News You Can Use

Interest Rate Watch

In late September, the Federal Reserve raised its key short-term interest rate to 2.25 percent from 2.0 percent, in its third increase of the year.1   The good news is that higher rates offer the potential for higher returns on CDs, bank savings and other fixed-rated accounts that have been languishing for years. The bad…

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Economic Indicators

Newton’s laws of motion and gravity are often applied to economics and the stock market. What goes up, must come down. While this generally explains a natural path of the economic cycle, the key question for most investors is: When will it come down?   While no one can predict market directions with exact accuracy,…

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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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Annuity Strategies

  In a 2017 Nationwide Retirement Institute survey, financial advisors revealed some of the primary concerns of today’s pre-retirees, including maintaining their current lifestyle during retirement. These people also are less concerned with growing their assets; instead, they are focusing on drawing them down in a disciplined strategy without taking out too much too early…

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How Market Moves Affect Investor Decisions

The National Bureau of Economic Research recently explored how continued low returns can influence saving, investing and retirement behaviors. According to the report, diminished returns tend to motivate people to save more in non-retirement accounts and less in their 401(k)s, alter their investment allocations, and even delay retirement and claiming Social Security benefits.1   While…

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Retirement Readiness

The Indexed Annuity Leadership Council recently published a report that included a scoring mechanism for how “retirement ready” Americans are based on job status. “White-collar workers” rated just below 50 percent in terms of retirement readiness, while “blue- and gray-collar workers” were somewhat lower, at 44.7 percent.1   Another recent report on retirement readiness was…

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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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Tax Burden Shifts in Divorces

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) featured an important provision for divorcing couples to consider. For divorces executed after Dec. 31, 2018, alimony will no longer qualify as a tax-deductible expense, while alimony payments will be tax-free to recipients. In other words, the tax burden on that income will shift from the receiver to…

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Wealth and the Trump Effect

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was meant to kickstart the economy with growth not seen in a decade. Six months in, the results are a bit lackluster. Business investment has increased only slightly throughout the last year (excluding oil and gas, which are highly volatile).1   This begs the question — how much impact…

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