Professor Robert Shiller shares his views on today's stock market. He traditionally keys in on market valuation with an indicator he developed called the CAPE (cyclically adjusted price to earnings ratio). It is a good read with supporting data and is readable. Take a look and enjoy.
The data breach at EquiFax affected 143 million of us. That's a lot. The information heisted included consumers’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and some driver’s license numbers. This is troubling. And to hear that the breach had occurred from mid-May through July just adds to it all.
So what to do?
First determine if your information was part of the data breach. Here's a link for that. https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/.
I just went to that site and it said that my information may have been compromised. Oh dear!
Step two. If you have been affected like me, then go ahead and sign up for the rather comprehensive, paid for by EquiFax, identity protection service. It took all of two minutes to get going on it.
So don't panic, but take these two actions and then rest easy.
Here's what Clark.com has to say about it and it's worth the read. http://clark.com/personal-finance-credit/credit-agency-equifax-says-cyber-attack-may-have-exposed-personal-info-of-143-million-americans/
The New York Times has the most up to date information on the breach, and lets EquiFax have it in the process. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/14/your-money/equifax-answers-data-breach.html
You may have seen that the new Department of Labor (DOL) “Fiduciary Rule” came into effect on June 9th, 2017. The wide-reaching rule further defines what a fiduciary is to include anyone who helps an individual with retirement funds. What does this mean for you as a Fortress client? No changes. Fortress already is a fiduciary firm. This rule has no impact on our operations, practices, or advice. Rather, we welcome the rule because it makes the investment landscape more consumer friendly, which is good.
Our growing economy and relative calm and stability has fueled the market’s advance.
US Economic Outlook: With the resurgence of manufacturing, economic growth is placing upward pressure on prices, interest rates are moving higher, and consumer confidence is pegged at multi-year highs. These are all indicators of a healthier economy. Even under new White House Leadership, rich market valuations, and global unrest, we believe that the economic outlook will stay positive.
There are three well-known, institutionalized ways of investing your money. With the Banking Industry, you can deposit money into Certificates of Deposit and Money Markets. With the Securities Industry, you can buy Stock, Bonds, and combinations of the two. In the Insurance Industry you can purchase life insurance and annuities.
Each way of investing has its own pros and cons. However, each system believes that it is the best solution. Amusingly, each method is eager to point out the others’ shortcomings. Navigating these waters requires reflection, evaluation and balance—and dare we say guidance from fiduciaries like us.
The Fed hiked interest rates for the second time this year, which was widely anticipated. So what does this mean? Since this move up was well telegraphed by the Fed, the markets largely priced this change in and took it in stride. Sure bond values may back off for a bit, but should be stable. The stock market way wobble a bit before finding their footing. The mortgage industry will absorb this and slow down a bit. At this time, we don't see surprises, which is positive for the market. The Fed's move also indicates that the economy, according to the Fed, is doing fine. We also should expect stability and likely another interest rate hike later this year. With all this stability and visibility, please keep in mind that the markets and news cycle can change in a New York minute. For today, enjoy the ride and the boost in confidence.
With the recent change to the Social Security programs, the best time to take your Social Security benefits has shifted. In many ways, it is more straightforward now.
As before, your best answer depends upon a handful of factors, the most important one being how long you will live. And no one really knows this and it is unknowable. However, you can make an educated guess based on your present health and your family's health history. Here's the boiled down version.
For couples, if you have exceptional health and longevity, defer as long as you can and collect the delayed tax credits. If you have poor health, file early and get your benefits while you can. Most will fall in the middle and so waiting until full retirement age to collect your benefits will be the best.
For singles, it is the same pretty much, except that if you have average health you'd likely be better off waiting for full retirement age to collect a much richer benefit in case you end up living much longer than anticipated--and it does happen!
There are always twists, turns, and caveats with Social Security, but that is the general lay of the land.
If you have questions about this, let us know and we'd be happy to help.
Check out this link for a more in depth dive into this topic.
Lately watching the markets has been like watching paint drying on a wall. The steady, sluggish action is a good thing. We remain stubbornly close to, or in the case of the NASDAQ marking, new all time highs. The trend is up for now. Click on this link for Investor's Business Daily's take on this market.
Tuesday was another lackluster day in the markets. Energy has remained volatile, and tech has been doing very well lately. Please don't forget that we are close to all time highs, which means that the market is healthy. Keep in mind that the market has its own mind and things can and do change quickly. So just stay engaged. Click on this link for Investor's Business Daily's commentary.