According to the advance GDP estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on April 28, annualized real US GDP growth was 0.5% in the first quarter of 2016—below the historical average of 3.2%. This might prompt some investors to ask whether below-average quarterly GDP growth has implications for their portfolios.
Dave Butler, Head of Global Financial Advisor Services, offers a sports example to help investors apply discipline in a stressful market by answering the question, “What do you regard as the most difficult period in the financial markets during your 25 years in the investment business?”
Congress just made it a little easier for people to give money from their IRAs to charities. This strategy, called a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD), was made permanent in 2016 and allows IRA account owners older than age 70.5 to give some or all of their Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from the IRA to a charity. The strategy is not available to anyone who is not subject to RMDs.
While many market participants were waiting for the “inevitable” rise in short-term interest rates expected when the Federal Reserve tightened its monetary policy, some investors may have missed the increase in short-term rates already underway as a result of market forces.
The US economy and broad market showed modest gains during the year, although investor discipline was tested by news of a global economic slowdown, rising market volatility in China and emerging markets, falling oil and commodities prices, and higher US interest rates.
The New Year is a customary time to speculate. In a digital age, when past forecasts are available online, market and media professionals find it harder to hide their blushes when their financial predictions go awry. But there are ways around that.
Have your long-term financial goals changed in the last three days?
Are American companies less valuable because investors in China are panicking?
Is there any reason to think that because Chinese investors are panicking, that Chinese companies are less valuable today than they were a few days ago?
Wednesday the U.S. Federal Reserve Board started the long process of ending its intrusion into the interest rate markets, by allowing rates to rise. This was the first time the Fed raised rates since 2006, and for some it will mark the beginning of the final chapter of the Great Recession.
On the surface, it seems too good to be true. You have a married couple, where (let’s say) the husband has earned higher yearly income than his wife. That means he has contributed more to Social Security over his working life. The husband files for Social Security benefits at full retirement age (currently age 66) and then immediately files to suspend those benefits.
The same time it was announced Social Security recipients won’t receive any increases in their benefits in 2016, the government was announcing that certain Medicare participants would be paying dramatically higher premiums for Medicare Part B, the highest price jump in the program’s history. Under Social Security and Medicare rules, the government is required to collect 25% of all expected Part B costs from recipients each year—in the form of premiums. The total Part B cost is anticipated to reach $171.2 billion 2016 and would have resulted in historic premium increases.