Do You Have Relative Wealth or Just Absolute Wealth?

cities from spaceHOW MUCH WEALTH IS THERE IN THE WORLD? In 2016, the Earth’s inhabitants were worth about $256 trillion, according to the Global Wealth Report by Credit Suisse Research Institute. Population has grown along with wealth.

1. North America, which has more than 5 percent of the world’s population, is the wealthiest region with about $92 trillion of the world’s wealth. Continue reading

Inflation and Higher Interest Rates

little white flowersWe are flirting with higher interest rates.

Last week, yields on 10-year Treasury bonds rose to a 17-month high of 2.44 percent, reported The Wall Street Journal, before retreating to finish the week at about 2.4 percent.

As we’ve mentioned previously, some experts suspect the bull market in bonds, which has persisted for more than 30 years, may be headed into bear territory. In part, this is because the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to increase interest rates (via the fed funds rate) in December. Last week, Continue reading

The Gift of College Savings

library shelvesLOOKING FOR A GREAT GIFT? If you have friends or relations with young children, consider starting or contributing to a 529 College Savings Plan. It’s a great way to fund a future education and, let’s face it, really young children often enjoy the box and wrapping more than the gift.

So, if you want to give a child something they’ll always remember, starting a college fund may fit the bill. Continue reading

Risk and The Post-Thanksgiving Food Coma

veggies in storeFIRST, THE FOOD COMA IS A MYTH. 

According to WebMD, the amino acid L-Tryptophan is not responsible for Americans’ post-Thanksgiving food coma. The real culprit is overeating. So, last week’s post-feast sleepiness can be blamed on big appetites.

And, this might not be the only place we are (over)indulging. Continue reading

Is This The End of The Bond Bull?

bullThis time it’s the end. Really. Possibly.

It seems like experts (ourselves included) have been forecasting the end of the bull market in bonds for years – and that is because they HAVE been doing so. In July 2010, bond guru Bill Gross predicted the 28-year bull market in bonds was near an end and, as interest rates moved higher, bond values would move lower. The Federal Reserve’s first round of quantitative easing had ended in March 2010, and he couldn’t know a second round, which would keep interest rates low, would begin in November 2010. Continue reading

On Predictions

daisy - closeupIT’S JUST NOT EASY TO DO. Brexit came as a shock to many. So did the outcome of the U.S. election, but let’s face it – whether you’re trying to evaluate the potential of a company or the future of a country – predicting what may be ahead is never easy.

For instance, back in 1901, John Elfreth Watkins conferred with the “the wisest and most careful men in our greatest institutions of science and learning” to determine what might happen during the next 100 years. His predictions weren’t all accurate, but Continue reading

Markets React to Trump

blue smokeSurprise, Surprise!

The Markets reaction was unexpectadly and remarkably sanguine following the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States.

There was a moment of panic. As election results rolled in on Tuesday, Gold prices rose and Treasury yields fell, as investors sought safe havens. Dow Futures, a measure of overnight sentiment, fell by 4 percent, and Standard & Poor’s 500 futures dropped 5 percent. (When index futures trade lower before the market opens, it is an indication investors expect the actual index to trade lower when the market opens.) Continue reading

Elections and Stock Markets

Ferris Wheel2THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IS MOVING THE STOCK MARKET?

Elections often produce market volatility because markets hate uncertainty, and there is nothing certain about the outcome of the U.S. election. Election-induced volatility, however, often is relatively short-lived.

Remember, the downturn that followed the British vote to leave the European Union? Globally, markets lost about $3 trillion in two days following the late June vote. By the Fourth of July, many markets had recovered lost ground and made new gains, according to Financial Times. Continue reading

Opportunity is Born of Uncertainty

questions-imageMarkets hate uncertainty – and that may create opportunities.

Last week, investors experienced another bout of election jitters, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) Index fell for the ninth straight session.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), a.k.a. the fear gauge, which measures the expected volatility of the S&P 500 during the next 30 days, was up more than 40 percent for the week. The shift in the VIX reflected investors’ concerns about stock market performance after the election. Continue reading

The Estate Tax is both Federal AND State

coffee and glasses on tableSTATE ESTATE TAXES ARE IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER!

Most Americans aren’t too concerned about federal estate taxes. After all, 99.8 percent won’t have estates large enough to be subject to the tax. For 2016, the estate tax threshold is $5.45 million (double that amount for a married couple) and it is expected to be $5.49 million in 2017 (barring any changes to the tax code). Continue reading