Finance

Pros and Cons of Municipal Bonds

U.S. stock markets were enjoying an eighth consecutive year of a bull market until volatility toward the end of 2018 erased all of the past year’s gains.1 In times like this, as share prices continue to bounce back and forth on a day-to-day basis, investors close to or in retirement often transition to more conservative…

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Stability Grows for Emerging Markets

Thirty years ago, developed markets were seen as much more stable than smaller, emerging countries. But as political division and uncertainty permeates the West, the differences have faded, and emerging markets (EM) have shed the high-risk perception that accompanied foreign investment. Sound government situations, conservative monetary policy and lower levels of debt were once staples…

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Decreasing Benefits Contribute to Retiree Bankruptcy

For most of the 20th century, it was common for employers and unions to sponsor health care insurance for retired workers, which helped pay for some or all of Medicare’s cost-sharing requirements and deductibles. However, this trend reversed sharply in the mid-1990s. A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that only 19…

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Stock Buybacks Explained

When the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, the hope was companies would spend their influx of money on expansion and increased jobs and wages. Instead, public companies’ most popular way to spend the excess capital has been to buy back their own stock.1…

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China’s Growing Economy

General Motors recently announced the pending closure of three U.S. assembly plants and the discontinuation of six cars made at those plants. While large sedans are no longer big sellers in the United States, they remain popular in China, and GM will continue to manufacture them there.1   China is GM’s largest market; the automaker…

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Pension vs. 401(k)

Given a choice, which would you choose: a guaranteed fixed income for the rest of your life, or a lump sum that you could invest? As it turns out, lots of people prefer a sure thing.   This is what a recent survey showed about public sector employees posed with the option to select a…

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Are We in a Corporate Debt Bubble?

2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the Great Recession of 2008. Despite a painfully slow recovery, U.S. economic growth has been sustainable. The stock and bond markets continue to perform well, unemployment is low and the economy is generally considered healthy and booming.   And yet, whenever things are going well, it’s only human nature…

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Sustainable Investing Goes Mainstream

Invest in what you know is a common piece of investment wisdom. In the past, that advice has most likely referenced your favorite soda or retail store. Today, however, more people are investing in actions and causes they champion, and this is true of companies, as well.   For example, while the current U.S. administration…

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When to Pivot?

The first half of 2018 went well in terms of market performance and economic growth. In fact, the second longest-running bull market in U.S. stock market history managed to weather a few bumps and bruises to climb even higher. That’s the good news. 1   The bad news are the expected near-term headwinds that could…

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Trade Wars

There’s a never-ending stream of political news these days, but the stock market has remained relatively resilient. The market successfully weathered potential distractions that may have been detrimental in previous years, but that calm may end as there have been ongoing discussions about tariffs with global trade partners.1   In the past, the presidential power…

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