- The “word of the day” can be found on everything from Mister Roger’s Neighborhood (a childhood T.V. favorite) to wall calendars. The “word of the day” for equity markets during the fourth quarter was UN-CER-TAIN-TY. As the equity market shows, it reacts poorly to uncertainty. A few main topics are driving current concerns: the Fed’s response, diminishing growth and trade/tariffs. On October 3rd, Fed President Jay Powell made the following comment, “We may go past neutral, but we’re a long way from neutral at this point, probably” sending markets lower. Since then, the Fed has sent multiple signals in all directions increasing ambiguity. Slowing global growth seems apparent, but additional questions remain whether a global recession is imminent. Add to the list, the US and China’s currently inflexible trade stances and equity markets developed more volatility. As a result, the US large caps declined 13.5% during the quarter and 4.4% for the year with small cap US stocks dropping 20.2% and 11.0%, respectively. International developed and emerging markets outpaced the US during the quarter, but trailed over the last year.
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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