Quarterly Update

The second quarter (Q2) of 2018 seemed to be all about tariffs. There was other market news of course, but headlines regarding the growing trade spat between the U.S. and China were what moved markets most. Even with the disconcerting headlines and market volatility, the U.S. stock market faired decently during the quarter, while foreign markets suffered the bond market held steady.

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Who Do You Trust?

There are many crimes that turn my stomach. Being a father, perhaps most of all it's crimes against children. But a close second is crimes against the elderly. Both involve the vulnerable being preyed upon and usually occur in private, with the effects often showing up only after the fact.

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That Darn Mortgage

Should I pay off my mortgage before retiring? This is a common question for folks planning to retire, and for others who would prefer to not have any debt. While I've written about this previously, the recent tax law created some new wrinkles to consider.

I'm a firm believer that there's no one right answer to questions like this. What's right should always be based on one's own situation. But the new higher standard deduction will crowd out the ability for many to see their mortgage as a tool to save on taxes. For these folks, starting this year, owing money on their house could seem to have no benefit.

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Semantics

There's been a war of words in the media lately about whether recent tariff headlines coming out of Washington and Beijing constitute a trade war, a trade spat, battle, skirmish, or other descriptive word. While we love to name things, at some level what we call it doesn't really matter. The bottom line is we're in a period of escalating tensions with the world's second largest economy and little about it is good.

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The Neuropsychology of Saving

One of the things I enjoy most about my profession is continuing to learn. It's required at the regulatory level, with a certain number of hours of continuing education being mandated by the CFP Board, for example. But the broader reality is that with so much changing all the time continuing my education isn't just required, it's necessary.

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Rickety Rails

Following the theme of last week's post, one of the things I find interesting about the Social Security program is how similar the fundamental funding issues are to those faced by folks planning for, and living in, retirement. Even the methods used for long-term analysis are similar. So, let's dig a little deeper into the Social Security funding conundrum and look at some of the key issues from a retirement planning perspective.

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