Setting An Example

Setting An Example

​Setting an example for future generations… Do your children or grandchildren spend summers mowing lawns, repairing computers, or selling movie tickets? Perhaps, they have part-time jobs during the school year, bagging groceries, or working in a local shop. No matter the type of work done, if a young person has earned income, he or she can save in a Roth IRA.While saving for retirement probably isn’t even a blip on the radar for most young people, their older relatives are…

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It’s College Time!

It’s College Time!

​It’s college time! What will the money in a 529 college savings plan cover? If you have a child or grandchild who will be heading to college soon, and you have set up and contributed to a 529 College Savings Plan, it’s almost time to tap into those funds.The reason many people start tucking money aside in college savings plans when their children are young is any earnings grow tax-deferred in 529 plan accounts, and are federally tax-free (and often…

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Weathering a Volatile Market

Weathering a Volatile Market

​Investing during the past couple years has been like driving down a rutted dirt road in a car with worn shock absorbers: fraught with jarring ups and downs. At times like these, it can be helpful to look back and realize we have weathered difficult markets in the past.A good starting point may be August 1979 when the headline on the cover of BusinessWeek declared equities (stocks) were dead. The accompanying article explained, “The Dow Jones industrial average set its…

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A Look Back at the Fourth Quarter

A Look Back at the Fourth Quarter

​Fourth quarter, a look back…The Federal Reserve pulled the trigger. At the December Federal Open Market Committee meeting, the Fed finally acted, tightening monetary policy by raising the funds rate from 0.25 percent to 0.50 percent. It’s important to remember the Fed doesn’t actually set interest rates. It takes actions designed to influence financial behaviors. The Fed has given rates a push, it remains to be seen whether its efforts will bear fruit.The European Central Bank (ECB) acted, too. Although,…

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Looking Back

Looking Back

​Looking back… Each week, ‘The Economist Explains’ blog expounds on subjects ranging from current events to economics, from philosophical or scientific issues to everyday oddities. Let’s take a quick look at a few of its headlines during 2015:Why the Swiss unpegged the Swiss franc (January 18, 2015). Remember when the Swiss National Bank removed its currency peg last January? The Swiss franc realized double-digit gains in value and the Swiss stock market dropped.Everything you want to know about falling oil…

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Second Guessing the Fed

Second Guessing the Fed

​Second guessing the Fed is an age old American pasttime. Americans have been speculating about the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy choices – rate hikes, rate declines, quantitative easing, etc. – for a long time. It’s clear when you take a look at a few modern Fed Chairs and the Fed’s activities under their leadership.Paul Volcker (1979-1987) took over an economic quagmire known as The Great Inflation. In the early 1980s, U.S. inflation was 14 percent and unemployment reached 9.7 percent….

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Yuan to Join IMF

Yuan to Join IMF

​Next year, China’s renminbi (A.K.A. yuan) will join the U.S. dollar, euro, yen, and pound, when it is added to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket – a supplementary foreign exchange reserve asset that is defined and maintained by the IMF. It will become the third weightiest currency in the basket. After the renminbi is added, the U.S. dollar will comprise 42 percent of the basket (unchanged from 2010). The euro will be 31 percent (down…

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It’s That Time of Year!

It’s That Time of Year!

​It’s that time of the year. No, not the holidays. It’s the time when investors begin to consider pundits’ forecasts for the coming year. Here are a few of those forecasts:“Flat is the new up,” was the catch phrase for Goldman Sachs’ analysts last August, and their outlook doesn’t appear to have changed for the United States. In Outlook 2016, they predicted U.S. stocks will have limited upside next year and expressed concern that positive economic news may bring additional…

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Shop till you drop!

Shop till you drop!

​It seems that shopping has joined food, football, and family as a favorite pastime on Thanksgiving Day. Did you log on and do a little holiday shopping last Thursday while your holiday feast was cooking? If so, you are not alone. MarketWatch reported consumers spent $1.1 billion between midnight and 5:00 p.m. eastern time on Thanksgiving Day. That was a 22 percent increase over the year before.After taking a break to give thanks, gorge on Thanksgiving delicacies, and enjoy family…

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