Survival of the Fittest

The coronavirus pandemic worsened income and wealth disparity in the U.S.1 However, if you were on a good path for retirement planning and financial stability, chances are you were in the group that came out ahead. According to the latest Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), a majority of retirees and…

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What’s Driving Oil Prices?

Oil prices are influenced by supply and demand, and 2020 was a great demonstration of this principle. With global and local shutdowns due to the spread of the coronavirus, there was less demand for products and services. While online shopping was up, foot traffic in stores languished and retailers – both local and nationwide –…

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Gen X Prepares to Ascend the Throne

Generation X, comprised of adults between the ages of 40 and 55, have entered their prime earning years while at the same time enjoying a bull market for stocks. This demographic represents about a quarter of households in the U.S. (26.8%) and a similar share of household net worth (26.9%). However, many economists see Gen…

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Investment Consolidation Strategies

Throughout investment industry and financial media sources we constantly hear the message that our money should be diversified. By spreading assets throughout a number of different vehicles, we can take advantage of various market opportunities while helping protect them from some investment risks. But how much diversification is too much? And what exactly should it…

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Social Security Proposals and Strategies

As the Social Security Trust Fund approaches its expiration date, many existing entities are offering helpful suggestions for funding alternatives. For example, the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) recommends a combination of changing how cost of living adjustments are made, delaying retirement age and updating the delayed credit strategy. Among its proposals, the AMAC…

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Updates on FSAs and HSAs

A recent survey found that 40% of respondents with access to a health savings account (HSA) do not fully understand how they work. Basically, HSAs are paired with high-deductible health plans to help people save money for their plan’s high deductible, copayments and other qualified expenses. However, the real value of an HSA lies in…

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New Status on Pension Plans

Financial professionals and economists have been talking about the “graying of America” and the retirement crisis for at least a couple of decades. Now, it seems, things have reached a tipping point. Even labor union workers, largely beneficiaries of rich benefits and pension plans, have been hit hard. Throughout the past century, unions set up…

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What the Stimulus Could Mean for Investors

Millions of Americans have embraced the new relief money resulting from the $1.9 trillion America Rescue Plan. They’ve been able to pay for utilities and put food on the table while looking for employment. Those who maintained their jobs throughout the pandemic have embraced the payout as well, but for different reasons. For them, it’s…

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Tax Topic: Qualified Business Income Deduction

One of the provisions included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was the Qualified Business Income (QBI) deduction. It is designed as a tax break for small businesses or self-employed individuals and is comparable to the enhanced tax breaks legislated for larger companies. However, while the corporate tax changes are made permanent,…

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Warren Buffett’s Annual Shareholder Letter

Every year, Berkshire Hathaway’s Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett sends a thoughtfully crafted letter to the company’s shareholders from which the investment industry gleans whatever newfound wisdom possible. Given that 2020 was an unusual year by economic, social and financial standards, there is much to glean. Despite the difficulties the U.S. has experienced in managing…

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