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Christina Snyder

Proposed Bill Includes Tax Increases for High Earners, Retirement Account Changes

Last week, Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee released a draft of their proposed tax plan, which includes changes to corporate, personal and other taxes, as well as retirement plans – though Social Security would be untouched. The proposals are part of a $3.5 trillion domestic investment plan, with many of the tax and retirement account changes designed to help pay for that plan. And though the changes at this point are nothing more than proposals, it’s still worth breaking down what they would mean for Americans. The short version: Mostly good news for the ultra-high-net-worth, and some bad news […]

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Market Commentary: Jump in Retail Sales, Strong Consumer Demand Continues Trend Toward Lower Inflation

Two U.S. economic reports provided reassuring news about the economy. The inflation trend moderated in August. Consumer price inflation (CPI) rose 0.3%, down from 0.5% the previous month and below estimates of a 0.4% increase (Figure 1). Excluding food and energy, prices increased just 0.1%. Key Points for the Week Retail sales jumped 0.7% last month, trouncing expectations for a 0.7% decline. Consumer prices rose 0.3% and core inflation rose just 0.1%, continuing the trend toward lower inflation. Chinese retail sales disappointed, rising just 2.5% compared to expectations for 7.0% growth. Consumer demand remained strong. Retail sales jumped a surprising […]

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Creating Awareness Around Life Insurance

There’s an old saying that with the stroke of a pen we have the ability to affect generations upon generations of lives.  That’s definitely the case with life insurance.  You can buy all kinds of tangible things in this world – new clothing, new cars, new homes. While life insurance is intangible – you won’t have that new car smell when you walk away – its value is immeasurable.  Life insurance is put in place to do any number of things, from providing your survivors income and income replacement, leaving the means to pay off debts or mortgages, providing plans […]

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Got an HSA? Learn How to Maximize It

Are you healthy? Or are you anticipating some hefty medical bills coming up? Or do you want to save money in a tax-advantaged way for future medical expenses? If so, a health savings account (HSA) might be a good choice. An HSA is a tax-favored savings and investment account that’s used for qualified health care expenses and tethered to high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). There are three tax benefits to HSAs: The first is that contributions are pre-tax if they’re coming through payroll, and if they’re not made pre-tax, the account owner will get a tax deduction; second, the growth on […]

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Thinking of Social Security as Our Biggest Asset

You might have more money stashed away in the Social Security trust fund than anywhere else. In fact, what you put into Social Security very well might be your biggest asset and future source of retirement income. Many people don’t think about it that way, but we may need to start doing so. The Social Security trust fund might run out of money sooner than we originally thought. The timeline may move a few years earlier depending on what we find out from the 2021 Social Security Trustees Report. Some suggest it could go from 2034 depletion to 2031 – […]

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Market Commentary: S&P 500 Doubles From Its Pandemic Low; U.S. Retail Sales Decline

The benefits provided by recent stimulus packages seem to be fading. U.S. retail sales dipped 1.1% last month and have now declined in two of the last three months [Figure 1]. Declines in motor vehicle and online purchases led the fall. Restaurant sales grew 1.7% in July and continue to rebound. Federal Reserve minutes indicated the economy looks strong enough for the central bank to taper bond purchases in coming months.  Key Points for the Week  The S&P 500 doubled its pandemic low after just 354 trading days. U.S. retail sales fell 1.1% last month, lagging expectations for a lesser […]

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Market Commentary: Inflation Surge Loses Steam, Job Openings Continue to Increase

Core inflation moderated significantly last month, rising only 0.3% after jumping 0.9% in June. Used vehicle prices, which rose 10.2% in June, increased only 0.2% in July. Core CPI excludes food and energy prices, which rose 0.7% and 1.5% respectively. Those two categories propelled overall inflation 0.5% higher, down from 0.9% last month.  Key Points for the Week U.S. core inflation increased only 0.3% last month, suggesting the inflation surge may be losing steam. Job openings topped 10 million, fueled by continued demand in leisure and hospitality, retail and professional, and business services. Second quarter earnings grew 89.3% last quarter […]

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Market Commentary: Restaurants, Bars Lead Hiring Surge as Unemployment Drops, Wages Rise

A strong U.S. employment report was the top market event last week. Payrolls surged 943,000, and the prior two months were revised higher by 119,000 (Figure 1). Restaurants and bars continue to rehire workers as activity expands. The leisure and hospitality segment, which includes eating establishments, added 380,000 jobs.  Key Points for the Week U.S. payrolls grew 943,000 last month, beating expectations and affirming the strength of the U.S. jobs market. Restaurants, bars, and other leisure and hospitality businesses continued to rehire and accounted for 40% of the new jobs last month. Unemployment dropped to 5.4% even as labor force […]

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5 Risk Factors to Watch in the Third Quarter of 2021

Though we’re still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of vaccinations increasing and the great reopening upon us, we’re reemerging from our bunkers in full force. While we’re feeling pretty good about our reemergence, there’s always risk to look out for. Here are the top five risk factors that might impact you and your financial planning in this third quarter of 2021. Let’s take a closer look. Virus Mutations and Lingering Effects of COVID-19 This has been our No. 1 risk for a while. The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus strain is more contagious and […]

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Market Commentary: Economy Reacts to Recent Upward Trends in COVID Cases, Unemployment Claims and Stocks

The more contagious Delta variant has contributed to a 172% increase in U.S. COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks. The spike is raising concerns some social distancing measures may be reenacted. Initial jobless claims are increasing. Last week claims jumped above 400,000 after staying below that threshold for several weeks.  Key Points for the Week COVID-19 cases have increased 172% in the last two weeks as the Delta variant continues to spread. Initial jobless claims rose back above 400,000 last week. Estimated S&P 500 earnings are expected to grow 74.2% based on a strong start to earnings season. Based […]

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