American homeowners are finally digging out of the hole created by the housing crisis says the Wall Street Journal, but their housing wealth is playing a much smaller role in the overall economy than it did before the downturn.
Home equity has roughly doubled to $12.1 trillion since house prices hit bottom in 2011, according to the Federal Reserve. As a result, a key gauge of housing wealth—homeowners’ equity as a share of real-estate values—is nearing the point seen a decade ago, before the downturn.
That would have resulted in a double-barreled boost to the economy by providing owners with more money to tap and making them feel more flush and likely to spend. But today, that new-found wealth has had little effect on behavior. There seems to be a reluctance to take out home equity loans. Lines of credit and cash-out refinances are higher than last year, but are still depressed, according to bankers. Steve and Sinclair review the trends in multiple areas.
In the Q & A Segment, CFP®, CIMA® Murray Titterington with IQ Wealth brings up to date on final changes in Social Security and tax saving opportunities that have been extended for 2015 and 2016.
If you want to win a Nobel Prize in the arts or sciences, it’s important to be original, says Charles Sizemore of Sizemore Capital writing for Forbes. But if you want to make money in the stock market, originality is vastly overrated, especially this year.
As Sizemore says, there are many research services dedicated to following the trading moves of high-profile investors like Warren Buffett, William Ackman or Carl Icahn in the hopes of copying them. Where do they get the info?
The SEC requires that large, influential money managers report their trading moves by filing Form 13F within 45 days of each quarter end, which has created an entire cottage industry of 13F mining services that turn these reports into actionable advice.
There are even multiple ETFs dedicated to guru following, such as the Global X Guru Index ETF, the AlphaClone Alternative Alpha ETF and the Direxion i-Billionaire Index ETF.
Steve and Sinclair review these ETFs and insights from Barron's.
In the Q & A segment, Steve interviews famous Certified Financial Planning Practitioner™ and professional engineer, Jim Otar, who has published two books on the mathematical realities of retirement and what the safe withdrawal rate really is.
Steve and Ken bring us up to date on the news and gold expert Nick Grovich unveils the do's and don'ts of buying or selling gold and collectible coins.
It's Christmas and we will all be spending a little more. According to a study of 4,500 Dutch consumers in the Journal of Economic Psychology, unhappy people save less, spend more and have a higher propensity to consume. Americans are spending just as fast as Europeans, says the University of Utah. Researchers are finding that we are all spending money--often more than what's coming in--for a new set of reasons.
Many retiring professionals continue to spend $80,000 to $120,000 annually after retirement and have no intention of slowing down or cutting back. If a couple spends $100,000 a year, they will need $3,000,000 to come from somewhere--that's without LTC or inflation.
What drives us—the majority of people in fact-- to spend too much even when we seem to make all the right moves? Steve and Sinclair review an intriguing report from the Wall Street Journal. Then, in the Q & A segment, Steve reviews his method for addressing all of a client's liabilities, and the step by step process involved in building a durable retirement income plan, while also growing capital.
Ever since the global financial crisis, economists have groped for reasons to explain why growth in the U.S. and abroad has repeatedly disappointed, citing everything from fiscal austerity to the euro meltdown. They are now coming to realize that one of the stiffest headwinds is also one of the hardest to overcome: demographics.
Next year, writes Greg Ip, with the wall Street Journal, the world’s advanced economies will reach a critical milestone. For the first time since 1950, their combined working-age population will decline, according to United Nations projections, and by 2050 it will shrink 5%. The ranks of workers will also fall in key emerging markets, such as China and Russia. At the same time the share of these countries’ population over 65 will skyrocket.
The reality: People are living longer, especially in high-income countries. Worldwide, fewer people will be working and more people will be living on passive income. This will continue to slow down the world economies.
As an investor in retirement, your financial plan should take this into account. Where will the massive demand come from to maintain demand for your entire stock portfolio over long periods of time? Steve and Sinclair review this important topic.
In the Q & A session, estate planning attorney Richard Dwornik joins the A-Team to discuss spendthrift strategies on trusts.
…Call it “the year of mimicking dangerously.”, says Jason Zweig, Wall Street Journal columnist and author of the Intelligent investor.
A handful of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds seek to emulate such leading investors as hedge-fund manager William Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management. Zweig points out that most of these funds are down 5% or more for 2015, and some have lost at least 10% over the past three months as the embattled drug company Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, and other holdings of top investors have tumbled.
AlphaClone Alternative Alpha, for example, is a $143 million ETF that selects at least 20 hedge funds it believes to be especially skillful and builds a portfolio of about 75 stocks from among their top holdings.
Unfortunately, Valeant had grown to be the fund’s largest holding, at 7% of assets. At the end of September the fund’s hedging formula kicked in — right before the S&P 500 shot straight up the following month. October was the worst of both worlds for the fund as it captured Valeant’s 47.4% decline but missed out on the stock market’s 8.4% gain.
Steve and Sinclair review "clone" hedge funds in Segment 2. In the Q & A Segment, CFP Murray Titterington with IQ Wealth shares views on income planning from well known financial writer and professor, Michael Finke.
It's tax time if you are looking for year-end tax planning ideas and strategies. Since 1969, many, many families have used charitable remainder trusts (CRTs) to increase their incomes, save taxes and benefit charities.
What does a CRT do?
A CRT lets you convert a highly appreciated asset like stock or real estate into lifetime income. It reduces your income taxes now and estate taxes, if any when you die. You pay no capital gains tax when the asset is sold to your trust. And it lets you help one or more charities that have special meaning to you, besides paying you and your family what can be a lifetime income of at least five percent annually for life. You also can receive the right to take a substantial tax deduction on your tax return. There are two types of CRTs--the Unitrust and the Annuity Trust. Steve and Sinclair break it down and explore.
In the Q & A Segment, Enrolled Agent and Master Instructor with H & R Block, Doris Milton answers key tax questions to make 2015 a little less painful.
Up until 2005, Morningstar reports that the expense ratio of ETFs averaged 0.4 percent, according to Morningstar. Since 2005, the average expense of new funds has now jumped to over 0.6 percent, and some new exchange-traded products are charging over 1.0 percent in fees annually.
ETFs suddenly cost more than people think. Increasingly, ETFs are seeing such volume that a new cost has crept into the math, known as “Tracking Errors”: ETF managers are supposed to keep their funds’ investment performance in line with the indexes they track. That mission is not as easy as it sounds, says Morningstar.
Throughout the trading day, the spread between underlying securities and the ETF can be significant. In a nutshell, the price you see for the ETF may not be equal to the sum of the shares inside the ETF.
For example, on August 24 when the market opened down 5.3%, the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation fund VIG, was down a whopping 38% for more than an hour. Steve and Sinclair breakdown some of the pros and cons now affecting many ETFs. Those are the extremes, but on an increasing basis, "tracking error" is getting to be a bigger factor.
In the Q & A, Steve reviews a more effective approach to reducing risks on the bond side of the portfolio and putting lazy money to work. The purpose of your money should dictate where you place it. But never forget your risk tolerance and time horizon. Here's how to help simplify your investment choices.
You think you have it bad with 1% CDs and 0.025% money markets? If you lived in Europe, you'd be thrilled.
In the topsy-turvy world of negative interest rates, the ECB’s deposit rate is minus 0.2%. Two-year German bonds are now yielding minus 0.4%.
Bond yields across the eurozone have tumbled, meaning investors are effectively paying a fee to have their money stored. Now, in a very literal sense, they’d be making more in the mattress. Steve and Sinclair review a Wall Street Journal report on the state of interest rates going into 2016. How will it affect you and your investments?
In the Q & A, CPA Nick Stefaniak joins the A-Team to answer questions on "what happens if your parents or an ex-spouse dies owing a bunch of back taxes?" Are you liable? Always? Sometimes? Join us--Nick has the answers.
For married couples seeking tax savings and lifetime access to cash, a spousal lifetime access trust (SLAT) has become increasingly popular in estate planning in recent years.
The SLAT—the spousal lifetime access trust-- is creating positive buzz because it combines the estate tax savings of an ILIT used for life insurance, but with lifetime access to tax-advantaged cash value inside a quality life insurance policy.
Rather than tying up money irrevocably, the SLAT offers the spouse lifetime income on a tax free basis, while providing exceptional estate planning and asset protection benefits.
Steve and Doc break it down in Segment 2. In the Q & A segment, estate planning attorney Richard Dwornik joins the A-Team to continue the analysis of the SLAT.