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Will USMCA Make America Great Again?

President Trump recently announced “the greatest deal in the history of the U.S.,” the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). He is promoting it as a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that had been in place since 1994 and that Trump had called “a really bad deal.” Putting aside Trump’s recurring penchant for extreme…
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Credit Freezes Are Now Free

Under a new federal law passed on September 21, 2018, you can now freeze and unfreeze your credit files at no cost at each of the nationwide credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This new law additionally requires the credit agencies to allow extended fraud alerts up to one year (vs. the current…
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Maximize Social Security Survivor Benefits

Prior to the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, Social Security (SS) benefits were quite generous for married (and even for divorced) couples, particularly for those with dual incomes. Spouses were not only entitled to benefits based on their own earnings, but also based on their spouse’s earnings. And the rules allowed them…
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The Middle-Class Has Stopped Shrinking But…

The Pew Research Center just released an interesting report on the state of the American middle-class. In 2016 (the latest data available) about 52% of American adults lived in middle-class households. This represents a turnaround in this important demographic group. Previously its size had been steadily declining since 1971 when it was over 60%. If…
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Is Active Fund Management Always Bad?

The debate between actively and passively managed equity mutual funds has raged for decades.  My position is that the only way that actively managed stock funds can outperform is either by fund managers picking winning stocks in advance or by timing market ups and downs, which requires the consistent ability to successfully predict the future.…
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Social Security Is Lagging Inflation

Social Security is one of the few retirement pensions whose annual payments increase over time based on actual inflation. Few other private or public pensions provide this valuable benefit. Neither do annuities. Unfortunately, the cost of goods and services that seniors predominantly face has collectively risen faster than the broader Consumer Price Index for Urban…
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