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Pros and Cons of Municipal Bonds

February 12, 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.…

Stability Grows for Emerging Markets

February 5, 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…

Decreasing Benefits Contribute to Retiree Bankruptcy

January 29, 2019

For most of the 20th century, it was common for employers and unions to sponsor health care insurance for retired workers, which helped pay for some or all of Medicare’s cost-sharing requirements and deductibles. However, this trend reversed sharply in the mid-1990s. A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that only 19…

Stock Buybacks Explained

January 22, 2019

When the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, the hope was companies would spend their influx of money on expansion and increased jobs and wages. Instead, public companies’ most popular way to spend the excess capital has been to buy back their own stock.1…

Where U.S. Economics Stand Globally

January 15, 2019

From the beginning, President Donald Trump’s economic policies have intended to put “America first.” Since the ultimate goal of such policies is to strengthen America’s economic growth, solve for domestic issues and make the nation more secure, it’s worth a review of how well policy changes are working toward those goals. According to the World…

China’s Growing Economy

January 8, 2019

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.1 China is GM’s largest market; the automaker sells…

Health Care Roundup

December 26, 2018

By now, most of us know to check with our health insurance company to make sure our physician or specialist referral is covered by our health care plan and within the covered network. But what if you’re unconscious or in some other medical emergency? Say, for instance, you need to be airlifted to a medical…

2018 Tax News

December 18, 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.1 While cutting tax rates on ordinary income, increasing the standard deduction and doubling the…

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…

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…

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