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Don’t Let the Weather Put Your Company Underwater

April 2016

Many climatologists expected an unusual warming of the Pacific Ocean (known as an El Niño) to have a dramatic effect on weather patterns in early 2016.1 These warnings may have prompted residents of southwestern states to prepare for a wetter winter. But history reminds us that most communities are vulnerable to some kind of large-scale… Read more

Rates on the Rise

April 2016

A long period of low yields has been challenging for many fixed-income investors, but owning bond investments in a rising interest-rate environment could become even trickier. When interest rates go up, the prices of existing bonds typically fall. Consequently, the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting decisions could affect the entire fixed-income market, from U.S. Treasuries (guaranteed by… Read more

Community Property Laws: Yours, Mine, and Ours

April 2016

The question of asset ownership can be contentious in the event of a divorce, but even in the happiest marriage it may be helpful to understand the laws regarding ownership of property obtained before and during the marriage. Currently, nine states have community property laws: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Washington, and… Read more

Protecting Your Assets Under an Umbrella

April 2016

Getting caught in the rain without an umbrella can be an unpleasant experience. Getting caught without appropriate insurance coverage can be more than unpleasant — it could damage your hard-earned financial stability. Having an umbrella policy might make the difference between getting a little “wet” financially and facing a financial downpour. Another Layer of Protection… Read more

Does Your Risk Tolerance Follow the Market?

April 2016

According to an investment industry survey, in mid-2008 — when the financial crisis was still developing — 23% of U.S. households were willing to accept substantial or above-average investment risk in order to achieve substantial or above-average returns. The following year, after the stock market hit bottom, the percentage of risk-taking households fell to 19%… Read more

HOT TOPIC: Full Employment: Are We There Yet?

April 2016

In the fall of 2015, as the unemployment rate neared 5%, economists began to ask whether the U.S. economy was approaching “full employment,” a possibility that was hard to imagine when unemployment peaked at 10% in October 2009.1 In January and February 2016, the rate dropped to 4.9%, crossing a symbolic threshold and reaching the… Read more

The Tax Treatment of Travel Expenses

March 2016

If you schedule a business trip to a beautiful location that has some fun things to do and see, it often makes sense to pencil in some vacation days. For business owners and self-employed individuals, transportation costs to and from a domestic destination are 100% deductible, but only if the primary purpose of the trip… Read more

The Rise of Socially Conscious Investing Strategies

March 2016

The acronym SRI has come to represent various investment strategies that favor companies with business practices generally viewed as socially responsible, ethical, and/or sustainable. These buzzwords are often interchangeable, but investor interest in SRIs overall is gaining momentum. In fact, U.S. assets invested according to SRI principles grew to $6.57 trillion at the beginning of… Read more

The Spousal IRA Opportunity

March 2016

Tax-friendly IRAs were devised as an incentive for workers to set aside money for retirement, so the maximum an individual can contribute annually is limited to the amount of his or her earned income. This limitation once left stay-at-home parents and other nonworking spouses without a way to keep their own retirement savings on track…. Read more

A Gift That Gives Back

March 2016

If you are interested in donating assets to a favorite charity or other nonprofit organization but would like to receive income from the assets during your retirement years, you might consider funding a gift annuity. This charitable vehicle is popular for giving to colleges and universities, and is also offered by other organizations. A gift… Read more

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