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@theMarket: Will April Be Better for the Markets?
By Bill Schmick,
04:36PM / Friday, March 30, 2018
It has been a tough month for stocks and February wasn't much better. Granted, it was a small price to pay for last year's great gains, but, as in life, all good things must come to an end. Will April bring more of the same for us or can we hope for something better?   Much depends on White House initiatives, "Spanky's" (the President's new nickname) tweets, and the world's response to the administration's trade war initiatives. None of the above is certain, and, as readers know by now, the markets hate uncertainty.    This quarter, both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Indexes have seen a nine-quarter win streak come to

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The Independent Investor: Financial Planners Held to Higher Standard
By Bill Schmick,
04:13PM / Thursday, March 29, 2018
The Department of Labor's fiduciary rule looks "iffy" at best, thanks to a March court ruling. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals says the agency exceeded its authority in insisting that financial services firms act as fiduciaries when giving advice to most tax-deferred savings accounts. However, some financial advisers are ignoring the courts and are going the extra mile for their clients anyway.   Over the last couple of years, I have written several columns on this issue. A "fiduciary" is someone who puts your best interests above his own and that of his company's. It is a concept that the financial community does not want to see implemented and

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@theMarket: Trump's Trade Wars Sink Markets
By Bill Schmick,
08:55AM / Saturday, March 24, 2018
World markets declined again this week. Despite world condemnation, which included most of America's economists and corporations, Donald Trump unilaterally forged ahead in implementing his own brand of protectionism. Investors fear the consequences.   While tariffs on imported steel and aluminum are still being negotiated, the president has upped the ante and is now pursuing China. The United States has long accused China of stealing our intellectual property. The Chinese, of course, have denied that and so, for years the discussions went round and round — until now.   On Thursday, our president announced his intention to slap $60 billion of tariffs on

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The Independent Investor: Medicare Premiums and Your Income
By Bill Schmick,
04:04PM / Thursday, March 22, 2018
We all know that Medicare is not free. Once we enroll in Part B and D, we start paying monthly premiums. What many consumers fail to realize is that how much you pay depends on how much you make.   For most of us, this is a moot point. We assume that we will be retiring at 65 years old (at the same time Medicare kicks in) but that assumption is no longer accurate. The reality is that Social Security, retirement, and Medicare can happen at different times in your life.   Take, for example, Social Security benefits. Every year the target date for full retirement creeps higher. It used to be 65, but now, for many, it is edging up to almost 67 over the next few

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@themarket: Trump's Tariff Talk Trashes Global Markets
By Bill Schmick,
04:42PM / Friday, March 02, 2018

When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2018 Stocks declined this week. This is a typical and largely expected reaction that should see the averages re-test the lows suffered in early February.  Investors should understand that this is no cause for alarm.   In past columns, I had warned investors that there may be another shoe to drop before the correction in

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