All Muni Bonds Are Not Created Equal

The city of Detroit emerged from bankruptcy in 2014. Still, its previous inability to pay investors left some questioning their long-held assumption about the relative safety of municipal bonds.¹ Without question, in the wake of Detroit’s troubles, gaining a better understanding of municipal bonds makes more sense than ever.² At their most basic level, there are two types of municipal bonds: General obligation bonds, which are a promise by the issuer to levy taxes sufficient [...]


The Great Debate Continues: Active Vs. Passive

Whether it’s sports, music, or politics, life holds any number of “great debates” that never seem to reach a conclusion. In investments, that great debate asks the question, “Active or passive investing: Which is better?” The fascinating aspect of this debate is that equally intelligent people can argue polar opposite positions, leaving the rest of us to wonder what the answer is—if one even exists. Passive Pointers The case for passive management is anchored in [...]


Global Vs. International: What’s The Difference?

With international stock markets comprising nearly two-thirds of the world’s capitalization, a broad range of investment opportunities exist outside the borders of the U.S.¹ For investors who are looking to diversify their mutual fund portfolio with exposure to companies located outside the U.S., there exist two basic choices: A global mutual fund or an international mutual fund.²,³ By definition, international funds invest in non-U.S. markets, while global funds may invest in U.S. stocks alongside non-U.S. [...]


Required Reading: The Economic Report Of The President

In February, the White House released its 563-page book, “2018 Economic Report of the President.”¹ If you haven’t yet made time to peruse this weighty tome, don’t beat yourself up. Most people don’t take the time to read the report—still others don’t even know it exists. What is the “Economic Report of the President” and what does it tell us about the economy and the future? In the wake of World War II—and worried that [...]


Asset Allocation

If you live in or have visited a big city, you’ve probably run into street vendors—people who sell everything from hot dogs to umbrellas in carts—on the streets and sidewalks. Many of these entrepreneurs sell completely unrelated products, such as coffee and ice cream. At first glance, this approach seems a bit odd, but it turns out to be quite clever. When the weather is cold, it’s easier to sell hot cups of coffee. When [...]


A Primer On Dividends

Declaration Date: The company announces when it will pay a dividend and how much the dividend will be worth. Ex-Dividend Date: Shareholders of record before this date are entitled to receive the next dividend payment. Record Date: On this date, the list of stockholders is finalized. Payable Date: On this date, the taxable dividend is paid to shareholders. When interest rates reach historic lows, some investors in search of income-generating investments turn to dividend-yielding stocks. Dividends are taxable payments [...]


How The Federal Reserve Works

Have you ever taken a close look at paper money? Each U.S. bill has the words “Federal Reserve Note” imprinted across the top.1 But many individuals may not know why the bill is issued by the Federal Reserve and what role the Federal Reserve plays in the economy. Here’s an inside look. The Federal Reserve, often referred to as the Fed, is the country’s central bank. It was founded by Congress in 1913 to provide [...]


Best Performing Asset Classes

According to Yale University's Crash Confidence Index, only about 27% of investors are confident the stock market will not crash sometime during the next six months.1 But if fear leads investors to avoid the entire investment class, they may limit their potential returns. For example, during the 20-year period ended December 31, 2017, stocks had an average annual return of 8.5%. By comparison, bonds returned 6.1% and cash 2.0% during the same time frame. During [...]


TIPS For Inflation

In 2014, the country witnessed the historic appointment of Janet Yellen as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. She became the first woman to take the helm of the world's most influential central bank.¹ She and the Fed governors are tasked with adjusting short-term interest rates to help control inflation in an effort to promote overall economic growth. In recent years, inflation has remained low, which has allowed the Fed [...]