Social Security Payments Increasing By 2% – Retirement Planning

Social Security recipients are due to receive the largest increase in benefits in six years. But for many recipients, the increase in payments will go towards higher Medicare costs. The Social Security Administration announced a 2% increase in benefit payments effective in late December 2017 for disability beneficiaries and in January 2018 for retired beneficiaries. The 2% increase is the …

Macro Overview November 2017

An improving economic environment and earnings optimism propelled markets higher, along with prospects that there might be some agreement on tax reform in Washington. The House of Representatives released a draft of tax policy proposals known as The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. The prospect of lower taxes for corporations and individuals are part of the proposals while also targeting …

Shorter Settlement For Stocks & Bonds – Financial Planning

Commencing September 5, 2017, the settlement period for most security transactions will be shorten to two days, from three days. The two-day settlement date applies to most security transactions, including stocks, bonds, municipal securities, mutual funds traded through a brokerage firm, and limited partnerships that trade on an exchange. Government securities and stock options will continue to settle on the …

More Homes For Sale, Less Homes Sold – Housing Market Update

Dynamics within the housing market are a result of wages, consumer sentiment, interest rates, and the economic environment. Over the past year, the number of homes for sale and the number of homes sold has diverged. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development carefully tracks all home listings and sales on a monthly basis. The most recent data available …

Costliest Hurricanes – Historical Note

As flood waters recede in Texas, Hurricane Harvey is on track to be one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history. Not since Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged Louisiana in 2005, and Gustav & Ike in 2008, have insurance companies been levied with billions of dollars in settlement claims. Fortunately, nearly nine years absent of a significant natural disaster has …

What To Do After A Major Credit Data Breach – Consumer Awareness

Be Proactive: Request A Copy Of Your Credit Report Now! Consider Freezing Your Credit: Only If You’re Not Applying For Credit Soon Subscribe To A Credit Monitoring Service: Most Are Monthly Subscriptions There are three major credit reporting companies in the United States: Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. Even though the three are distinct entities, they all perform very similar functions.This …

Recent Fed Rate Hikes In Question – Monetary Policy

Over the past 27 years, the Federal Reserve has raised it key rate, the Federal Funds Rate, 35 times, each to slow down inflationary pressures and to curtail elevating price levels. The Fed increased rates aggressively and consistently in 1994 to hold off a rapidly expanding economy, lifting rates six times for the year. A decade later, the Fed raised …

Macro Overview – July 2017

International markets reacted in June as central banks throughout Europe and Asia signaled that monetary stimulus efforts were slowly being dispatched. The news propped up European currencies including the euro, pound, and Swiss franc as anticipated higher rates tend to bode well for currencies. Central banks from around the world are slowly curtailing stimulus efforts and starting the process of …

Chinese Stocks Get Inducted – International Update

The European Central Bank (ECB) hinted that it might start curtailing its stimulus program as accelerating growth takes hold throughout Europe. The news drove European bond prices lower and yields higher, simultaneously lifting the euro. China was inducted into the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, a long awaited move by Chinese companies and international investors. MSCI, a U.S. company providing key …

Equity Overview – Global Equity Overview

The equity markets started to experience what stock analysts call a sector rotation, when one or several sectors fall out of favor leading to funds flowing to other sectors. This past month technology stocks fell as markets perceived that the sector may have become overvalued. As this occurred, banking and financial sector stocks rose, as favorable regulatory related news lifted …