Top 10 of 2017

Back by popular demand is the Year-End wrap up!  Some of these affected our portfolios and others made our lives better…or at least made us smile for a few days. 

Last year, 2016, gave us a year of historic market highs, mind-blowing political events (remember Brexit?) and epic sports achievements. This year, 2017, gave us more historic market highs, more epic sports achievements and, yes, more mind-blowing political events.  And ever more. Read on….

Fireworks2017

Top 10 – Part One.  Perhaps you may be moved to remind me of a couple of your personal gems to round out Part Two next week. Continue reading “Top 10 of 2017”

Even A Blind Squirrel…

Are you familiar with the saying, “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while”?

The year of 2017 (and every year since 2009) in the stock markets could fall under this category – and prove dangerous to those not recognizing or admitting this reality.  In other words when the S&P 500, the index of the largest and most recognizable companies in America, rises every year (including dividends) for 9 years in a row (and was up over 13.5% in 6 out of those 9 years) we have been given a slightly false sense of security that investing is easy.

Stock Market

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10 Things NOT Talked About at Thanksgiving

We all know the “Basic 3” topics NOT recommended for talk around the Thanksgiving table: Sex, Politics and Religion. Two others on the list are Money and various Family Matters.  The gloves can tend to come off, feelings hurt and more.

Touchdown-Jesus

But there are times when several of these topics must be addressed – keeping in mind that “there is a time and place for everything”.  So, in that vein, here is a list of at least 10 topics that were most likely NOT discussed at Thanksgiving but that may be important and remain on lots of peoples’ minds: Continue reading “10 Things NOT Talked About at Thanksgiving”

Silver Lining to Tax Policy Debate

AS IF we need to hear any further “noise” about the debate in Washington, DC regarding tax policy.  There is a basic silver lining (or two) to the discussion worth pointing out.  First, a quick review of the big-picture elements in the limelight:

  • The number and rate of Individual tax payer brackets (15%, 25%, 35%, etc.)
  • The corporate tax rate (20%? 35%? pass-through? etc.)
  • Individual retirement savings vehicles and allowances (IRAs, 401k, “Roth-i-fication”, etc.)

Might I offer TWO “silver linings” to this prolonged, politically entrenched back-and-forth on tax policy:  

GOP Tax Plan

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5 Year-end Questions

Under the topic of “Give me service”, it is nearing year-end and I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to double-check certain items NOW.  A great financial adviser (especially an experienced CFP®) can be of service in opening your eyes to certain items making year-end easier and less stressful for you.  By the way, for those of you reading this who are not my clients and you have not been asked these by your adviser, then your adviser is not doing his or her job.  

calendar

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Scariest Financial Things

Halloween can be pretty scary — but not as scary as Open Enrollment for health coverage!  Enrolling for healthcare (Flexible Spending/FSA, Dental, Health Savings Accounts/HSAs, or Medicare, among others) can scare the living daylights out of even the smartest, strongest person.  We are presently in or near the “Open Enrollment for Healthcare” season.

Pumpkin

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A Very Cool Nobel Prize Winner

Under the heading of ICYMI and because of how meaningful this man’s work is to every human being:

The Nobel Prize in Economics, announced a week and a half ago, may be a real yawn for most people.  But this year, the winner is practically a rock star.  He made a cameo appearance in a hit movie with Selena Gomez and has written multiple best-sellers.  His name is Richard Thaler and he is an economist by trade but over the years chose to combine his studies of economics with psychology — and is widely known as “The Father of Behavioral Economics”.  Are you still yawning?  Read on.

Richard Thaler
Source: Personal Financial News

 

Continue reading “A Very Cool Nobel Prize Winner”

Year-End Tax Planning

Tax planning is important stuff.  Not as exciting as the markets, but saving money on taxes can be more exciting than you think.  The beginning of October means we are in the 4th Quarter…and the countdown begins to year-end. The following is a handy Tax Planning Checklist.*  Some of these items, if done now, could make a big difference to your 2017 tax situation AND add to your savings. Continue reading “Year-End Tax Planning”