Unless you have been hiding under rock, you know that the entire country has a case of lottery fever, as the combined Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots have soared into the BILLIONS. With no Powerball winner over the weekend, that jackpot has climbed to $620 million for Wednesday's drawing and Tuesday night’s Mega Millions drawing has set a world record with a $1.6 billion prize, which amounts to a one-time cash option of nearly $905 million.
Michael Jackson, Prince, Aretha Franklin…these three amazing and wildly successful musicians did not have a will. How could that be, you ask? Don’t they have agents, lawyers and accountants? Didn’t they know at some point they were going to die? “That’s irresponsible,” you say, but welcome to the real world, where even famous people can’t seem to get their acts together to address this difficult topic head on.
Stocks dropped by about four percent on the week and the proximate cause was the strength of the economy. In the bizarro world of investing, here’s how the reasoning goes: When the economy is expanding, the Federal Reserve has to increase short-term interest rates to ensure that inflation does not eat away at growth. That part has been built into most analyst assumptions, but only recently have we seen yields on 2, 5 and 10-year government notes start to climb. During the week, the 2-year spiked to the highest level in a decade and the 10-yr hit its top level in seven years.
The last time the U.S. unemployment rate was this low, Peter, Paul and Mary’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane” was the number one song, “Hello Dolly” was the big holiday movie hit and war continued to rage in Vietnam. In December 1969, the unemployment rate was 3.7 percent and not until this September, has it been as low since.
The U.S. economy is experiencing “a particularly bright moment,” according to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, which is why Fed officials increased interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point to a new range of 2 to 2.25 percent and are likely to hike one more time by the end of the year. The strength is likely to persist into next year. According to the central bank’s “dot plot,” which is intended to forecast future actions, there will be four rate hikes by the end of 2019.
Are you celebrating the upcoming World Financial Planning Day by creating a financial plan? I’m guessing that the answer is no, because according to the 2018 Charles Schwab Modern Wealth Index, about a quarter of Americans have a written financial plan. That’s too bad because having one “can lead to better daily money behaviors.”
After the Trump Administration announced that it would impose 10 percent tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, starting Monday September 24 – and then the Chinese said they would retaliate with 5-10 percent tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods, the stock market rallied…and then kept on going up, throughout the week. The proximate rationale for the bump was that tariff levels were lower than expected and on the U.S. side, excluded a number of consumer-friendly goods, like iPhones, smart watches and sneakers.
Fall will officially start on September 22nd, which means that you may have already seen Halloween candy displayed along the aisles of your local grocery or drug store. It also means that the kids are back to school and you can now redirect your attention back to your money issues, before the onslaught of the holiday season sucks you in. To help, here are 5 Financial Pitfalls to avoid before the end of the year.
Here some good news amid Life Insurance Awareness Month: Technology has vastly improved the process of applying for and securing a policy. That should be helpful for the approximately 50 million households who say they need more life insurance. In fact, 40 percent of those surveyed in the 2018 Insurance Barometer Study (conducted by Life Happens and LIMRA) do not know how much coverage they need and what type of life insurance to buy.