Blog

From July 19 – 25, Social Security will celebrate its second National my Social Security Week. Activities across the country will include email blasts, news articles, social media posts, posters and banners, registration events, and more!Why all the activity? Because a personal my Social Security account is the most convenient way for people to access and manage their Social Security information online. Taking advantage of this convenient, cost-effective, and secure service allows workers to plan for their financial future and enables them to verify that their information on our records is correct. This is important since earnings are the basis...
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Summer CommentaryMarkets:  Global markets continued to send a mixed message through May and into June with signs of weaker global growth, combined with strong manufacturing numbers, modest acceleration in wage growth and good job numbers.  The major points from our Outlook at the beginning of the year are still on target. Given the dollar/euro and lower energy prices (which help consumers like Europe), we’ve recently increased our allocation to a slightly stronger position in developed international markets including Europe.  The strong dollar is a mixed blessing:  it’s great for imports and bad for exports.  When we buy Saudi oil, we...
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Deconstructing the S&P 500: How 36 Stocks Gave You 55% of the S&P's Return in 2014 Like a lot of investors, I watched the S&P 500 Index do very well in 2014, especially compared to holdings in small caps, international, and emerging markets. We own the S&P 500 index as a holding and I'm happy about that.  However, I couldn't help wonder how the S&P did so well. The pundits were decrying the death of active management, and new records on the S&P fell daily as the rest of logical investments sat relatively idle. So, I worked out a trusty spreadsheet with...
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Congress in Action
LJPR 12-17-2014 10:26
Congress in Action (err...Inaction)Alan D. Miller, CPA, PFSDecember 17, 2014In a new show of bipartisanship, the lame-duck Senate finally passed the 'temporary' one-year extension of a hodge-podge list of about 50 tax provisions that had expired at the end of 2013.  The 'tax extender' package retroactively reenacts these tax deductions and credits effective January 1, 2014, but they expire December 31, 2014.The House previously passed a two-year 'extender' package (which included permanent extensions of certain provisions) that, under a threat of a veto by the President, went nowhere in the Senate. Instead, the House passed a one-year extension last week and...
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This year, 2014, has been interesting so far. One major asset class, large US equities, is doing very well, compared to most other asset classes.  That’s great if you own large US equities (and we certainly do!). Having other asset classes, like small cap stocks and emerging markets, can make it trying, since all we ever hear about is the S&P 500 or the Dow. Ever hear the commentator on the news say, “today the MSCI Emerging Market Equity Index was up 1.4% on lower oil prices”?  A question we sometimes get is: ‘Why aren’t we doing as...
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Well, the elections are over and we can now watch attorney ads instead of nasty political ads. In general, the election went as we predicted. The Republicans have taken the largest house majority since WWII and now have the Senate. The question is what does this mean? There are two options: the GOP assumes a leadership role and tries to pass legislation (that the president will sign); or continues obstructionist roles. If the obstructionist strategy continues, we will have more brinksmanship and battles. On the other hand, if we get cooperation, a variety of things could happen. A possible outcome is...
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