Market Update for the Quarter Ending March 31, 2018

Stormy March drags down markets

March was a rough month for markets, with all three major U.S. indices finishing down. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 3.59 percent, the S&P 500 Index fell 2.54 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 2.79 percent. For the quarter, the Dow and S&P were down 1.96 percent and 0.76 percent, respectively. But the Nasdaq gained 2.59 percent.

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The Family Conversation: Addressing Your Health Care Needs in Retirement

Maybe you and your family have already attempted to have “the conversation.” You know the one: the discussion about your and your spouse’s assets and what will be done with those assets during the rest of your lives and after you pass away. Perhaps, because of your children’s sibling rivalries, the family conversation turned to one about gifts and inheritances and about who deserves more or less of the assets based on “good” or “bad” behavior. If things continued this way, you likely skipped over the most important aspect of this conversation: how the assets will be used to pay for your health care during retirement and how much that health care will cost. 

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What Should You Do if You Are a Victim of Tax Identity Theft?

When it comes to filing your tax return, you put in the time and effort to complete every form accurately and according to the instructions. But even if you do everything by the book, a tax identity thief may still file a fraudulent return in your name. Unfortunately, this happens all too often. In fact, despite having prevented more than 787,000 fraudulent tax returns in 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) paid out $239 million in “suspect” refunds.

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Market Update for the Month Ending February 28, 2018

A bumpy ride for the markets

February was a rocky month for the stock market. After plunging roughly 10 percent mid-month, the three major U.S. indices were able to make up some ground. The Nasdaq Composite finished down 1.74 percent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index lost 3.96 percent and 3.69 percent, respectively. The first substantial market decline we’ve experienced in some time, it was driven largely by concerns over rising inflation and interest rates. Although worrying, this level of volatility is normal by historical standards.

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Mortgage and Home Equity Loan Interest Deductions Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

With its passage in December 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) changed the deductions for interest on mortgage and home equity loans. On February 21, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provided clarification on how the TCJA will be applied to mortgage and home equity loan interest deductions.

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Is It Time to Worry About a Trade War?

On March 1, 2018, President Trump announced that the U.S. plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Markets around the world were shocked by the news, with major U.S. indices declining more than 1 percent just when it looked like they were recovering from the February downturn. Why did markets react so strongly? Is this a more serious threat going forward? In a word, yes.

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