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Consider Having a Backup Plan

When looking ahead in anticipation of Social Security benefits, many people expect to wait until an average age of 66 to make a claim.1 However, Nationwide Retirement Institute’s fifth annual Social Security survey found many retirees start drawing Social Security at the earliest possible age of 622 — frequently the result of being laid off or…

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The Income Gap and the Economy

The income gap between the wealthy and the poor is widening in the U.S.1 Why does that matter? Because there are studies that indicate a wide swathe of income differentiation is not good for economic growth. In the years following the Great Recession, we often heard how slowly the economy was recovering. That was true for…

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Pros and Cons: Fewer Regulations in the U.S.

One of the current administration’s persistent themes has been deregulation — cutting through the red tape in the rules of doing business. In one instance, Donald Trump was filmed standing beside mounds of paperwork to symbolize the amount of regulation the government has implemented since 1960.1 Perhaps the same can be said for the paperwork…

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A Look at How America Ranks

American Finances

In his first year in office, President Trump has promoted his “America first” philosophy. This new focus, with its trade protectionism and tough stance on immigration, has somewhat changed the U.S. narrative on a world scale.1 Considering this new emphasis on America first, perhaps it’s worth looking at how the U.S. ranks on the world…

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Putting a Value on Real Property

Real Property Value

Real property generally refers to land, but it also can include structures, bodies of water and machinery.1 It typically denotes property of significant value, which is why state and local governments choose to impose taxes on our homes. These levies could be considered a progressive tax, in that people who own more expensive homes likely…

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Investing in Europe

Global Investing

It’s often said that when one asset class falters, others are likely rising. To some extent, this may be occurring with U.S. equities. The stock market correction that started in February amid fears of rising inflation has continued through March with the threat of a global trade war.1 According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch,…

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Investment Themes for This Year

Investment themes

In the investment community, all eyes are on inflation this year. Economic analysts at Merrill Lynch anticipate further tightening in the labor market, to the tune of 3.9 percent unemployment by the end of 2018. Along with the tightened labor situation, they also expect personal consumption expenditure (PCE) inflation rising to 1.8 percent by year…

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The Future of Medicare and Social Security

Future of Medicare

There is little doubt that Medicare and Social Security are important programs that help older Americans in retirement, particularly now that so many are living beyond previous life expectancy rates. In fact, past models for savings rates may be failing many older Americans, who represent the only demographic seeing significant increases in poverty rates in…

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Financial Strategies in 2018

financial strategies

One philosophy of investing, as opined by Warren Buffett, is to be “fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”1 The nation’s eight-year bull market, however, has tested that philosophy. Most market analysts would agree that it was more important to be in the market and taking advantage of gains than to…

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Traveling on a Fixed Income

Traveling on a Fixed Income

Oh, the places you’ll go! Renowned author Dr. Seuss wrote a children’s book in 1990 that has become a popular graduation gift for young adults. Part of its message:1 “You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So … get on your way!” Perhaps for some people, the time to…

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