The Education 529 Channel

A Proven Way to Boost Referrals

It is frustrating to have great relationships with clients and centers-of-influence (COIs) but virtually no one refers, especially considering how many people we know. Too few of our happy clients refer to us. Is this normal?

Investment Humility and Economic Recovery

We make every effort to understand the way that investors go to extremes over what we call the “well-known fact” in the stock market. A “well-known fact” is a body of economic information which is known to virtually everyone in the marketplace and has been acted on by anyone with capital.

Home Prices Rise Remain Steady in May

With today's release of the May S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, we learned that seasonally adjusted home prices for the benchmark 20-city index were up 0.21% month over month. The seasonally adjusted national index year-over-year change has hovered between 4.2% and 6.7% for the last two-plus years. Today's S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index (nominal) reached another new high.

Visualizing GDP: An Inside Look at the Q2 Advance Estimate

The accompanying chart is a way to visualize real GDP change since 2007. It uses a stacked column chart to segment the four major components of GDP with a dashed line overlay to show the sum of the four, which is real GDP itself. Here is the latest overview from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

New Home Sales Down 5.3% in June, Worse Than Forecast

This morning's release of the June New Home Sales from the Census Bureau came in at 631K, down 5.3% month-over-month from a revised 666K in May. The Investing.com forecast was for 669K.

Oh Behave!

I am often asked by prospects whether financial advisors add value. Being one, of course, I believe we add a great deal of value for clients…In many cases, and especially when the markets become increasingly unpredictable, our most valuable advice may simply be encouraging clients to follow good investment practices.

Do We Face a Retirement Crisis?

The popular view is that we face a retirement crisis. But receiving far less publicity are a few experienced researchers pointing to evidence that retirees are actually doing okay. I’ll sort out these differing views.

Has the Storm Passed in the Emerging Markets?

Stock and currency markets often take their cues from the credit markets, so we find it instructive to keep a close eye on credit spreads and credit default swaps (CDS). Looking at the credit markets in the emerging markets, we think there may be initial signs that the storm that has engulfed emerging market assets may be over.

The Dynasty Economic & Market Outlook: Volatility is the New Black

Topics of discussion are Economic Outlook – “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World”, Market Outlook – “Volatility is the New Black”, Building “All Weather” Portfolios.

Baby Boomer Employment Across Time

The 20th century Baby Boom was one of the most powerful demographic events in the history of the United States. We've created a series of charts to show seven age cohorts of the employed population from 1948 to the present. What we see is essentially the "Boomer Bulge" in employment across time. Those born between 1946 and 1964 continue to grow the employment of the two oldest cohorts. It will be interesting to see how long those two trends continue.

Trends in the Teenage Workforce Update

In July of 2015, CNN Money featured an article with the optimistic and intriguing title "More American teens are getting jobs. That's good for everyone." After reading the article, we revised one of our monthly charts on Labor Force Participation to include the age 16-19 cohort -- one we elsewhere combine with the 20-24 year-olds. We've updated this article to include the latest employment data.

Long-Term Trends in Employment by Age Group

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is a simple computation: You take the Civilian Labor Force (people age 16 and over employed or seeking employment) and divide it by the Civilian Noninstitutional Population (those 16 and over not in the military and or committed to an institution). The result is the participation rate expressed as a percent.

NFIB Small Business Survey: "Small Business Optimism Remains Historically High..."

The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends came out this morning. The headline number for June came in at 107.2, down 0.6 from the previous month. The index is at the 99th percentile in this series. Today's number came in above the Investing.com forecast of 105.6.

The Ratio of Part-Time Employed: June 2018

Let's take a close look at Friday's employment report numbers on Full and Part-Time Employment. Buried near the bottom of Table A-9 of the government's Employment Situation Summary are the numbers for Full- and Part-Time Workers, with 35-or-more hours as the arbitrary divide between the two categories. The source is the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) of households. The focus is on total hours worked regardless of whether the hours are from a single or multiple jobs.

American Democracy on the Brink

In just the past few days, the US Supreme Court has handed down a series of rulings favoring corporations over workers, and right-wing extremists over the majority of Americans. With the Court following Donald Trump down the path of racism, misogyny, nativism, and deepening inequality, it would appear that yet another pillar of American democracy has crumbled.