For the last few years, Congress waits to the very last minute to extend a few important tax laws. This year is different. Under the proposed deal, these laws will become permanent. For more information about the provisions, click here.
Oil is once again making headlines – OPEC can’t agree on pricing, which has led to oil hitting record lows. It seems that every major oil producing country is battling for market share and willing to keep prices as low as they can so they can keep their current customers. The UK’s Telegraph has a unique take on what all of this means
One topic not addressed in the article is the multiplier effect that occurs when US consumers save a dollar at the pump. Instead of saving it, they spend it. The money that once went to OPEC countries to pay for oil is staying in the US. That family that saved $500 over the year as a result of lower gas prices, may have used those extra dollars to hire a painter to paint a room in their house. That painter then turned around and bought something for himself and the multiplier effect continues. According to PIMCO, that dollar saved at the pump will be exchanged about 9 times before it is eventually winds up in a savings account! So, low oil prices may be helping the economy.
When I walk around New York City, I can’t help but wonder how much energy it must take to keep the lights on in the whole city. Here is a great illustration great illustration that shows you how much energy (renewable and nonrenewable) it would take to power NYC. It helps to put wind farms and hydro in perspective with coal and oil.
About 10 years ago, coal generated about 50% of the country’s electricity. Now it is down to 34%! This is due in a large part to natural gas and renewable energy sources. Here is a great animated graphic that illustrates the transformation that has occurred over the past 25 years:
Big changes to Social Security usually take years to plan, develop and roll out. But not this time. Congress has suddenly shut down two popular claiming strategies that have been growing in popularity over the last few years. File & suspend and restricted application claiming strategies will disappear in the next 6 months.
I’m not surprised that these strategies have been cancelled. They exploited a loophole in Social Security and in some cases allowed retirees to collect more than the social security system could handle. What’s most surprising is how quickly these changes will occur. See the chart below to see how it affects you.
Where are we headed next year? How will the US stock market do? China? Oil? Interest Rates?
Over the next 60 days, my email will be flooded with hundreds of market outlooks for 2016. Some are pretty technical, or have some sort of sales angle, or they have some odd viewpoint that doesn’t make much sense.
Every once in a while, I find one that is really clear and concise – such as the following outlook by Peter Coy of Bloomberg
He sums it up well: 2016 will be “OK-ish”
With the recent roller-coaster-like activity we’ve seen in the market, I thought this article would be well worth sharing: 7 Ways Your Brain Makes You A Terrible Investor
During these last few weeks and months, we’ve advised most clients to stick with their current strategy and to avoid the thoughts discussed in the article.