Show Menu

Summer Planning Tip

It’s a dreary Friday morning so I thought it would be good to do a little writing.  Summer is winding down as today is the last day of trading for the month of July.  The passing of July means that summer is slowly coming to an end.  My daughter put in her notice for her…

Read more

The Employment Challenge

The one constant thing in life and the economy is that “change” is sure to occur. My goal as a parent is to ensure that my children will have the skills to one day have a good job and be independent. As we continue to watch our economy very slowly add jobs with no real wage growth, a stark realization has become evident. Retail jobs are in jeopardy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does an employment projection by decade in their Monthly Labor Review. In 2004 retail trade accounted for 10.5% of our nations employment or 15,058,200 people and was the 3rd largest industry (State and Local Govt was…

Read more

The Future of Taxes?

We feel that a sound wealth management plan focuses on making the most of the things that you can control (saving vs. spending, portfolio risk, education to enhance earnings potential and keeping care of your personal well-being/health), but also staying abreast of things outside of your control (Policy regarding taxation, savings & entitlements). After digesting the White House proposed budget released in February we found several new tax ideas in the plan.  While the likelihood of these ideas passing this year is very low we thought we would share them, as they include some very major changes in our opinion.  We will only focus on the items that could affect…

Read more

Will stocks decline further? Answer: Watch the Economy

We continue to focus on economic activity to monitor the outlook for earnings, which ultimately drives stock prices.  Masked by the media yesterday was some good reports on the consumer, which still drives the US economy making up almost 70% of GDP. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) rose 0.4% in August. Additionally, the previous month was revised up to 0.4% from 0.3%. Real PCE also rose 0.4%, the most in three months. At the current sales pace, real PCE is tracking at a 3.5% annual rate in Q3, nearly matching the 3.6% annual growth rate in Q2. Spending growth was supported by continued steady gains in personal income, up 0.3% for…

Read more

Federal Govt Status

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported a June budget surplus for the federal government, which is typically a positive month.  Here are a few points from the release: Federal receipts rose 8.8% y/y led by a pickup in individual income tax receipts. Federal outlays rose a smaller 4.4% y/y.  Spending on national defense and income security continue to contract. Additionally, net interest payments declined 1.2% y/y, partly because low inflation reduced the principal of TIPS. Fiscal year-to-date, the deficit totaled $313.4 billion, down 14.3% from the same period a year ago. The CBO projects a deficit of $468 billion this fiscal year. A couple of key takeaways: Tax increases have been a big…

Read more

Brace For The Media Barrage

“The biggest big business in America is not steel, automobiles, or television.  It is the manufacture, refinement and distribution of anxiety.” Eric Sevareid, CBS, 1974 It has been some time since our last blog post, and we thought it appropriate to touch on a few items with the impending outcome of the Federal Reserve meeting release tomorrow.  The above quote is very timely and relevant four decades later.  We would also add that injecting the internet, mobile and social media has only amplified the media’s distribution of anxiety.  Here are some of the headlines just today: “At stake in a financial meltdown: $26 Trillion?” “55% chance of a Greek “accident”…

Read more

In Retirement, Money Isn’t Everything

Financial matters are only one part of the retirement readiness equation. Have you considered the non-financial challenges you may face at retirement? All too often, couples who are financially set end up unhappy post-retirement. They may be ready for retirement money-wise, but many are unprepared in other areas, such as: General attitude toward retirement and aging Finding satisfying work or activities to replace their former career Interpersonal relationships, especially with their spouse Overall health and wellness These non-financial issues will only become more significant as retirements grow longer. In the past, people might plan for 10 years of retirement. Today, we may be retired for as long as we’re employed. One predictor of…

Read more

Happy (almost) New Year!

Wishing all a prosperous and blessed start to 2015.  The following is a timely poem by Art Cashin: ‘Tis the day before New Year’s and despite what you’re hopin’ The folks in the Boardroom say “the full day we’re open” So we’ll buy and we’ll sell as the tape crawls along And though “Bubbly’s” verboten we may still sing a song Two Thousand Fourteen was okay, not really a wow Till a Santa Claus rally took us through Eighteen Thou We lost special people as we seem to each year It just makes us treasure each one that’s still here Robin Williams, so manic snuffed out his own light Mickey…

Read more

Give Me A Raise

We continue to get inquires on our opinion of when interest rates will rise.  A post today by Ed Yardeni hits on the key metric to watch in our opinion.  Until we see wage pressures building we think rates will remain low for some time. Wage inflation remains abnormally low although the labor market has clearly tightened. The short-term unemployment rate fell to 3.9% during October, the lowest reading since November 2007. Back then, wage inflation was 3.3%. Today, it is only 2.0%. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said that she believes that wage inflation is too low. She would prefer to see it rise to 3%-4% before starting to normalize…

Read more