28Aug
Emerging Markets
Investing

Why should you invest in emerging markets?

Check out this article written by Ryan Gilmer from our strategic back-office partner.

4 Reasons to Invest in Emerging Markets

Barb Culver

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27Aug
Protection in a Digital Age
Cyber Security

As we are constantly concerned about keeping your data secure, a recent article in Fortune magazine titled “The Idiot Box Gets a Little Too Smart” written by Ashwin Rodrigues (August 2019) reminds us that smart TV’s are “essentially a big computer.”  Just like any other computer in our homes, this one collects data to allow providers to make more money.  Our television viewing habits are used to build a consumer profile on us which is used by advertisers, insurance companies and others.

This also means that the TV’s are vulnerable to hackers.  Samsung, for example, encourages that its customers scan their TV’s for malware!

Home security systems can also fall prey to hackers.  This Article may be of interest, as it provides some tips to, ironically, protect your home security system.

Voice-controlled devices such as Echo, Alexa and Nest are also a potential target for hackers.  See this Article relating to hackers exploiting home devices.

Sadly, our privacy and security are becoming increasingly vulnerable to hackers and cyber criminals.  Please be ever vigilant to reduce cyber threats when using your computers… and also with your mobile devices, smart phones and TV’s!

Barb Culver

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20Aug
Yield Curve
Economy

Indeed, we seem to be living in interesting times!  I know I have spoken with many of you in the past regarding the yield curve and past lessons we have learned from it.  I found the attached article written by Sonal Desai, Ph.D., Chief Investment Officer of Franklin Templeton Fixed Income to be of particular interest.  I hope you find it to be both timely and the value as well.

Yield Curve Article

Barb Culver

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22Jul
Do You Remember 1987?
Economy

(I give credit to a Motley Fool article called “Party like It’s 1987” written May 12, 2019 for much of the information in the following article.  Also, I am not making any recommendations to buy, sell or hold any particular positions.)

Through April 30, the S&P 500 index had earned 18.3%.  This is the best stretch for the first four months of the year since 1987!  Interestingly, most of us will not remember 1987 for the impressive performance of the S&P 500 in January.  Rather, we tend to remember the 20.5% drop on October 19 – which remains the biggest one-day decline in the history of the S&P 500 index.  Even with the decline, the S&P 500 ended up 5% for the year in 1987.
(Source: https://seekingalpha.com/instablog/)

Looking back even further, Ryan Dietrich of LPL Financial told CNBC that, until now, there have been only four years since World War II when the market earned 15% or more in the first four months.  Specifically, those years were 1967, 1975, 1983 and 1987.  However, please note that the months between May and October have been really volatile in the same years.

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22Jul
Do You Know Anyone Who is Moving?
uncategorized

As part of our concern for your overall well-being, I thought that some points about moving included in a recent insurance communication might be of value to you or someone you know.

  • If you are moving out of state, is your current property and casualty company licensed in the state you are moving to?
  • If you are hiring movers, it is usually a good idea to purchase the insurance coverage that is offered.
  • If it is a “do-it-yourself” move, be sure to have sufficient coverage through their auto insurance or purchase insurance coverage through the rental agreement with the truck you rent.
  • If you are moving and renting out the “old” home, note you will likely pay higher homeowners insurance.

Here is a link to the full article: https://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_alert_insurance_moving.htm

 

Barb Culver

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04Jun
Say Goodbye to Passwords!
uncategorized

Under the theme “Fraud Watch 2019” there is an article titled “Making Sure You Are You” in the April 2019 AARP bulletin.

I think that passwords can be frustrating to both young and old alike.  Soon, passwords will be obsolete as a body of science called a biometric authentication continues to advance.  Rather than typing in a password with those pesky upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, technology companies are developing tools that instead will use fingerprints, voice recognition, eye scans, facial recognition and even a quick analysis of your physical behavior (the way we tap our keyboard or move the mouse) to serve as a gate to our accounts or as an alert that an unauthorized user has gained access to our confidential information.

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04Jun
An Update on the Latest Position on Tariffs
Economy

There has been a flurry of activity regarding our trade policy with China and China’s reaction to it.  Jeff Herzog, Ph.D. and Portfolio Manager at Lord Abbett, published this analysis on May 17, 2019.  I thought it was very insightful and hope you do as well!

The title of his article is “Tariffs, Tweets, Trade and Trump: An Update.”

The U.S. administration is clearly weighing market reaction to its current actions, but at the same time investors are trying to absorb how far the White House will press China. While the economic impact depends on the ebb and flow of negotiations, beyond the tweets that batter markets we think the main issues are as follows:

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21May
Looking for a New/Pre-owned Car/Truck/SUV in 2019?
Economy
Kiplinger predicts “there will be plenty of deals in 2019.”
(Source: The Kiplinger Letter April 12, 2019.)

While there may be fewer incentives than in 2018, here are some tips for 2019:

August and September are good months to shop as 2019 models are cleared from lots to make room for the 2020’s.  The same is true for year-end as auto dealers want to reduce taxable inventory. Specifically consider the day after Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
(Source: Yahoo Answers 5-5-2019)

While SUV’s and pickup trucks are in highest demand, they are also in high supply.

The average price of a new car in the U.S. has consistently climbed over the years, but look at what has happened to trucks: JD Power shows truck buyers pay 61% more for a new pickup compared to the cost 10 years ago. The average price of a new car rose 28% in the past decade to $32,500.  The average cost of a new truck is closer to $44,000!

(Source: “Capability Will Cost You: Trucks Cost 61% More Compared to a Decade Ago” Sean Szykowski, The Wall Street Journal; February 27, 2019.)
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21May
Beware These Life Insurance Traps
Insurance

While it is not necessarily a popular topic, understanding some life insurance basics is essential.  This is because there are many uses of life insurance throughout our lifetimes. Fortunately, there is a type of insurance that matches various needs.

For example, insurance may be needed for:

  • Liquidity at death to pay bills, pay taxes, replace lost income
  • Liquidity at death to complete business agreements such as a buy-sell agreement in a succession plan
  • Liquidity at death to equalize an inheritance
  • Liquidity during life to pay for long term needs or chronic illness

Once the need for the insurance is clear, then it is important to determine which type policy offers the necessary features/benefits:

  • Is a single life policy best or is it a survivorship policy (policy based on two lives)?
  • Is there a measurable term of years for the insurance need?
  • Is it better to have a fixed death benefit or an increasing one?
  • Does it need a rider to protect against disability, chronic illness or long-term care?
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15May
What Just Happened?
Economy
Here we were, coasting merrily along in the U.S. stock market.  Then, all of sudden, the last few days hit!

While I will be sending several opinions on consecutive days, I wanted to start with this one from Giolio Martini, Partner, Director of Strategic Asset Allocation at Lord Abbett.

Will Trade Trauma Trip Up U.S. Growth?

In our view, the effects of recently imposed tariffs likely will not have a significant impact on the current U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) trajectory.

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