The Retirement Channel

The Message of the Bond Market

At the beginning of the year, most market strategists were in agreement that interest rates were going to rise in 2017. The reasons varied: some saw inflation climbing, pushing yields higher; others worried about bigger budget deficits; a few blamed the Federal Reserve, which was thought to be planning to raise short-term interest rates two or three times and shrink its balance sheet. Whatever the reason, interest rates were expected to head higher, so seeing the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield here at 2.3% is a surprise.

Schwab Market Perspective: Should Sharp Sentiment Shifts Mean a Change in Strategy?

Recent market action has all the markings of a relief rally. The French vote in favor of centrist candidate Macron took "Frexit" off the table for now; a new tax cut proposal by the Trump administration, and the decreasing likelihood of a near-term U.S. government shutdown all appeared to play a part in the sharp rise in stocks and plunge in volatility.

Damn the Deficits, Huge Tax Cuts Ahead!

Donald Trump has made good on one of his most audacious campaign promises by submitting what he describes as the biggest tax cut in U.S. History. For once, at least, this does not appear to be Trumpian braggadocio. It really may be the mother of all tax cuts.

Quarterly Letter

In this edition of the Muhlenkamp Memorandum, Ron and Jeff discuss the Small Business Optimism Index chart which is produced by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). It is based on monthly surveys of its members in order to better understand the environment in which small businesses are operating.

The Trump Tax Plan: What You Need to Know

The big news today is the White House's tax plan, which proposes to cut taxes across the board, relieve millions of people from the burden of paying income taxes, and make filing much simpler and easier—all while keeping the budget in balance (or at least not making the situation worse).

Weekly Unemployment Claims: Up Another 14K, Worse Than Forecast

Today's seasonally adjusted 257K new claims, up 14K from last week's revised number, was worse than the forecast of 245K.

Political Risk Update: France and the U.S. Budget

With Emmanuel Macron through to the second round, the French election is (largely) off the table as a systemic risk. Polls show Macron well ahead of Marine Le Pen of the National Front, and the likelihood is that the next French president will be a pro-European centrist rather than an anti-European populist.

44% of US Households Don't Pay Any Federal Income Tax

Income Tax Day came and went last week without a great deal of fanfare. Most Americans who owed income tax to the government for 2016 either filed their tax returns and paid their bill to Uncle Sam last week, or filed for an extension and paid their estimated tax, as many do each year. Nothing new there.

Risque On!

The French President semi-finals were over the weekend and the vote went about as positive as they could have for the markets. While LePen won the first round, it is unlikely that she will be able to gather enough support to upset Macron in the final tour.

My Journey toward a Better, Simpler Fiduciary Rule

I have no problem whatsoever with the intent of the DOL fiduciary rule (may it rest in peace). But I was dismayed with the rule’s final form. In fact, I believe that the DOL’s voluminous tome can be distilled to a single sentence.

Fostering a Culture of Compliance

Successful advisory firms value their culture of compliance, and continue to build on the program they have in place. Here are a few best practices.

Weighing the Week Ahead: Time to Rebuild the Wall of Worry?

As some market worries have been put to rest, there is a growing appetite for new ones. Pundits who say that things look OK are not very exciting. Last week we saw a shift in attention. Despite healthy earnings and good economic data.

What Do the Recent SEC Robo Guidelines Mean for Advisors?

New SEC guidance provides effective ways for advisors to comply with disclosure regulations.

Don’t be Misled by Studies on the Value Advisors Add

A recently released report assessed the value of an advisor to be approximately 4.08% a year. This should have been encouraging news to beleaguered advisors coping with a rapidly changing competitive environment. It had the opposite effect on me.

Angst in America, Part 5: The Crisis We Can’t Muddle Through

There is one problem that is very definitely coming our way that I really don’t think we can Muddle Through and where even the middle-of-the-road scenarios are terrible, and that’s the public pension crisis. I really see no way it can end well. It’s going to hurt just about everyone.