Asset Class Returns - 7/31/2019

by Kirk Kreikemeier on
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What a boring month in the markets … except for the last afternoon! It was only boring because the past months have been so volatile. Based on the first two days of August, not so boring...

Risk – How do you define and use it? (Part 1-Investments)

by Kirk Kreikemeier on
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Risk can be many things - a game; an opportunity; a 4-letter word. For an investor, it can be all of them (though maybe only speculators refer to it as a game). This blog post will look at the different risks related to an investment portfolio. It is important to be comfortable with the amount of risk you are taking.

Asset Class Returns - 6/30/2019

by Kirk Kreikemeier on
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June equity returns were almost a mirror image of May - but with a positive number - bringing YTD returns back to April highs. Don't forget the base is off the relative lows of Christmas Eve, but still quite impressive. The same two drivers are present - trade negotiations and the Fed.

Social Security: Yes it will be there ... most of it

by Kirk Kreikemeier on
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Each year the Social Security Trustees issue a report on the status of the program. Included is how long the funds are projected to last and what portion of promised benefits can be covered if no changes are made. It is not 100% and it is coming relatively soon, but it's not 0% either.

Asset Class Returns - 5/31/2019

by Kirk Kreikemeier on
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April showers bring… more May showers – in the sky and markets. Risky asset classes had negative returns but long maturity treasury bonds brought sunshine.

What is a Credit Score and What are the Driving Factors?

by Kirk Kreikemeier on
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There are five key factors that go into the FICO score. This recent article from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis {link below} explains these factors, how they impact your overall score and ways to improve creditworthiness. Do you say “yes” to new credit card offers when shopping? That falls under the “Frequency of New Credit” category and is a negative.

Asset Class Returns - 4/30/2019

by Kirk Kreikemeier on
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YTD returns of 3.54%, 5.71% and 8.78%. One would think pretty impressive for equities. These are actually bond asset classes of TIPS, Inv Grade and High Yield. 4 months of US equity... close to 20%. Check out the blog post other asset classes and 1-year graphs for context.

Decoder Ring for New Tax Forms

by Kirk A. Kreikemeier on
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I recommend looking at your completed return and pay special attention to particular lines to help with future tax planning. This year I will also add the “tax decoder ring” to show where this information was found on past returns. Hopefully when done using, you will be more excited than Ralphie was in “A Christmas Story” with his message. Spoiler alert! This message is S-A-V-E-M-O-R-E-T-A-X-E-S.

Asset Class Returns - 3/31/2019

by Kirk A. Kreikemeier on
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Falling interest rates were the big driver of the markets this month. Check out the blog post for monthly returns including the large move in the 30-year treasury bonds.

Dividend Payers in an IRA? Not Always.

by Kirk A. Kreikemeier on
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Some experts recommend holding dividend paying stocks in a Traditional IRA rather than a taxable account. The ability to defer paying taxes on a high stream of income of which you have no control on the timing is the main reason cited. As a general statement, I disagree without looking at the investor's tax situation.

$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.