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Real Estate Update

What a difference a decade makes. After the real estate debacle of the Great Recession, home prices are now near record highs in many markets with mortgage default and foreclosure rates at near record lows, according to the National Association of Realtors, or NAR.1   However, Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says some of America’s…

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Economic Effects of U.S. Putting ‘America First’

At the start of this century, the internet enhanced global communication, and the world transitioned into one massive economy. But this new landscape came at a cost, and after years of hardships, including terrorist threats, domestic recession, income gaps and divisive politics, the country is now turning its focus inward on “America First” economics.1  …

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Impact Investing

The new federal government stance toward deregulation may lead many companies to roll back operational practices, potentially resulting in higher profit margins.1 However, shareholders may have a say in this decision.   As deregulation spreads throughout the nation, impact investing also is becoming a popular trend among shareholders. Many investors don’t want to simply have…

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Strategies for Optimal Social Security Payouts

Social Security benefits are typically synonymous with retirement income. It would be inefficient to create a retirement plan without first estimating how much you will receive from the government.1 According to a 2018 report, Social Security benefits represent approximately:2   33% of elderly income 50% or more of income for about half of elderly married…

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The Income Gap and the Economy

The income gap between the wealthy and the poor is widening in the U.S.1 Why does that matter? Because there are studies that indicate a wide swathe of income differentiation is not good for economic growth.   In the years following the Great Recession, we often heard how slowly the economy was recovering. That was…

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Banking Trends

In its recent 2018 Banking Industry Outlook report, Deloitte identified six key themes that are driving trends for financial institutions today:1   Redefining what makes for a positive customer experience Managing a myriad of technology platforms Mitigating cyber risk Adjusting to competition from fintech (financial technology) companies Aligning business strategy with regulatory compliance Reimagining the…

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Putting a Value on Real Property

Real property generally refers to land, but it also can include structures, bodies of water and machinery.1 It typically denotes property of significant value, which is why state and local governments choose to impose taxes on our homes. These levies could be considered a progressive tax, in that people who own more expensive homes likely…

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Investing in Europe

It’s often said that when one asset class falters, others are likely rising. To some extent, this may be occurring with U.S. equities. The stock market correction that started in February amid fears of rising inflation has continued through March with the threat of a global trade war.1   According to Bank of America Merrill…

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Investment Themes for This Year

In the investment community, all eyes are on inflation this year. Economic analysts at Merrill Lynch anticipate further tightening in the labor market, to the tune of 3.9 percent unemployment by the end of 2018. Along with the tightened labor situation, they also expect personal consumption expenditure (PCE) inflation rising to 1.8 percent by year…

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The New Tax Law: Things to Consider

Who will be affected by the new tax legislation that went into effect Jan. 1? That is a question many are asking.   While “everyone” is likely to see some changes, here’s an idea of how many people fell into each income group. In 2015:1   About 1.4 million Americans accounted for the top 1%…

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