When faced with a health issue, we turn to our doctor and other healthcare specialists for information, support and a positive resolution. But when you head to an appointment, do you go armed with research gleaned from reputable sources? Are you prepared to ask questions and voice your concerns if something doesn’t seem right? Many aren’t. In a recent Medscape poll, a majority of physicians and nurses surveyed said they would describe less than a quarter of their patients as empowered advocates for their health.
In December 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a sweeping $1.5 trillion tax-cut package, became law. College students and their parents dodged a major bullet with the legislation, as initial drafts of the bill included the elimination of Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the student loan interest deduction. Also on the table in early drafts of the bill was the taxation of tuition waivers, which are used primarily by graduate students and employees of higher-education institutions. In the end, none of these provisions made it into the final legislation. What did make the final cut was the expanded use of 529 plans.
Retirement can mark an amazing new beginning. It means an incredible opportunity to take control of your time and do all the things you have had to put off over the years – all without the day-to-day stress of work, building a team, dealing with customers, and financial planning.
Optimism in the markets and the economy has not appeared to reach “irrational exuberance” as the former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan once coined but the rise in the equities market has investors concerned about “the next shoe to drop”. One of the drivers recently has been the high likelihood of a corporate tax cut and tax reform. Scott Brown, Chief Economist for Raymond James opines, “While tax reform has provided a tailwind, we note several concerns regarding potential headwinds, including: the near hyperbolic move in equities coupled with the absence of a material correction; a widely expected rise in interest rates as the Fed reduces its balance sheet and remains in a tightening (rate hike) mode. While potentially healthy for lagging sectors of the market, this could presage a more material change in investor sentiment.”
As we head north with the family on the interstate to North Georgia for Thanksgiving- it’s over the river and through the traffic jungle we go, in the blue Chevy Silverado. Times do change, it’s nice to sit in the passenger seat and let our High School senior Marcus take the wheel. It’s not that easy though to relax and let your 17 old take your life in their hands at the wheel in the insane holiday traffic in the rain! We all need to just relax and breath! For those of us who learned directions, read a map and follow signs, it’s a whole new world to ask someone under 30 who's only used GPS to navigate the old fashioned way. What happens if the phone stops working?
Those of us in harm’s way of Harvey, Maria and Irma have experienced troubles ranging from life threatening to inconvenience at worst. Life has its challenges and it’s our response to them that builds the character in our lives. Holding on to our values and beliefs can sometime be the only anchor that keeps us from being blown away by the winds of chaos, confusion and we’ve now witnessed one of the most horrific mass shootings in modern history recently in Las Vegas which has left us dumbfounded and very concerned for our country. Growing up, we never experienced such madness and evil yet each occurrence of these killings has us questioning where this country is headed. We all have our thoughts on how these trends are developing but my theory is that when a country turns its back on God, even prohibiting the display of the Ten Commandments in public places, where is there any definition of right and wrong? What moral compass remains to steer the ship of private and public consciences? The morass of public opinion or political sway will not suffice. The immediate outcry from certain political persuasions blaming gun toting “R________”s who voted for T___and used this opportunity for their own political gain defies belief. If we can’t come together and unite in the wake of such a tragedy to focus on the overarching problem at a time like this, when will we ever?
Everyone needs a break to unwind and flush the mind with some relaxation and rejuvenating time away from the grind. I’ve discovered family vacations can do that if planned properly and everyone has an opportunity to participate in something they enjoy doing. Our family just enjoyed one of those that belong on the highlight reel of memories. We spent several days in a remote cabin on the top of a mountain in North Carolina where we experienced lows in the high 50s at night and high 70s during the day- a much needed break from the sauna heat we’ve had here in central Florida. On the way up, we had a nice overnight stay at the Jekyll Island club off the golden isle coast of South Georgia. The history and beauty of the low country coastal region there has a magical effect for us and a nice bike ride around the paths of the island offer some really spectacular scenery.
Social Security Status Report - We often have the concern raised in financial planning discussions on the viability of Social Security and should we be concerned that it will be around when those now eligible and the other millions that will retire in the next 5-10 years. This is one of the entitlements that congress most likely will never let slip away but something dramatic will have to occur to maintain benefits. Most likely, those who have the most means with the largest benefits will be affected if cuts need to occur.
Here’s an executive summary of some of the key market and economic data suggest we’re continuing to see moderate growth but not enough to have the Fed put the brakes on with sharp rises in interest rates. Despite the geo political and global risks and commotion, the U.S. and international markets have been trending upward and onward….
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