Updates

The Enemies of Investors

Tax policy, interest rates, trade policies, regulatory reform, job growth, consumer spending and finance, technological transformation, and political dysfunction are potentially disruptive. Investors must continuously monitor these and other changing external variables and make corresponding adjustments to their models for the economy and securities markets. These changing variables are part of life, but change is […]

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The Framework for Tax Reform

On September 27 President Trump released a nine-page “framework” for new tax legislation.  The framework adds some detail to the one-page outlines that had been released earlier by the administration.  The new target for the corporate tax is 20% instead of 15%.  The “border-adjustable tax” is history.  Pass-through entities (used by most small business owners) […]

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Earnings and Valuations

For the seventh week in a row, the S&P 500 closed at another all-time high. Bullish traders have supported their buying by pointing to what has been a good earnings season. Factset compilations note that with 55% of companies reporting, 76% of S&P 500 companies have reported positive earnings per share surprises and 67% have […]

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Tax-conscious Bequests

The advent of a higher amount exempt from the federal estate tax ($5.49 million in 2017) has reduced the need for tax-aware estate planning, but it has not eliminated it altogether.  Estates of any size will be subject to income taxes, as will their beneficiaries.  Planning may permit this burden to be reduced. Take charitable […]

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Personal Goals

It will be a busy week for the markets. Hundreds of companies will be releasing third quarter earning’s reports. Continued favorable news from Washington on tax reform is anticipated. On Friday, the preliminary report on third quarter Gross Domestic Product will be released. Short term interest rates have been on the rise as can be […]

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Retirement Readiness

DEAR TRUST OFFICER: How much money must I have in order to be able to retire? Is $1 million enough? — PEAK EARNING YEARS DEAR PEAK: The better question is: How much income will you need during your retirement? If you will have a pension and Social Security checks coming in, $1 million might easily be […]

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Behavioral Economics

Earlier this month, psychologist and economist Richard Thaler was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in economics for his work in the field of behavioral economics. The study of the psychology of economics is of questionable value in the minds of many traditional economists. Economists have long struggled to have their field of study accepted as […]

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Emotional Investing

We like to think that since the advent of modern portfolio management practices, investing in stocks and bonds has become a cerebral, analytical process with no room for emotion. The truth is that most investors, even institutional investors, are buffeted by emotional turbulence from time to time, and that truth is reflected in the volatility […]

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Review Your IRA Beneficiary

Sometimes mistakes in an estate plan can be repaired after death. Sometimes not. Charles Sukenik executed his will on November 4, 2004. His estate was to be divided between his surviving spouse, Vivian, and the couple’s private foundation. His revocable trust was restated at the same time, giving Vivian certain real property and the balance […]

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IRAs for charity

Charitable giving in the U.S. rose 2.7% last year, reaching an all-time record of $390.05 billion.  That’s also a record in inflation-adjusted dollars, reports the Giving USA Foundation in its annual report on philanthropy.  Individuals, foundations, and corporations contributed to the robust growth in philanthropy, while bequests were projected to have declined by 9.0%.   Some […]

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