You probably didn’t notice, but Monday, September 11 marked a milestone: the S&P 500 index’s bull market became the second-longest and the second-best performing in the modern economic era. Stock prices are up 270% from their low point after the Great Recession in March 2009—up 340% if you include dividends. That beats the 267% gain that investors experienced from June 1949 to August 1956. (The raging bull that lasted from October 1990 to March 2000 is still the winningest ever, and may never be topped.)
You may have read that hackers broke into the Equifax database and stole personal information tied to 143 million people. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. There is no reason to think that data is not for sale to criminals who can use it to open new lines of credit or file phony tax refund requests in peoples’ names.
By now, you’ve surely watched with sympathy and concern as hurricane Harvey flooded America’s fourth largest city. You may remember seeing similar footage when Hurricane Katrina roared through New Orleans, and when superstorm Sandy roared through the most populous areas of New Jersey and New York. As you see Houston sitting in six feet of water, you’re probably wondering what the economic impact will be of all this devastation, and how it compares to natural mega-disasters like Katrina and Sandy.
Everybody should have a power of attorney. But not everybody knows exactly what it is or why it’s so important.
A power of attorney is a legal document that empowers a person you trust to handle your financial affairs if and when you become incapacitated. While you’re up and around, the document just sits in a file. But if you’re in an accident, where suddenly you can’t act on your own behalf, the document allows somebody else to make decisions on your behalf—usually temporarily, until you can start handling your own affairs again. At that point, the document goes back in the file, and you’re back in charge.
Everybody knows about life insurance, and disability insurance covers millions through corporate plans. Health insurance is always in the news thanks to the controversy around the Affordable Care Act.
But what about the forgotten stepchild: Long-Term Care (LTC) insurance? How much do you know about it? How do you know whether you need it or not?
Have you ever noticed that some people seem to be consistently successful at complex and creative tasks, while others see only fitful success and repeated failure? The difference might not lie in talent or motivation, but simply in mindset—in the way these tasks are approached by people who take a professional mindset vs. the great majority of people who function as amateurs.