Perspective on Recent Market Events

 

It looks like the U.S. stock market will finally get something that happens, on average, about once a year: a 10+% percent drop—the definition of a market correction. The last time this happened was a whopper—the Great Recession drop that caused U.S. stocks to drop more than 50%–so most people today probably think corrections […]

Savings Rates Decline

You don’t hear much about America’s personal savings rate these days, and the reason may be because the news is discouraging: collectively, the percentage of our income that we save is trending downward again, and may be about to hit record lows. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis tracks the U.S. personal savings rate, […]

ACA Open Enrollment

 

Each year, the Affordable Care Act—popularly known as Obamacare—creates a period when health insurance policyholders can buy or change their coverage through state exchanges or the government website. This year, many locations will feature fewer carriers bidding for your business, but virtually every county in America still has coverage options.

But pay attention: the […]

Portfolio Performance Defined

You receive portfolio performance reports every three months—a form of transparency that financial planning professionals introduced at a time when the typical brokerage statement was impossible to decipher. But it might surprise you to know that most professionals think there is actually little value to any quarterly performance information, other than to reassure you […]

Aging Without Support

Probably the most forgotten minority in America is the “elder orphans”—aging retirees who no longer have a spouse (if they ever had one), no kids and no caregiver.

According to The Gerontologist magazine, about one-third of 45 to 63-year-olds are single, and most of them never married or are divorced. Meanwhile, about 15% of 40-44-year-old […]

Migrating to Opportunity

Companies tend to reward loyalty in their employees. Right?

A recent article on the Forbes website uses simple math to suggest that loyal employees who stay employed at the same company for over two years at a time might be earning 50% less over 10 years, compared with less-dedicated workers who seek opportunity elsewhere.

The […]

Higher Rates: Tempest in the Teapot

Anybody who was surprised that the Federal Reserve Board decided to raise its benchmark interest rate this week probably wasn’t paying attention. The U.S. economy is humming along, the stock market is booming and the unemployment rate has fallen faster than anybody expected. The incoming administration has promised lower taxes and a stimulative $550 billion […]

Rent or Buy

If you read articles that offer budgeting advice, you might see an item that says you shouldn’t spend more than 25% of your income on housing costs. These days, that advice doesn’t apply.

Why? According to the latest report from Zillow Group, which tracks rental housing affordability, the typical renter making the median income in […]

Life Satisfaction and Economic Growth

You’re probably tired of hearing about the Greek debt crisis, but sometimes it helps to connect the abstract with the concrete—that is, the huge numbers involved with the actual lives of the people living in the country.

The Greeks today live in a vacuum of uncertainty, with their banks closed at least another day, limited […]

Other Dimensions of Risk

When it comes to investing in the stock market, the risk that everybody talks about is the ups and particularly the downs, the bearish periods when the market falls dramatically and keeps falling for months or even years. (Think: 2000-2002 or 2008)

The real damage isn’t the fall itself, but the fact that many […]