Brexit (06/28/2016)

The impact of Britain’s referendum has been felt in the financial markets worldwide. If you listen to the news, read a paper or talk with friends, it is a major topic of current discussion. In our view, the significance of this change is buffered by our belief that The most important factor in successful investing is a well diversified portfolio. While international and domestic stocks are down, U.S. bonds have actually increased in value. By the same token, for those accounts in which we have real estate, that asset class has risen in value, too.

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Charitable Contributions from IRAs (06/10/2016)

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 first allowed taxpayers age 70 ½ or older to make tax-free charitable donations directly from their IRAs. The Act allowed “qualified charitable distributions” or QCDs to be excluded from gross income that would otherwise be a taxable distribution.  The law was originally set to expire in 2007, but was extended periodically through 2014, and finally made permanent by the Protect Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015.

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Credit Cards (05/10/2016)

Credit cards can be effective tools in managing your overall expenses and accomplishing your financial goals. The key is to use cards only when you are able to pay the balance each month or within a reasonable time, to avoid excessive finance charges. With so many cards available to the consumer, you should make sure that you are using the credit cards that best align with your spending.

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Snow on Opening Day (04/04/2016)

Today is Opening Day for the majority of Major League Baseball. The season is spring and the month is April, yet snow is falling in many areas of New England. Some may be enjoying this weather, but the overall feeling among most is that this is not what we signed up for. Many of us are shifting our frustration toward the “weatherman” although we know they do not control the weather nor are they guaranteeing the forecast results. The best thing we can do to cope with the unpredictable weather is to be prepared with our umbrellas, shovels, layers of clothing, and other storm resources.

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Market Watch (03/18/2016)

For some time, I’ve been writing about the underlying fundamentals of the U.S. economy. I stated my belief that, as the year progressed, the economy would do better and the result would be price gains for U.S. equities. In early March, a leading company that does technical analysis of the market released a statement saying that a strong change had shown up in their charts, indicating that the next nine months could prove very profitable in the U.S. stock market.

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Tax Tips (03/08/2016)

Before year-end you could have employed many strategies to help with possible 2015 tax savings. Although you might have missed those opportunities, potential options are still available that could make this tax-filing season cheaper and easier.

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It's About the Consumer (02/17/2016)

The stock market volatility that began in 2016 continues. Going back to the beginning of 2015, and measuring the market decrease since that time, overall U.S. equity value is down by about 10%, which represents a market correction.

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Resolutions (02/11/2016)

January has passed at lightning speed, and we are at the time of year when many have given up on their New Year’s resolutions. Gyms tend to get very busy after the first of the year while purchases of health food and exercise paraphernalia increase dramatically. Financial resolutions are also very popular. As the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, “I want to save more” or “spend less” are common goals. As February rolls around, many can become discouraged if they have not accomplished what they declared they would after the ball drops.

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China, Oil and the Third World (01/19/2016)

The stock market has been pretty dismal since the last trading day of 2015. If you listen to the talking heads on TV and the rest of the media you’d think the U.S. economy is in bad shape, but how you interpret the news and other available information is important. The consensus of these groups is that: China’s economy is faltering (true), the price of oil has dropped dramatically (true), and the U.S. economy is about to crater, not true!

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Rate Increase - Finally (12/17/2015)

The Federal Reserve Board (FRB) voted on Wednesday December 15th to raise interest rates for the first time in a long time. The new rate will be in the range of 0.25% to 0.50%. Rates have essentially been in the range of 0% to 0.15% for seven years. Those low rates were intended to help the U.S. economy. During the time of low rates: the job market came back, unemployment went down substantially, the housing market returned and earnings by corporations rebounded. This is what had been intended and therefore the FRB was very successful.

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