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Oil Prices and the Economy

August 2018

Crude oil plays an important role in the manufacturing and worldwide distribution of numerous products ranging from food to electronics. When rising fuel costs are passed on to consumers, it can drive up inflation and reduce the purchasing power of wages. Gasoline and heating oil (which are derived from crude) are essential expenses for many… Read more

An Affordable Insurance Solution

August 2018

Many people allow their term life insurance policies to expire once their children are grown. This may not be a good idea, especially if you have other bills and your spouse would need continued financial support. But a new term policy can be quite expensive when you are older. Survivorship life insurance may be a… Read more

ETFs on the Rise

August 2018

Mutual funds are still king of the investment world, but investor interest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) has grown quickly over the last decade. At the end of 2017, more than $3.4 trillion in assets were invested among over 1,800 ETFs. This is equivalent to about 18% of the assets invested in mutual funds. In 2007,… Read more

HOT TOPIC — U.S. Fiscal Issues: Larger Deficits Are Driving Up Debt

August 2018

According to the most recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projection, the federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2018 (which ends on September 30) will reach $793 billion, or 3.9% of gross domestic product (GDP). This figure is $230 billion larger than the CBO previously estimated in June 2017, largely because legislation enacted since then reduced… Read more

Two Technology Trends to Help Power Growth

July 2018

Not long ago, a small business may have found it difficult to compete with its larger competitors, especially those with the financial resources to develop or purchase advanced technology. In recent years, however, innovative and relatively inexpensive apps for laptops and mobile devices have leveled the playing field by helping small companies increase productivity with… Read more

Making Sense of Bond Behavior

July 2018

Federal Reserve monetary policies can affect the financial markets, and the prospect of higher inflation and interest rates has become a major concern for bond investors. Even so, many investors rely on bonds to temper the effects of stock market volatility on their portfolios or to generate income in retirement. Here are some strategies that… Read more

Good News, Bad News for Boomer Retirement

July 2018

The baby boom generation was the largest and longest birth bonanza in U.S. history, extending 18 years from 1946 to 1964.1 With that wide spread, it’s natural that older baby boomers might have different feelings and experiences regarding retirement than younger boomers. A recent survey highlights this disparity and raises important questions for those who… Read more

New Tax Law Expands 529 Savings Plans

July 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law at the end of 2017, expanded the use of Section 529 savings plans to be used for K–12 public, private, and religious school tuition. This could be a boon for some families. But regardless of where your children go to elementary or secondary school, 529 plans… Read more

Indexed Annuities: Potential Gain with Some Downside Protection

July 2018

Like all annuities, an indexed annuity is a contract with an insurance company that provides an income stream — either immediately or at some point in the future — in exchange for premium payments. However, indexed annuities also offer potential for gain when the market is riding high, while helping to protect principal during a… Read more

HOT TOPIC — Pain at the Pump: Why Does It Cost More to Fill Your Tank?

July 2018

The Memorial Day weekend is the beginning of the summer driving season, and — not coincidentally — often a high point in the annual ups and downs of gas prices. This year, almost 37 million drivers hit the road and faced the highest fuel costs since 2014. The national average price for a gallon of… Read more

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