- US equity markets registered another strong quarter and returned 7.7% as measured by the S&P 500, more than double the second quarter’s 3.4% gain. After leading the charge last quarter, small cap US stocks lagged their large cap brethren, but still managed to return 3.6%. International markets, both developed and emerging, did not fare as well compared to the US market. The MSCI EAFE Index of international large cap stocks was only up 1.4% while the MSCI EAFE Small Cap Index and the MSCI Emerging Market Index were down 0.8% and 1.0%, respectively. US dollar strength, above-trend US growth, and trade challenges all had a negative impact on international stock returns relative to the US.
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- Redefining the Retirement Plan is Axia’s guide to trends and strategies that will help employers get the most out of their retirement programs. Defined Benefit plans and Social Security have been the simple answer to retirement for the past century. Life expectancy has improved though and an added strain has been placed on plan sponsors to help their employees replace their incomes in retirement. Fortunately, employers are equipped with more tools than ever before to help their employees retire with dignity.
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One tax-efficient way to save for retirement healthcare expenses is through a Health Savings Account (HSA) coupled with a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). Even though the HSA savings vehicle was created in 2003, it has generally been misunderstood and is just beginning to gain legitimate acceptance. With the recent interest, many people have questions pertaining to these accounts. Below are some of the more common questions.read more
The SSA highlights some sobering statistics that confirm what studies have shown: most people have not saved enough for retirement. As a result, people are not determining their Social Security benefit timing. Instead, benefits usually begin immediately after gainful employment ends as their savings buffer is limited. For prepared investors, the goal is to make an active decision on benefit commencement.read more
On June 9, 2017, the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule went into effect. The rule, also known as the Conflict of Interest Rule, expands the fiduciary definition under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). In the simplest terms, the DOL Fiduciary Rule will require advisors to put their client’s interests ahead of their own when giving advice to retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs. Further, any potential conflict of interest must be disclosed along with a clear statement of the fees and commissions received in exchange for the advice.read more