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Credit Score

Are you curious about how to enhance your credit score? Understanding this financial metric can significantly impact your financial health. Here are some key questions answered:What is a credit score? A credit score, commonly known as a FICO® score, is an assessment of your creditworthiness. It is a crucial metric for anyone who wants to borrow money, rent an apartment, or even secure a job.What does a credit score mean, and why does it matter? Your credit score, often measured on a s...

June 24, 2024

How Earnings Can Guide Investors in Difficult Markets

With markets nervous about stubborn inflation, a gradually slowing labor market, and the timing of the first Fed rate cut, investors are more focused on this corporate earnings season than usual. This is because while the economy has avoided a “hard landing” corporate earnings only began to rebound in the second half of 2023. Since the stock market tends to follow the trajectory of earnings in the long run, many investors are hoping for signs that corporate profits will grow sustainably in t...

May 15, 2024

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Economy, Jobs, and Capitalism

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a transformative force reshaping economies, redefining job roles, and challenging traditional notions of capitalism. As AI technologies continue to advance at an unprecedented pace, their implications for the economy and the nature of work are becoming increasingly profound. Here, we explore how AI might affect the economy, jobs, and overall capitalism.1. Economic Transformation:AI promises to revolutionize productivity across industries, leading to si...

April 3, 2024

March Madness and the Parallels with Market Parity

As March unfolds, basketball enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the chaos and excitement of March Madness. The NCAA tournament is renowned for its unpredictability, where underdog teams often defy the odds and topple higher-seeded opponents. Interestingly, this spirited competition bears striking similarities to the dynamics of equity markets and the economic landscape, where notions of parity and unpredictability also reign supreme.In both March Madness and financial markets, the concept of parity ...

March 18, 2024

How Expectations Around the Fed, Banks and the Economy Affect Investors

When it comes to markets, day-to-day price swings are often more about what investors expect than the underlying facts. This is because markets are designed to anticipate future events and assign them a price today. This gap between reality and expectations has driven stock and bond market volatility in recent days due to the Fed's latest announcement and headlines in the banking sector. What should investors know about these developments to stay focused on the long run?Rapid Fed rate hikes crea...

February 8, 2024

Rethinking Traditional Portfolio Theories

In the ever-evolving landscape of financial markets, the question of whether traditional Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) investing rules still hold up has become increasingly relevant. As we navigate through today's dynamic environment, it is crucial to reassess and adapt our investment strategies to align with the changing landscape.The Foundation of Modern Portfolio TheoryModern Portfolio Theory (MPT), developed by Harry Markowitz in the 1950s, has long been a cornerstone of investment strategy....

January 23, 2024

What Seasonal Patterns such as the January Effect Mean for Investors

While investing often involves recognizing patterns in economic and market data, not all patterns are equally useful or valid. On the one hand, history shows that economic trends such as the business cycle and factors that drive corporate profitability, for instance, do impact markets. There are countless other patterns that investors follow that may or may not affect returns. Distinguishing between these types of patterns is important not only for portfolio outcomes but also to prevent counterp...

December 27, 2023

Unlocking the Secrets of Bond Math

Today, we're delving into the fascinating world of bond math, demystifying the complex calculations that underlie the fixed-income market. Especially as interest rates change understanding the math behind these financial instruments is crucial for making informed decisions.Bond BasicsBefore we dive into the numbers, let's quickly review some bond basics. A bond is essentially a loan made by an investor to a borrower, typically a government entity or corporation. In return, the borrower promises ...

November 13, 2023

How Middle East Conflicts Have Historically Impacted Markets

On the morning of Saturday, October 7, Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel killing hundreds and plunging the region into further conflict. Israel immediately declared war on Hamas, responded with air strikes, and called up 300,000 army reservists. The U.S. and many U.N. Security Council members have condemned the attacks by Hamas, which is designated a terrorist organization by many major countries, and are providing assistance to Israel including the positioning of a U.S. aircraft carrie...

October 9, 2023

Incentive Stock Options (ISOs)

Incentive Stock Options (ISOs) are a common form of incentive tied to the equity of a private or public company. ISOs provide employees with the opportunity to purchase company stock at a predetermined price, known as the exercise price. Although ISOs present a great opportunity to participate in the success of a company, there are some aspects of this type of compensation that can present additional complexity.Tax TreatmentISOs are subject to specific IRS rules, and not all employees are eligib...

September 11, 2023

Navigating Medicare, Supplemental Insurance, and Travel Coverage

With healthcare expenses on the rise, understanding the intricacies of Medicare, Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans, and the benefits of travel insurance coverage is essential. Medicare: Your Foundation for Health CoverageMedicare serves as the primary health insurance for eligible individuals aged 65 and older in the United States. It consists of four parts:Part A (Hospital Insurance): Covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facilities, hospice care, and some home health servic...

August 2, 2023

Saving for College: The Benefits of 529 Plans

As the costs of education continue to increase at exorbitant rates, helping your loved ones save for college is one the best ways to help them secure a bright future. Setting up a College Savings Plan, commonly known as 529 plan, is one of the best options for achieving this goal. Here are the key benefits of using a 529 plan:Tax Advantages: Earnings in a 529 plan grow federally tax-deferred, and no federal or state tax is imposed on distributions used to pay for qualified expenses, which a...

July 12, 2023

The Small-Cap Advantage

While large-cap (capitalization) companies might grab the headlines, the benefits of investing in small-cap companies should not be overlooked. Small-cap companies are businesses with market capitalization ranging from a few million to a few billion dollars. They are characterized by their growth potential, nimbleness, and the opportunity for significant market out performance.Let us break down the benefits:Growth Potential: Small-cap companies often operate in niche markets, with ample room for...

June 6, 2023

RSUs

In this month's newsletter, we will be discussing the common tax and financial planning considerations that arise with RSUs, or Restricted Stock Units. RSUs are a popular form of equity compensation that companies use to incentivize their employees. While RSUs can be a great way to motivate and reward employees, they come with their own set of challenges. Unlike stock options, RSUs don't give employees the right to purchase company stock at a specific price. Instead, RSUs are a promise from the ...

May 11, 2023

How to Teach Kids About Money

Recently after asking what I do for a living a 4th grader told me if he had a million dollars, he would buy a limousine full of candy. The comment, although amusing, prompted me to think about how kids learn about money at school and inspired this month’s newsletter topic.The financial acumen we adopt as children can have a significant impact on our financial decision making as adults. If you have a child, grandchild, niece, or nephew in your life here are some tips to make money conversations...

April 17, 2023

Navigating Risks in our Financial System

For many of our clients the recent failure of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) hit close to home. While still evolving, there is plenty of speculation as to what might come next. One recent development is that government officials from the Treasury, Federal Reserve, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) have announced that depositors will be made whole in an effort to restore confidence.The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) was the first FDIC-insured bank failure since 2020 and the secon...

March 13, 2023

Q1 Market perspective

While major stock market indices have rallied this year, investors continue to receive mixed signals from the economy. On the one hand, inflation is improving which has allowed interest rates to stabilize at a lower level. On the other hand, last week's jobs report was a significant surprise to the upside with 517,000 net new jobs created in January and the unemployment rate falling to 3.4%, the lowest in over 50 years. Although the inflation data suggest the Fed could slow or pause its rate hik...

February 13, 2023

Secure Act 2.0

The Secure Act 2.0 is a piece of legislation passed at the end of 2022 that changes several retirement plan rules with the objective of increasing the savings rates of American households.The comprehensive list is long so here are the highlights:Retirement Plans:RMD (required minimum distribution) ages have changed to 73 for individuals born between 1951 and 1959 and 75 for those born in 1960 or later. IRA owners can still do a QCD (qualified charitable distribution) starting at age 70.5Starting...

January 18, 2023

Year End Tax Moves

Here is a list of our favorite tax strategies to consider: 1. Charitable Giving: Contribute cash to an eligible 501(c)(3) charitable organization before year end to qualify for a deduction of up to 60% of AGI (adjusted gross income) or contribute non-cash assets for a 30% deduction against AGI. If you are subject to Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from your retirement plan consider a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) directly to a charity from your retirement plan. 2. ...

November 14, 2022

ESG (Environmental Social Governance) Newsletter Edition

Green Bonds 101 Investments derived out of concern for climate change and the accelerating adoption of alternative energy have grown significantly in popularity. Caveat emptor (buyer beware): not all investments labeled “green” are worthy investments. Although the consensus is that green bonds have proven their value; the industry is still deciding how that value is calculated, reported, and standardized. What is a Green Bond? Green bonds allow companies and governments to raise capital for ...

October 13, 2022

Market Update

Global markets pulled back again last week following the Fed's announcement that it would tighten by another .75% and keep rates higher for longer. Major indices are back to their June market lows with the S&P 500 falling 23% year-to-date and the Nasdaq down 31%. Bonds have also struggled as all interest rates have jumped, with the 2-year Treasury yield rising to 4.2% and the 10-year to 3.7% - the highest levels since 2007 and 2010, respectively. Investors have been navigating this challengi...

September 26, 2022

The Healthcare Cost Challenge

There is consensus across a number of studies that the United States spends twice as much as comparable countries on healthcareHow can you prepare for rising healthcare costs?If you are healthy…Group plans through your employer are less costly than private insurance. You may choose to elect a high deductible plan (HDHP) if you are a healthy individual. A HDHP will give you the ability to save pretax into a tax deferred health savings account (HSA). HSA limits for 2022 are $3,600 per year ...

August 16, 2022

Stay Invested. You won’t regret it.

The market is unpredictable. You are probably feeling a little anxious about current market volatility and headlines. I am here to reassure you with a few key data points that may put your mind at ease.While bear (negative) markets are unavoidable, bull (positive) markets are much longer with larger returns.Since 1956, the average bear market has lasted one year two months with a decline of 36%.In contrast, the average bull market lasts 5 years 9 months and returns 192%.Recoveries from market lo...

July 5, 2022

Are you vacation ready?

With summer approaching you are likely thinking about what beach to escape to or European city you want to explore. Making travel plans can be time consuming and expensive. We have compiled a list of 5 travel hacks sure to make your experience more pleasant and less expensive!Use a rewards card- Credit cards can be a great way to accumulate points and perks for travel. Many cards offer large one-time incentives to sign up and the perks far outweigh any annual membership fees. The Platinum A...

June 6, 2022

Looking for safety?

Is this a track from the 1980s? Current inflation rates are certainly taking a page out of the 1980s playbook. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that inflation was at 6.9% in 2021. Inflation is back but not for the same reasons as the 1980s. A combination of easy money policy, government spending, supply chain issues, energy economics, as well as post covid spending are all contributing factors.The shock of inflation has forced the Fed to make some aggressive monetary policy moves. The Fe...

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