Debt Downgrade Explained

On August 1st, the credit rating agency Fitch downgraded the sovereign debt of the United States from AAA to AA+. Fitch is one of three credit rating agencies that also includes Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s. In some respects, downgrading debt issued by the U.S. Treasury is total nonsense, but in other ways, it is … Read more

Quarterly Investment Letter – Q2 2023

It is remarkable how consistent total returns have been for the U.S. stock market over the long term. For the last 5, 10, and 15 years the returns have been 11.2%, 12.2%, and 10.6%, respectively. During those periods, our country has experienced a generational financial crisis, a pandemic, multiple wars, inflation spikes, energy crises, terrorism, … Read more

WHY 1984 WON’T BE LIKE 1984

Super Bowl XVIII was played 39 years ago in Tampa Bay and featured the Los Angeles Raiders taking on the Washington Redskins. Raiders fans will remember that they routed the favored Redskins by a final score of 38 – 9 to win their third (and last) Super Bowl Championship. At the beginning of 1984 and … Read more

LEGISLATION THAT WORKS!?

On December 23, 2022, Congress passed new legislation that will impact saving for retirement. The legislation known as Secure Act 2.0 follows up on the original Secure Act 1.0 of 2019, which changed rules on how you save and withdraw money from your retirement account. Secure Act 2.0 includes dozens of new provisions that were … Read more

MARKET QUICK HITS

After falling 19.4% in 2022, the S&P 500 Index rallied 6.2% in January 2023. Since 1945, there have been five other years where the S&P 500 gained more than 5% in January after trading down in the prior year. In those years (1954, 1961, 1967, 1975 and 2019), the S&P 500 rallied more than 10% … Read more

TO THE CONTRARY…

S&P500 Returns Graph

The University of Michigan’s consumer confidence index has been around for over forty years. As you might guess from its name, it measures how US consumers feel about financial conditions. From Investopedia: Consumer sentiment is a statistical measurement of the overall health of the economy as determined by consumer opinion. It takes into account people’s … Read more

HOUSING ON FIRE

Many of our clients have recently received annual notices of property tax assessments on their homes, and those assessments are higher across the board. In Texas, increases are limited to 10% over the prior year in most cases but in some states that limit doesn’t apply. If one were to pull up Zillow and check … Read more

1ST QUARTER INVESTMENT COMMENTARY

The first quarter tested the resilience of financial markets. Numerous economic and geopolitical issues are weighing on investors’ confidence about the future, while most traditional barometers are signaling the economy is on solid footing. Rising interest rates, supply shortages, geopolitical conflict and inflationary pressures have knocked down consumer confidence to historically low levels. Offsetting these … Read more

HOW ABOUT A RAISE?

collection of numbers ranging from 0 to 9

Retirees receiving Social Security benefits are seeing a significant increase in their January checks. 70 million Americans are getting a 5.9% increase in their monthly benefit. This is the largest increase in 39 years. Since 1975, Social Security beneficiaries have received a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban … Read more

THE COFFERS ARE FULL

Mug full of water

The pandemic and government stimulus has been good for states revenue. States collect revenue primarily from sales, income and real estate tax and their coffers are overflowing. State and local tax receipts are 16% above pre-pandemic levels while spending is up only 5%. The dramatic increase is a result of surging retail spending during the … Read more