4/10/2017 Weekly Market Commentary

  U.S. stock markets are sending mixed signals. If you look at the performance of the CBOE Volatility Index (a.k.a. the VIX or fear gauge), which is a measure of market expectations for volatility in the near future, it appears all is well and investors expect no unexpected events.1 Barron’s explained:2 “…which brings us back to a central fact: the absence of volatility. The first quarter was historic for the CBOE Volatility Index…It ranged from […]

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2/13/2017 Weekly Market Commentary

  What’s the word ‘phenomenal’ worth? It all depends on who says it. Barron’s shared Wilshire Associates’ calculations which indicated the word was worth about $175 billion – the amount markets gained last Thursday – when President Trump used it to describe the tax plan his administration will deliver “ahead of schedule.” Markets gained another $100 billion in value on Friday. Barron’s reported:1 “While tax reform is definitely coming, a final bill is still a […]

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Learning to Be a Retiree

Practice Makes Perfect When it Comes to Retirement Most of us really look forward to the idea of well-deserved, unstructured free time. A time to do exactly what we please when we please. Until we get it. Half of retirees reported being somewhat or not at all satisfied with their retirement. A retirement satisfaction survey from EBRI found that half of retirees (51.4%) in 2012 reported being somewhat or not at all satisfied with their […]

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10 Things You and Your Spouse Should Know About Your Finances

It seems inconceivable, but the Couples Retirement Survey by Fidelity Investments recently revealed that over 40% of couples don’t know how much their partner earns. Yet having a solid understanding of your financial status as a couple is crucial to planning, budgeting and saving toward your goals. To get in sync, make sure you have the answers to these questions. Do we have any financial secrets? Talk about your debt, obligations, past mistakes (e.g., credit […]

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Don’t Overlook These Eight Common Estate Planning Problems

Regardless of your age or current health, mapping out a clear plan for your estate will help avoid unnecessary turmoil for your loved ones. Estate planning goes beyond wills to include trusts, powers of attorney and letters of instructions. Talk to your advisor about what you need, and be sure to look out for these common mistakes. A will-based estate plan or no estate plan – Without the benefit of a clear estate plan or will, […]

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11/21/2016 Weekly Market Commentary

  This time it’s the end. Really. Possibly. It seems like professionals have been forecasting the end of the bull market in bonds for years – and they have been doing so. In July 2010, bond guru Bill Gross predicted the 28-year bull market in bonds was near an end and, as interest rates moved higher, bond values would move lower.1 The Federal Reserve’s first round of quantitative easing had ended in March 2010, and he […]

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Key Steps to Building Your Portfolio

Revisiting the Basics Can Build Confidence in Your Financial Plan in the Face of Volatility In all market environments, it’s important to understand the fundamentals behind your investment strategy, portfolio composition and overall financial plan. Understanding the underlying elements will help you advance your financial objectives and can provide well-founded confidence that may just help you stick with your plan in times of uncertainty. First things first Three essential elements hold up the structure of […]

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Convert to a Roth IRA or Not?

Even if you qualify to convert your traditional individual retirement account to a Roth account, it doesn’t mean you should. The right answer is probably tied up in concerns about personal income tax rates, your plan for your estate, the current state of your finances and, in a sense, your best guess about your future tax circumstances. Here are the principal differences between the two IRA plans. Traditional IRA Created in 1974, the traditional IRA […]

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Consolidate Your Accounts to See the Big Picture

As you may have noticed, many financial institutions are raising or re-instituting fees for services that used to be free. Often these fees aren’t much, but if you have a number of accounts, it adds up quickly. Fees aside, having multiple financial accounts can make it more difficult to see the “big picture” of your financial situation. This is particularly true when it comes to investment accounts, where it’s critical to understand your asset allocation […]

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The Retirement Podcast: How do I turn the proceeds of my company into retirement?

How do I turn the proceeds of my company into retirement? Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. and Kowal Investment Group, LLC, an Independent Firm. Any opinions are those of Jeff and Aaron Kowal and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation. Raymond […]

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