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February 2019 Economic Update

In this month’s recap: equities rally here and around the world, economic fundamentals look solid, the pace of home sales slows, and oil surges.

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

During a month marked by political impasses in the United States and United Kingdom, equities performed well around most of the world. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 advanced 7.87% in January, with a new earnings season as well as trade and monetary policy developments providing tailwinds. Most of the economic data that rolled in was good; the partial federal government shutdown may have negatively impacted some of the numbers. Home sales fell off abruptly. Many commodities advanced. All in all, investors focused on the potential of the markets more than disputes.1

Important IRA Deadlines Are Approaching

Financially, many of us associate April with taxes – but we should also associate April with important IRA deadlines.

*April 1 is the absolute deadline to take your first Required Mandatory Distribution (RMD) from your traditional IRA(s).

*April 15 is the deadline for making 2018 contributions to a traditional or Roth IRA.1

Let’s discuss the contribution deadline first, and then the deadline for that first RMD (which affects only those IRA owners who turned 70½ last year).

Succession Planning: Preparing for a Smooth Transition

A successful finale. If you are an entrepreneur, what is the final act for you and your business? If you have been successful, you likely want the company you created to be able to continue once you are no longer at the helm. For that reason, many people in your position create a succession plan to implement when the time comes.

Can You Psych Yourself Up to Save More Money for Retirement?

You have probably spent decades saving for retirement, and you might have a decade or more of saving to go before you actually retire. At times, your resolve may be tested. The stock market may falter; household money pressures may mount; new near-term priorities may arise. So, what can you do to stay on point and stick with this financial commitment you have made to your future self?

Understanding Homeowners Insurance

If you arrange a mortgage, your lender will want you to have homeowners insurance. This coverage is critical for protecting your home and personal property against various potential liabilities.

January 2019 Economic Update

In this month’s recap: equity and commodity markets experience major losses, the Fed sends a hawkish message, home sales improve, and the economy maintains its momentum.

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

December 2018 will be remembered for its volatility and its challenges. The S&P 500 flirted with bear market territory, dropping 10.16% for the month. Appetite for risk declined here and abroad in the face of tariffs, concerns about the Federal Reserve raising interest rates too quickly, a federal government shutdown, and questions about the Brexit. It was also a difficult month for commodities. In contrast, Main Street seemed in good shape: low unemployment, high consumer confidence, and strong consumer spending were all evident.1

 

Watch Out for the Top 12 Tax Scams & Schemes

The “dirty dozen” favored by criminals & cheats.

Year after year, criminals try to scam certain taxpayers. Year after year, certain taxpayers resort to schemes in an effort to put one over on the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.). These cons occur year-round, not just during tax season. In response to their frequency, the I.R.S. has listed the 12 biggest offenses – scams that you should recognize, schemes that warrant penalties and/or punishment.

The Steward Approach to Managing Market Volatility

Over the past few months, investor concerns about rising interest rates, oil prices, tech stocks, trade wars and a variety of other daily “headline issues” have resulted in significant market volatility. Looking ahead, volatility may continue as markets adjust to potentially higher inflation and interest rates. To help frame the current market volatility, we offer the following reminders:

When You Retire Without Enough

How much have you saved for retirement? Are you on pace to amass a retirement fund of $1 million by age 65? More than a few retirement counselors urge pre-retirees to strive for that goal. If you have $1 million in invested assets when you retire, you can withdraw 4% a year from your retirement funds and receive $40,000 in annual income to go along with Social Security benefits (in ballpark terms, about $30,000 per year for someone retiring from a long career). If your investment portfolio is properly diversified, you may be able to do this for 25-30 years without delving into assets elsewhere.1

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