The Education 529 Channel

New Home Sales Up in March, Better Than Forecast

This morning's release of the March New Home Sales from the Census Bureau came in at 694K, up 4.0% month-over-month from a revised 667K in February. The Investing.com forecast was for 625K. Revisions were made going back to December.

Retirement Strategies in Pictures

Advisors providing retirement recommendations will find it helpful to use a graphical approach to show the year-by-year progression of funds available during retirement.

Five Tips for Clients on the New Tax Law

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as created a media frenzy and widespread confusion. With that in mind, I will provide a brief overview of the new provisions, followed by some practical ideas on how clients can reduce taxes.

The Good Shepherd Investor

David was the King of Israel and the writer of many of the Psalms. He spent his formative years as a shepherd and framed his life’s work around the key concepts from his profession. Herds were the primary form of wealth back then, while common stocks are a primary form today.

Weighing the Week Ahead: Is Strong Earnings Growth Already Reflected in Stock Prices?

The economic calendar is normal, with an emphasis on housing. Earnings season begins in earnest, with widespread, high expectations.

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.

The Ratio of Part-Time Employed: March 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.

Mind The Gap, and Other Non-Confirmations of a Low

As political risk continues to escalate, we are, as always, keenly focused on risk management and the mitigation of potential losses. To those ends, we are monitoring indicators of market breadth for evidence that the worst of the shakeout is behind us.

Visualizing GDP: An Inside Look at the Q4 Third 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.

Why Flat-Retainer Fees are Doomed to Fail

The great fee debate continues. I’ve heard a new paradigm coming into the market: advisors who charge no commissions or tiered fees, just a flat, annual retainer. It’s a nice idea but in reality they’re trading one bias for another – and I’ll explain why.

Diamond Jewelers, Gold Coins and the Paradox of Indian Banking

Many of India’s state-owned banks are in trouble. This month the government is injecting $13 billion to help these banks offload non-performing loans. By 2020, the total cost of injections is projected to rise to $21 billion, about 1.3% of GDP.

China & Japan Are Reducing US Dollar Holdings - Why?

We’ll touch on several bases today which should make for an interesting E-Letter. We start with the fact that China and Japan are reducing their holdings of US Treasury debt. As the two foreign countries holding the largest amount of our debt by far, should we be concerned? Maybe yes, maybe no. 

Income + Tariffs + Inflation = Underperformance

Many income-oriented investors may not be appropriately positioned for the current market environment, with increasing inflation and looming tariffs poised to lead to significant underperformance.