Market View (January 2017) – A Shift in Perspective

  |  January 13, 2017

For our entire history as a nation we have debated the question, “How much authority should be centralized?” This discussion is not limited to the US, but is global in nature. After the 2008 crisis, many argued that economic decision-making needed to be increasingly regulated and centralized.

As the recovery that started in 2009 failed to reach historic averages, questions arose over whether or not the amount of regulation and centralization was too much. In 2016, two events demonstrated the level of discontent with the “new normal.” Read more. Read More

An End … and a Beginning

  |  November 30, 2016

As 2016 comes to a close and we look forward to 2017, it’s a good time to review those basic investing decisions that all investors must make to increase the likelihood of achieving their financial goals and objectives. The basics of investing are just that—basic tenets to follow that may result in accumulating assets that can help investors successfully attain whatever goal they have established, such as paying for a college education, taking the family on a vacation to celebrate a significant event, buying a first or second home, or funding a rewarding retirement. Read more. Read More

Market View (October 2016) – Eyes on the Fed

  |  October 13, 2016

Central banks around the world took the stage during the Third Quarter of 2016 with the U.S. Federal Reserve having prominence. As various Fed Governors gave speeches, each talk was dissected to see if the Federal Reserve would raise rates in September. Ultimately, they did not, but since they did not change their language for another increase in rates this year, the expectation is that they will raise rates in December. Read more. Read More

Reverse Mortgages Explained

  |  August 29, 2016

Watching a television commercial where a familiar personality talks about reverse mortgages may generate both interest and questions about that financial tool. Those television spots highlight the benefits of reverse mortgages as an attractive option for generating cash for senior homeowners and allowing those homeowners to stay in their homes. While receiving cash to supplement income and staying in one’s home are goals most anyone would love to attain, research and due diligence should be performed to determine if a reverse mortgage is an option for those who qualify. Read more. Read More

Market View (July 2016) – Navigating the Brexit

  |  July 6, 2016

So what happened during the second quarter 2016? Well, the elephant in the room was the United Kingdom’s (UK) referendum to leave the European Union (EU), also known as the Brexit. The referendum was set by British Prime Minister David Cameron to appease a national populist movement concerned by fears that the UK was losing its national sovereignty to the European Union. 

Global equity markets declined sharply on the news. Media experts opined that the vote would spark a chain reaction of adverse events that would lead to the eventual breakup of the European Union. However, two days after the vote, cooler heads prevailed and equity markets started to recover from their initial reaction. How the vote will ultimately affect European, British, and Global markets remains to be seen, as events are very much in a state of flux and new nuances of the Brexit seem to appear daily. Read more. Read More

On Annual Filing Dates and Fraud

  |  May 31, 2016

Tax season often ushers in the appearance of those who want to separate you from your personal financial information for their gain—and your loss. Others need no help in implementing strategies to either reduce their tax bite or obtain tax breaks they do not deserve.

The IRS Criminal Investigation Division works with the Department of Justice to ferret out those fraudsters and prosecute them. Each year the IRS publishes a list of common frauds that taxpayers may encounter anytime, but which may be especially visible during tax season. Read more. Read More

Market View (April 2016) – A Light at the End of the Tunnel?

  |  April 28, 2016

Much like previous quarters, the first quarter of 2016 was interesting to say the least.  The quarter began with concerns over the global economy.  Was the precipitous fall in the price of oil an indication of a slowing global economy, or just an issue of over-supply? Would the Federal Reserve raise rates too quickly and choke economic growth?  These concerns overwhelmed any positive news and equity markets declined through January and the first half of February. Read more. Read More

Your Investment Accounts: How to Deal with Identity Theft and Data Breaches

  |  February 19, 2016

An Investor Alert recently issued by the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy recommends the steps investors should take to safeguard their investment accounts if they are victims of identity theft or if their electronic data is hacked. While the Alert was directed primarily toward safeguarding investment accounts, many of these actions should be taken to protect credit card and bank accounts, as well.

You should always take steps to protect your personal financial information, such as Social Security numbers, bank and investment account numbers, user names and passwords. If you are the victim of identity theft, however, or you discover your personal financial data has been breached, there are a number of steps you need to take as soon as possible. Read more. Read More

Financial Matters (Winter 2016) – Why Are Annuities So Complex?

  |  February 2, 2016

‘Indexed’ annuities (sometimes called ‘equity-indexed’ annuities) were a reaction from the insurance industry to investors wanting to participate in the market but not experience the downside (‘have cake and eat it too’). Hence, a product that participated on the upside and protected the downside. But at a cost of additional fees and limits on access to your funds.

Like other annuity products, ‘indexed’ annuities are a contract between you and the insurer. The financial strength of the insurer is paramount in ensuring that they can meet these commitments. But the complexity of the product and optional features (riders) can be difficult for anyone, including insurance agents, to understand. Read more. Read More

Market View (January 2016) Year in Review

  |  January 19, 2016

What a year for 2015! From seeing the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years to hitting all-time highs in the U.S. equity markets, the year marked some great and historic moments.  One very notable moment that we can all relate to was the price of a gasoline at the pumps – we saw the price per gallon fall (and stay) below $2.00.  Although low gasoline prices are great for us (the consumer), it did create some issues for the oil markets, many oil related companies and their employees, as well as state coffers. As a result, we saw the energy sector, along with a slowdown in China, have a negative effect on global markets. 

As these events began to unfold throughout the year, we saw volatility return to the markets as U.S. equity markets peaked in May and within a few months, we experienced our first equity market correction since 2011. Read more. Read More