Not-So-Fat Tuesday

Originally titled, “Gut Check in Rocky Markets” but with a new twist the following excerpted edition from the archives of TGIF 2 Minutes is timely on (Not So) Fat Tuesday. Please keep in mind three new factors:

  • The political divide currently in the US is adding to market tensions and even politicizing the Coronavirus,
  • Primary Elections and Debates and the policy issues being brought forth are next-to-center stage in the media,
  • A still very recent UP 29% equity market in 2019,

and there exist the makings of a potential market correction. A market correction is defined as a decline of 10% from a recent high; the US equity markets are down over 6% in two days and are nearing an official “market correction” in 2020.

Coronavirus Stock Market
A “Not-So-Fat Tuesday” as the Dow sank 879 points after worrisome forecasts about the coronavirus.

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Achieving Financial Goals

At February 21st, while the year is still young… the time is perfect for reviewing or setting goals for this year and the years and months to come. No pressure. The holidays are in the past and the deadline for filing 2019 taxes is still a bit in the distance – for now!

At this somewhat perfect time of the year, goal setting can pay off in a big way toward achieving those goals. Often goal setting is difficult to start with a blank sheet of paper so here are a few tidbits to create momentum:

green palm trees and white gazebo
Setting financial goals is difficult, so start by thinking in terms of categories: Work, Fun, Family.

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Brexit, Impeachment, Coronavirus: Preparing for Exogenous Threats is Key to Minimizing Risk

Exogenous Threats. These types of threats or risk factors come from an external place and affect markets – unexpectedly. Already in 2020, only 38 days into the year, the US and global markets have been presented with at least three major exogenous threats:

  1. Brexit becoming abruptly final
  2. A US Impeachment trial
  3. A viral epidemic, the unnamed Coronavirus in China (and now spreading to other countries too)
  4. (Bonus 4th threat) US-China and US-World trade policy
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Photo Credit: NBC News

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Tax Law Changes That Matter For You

As the year turned from 2019 to 2020, there stealthily rolled in several of the most sweeping reforms to retirement and tax legislation in a decade or so (outside of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or TCJA). The recent changes apply to IRA, 401k and other retirement savings accounts. If any of these apply to you then please read on:

  • Inherited IRA
  • Turning 70½ this or next year
  • Own a business with or proposing a 401k plan
  • Working for a small company and do not have access to a 401k plan
  • Need an early distribution for reasons of qualified birth or adoption
US Capitol
The SECURE Act is the most sweeping reform to retirement and tax legislation in a decade. As with most pieces of Congressional legislation there are positives and negatives.

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2020 Contribution and Gift Limits

A handful of updates for 2020 IRA & 401k contribution and gift limits:

  • For Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs the 2020 contribution maximum remains the SAME in 2020 as in 2019: $6,000 (plus $1,000 to total $7,000 for those age 50 and over).
  • REMEMBER!! IRA account contributions can be made all the way up until April 15th for the previous tax year.
  • That means that you have until April 15, 2020 to make an IRA contribution for 2019.
cash dollars hands money
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Investing After A Great Year

It is still early in the year – there is still plenty of time to evaluate how to start or tweak a savings and investing plan. In fact, it is ALWAYS a good time (January, February, March, July, October, December…) to evaluate savings and investing. But after the amazing past year and decade in US and global stock and bond markets, it may cross your mind to say,

  • “Should I wait to invest?”
  • “How can markets keep going up, up, up?”
  • OR,
  • “I need to jump on the bandwagon here!”
  • “Growth stocks are the way to go! I have stock ideas!”

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Negative Interest Rates

Staying positive in a negative interest rate world just got a little easier. Sweden’s central bank, one of the world’s first to lower benchmark interest rates to below zero, this week raised its rate up to zero from negative 0.25%, or -0.25%.

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A negative interest rate from a bank means that instead of depositing monies and earning interest, the depositor pays interest over time. The concept has been said to signify ultra-safety of deposits thus providing “value” to the depositor.

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