Business Earnings (03/27/2018)

Last year I wrote about the high earnings multiples of U.S. stocks. One of the easiest measurements of a stock, or stock market, is the relationship of earning to prices. For example: if Company A earns $1 over one year and the price of the stock is $20, its price earnings ratio is 20 (take the earnings and divide it into the share price). If Company B had earnings of 80 cents and it too had a stock price of $20, its price earnings ratio would be 25 (20 divided by .8). Currently, the trailing price earnings ratio (past years’ earnings) for the S&P 500 is 24.91.

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Roth Conversions (03/07/2018)

Now might be your golden opportunity to convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act that was signed into law in December lowered the top individual income tax rate to 37% from 39.6% and reduced many other rates as well. That means if you convert your traditional IRA to a Roth and agree to pay taxes on those funds now, you will be paying at a lower rate than in the past.

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Correction! (02/14/2018)

Last year I kept waiting for the stock market to make a correction. As I pointed out several times, the price earnings ratio was out of line with historic values. During 2017, in addition to not having a correction, we saw volatility at extremely low levels. The combination of these two gave many investors the belief that the market couldn’t go down during such good times. This led some of our investors to indicate that they wanted to take more risk in their portfolios. As I told each of them, when the market is rising, you think you can take the downturn, until it occurs.

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529 Opportunities (02/01/2018)

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act signed into law in December made an important modification to 529 college savings plans, a widely used college savings vehicle.  529 plans can now be used for qualified K-12 educational expenses. 

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Tax Reform (12/14/2017)

The U.S. House and Senate have each separately passed a bill that will create sweeping tax reforms. There are substantial differences in the two bills. A joint group of Republicans from the House and Senate are working to incorporate their differences into one bill. Unlike the last major tax reform that took place in 1986, this bill is not retroactive to the beginning of tax year 2017, but will be implemented in 2018. One tax provision that will be enacted may impact many of our clients negatively. Beginning in 2018, a cap of $10,000 on state and local tax deductions will be enacted.

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Take a Moment (11/21/2017)

At this special time of year when we give thanks and gratitude for all that we have in our lives, please take a moment to give the same thanks and gratitude to yourself. We are living in an age where life is moving very fast and the expectation to be constantly in motion makes it difficult to keep up or feel that you are not falling behind. Too often, we do not give ourselves credit for what we have accomplished.

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Is the Stock Market Too High? (11/2/2017)

People are asking me lately whether the stock market is at or near a peak. Of course, I was also getting this same question at the beginning of the year.

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Indexes (9/21/2017)

The media report daily on the results of investment indexes.  When you hear that the S&P 500 is up, do you know if that means your investments are doing well?  Let’s review a few types of indices and what they represent.

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Teaching Kids About Money (7/28/2017)

One of the best gifts you can give children is to teach them the basics about managing money.  If they can learn the discipline and wisdom involved in making wise choices at an early age, they could benefit tremendously in future years.

The prime time for a child to begin learning good financial habits usually occurs during the “tween to teen” years of adolescence according to Wealth Management studies.  At this age, they are old enough to grasp basic concepts, but young enough to still listen to parents and other adults.

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Tech and the Market (06/13/2017)

The S&P 500 is generally used as a gauge of the overall stock market. It also has some rather unique qualities. It consists of 505 stocks, which are weighted so that the top 40 stocks make up approximately 45% of the value of the index. In and of itself, that is not so bad considering the Dow Jones Industrial average has only 30 stocks and is also considered a key measure of how large stocks are doing.

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