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Food for thought


Trade Agreement Updates

December 11, 2018

In the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), among gains for the United States is a new provision negotiated with Mexico related to auto products. Under the new terms, to qualify for tariff-free sales, 75 percent of automobile materials must be produced in the United States and…

The New Space Race

December 4, 2018

Space: The final frontier. Or is it? The U.S. is again taking a serious look at space exploration, but there are many factors to consider. President Trump last summer called for the Department of Defense to move space operations to a sixth military branch, though funding such an effort would require congressional approval.1 The U.S.…

Interest Rate Watch

November 27, 2018

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 news…

Economic Indicators

November 20, 2018

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, economists look to…

Pension vs. 401(k)

November 13, 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…

Are We in a Corporate Debt Bubble?

November 6, 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. And yet, whenever things are going well, it’s only human nature to…

Real Estate Update

October 30, 2018

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 most…

Trade Wars: More Context

October 23, 2018

In particular, automobiles seem to be in the crosshairs of President Trump’s hard line on trade with the rest of the world. Here are a few reasons why:1 S. auto production represents about 2.7 percent of GDP. There are more jobs in motor-vehicle assembly than in computers and electronics, chemicals, motor vehicle parts, plastics and…

Retirement Readiness

September 25, 2018

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 published…

Legacy Issues

September 11, 2018

Sixty-three percent of surveyed affluent adult children between the ages of 18 and 22 say they’ll need to rely on their inheritance for financial security during retirement. Before the inevitable groan about the entitlement of youth, bear in mind that today’s young adults do have different financial challenges than in past generations. 1 It used to…

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