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Showing posts from August, 2021

Sound Advice: August 25, 2021

Wall Street Lingo Translated For most people trying to get a handle on the world of Wall Street, the task of working one’s way through the mass of available information is difficult enough, but when most of it comes with terminology that’s anything but obvious, the task can be overwhelming.   With that said, here are a few plain English explanations to help you understand. Bubbles When the market averages appear to be rising well above historical valuation ranges, this is referred to as a bubble.   The best-known bubble of recent decades was that of the era at the turn of the millennium.   That was a time when concepts were viewed as more important than underlying progress in sales and earnings.   Not surprisingly, the follow-up to the bubble was a decade in which the market averages gained little ground, allowing increasing corporate profits to climb sufficiently to return valuations to normal. Bull Market and Bear Market The acknowledged definition of these

Sound Advice: August 18, 2021

  Scam Alert One of the most concerning problems these days is scams, whether by email, text or telephone.   Not only are most people bombarded by robocalls and junk email, they are also the prey of scam artists seeking to steal their identities or their assets. Messages through the various communications channels appear to come from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, the FBI, banks, credit card companies, those who would have you believe they are friends, royalty from Nigeria and other countries, and even Facebook. None of the government agencies will contact you in this fashion.   If they need to be in touch with you, they will do so through the U.S. mail.   In all cases, these messages are seeking your personal information.   Email messages of this sort always have a link to click on that theoretically will provide you with additional information about the ostensible topic being addressed.   The reality, however, is that it usually provides an opening for some vers

Sound Advice: August 11, 2021

Cryptocurrencies, Bitcoins, and the like The most talked-about quote at the late July AICPA ENGAGE conference in Las Vegas came when keynote speaker David Kelly, Chief Global Strategist of J.P. Morgan, was asked about bitcoin.   He said he believes that bitcoin “is more of a cult than a currency.” Kelly went on to say that real currencies are transparent and stable.   Bitcoin is neither of those.”   He also pointed out that there’s some additional risk to crypto holdings that aren’t related to the markets.   “Some 22% of the total bitcoins are out of circulation, because people either lost the passwords to their digital wallets or died and the password was lost,” he said.   This, of course, is in addition to the hacking that the crypto exchanges are constantly reporting.   Plus, there is no help desk you can call to get your money back. The more pressing question is whether investors should invest in crypto as a diversifier, buy crypto at all or just forget about it.   Sensible i

Sound Advice: August 4, 2021

Three Questions When can I retire?  This is by far the most common question and it’s typically asked by folks in their late 50s or early 60s.  The real question is whether the person has sufficient net assets (after outstanding debts are repaid) and an adequate balance between income and expenses to continue enjoying his or her preferred lifestyle. The answer is straightforward, but requires a fair amount of effort to reach.   The task is that of assembling four groups of information.   These include assets, liabilities, earnings, and expenses.   In other words: what you own, what you owe, what you earn, and what you spend.   The first three are usually simple to identify.   Spending, however, can be a challenge.   Invariably, there are at least two dozen or more categories of regular expenses.   Added to that are unpredictables such as health care, inheritances, relocation, etc. The upshot of this gathering and evaluation of information will be a result that indicates the likeli