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January

Why Americans repeatedly overlook this tax credit.

And yet, far too many taxpayers aren’t aware of the credit, according to a survey released this week. Some 44% possibly eligible for the credit — by making less than $40,000 a year — were not aware of it, according to a new survey from the tax preparation company Jackson Hewitt. More than half of the same group either said they did not qualify (20%) or didn’t know if they qualified (33%), according to the survey. 01.24.20

The Earned Income Tax Credit is designed to act as a cash infusion to low-income families. In fact, some experts have called it “one of the largest and most studied antipoverty programs in the United States.”

Avoid These 12 Deadly Sins

Want to improve your investment results? The deadly sins below are not only among the most serious financial transgressions, but also they’re among the most common. I firmly believe that, if you eradicate these 12 sins from your financial life, you’ll have a better-performing portfolio.

Vanguard's Mistake

Since its founding in 1975, Vanguard Group has been one of the most unique, yet highly regarded, investment advisors in the county. Its uniqueness stems from its legal status as a non-profit, meaning that all profits are returned to investors, not outside shareholders. However, Vanguard and its management have recently come under fire for their stance on FTT’s- financial transaction taxes. FTT’s are preventative measures in place to combat the use of speculate trading activity, a high-frequency trading tactic that can be harmful to markets. Recently, Vanguard has switched their stance on FTT’s, claiming that they bring more harm to the US stock market than good. However, this is inherently untrue. Hong Kong, the third-largest stock market in the world (and the freest market in the world according to the Conservative Heritage Foundation), relies heavily on FTT’s to regulate the amount of high-frequency trading. Ultimately, Vanguard’s shift in opinion should cause no panic in its investors for the time being. However, investors in Vanguard mutual funds (and investors in any mutual-fund giants) should pay close attention to the stances of their companies on financial issues such as FTT’s. Becoming, and continuing to be, a well-informed investor is a great way to ensure the success of your portfolio. 1.20.20

Oil Stocks are Cheap

After the US Killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, tensions between the two countries skyrocketed. The tensions caused by the killing caused a panic in the stock market, and as a result, many stocks dropped in the days following. The stocks have begun to recoup their losses as the fear of war slowly dissipates, but tensions still exist between the two countries, and fear still lives in today’s stock market. To combat the tension’s effect on oil prices and the stock market, it might be wise for investors to hedge the risk of Iran in their portfolios by investing in US Energy Stocks. For the past years, energy companies have been some of the worst performers in the S&P 500, but with the tensions in Iran and the rising prices of oil, these energy stocks are primed for a rebound. For investors, the conflict between the United States and Iran should be closely monitored; if tensions escalate and OPEC cuts oil supply, oil prices will rise and the affinity for energy stock will increase. Hedging portfolios with energy stock might not be the next Microsoft, but it could add value to your portfolio. 1.13.20


December

2019

Inheriting an IRA"?

The SECURE Act was signed into law on December 20th and will impact anyone with retirement accounts.  Under the new legislation, beneficiaries of IRA’s will need to withdraw the money within 10 years.  Under the previous law a person could stretch out the payments over their lifetime.  The article goes into detail about where this could become tricky and the main area would be for people inheriting the IRA through a trust.  They recommend that if you do have an IRA trust to get it reevaluated to make sure the language in it is not going to do anything to be detrimental.  The article suggests that this new rule will generate an additional $15.7 Billion in tax revenue over the next decade. 12.31.19

Holiday Shopping Deadline Cheat Sheet

Whether you’re mailing a package or buying online, you need to know if it will arrive in time for the holidays. The shopping season, marked from Thanksgiving to Christmas, is six days shorter than it was last year. Thankfully, there’s still enough time to place online orders with some retailers — but time is ticking. NBC News recently posted a holiday shipping deadline cheat sheet for online shoppers. Amazon Prime members have until Sunday, Dec. 22 for ordering tens of millions of items that are delivered for free. Walmart’s big deadline for most holiday online orders is Sunday, Dec. 22 at 11 a.m. PT. Target recommends that customers order by Friday at 12 p.m. CT to receive free, guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. NBC lists these holiday favorites, and many more, on their holiday cheat sheet, written by Alyssa Newcomb. 12.18.19

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

2019

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