Euro Getting Stronger, Dollar Getting Weaker – Currency Update

Max Smith, CFP®, CIMA® | Kent Forsey, CFP® Currencies, Euro, US Dollar

A strong dollar is a positive when traveling abroad as your purchasing power is increased.  A weaker dollar does have its advantages, however, as our exports will usually increase creating a stronger economy. Though currently valued at 1.17, the euro jumped above 1.20 in August for the first time in 2 1/2 years as weaker than expected U.S. economic data …

Shorter Settlement for Stocks & Bonds

Max Smith, CFP®, CIMA® | Kent Forsey, CFP® Bonds, Investing, Mutual Funds, Securities, Settlement Policy, Stocks

As of September 5, 2017, the settlement period for most security transactions has been shortened to two days, from three days. The two-day settlement date applies to most security transactions, including stocks, bonds, municipal securities, mutual funds traded through a brokerage firm, and limited partnerships that trade on an exchange. Government securities and stock options will continue to settle on …

More Americans Working Past 70

Max Smith, CFP®, CIMA® | Kent Forsey, CFP® American Workers, Blog, US Workforce

Although some potential retirees choose to remain in the work force well past the social security designated retirement age, others are finding it a necessity.  Workers who were either poor savers or who perhaps experienced a dramatic life crisis are finding themselves short on funds in their retirement years. Some workers who did plan accordingly, didn’t plan to live as …

Weak Dollar Helps Emerging Countries – International Update

Max Smith, CFP®, CIMA® | Kent Forsey, CFP® Currencies, US Economy, World Economies

August 2017  For the first time in a decade the world’s major economies are growing in sync.  All 45 countries tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are on track to grow this year, much of the help coming from a lingering low interest rate stimulus from Central Banks. A weakening dollar is providing a boost for U.S. …

Economic Update – 2nd Quarter 2017

Max Smith, CFP®, CIMA® | Kent Forsey, CFP® Blog, Economic Update

The past quarter and first half of the year were characterized by historically low stock market volatility, the strong performance of both stocks and bonds, and the reversal of several market trends. In this quarter’s commentary, we attempt to explain these phenomena, some of which may seem contradictory. Investment Environment The S&P 500’s actual realized volatility has fallen to among …

The Evolution of Bitcoin – Market Fact

Max Smith, CFP®, CIMA® | Kent Forsey, CFP® Client Education, Currencies

Bitcoin, essentially virtual money traded by digital exchange, has received tremendous media coverage this past month.  This “currency” emerged on the market in 2008 designed by a programmer or group of programmers under the name of Nakamoto, whose real identity remains unknown.  Bitcoins exist as software, not physical currency, and are not regulated by any country or banking authority. Mined …

National Parks Contribute Over $34 Billion To Economy – Federal Programs

Max Smith, CFP®, CIMA® | Kent Forsey, CFP® Blog, Economic Impact, US Economy

With the summer months upon us, the National Parks are a destination for tourists all over the United States. National Parks are part of the National Park Service, which was established in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson. Beginning with Yellowstone National Park in Montana and Wyoming, there are 417 parks today covering 84 million acres. On a recent visit to …

A Brief History of Tax Cuts – Historical Note

Max Smith, CFP®, CIMA® | Kent Forsey, CFP® Blog, Taxes

With so much effort right now by the current administration to lower taxes, an historical look at previous efforts seems appropriate. For nearly a hundred years, tax cuts have been a centerpiece of political strife among politicians, with both parties at times lobbying for lower tax rates. An accepted belief has been that lower taxes widen the Federal deficit and …

45% of Americans Pay No Federal Income Tax – Fiscal Policy

Max Smith, CFP®, CIMA® | Kent Forsey, CFP® Blog, Fiscal Policy, Taxes

Disparity of income has been a preponderate subject for politicians and activist groups for some time, yet in the end, it’s those that earn the higher incomes that pay for the majority of taxes. An estimated 77.5 million Americans, identified as households, pay no federal income tax. The non-partisan, non-profit tax group known as The Tax Policy Center released income …

Which States Have the Highest Gas Tax – Fiscal Policy

Max Smith, CFP®, CIMA® | Kent Forsey, CFP® Client Education, Energy Markets, Fiscal Policy, Taxes

Many states continue to grapple with the effects of falling fuel prices.  Resource-heavy states like Alaska are particularly hard hit.  Even states that do not produce gasoline are being affected.  The lower fuel costs are bringing in less gas tax revenue in some states causing budget deficits. Taxing gasoline is controlled by the states, not the federal government, allowing states …