economy, retirement

Tariffs, Trade Wars, and Risk

I have had several clients ask about what impact the proposed trade tariffs might have on their retirement plans.

 

On June 19th, 2018 the S&P 500 sank the most in three weeks with industrial companies getting hit hardest after President Donald Trump threatened tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese goods, and the Asian nation pledged retaliation. (1)

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economy, income, interest rates, retirement

Fed raises rates, and questions, around the economy

On June 13th, 2018 the federal reserve raised interest rates 25 basis points and altered their expectation to raise rates a total of 4 times this year, compared to earlier expectation of 3 raises.

 

In his meeting with reporters to discuss fed policy, fed chair Powell stated, “Households are in good shape, and that is so important, that’s where we got into trouble before, and its often around property and housing that you see real problems emerge but we don’t see that now, and we take some solace from that.”

 

However, he also said, “Economic strength hasn’t reached everyone.”

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economy, income, retirement

How Can Student Loan Debt Threaten Your Retirement?

I recently talked to a client who is 50 years old and has $75,000 in student loan debt that they do not seem to be making any headway to eliminate. It illustrates a huge issue many people are facing as they approach retirement.

 

In 2018 student loan debt totaled $1.5 trillion… Student loans are unique in terms of unsecured debt in that the government can take extreme measures to recover defaulted student loans, including seizure of tax refunds and garnishment of wages. (1)(4)

 

In addition, the government can also garnish up to 15% of a person’s social security check to pay back defaulted student loans. For most American’s Social Security makes up the bulk of their retirement income. Loss of part of the income can have a catastrophic effect on a house hold.

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economy, income, interest rates, retirement

What are the risks as bond yields move higher?

Since December of 2017 bond yields for US Treasuries have moved up substantially. The increase in bond yields is having an impact on the US stock market, as well as markets around the world.

 

What is driving bond yields higher?

 

One significant driver is the Tax Cuts passed in December of 2017. The tax cuts are leading to an increase in the budget deficit and the need for additional bond issuance. More bond supply can lead to lower bond valuations and higher bond yields.

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Climate change, economy, environment, Socially Responsible Investing, SRI

Climate Change Impacts: an Interview with Paul Beckwith

I was able to connect with Paul Beckwith first on March 20th, 2016 and more recently on May 18, 2018. We discussed the current state of Climate Change and what it means for global economic prospects. Professor Beckwith is a noted expert on Abrupt Climate Change. He is a professor at the University of Ottawa.

 

Prf. Beckwith starts by explaining, “I think the warming of the Arctic is destabilizing the climate system. The disruption of the temperature gradient between the Arctic and the temperate regions is what sets up weather patterns like the Jetstream. The Jetstream has basically broken down at this stage. The Whole arctic region is getting much darker due to sea ice loss, which leads to increased heat absorption, which then leads to accelerated glacial and ice melt.”

Climate change leads to drastic transitions and weather instability; higher temperatures mean more evaporation and more severe weather events.

In January of 2018 the arctic experienced a 40 degree temperature increase in a week, and this was during a time when the arctic was in 24 hours darkness. This has accelerated loss of sea ice in recent months, further disrupting the Jet Stream.

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economy, new economy, protection, retirement, Socially Responsible Investing

Embracing the Future: An Interview with Charlotte Markward

I met Charlotte and her Husband Randy years ago at a Green Drinks in Philadelphia. It was before the days of Tesla, widespread solar power and organic food sections at the grocery store. People got together to share a beer and dream about a future that would be more sustainable. Things have changed a great deal in the past few years.

 

Charlotte is a graphic designer based in Philadelphia. She has agreed to share some of her experiences and insights so that we all might have an easier path to financial security.

 

Charlotte has been interested in supporting socially responsible investing for many years. I asked her what it means to her. Charlotte said, “For one thing it’s smart. We have a finite amount of resources and we are running out of them. To continue doing things in the old ways is to set yourself up for failure. Green investment is where the growth will be.”

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diversity, economy, ESG, new economy, Socially Responsible Investing, SRI

Diversity Matters… Especially In Business

The economy is changing at a rapid pace. Companies in many sectors that have been pillars of the economy have fallen on hard times. Companies that were leaders in industrial America have seen their market cap fall by 2/3rds in the past year. Leaders in retail have closed hundreds of stores and laid off thousands of people. Even technology companies that started off strong in the past 10 years have suffered setbacks in the past year due to corporate governance issues.

 

As technology advances, the challenge for businesses to stay competitive becomes amplified. In the last 3 years, advances in robotics and AI (Artificial Intelligence) have significantly added to the bottom line of companies. That pace of change seems to be accelerating.

 

Learning how to deal with this change is a crucial issue for businesses.

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economy, new economy, Socially Responsible Investing, SRI

‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world’: A Speech to Cooperative Impact 2015, Princeton 5/14/2015

Several years ago, I was asked to give an opening keynote speech to a gathering of social innovation entrepreneurs. The message I think is one that continues to be relevant…

 

We are on the edge of the greatest entrepreneurial revolution in the history of mankind.

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economy, new economy, protection, retirement

Millions of new entrepreneurs in the past few years

We are entering a new age…

According to Bloomberg, over the past few years millions of people have entered the ranks of the self-employed. The digital economy has made it easier for the business savvy to go off on their own and be their own boss. Facebook has brought people closer together, texting and email have increased communication. Associations and Meet-up groups create networking opportunities. LinkedIn in particular has created rolodex transparency within companies and whole industries. (1)

While being self-employed is not for everyone, it is easier now than ever before. A connection on Facebook or LinkedIn is a potential client. Whatever you do, whatever your expertise the reality is there are hundreds and thousands of people who need to talk to you. Many of these are newly sprouted entrepreneurs as well. Building connections to individuals, as well as businesses is the new road to success.

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