I am preparing to take a much-needed vacation and in doing so, I am trying to figure out how to disconnect and recharge. According to a study from Project: Time Off, the average time a worker takes per year is now 17.2 days and more than half didn’t use all of their allotted days. That’s a shame, but the survey also notes that those who take a break are often more productive while they work and are more apt to be creative during their down time.
As millions of college students return to school, they will be confronted with the dizzying prospect of selecting classes. For some, the choices will be limited, but there are always a couple of electives. Instead of telling you what I would recommend, I contacted some of my go-to resources, to learn what they thought every college student should take. All of them are seasoned professionals from diverse backgrounds and are ages 40-70.
The Labor Department reported that the economy added 157,000 jobs in July, a bit lower than the expected 190,000. But with the upward revision of 59,000 to the two previous months, this year’s average monthly job creation is 215,000 -- that’s ahead of last year’s 184,000 per month and better than the 2016 - 2017 pace of about 185,000.
The economy was on fire in the second quarter. According to the government, real annualized Gross Domestic Product (“GDP”) was 4.1 percent, the strongest quarter since Q3 2014, which came in at a sizzling 4.9 percent annual rate. As a reminder, GDP measures the nation’s total output of goods and services and is released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on a quarterly basis, with two subsequent monthly revisions to the advance estimate.
President Trump is not happy with the Federal Reserve. In an interview with CNBC, he said that while he put a “very good man” at the helm of the central bank (Jerome Powell), he’s “not thrilled” that interest rates are rising. The remarks got a lot of attention, because for the past twenty years or so, presidents and administration officials have abstained from commenting on the Fed’s monetary policy to preserve the central bank’s independence from partisan pressure.(For more on the complicated relationship between the Fed and Congress, check out my interview with author and Fed expert, Mark Spindel.)
Five days after implementing tariffs on $34 billion worth of imported Chinese goods, the Trump administration released a list of an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese imports that will be subject to a 10 percent tariff. On the day of the announcement, stocks slid, but only by about a half of a percent. By the end of the week, it seemed like investors had forgotten about the announcement and instead were focusing on corporate earnings and the strength of the economy.
Many parts of the country recently experienced a heat wave and with extreme temperatures, come the usual warnings: keep your pets indoors, don’t overdo physical activity and hydrate often. It just so happens, that the heat wave coincided with the implementation of U.S. and Chinese tariffs, which prompted some tea-leaf readers to come to a boil on the markets and exclaim “SELL EVERYTHING!” Before you take any action that would pre-empt your game plan, here’s a handy summertime hint: stay cool with your investments!
As you head off to the beach, the mountains or enjoy an upcoming stay-cation this summer, here is my annual list of books that I have enjoyed in the first six months of the year. Before you say, “There’s no way that I am reading a money-related book during July or August,” I encourage you to check out these top picks—they are interesting page-turners! As a bonus, I have interviewed all of the authors on my podcast, “Better Off," so feel free to listen for a preview.