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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Let's start this email with the conclusion: Stick with your investment strategy, and don’t let outside influences like the Fed get in your way. Following the Fed these days is like watching an endless point in a tennis match. The...

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

At the end of 2025, portions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) are set to expire. Many changes will come with the sunsetting of many rules, including the possibility that federal estate and gift tax exemption levels will revert to...

Thursday, April 11, 2024

You’ve heard the expression, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” The same can be true for the financial markets. “A market rally creates wealth (and may help manage debt, too).” As you can see in the first chart, U.S. households have...

Thursday, April 4, 2024

As a rule, I avoid drawing attention to market anomalies unless I believe there’s a good investing lesson for everyone. The unusual price action in the cocoa market is giving me that opportunity. So today’s lesson is, “hindsight is...

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Give your children the gift of financial literacy. They’ll thank you later! As a parent, you are well aware of your responsibility in helping your children grow up happy and healthy. Once they enter their teen years, the pressure can...

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Thursday, March 28, 2024

When you see hypothetical examples of stock market performance, the illustrations often use average annual returns of between 8% and 10%. But how often does the stock market return between 8% and 10%? Only four times in the past 76...

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

As the presidential election race heats up, a common question on investors’ minds is, “How might the looming White House vote impact the markets?” Some may wonder if they should tweak their portfolios or sit tight...

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Economists describe a Goldilocks economy as one that’s not too hot and not too cold; it’s just right. And 2024 is starting to feel just right. When the Fed started to raise short-term interest rates in early 2022 to rein in inflation,...

Thursday, March 14, 2024

When does the phrase “no hurry” turn into “not in 2024?” During a recent testimony to Congress, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterated that he expects short-term interest rates to trend lower in 2024....

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Experts estimate there are more than 44 million people with disabilities in the U.S., representing 13.4% of the population.1 Many parents of children with disabilities choose to establish a special needs trust. This can help provide...

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Wall Street keeps asking, “When will the Fed start cutting interest rates?” But perhaps the better question is, “What is the Fed looking for before it would consider cutting interest rates?” As you may recall,...

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Over the years, I've come to believe that learning to navigate financial discussions and events in a relationship is a "must" that transcends generations. However, recent data shows that Gen Z and Millennial couples are forging their...

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Sir John Templeton once said, "The four most expensive words in investing are: ‘This time it’s different."1 And normally, I would agree. But it seems like the phrase, "This time it’s different," may actually apply to...

Monday, February 12, 2024

Money can be a touchy subject, especially regarding our closest relationships. Whether we like it or not, finance plays an integral role in our partnerships, families, and friendships. So, how can we foster healthy attitudes and...

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

In the ever-evolving financial landscape, staying informed about the latest changes and potential implications for your retirement savings is crucial. Shifts in retirement regulations define 2024, and we’re committed to keeping...

Friday, February 2, 2024

As the much-anticipated Super Bowl LVIII draws nearer, I thought sharing some fascinating details about the big event that will have us all on the edge of our seats would be interesting. Let's huddle up and review the stats that make...

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

1/23 The Big Game Indicator and Other Unusual Economic Theories It’s a fun time of year for football fans. The NFL playoffs are starting, and the Big Game is just around the corner. While football fans will tune in for the...

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

1/9 Major Tax Changes Looming: Are You Ready? With the start of the new year, we wanted to discuss a topic that will likely garner attention throughout 2024: the potential sunsetting of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in 2025....

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Fed Chair Powell finally made his much-anticipated “pivot” at the close of the Fed’s two-day December meeting, saying he sees short-term rates heading lower next year. Perhaps much lower. Surprised but excited, the...

Monday, December 18, 2023

Season's Greetings! With the holidays nearly here, I recently checked that my gifting was squared away. Luckily, I didn't forget anyone (this year), but as I reviewed my list (and checked it twice), it made me curious how others...

Monday, December 11, 2023

Your Child is Turning 18: Handling Healthcare, Academics, and Finances Together As your child blows out the candles on their 18th birthday, you may still see your baby girl or boy. But in the eyes of the law your child is considered a...

Monday, December 11, 2023

Anyone with an interest in financial happenings may have noticed more than a few mentions of “gold" in the news. Sure, some view it as a key asset to hold during periods of market volatility, but that doesn't quite explain the...

Monday, December 4, 2023

As we get ready to turn the page on 2023 and welcome the new year with all its possibilities, we’d like to take some time to reflect on the year that was—the notable events, trends, and developments that defined our...

Monday, November 20, 2023

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or any other form of dementia, this can be an extremely challenging time. While promising new treatments are developing and research continues, a cure remains elusive....

Thursday, November 16, 2023

I've seen the "Boomerang Generation" in more than a few headlines lately. These young adults return, or "boomerang," to their parents' homes as they attempt to navigate the property market. The key culprit is mortgage rates nearing...

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Many consider the University of Michigan the gold standard for reporting on consumer sentiment and trends. Among its 50 monthly reports, the most well-known is the "UMich Consumer Sentiment" survey, which measures consumer confidence....

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Divorce is one of the most stressful life events. Even the most amicable splits can be complicated and emotionally draining. We likely all know couples who have gone through divorce, and it can be a trying time for everyone involved....

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

While we haven’t yet said goodbye to 2023, it’s not too early to begin thinking about any tax changes that may be on the horizon. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 was designed to overhaul the federal tax code by...

Friday, October 27, 2023

A lot of number crunching needs to happen before the advanced estimate for Q3 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is released. The Atlanta Fed expects Q3 GDP to check in at over 5 percent. Meanwhile, blue-chip economists are forecasting...

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Many of us have adapted to a world with remote team members and back-to-back Zoom calls with customers spread across the country, which certainly has its benefits. Nevertheless, one drawback is the difficulty of getting together in...

Thursday, October 19, 2023

You may have heard the idea that the Fed is trying to “thread a needle” with the economy by raising interest rates to slow growth but not cause a recession. Well, we’re at crunch time with that plan. We’re at...

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

SECURE 2.0: Changes Going Into Effect in 2024 Passed in 2019, the SECURE Act was the most substantial retirement legislation in over a decade. It contained important changes designed to help investors save more and be better prepared...

Thursday, October 12, 2023

The Social Security Administration has announced a 3.2% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2024. This adjustment means the average Social Security retiree beneficiary will see their monthly check increase by about $57 to $1,849,...

Thursday, October 5, 2023

If you're a fan of Warren Buffett, you'll recognize this quote: "Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful." In recent weeks, the investing outlook has become a bit murky, which has led some people to let...

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Time to Think About Year-End Financial Strategies As we roll into fall and the fourth quarter, now is a good time to pause and reflect on proactive ways to set up your finances for 2024. Economically speaking, we are now in a much...

Thursday, September 28, 2023

So, what happens during a government shutdown, and how might this affect you? Unless the government employs you or you are planning a trip to the Smithsonian, you might not even notice. Social Security checks will arrive as scheduled,...

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

While artificial intelligence (AI) is making headlines today, the concept of "thinking machines" can be traced back to ancient philosophers and mathematicians. The phrase artificial intelligence was first used in the mid-20th century,...

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Have you ever heard the expression, “It’s a headline risk for the markets?” Headline risk is the chance that an unsettling news event–anticipated or a surprise–can add volatility to the financial markets....

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Social Security, the program you may have spent a lifetime paying into, is designed to offer stability, supplemental income, and other valuable benefits that can play a role in your overall financial strategy after you retire. We've...

Thursday, September 7, 2023

The stock market rebound has significantly increased the number of workers with $1 million or more in their workplace retirement accounts. According to Fidelity Investments, employees with 401(k) balances exceeding $1 million rose 26...

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

If you ask the average investor which month is the most volatile for the stock market, they will probably say October. It's a reasonable answer, but it's incorrect. Despite October's reputation for market-defining events like the...

Thursday, August 31, 2023

If it feels like the financial markets are lurching from news event to news event in recent weeks, you’re right. They are. The markets were on pins and needles waiting for Fed Chair Powell to deliver his talk at the Jackson Hole...

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

As financial professionals, we understand how vital it is to safeguard your personal and financial information. Unfortunately, in our increasingly digital world, cybersecurity risks, such as phishing attacks, have become a prevalent...

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Wall Street is slowly starting to talk about an “expansion economy” and forgetting about any recession fears. July’s consumer inflation report was soft, so attention will soon shift to gross domestic product in the...

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Why is August a volatile month? One simple reason: many people are on vacation. And when people are out of the office, the financial markets often see less trading, which can cause big price swings following news events. The Fitch...

Monday, August 7, 2023

You’ve done a great job teaching your children vital life lessons and instilling values that will last a lifetime. As summer ends and a new school year begins, one thing that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially for...

Friday, August 4, 2023

If you've heard CEOs mention "A.I." multiple times during second-quarter conference calls, you're not imagining it. There have been an astounding 1,072 mentions of A.I. (and counting) so far.1 Some believe that A.I. has the potential...

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Changes are coming to the complicated form that students must submit to qualify for college financial aid, known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Department of Education is calling it the “most...

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

IntroductionOver the last several months, I have met with quite a few self-proclaimed do-it-yourself (DIY) investors who, after struggling with the markets in 2022, approached me asking for a second opinion. Interestingly, almost every...

Friday, July 21, 2023

Sometimes, a picture is worth 1,000 words. So I decided to include an image of the June Consumer Price Index (CPI) report to help put inflation in better perspective:Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose just 0...

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Changes to 529 plans in the SECURE 2.0 ActThe SECURE Act was initially passed by Congress at the end of 2019 and was intended to improve retirement savings opportunities. It was a big deal at the time and the most significant piece of...

Thursday, July 6, 2023

What if your child needs braces? The cost may be as much as $6,000 for metal braces—more modern versions can run as much as $13,000. Your health insurance may cover only a portion of the cost. If you're well past the braces stage...

Thursday, July 6, 2023

As the Fed continues its fight against inflation, one of the more challenging parts of the economy is gauging what's happening in the jobs market.One July report showed the private sector added nearly 500,000 jobs, double the...

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Market timing is exhausting. And sometimes, it can be expensive. When you time the markets, you have to be right twice – first when getting out and second when getting back in.In the accompanying chart, you can see individual...

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Jerome Powell skipped an interest rate hike at the Fed’s June meeting, but the market isn’t buying what the Fed Chair is selling about what’s next with short-term rates.Powell signaled that two more rate increases may...

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Getting your affairs in order and outlining what you want done with your estate after you’re gone is one of the greatest gifts you can leave your loved ones. However, not preparing for the transfer of your assets can lead to...

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Jerome Powell skipped an interest rate hike at the Fed’s June meeting, but the market isn’t buying what the Fed Chair is selling about what’s next with short-term rates.Powell signaled that two more rate increases may...

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Senior care costs can be overwhelming, particularly when long-term care is required due to illness or medical conditions. With the number of seniors in the U.S. expected to rise exponentially by 2030, it's crucial to be prepared for...

Friday, June 9, 2023

Now that the debt ceiling negotiations are behind us and President Biden has signed the measure, what will Wall Street's wandering eye focus on next?Inflation? Interest rates? Recession? Artificial intelligence?More than likely,...

Friday, May 26, 2023

What is a bull market, and more importantly, who determines if we are in one?Technically speaking, a bull market is defined as a 20% gain in a stock market index, such as the Standard & Poor's 500, from a closing low.So are we in one?...

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Living Trusts: Understanding the Basics and Key ConsiderationsBodyEstate management can be a complex and daunting task for many people, but it’s a critical step in helping your assets get managed and distributed according to your...

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Would it surprise you to hear that investors have moved past worrying about inflation? They have, at least for now.Wall Street has shifted its attention to Washington’s budget negotiations and how the debt ceiling will be...

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Trying to Time a Recession?BodyEconomies move in cycles – always have, always willThe Federal Reserve has been steadily increasing interest rates in an attempt to slow the rate of inflation. Its efforts are yielding some results,...

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Don't hold a surprise birthday party for Jerome Powell. He would hate it. And if you plan on visiting the Fed Chair, call first. He doesn't like surprises.Powell delivered on his March promise at the most recent Fed meeting by...

Thursday, May 4, 2023

I wanted to take a moment to update you on the potential changes to Social Security benefits for 2024. As I'm sure you know, the Social Security Administration calculates annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) based on the Consumer...

Thursday, April 27, 2023

From my perspective, we can't hear the word "better" enough in the weeks ahead."Better than expected." "Better than feared." "Better than forecasted."These are winning phrases that can be used by market pundits when they compare a...

Friday, April 14, 2023

If you're an investor looking for something to worry about, you never have to go more than a few days on Wall Street.As you can see from the accompanying chart, 11 economic reports are scheduled for release during 19 trading days in...

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Market timing must be exhausting. Always moving in and out of the markets based on economic analysis or business headlines must be so challenging.The accompanying chart shows that money held in money market mutual funds rose to $5.1...

Friday, March 31, 2023

Jerome Powell is a man of his word. And the financial markets believe that's an excellent trait for the Federal Reserve Chairman.Powell told the financial markets to prepare for a 25 basis points increase in short-term rates in early...

Thursday, March 23, 2023

As the financial markets sort through the banking sector's issues, speculators have adjusted their outlook for interest rates for 2023 and beyond.In the first table, you can see that on March 3, speculators were expecting the Federal...

Friday, March 17, 2023

When events like Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank happen, it's natural to wonder how a bank safeguards your funds. Fortunately, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance was designed for this very reason:...

Friday, March 3, 2023

One of my favorite Warren Buffett quotes is, “Remember that the stock market is a manic depressive.”What he’s suggesting is that stock prices can sometimes swing wildly from day to day in response to even minor news....

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Investors put the economy on recession watch when the Fed started its “higher in a hurry” push with short-term interest rates in mid-2022.After the 10-year/2-year Treasury curve inverted in July 2022, it was “all...

Friday, February 17, 2023

Would it surprise you that the U.K. stock market is hitting new all-time highs and several other European markets are either at new highs or approaching new all-time highs?It seems like only a few months ago, European economies...

Friday, February 3, 2023

"Is the bear market over?"That's a question I've been asked a number of times in recent weeks. And my answer is the same, "Let's give it a little time."But people are quick to remind me that stocks are off to a good start in 2023,...

Thursday, January 19, 2023

The December inflation report had some encouraging news. It showed that consumer prices trended lower for the month, but more importantly, it confirmed that overall prices have been trending lower for the past six months.Now the ball...

Thursday, January 12, 2023

In the final days of 2022, Congress passed a new set of retirement rules designed to make it easier to contribute to retirement plans and access those funds earmarked for retirement.The law is called SECURE 2.0, and it's a follow-up to...

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Congress spent the final days of 2022 on new reforms designed to help Americans save more for retirement.You may hear the changes called SECURE Act 2.0, which is a follow-up to the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement...

Thursday, December 22, 2022

What does the bond market know that the Fed isn’t telling us?Fed officials recently have said that short-term rates will need to climb to over 5 percent to bring inflation under control. But in the table below, you can see that...

Friday, December 9, 2022

The holiday season is upon us; from story time with sorely missed grandchildren to laughter with friends and family over long-cherished memories, there's little doubt that "the most wonderful time of the year" has arrived.For my family...

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Over the years, the Fed has followed a similar pattern with interest rates. It raises interest rates, then pauses, so it can see how the economy is adjusting to the higher rates. The chart below shows the Fed’s pattern with...

Thursday, November 17, 2022

October's Consumer Price Index (CPI) had some encouraging news for investors, but others asked, "Is this a game changer or another head fake?"While it's a bit early to know the answer, it was great to see that inflation rose at a...

Thursday, November 10, 2022

The financial markets are on edge this year each time Fed Chair Jerome Powell takes the podium following a Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.The chart below shows that the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index has gained...

Thursday, November 3, 2022

You may have heard the phrase “contrarian investing,” but did you know that one of the most reliable contrary indicators is individual investors?Retail investors often do the wrong thing at the wrong time. But this year,...

Monday, October 24, 2022

I’ve always been a little cautious when people say, “it’s different this time.” But the table below suggests the Fed is approaching 2022’s inflation differently than other financial events in recent...

Thursday, October 13, 2022

How well do you remember 1981? Harrison Ford had his first bow as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Frogger and Donkey Kong were all the rage at video arcades. Bob Ross left the Air Force and took up painting. On top of that,...

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Lately, "inflation" seems to be the media's favorite word. Everywhere you turn, there's another story about the impact of inflation. For example, many news outlets have reported that confectionary prices have surged over 30% from last...

Friday, September 30, 2022

Wall Street is always searching for a hero to embrace or a villain to blame. And right now, Fed Chair Jerome Powell is the villain.After the September Fed meeting, Powell said interest rates may be heading higher for longer than...

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Did you know September is National Preparedness Month? This event promoted by FEMA guides Americans in ensuring their families and communities are ready in case of natural disasters or other emergencies.But did you also know that the...

Friday, September 16, 2022

Believe me, everyone on Wall Street wants inflation to go away, or at least shrink back to below 2%, a level we enjoyed not so long ago.But Tuesday's Consumer Price Index report showed it might be some time before we see 2% again....

Thursday, September 8, 2022

We’re entering a tricky time of year: September and October have a reputation for bringing an extra measure of market volatility.Some of the stock market’s most challenging events have hit in September and October, and...

Thursday, September 1, 2022

The White House recently forgave up to $10,000 to student loan borrowers as part of a larger debt forgiveness program. There are still quite a few questions to be answered, but here are some key points to know.Pell vs. non-Pell: Loan...

Thursday, August 25, 2022

I’m hearing a lot of mixed messages these days about the economy. Some headlines say we’re already in a recession; some say one is looming. Others hint that we’ll avoid a recession and have a soft landing. It makes...

Friday, August 19, 2022

Have you heard? The Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law on Tuesday, August 16. While the $430 billion package includes many provisions, I thought I’d highlight three key areas where you may benefit the most.Tax credits...

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Does waiting 30 days for a government report seem a bit unreasonable? After all, we live in a world of instant messages and real-time quotes. Why should we wait a whole month between updates on the Consumer Price Index to see what's...

Thursday, August 4, 2022

In the financial world, some weeks are more important than others, and we just lived through a big one. Let's unpack each of the four key stats:The Fed. As expected, the Fed bumped up short-term rates again at its July meeting. But the...

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Earnings Propel StocksEarnings season kicked off last week, with major banks reporting second quarter results. While their results were mixed, they appeared to indicate that consumers and businesses remained reasonably healthy–a...

Friday, July 22, 2022

We strive to keep you regularly updated with important market changes and news.Please listen to the most recent market update from Phil Blancato, Advisor Group’s Chief Market Strategist. This call discusses recent updates for the...

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Phew, what a roller coaster we’ve all been riding. There’s so much going on in the world right now, and a lot of it is less-than-happy news. Understandably, most of us have nagging worries about what’s going on in the...

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Market UpdateObservations U.S. equities moved lower this week as indicated by the S&P 500 which was down -2.18% on the week.In the U.S., smaller sized companies outperformed their larger-sized counterparts, as the Russell 2000...

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Good days and bad days are a fact of life in the market. Sometimes it’s up and we celebrate. But when it dips, we worry…and if it tanks, forget it: the first instinct for most of us is panic, and we wonder if we should just...

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Like it or not, taxes are a way of life. They fund great things like roads, libraries and parks, but nobody wants to pay more than they absolutely have to. We often get questions like, “How can I balance my tax obligations with...

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

When market volatility is headline news and account values start to fall, it’s easy to understand why investors get jittery. Even with a boatload of historical data to support us, in times of stress we all struggle to overcome...

Friday, June 10, 2022

Recently, you may have seen some headlines talking about an “inverted yield curve” and what it may mean for the economy.  An inverted yield curve is just one indicator of the economy’s possible direction, so...

Thursday, June 2, 2022

It’s hard to ignore current news about persistent market volatility, and we’re guessing this has resulted in some anxiety about what (if anything) you should be doing. Please be assured that we are actively monitoring the...

Thursday, May 26, 2022

It’s hard to ignore current news about persistent market volatility, and we’re guessing this has resulted in some anxiety about what (if anything) you should be doing. Please be assured that we are actively monitoring the...

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Monday, November 1, 2021

There are a lot of questions about President Biden’s Build Back Better plan and potential tax law changes, including an adjustment to capital gains taxes.One of the proposals Congress is considering sets the top rate for taxing...

Monday, October 25, 2021

While the world has begun to recover from the economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, the delayed reaction has been felt in the supply chain. Industrial shutdowns around the world slowed production to a relative crawl, leaving...

Monday, July 12, 2021

Summer brings the perfect time for BBQs with friends, fun in the sun, and making memories at the beach or pool. With the first half of the year in the rearview mirror, summer also gives us a chance to perform a mid-year assessment on...

Monday, May 10, 2021

Recently, there’s been a lot of noise about the Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan, commonly referred to as the ‘infrastructure bill.’ We’ve heard a lot about infrastructure over the few years, and...

Monday, May 10, 2021

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