The Education 529 Channel

January New Home Sales Up 3.7% MoM, Below Forecast

This morning's release of the January New Home Sales from the Census Bureau came in at 555K, up 3.7% month-over-month from a revised 535K in December. Seasonally adjusted estimates for October and November were also revised. The forecast was for 570K.

The Fatal Flaws In Your Financial Plan

Congratulations! If you are reading this article it is probably because you have money invested somewhere in the financial markets. That’s the good news. The bad news is the majority of you reading this article have probably NOT saved enough for retirement.

How to Organize Your "Stuff"

When advisors ask me to help them set up systems for their business, I put on my professional organizer hat. One area that is always a big issue is paper – both the physical and electronic kind. Here’s a system to ensure you will easily find the information you want and always get to the tasks that are important.

NFIB Small Business Survey: Optimism Sustained in January

The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends came out this morning. The headline number for January came in at 105.9, an increase of 0.1 from the previous month's 105.8, and its highest since December 2004. The index is at the 99th percentile in this series. Today's number came in above the forecast of 105.1.

Today's ESG Investing Is Not Your Father's SRI

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) is much broader than the Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) of the past.

Trends in the Teenage Workforce Update

In July of 2015, CNN Money featured an article with the optimistic and intriguing title "More American teens are getting jobs. That's good for everyone." After reading the article, we revised one of our monthly charts on Labor Force Participation to include the age 16-19 cohort -- one we elsewhere combine with the 20-24 year-olds. We've updated this article to include the latest employment data.

Is the U.S. Workforce Nearing Full Recovery?

We've updated our monthly workforce analysis to include last week's Employment Report for January. The unemployment rate ticked up from 4.7% to 4.8%, and the number of new nonfarm jobs (a relatively volatile number subject to extensive revisions) was surprised forecasts at 227K.

Long-Term Trends in Employment by Age Group

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is a simple computation: You take the Civilian Labor Force (people age 16 and over employed or seeking employment) and divide it by the Civilian Noninstitutional Population (those 16 and over not in the military and or committed to an institution). The result is the participation rate expressed as a percent.

The Real Value Of Cash

It’s the Fed’s fault. Over the past several years, the Federal Reserve has forced interest rates lower in an all-out assault on “cash.”

Active or Passive? How Investing in Both Could Drive Portfolio Returns

When most investors think of diversification, they think about including stocks and bonds in their portfolio, or US and international investments. Fewer investors think about diversifying among investment vehicles — such as active mutual funds, factor-based exchange-traded funds or passive benchmark strategies.

The Ratio of Part-Time Employed Remains High, But Improving

Let's take a close look at Friday's employment report numbers on Full and Part-Time Employment. Buried near the bottom of Table A-9 of the government's Employment Situation Summary are the numbers for Full- and Part-Time Workers, with 35-or-more hours as the arbitrary divide between the two categories. The source is the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) of households. The focus is on total hours worked regardless of whether the hours are from a single or multiple jobs.

Easing Global Headwinds Point to Higher Equities in 2017: Populism and reflation make easy bedfellow

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen.” —Vladimir Lenin The reflation move since November has been aggressive but appears more right than wrong.

Real Median Household Income: No Growth in 2016

The Sentier Research median household income data for December, released this morning, came in at $57,827. The nominal median shrank by $394 month-over-month and is up only $669 year-over-year. In percentages, the latest month is down 0.7% MoM and up 1.2% YoY. Adjusted for inflation, the latest month was down $558 MoM and down $529 YoY. The real numbers equate to changes of -1.0% MoM and -0.9% YoY.

Emerging Nations Facing a Looming US Dollar Crisis

Over the last eight years, with US interest rates at rock bottom thanks to the Fed, the rest of the world has borrowed a huge amount of dollars – about $4 trillion according to the Bank for International Settlements. During that same time, the US dollar has soared against a basket of foreign currencies.

The Global Economy's Best Leading Indicator Forecasts a Downturn

Capacity utilization in the global chemical industry has an 88% correlation with IMF data for global GDP growth. December’s data is now warning that a downturn has likely begun.