There are many benefits to marriage, but one you may not yet have considered is the flexibility married couples enjoy when deciding how and when to claim Social Security. Even though the basic rules apply to everyone, a couple has more options than a single person because each member of a couple1 can claim at different dates, and may be eligible for spousal benefits.
Heading into the holiday weekend, stocks rose slightly on Friday amid low volume, the Dow managed its seventh consecutive weekly gain. Only three days of trading remain in 2016 and investors are optimistic for a solid finish without sizeable deterioration. In recent weeks, however, the market has moved into what we call a bullish pennant formation. This setup usually resolves in prices moving higher but our medium-term indicators are overbought and seem to be flashing a sign of caution. A pause or pullback should not be ruled out at this point. Perhaps the most asked question is what is driving this market?
For much of the last decade, inflation has been low by historical standards. But, recently, wage growth and higher prices have sent signs that inflation may be making a comeback, serving as a reminder of the risks that come when the buying power of a dollar falls. Such risks always exist, even when they don’t seem so obvious.For much of the last decade, inflation has been low by historical standards. But, recently, wage growth and higher prices have sent signs that inflation may be making a comeback, serving as a reminder of the risks that come when the buying power of a dollar falls. Such risks always exist, even when they don’t seem so obvious.
Stocks had one of their best performances in years, with increases of 5.4% for the Dow, and 3.8% for both the Nasdaq and S&P 500, following the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President. Widespread pre-election forecasts from investment banks were nearly universal for sizeable losses following a Trump victory; built on the premise that tariffs and scrapped trade deals would hurt the U.S. economy. While futures sold off hard during the election and into the early hours of the following day, losses were quickly erased. Pundits from everywhere were puzzled by the outcome and the so-called “Trump Trade”. Nevertheless, the surprise Republican sweep as well as toned-down rhetoric on the part of both candidates, appeared to be behind the market’s bullish tone. Perhaps the largest disappointment among investors is the unevenness of sector participation.
Election 2016 is in the rear-view mirror and, unexpectedly, Donald Trump was successful in his bid for the White House. This election was unique in many ways; unusually consequential in that it challenged the Washington status quo. Additionally, it seems that America is trying to say something about the condition of our balance sheet. In many ways, we should not be surprised by the outcome of this election. In her concession speech, Hillary Clinton said “Last night I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power, and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it.”
A recent Fidelity nationwide survey finds 74% of investors think which party controls the government has an impact on the stock market—but perhaps not the way you think. A slim 14% believe whoever sits in the Oval Office has the biggest impact, 28% say control of Congress is key, 33% say it’s a combination, while 26% say political control has no impact at all.
You worked hard all your life, contributed regularly to your 401(k), and built a healthy balance. You may want to leave some of that money to your heirs. Of course, the last thing you want is for a big chunk to be taken out for taxes, or for your heirs to be left with a tax burden. In fact, two of the biggest tax considerations affecting how your 401(k) account will be distributed after you die are when the income tax is paid and by whom.
You saved for years to get to retirement—contributing to a traditional 401(k) or IRA. Now it’s time to dip into those savings—even if you don’t really need to. Because you got a tax break when you contributed to these accounts, once you turn age 70½ the IRS requires you to withdraw every year from your traditional IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan account, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), and start paying taxes on that money.1 It’s important to determine how these minimum required distributions—known as MRDs or RMDs (required minimum distributions)—fit into your retirement income plan.
Is it Taper Tantrum déjà vu? Sure feels that way!
The sudden return of stock market volatility in recent weeks seems like a repeat of the May 2013 Taper Tantrum, when the U.S. Federal Reserve (the Fed) signaled its intention to “taper” its asset purchases. Stocks went down, bond yields rose sharply, and credit spreads widened. It was a trifecta of unwanted correlations among the major asset classes.