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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Inflation: Expectations for 2018

It seems as if inflation has been biding its time. Since the financial crisis a decade ago, growth in prices and wages has been muted.1 However, many financial analysts believe that’s about to change.   A jobs report from early March revealed continued hiring and a moderate increase in wages. The stock markets welcomed 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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Balancing Investor Euphoria With Market Reality

Many social media users share nearly all aspects of their lives, from photos of cute kids and pets to their political views. And now, we even are seeing posts from exuberant investors bragging about their investment returns. For example, consider this social media post:1   “I strived to become a 401(k) millionaire someday, and this…

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Financial Strategies in 2018

One philosophy of investing, as opined by Warren Buffett, is to be “fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”1 The nation’s eight-year bull market, however, has tested that philosophy. Most market analysts would agree that it was more important to be in the market and taking advantage of gains than to…

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Mitigating Risk Goes Beyond Asset Allocations

What do Harvey Weinstein, “America First” policies and asset allocation have in common? Quite a bit, it turns out, when it comes to evaluating the various risk factors that can affect an investment or portfolio.   Anyone who’s ever taken a hot minute to observe the market or talk shop about the economy must realize…

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A Look at the Potential Effects of Tax Reform

The tax overhaul legislation that was passed in December has been billed as a means to streamline tax filings at both the individual and corporate level.1 We certainly could use it. According to the IRS, Americans spend a total of 6.6 billion hours a year filling out tax forms.2   While simplifying taxes is a…

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