Our Commentary

Welcome to CFANY’s blog! This is Paul, Walt, Julie and Kerry’s forum for informal discussion of a range of topics. We will be discussing everything from financial markets to taxation and anything related to wealth management and financial planning. We welcome your comments. They can be submitted by clicking on the Contact Us link.

Commentary 8/25/2015

On Monday morning we came into the office to the news that the Chinese stock market was down 8%, impressive following an 11% decline in the preceding week.  The perceived catalyst at the moment is the possibility of a sharp slowdown in growth in China and the decision by the China’s central bank to peg the Yuan (the Chinese currency) a bit lower compared to the dollar.    In fact, while the Chinese move may be the trigger, there has been other evidence over the last several months that the global economy was slowing—a long decline in energy and other commodity pr

Commentary 10/2/2014

Interest rate forecasting is notoriously difficult, but sometimes there are conditions that make us think we can do it effectively. The Federal Reserve ("the Fed”) is going to wrap up its bond buying program soon, which should logically mean interest rates will go up. The Fed is going to remove demand from the bond markets causing bond prices to decline and interest rates to go up. At some point, probably next year, the Fed is also going to raise interest rates. It makes sense that interest rates will go up, especially when you look at how low they are.

Commentary 5/7/2014

The recently passed New York State budget significantly changes the New York State estate tax. Until passage of this year’s budget, the exclusion from New York estate tax was $1 million per person. The new law gradually increases the amount excluded from taxation through January 1, 2019, when the New York exclusion amount will equal the federal exemption amount. The new legislation sets the following schedule for the new exclusion amounts:

Commentary 7/3/2013

The biggest story in financial markets over the last month has been the sudden rise in interest rates resulting from the Fed’s warning that it may pull back their monetary stimulus. This is a big story because as interest rates go up, bond values go down. This happens because when rates go up, new bonds come to market paying higher interest rates. Investors have a choice of buying the new bonds with higher rates or the old bonds with lower rates. They, of course, choose the bonds with the higher rates, lowering the demand and, therefore, the price for the old bonds.

Commentary 6/27/2013

Consumers are rapidly becoming aware of the many benefits of working with a Fee-Only financial advisor. Unfortunately, advisors are taking notice of this trend and branding themselves as Fee Only advisors when often they are not truly Fee Only.

Commentary 5/3/2013

Kerry wrote a blog post about the benefits of individual bond portfolios for the Wall Street Journal’s Voices blog with one of their reporters. If you have a Wall Street Journal subscription you can read the blog here:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324266904578460800150527208.html?KEYWORDS=voices

For those of you without a subscription the main points are summarized here.

Commentary 1/25/2013

The recently enacted American Relief Tax Act (“ATRA”) made the Bush tax cuts permanent for most Americans. However, it changed the landscape for those in the highest tax brackets. See our commentary on January 21 for our summary of the ATRA provisions.

Commentary 1/21/2013

Passed by Congress shortly after midnight on New Year’s Eve, The American Taxpayer Relief Act (“ATRA”) reorients planning for taxes and investing. ATRA raises tax rates to 39.6% for taxable income above $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for married couples. The tax on “qualified” dividends and long-term capital gains increases to 20% for individuals and couples above the same income levels. All other income tax brackets and the lower 15% rate on “qualified” dividends and long-term capital gains for these tax brackets are unchanged.

Commentary 6/15/2012

This weekend the most important elections in the short history of the Euro zone will take place, not to mention a crucial election in Egypt. Many believe that the Greek election will have the most influence on the future of the Euro currency, but agreement among the remaining Euro Zone members will surely play a larger role. France’s parliamentary elections, also held this weekend, may play a large role in the ability of Euro Zone member states to come to an agreement or, in the short run, affect the perception of consensus among the members.

Commentary 9/23/2011

The stock market routs that come about every two months this year came a couple weeks early this time. Two figures put the market’s position in perspective. We are roughly 20% below the highs experienced earlier this year. Nevertheless, we are at about the same level we were exactly one year ago. The ups and downs of the markets certainly wear on the nerves, but the volatility is not destroying fortunes as it was a few years ago. Properly allocated portfolios are weathering the storms and are poised to benefit from undervalued assets.

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