$10.99 for Almonds - What?! … An MRI at the Hospital – OK.

by Kirk A. Kreikemeier on
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Many people like to shop and find bargains. Some may check which grocery store has meat on sale or buy certain items at a discount grocer or large box store. Others check features and prices of TVs online to find the best deal. But when it comes to medical services – not so much.

Asset Class Returns - 1/31/2019

by Kirk A. Kreikemeier on
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After a negative 2018, markets rebounded nicely in January. Recent volatility is also getting back to more normal long-term averages.

Robust Jobs Report: A look at 3 Key Measures

by Kirk Kreikemeier on
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A key barometer for the health of the economy can be found in the jobs report. If jobs are being created and wages are rising, more money is in consumers’ hands which fuels economic activity as they spend. The latest jobs report (typically released the first Friday of the month) showed a very solid jobs picture.

Asset Class Returns - 12/31/2018

by Rex Jiang on
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Should auld "indices" be forgot, And never brought to mind? ... That may have been the song many investors wanted to sing this New Year's Eve. US equity markets saved the worst month for last as December saw significant losses in the major indices. The same concerns persisted into the month, with global economic slowdown, trade negotiations with China and political issues on investors' minds.

iPhone, iPad… and I Bonds?  No, not Apple bonds; rather the inflation-linked savings bonds from US Treasury.  You may be familiar with treasury bills, bonds, or EE bonds from Treasury Direct, but inflation-linked bonds – called I Bonds – are also offered.  The real coupon rate has been very low, oft...

Asset Class Returns - 11/30/2018

by Rex Jiang on
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US equity markets recovered a bit after the rough October returns, though still down over the past two months.  For the year, US large caps are holding a solid gain but small caps are roughly flat.  At the sector level, the monthly return range was about 9%, with Health Care having a positive 7% and...

The 2019 Medicare Part B premiums have been set. There is a small increase of 1.1% or $1.50/month for the standard premium up to $135.50/month.  Those with a higher income that are impacted by income related adjustments (IRMAA) have the same % increase but will see a slightly higher dollar increase....

Asset Class Returns - 10/31/2018

by Rex Jiang on
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As you are probably aware, almost all asset classes were down this past month.  Even the usual favorable effects of rising bond prices didn't help except for short-maturity treasuries and currency-hedged international bonds.  There was a small bounce at the end of the month in equity markets to soft...

Asset Class Returns - 9/30/2018

by Rex Jiang on
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The month of August saw mostly negative returns for the major asset classes I list below. The exceptions - US Large Caps, International Equity Developed, High Yield and Commodities. The US equity market has logged impressive returns year-to-date despite the flattish month.