John C. “Jack” Bogle, the founder of the Vanguard Group and the father of the index mutual fund died at age 89 on January 16th. The pioneer’s impact on the world of investing and finance was transformative and we are all better off as a result of his innovation.
December has been a rough month for investors, the kind of month that makes even the most battle scarred veterans’ hold their breath and hope for a sign that the worst is over. Sorry to say that there is never such a sign, which is why the saying “they don’t ring a bell at the top or at the bottom!” came into being.
Every year, millions of Americans resolve to “do better” with their money and 2019 will be no different. According to Fidelity Investments’ New Year Financial Resolutions Study, for the tenth consecutive year the top three financial resolutions among Americans considering one are: save more (48 percent), pay down debt (29 percent) and spend less (15 percent).
Welcome to the third government shutdown of 2018! Did you forget about the first two? In January, there was a three-day closure, and then in February, there was the one-day sequel. In both of those instances, investors shrugged off the news and stocks actually edged up during those days-long shutdowns.
2018 year-end financial planning is a lot different than in previous years, because it is the first full year after the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The good news is that for millions of Americans, the new code should make filing easier. That’s because nearly 90 percent of taxpayers are likely to claim the standard deduction this year, up from 70 percent last year.
It was an exhausting week for investors, even though there were only four trading sessions. Monday’s U.S.-China 90-day trade “time out” stock bounce was dwarfed by big sell-offs throughout the rest of the week. The drubbing began after the President’s tweet that he is a “tariff man,” shortly followed by another, which questioned whether a “real deal” with Beijing is actually possible.
Two words from Fed Chair Jerome Powell moved markets last week: “JUST BELOW.” He was talking about short-term interest rates, which are just below neutral, a Goldilocks level that is designed to neither speed up-nor slow down-economic growth. Powell’s assessment was a change from a comment he made in early October, when he said rates were a “long way” from neutral.