Our Weekend Word

Mega Deals

It’s that time of year again, Spring Training has begun and we’re under a month away from opening day in baseball, not that you’d know it with the single digit temps we’re experiencing here.  As many of you know I am a huge baseball fan and with my Red Sox coming off a world series championship the 2019 season can’t begin quick enough!  While I know not all of you are baseball fanatics, the sport can be a very interesting one to look at from a statistical standpoint and a finance standpoint.

Use Tax

There is little more instantly satisfying than shopping online.  You skip the crowds, have access to countless reviews and have it delivered to your door in no time. Couple that with the ability to occasionally avoid that pesky 6.5% sales tax and it seems like a no brainer.  I mean who doesn’t want to get an instant 6.5% discount on a purchase?

Harder to get Paid

It is a well-known fact that it is getting more and more difficult to retire. Long gone are the days where you could count on pensions and social security to see you through retirement.  Now we are in a world where the average person is responsible for their own retirement by investing in vehicles like IRAs and 401ks which will become the primary retirement funding sources. If that change didn’t make things difficult enough, now consider the fact that over the past 30 years you have had to take increasingly more risk to generate a return that will grow your assets and allow you to use them for income in retirement. 

A Guide to Federal Veterans Benefits

There are two separate agencies overseen by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): the Veterans Health Administration and the Veterans Benefits Administration. The Veterans Health Administration determines eligibility for medical benefits, while the Veterans Benefits Administration determines eligibility for financial benefits. The agencies operate independently and have separate eligibility criteria for their programs. As such, if you qualify for medical benefits, it does not guarantee that you will qualify for financial benefits.

 

Eligibility for medical and monetary benefits depends on your discharge status. Generally, a veteran will satisfy the discharge requirement if his or her classification is “honorable” or “general under honorable conditions.” A veteran with a discharge classification of “other than honorable conditions,” “bad conduct,” or “dishonorable” may not be eligible for VA benefits.

Tax Documents

So, it’s that time of year again… tax time.  Here is you guide to understanding what tax forms you need to look for.

Jack Bogle & His Legacy

On January 16th John “Jack” Bogle, founder of The Vanguard Group passed away.  Jack was a giant in the investment world and made a name for himself as index investing pioneer. Jack believed that investing in efficient, low cost funds was best for the average investor.  By using index funds, the idea was to approximate the return of the index instead of hoping to beat it with active management.  Overtime his philosophies and advice garnered a cult like following (named the Bogleheads).

How to go about Bonds

Bonds have historically been an extremely important part of an investor’s portfolio. They provide relative value stability when compared to stocks and a stream of income for the investor. We’ve previously talked about what bonds you can own (http://www.laurelfinancialgroup.com/content/different-breeds-bonds), but there is also the question of how to own them.

Basically, we have two options here: we can own individual bonds, or we can own them in some sort of investment product like a mutual fund.

The Kiddie Tax 2019

The IRS’s kiddie tax rules limit parents’ ability to transfer investment assets to a minor child in order to take advantage of the child’s lower marginal tax bracket.

Behind The Scenes

That trading combined with high-frequency traders, index funds, and market makers accounted for roughly 85% of trading volume according to Marlo Kolanovic of JP Morgan. 

What Year Is It?

Investors are unhappy because the Fed is raising rates even though inflation appears quiet. The president is ready to slap tariffs on the world's No. 2 economy. The media and Congress are putting pressure on the president that may result in an impeachment vote. The stock market had been doing well early in the year, but was slammed in the second half.