Blog

Will Power be Restored to Coal Industry?

In March, President Donald Trump signed executive orders to rescind several regulations that were in place to limit pollution from mining and burning coal.1 The administration’s goal is to revive the coal mining industry, but the downside is coal emissions release more greenhouse gases than natural gas.2 These recent actions…

Read more

The Power of Going Green

Here’s a new twist to the renewable energy and save the planet story: The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum in Benham, Kentucky, has recently switched from coal to solar power to help save on operational costs.1 It just goes to show you that the power struggle over power may be better…

Read more

Shifting the Focus to Long-Term Goals

Donald Trump set out to make big changes the moment he entered the White House. While Congress may move a bit more slowly, it’s worth noting the difference in styles and substance. For example, presidential executive orders do have the power to roll back previously passed regulations, but in many…

Read more

Are We “Shovel-Ready”?

A famous line of dialogue came from the 1989 film “Field of Dreams”: “If you build it, he will come.” Perhaps the quote endures because of its inherent irony — it’s not always true. In fact, during the Obama Administration, there was an unfortunate lesson best illustrated by paraphrasing this…

Read more

The Fiduciary Standard: What It Means

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor published the final regulation of what is known as the “Fiduciary Rule,” delaying implementation for 60 days from its scheduled start date. The newly expanded definition of fiduciary investment advice is scheduled to go into effect June 9, 2017.1   The rule holds certain…

Read more

Prospects for Growth in 2017

Some researchers believe the U.S. economy has a healthy outlook: The GDP growth rate is in the ideal 2 percent to 3 percent range, unemployment continues to abate and inflation remains in check.1   The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects 88 percent of all occupations will experience growth by…

Read more

Trends in the ETF Market

In recent months, there has been a recent movement out of actively managed investments into passively managed instruments such as exchange-traded funds. Globally, ETFs gained more than $270 billion in 2016.1   An ETF is a single investment vehicle that tracks all of the securities within an index, a commodity,…

Read more

The Science Behind Decision Making

In the 1940s, 90 percent of the stock market was owned by individual household investors. Today, with the widespread use of investment banking and mutual fund investing, individuals are responsible for trading only 20 percent of U.S. corporate equity.1 Do we no longer trust ourselves with investment decisions? You might…

Read more

Investment Trends for 2017

There are plenty of changes on tap for the 2017 investment horizon, not the least of which is a new business and investment-minded president in office. In its investment outlook for 2017, J.P. Morgan reports that the slow economic growth trend of the last eight years could get a turbo…

Read more

The Old-School Stool

The proverbial “three-legged stool” of retirement funding traditionally comprised Social Security, a company pension and personal savings, but that stool has been wobbly for quite some time. In fact, the traditional pension has been replaced largely by employer-sponsored 401(k) plans. This development firmly places the responsibility of two of the…

Read more

What Corporate Citizenship Looks Like Today

The concept of corporate citizenship originally evolved from a responsibility to shareholders for directing the legal, ethical and economic goals of a company. Today, however, there are other factors that help shape a company’s culture and performance. Now that the unemployment rate is lower, the job market is heating up…

Read more

Calculating Retirement

Yogi Berra once said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.”1 When it comes to retirement, plenty of people get there — but it may not be what they expected because they either didn’t plan, or their…

Read more

Inflation: Influences and Impacts

When prices rise across the board, people tend to “hunker down,” eat more meals at home, shop less, spend less and cut back. However, inflation rate increases have impacted various areas of the economy in different ways,1 and consumer spending has been up and down in recent months as well.2…

Read more

Retirement Matters

If you’re wondering how much of a Social Security payout you may receive, one number to keep in mind is 35. Your benefit is based on your 35 highest years of earnings. If you work less than 35 years, the calculation uses zero for your annual income in the years…

Read more

Perks of Growing Older

Getting older has its perks — from potential tax breaks to everyday discounts. It’s like turning 21 and getting carded all over again. Only now, in some ways, the older you are the more you may be able to save. If you’re closing in on retirement, you may be in…

Read more

Retiring Takes Effort

The first things that come to mind when thinking about retirement may be rest and relaxation, but before you reach that point, you need a financial strategy that can support your post-career plans. A recent study found many current retirees are worried about just making day-to-day expenses:1 The median annual…

Read more

Behave Yourself

“Overconfidence is a very serious problem. If you don’t think it affects you, that’s probably because you’re overconfident.”1 That’s a quote from Carl Richards, a financial advisor, author, speaker, columnist and New York Times sketch artist who is well known for capturing the ethos of behavioral finance in simple words…

Read more

The New Real Estate Sector

Real estate is no longer just for people looking to make a move. A combination of the housing market decline and a barrage of television shows featuring novice real estate investors have people fixing up homes then listing properties with hopes of making a profit.1 The real estate investment craze…

Read more

Debate on Indexing Heats Up

When the first index mutual fund was introduced 40 years ago by Vanguard, it opened with $11.3 million in assets. 1Today, the Vanguard 500 Index Fund holds more than $252 billion, and index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds invest nearly $5 trillion in combined assets.2 Index funds are generally comprised…

Read more

Expect the Unexpected

At some point, everyone’s made a decision with the best intentions, only to have things go differently than they planned. Because nobody can predict how the markets will behave, investments can sometimes fall into this category. We believe individuals should create a financial strategy that’s designed to help them work…

Read more

Are You Suffering From Financial Stress?

Despite the strengthening economy and positive outlook, some people are still experiencing high levels of financial stress. Many are worried about meeting monthly expenses, with 30 percent reporting in a recent survey of over 1,000 people that concern over their financial situation keeps them up at night.1 A 2014 report…

Read more

The Importance of Investment Mix

As individuals progress from young adults to the age of retirement, their investment mix traditionally changes to meet their needs. This is typically a reflection of a person’s goals, tolerance for risk and investment timeline. Generally, as the time nears to tap into investments for retirement income, the mix of…

Read more

What’s New With Social Security?

Before the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 passed, the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund was projected to be depleted sometime this year. Congress shifted tax revenues from the Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund to keep disability benefits fully funded. However, Social Security still faces long-term shortfalls under…

Read more

Where Do We Stand as a Country?

If there’s one phrase that’s entered the mainstream lexicon as the 2016 election approaches, it’s “Let’s make America great again!”1 Every president, regardless of party, vows to make the country better in some way, but as a whole, has America lost ground?2 Are we really not great anymore? In the…

Read more

Boomer Boom or Boomer Bust?

The phrase “boom or bust” refers to a scenario of great prosperity or economic growth followed suddenly by a period of decline. Some economists suspect the aptly termed “baby boomers” could potentially create just such a phenomenon during their twilight years. As the largest demographic group in history, baby boomers…

Read more

Stay Plugged in to New Tech Trends

Technology hasn’t just improved over time; it’s also matured its users. Today, the average child gets his or her first cellphone at age 10.1 In past generations, 10 was about the age when parents finally let their kids use those creepy crawly bug makers that required a heating device. These…

Read more

Home Sweet Home

Like other aspects of the economy, the real estate market has been slow to recover to “normal” levels. But we believe there are some positives that come with the lull in housing sales. In some pockets of the country, prices have escalated substantially due to low inventory, high demand and…

Read more

More Retirees Heading for Hubs

When retirement is on the horizon, many people put their current hometown in the rearview mirror. As the retiree population continues its upward trajectory, we expect popular retirement destinations to grow right along with it. A recent study by McKinsey & Company identified 13 U.S. “retirement hubs” — cities that…

Read more

The Media that Cried “Crisis”

The word “crisis” has become quite popular in our 24-hour news cycle. It’s a word media outlets have attached to everything from student loans to weight gain to a national shortage of biscuits in an attempt to maximize the eyeballs on their content.   [CLICK HERE to read the article,…

Read more

We’re Living in a Digital World

Madonna, David Bowie, Lady Gaga: Some of the most successful entertainers in show business have been renowned for reinventing themselves. But, when you think about how much our lives have changed over the years, reinvention has become a part of our everyday routines as well. Twenty-five years ago, we had…

Read more

The Value of Optimism

Anyone approaching the end of their working years can likely list more than a few occurrences in which they’ve experienced a stressful moment or handled a hectic ordeal. Although retiring may end the need to put out fires in the workplace, stress built up over the years does take its…

Read more

To Be A Leader

In faculty and graduate school, you'll be in charge of producing research projects or a number of term documents each semester. These initiatives will demand one to investigate unique sources of info then provide the outcome--with your conclusions about them. While you research, you may encounter resource content that is…

Read more

2016: Analyst Forecasts & Perspectives

Despite volatility in the markets during the first month of 2016, investment managers share a good bit of optimism for the year as a whole, particularly where the U.S. is concerned.   Unemployment continues its downward path, and we believe that the Federal Reserve’s long-awaited interest rate hike is a…

Read more

Is Self-Service Good Service?

Have you ever asked customer service representatives a “yes” or “no” question, only to hear them dance around the answer just to avoid telling you “no”? For some, it seems the strategy in customer service is to “never say ‘no’ without offering a ‘yes’ at the same time.”   [CLICK…

Read more

What’s Your EQ?

The study of “emotional intelligence” began in the 1980s as a way to measure one’s ability to identify and manage both his or her own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.   In the business world, people with high emotional intelligence, known as a high EQ (emotional quotient)…

Read more

You might be OVerdue for a Leadership Shakeup

In September, a celebrated visit from Pope Francis made quite an impression on Americans. During a political era when discussions of both church and state are increasingly divisive, somehow the Argentinian leader of the Catholic Church grabbed attention from every end of the spectrum for his message of unity and…

Read more

What Role Can you Play in the National Economy?

Thanks to our nation’s growth in employment levels, low gas prices and stability in the real estate market, it was expected that consumer confidence would remain steady.   Instead, the index measuring consumer confidence dropped to its lowest mark of the year, from 91.1 in August to 85.7 in mid-September.…

Read more

Women and the Process of Retirement Planning

Planning for retirement income shouldn’t stop just because you retire. It’s a process, much like raising children and pursuing a career.   You learn, you implement, you make mistakes, you seek advice. So whether you are already retired, nearing retiring or thinking about it as an abstract concept many years…

Read more

Finding Fulfillment in Part-Time Work

Professional employees in their 50s and 60s are starting to think more strategically about retirement. Not just about how to pay for it, but how they’ll spend their time once they get there.   For some, that means they’d like to keep doing what they’re doing -- just not quite…

Read more

Waste Not, Want Not

The proverb, “Waste not, want not,” suggests that if you use a commodity or resource carefully, you will never be in need.   As a nation, we’ve seriously enhanced our efforts in the “reduce, reuse, recycle” department over the past 20 years, but we still have a ways to go…

Read more

Flipping the Script on the Gender Pay Gap

Despite increased efforts to narrow the financial gap between men and women, there’s still no shortage of cultures that prioritize males when it comes to divvying up the monetary spoils. In China, when divorcing couples can’t agree on how to divide their assets, the family home typically goes to the…

Read more

Don’t Spend Summer in Hot Water

 Everyone slips up from time to time. It’s human nature.   But some mishaps are easier to make up for than others. A misstep in your financial decision making can have significant and far-reaching ramifications, which is why it’s generally a good idea to run your ideas by an objective…

Read more

Health Care Reform Here to Stay

If there were any lingering doubts about the long-term sustainability of the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or Obamacare), a recent Supreme Court ruling assured the health care overhaul is here to stay.   Not only does the King v. Burwell ruling handed down by Chief Justice…

Read more

The Heat of Negotiations

As we approach the dog days of summer, the world’s elected officials are pouring on the heat in political debates ranging from Euro debt to global trade agreements.   Greece and its creditors have been arguing over how much debt Greece must repay each year. The discord has led others…

Read more

Overthinking Retirement Income Planning

You can’t pick up a newspaper or magazine or scan Internet headlines today without seeing something about the challenges of retirement and new surveys about how unprepared people are. Yes, it’s a concern. But consider for a moment that, really, it’s a personal one.   You can solve your own…

Read more

Bad Behavior

Five of the world’s biggest banks recently pleaded guilty to colluding to manipulate currency and interest rate markets. Apparently, by agreeing not to buy or sell at certain times, the traders protected each other’s positions and suppressed competition in the foreign exchange market.   Collectively, these banks will pay penalties…

Read more

The Business of Risk

Cyber threats have created an interesting conundrum in which the criminal perpetrators are frequently more tech savvy than those responsible for preventing their crimes or apprehending them. And the situation, at the moment, doesn’t really show signs of improving.   Several national security experts recently issued recommendations to help address…

Read more

City Planning for a Better Future

The plight of elderly citizens tends to dominate news headlines. Topics like Medicare, Social Security, health care and long-term care are often referred to as “senior issues.” But as the larger population continues to age -- and not die -- many more issues will come to light, and we may…

Read more

Best-Laid Plans  

 A recent survey revealed that six out of 10 Americans believe they are inadequately prepared for a financial emergency, and only 50 percent feel that they are overall financially secure. For most, planning for retirement is one of their biggest worries. This stress is further exacerbated by the fact that…

Read more

Funny About Money

Money is both basic and complicated. It enables us to get the things we want, yet people are often reluctant to talk about how much they make, how much they have or how much they pay for things -- even to their own family. In fact, according a recent survey…

Read more

The Power of Confidence

In January, American consumer confidence reached an 11-year high. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose to 98.1, up from 93.6 in December, which is the highest level since January 2004. Thanks to lower gas prices, more people said they are likely to buy a car than in any…

Read more

2015 Outlook

Last year left the U.S. in decent financial shape. Oil prices tanked and the U.S. dollar surged. Inflationary pressure is low, and the stock market ended the year strong. The analysts at Fidelity believe this positive environment should continue at least early into 2015. The economy is in a mid-cycle…

Read more

Give Thanks. The Grass is Greener Here.

This year it’s worth taking a look at your individual circumstances and gauging whether your financial situation is stronger than it was last year, three years ago or five years ago. We can all find reasons to gripe about one thing or another, even in the best of the times.…

Read more

Is Your Retirement Just a Number?

Throughout our lives, we are identified by numbers. Social Security number. Employee ID number. Driver’s license number. The amount of money that you make. The number of children and grandchildren that you have. The value of your home. Fortunately, those numbers are simply points of reference; they don’t truly define…

Read more