By Colleen Weber, CFP®, CPA
Regardless of whether you are an avid reader of Market Watch or just tune in to the nightly news every now and then, you know that 2017 was a banner year for stocks. In fact, both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 celebrated the launch of 2018 by reaching record highs1 and until the beginning of February 2018, we were experiencing the second-longest bull market since 1929. Read More “Is Your Retirement Plan Ready for a Market Downturn in 2018?”
Sometimes our social interactions seem to happen by default, and we don’t get much out of them. Consider the stock greeting: “How are you?”
What information are you likely to get when you ask this tired question? Tired answers, like: “Busy,” “fine,” “okay,” or “good.”
And what did you learn from that? How did you improve your relationship with the other person as a result of this exchange? Read More “Better Conversation-Starters”
The Long Reach of the IRS
You probably don’t spend a lot of time feeling sorry for a U.S. citizen named Meghan Markle, who is about to tie the proverbial knot with Prince Harry of England. But an article in the Wall Street Journal notes that Ms. Markle, and other American citizens who marry foreigners, face a lifetime of harassment by America’s Internal Revenue Service. Read More “The Long Reach of the IRS”
The Most Expensive Cities in the World
Every year, The Economist magazine surveys the Worldwide Cost of Living, looking at 160 expense items across 133 countries. There are a lot of interesting tidbits to be found in the report, but perhaps the most interesting is a list of the most expensive cities in the world. In 2018, Singapore won this dubious honor. After that, it was a tie between Zurich, Switzerland and Paris, France, followed by 4) Hong Kong, 5) Oslo, Norway, 6) Geneva, Switzerland and Seoul, South Korea, 8) Copenhagen, Denmark, 9) Tel Aviv, Israel, and 10) Sydney, Australia.
No American city? The fact that the dollar fell against other currencies over the past year lowered the cost of living in places like New York (ranked #13) and Los Angeles (#14) when measured in global terms.
How to Argue
These days, it seems like everybody is arguing about everything, and with perhaps a bit more… energy than in years past. And it turns out that most of us are going about our arguments all wrong.
Author Daniel Pink has pointed out that most of the arguments going on today involve two people articulating their points in an attempt to convince the other person, while hardly listening to the arguments being made by the other person. Both sides are assuming that the other person is ignorant of the facts, and try to provide the facts they think are missing—to a person who believes he or she has superior facts, and therefore is not likely to be convinced.
The Luck Factor
Why are some people wealthier or more successful than others? The default explanation has always been that the wealthier among us are more diligent and/or smarter or more talented than the less-wealthy, so that the cream eventually rises to the top.
The problem with this explanation is that the statistical variation in wealth is far greater than could be explained by all the observed variances in work, talent or intelligence.
Social Security, Where Budget Cuts Lead to Terrible Service
These days, trying to apply for Social Security benefits, or getting straight answers about what your best claiming strategy might be, is frustrating at best. Recently, Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, illustrated the problem in vivid detail before the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. When he began his testimony, he first dialed the agency’s toll-free telephone number. Twenty-five minutes later, he announced to the legislators that his phone was still on hold. A recorded message said that his wait would be about an hour.
2018 First Quarter Market Report
Is the bull market finally over? For the first time in nine calendar quarters, the U.S. investment markets delivered a negative overall return. It was only a slight decline, but the decline reminds us that markets can and do go down from time to time.
Last year, it was hard to turn on your computer without reading about the dramatic rise in cryptocurrency values, or see advertisements for ways that you, too, could participate in this get-rich-quick opportunity to buy virtual money that is backed by no government on Earth.