Italy’s Ailing Banks

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The Next Big Thing to Worry About that you’ll soon be reading about in the financial press is Italian banks.  Some Italian banking stocks fell more than 30% after the Brexit vote on fears that the Eurozone will experience weaker-than-expected economic growth.  Worse: the Italian banking system now reports that nearly $400 billion worth of its collective loans are nonperforming—about 18% of the total.  Compare that with the fact that, at the height of the financial crisis, only 5% of the loans in U.S. banks were categorized as nonperforming.

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A Market High—But Is It a Market Top?

 

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In case you hadn’t noticed, the S&P 500 index reached record territory yesterday, and the Nasdaq briefly crossed over the 5,000 level before settling back with a more modest gain.  At 2,137.6, the S&P 500 finished above the previous high of 2,130.82, set on May 21, 2015.

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Does Wealth Equate to Quality of Life?

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If you want to see a fascinating chart, take a look at this graphic which charts each country’s GDP per capita with its “social progress,” defined by a cumulative measure of economic opportunity, access to quality healthcare and education, tolerance of minorities and general quality of life.  This is a subjective measure, but if you look at the countries toward the bottom of the chart, you’ll see that the Social Progress Index mostly gets it right.

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How to Save in a Hurry

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If you had to save $10,000 in the next six months, how would you go about it?

Columnist Simon Constable took an inventory of average living costs, and came up with a surprising conclusion: this is actually do-able for some people, and it might actually be easy.  However, for smart consumers, your total savings might not add up to much more than triple digits.

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Who Pays for College?  Are They Getting Their Money’s Worth?

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According to the Student Loan Marketing Association (more commonly known as Sallie Mae Bank), the average tuition, room and board at a private college comes to $43,921.  Public tuition for in-state students at state colleges amounted to $19,548, with out-of-state students paying an average of $34,031.

How are parents and students finding the cash to afford this expense?

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Are Brexit Fears Overblown?

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In the wake of the so-called “Brexit” vote in the United Kingdom, and the possibility (though not the certainty) that the U.K. will leave the European Union, you’re likely reading a lot of alarmist stories about the vote’s impact on the U.S. and your portfolio.

Don’t believe half of what you read.

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The ‘Other’ Cost of Taxes

 

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Chances are, you know how much you pay in taxes.  But how much are taxes costing you in time and preparation fees?

According to a Tax Foundation report, using statistics from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, tax compliance will cost the U.S. economy $409 billion this year.  In all, Americans will spend 8.9 billion hours—more than 222 million work weeks—complying with IRS tax filing requirements for 2016.

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