March 31, 2016

When Should I Start Drawing Social Security?

You may be eligible to start drawing Social Security as soon as you turn 62, but this doesn’t mean you necessarily should. By waiting a few years, you will get a higher monthly payment and potentially more total income. So how do you decide? If you need Social Security to get by, then the decision is easy: take it when you can. If you’re in the much happier situation where your family is earning good money without Social Security benefits (say your spouse is working a well-compensated job), then the decision is also fairly easy. Your Social Security, in this case, is going to be pretty heavily taxed, so don’t take it yet. But if all you care about is drawing the most Social Security you can before you die, the calculation is fairly simple: Let’s say you’re eligible to draw $1,100 a month when you turn 62, but you would […]
March 29, 2016
Q4 GDP Revised Upward by Strong Consumer Spending

Q4 GDP Revised Upward by Strong Consumer Spending

Q4 GDP Revised Upward by Strong Consumer Spending WEEKLY UPDATE – MARCH 28, 2016 Stocks ended the holiday-shortened week down, snapping their five-week winning streak. However, losses were mild amid low trading volume before the Easter weekend. For the week, the S&P 500 lost 0.67%, the Dow fell 0.49%, and the NASDAQ dropped 0.46%.[1] Last week’s economic calendar was highlighted by the third estimate of fourth-quarter 2015 economic growth. The report showed that Gross Domestic Product grew much faster than originally thought- by a 1.4% annualized rate instead of 1.0%. For all of 2015, the economy grew by a respectable 2.4%- not too shabby considering the headwinds the country faced down last year.[2]  The revision reflected much stronger consumer spending than originally thought, which is a relief to recession-watchers and could bode well for the economy in 2016. Spending is being supported by a strong labor market and low gas […]
March 24, 2016
four measurements of wealth

Four Measurements of Wealth – Does Money Equal Happiness?

There have been numerous articles written on the correlation between money and happiness. A quick Google search will turn up 650,000,000 pages. Most of these articles offer similar conclusions, like this February 2015 article in the Huffington Post, that while money can provide you with a certain level of comfort, it will not make you happy. So I began thinking—your bank accounts may tell you what you can and can’t afford, however, can they really tell you how wealthy you are?
March 23, 2016

Video: When should you buy a house?

March 22, 2016
Equity Indexed Annuities

Equity Indexed Annuities: Buyer Beware

We’ve all heard the story of “Chicken Little”. The irrationality created a by an acorn landing on his head, signals hysteria throughout a group of animals he comes in contact with and creates a state of panic that leads each of them to their demise at the hands of a sly sneaky fox. What on earth does “Chicken Little” have to do with your financial future? The lesson learned in this crafty little folk tale can help keep you from making a major investment blunder! I have roughly a 20-minute drive to work each day and on any given day in that period of time, I will hear no less than five advertisements from insurance agents and financial advisors alike, proclaiming the enormous gains for a product called an Equity Indexed Annuity. What exactly is that and why do they land on my list of biggest pet peeves? CNN Money’s […]
March 22, 2016

Dow and SP 500 Green for 2016

Dow and SP 500 Green for 2016 WEEKLY UPDATE – MARCH 21, 2016 After a historically rough start to the year, stocks finally rallied enough to put the S&P 500 and Dow in the green for the year. Extended weakness in the dollar-which investors hope could boost economic growth and corporate profits-contributed to the gains.[1] For the week, the S&P 500 rose 1.35%, the Dow added 2.26%, and the NASDAQ grew 0.99%.[2] The last two weeks have been important in terms of global monetary policy. The European Central Bank, Bank of Japan, and Federal Reserve all met to determine next steps for their respective economic spheres of influence. Currently, there is a divide between the Fed, which is moving away from low rates while supporting economy growth, and the ECB and BOJ, which are fighting slowing economic growth with negative rates and quantitative easing. However, the latest Fed meeting suggests […]