more. Why do people open up Health Savings Accounts in conjunction with high-deductible health insurance plans? Well, here are some of the […]
  • Financial Thoughts for International Women's DayFinancial Thoughts for International Women’s Day
    In Educational
    Every March 8, we reflect on the financial progress women have made (and still need to make). March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the social and economic progress and cultural […]
  • Retirement Insights February 2017Retirement Insights February 2017
    In Retirement Newsletter
    MONTHLY NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE RETIREES Retiring with an Age Difference If you are 10 or 15 years older than your spouse or partner, to what degree should that age gap influence […]
  • Bond yieldsWorried About What Might Happen to Bonds?
    In Market Updates
    If you plan to hold yours to maturity, the fluctuation in their market values need not be worrisome. Are tough times ahead for the bond market? Some investors think so. U.S. monetary policy is […]
  • Tax refundWhat Could You Do With Your Tax Refund?
    In Educational
    Instead of just spending the money, you could plan to pay yourself. About 70% of taxpayers receive sizable refunds from the Internal Revenue Service. Just how sizable? The average refund totals about […]
  • Active Vs Passive Investment ManagementActive Vs Passive Investment Management
    In Educational
    What do each of these terms really mean? Investment management can be active or passive. Sometimes, that simple, fundamental choice can make a difference in portfolio performance.  During a […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 2/13/2017
    In Economic Updates
    CONSUMER SENTIMENT SLIPS A BIT The University of Michigan’s preliminary February index of consumer sentiment came in at a reading of 95.7 Friday, compared with a final January mark of 98.5 (which was […]
  • 2017 tax guideA GUIDE TO 2017 TAX LAW CHANGES (AND MORE)
    In Educational
    Presented by Paul E. Lewis, CFP®, CWS® Download your 2017 Tax Guide now. Securities and Advisory Services offered through Triad Advisors Member FINRA/SIPC. This Special Report is not intended as a […]
  • In-Service Withdrawals from Employee Retirement PlansIn-Service Withdrawals from Employee Retirement Plans
    In Educational
    You might be able to take money out of your 401(k), 403(b), or 457 plan while still working. If you withdraw money out of a workplace retirement plan in your fifties, will you be penalized for it? In […]
  • Your 2017 Financial To-Do ListYour 2017 Financial To-Do List
    In Educational
    Things you can do for your future as the year unfolds. What financial, business, or life priorities do you need to address for 2017? Now is a good time to think about the investing, saving, or […]
  • The Reasons for a Roth Solo 401(k)The Reasons for a Roth Solo 401(k)
    In Educational
    Here is a way for a solopreneur to save much more for retirement. Self-employed? Seeking to ramp up your retirement savings? You should look at the potential of the Roth Solo 401(k). If you are a […]
  • Could Dodd-Frank Soon Disappear?Could Dodd-Frank Soon Disappear?
    In Educational
    President Trump orders a reevaluation of its regulations. Major legislative changes may soon impact the financial industry. On February 3, President Donald Trump signed two executive orders […]
  • Managing Money Well as a CoupleManaging Money Well as a Couple
    In Educational
    What are the keys in planning to grow wealthy together? When you marry or simply share a household with someone, your financial life changes – and your approach to managing your money may change as […]
  • Monthly Economic Update February 2017
    In Economic Updates
    THE MONTH IN BRIEF Stocks advanced again in January. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 20,000 for the first time, and the S&P 500 gained 1.79% on the month. As January ended, politics […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 2/6/2017
    In Economic Updates
    POSITIVES & NEGATIVES IN JANUARY’s JOB DATA The Department of Labor’s latest jobs report showed 227,000 net new hires last month. Unfortunately, wages grew just 0.1% in January as the headline […]
  • Life Insurance Before Age 40
    In Educational
     Millennials have good reasons to obtain coverage now. Do you plan to buy life insurance before you turn 40? Maybe you should. You may save money in the long run by doing so. At first thought, […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 1/30/2017
    In Economic Updates
    HOUSEHOLD SENTIMENT GAUGE RISES AGAIN The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment gained 0.4 points from its preliminary reading this month to reach a final January mark of 98.5. That […]
  • Home Owners InsuranceWhat Does Your Home Insurance Policy Cover?
    In Educational
    Take a moment to see if you are adequately protected. Not all home insurance policies are alike. Coverage amounts obviously vary, and so do coverage areas. Taking ten minutes to scrutinize what your policy does (and does not) cover is a wise idea.
  • Weekly Economic Update 1/23/2016
    In Economic Updates
    LARGEST INFLATION ADVANCE IN 5 YEARS The Consumer Price Index rose 2.1% in 2016, marking its greatest annual gain since 2011. During 2015, consumer prices only increased by 0.7%. December saw a 0.3% rise for the headline CPI and a 0.2% gain for the core CPI (which excludes food and energy costs). The core CPI gained 2.2% last year.1
  • 403bDiscover the 403(b)
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  • IRARoth401kMaximum Retirement Account Limits for 2017
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  • How much will you spend when you retireHow Much Will You Spend When You Retire?
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  • January 2017Retirement Insights January 2017
    In Retirement Newsletter
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  • Weekly Economic Update 1/16/2017
    In Economic Updates
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  • DOL RuleIs the DOL Fiduciary Standard a Plus for Investors?
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  • 2016 Economic Review2016 Economic Review
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  • Weekly Economic Update 1/9/2017
    In Economic Updates
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  • Saving $1 Million Dollars for retirementSaving $1 Million for Retirement
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  • Quarterly Economic Update 4th Quarter 2016
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  • Monthly Economic Update January 2017Monthly Economic Update January 2017
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Economic Update 1/2/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Economic Update 11-21-2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Monthly Economic Update November 2016Monthly Economic Update November 2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Economic Update 11/7/2016
    In Economic Updates
    NEW DATA SHOWS BRIGHTER JOBS PICTURE Unemployment fell to 4.9% in October as firms added 161,000 net new workers, but that was just one positive from the Department of Labor’s latest summary of the […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 11-7-2016Weekly Market Commentary 11/7/2016
    In Market Commentary
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  • Weekly Economic Update 10/31/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 10-31-2016Weekly Market Commentary 10/31/2016
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  • Weekly Economic Update 10/24/2016
    In Economic Updates
    YEARLY INFLATION INCREASES Consumer prices rose 1.5% in the 12 months ending in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced last week. That is the highest annualized inflation rate seen since […]
  • Retirement Newsletter October 2016
    In Retirement Newsletter
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 10/24/2016
    In Market Commentary
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  • Weekly Economic Update 10/17/2016
    In Economic Updates
    RETAIL SALES JUMP 0.6% This September gain was impressive – minus auto sales, the advance was still 0.5%. In August, both headline and core retail sales fell 0.2%. While consumers bought more last […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 10-17-2016Weekly Market Commentary 10/17/2016
    In Market Commentary
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  • Quarterly Economic Update 3Q 2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Monthly Economic Update 10-10-2016Monthly Economic Update October 2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Economic Update 10/10/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 10-10-2016Weekly Market Commentary 10/10/2016
    In Market Commentary
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 10/3/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets Markets were relatively calm during the third quarter of 2016, yet they delivered some attractive returns overall. In the United States, all three major U.S. indices posted record highs […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 10/3/2016
    In Economic Updates
    NO ADVANCE IN CONSUMER SPENDING Personal spending was flat in August even as personal incomes rose 0.2%. These numbers from the Department of Commerce fell short of expectations: economists polled by […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 9/26/2016
    In Market Commentary
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  • Weekly Economic Update 9/26/2016
    In Economic Updates
    FED WAITS TO RAISE INTEREST RATES Federal Reserve officials decided against a rate hike last week, but two details in the central bank’s latest policy statement suggested an upward move was near. […]
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  • Retirement Newsletter September 2016
    In Retirement Newsletter
    Can You Determine Your Ideal Retirement Income by Formula? Retirement income formulas can serve as a starting point or simple estimation of the amount of money you may need per month or year, but […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 9-21-2016Weekly Market Commentary 9/19/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets If it’s not one thing, it may be another. Economic data released last week will factor into this week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decision on whether to push interest rates […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 9/19/2016
    In Economic Updates
    RETAIL SALES DECREASE SLIGHTLY Shoppers bought 0.3% less goods and services in August, according to the latest monthly report from the Department of Commerce – but minus auto sales, the decline was […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 9/12/2016
    In Economic Updates
    SERVICE SECTOR SEES WEAKEST GROWTH SINCE 2010 The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing purchasing manager index came in at a disappointing 51.4 in August, 4.1 points below its July […]
  • september-2016Monthly Economic Update September 2016
    In Economic Updates
    THE MONTH IN BRIEF How calm was August? Very. At the close on August 31, the S&P 500 had not moved 1% up or down in a trading session since July 8. The latest round of U.S. economic indicators […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 9-12-2016Weekly Market Commentary 9/12/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets Blame it on the central banks! After 44 consecutive sleepy, summer days when Barron’s reported the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index opened and closed without a 1 percent move in either […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 9/6/2016
    In Economic Updates
    MODEST JOB GROWTH IN AUGUST Payrolls expanded with 151,000 net new jobs last month, according to the Department of Labor’s latest report. The jobless rate was unchanged at 4.9%, and the U-6 rate […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 9-6-2016Weekly Market Commentary 9/6/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets “We can never know about the days to come, but we think about them anyway…” –Carly Simon Economists and market analysts have been thinking a lot about the Federal Reserve and the […]
  • 2016 ElectionWhat Will the Election Do to the Market?
    In Educational, Market Updates
    Will volatility seize Wall Street? Or will calm prevail? Wall Street has had a rather calm summer. How about fall? Will volatility increase before and after Election Day?     So […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 8/29/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 8-29-2016Weekly Market Commentary 8/29/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets Attention investors: U.S. interest rates may be moving up and it might happen this year. During last Friday’s speech at the Federal Reserve’s annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 8/22/2016
    In Economic Updates
    IS A 2016 INTEREST RATE HIKE STILL POSSIBLE? According to the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s July monetary policy meeting, some Federal Open Market Committee members felt “that economic […]
  • Retirement Newsletter August 2016Retirement Newsletter August 2016
    In Retirement Newsletter
    MONTHLY NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE RETIREES WHO CLAIMS SOCIAL SECURITY AT 62, AND WHY? According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, 48% of men and 42% of women […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 8-22-2016Weekly Market Commentary 8/22/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets Last week, Wall Street was speculating about monetary policy with the enthusiasm of commentators trying to predict who will bring home Olympic gold. The Federal Open Market Committee […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 8/15/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 8-15-2016Weekly Market Commentary 8/15/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets How do you measure stock market valuation? If you look at conventional measures – like price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios – then U.S. stock markets appear to be pricey. The Wall Street […]
  • Monthly Economic Update August 2016Monthly Economic Update August 2016
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    THE MONTH IN BRIEF The post-Brexit bounce turned into a sustained rally across July. Second-quarter earnings were not as gloomy as anticipated, and core economic indicators often matched or surpassed […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 8/8/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 8/8/2016
    In Market Commentary
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  • Weekly Economic Update 8/1/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 8-1-2016Weekly Market Commentary 8/1/2016
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  • Stocks & Presidential ElectionsStocks And The Presidential Election
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 7-25-2016Weekly Market Commentary 7/25/2016
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  • Weekly Economic Update 7/25/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • RetirementRetirement Insights July 2016
    In Retirement Newsletter
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  • Weekly Economic Update 7/18/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 7/11/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 7-11-2016Weekly Market Commentary 7/11/2016
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  • July 2015Monthly Economic Update July 2016
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  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 7-5-2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 7-5-2016Weekly Market Commentary 7/5/2016
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  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 6/27/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 6-27-2016Weekly Market Commentary 6/27/2016
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    In Market Updates
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    In Educational
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  • Retirement Newsletter June 2016
    In Retirement Newsletter
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  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 6/20/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 6/20/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets The world’s stock markets took it on the chin last week. A one-two punch was delivered with the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting leading and concerns Britain will leave the […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 6-13-2016Weekly Market Commentary 6/13/2016
    In Market Commentary
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  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 6/13/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 6/6/2016
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  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 6/6/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 5/23/2016
    In Economic Updates
    WILL THE FED MAKE A MOVE IN JUNE? In April, the Consumer Price Index advanced 0.4% – its largest monthly gain since February 2013. While a 10% leap in gasoline prices contributed to that rise, this […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 5/23/2016Weekly Market Commentary 5/23/2016
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    The Markets A mobile trivia game maker recently assessed the playing habits of Americans and identified the most popular topics by state. As it turns out, Alabamians like college football questions, […]
  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 5/31/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 5/31/2016Weekly Market Commentary 5/31/2016
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    The Markets Everyone makes mistakes. Some people learn from them. In GMO’s March 2016 white paper, James Montier and Philip Pilkington continued to explore the Federal Reserve’s influence on the […]
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  • May FlowersRetirement Newsletter May 2016
    In Retirement Newsletter
    MONTHLY NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE RETIREES WHAT ARE THE HALLMARKS OF A HAPPY RETIREMENT? There is no absolute answer to that question, but there are some factors that may make […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 5/16/2016Weekly Market Commentary 5/16/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets When is a door not a door? The answer, of course, is: When it’s ajar. Investors and analysts were trying to find the answer to a different riddle last week: When are strong retail sales […]
  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 5/16/2016
    In Economic Updates
    A MAJOR JUMP FOR RETAIL SALES Friday, the Department of Commerce reported a 1.3% April gain in U.S. retail purchases. The core retail sales advance was also impressive at 0.9%. Minus car and truck […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 5/9/2016
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  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 5/9/2016
    In Economic Updates
    APRIL JOBS REPORT RAISES QUESTIONS Employers hired 160,000 more workers than they let go last month, and that net job gain was the smallest since September. Does this suggest a job market losing […]
  • Monthly Economic Update May 2016Monthly Economic Update May 2016
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  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 5/2/2016
    In Economic Updates
    INCOME OUTDISTANCES SPENDING Personal income rose 0.4% in March, yet the Commerce Department reported personal spending up just 0.1%. That mild uptick contributed to a poor first quarter for GDP; […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 5/2/2016Weekly Market Commentary 5/2/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets “Which would you prefer to be: a medieval monarch or a modern office-worker?” If you immediately answered medieval monarch, take a moment to ponder life without “…modern dentistry, […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 4/26/2016
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    The Markets U.S. stock markets finished last week in heady territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18,003. Its all-time closing high is 18,312. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was […]
  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 4/25/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 4/18/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 4-18-2016Weekly Market Commentary 4/18/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets Isn’t it remarkable that China’s growth is so consistent? A columnist from The Washington Post once opined that China “produces an astonishing number of astonishing numbers.” Last week’s […]
  • Retirement Newsletter April 2016
    In Retirement Newsletter
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  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 4/11/2016
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    FED: APRIL MIGHT BE TOO SOON FOR A RATE HIKE That was the message Wall Street gleaned from the Federal Reserve’s March policy meeting minutes. Several Fed officials, the minutes stated, felt that […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 4/11/2016
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    The Markets We all learned a thing or two about Panama last week. The country is not the home of the Panama hat, which is made in Ecuador. However, it is the only place in the world where you can […]
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  • Monthly Economic Update April 2016
    In Economic Updates
    THE MONTH IN BRIEF The bulls ran back to Wall Street in March; the Dow, Nasdaq, and S&P 500 all gained more than 6% for the month, with the Dow and S&P returning to positive territory for the […]
  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 4/4/2016
    In Economic Updates
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  • Weekly Market Commentary 4/4/2016
    In Market Commentary
    Here is a PDF of Weekly Market Commentary 04-04-2016. The Markets It’s like déjà vu all over again! This wasn’t the first quarter, or even the first year, that bond markets have not performed in the […]
  • Social SecurityCould Social Security Really Go Away?
    In Educational
    Just how gloomy does its future look? Will Social Security run out of money in the 2030s? For years, Americans have been warned about that possibility. Those warnings, however, assume that no action […]
  • Why Aren’t You Maxing Out Your 401(k)?
    In Educational
    It may be the best retirement planning tool you have. Do you have a million dollars? At the moment, probably not. But if you invest and save diligently and let your assets compound, who knows? You […]
  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 3/28/2016
    In Economic Updates
    MIXED NEWS ON HOME SALES New home buying increased 2.0% in February, with all of the gain attributable to a remarkable 38.5% jump in sales in the West (a region which had witnessed a 32.7% January […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 3-28-2016Weekly Market Commentary 3/28/2016
    In Market Commentary
    Weekly Market Commentary March 28, 2016 The Markets Are corporations in the United States struggling? In its cover article last week, The Economist (a British publication), suggested there is not […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 3-21-2016Weekly Market Commentary 3/21/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets There is ongoing debate about whether markets behave in rational ways. The efficient market hypothesis suggests it’s impossible to outperform the stock market because current share prices […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 3/21/2016
    In Economic Updates
    FEDERAL RESERVE SENDS A DOVISH SIGNAL The Federal Open Market Committee voted 9-1 to leave interest rates unchanged last week, and it also scaled back its rate hike expectations for 2016. The central […]
  • Retirement Newsletter March 2016
    In Retirement Newsletter
    MONTHLY NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE RETIREES WHAT ARE THE BEST (AND WORST) STATES FOR RETIREMENT? Every year, consumer financial services website Bankrate.com tries to determine them […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 3/14/2016
    In Economic Updates
    STOCKS SETTLE AT 2016 HIGHS A 5-day gain of 1.10% left the S&P 500 at 2,022.19 at the closing bell Friday. Settling at 17,213.31 Friday afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.20% for […]
  • StimulateWeekly Market Commentary 3/14/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets Stim-u-late mar-kets! Come on! It’s monetary easing.* The European Central Bank (ECB) was singing a tune that invigorated financial markets last week. The Wall Street Journal explained: […]
  • White House Proposes Changes to Retirement PlansWhite House Proposes Changes to Retirement Plans
    In Educational
    A look at some of the ideas contained in the 2017 federal budget. Will workplace retirement plans be altered in the near future? The White House will propose some changes to these plans in the 2017 […]
  • Retirement NewsletterRetirement Newsletter February 2016
    In Retirement Newsletter
    MONTHLY NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE RETIREES HOW LONG WILL YOUR MONEY LAST? Assume you will live to be 90. It could happen: the Social Security Administration thinks that about 25% of […]
  • Monthly Economic Update March 2016Monthly Economic Update March 2016
    In Economic Updates
    March 2016 THE MONTH IN BRIEF After a miserable January, the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to gain 0.30% in February. While stock markets around the world struggled to advance, gold and oil […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 3/7/2016
    In Economic Updates
    March 7, 2016 242,000 NEW JOBS CREATED IN FEBRUARY Hiring picked up in America last month. In reporting this sizable net job gain in the second month of the year, the Labor Department also revised […]
  • Tightening WalletWeekly Market Commentary 3/7/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets When Mark Twain’s death was reported in the United States, he was alive and well in London. He responded to news accounts with a note saying, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 2/29/2016
    In Economic Updates
    GOOD NEWS ABOUT CONSUMER SPENDING, Q4 GDP Personal spending and personal wages both increased 0.5% in January, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The BEA also revised Q4 growth up to 1.0% […]
  • International_Monetary_Fund_logo.svgWeekly Market Commentary 2/29/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets It wasn’t as entertaining as the Fantastic Four, The Magnificent Seven, or Ocean’s 11 but, last week, we had an opportunity to watch the Group of 20 (G20). The G20 stars finance ministers […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 2/22/2016
    In Economic Updates
    February 22, 2016 WALL STREET HAS ITS BEST WEEK OF 2016 Across four trading days, the S&P 500 rose 2.84% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 2.62%; the Nasdaq Composite beat them both with a […]
  • Weekly Market CommentaryWeekly Market Commentary 2/22/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets And the economic data says… The United States economy is doing pretty well. So well that a March rate hike by the Federal Reserve is not entirely out of the question. Barron’s described […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 2/16/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets Are markets suffering from excessive worry? Last week, markets headed south because investors were concerned about the possibility of negative interest rates in the United States – even […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 2/15/2016
    In Economic Updates
    OIL JUMPS 12%, BUT STOCKS RETREAT FOR THE WEEK On Friday, WTI crude closed at a NYMEX price of $29.44 after a 12.32% surge. However, it fell 4.69% on the week, and major U.S. stock benchmarks fell as […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 2-8-2016Weekly Market Commentary 2/8/2016
    In Market Commentary
    February 8 2016 The Markets There was bad news and good news in last Friday’s unemployment report. In the negative column, fewer jobs were created in the United States than economists had predicted, […]
  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 2/8/2016
    In Economic Updates
    February 8 2016 UNEMPLOYMENT NOW BELOW 5% Although the economy added just 151,000 jobs in January, the Labor Department’s latest employment report also showed a reduction in the headline jobless rate […]
  • Monthly Economic Update February 2016Monthly Economic Update February 2016
    In Economic Updates
    February 2016 THE MONTH IN BRIEF The opening month of 2016 definitely tested the patience of stock and commodity investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell, losing 5.50% on the month. Overseas […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 2/1/2016Weekly Market Commentary 2/1/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets How low can you go? The Bank of Japan (BOJ) dove into the negative interest rate rabbit hole last week when it dropped its benchmark interest rate to minus 0.1 percent. If you’ve been […]
  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 2/1/2016
    In Economic Updates
    February 1, 2016 ONE CONFIDENCE POLL RISES, ANOTHER FALLS The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose in January to 98.1, beating the Briefing.com forecast of 96.3. The University of […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 1/25/2016Weekly Market Commentary 1/25/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets Investors breathed a sigh of relief last week when U.S. stock markets recovered from a tumble toward bear market territory with the grace of a Cirque du Soleil performer. Many stock […]
  • Estate Planning MistakesWill You Avoid These Estate Planning Mistakes?
    In Educational
    Too many wealthy households commit these common blunders. Many people plan their estates diligently, with input from legal, tax, and financial professionals. Others plan earnestly, but make mistakes […]
  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 1/25/2016
    In Economic Updates
    January 25, 2016 OIL REBOUND DRIVES STOCKS HIGHER Thanks to frosty weather hitting the Northeast and a round of short covering, WTI crude settled at $32.19 on the NYMEX Friday – up 9% for the day and […]
  • 2016 Retirement Plan Contribution Limits2016 Retirement Plan Contribution Limits
    In Educational
    Tame yearly inflation means very little change. Over the past 12 months, consumer prices have increased very little. The latest Consumer Price Index (September) shows 0.0% yearly inflation and only […]
  • Retirement Newsletter January 2016Retirement Newsletter January 2016
    In Retirement Newsletter
    MONTHLY NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE RETIREES NEED TO CATCH UP ON RETIREMENT SAVING? If life events have hampered your retirement savings effort, what can you do to get back on track […]
  • China’s Stock Market Turmoil
    In Educational, Market Updates
    Can U.S. shares hold up in the wake of January’s shocks? On January 7, China halted stock trading for the second time in four days. The benchmark Shanghai Composite sank 7.0% on January 4 and dropped […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 1-19-2016Weekly Market Commentary 1/19/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets We all have our pet peeves, and if there is one thing markets do NOT like, it is uncertainty. Unfortunately, we entered 2016 with a lot of unanswered questions: How much has China’s […]
  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 1/18/2016
    In Economic Updates
    January 18, 2016 LIGHT SWEET CRUDE SETTLES AT $29.42 Oil closed at its lowest level in more than 12 years Friday, plummeting 11.3% for the trading week on the NYMEX. Two factors contributed greatly […]
  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 1/4/2016
    In Economic Updates
    January 4, 2016 HOUSEHOLDS MORE OPTIMISTIC AS 2016 APPROACHES In December, consumer confidence increased. The Conference Board’s respected index posted a reading of 96.5 in the last month of the […]
  • Monthly Economic Update December 2015Monthly Economic Update December 2015
    In Economic Updates
    December 2015 THE MONTH IN BRIEF While the Russell 2000 and Nasdaq Composite advanced significantly in November, the S&P 500 did not – the broad U.S. benchmark rose a mere 0.05%. Terrorists took […]
  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 12/28/2015
    In Economic Updates
    CONSUMER SPENDING IMPROVES 0.3% This November increase matched the forecast of economists polled by Briefing.com, and it was a nice change after a flat October reading (revised down from an initially […]
  • Economic UpdateWeekly Economic Update 12/21/2015
    In Economic Updates
    TIGHTENING BEGINS As anticipated, the Federal Reserve raised the benchmark interest rate by 0.25% last week. The Federal Open Market Committee voted 10-0 to make the move. Its latest dot-plot […]
  • Retirement NewsletterRetirement Newsletter December 2015
    In Retirement Newsletter
    MONTHLY NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE RETIREES ARE YOU GOING TO RETIRE NEXT YEAR? If you are (and even if your retirement is a few years away), you should know the essential steps to […]
  • 4th Quarter Economic Update 20154th QUARTER ECONOMIC UPDATE 2015
    In Economic Updates
    A review of 4Q 2015 THE QUARTER IN BRIEF Thanks to a great October offsetting a flat November and a down December, U.S. stock indices posted sizable gains during the fourth quarter. The Dow Jones […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 1/11/2016Weekly Market Commentary 1/11/2016
    In Market Updates
    The Markets The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) started the New Year with a downward currency adjustment and fireworks followed. Last week, three distinct issues affected China’s stock market. First, […]
  • Weekly Economic Update 1/11/2015Weekly Economic Update 1/11/2016
    In Market Updates
    CAN STOCKS REGAIN THEIR FOOTING THIS WEEK? Investors hope so after a very rough start to 2016. Declining oil prices and disappointing manufacturing data in both the U.S. and China helped trigger a […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 1/4/2016
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets Investing in U.S. stock markets during 2015 was a bit like riding a mechanical bull. Markets jolted up and down but, once the year ended, investors were almost where they had started. The […]
  • Making and Keeping Financial ResolutionsMaking and Keeping Financial Resolutions
    In Educational
    What you might do (or do differently) in the months ahead? How will your money habits change in 2016? What decisions or behaviors might help your personal finances, your retirement prospects, or your […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 12/28/2015Weekly Market Commentary 12/28/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets It was a short week, but it wasn’t quiet. Oil prices moved higher, according to The Wall Street Journal, after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported crude-oil inventories […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 12/21/2015.Weekly Market Commentary 12/21/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets After a level of hype that would have exhausted even the most dedicated Star Wars fans, the Federal Reserve finally began to tighten monetary policy last week, raising the funds rate from […]
  • Interst Rate HikeHow Could a Fed Rate Hike Affect You?
    In Market Updates
    As the central bank starts tightening, some positives & negatives may emerge. Economists widely expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this month. Additional incremental rate hikes […]
  • Weekly Market CommentaryWeekly Market Commentary 12/14/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets It’s not like it’s a surprise! Last week, investors didn’t appear to be thrilled with the possibility the Federal Reserve might raise rates this week. They also weren’t too impressed by […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 12/7/2015.Weekly Market Commentary 12/7/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets Anyone looking at U.S. stock market performance last week might assume it was a pretty quiet week. They would be wrong. It was a very bouncy week. U.S. stock markets moved lower on […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary for the week of 11/30/2015.Weekly Market Commentary 11/30/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets American markets were relatively quiet during Thanksgiving week but there were fireworks in China’s markets. Late in the week, media outlets reported the China Securities Regulatory […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 11/9/2015Weekly Market Commentary 11/9/2015
    In Market Commentary
    Weekly Market Commentary – 11/9/2015 The Markets And, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said… U.S. job growth surpassed expectations in October. About 271,000 jobs were created across […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 11/2/2015Weekly Market Commentary – November 2, 2015
    In Market Commentary
    Weekly Market Commentary-November 2, 2015 The Markets Keep your eyes on the data. There was much to be said for U.S. stock markets’ performance during October. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 10/26/2015Weekly Market Commentary October 26, 2015
    In Market Commentary
    Weekly Market Commentary – October 26, 2015 The Markets Central banks were at it again – and markets loved it. Last week, European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi surprised markets […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 10/19/2015Weekly Market Commentary 10/19/2015
    In Market Commentary
    Weekly Market Commentary – October 19, 2015 The Markets How quickly emotions have changed since August. Worry? Angst? It’s already priced into the markets, according to some experts. Last week, […]
  • Kraft Heinz LayoffsKraft Heinz Layoffs in Champaign
    In Educational
    Kraft Heinz Layoffs in Champaign If you are leaving Kraft Heinz, you may or may not have planned for it. Either way you have some decisions to make. You can leave your money in the Kraft 401k plan or […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 10/12/2015Weekly Market Commentary 10/12/2015
    In Market Commentary
    Weekly Market Commentary – October 12, 2015 The Markets They’re investors. They’re allowed to change their minds. Just a few weeks ago, on September 17, the Federal Reserve Open Market […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 10/5/2015Weekly Market Commentary 10/5/2015
    In Market Commentary
    Weekly Market Commentary – October 5, 2015 The Markets Well, third quarter was a humdinger. It began with the first International Monetary Fund (IMF) default by a developed country (Greece) and […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 9/28/2015Weekly Market Commentary 9/28/2015
    In Market Commentary
    Weekly Market Commentary – September 28, 2015 The Markets Oh, the uncertainty! Investors are keeping one eye on the Federal Reserve and the other on politicians trying to determine what may […]
  • Weekly Market CommentaryWeekly Market Commentary 9/21/2015
    In Market Commentary
    Weekly Market Commentary – September 21, 2015 The Markets As Tom Petty often sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.” Whether it’s waiting for college acceptance letters, medical test results, […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 9/14/2015Weekly Market Commentary 9/14/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets The market is as streaky as a slice of bacon. U.S. stock markets have been sliding higher. They’ve been sliding lower. Barron’s reported the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has tumbled […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 9/7/2015Weekly Market Commentary 9/7/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets Who’s the culprit? Speculating on who or what is to blame for recent market weakness is a popular pastime right now. Last week, Barron’s said the search for someone to blame is a lot like […]
  • Corner of wall street and broadway in New York City.Weekly Market Commentary 8/31/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets U.S. stock markets finished last week higher than they started it, but the five-day ride was awfully bumpy. Concerns about China’s slowing growth, shifting currency valuations, and […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 8/24/2015Weekly Market Commentary 8/24/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets Correction! The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost about 6 percent last week. That puts the benchmark index about 10 percent below its record high on May 19, 2015, according to Barron’s. A […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 8/17/2015Weekly Market Commentary 8/17/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets Stock markets in the United States got off to a good start last week, heading higher before stumbling over China’s currency news. China, which has one of the world’s largest and fastest […]
  • Bull Vs BearBull or a Bear?
    In Educational
    Most people consider a bull market to generally take place when the market goes up, and a bear market when the market goes down. Most people don’t know what constitutes a bull or a bear market. That […]
  • Red Arrow Pointing downA Trip Around the Financial Globe-Greece, China, Canada, Puerto Rico
    In Market Updates
    When it rains it pours, as the saying goes. If you’ve been following the financial news this summer, it probably seems like a torrential storm has been churning all around the world. Every week, […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 8/10/2015Weekly Market Update 8/10/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets Back to school…back to higher interest rates? After a solid July jobs report arrived on Friday – 215,000 new jobs were created and unemployment remained at 5.3 percent – analysts were […]
  • Market Keeping you up at nightIs The Market Keeping You Up At Night?
    In Educational
    I find that many of those who I seen in my office for the first time have a great deal of concern about being invested in the equity markets. That stands to reason. Many of them experience seeing the […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 8/3/2015Weekly Market Update 8/3/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets The market is flat. That’s right. It’s a rare occurrence – something that has happened just 12 times since 1926, according to Fortune – but the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 7/27/2015Weekly Market Commentary 7/27/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets There was a spate of bad news last week, and it drove U.S. markets lower. China’s wild ride isn’t over yet. The Purchasing Managers’ Index, a private measure of Chinese manufacturing, […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 7/20/2015Weekly Market Commentary 7/20/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets Investors around the world breathed a sigh of relief last week. It wafted many markets higher. The NASDAQ jumped by more than 4 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 2.4 […]
  • Greece Now ChinaLast Week Greece – Now China
    In Educational
    “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” -Marie Curie Many people have asked me about the recent news out of China. “What’s happening to their stock market?” they want to know. […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 7/13/2015Weekly Market Commentary 7/13/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets It’s a cautionary tale… Many Chinese investors were so optimistic about the prospects for Chinese stock markets they bought on margin, meaning they borrowed money to buy stocks. Borrowing […]
  • et Commentary 7/6/2015Weekly Market Commentary 7/6/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets It’s been a wild, wild quarter. In early April, stock markets were doing so well (14 of 47 national benchmark indices hit all-time highs) that global market capitalization — the value of […]
  • What’s Happening in Greece?
    In Market Updates
    If you’ve been watching TV, been online, or read a newspaper over the past week or so, you’ve probably saw some of the headlines about the Greek debt crisis. It’s possible you don’t quite understand […]
  • Weekly Market Commentary 6/29/2015Weekly Market Commentary 6/29/2015
    In Market Commentary
    The Markets Not quite as popular as Branjelina and Kimye, ‘Grexit’ (short for Greek Exit) has gained traction as a nickname during the past few months. The British press appropriated a variation, […]
  • Market Hypoxia?
    In Educational
    I recently read an article about a private pilot who was flying his Piper Comanche from Chicago to Indianapolis. He was feeling pretty good as he was an experienced pilot who had recently received hi […]
  • Don’t Take Any Social Security Payments…Until You Know How To Maximize Them
    In Educational
    One of the biggest mistakes people can make when planning for retirement is failing to maximize their social security benefits. Why is this a mistake? You may have heard that social security is […]
  • Weekly Market Update 5/18/2015Weekly Market Update 05/18/2015-Percolating
    In Market Updates
    The market as defined by the S&P 500 percolated over the past five days. We opened the week Monday May 11 at 2115.56 and closed Friday May 15 at 2122.72. That means we had new highs established […]
  • Weekly Market UpdateWeekly Market Update 5/11/2015
    In Market Updates
    Weekly Market Update 5/11/2015 May 4 – May 8, 2015 – More of the Same We seem to be continuing the pattern of the past several weeks with lackluster weekly movement with a couple of […]
  • Weekly Market Update for the week of 5/8/2015Weekly Market Update 5/4/2015
    In Market Updates
    Weekly Market Update April 27-May 1, 2015 – Late Excitement We once again had a fairly calm market this week. We saw the S&P 500 open at 2119.29 on Monday, and close this afternoon, Friday, […]
  • Stock Market RiskThe Risk We Seldom See
    In Educational
    I like math. That may be at least part of the reason I have worked in this business for the past 30 or so years. However, when I explain concepts such as mean, average, median, standard deviation, […]