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4 Things That Will Dramatically Simplify Your Finances (and Your Life)

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

“Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.” – Henry David Thoreau Thoreau was spot on. Especially when it comes to our finances.  If we’re not careful, it’s easy for the daily routine of our personal finances to steal a lot more of our precious time than necessary and become a burden rather than a blessing.  If you find yourself spending more time than you’d like paying bills, if you’ve recently missed a payment or if you feel a little overwhelmed by the number of accounts and passwords you have, take heart.  Here are four relatively simple moves you

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The Brief – Then and Now

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Way back in June of 2001 I introduced Beacon’s first Friday Brief. Its purpose was to communicate, educate, and occasionally console as in a one-on-one conversation. On that inaugural day, there was a lot of worry and deep concern about our country, our safety and our personal finances. But there were not enough hours in the day to talk to each one of my clients as often as many needed and deserved. Out of that need came the Friday Brief. In June of 2001 our economy was in recession, brought on by Fed tightening to reign in what then Fed

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Is College a Good Investment?

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There has a been a lot of talk the last few years about whether a college education provides a good return on investment (ROI). High tuition, absurd annual increases, and stagnant employee wages (not to mention the rise of the Gig economy) over the past few decades have further emboldened those that say the return isn’t there and the system needs a massive overhaul. I will admit to being a skeptic. When my son, Jack, was born one of the first things Emily and I did was open a 529 College Savings Plan for him. Our monthly contributions were small

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Tough Facts To Swallow

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Here are some facts which I present, for now, without commentary: From February 19th to March 23rd the U.S. stock market was down about 35%. Since March 23rd, the market has been up over 30%. The stock market is still down about 15% since the February 19th peak, because percentages work more slowly on lower numbers. Intermediate Treasurys (as represented by IEF) are up about 7.5% during that same period. More than 30 million people have filed initial unemployment claims since mid-March (during which time the stock market has been going up like gangbusters). Over 60,000 people have died from the Coronavirus

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A Quick Update

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We’re wrapping up an historic week for the US economy. On Monday, the unthinkable happened when oil prices dropped below $0 a barrel for the first time ever. On Thursday, the US Labor Department announced an additional 4.4 million first-time claims for unemployment, effectively wiping out all the employment gains added over the last 11 years. As I write this, the stock market is up, partly because domestic oil prices rose 20% yesterday (Thursday) and global prices 9% to just over $22 a barrel and the initial jobless claims were in-line with expectations. Traders suggest the wild gyrations of oil prices

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Reawakening the Sleeping Giant

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“I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant.” Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto when their attack on Pearl Harbor was completed In February, when the US coronavirus outbreak started, our workforce reached a high of 164.6 million workers. Since then, close to 30 million, or 18% have filed for unemployment insurance. Given the rapid shutdown of businesses and industries, today’s release of the government’s Leading Economic Indicators point to a decline 6.7% in the US economy in the next six months. But this time is unique. The economy was as strong as or stronger than it’s ever been

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Should You Refinance Your Mortgage? Here’s Why Emily and I Did.

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

In today’s brief we’re taking a break from discussing the current state of the economy and the stock market, two things out of our control, to turn our attention to something we can control: the interest rate on our mortgage. This isn’t to diminish COVID-19 and the impact it’s having. We understand many are still nervous and uncertain about what the future holds and we are working hard to communicate with you as much as possible. Please know we are always available by phone or email to discuss your portfolio and financial plan.   Back in 2007, a 30-year fixed

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What the CARES Act Means For You

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Yesterday morning at 8:30am the Labor Department released the absolutely bewildering number of last week’s initial jobless claims: 6.6 million. The week before that it was 3.3 million. These numbers are so high (and likely to go much higher) that it’s hard to put them in a chart without breaking it: All that to say, things are bad! It’s as if the opening line from T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (“April is the cruellest month…”) is weaving itself into the fabric of the year 2020. And while I am still firmly optimistic about the long-term growth trajectory of our economy

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Where We Are

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The stock market has enjoyed three straight days of gains after the Senate passed a massive economic stimulus bill in an effort to cushion the U.S. economy from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.  The stimulus bill will now head to the House, which will push to pass it sometime this morning. Yesterday (Thursday) was a great lesson in the unpredictability of the stock market.  Who would have expected a 6% rally on the same day the U.S. coronavirus infection totals surpassed those of China and the Labor Department reported that jobless benefit claims soared to a record 3.28 million. 

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Physical Distancing, Not Social Distancing

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The US economy is in peril and this time it’s Main Street in trouble, more than Wall Street. The largest economy in the world is shutting down with increasing speed as federal and state officials issue new guidelines and requirements on individuals and businesses to curb the spread of this menacing virus. To avoid a deep and long-lasting recession, Washington has to get this right, and so do we. The usual Federal Reserve tools and tax cuts for stimulating the economy simply are not going to work to help those most impacted. This time it’s not a top-down problem like

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