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Pros and Cons of Municipal Bonds

March 5, 2019

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 investments. One option is the municipal bond market.

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Stability Grows for Emerging Markets

February 19, 2019

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 of developed markets, while EMs posed higher risks with regard to politics and central bank policies. EM countries have evolved, along with their institutions and policies, while populist politicians have gained prominence in the West by touting the benefits of isolationism and protectionism.1

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Visualizing 200 Years of Stock Market History

February 1, 2019

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/200-years-u-s-stock-market-sectors/)


Each quarter we give our clients the chance to huddle together and receive some analysis regarding what transpired in the U.S. markets in the proceeding quarter.  One of the staples we like to share is how the major asset classes performed and compare it trailing performance during recent years (like this chart below).  It is always interesting to see how much fluctuation there can be in short period of time.   For example, notice 2017’s leading sector of “Emerging Markets” fell completely to the bottom in performance in 2018 while  “Cash” demonstrated the inverse.

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Why Global Intellectual Property Laws Matter

January 22, 2019

What’s the secret to Col. Sanders’ recipe for fried chicken? Is the reason Coca-Cola tastes different from Pepsi based on a formula locked up in a vault at corporate headquarters? For many companies, their trade secrets – also known as intellectual property (IP) – are a key differentiator and the primary reason for their success. For some, it’s a recipe or a chemical formula. For others, it’s customer data or proprietary technology.

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China’s Growing Economy

January 11, 2019

 “Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will shake the world.”

-Napoleon Bonapart speaking about China

Car Trouble

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.

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What Impact Do the New Tax Laws Have on You for 2018?

December 10, 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 reduced federal income tax liability for some, but not all, Americans. Wealthy residents of California, New York, and other high-tax states could face a higher tax bill when they file their 2018 return.

While cutting tax rates on ordinary income, increasing the standard deduction and doubling the federal estate and gift tax exemptions, the tax legislation also capped the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT). While once open-ended, the SALT deduction is now limited to $10,000 ($5,000 if married, filing separately).

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Pension vs. 401(k)

November 9, 2018

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 defined benefit pension plan or a 401(k)-type defined contribution individual account. In fact, even when the defined contribution plan was the default option and workers had to proactively choose the defined benefit pension plan, they made the effort. In the eight states studied that offered a choice between the two options, all had employees choosing pensions at rates of 75 percent or higher in 2015.

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Are We in a Corporate Debt Bubble?

October 11, 2018

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.

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Retirement Reality Check

September 12, 2018

The fantasy of what retirement will look like and the reality are sometimes very different. How much you have saved versus how long you can live a particular lifestyle can sometimes fall into the category labeled “unrealistic”. Though not for lack of trying, many retirees find that the life that they had in mind for retirement does not match up perfectly with their budget based on their retirement income sources. As a result of this disparity, many still working Baby Boomers plan to continue working past the age of 65 or don’t see themselves retiring at all. A third of boomers plan to still earn a steady income during their retirement. The fact is, a majority of boomers do not have the retirement savings to support themselves without working. A paltry 15% feel they have saved enough to retire. Additionally, one-third of those nearing or in retirement have not devised a written plan or strategy for their retirement assets and income.

Part of the challenge in funding retirement is that people live a lot longer. A person who retires at 65 can be expected to live another twenty years. Someone thinking they will just continue to work at their current job, for their current pay indefinitely is, unfortunately, being unrealistic. While age discrimination is illegal, many companies find a way to push older workers out in order to establish younger professionals in leadership positions. As a result, those who were hoping to stay in their position are laid-off or demoted.

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Key Steps to Maintaining a Strong Marriage in Retirement

August 20, 2018

You have lived a lifetime together. You have raised children, watched them grow, experienced life’s greatest moments and, undoubtedly, some of life’s hardest moments too. This bond has made your marriage strong but despite all of this, retirement may bring a new set of challenges that you and your spouse did not anticipate. If you’re feeling frustration or isolation as you adapt to life in this new chapter you are certainly not alone. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, the rate of divorce among American adults over 50 has doubled since the 1990s.[i] This dramatic rise is likely due to a broad spectrum of contributing factors, but one of those may be lack of planning in advance for a shared life in retirement.

In this article, we share some key elements to success for a happy marriage in retirement.

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