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Worried About the Equifax Breach? Here Are Some Tips

After the massive Equifax data breach, you might want to take proactive measures to check your credit history and prevent your identity from being stolen. Equifax’s measures to protect consumers in the aftermath of the breach have rightly been criticized, from setting up a site that asked for even more sensitive personal information, to sending consumers to an erroneous website, to charging them money to put a credit freeze on their accounts. Given the enormous size of the theft, many [...]

Trump Tax Plan

Uncertainty Over President Trump’s Tax Reform Plans

President Trump claimed today that rich Americans will “not be gaining at all” from his proposed tax reform plan. That runs counter to many analyses of the tax reform plans he campaigned on as a candidate, which found that the rich would in fact benefit. The devil, of course, is in the details, but this statement leads to speculation that key details of the tax reform plan may have changed, which could be bad news for investors and businesses. Capital [...]

popping the united states debt bubble

The United States’ Ever-Growing Debt Bubble

The national debt when Bill Clinton took office in 1993 was $4.188 trillion. By the time he left office in 2001, it was $5.727 trillion, an increase of 37 percent. As profligate as that seemed at the time, it has been overshadowed by even greater subsequent debt increases. By the time President George W. Bush left office in 2009, the total debt outstanding had increased again to $10.626 trillion, an increase of 86 percent. And when President Obama left [...]

United States Federal Reserve System logo

Shakeups Coming at the Fed

Federal Reserve Board Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer unexpectedly announced his resignation last week. He will resign from the board in October, meaning that President Trump will now be able to appoint at least 4 of the 7 members of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, thus making an immediate impact on monetary policy and potentially impacting monetary policy for decades to come. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System consists of 7 Governors, each of whom is appointed [...]

401k expenses

How Much Does Your 401(k) Plan Cost?

Fees charged on 401(k) plans have been falling for years, but that decrease has slowed down recently. The average 401(k) plan expense ratio is now 0.41%, down from 0.52% in 2013 and 0.42% in 2016. Lower fees are important to investors for a number of reasons. The primary advantage of lower fees is that you lose less money from your investment returns. If two identical funds offer 6.5% annual returns but one has a 1.2% expense ratio and the other [...]

Currency Wars

Renewed Talk of Currency Wars in Aftermath of Jackson Hole Meeting

In the aftermath of the Kansas City Fed’s annual Jackson Hole conference, there has been renewed discussion of a potential currency war. Central banks responded to the financial crisis by pumping trillions of dollars worth of liquidity into the financial system. It wasn’t just the Federal Reserve that engaged in those policies of quantitative easing – the Bank of England, Bank of Japan, European Central Bank and others did the same thing. Those QE policies served to weaken currencies, but [...]

money and gold bars

The Many Advantages of Investing in Gold

If you’ve ever read mainstream financial advice, you’ll notice that gold is hardly ever mentioned as an investment asset. At best, you might find some advisers who recommend holding 4-5% of a portfolio in gold, or more likely in a gold ETF or gold index fund. Most advisers look down their noses at gold, repeating the old saying that gold is just a barbarous relic. Investors who don’t know better follow the advice of those “experts” and miss out [...]

stock market crashing

US Stocks Stumble Out of the Blocks Post-Labor Day

US stock indexes tumbled today, posting their worst losses in nearly three weeks. There were a wide number of reasons for the fall, starting with the slide in financials. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 234 points, with 55 points of that loss coming solely from the drop in Goldman Sachs’ share price. Bank stocks overall were down over 2% on numerous exchanges. Continued policy uncertainty within the White House played a role too, as news that one of [...]

breaking open piggy bank with hammer

Is Your Retirement Portfolio Crash-Proof?

Many Americans put money into their retirement accounts and never bother doing anything more than briefly looking through their annual statements. They are the very definition of passive investors. But in the event of a market crash, those passive investors will lose significant amounts of their savings. Given that stocks and bonds are well into bubble territory right now, this is the time for concerned investors to begin taking a look at their portfolios and determining how they can [...]

retirement accounts doing well but rocky times ahead

Retirement Accounts Are Doing Well, But Rocky Times May Be Ahead

Retirement accounts of American workers have benefited greatly this year from the stock market’s successes. Many nearing retirement age are undoubtedly viewing their portfolios happily and making plans for how they’re going to use all that money. But with dark clouds of a financial crisis on the horizon and the potential for a war in Asia, they shouldn’t treat that money as a given. Retirement Accounts in Better Shape Than Ever Data compiled from over 20,000 companies comprising over 15 million [...]