Taxes Up (But Not As Much As You Think)

If you think taxes are higher than their historical rates, well, it depends on how far back in history you’re comparing them to. Take a look at the accompanying chart, which shows tax revenue as a percent of total national income for four countries—France, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the U.S.—since 1868. The chart ends […]

Global Debt Overhang

You haven’t heard much about the U.S. government’s debt, in part because, as a percentage of the economy, the growth of our national debt has slowed dramatically. (See chart) But measured on a global scale, the world’s $152 trillion of debt—from consumers, corporations and governments worldwide—is more than double the balance at the start of […]

Gold Up, Gold Down

The enduring popularity of gold as an investment has to do with its tangible nature. Unlike a stock or a bond, you can feel and touch golden coins and larger ingots. The problem with such tangible assets, of course, is that there is nothing alive about them; that is, there is no claim on the […]

Internet Participation Rates

Pretty much everybody has access to the Internet. Don’t they? The actual global median of all countries is 67% of citizens, but access is not evenly distributed. In the U.S., 89% of adults use the Internet at least occasionally, according to the Pew Research Center. Only South Korea (94%), Australia (93%) and Canada (90%) report […]

Roth Conversions and Mandatory Distributions

You probably know that the IRS requires you to start taking mandatory distributions from your IRA when you turn 70 1/2, even if you don’t actually need the money. But can you do a Roth conversion at that late date, and thereby defer distributions forever?

The answer is that you CAN do a Roth conversion […]

Uber’s Flying Vision

The future of personal transportation will be very different from the past. If you marry two clear trends—the advent of self-driving cars with increasingly popular Uber transportation—it’s easy to envision a world where you can sell your car and convert the garage into a spare bedroom. Why would you need your own auto when you […]

Retirement Contribution Limits Unchanged

In case you missed it, the contribution limits to your 401(k) plan, IRA and Roth IRA—set by the government each year based on the inflation rate—will not go up in 2017. Just like this year, you will be able to defer up to $18,000 of your paycheck to your 401(k), and individuals over age 50 […]

Balancing Traits

Are you ready to achieve work-life balance? The American Sociological Review has published a study showing that most of us struggle—which is a fancy word for “fail”—in this important endeavor. But there’s hope. The study also found that the minority of people who HAVE managed to achieve some form of the work/life holy grail are […]

Election Impact on your Portfolio

By now, most voters have made up their mind about who they want to serve as their next President. But what can they look forward to, from an investment and tax standpoint, if their candidate wins or loses? How will the election affect their portfolio and future net worth?

Let’s look at the least predictable […]

Structural Struggle

 

Why has the American economy grown so slowly since the Great Recession? This year, GDP growth will fall somewhere in the 1.5% to 1.8% range, below the 3% growth rate that is considered a sign of robust economic health. Critics have blamed everything from China’s slowdown to globally outsourced manufacturing to fiscal fights in […]