Blog


December

Number 1 Place to Retire?

If warm weather, easy access to the beach and an affordable price tag sound like your dream retirement, this town might be for you. Editor Catey Hill recently took a look at a new report by U.S News and World Reports that listed the best places in the United States to retire. Unsurprisingly, Fort Myers — a midsize riverfront city in southwest Florida just a stone’s throw from Gulf of Mexico beaches — topped the list. Fort Myers, according to many local residents, has retained its small-town heritage while building its museum, festival, and beach communities. Perhaps most praiseworthy, Fort Myers is fairly affordable. Currently, their cost of living is just a bit above average and their median home is priced at just a little over $200,000. Plus, Florida doesn’t have a state income tax, so your 401(k), IRA or pension withdrawals won’t be taxed by the state, nor will your Social Security. Of course, Fort Myers has some big downsides, which include muggy, hot summers and the fact that the area can sometimes feel overrun with tourists. 12.4.19


November

AI to Analyze Financial Markets

Artificial intelligence has made great strides in analyzing financial data. While the opportunities are incredible, machine learning faces complex challenges. Markets are dynamic and the way market participants act and react to new information adds complexity to the feedback effects. Blu Putnam, chief economist at CME Group, explains why diverse and collaborative teams are key to effectively using machine learning in financial market analysis in a recent video posted on MarketWatch. Keep in mind while watching this short video that it was created and provided by a sponsor. Neither Dow Jones nor the news or advertising departments of MarketWatch were involved in the creation or review of this content. Please watch this new video to get a glimpse of what financial markets could be in the future. 11.21.19

When can kids play contact sports?

The question of “when can our kids start playing contact sports?” has come up in a few times in some client meetings. Recently, the Associated Press published an article on MarketWatch that may help many parents across the country decide when is too soon. Pediatric experts in sports medicine, neurology and related fields evaluated and rated three decades of sports concussion-related research. Recent evidence has filled in many of the blanks in research. Here is what we found most interesting among their conclusions: kids should be taught collision techniques before beginning play in contact sports and that evidence is inconclusive on whether multiple childhood concussions are linked with long-term neurological changes. A member of Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital, Cynthia LaBella, emphasized to the Associated Press that concussions can happen in all recreational activities and said the physical, mental and social benefits of playing organized sports outweigh the risks of any injury, including concussions. Hopefully this may help you decide when to let your children play contact sports. 11.11.19

On Track to Retire?

Do you know where you want to retire? The fact is, most of us don’t. Shawn Langlois, a social-media editor for Market Watch, breaks down some of the best states to retire in based on financials. Nationwide, the average yearly expenses for someone over the age of 65 is $51,624. Mississippi has the lowest annual expenses at $44,758, while Hawaii has the highest annual expenses at $99,170.  Taking into account life expectancy as well as yearly expenses, the average savings required for retirement in the U.S. is $904,452. States in the Northeast and the West require the highest savings for retirement, at over $1 million, while states in the South and the Midwest require the lowest savings. What steps are you taking to save for your retirement, and what policies do you think should be put in place to help Americans retire comfortably? Please let us know. If you’re looking for a bit more information about this topic, visit this more detailed analysis of the costs of retiring in each state.  11.05.19


October

Samsung’s new smartphone features could beat Apple

Apple’s latest flagship product, the iPhone 11 series, is looking to innovate, and Samsung, an industry competitor, has begun its own game of leaks to entice the interest of a wider audience. Samsung’s new Galaxy S11 is looking to be a fierce competitor with the ever-popular iPhone. First, Samsung has reportedly been upgrading their cameras, now with a mind-boggling 108-megapixel resolution and a lens that enables 5x optical zoom. Next, the phone’s new display is suspected to be similar to those before it, with Samsung’s dubbed “Infinity Display” and a small front camera. Further, the S11 could be the first Galaxy phone without buttons, although that is still unknown. Next, and maybe most importantly, Samsung’s upcoming flagship may also feature a special, graphene-based battery, which could substantially improve charging times and total battery capacity. Unfortunately, this battery may not be used until 2021. Before you jump into a new iPhone11, make sure to take a look at the competition for the best bang-for-your-buck.  10.29.19

Will buying a house be as simple as buying a stock?

Soon, the housing market may be as simple as trading stocks. We have talked about artificial intelligence in our blog before, but recently, AI has been making a massive change in the housing market that may revolutionize the way houses are bought and sold. As different business models of home-trading companies, sometimes called “iBuyers” have been collecting lots of attention by shaking the foundation of the housing market, information technology has set its sights on an industry where “paperwork is still done on paper, and where customers are often steered among professionals scratching each other’s backs.” Zillow, a company that has continued to revolutionize the real estate market, has started their own iBuying division, buying and selling homes, all online. Zillow executives have begun to see the listing price as a machine learning exercise. Furthermore, Zillow has access to incredible amounts of information about demand, gleaned from 180 million unique website visitors each month. How much of what comes next comes down to algorithms? For now, the onslaught of machine learning in the housing market continues unabated. 10.24.19

Netflix

Many Americans have found a love for the streaming service Netflix. While this love blossomed, it became a popular investment for the amateur trader. Although its price has risen significantly since its founding, Netflix is still a company that you may want to investigate a little deeper before purchasing stock. Netflix is projecting revenue of $5.25 billion, up 31.3% from a year ago, with earnings per share of $1.04. That would be 26% growth in the second quarter. Despite the upward trend in revenue, the company added 2.7 million new subscribers, well short of its previous guidance for 5 million.

Guggenheim analyst Michael Morris notes that investors are especially focused on membership trends after last quarter’s miss. Morris wrote in a report that some third-party services that track app downloads suggest another potential miss this quarter, adding some recent pressure to the stock. That said, he maintains a Buy rating, and adds that his own survey data suggests members trends are consistent with guidance. 10.14.19

The Future of Tesla and the Electric Car

Many of our clients have taken an interest in the electric car company, Tesla.  This week, opinion writer Vitaliy Katsenelson wrote about the future of Tesla and the future of the electric car industry. As more and more tech companies invest billions into larger and faster-charging batteries, the industry will evolve tremendously. According to Vitaliy, “Tesla doesn’t own the battery-cell technology that goes into its batteries; that belongs to its partner, Japanese conglomerate Panasonic.” The battery is a key technology for Tesla, but at the moment Panasonic is in control of a big part of it. Just as Apple chose to bring development of the CPU that powers its iPhone in-house, Tesla may eventually increase its control over its battery technology. While in the short run battery technology is going to be an important differentiating factor, in the long run the EV battery will likely become a commodity and the differentiating factors will be in software and self-driving capability.  10.08.19


September

Can’t Take the Robo-Calls Anymore?

I’ll bet at some point last night many of our clients got a robo or spam call. Maybe perhaps when they were watching TV or putting the kids to bed. In this article, Paul Brandus, a columnist for MarketWatch.com, lists many of the ways to eliminate these pesky calls from your day-to-day life. His varied solutions range from fun ones to more legitimate ways to block these calls. For example, one of his ways to fight back is by simply turning the tables by saying something along the lines of “Hi, thanks for calling the Internal Revenue Service, please hold.” Another way, albeit more serious, he suggests to deal with these calls is by buying a landline with blocking capabilities. 09.23.19