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Category: Plan Wisely

Second Guessing the Fed

Second Guessing the Fed

​Second guessing the Fed is an age old American pasttime. Americans have been speculating about the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy choices – rate hikes, rate declines, quantitative easing, etc. – for a long time. It’s clear when you take a look at a few modern Fed Chairs and the Fed’s activities under their leadership. Paul Volcker (1979-1987) took over an economic quagmire known as The Great Inflation. In the early 1980s, U.S. inflation was 14 percent and unemployment reached 9.7 percent….

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Yuan to Join IMF

Yuan to Join IMF

​Next year, China’s renminbi (A.K.A. yuan) will join the U.S. dollar, euro, yen, and pound, when it is added to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket – a supplementary foreign exchange reserve asset that is defined and maintained by the IMF. It will become the third weightiest currency in the basket. After the renminbi is added, the U.S. dollar will comprise 42 percent of the basket (unchanged from 2010). The euro will be 31 percent (down…

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It’s That Time of Year!

It’s That Time of Year!

​It’s that time of the year. No, not the holidays. It’s the time when investors begin to consider pundits’ forecasts for the coming year. Here are a few of those forecasts: “Flat is the new up,” was the catch phrase for Goldman Sachs’ analysts last August, and their outlook doesn’t appear to have changed for the United States. In Outlook 2016, they predicted U.S. stocks will have limited upside next year and expressed concern that positive economic news may bring additional…

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Shop till you drop!

Shop till you drop!

​It seems that shopping has joined food, football, and family as a favorite pastime on Thanksgiving Day.  Did you log on and do a little holiday shopping last Thursday while your holiday feast was cooking? If so, you are not alone. MarketWatch reported consumers spent $1.1 billion between midnight and 5:00 p.m. eastern time on Thanksgiving Day. That was a 22 percent increase over the year before. After taking a break to give thanks, gorge on Thanksgiving delicacies, and enjoy family…

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It Wasn’t Just About the Budget

It Wasn’t Just About the Budget

​ Last week, the bipartisan budget bill was signed into law, averting a U.S. default and deferring further battle over debt and spending levels until presidential and congressional elections are over, according to U.S. News & World Report. The new law includes provisions that CBS Money Watch said are likely to strengthen Social Security and Medicare by improving the programs’ finances. Since the provisions also have the potential to reduce benefits for some Americans, they may not prove to be all that…

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The Basics of Tax Loss Harvesting

The Basics of Tax Loss Harvesting

You may have heard of tax loss harvesting. Some people harvest losses every year, while others do so only when they have taken significant capital gains or have received more income than expected during a given year (perhaps they sold a business, received an inheritance, or collected a sizeable bonus).Tax loss harvesting occurs when an investor sells an investment at a loss, meaning the investor’s cost basis – the original purchase price adjusted to account for dividends, stock splits, and…

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Most Americans Agree

Most Americans Agree

​Most Americans agree. In a recent newsletter, Jeremy Grantham of GMO, a global investment management firm, discussed research on wealth inequality conducted by Duke University Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics, Dan Ariely, and Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, Michael Norton. Grantham wrote: “The title of the article pretty much says it all: “Americans want to live in a much more equal country (they just don’t realize it)”. The guts of the data is a survey of…

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It’s Important To Ask the Right Questions

It’s Important To Ask the Right Questions

​A recent article in The Economist examined the “gig” economy. You know, people selling crafts online, offering their services as taxi drivers, renting their cars and spare bedrooms for short periods. Some folks even rent space on their driveways to commuters. It’s that old American ingenuity and, as it turns out, it’s difficult to quantify. Analysts expected this employment revolution to be reflected in self-employment statistics. However, the self-employment rate in the United States has declined during the past two decades,…

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Before you buy an annuity….

Before you buy an annuity….

October 20, 2015 Before you buy an annuity…. Investing Investing for your retirement can be a scary process. With all of the attention given to financial markets, it’s no surprise that one would want to escape the noise and settle for a “guaranteed withdrawal” or a “minimum return”. The truth is that there are no perfect investments; they all have their benefits and weaknesses. Annuities can help guarantee an income you can’t outlive but at what cost? They are complex structures…

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Rollover – Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Rollover – Good Idea or Bad Idea?

​It’s not always a good idea to rollover company stock from a 401(k) plan to an IRA. In fact, doing so might mean you pay more in taxes to Uncle Sam than necessary. If company stock held in an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan has appreciated, the difference between the amount paid for shares (the cost basis) and the current value of those shares is known as net unrealized appreciation (NUA). For instance, if an investor paid $10 a share for 1000 shares…

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