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January 16, 2020

Lessons we learned from the last decade…

2010-11: Aftershocks of the Great Recession The best way to see how much can change in a decade is to remember how things were at the end of the last one.  In 2010, we were coming off the worst decade for stocks since the 1930s. The Great Recession had devastated the retirement savings of millions of people. Many of the world’s most famous financial institutions had collapsed.  And the national unemployment rate was near 10%.1 It was a scary and uncertain time. Many investors had fled the markets entirely by 2010, some for good. As a result, they missed a […]
January 9, 2020

What do I need to know about the SECURE Act?

Before we dive in, understand that the SECURE Act is over 20,000 words long.  (And in fact, the Senate had to tuck it away in a much, much larger appropriations bill to pass it.)  That means there isn’t room to cover every provision of the new law, and many won’t apply to you anyway.  So, what follows is a brief overview of the major changes that could affect your finances. Are you ready?  Then take a deep breath as we review…   Changes to the IRA “stretch” provisions1 For years, one of the most popular estate planning strategies was the […]
November 27, 2019

The “Good Family” Blessing… Happy Thanksgiving!!!

The “Good Family” Blessing It has become common practice to refer to our Thanksgiving holiday as “Turkey Day.” For some people, that name is truly accurate. Not only is it mildly amusing, but if you don’t believe there’s any power beyond yourself that you ought to be thanking, it’s also more honest. If you’re a skeptic, being honest about it is good. When it comes to Thanksgiving, I’m not among the skeptics. So, I’d like to share with you a daily meal blessing that’s been used by four generations of a family I know named Good. You might want to […]
November 21, 2019

Income Inequality, Taxation, and Redistribution

One of our favorite economic parables is the Fish Story, from Paul Zane Pilzer’s 1990 book, “Unlimited Wealth.” It is an excellent tool for thinking about wealth creation, inequality and redistribution. Imagine 10 people live on an island. Each day they wake up, catch two fish, eat them, and go back to bed. Its subsistence living at the most basic level. There are no savings – no stored or saved wealth. If someone gets sick and can’t fish, there’s no way to help them. No one has any extra. Now imagine two of these people dream up a boat and […]
November 14, 2019

No Recession on the Horizon

Since the earliest days of the current economic expansion, there have been naysayers asserting the US was on the brink of another recession.  Remember all the fear about another wave of home foreclosures, or a disaster in commercial real estate, or the Fiscal Cliff, or Greece potentially leaving the Eurozone, or German bank defaults, or even the inverted yield curve earlier this year?  The list goes on and on. One by one, the pessimistic theories have been proven wrong.  Yes, the US will eventually fall back into a recession.  But we don’t see it happening this year or next, and […]
August 6, 2019

Women and finance: Staying involved

In 1809, Mary Kies became the first American woman to hold a U.S. patent in her own name for her original way to weave straw with silk.    In 1825, Rebecca Lukens became the first female CEO of an industrial company in the United States, and was inducted into the National Business Hall of Fame in 1994.    In 1839, Mississippi passed the Married Women’s Property Act, which gradually strengthened women’s claims to ownership and financial independence.    Just think, this was all before women were even allowed to vote!    Women have been more than involved in business and […]