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The breadth of your financial knowledge is just as important as the size of your portfolio. But with the surplus of information written in incomprehensible industry jargon, the financial world can be hard to navigate and even harder to understand.

To help you stay up-to-date, well-versed and ultimately identify opportunities that work for you needs, our market and economic strategists translate market trends and economic news into easily-digestible summaries, reports and podcasts.

Average cost of raising a child hits $245,000 - Yahoo Finance

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New parents be warned: It could cost nearly a quarter of a million dollars to raise your child -- and that's not even including the cost of college.

To raise a child born in 2013 to the age of 18, it will cost a middle-income couple just over $245,000, according to newly released estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That's up $4,260, or almost 2%, from the year before.

Read more: Average cost of raising a child hits $245,000 - Yahoo Finance

Why People are Buying Chinese Stocks They Know Absolutely Nothing About

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Zhang Xiuli says she knows nothing about the nine Chinese companies that held initial public offerings last month.

Not a problem. Zhang, 37, tried to buy shares in each and every one, confident that she knew what was coming next: an immediate surge in price that has rewarded investors in Chinese IPOs with an average first-day gain of 43 percent this year. Her orders were among 655 billion yuan ($106 billion) of bids for 3.2 billion yuan of new shares, an over-subscription rate 28 times bigger than that of Agricultural Bank of China Ltd.’s listing at the height of the nation’s IPO boom in 2010.

Read more: Why People are Buying Chinese Stocks They Know Absolutely Nothing About

What the Closing of the Revel May Mean for Atlantic City

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The shuttering next month of Revel, the $2.6 billion hotel and casino that was meant to usher in a new era of opulence in Atlantic City when it opened in 2012, is set to quicken the seaside community’s downward spiral.

Five years after the longest recession since the 1930s, hotel rooms sit vacant and revenue keeps falling in what was once the second-largest U.S. casino market. Gov. Chris Christie’s turnaround plan for the municipality, begun in 2011 and hinged on Revel’s success, hasn’t delivered, prompting Moody’s Investors Service to cut the city’s $245 million of general-obligation debt to junk last month.

Read more: What the Closing of the Revel May Mean for Atlantic City

2014 Is the Time to buy a house

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Right now is a great time to buy a house.

To understand why, I encourage you to spend a moment contemplating the chart above. What it shows is that the interest rate you pay on a mortgage matters a lot when it comes to the ultimate price of the American dream.

Read more: 2014 Is the Time to buy a house

Good News for Your Credit Score

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A change in how the most widely used credit score in the U.S. is tallied will likely make it easier for tens of millions of Americans to get loans.

Fair Isaac Corp. said Thursday that it will stop including in its FICO credit-score calculations any record of a consumer failing to pay a bill if the bill has been paid or settled with a collection agency. The San Jose, Calif., company also will give less weight to unpaid medical bills that are with a collection agency.

Read more: Good News for Your Credit Score

Where Are Our Tax Dollars Are Going

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A government website intended to make federal spending more transparent was missing at least $619 billion from 302 federal programs, a government audit has found.

And the data that does exist is wildly inaccurate, according to the Government Accountability Office, which looked at 2012 spending data. Only 2% to 7% of spending data on USASpending.gov is "fully consistent with agencies' records," according to the report.

Read more: Where Are Our Tax Dollars Are Going

The Federal Reserve’s Experiment with Quantitative Easing

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"Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has, the more one wants." — Benjamin Franklin

The Federal Reserve is desperate to raise rates so that they can lower them again.

Read more: The Federal Reserve’s Experiment with Quantitative Easing

Estimates for the 2nd Quarter Report 4% GDP Growth

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The U.S. economy rebounded sharply in the second quarter as consumers stepped up spending and businesses restocked, putting it on course to close out the year on solid footing.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 4.0 percent annual rate after shrinking at a revised 2.1 percent pace in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

Read more: Estimates for the 2nd Quarter Report 4% GDP Growth

Weak Wal-Mart Earnings Reflect the Stagnant Economy

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, reported stagnant same-store sales and cut its earnings forecast for the year, hurt by higher health-care costs and slow traffic at its supercenters.

Earnings for the year will now be US$4.90 to US$5.15 a share, down from a previous range of as much as US$5.45, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company said today in a statement. Sales at U.S. Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores open at least 12 months were little changed last quarter, which ended Aug. 1.

Read more: Weak Wal-Mart Earnings Reflect the Stagnant Economy

7.5 Million Americans Cannot Find Full time Work

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Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has a stubborn warning light blinking on her labor market dashboard: A group of Americans larger than Washington state’s population can find only part-time work.

As Yellen heads to this week’s Fed symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the focus will be on the labor market, those 7.5 million part-time workers who want full-time jobs are inflating the broad measure of underemployment she watches to gauge job market health. Involuntary part-time workers have gained by 325,000 from February’s five-year low.

Read more: 7.5 Million Americans Cannot Find Full time Work

Smart people buy generic brands

Nine times out of 10, pharmacists and doctors will buy the generic version of aspirin, rather than a brand-name like Bayer. Likewise, professional chefs prefer store-brand sugar, salt and baking powder instead of brand name ingredients.

In short, the most informed consumers usually buy generic products, claims a new paper by economists from Tilburg University in the Netherlands and the University of Chicago.

Read more: Smart people buy generic brands

Senate Finance Committee Meets to Address Concerns over Corporate Tax Inversion - Kara Jones

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The Senate Finance Committee met Tuesday to address the increasing national concern over corporate tax inversion and its negative impact on U.S. economy. Lawmakers were split along partisan lines when discussing whether relocated firms should be subject to punitive legislation.

The Congressional Research Service recently revealed that over the past 10 years, at least 47 American corporations inverted by reincorporating abroad. This is a significant spike considering only 29 did so the previous 20 years combined.

Read more: Senate Finance Committee Meets to Address Concerns over Corporate Tax Inversion - Kara Jones

The White House Conceals Coming Increases in Health Insurance Premiums

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Want to know what’s happening with Obamacare? Good luck finding out. The White House recently adopted a new approach for updating Americans on the country’s most consequential law. I call it the “needle in a haystack” method: Bury the announcement in hundreds of pages of regulations and hope no one finds it.

The White House tried a test run several weeks ago. Hidden in the midst of a 436 page regulatory update, and written in pure bureaucratese, the Department of Health and Human Services asked that insurance companies limit the looming premium increases for 2015 health plans. But don’t worry, HHS hinted: we’ll bail you out on the taxpayer’s dime if you lose money.

Read more: The White House Conceals Coming Increases in Health Insurance Premiums

The US Government is Promoting an Economic Isolation of Russia - Bloomberg

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The U.S. is debating a new round of sanctions on Russia and pressing the European Union to follow up with its own penalties, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government is increasingly isolated for his support of the separatists in Ukraine, Rhodes told reporters at the White House today.

Read more: The US Government is Promoting an Economic Isolation of Russia - Bloomberg

Apple and IBM Join Together to Create New Business Apps

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When Steve Jobs advised Tim Cook to "just do what's right" as CEO of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) , he had to know that could mean taking the company in a new direction. Last week brought just that sort of change when Cook inked a deal with International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM  ) to bring 100 enterprise-class business apps to iPhones and iPads.

Should investors like the move? Guest host Alison Southwick puts this question to Fool analysts Nathan Alderman and Tim Beyers in this week's episode of 1-Up On Wall Street, The Motley Fool's web show in which we talk about the big-money names behind your favorite technology, movies, toys, video games, comics, and more.

Read more: Apple and IBM Join Together to Create New Business Apps

Rupert Murdoch Makes a Bid for Time Warner Inc. - NYTimes.com

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If content is still king in a media business challenged by new technologies and nimble upstarts, Rupert Murdoch hungers to wear the crown.

His biggest and boldest bid yet emerged on Wednesday: an $80 billion takeover offer for Time Warner Inc., which would be the biggest media deal in more than a decade.

Read more: Rupert Murdoch Makes a Bid for Time Warner Inc. - NYTimes.com

The Business of the New Sharing Economy - Business Insider

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Joining the sharing economy as a provider of services – accommodation, transportation or whatever else the market calls for – gives you a chance to make money while being part of a “movement”.

It sounds tremendously appealing, doesn’t it?

The companies being built around this new zeitgeist have different enough business models for it to be worth discussing them as if they do, indeed, fall into a different category from more traditional bastions of capitalism.

Read more: The Business of the New Sharing Economy - Business Insider

Janet Yellen Calls Technology Sector Overvalued - TheStreet

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Social media stocks took a huge bump Tuesday following Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's remarks the sector's valuation is overstretched.

In prepared remarks addressing the Senate Banking Committee, Yellen noted, "Valuation metrics in some sectors do appear substantially stretched-particularly those for smaller firms in the social media and biotechnology industries, despite a notable downturn in equity prices for such firms early in the year."

Read more: Janet Yellen Calls Technology Sector Overvalued - TheStreet

Nations are "Fed Up" With the Dollar - Zero Hedge

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Exactly 70 years ago to the day, hundreds of delegates from 44 nations were busy at work in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire creating a brand new financial system.

World War II had just ended. Europe was in ruin.

And since the US was simultaneously the largest economy in the world, the primary victor in the war, and the only major power with its productive capacity intact, it was easy to dictate terms: the dollar would dominate the new system.

Read more: Nations are "Fed Up" With the Dollar - Zero Hedge

 

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