In the Learning Center, we discuss the issues important to your financial well-being. We think these pieces exemplify our thought process at HIGHLAND Financial Advisors—if our approach appeals to you, please contact us to see how we can apply this approach to your life.
When the calendar turned from July to August, the United States economy celebrated its 109th consecutive month of expansion. This current period, which began in June 2009 following the Great Recession, is the second longest economic expansion in the history of the United States. While this current economic expansion is one for the record books, it sure hasn’t felt that way for a range of Americans who still don’t feel financially secure. As the chart below shows, annualized real gross domestic product (GDP), which is a measure of economic growth, is the lowest of any economic expansion since 1950.
Protecting yourself and your family is top priority for most, and households purchase different types of insurance to ensure that they are properly covered from unforeseen events.
A very important form of insurance that people frequently overlook is Excess Personal Liability, which is commonly referred to as Umbrella insurance. Umbrella insurance provides additional liability coverage above the limits established through other basic liability policies like auto and homeowner’s/ renter’s. Umbrella insurance is designed to help guard against large and potentially devastating liability claims or judgments caused from bodily injury, property damage, lawsuits, libel, and slander.
General Electric has long been one of the most prestigious companies in the United States. In fact, General Electric is the only one of the original twelve members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average created in 1896 by Charles Dow still around today. This speaks to the company’s ability to innovate and adapt.
Since the start of the U.S. stock bull market following the Great Recession in 2009, consumer discretionary and technology have been the best performing sectors of the S&P 500. In the first half of 2018, that trend continued. It is not uncommon for market sectors to experience long periods of strong performance, but what has some in the financial media buzzing is that the same handful of technology companies continue to be among the best performers.
The first two articles in the series, “Understanding Your Federal Student Loans”, provided an introduction to student loans, how to evaluate your loan options, and incentives associated with Federal loans. The final article, Part 3, in this series will explore the alternatives to traditional, federal student loans.
Every couple has its own unique way of divvying up the household’s financial chores. This may mean one spouse is in charge of investments and one spouse is in charge of paying the bills, or one spouse could assume all the financial responsibilities. In the latter case, the responsible spouse effectively assumes the role of the family’s chief financial officer (CFO).
On Monday of last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a 501-day trading streak by falling below its 200-day moving average. According to Bespoke Investment Group, the 501 consecutive day streak above the 200-day moving average is the Dow’s third longest since 1952.
In the final days of 2017, Congress enacted sweeping changes to the federal tax code as a part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Among these changes is a provision that we believe unfairly disadvantages you as an investor: deductibility of advisory fees.
For parents looking to save for their child’s future educational expenses, 529 college savings plans are highly regarded as the best way to save. A 529 account allows you to invest and grow assets free from federal and state taxes, as well as tax-free withdrawals for qualified educational expenses.
With the recent changes made through the Tax Cuts and Job Act (TCJA) of 2017, there has been a concern by many charitable organizations that people’s philanthropic nature will be stunted going forward.
China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is home to some of the best-in-class businesses, particularly in the technology industry. However, most investors domiciled outside of China have had limited access to these Chinese companies. China’s capital markets are not fully open to foreign investors because the Chinese government does not allow the free flow of capital into or out of mainland China.
For many investors, the word risk has a negative connotation. However, risk is a normal and required part of investing. While it can sometimes be uncomfortable to take risk, if you didn't accept some risk, the potential to achieve higher returns would not be possible.
Sector investment strategies have been around for decades and the proliferation of exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, have made these investment strategies available to the masses at a relatively low cost. The problem with sector investment strategies is that while businesses change with technological advancements, the traditional sector classification system has remained unchanged.
I am not a fan of basketball, but one story this year caught my attention. The Philadelphia 76ers, who were far and away the worst team in the National Basketball Association over the past few seasons, surprised many fans and basketball insiders alike when they won 52 games en route to the number 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. For the 76ers players and fans, the mantra “trust the process” served as a rallying cry for the team throughout the season and into the playoffs.
No - we haven't changed our minds. This is still not a good idea and a viable long-term strategy.
The financial media loves to write articles about how much money you would have if you invested $1,000 in a particular stock on a particular date. Often times the authors of these articles will reference the best performing stock of the year and trace the history back to the stock's initial public offering, or IPO.
According to the US Department of Agriculture's most recent annual estimate, it will cost a middle-income family $233,610 to raise a child to age 18, ignoring college and inflation. This is a staggeringly high number, but the cost to raise a child with special needs can exceed that number by 5 or 10 times, depending on the child's condition.
It’s no secret that health care costs have risen dramatically in the last decade. This has major implications for retirees or those workers approaching retirement age. In general, health care expenses tend to increase with age.
There has been a lot of talk in the financial media lately about the shape of the U.S. Treasury yield curve.
The first article in the series, “Understanding Your Federal Student Loans: Part 1,” provided an introduction to student loans and how to organize the pertinent data to evaluate your loan options. This article outlines the different incentives that are provided with Federal Loans.
The markets took a tumble last Thursday – the Dow Jones Industrial average falling more than 700 points, or about 3.0%. This marks the worst day in the market since February 8th. Yes, February 8th of 2018 – doesn’t seem like we are making history here.
Net worth is the most common measure used to assess wealth. Your personal net worth is relatively easy to calculate; it is the combination of what you own (assets) less what you owe (liabilities). A person’s net worth can be comprised of many different assets and liabilities.
In the past few weeks, there has been an increase in volatility in stock markets around the globe. The first bout of volatility spanning the last week of January and first week of February was caused by concern the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates at a faster pace than the markets were anticipating.
On December 22nd, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 signed into law changed the tax landscape for individuals and corporations. Although there are many modifications to the tax code that will affect all Americans, the mortgage interest itemized deduction directly affects current and future homeowners.
Talk of inflation has heated up in the last few weeks, with fears that higher than expected inflation could cause the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at a faster pace. This was one of the contributing factors to the recent volatility in the stock market and has driven U.S. Treasury yields higher.
Certain aspects of the tax bill signed into law at the end of last year have received significant attention from investors, and rightfully so. The final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lowered corporate tax rates, realigned personal tax rates, and capped or eliminated certain deductions (i.e. state and local tax deductions).
Having raised five children, if there was one piece of wisdom I could pass on to them (beyond the need for a spiritual foundation), it would be that in life you will not always be able to control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond to what happens to you.
I spent last week at the TD Ameritrade national conference in Orlando, Florida. Having the markets decline rapidly while at a conference with over 2,000 advisors was a pretty interesting experience – you would expect panic. Instead, it seemed the market downturn brought advisors a sigh of relief. Why?!
If you are a parent with a child in college or paying off debt yourself, you probably are all too familiar with the astounding costs of a college education. With the average annual cost of a four-year private college at $49,320, it’s important to be realistic about how much of the tuition will be funded by student loans.
Last year I wrote an article titled “The Shortcomings of Income Only Spending in Retirement,” which detailed the shortfalls of the popular strategy of spending only the income generated by a portfolio in retirement. In summary, the main drawback of income only spending is the tendency to increase portfolio risk when yields are low in order to generate more income.