What’s Driving Oil Prices?

Oil prices are influenced by supply and demand, and 2020 was a great demonstration of this principle. With global and local shutdowns due to the spread of the coronavirus, there was less demand for products and services. While online shopping was up, foot traffic in stores languished and retailers – both local and nationwide –…

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The COVID Vaccine, 50 Years in the Making

Back in the 1970s, a Hungarian scientist named Katalin Kariko began working on mRNA therapeutics, but her research was believed to be too radical and a financial risk. Years later, she moved to the U.S. and found better support. It was then that Kariko developed a vaccine approach using synthetic mRNA, which became the basis…

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Investment Consolidation Strategies

Throughout investment industry and financial media sources we constantly hear the message that our money should be diversified. By spreading assets throughout a number of different vehicles, we can take advantage of various market opportunities while helping protect them from some investment risks.   But how much diversification is too much? And what exactly should…

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A Shot for Economic Improvement

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the ongoing distribution of vaccines combined with the latest government stimulus is expected to jumpstart economic activity in the U.S. However, projections for sustainable growth are not equitable among various countries and business sectors. Faster and more effective vaccination deployment across the world is critical.…

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Wealth and Income

Spectrem Group’s recent Market Insights Report found that millionaire investors in the U.S. achieved a new record last year. The number of households with a net worth ranging between $1 million and $5 million (excluding primary residence) increased by 600,000, reaching 11.6 million in 2020.   Furthermore:1 The number of households with a net worth…

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Qualified Business Income Deduction

One of the provisions included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was the Qualified Business Income (QBI) deduction. It is designed as a tax break for small businesses or self-employed individuals and is comparable to the enhanced tax breaks legislated for larger companies. However, while the corporate tax changes are made permanent,…

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Annuity Insights

The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) – a trade association for the retirement income industry – advocates annuities as a vehicle that can help provide retirees income, guaranteed by the insurer. The organization has been actively educating and lobbying legislators to expand annuity access as part of employer-sponsored retirement plans.1 Under this scenario, whatever portion the…

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Vaccine and Technology: Where to Get Help

One of the biggest flaws in the COVID vaccine distribution plan is its heavy reliance on the internet. Meanwhile, older seniors — the first and most critical targets for the vaccine — are the least-experienced internet users.   Most state and local plans have created websites that allow people to sign up for a vaccine…

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Tax Pitfalls

Millions of Americans took advantage of the delayed tax-filing deadline in 2020. In fact, according to one survey, 11% of taxpayers filed their 2019 returns after the July 15 extension, and 3% still hadn’t filed as of last December. The primary reason most taxpayers file late isn’t due to procrastination, but rather because they owe…

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Retirement Planning Insights

Amid lost jobs and a scaled-back economy in 2020, some workers may have decided to retire earlier than planned. There are a couple of Social Security strategies worth considering in this scenario.   First, if both spouses are over age 62, determine if you can make ends meet by taking only one Social Security benefit…

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