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GOP tax plan could hurt homeowners, banks, real estate sector

With all the discussion about the Republican tax reform efforts, I have yet to hear any concerns about how the increased tax on mortgage interest and property taxes might affect current property values.

The real estate industry is on board with its army of lobbyists trying to minimize the possible damage, but the emphasis seems to be the effect on homebuyers.

“Where are all the customers’ yachts?” The trouble with TIAA investment products

The investment business is offering yet another example prompting us to ask, “Where are the customers’ yachts?” This is a reference to the famous question asked by a brokerage firm customer when he was shown the collection of yachts owned by brokerage firm founders.

This time around, the customers who should be asking the question are those in TIAA funds which command 40 percent of the retirement plan market for teachers, nonprofit employees and other participants in various 403(b) plans. These plans for nonprofits are comparable to 401(k)s.

Hornets’ nest: How the Republican tax-reform bill could affect middle-class Americans

When I was about 8 years old, I thought it would be interesting to throw rocks at a hornets’ nest to see what would happen. The result was a wall of hornets that hit me in the face. My head swelled up like a basketball within a few hours, and with eyes swollen shut, I was sightless for about a week.

Not for the faint-hearted: Wild, potentially lucrative stock market ‘snap-backs’

One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons depicted a fortune teller looking into a crystal ball. To her customer, beside whom a Labrador retriever sat with a baleful look, the woman predicted, “I see a 10-foot retractable leash in your future.” Similarly, it calls to mind a mental image of our stock market, which could be approaching the end of its leash.

How could the feds slashing your tax-free 401(k) contribution cap affect you?

To view the entire article on The Mercury News (a Bay Area News Group newspaper), click here.

 

As Republicans on Capitol Hill hammer out a tax reform bill, one controversial proposal would slash the annual amount Americans can sock away into 401(k) plans without being taxed until they retire. Do you have such a plan? Let’s look at how it would be affected.

Transfer of retirement savings to beneficiaries is a tricky business, but worth mastering

National Retirement Security Week came and went last week without making much of a peep. The objective was to raise awareness of retirement issues and call attention to financial education and preparation. Organizers pointed out that polls show 61 percent of Americans to be concerned about their ability to meet their financial needs in retirement. This implies, however, that 39 percent are convinced that they will have enough to retire and that they will not run out of money.

How a Bay Area man’s trade signaled an end to the ’87 crash; ETFs vs. mutual funds

Thirty years ago this month, the stock market experienced a single-day plunge equivalent to a 5,100-point drop in today’s Dow Jones Industrial Average. It amounted to a 22 percent drop in value, the worst since 1914.

In general, we know today that computerized trading models, creating what was known then as “programmed trading,” essentially faked each other out. Consider something like “Hal,” the computer in the movie “2001,” bidding against several electronic “brains” in a race toward the bottom, which only ended when markets were shut down.

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