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Should You Worry About a Recession?

So why should you care whether the US economy is in a recession? By many estimates, growth in the second quarter is likely to come in at an even more disappointing rate. With unemployment spiking and various leading indicators still in decline, there’s little doubt that a recession has arrived. An important question today is how deep this recession will be and how long it will last.     Now, beyond being an intriguing subject for economists and pundits in the…

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What’s the Best Way to Protect Your Hard-Earned Wealth?

What’s the best way to protect your hard-earned wealth? That’s the million-dollar question that’s on a lot of people’s minds right now. The fact is that the coronavirus has demonstrated in absolute terms how an unexpected event can quickly take away your earnings ability and deplete your life savings.    Events surrounding the coronavirus have also demonstrated how life’s surprises can come at you from all directions. And when they do, your ability to build enduring wealth can evaporate in…

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Keep Your Money Growing with Two Simple Steps

Growing financial wealth in today’s environment has been a struggle. Whether it’s the wide swings in asset prices that make it hard to decide whether to stay in or get out the markets to the dour economic conditions that have negatively affected business earnings. Finding the right strategy to grow your wealth in a world locked down truly has been a challenge. So, what can households and investors do to make the right decisions to grow wealth given today’s challenges?…

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The First Step to Thriving Financially: Creating Wealth Today

What can individuals do during this downturn to thrive financially and build, or in many cases, rebuild wealth that has been lost in the past few weeks? By many measures, U.S. economic activity continues to grind to a halt on account of the COVID-19 containment efforts. This is evidenced in various data releases published this week. And it’s also a key reason why some Governors are eager to reopen their state economies. But the reality is that returning to normal…

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Are Markets Getting the COVID-19 Recovery Wrong?

Various earnings reports, data releases and the IMF’s World Economic Outlook have served investors notice not to get ahead of themselves.  Truly, global risk assets have moved lower this week in response to historically disappointing corporate earnings and economic reports.  It’s certain that the stay-at-home orders in 42 states have essentially shut down the national economy.   And so, markets shouldn’t be surprised by the weak data, right?  In other words, this week’s bad news should have been taken in…

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The CARES Act and Thriving During a Downturn

By the time the U.S. economy reopens weeks from now, tens of millions of people will have lost their jobs and thousands of small businesses will remain shuttered on account of the COVID-19 outbreak.  Estimates of the economic impact differ widely and it’s very likely that the ultimate financial cost of the coronavirus will take months if not years to fully understand.  As we pointed out in our report last week, Congress has stepped up to support ailing households and…

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Adjusting to Seismic Shifts

In the blink of an eye the coronavirus has fundamentally changed our world in more ways than we can imagine.  While it seems like an eternity ago, it only has been a matter of days since Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued his first stay-at-home order for a few counties in the state.  This week, the Governor expanded his order to all counties throughout the Commonwealth and for a period of at least 30 days.  In recent weeks, many states have…

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When will they shut the markets?

Global risk assets continued to move lower on Monday, pushing the current selloff well into bear market territory and on pace with a level of volatility not seen since the market crash of 1987.  To be sure, the S&P 500 index shed over 12% in another unpredictable day of trading and follows the surprise FOMC meeting on Sunday that slashed the fed funds rate by 100 basis points and saw the restart of its asset purchase programs.  What has become…

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Is now the right time to get into the markets?

It would be an understatement to say that financial markets have experienced a bit of volatility this week.  In fact, the VIX surged to its highest level since the height of the Global Financial Crisis more than a decade ago.  To be sure, we believe that a host of issues ranging from the unmitigated spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. and around the world, a seeming concerted effort by the Saudis and Russians to flood the oil markets and…

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Three quick steps to help manage financial anxieties during uncertain times

If the coronavirus, recession angst or elections are keeping you up at night or have generally increased your level of anxiety, you can take comfort in knowing that what you’re feeling is natural.  In fact, our brains are primed for an anxiety response during times of heightened uncertainty.  At least that’s according to one research paper published in the journal Nature.  And as the researchers point out, higher levels of uncertainty disrupt our ability to assign clear probabilities of success…

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Economic update: Downside risks still increasing

The outlook for the U.S. and global economy has deteriorated yet again.  Unsurprisingly, the culprit behind the outlook downgrade has been news of the coronavirus’ continued spread.  To be sure, risk assets sold off this week and financial market volatility increased as concerns about the virus and its potential impact on the global economy dented investors’ up-until-recent euphoric sentiment.  More importantly, worries about the coronavirus come at a time when economic conditions in the U.S. and around the world remain…

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Are Democratic Candidates’ Proposed Economic Policies Disruptive?

The race for the Democratic Presidential nominee remains crowded with eight candidates (as of this writing).  Yet, with Super Tuesday just around the corner, the list of candidates is likely to be winnowed quickly.  And one deciding factor that could make (or break) the decision for the Democratic Presidential nominee in July is likely to be a candidate’s economic policy.  But what exactly are the candidate’s positions and more importantly, why should they matter to savers and investors?  In this…

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What should you know about the SECURE Act?

If you are preparing for retirement, are currently retired, or own a small business chances are you’ve probably heard something about the SECURE Act.  So what is it?  Simply put, the SECURE Act is a law that makes it easier for small business owners to offer attractive retirement savings opportunities to a population of workers largely underserved by retirement savings options. In this week’s blog post, we explore a high-level overview of the SECURE Act and its implications for businesses…

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Why the coronavirus is relevant to your finances

It’s getting harder and harder to ignore the potential financial fallout from the novel coronavirus (nCoV-2019) outbreak underway.  Some of this fallout was evidenced in the global stock selloff on Friday and futures (as of this writing) point to a weaker start at Monday’s open.  Indeed, the concerns surrounding the ongoing spread of nCoV is likely to weigh on market sentiment for weeks.  But why is nCoV relevant from a financial perspective?  Well, in our opinion, the quickening spread of…

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Cut costs to increase investment returns

Cutting costs may be one of the most effective ways to increase investment returns this year.  To be sure, some investors have been riding a wave of positive market momentum over the past year as lower central bank policy rates have broadly boosted asset prices and seemingly contributed to easy investment returns.  While monetary policy could be supportive of risk assets in 2020, we expect prices to remain susceptible to quick reversals as markets remain near historic highs.  In fact,…

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Economic update: Recession risks on the rise

U.S. Growth Our latest estimates continue to suggest that economic growth in the U.S. will weaken in the coming year while the risk of a recession remains elevated.  We expect growth to come in around 2.1% YoY in 2020, slightly weaker than our expectation of 2.2% for 2019.  International Growth Globally, World GDP is likely to accelerate as emerging market economies (ex China) rebound from markedly low levels of growth in 2019.  We expect China’s economy to slow further in…

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Let the good times roll: the beginning of the end?

Stock market prices continued to grind higher as economic data releases surprised to the upside this week.  Indeed, a host of indicators suggest to some that growth in the U.S. may in fact be improving after a softer showing in 2019 which has supported a rally in risk assets not just in the U.S. but globally this year.  A key question for investors and savers now, however, is whether the good times are just getting started or the data mark…

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Personal financial playbook: your path to getting ahead

Households will face many near- and long-term financial market complexities and economic uncertainties in the years to come. A personal financial playbook can help people get ahead despite these challenges.   We believe that a flexible and adaptable personal financial playbook should include three important elements: 1) a well-defined statement of financial purpose, 2) prioritization of financial outcomes and 3) a financial operating plan. Partnering with a trusted advisor can also potentially multiply your chances of achieving your financial goals…

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Acute threat: a looming U.S. recession

The threat of a U.S. recession will add to a number of looming issues contributing to heightened financial market and economic complexities and uncertainties in 2020. While some of the latest economic data suggest that growth in the U.S. economy remains steady, some key market and economic indicators are more consistent with a downturn, like the inverted yield curve. The health of the U.S. consumer is likely to hold the key to the health of the U.S. economy and the…

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Getting ahead isn’t what it used to be

Various economic and market indicators suggest the U.S. economy is in a better spot today than a decade ago. While some are more well off today, the traditional life playbook for getting ahead has seemingly failed many households. Looking ahead, we believe that the key to households getting ahead financially will be for households to customize their own personal financial playbooks. By many measures the U.S. economy is in a better spot today than it was a decade ago.  In…

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