The most important measure of the financial strength of the United States is the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index. It’s widely watched but constantly surprising.
The stock market has been new breaking record highs for nearly a year now, and stocks are high-priced by some traditional historical measures, such as trailing 12-month earnings. With some pundits saying stock market risk is high, this is a good time to note how investors have been compensated for taking the extra risk of investing in stocks instead of parking cash in a so-called riskless asset like 90-day Treasury bills.
The Standard & Poor's 500, an index representing U.S. stocks, returned 125.4% in the five years ended June 30, 2021, making it the No. 1 performer of this diverse group of 13 types of securities investments. A distant second was the 74.9% return on a global index of stocks excluding the U.S.
From the perspective of a financial professional, the window of opportunity to act before taxes are hiked is about to close. The plan to end the step-up in basis on inheritances is perhaps the most significant change.
Tax hikes are an accident waiting to happen.
The political standoff in Washington, D.C., has complicated tax planning enormously. No one knows exactly how it will shake out but what we do know is that there are four possibilities to be prepared for.
Five years ago in financial economic history, the situation was a lot like today.
For the past decade, monetary easing measures implemented by the U.S. Federal Reserve expanded the monetary base but not the money supply. The surge in money supply, aka M2, is a major financial change currently unfolding now.
To say current financial economic conditions are unprecedented understates things: The United States, the world's largest economy, by far, is transitioning economically from a once in a hundred-year public health crisis.
Everyone's estate plan is unique, but these six documents are key in ensuring your final wishes are carried out and you end life on terms you have set out.
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The myRa Is Cut Short, But Other Options Abound
Published Monday, September 18, 2017 at: 7:00 AM EDT
The myRA is going the way of the VCR. Citing unsustainable costs, the Treasury Department has announced it is closing down the program for this retirement savings vehicle. Participants will be notified about their options for moving funds into other investments.
The myRA was pitched as a way for moderate-income people to save for retirement and was designed to resemble the Roth IRA.
Just as in a Roth IRA, MyRA contributions were made with after-tax dollars, and withdrawals from the account during retirement were exempt from federal income tax. Unlike with a Roth, however, the MyRA had only one investment option: U.S. government savings bonds. So, you weren't risking principal, but yields were low.
Contributions were limited to $5,500 a year ($6,500 if you were 50 or older), but availability of this saving vehicle was phased out for upper-income taxpayers. And once your account balance reached $15,000, you had to roll over the funds to a Roth IRA, letting you choose from a wider array of investment options.
According to the Treasury Department, the myRA program has cost taxpayers $70 million, with projections that it would take $10 million a year to keep it going. It made the decision in mid-2017 to shut down the program. Yet most retirement savers still have numerous other options at their disposal.
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