Our Thoughts on the Equifax Hack
Although unimaginable, this breach is far more serious than when retailers like Target or Home Depot are hacked. In those cases, thieves might get a credit card number, name and address, but likely little else. With the Equifax hack they have likely stolen Social Security numbers, past address information, account histories, etc.
Key Financial Data for 2017
This Key Financial Data chart provides a preliminary summary of the key tax, retirement, and financial numbers for 2017. As things change, we’ll provide more information and updates.
Key Financial Numbers for 2017
Here are some key financial-planning numbers as we head into the new year.
Retirement plan contribution limits: Contribution limits for 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and 457 plans will remain at $18,000- the same for 2017 as they were in 2016. Contribution limits for those age 50 or older will be $24,000. The total allowable contribution to a 401(k)—including employee contributions (pretax, Roth, and after-tax) as well as employer’s contributions—is increasing to $54,000 for 2017.
Presidential Elections and Your Investments
Talk about the 2016 presidential election is at a fever pitch. The first presidential debate in September was the most watched in American history, and with all the social media coverage, it’s a wonder the internet hasn’t broken! With the candidates and the issues as polarizing as they are, it’s natural to feel some anxiety about the future. And specifically the future of your investments.
“Brexit” Shocker: Should Investors Head for the Exits?
British voters shocked the world when they voted to exit the European Union. The surprise outcome was followed by British Prime Minister David Cameron’s announced resignation. Britain is expected to formally announce it will withdraw from the EU, beginning a two year window for the United Kingdom and the European Union to negotiate new treaties and agreements.
Social Security and Medicare Changes in 2016
2016 brings changes that will affect some people, but for most it’s business as usual. Changes include: Stricter Social Security Suspended Payment Rules, No More Claiming Social Security Twice, No COLA Increase in 2016, Rising Medicare Costs, and Maximum Possible Benefit Declines.
A Rough Start to 2016
The stock market has rung in the New Year with a thud instead of a bang. The S&P 500 Index of large U.S. companies is off almost 8% for the year and smaller companies are off almost 10%. Both benchmarks are down more than 10% from their most recent peaks, a “correction” in Wall Street lingo.
2015 Federal Reserve Interest Rate Increases
Today the Federal Reserve began to raise interest rates. We have been expecting this move for some time, and don’t expect a significant impact on our client portfolios in the near-term. We also don’t expect they will be in a hurry to raise rates further. Rather, we expect the Fed to sit tight for a few months to ensure there are no significant negative repercussions from today’s move, resulting in a gradual increase of their overnight lending rate to about 1 – 1.5% by the end of 2016.
Recent Social Security Changes Will Affect Couples Nearing Retirement
The federal Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 dramatically altered some beneficial Social Security optimization strategies for married couples who are near retirement. The strategy known as “File-and-Suspend” has been all but eliminated for people who haven’t yet reached Full Retirement Age. This is a meaningful setback for couples that were planning on the big income boost that a file-and-suspend strategy provided later in retirement. What impact will this have on your retirement plan? And how can you best plan around this development?
Preparing for Career Transitions
Qualcomm’s announcement about impending layoffs came as a surprise to many in San Diego. Employees and executives at all levels are now facing some serious challenges regarding career transitions and their financial future. Top level management and executives may be particularly impacted in the local market as these layoffs come on the heels of other recent layoffs in the tech industry. Despite the relatively strong job market for highly skilled and experienced workers, a job search for a senior executive or engineer can still take quite some time. For those outside the Qualcomm workforce, the news is a reminder that job security is never a given in today’s economy.
2013 Government Shutdown
As we begin the week, the Federal government has been shut down for the 18th time in U.S. history and the first time since 1996. Over the weekend, Congress was unable to agree over funding the Federal government into the 2014 fiscal year, which begins today. As a result, some Federal government services will be interrupted, and roughly 800,000 Federal employees will be furloughed. This is the first of two significant fiscal fights expected in Washington this month, the second being the debt ceiling – the statutory limit on the amount that the federal government can borrow.
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2011 Debt Ceiling Debate
The debt ceiling, also known as the debt limit, is the maximum amount of gross debt that the U.S. Government is allowed to borrow. It was initially created in 1917 as a result of the government’s borrowing to fund World War I and has been raised 74 times since 1962. It has been raised repeatedly by administrations of both political parties, most recently in February 2010.
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Why We Ask For Your Tax Return
One of the key pieces of information we ask our clients for each year is their income tax return. The tax return provides information that may be used in your financial planning and investment management, and it can alert us to changes and opportunities.
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