Wireless Rates Are Due To Climb – Consumer Expenditures

– September 2018 Cell phone bills are rising across the country as providers eliminate promotions and consolidate operations. The announcement of recent mega mergers in the industry has reduced the number of providers and lessened competition, leading to increased rates for customers. As tracked by the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), the cost of cell phone service is a …

Macro Economic Overview – September 2018

Trade and tariffs continued at the forefront of discussions among the U.S. and international trading partners. Topics at hand included the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and protecting U.S. intellectual property rights internationally. Emerging market currencies were rattled worldwide as turmoil with Argentina and Turkey spilled over into the broader markets. Contagion concerns spread …

New Rules Benefit 529 College Savings Plans As An Estate Tool

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes a provision to now allow 529 Plans to be used for private elementary and high school expenses, rather than just college related expenses. The new rules are a treat for both parents and grandparents looking for a better way to pay for private educational costs. Until now, the only plan that allowed for …

Macro Overview 2-1-2108

The rally in stocks that began following the election in 2016 propelled through 2017 as optimism and expectations that growth oriented policies and tax cuts would materialize. Political turmoil was not a deterrent for the markets, as major U.S. equity indices finished the year at near record levels. The Tax Cut & Jobs Act was signed into law by the …

Deficit History & Tax Cuts – Fiscal Policy

The passage of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act has prompted a flurry of analysis and criticism surrounding the affects on the Federal deficit due to lower tax revenue. Critics claim that the loss of tax revenue due to tax cuts will eventually lead to an increase in the Federal deficit unless economic growth is achieved. The affect on individuals …

Equity Overview – Global Stock Update

Global markets accelerated throughout 2017, marking new highs and sending broader market indices higher. The election prompted rally in domestic stocks continued on in 2017 as optimism and expectations that growth oriented policies and tax cuts would fuel earnings appreciation. International markets excelled in 2017 as both developing and emerging stocks were boosted by expanding economies throughout Europe and Asia. …

Bitcoin & The Greater Fool Theory – Consumer Behavior

A Bitcoin exchange in South Korea went out of business in December after it was hacked by cyber thieves that stole roughly 20% of it’s clients holdings, validating that cyber currency exchanges are still extremely susceptible to losses. Unlike a bond, stock or real estate, a cryptocurrency offers no intrinsic value, such as cash flow and earnings. Instead, the value …

The New Tax Bill – Fiscal Policy Review

Both individual taxpayers and companies will see broad changes for deductions and tax rates. The emphasis of the tax bill, known formally as the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, is to stimulate economic activity via new and higher paying jobs. This is why many of the changes directly benefit large and small businesses in order to encourage hiring. Some of …

Car Prices Are Falling – Auto Industry

Seven consecutive years of increasing U.S. auto sales have put a glut of vehicles on U.S. highways. In addition, a significant number of those sales were with a lease, leading to a rising tide of cars flowing back into the market as lease terms expired.  As automakers have added manufacturing capacity, they have also been aggressive in offering larger incentives on new vehicles in …

Consumers Are Spending More & Saving Less – Consumer Behavior

Recent government data reveals that Americans have been supporting their spending with their savings. The increase in spending is also recognized by economists as a sign of optimism and consumer confidence. Commerce Department data show that consumers have been spending more, as measured by the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE), and saving less, as measured by the savings rate, which fell to a ten-year low …