Unemployment Hokum

The most recent jobs report was clearly disappointing, with a dismal 38,000 net new jobs in May.  Never-the-less, the unemployment rate fell again to 4.7%.  At the same time, labor force participation fell to 62.6%.  Throughout the “recovery”, the unemployment rate has been declining, as has labor force participation.  In December 2007, labor force participation … Continued

A Quick Take On The Brexit Vote

I received an inquiry from a local business reporter today, asking about the “Brexit” vote, whether clients were panicking, if this would prove a major market turning point, and what, if anything, we were doing in portfolios.  I provided the following response and share it here with our blog readers. I’ve had just one call … Continued

Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

A famous line used in the inaugural address of Franklin D. Roosevelt may provide some insight as to the background for the recent vote against Britain remaining in the European Union and the ascendance of politicians, on both sides of the aisle, that speak to disgruntlement. The common thread appears to be an ascendance of … Continued

Keep Your House Out Of Probate

For many of our clients, a well thought out estate plan is a key component of their overall financial plan.  A typical estate plan consists of a will, durable powers of attorney, healthcare powers of attorney, and sometimes one or more trusts. For clients who are focused on protecting their assets after they are gone, … Continued

Electricity Update

On May 24, 2016, we posted a blog discussing some of the issues relating to the generation of electricity.  We opined that, “based on current technology, nuclear appears to be the only scalable alternative to fossil fuels.” According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, some of the country’s most influential environmental groups are softening … Continued

All In

Generally, this blog has been reserved for all things tied to Sigma’s line of work – financial planning and investments. The rare exceptions have generally had to do with sports, most especially my colleagues’ beloved Detroit Tigers. Today the blog is about the pride of being a Clevelander.  Northeast Ohio has had the privilege and … Continued

Medicare: Simplifying the As, Bs, Cs, and Ds!

At age 65, if you are a U.S. citizen, you qualify for Medicare.  Given the continual rising costs of healthcare this is a welcomed benefit.  However, it does not arrive in the mail neatly wrapped in a bow – it can be very confusing.  Recently the financial television show CNBC included a segment on its … Continued

MSCI Emerging Market Index and Chinese A shares

Investors will run across the initials MSCI and wonder, what is MSCI?  MSCI Inc. is a U.S. based company that compiles and publishes a series of indices such as the MSCI World Index and is the largest indexing firm in the world.   For example, the MSCI Emerging Market Index is used by global investors as … Continued

Pay Day Loans

The issue of pay day loans has been in the news lately with a recurring theme that suggests that the industry is an exploiter of the less well off.  Typically, pay day loans average approximately $400, with a duration of about two weeks.  The annualized cost of these loans, including fees and interest, has been … Continued

The Retirement Dilemma

There have been numerous studies related to long term retirement trends.  These examinations of American’s retirement prospects universally conclude that most of us are not adequately providing for our retirement years. Some of the more important findings suggest that some of us are not saving enough and many of us have little or no savings.  … Continued

Oil Prices/Oil Costs

As we know, the price of oil is generally quoted in dollars, and the most common reference points are Brent and WTI (West Texas Intermediate).  Due, in part, to increased press coverage and continuing consumer interest in the price of gasoline, most investors are generally familiar with current oil prices. Economists will tell you that … Continued

The Risk of Investing in North Korea

An article appeared in The Wall Street Journal yesterday discussing the Obama Administration’s plan to impose sanctions or fines on foreign banks who conduct business with North Korea.  After finishing the article I had to wonder why any company would wish to do business with North Korea after a very recent disastrous event for one … Continued