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The American Investor – Editorial Calendar

A Newsletter for High-Net-Worth Individuals

March 2018

Sweet Synchronicity
All 45 major economies tracked by the OECD were expected to expand in 2017, an uncommon feat the world has not seen since 2007. Accompanying infographic shows the number of countries with accelerating or slowing growth.
Monetary Policy Update
The New Face of the Federal Reserve
President Trump has selected a new Federal Reserve chair to succeed Janet Yellen, and the central bank has begun to shrink its huge bond portfolio. This article focuses on how the Fed’s monetary policies influence interest rates, economic growth, and inflation.
Socially Responsible Investing
Strategies That Strive to Do Good and Deliver Returns
Sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) investing has been around for a long time, but growing interest has moved it into the mainstream. This article explores investment strategies that integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors with traditional financial analysis.
Guard Against Growing Cybersecurity Threats
Hackers are targeting small businesses at an alarming rate. This article discusses some specific cybersecurity threats and offers tips to help small businesses protect their interests.

February 2018

The View from the Top
The top 20% of U.S. taxpayers earn more than 62% of all reported income and pay more than 82% of federal taxes. Accompanying table compares statistics on incomes and tax burdens of the highest-earning U.S. taxpayers.
Marriage and Money
Taking a Team Approach to Retirement
Now that it’s fairly common for families to have two wage earners, many couples are accumulating assets in separate employer-sponsored retirement accounts. But even when married couples’ assets are in different accounts, it’s still possible to craft a unified retirement strategy. This article focuses on coordinating retirement plan investments and contributing to spousal IRAs.
Going Public
An IPO’s Market Debut May Not Live Up to the Hype
Initial public offerings are important to financial markets because they help young companies raise capital and add new stocks to the pool of potential investment opportunities. This article discusses the IPO process, recent trends, and investment risks.
Preparing to Withstand the Loss of Key Players
Some small businesses depend on the knowledge and skills of a few executives or employees whose disability or death could endanger the company’s future. This article explores the benefits of key-person insurance policies.

January 2018

A Closing Gender Gap
In July 2017, the difference between male and female labor force participation narrowed to 13.2 points, the smallest gap ever recorded. Accompanying chart compares the labor force participation rate for men and women since 1948.
Automation and the Economy
What’s Ahead for the U.S. Workforce?
As artificial intelligence is combined with robots and sensors, modern society could become automated in ways that were once unimaginable. This article focuses on ways in which advanced technologies might affect the economic prospects of U.S. workers and the nation as a whole.
Settling an Estate
Executors Inherit a Long List of Duties
Being named as the executor of a family member’s estate is generally an honor, but settling an estate can be a difficult and time-consuming job. This article discusses some of the specific duties that often fall on an executor.
Disaster Insurance Can Help Your Company Stay Afloat
It’s important to identify the potential risks that threaten your business, create a thoughtful disaster plan, and obtain adequate insurance. This article explores coverage options, including business owner policies and business interruption insurance.

December 2017

A Long Wait for Wage Growth
U.S. wage growth has ticked up slowly over the last couple of years, but has yet to return to pre-recession levels. Accompanying chart shows the annual percentage change in average hourly earnings since 2007.
The Giving Season
Five Ways to Make the Most of Charitable Donations
With 1.5 million charities seeking financial support, it’s more important than ever to ensure that donations are well spent. This article includes tips for vetting charities and a list of helpful giving strategies.
Illinois Highlights Credit Risk
Still, Muni Bonds May Offer Tax Relief
In June 2017, credit rating agencies warned that Illinois could become the first state to have its debt downgraded to junk status, but the passage of a state budget bill with tax increases narrowly averted this fate. This article focuses on the tax advantages and credit risks associated with municipal bond investments.
No Shortage of Liability Risks
Liability insurance can help offset unforeseen legal costs that could consume a business’s profits or ruin its longer-term prospects. This article discusses commercial general liability policies as well as product liability, professional liability, employers liability, and umbrella insurance.

November 2017

Unlocking Home Equity
Nearly half of borrowers who refinanced their homes in the first quarter of 2017 withdrew cash for other purposes. Accompanying chart tracks the percentage of mortgage refinances in which borrowers took out cash since 1997.
Living with Disability
ABLE Accounts Can Help Provide for the Future
More than 20 states have launched ABLE programs, and more are in the works. Individuals and families can use these tax-advantaged investment accounts to save for qualified disability expenses.
Better Late Than Never
IRS Extends Time for Spouses to Elect Portability
A June 2017 change in IRS procedures allows more time for the estates of recently deceased taxpayers to take advantage of the tax savings offered by portability. This article discusses the rules and deadlines for seeking portability relief.
Two Tax-Friendly Retirement Plans for the Self-Employed
Solo 401(k)s and SEP IRAs are relatively simple and inexpensive for small-business owners (with no employees) and self-employed individuals to set up. This article focuses on the tax advantages, rules, and deadlines associated with these common retirement plans.

October 2017

Moving to Advantage Plans
In 2017, 19 million people, or 33% of Medicare enrollees, selected Medicare Advantage Plans. Accompanying chart tracks total Medicare private health plan enrollment from 2007 through 2017.
Health Care and the Economy
]]Soaring Costs Can Hurt Consumers and Hinder Growth
National health spending is expected to reach 19.9% of GDP by 2025. Major medical advances have contributed to spending growth but have led to better health overall. This article discusses how accelerating costs could put additional strain on consumers, employers, the federal budget, and broader economic growth.
Required Minimum Distribution Rules
Aggregating RMDs from Multiple Accounts
Participants in employer-sponsored retirement plans and traditional IRAs are generally required to begin taking RMDs starting in the year they turn 70½. When calculating RMDs for multiple accounts, it’s important to understand which amounts can be combined and which accounts must distribute separate RMDs.
Stacking Up Tax Breaks for Business Investments
The U.S. tax code generally encourages investments made to strengthen or grow a business. This article focuses on provisions that may allow larger immediate deductions: bonus depreciation and IRC Section 179 expensing.

September 2017

Turnover Turnaround
The quits rate represents the share of workers who voluntarily leave their jobs. When more workers are able to walk away from a job, it’s typically a sign of confidence in the economy. Accompanying chart tracks the U.S. total nonfarm quits rate since 2007.
Bracing for Higher Rates
Custom-Built Ladders Help Manage Bond Risks
The Federal Reserve anticipates gradually lifting the benchmark federal funds rate in 2017 and 2018, and its policies could affect the entire fixed-income market. Bond laddering is a time-tested strategy that can help manage interest rate risk. This article focuses on bond ladders using individual bonds and bond ETFs.
Tracking a Tighter Job Market
Two Reports That Help Paint the Employment Picture
Several important indicators of labor market strength have finally returned to pre-recession levels. This article discusses the government reports that track employment statistics, and what a tightening job market could mean for the U.S. economy. Accompanying chart compares the official U-3 unemployment rate with the broader U-6 unemployment rate.
Insuring a Home-Based Business
People who run businesses from their homes often assume that homeowners insurance provides sufficient coverage, but this misconception may expose them to a considerable amount of risk. They might consider the broader protection offered by in-home business insurance policies, which are tailor-made for businesses that operate out of a residence.

August 2017

Workplace Reversal
More U.S. employees are currently working for large companies (2,500+ head count) than for small firms with fewer than 100 employees. This represents a major shift since the 1980s and 1990s. Accompanying chart compares share of total employment, by employer size, in 1990 and 2014.
Company Stock and Your Portfolio
Keep Your Focus on Concentration Risk
The opportunity to acquire company stock can be a lucrative employee benefit. But having retirement plan assets with too high a concentration of employer stock could become a problem. This article focuses on ways to help manage concentration risk.
Estate Planning
Life Insurance Options for Leaving a Legacy
Permanent life insurance typically provides a lifetime death benefit, regardless of health, as long as the policy is kept in force. This article describes how a whole life or survivorship life insurance policy can play an important role in a family’s estate plan.
Keeping Up with Quarterly Taxes
Sole proprietors, S corporation shareholders, and other self-employed individuals who expect to owe $1,000 or more in federal taxes when filing their returns must make estimated tax payments. Making accurate quarterly payments on schedule can help taxpayers avoid interest penalties for underpayment and keep them from falling behind with the IRS.

July 2017

Consumers Carried the Economy in 2016
Real gross domestic product grew by just 1.6% in 2016, and consumers did most of the heavy lifting. Accompanying chart shows the contributions of components to real GDP growth.
Demographic Dilemma
Is America’s Aging Population Slowing Down the Economy?
Though the economy has continued to improve since the Great Recession, GDP growth has been weak compared with past recoveries. This article discusses why some economists believe that shifting demographics may be the primary reason.
College Funding
Grandparents Can Help Bridge the Gap
A college education is a significant financial burden that is increasingly hard for students and their parents to meet. Fortunately, some grandparents are willing to help cover the costs. This article explains how gifts of cash, tuition payments made directly to a college, and 529 savings plan withdrawals could affect a student’s financial aid.
Social Media Marketing Strategies
About three-fourths of small businesses have used social media for marketing purposes. It’s also a convenient way for businesses to build relationships with existing customers and widen exposure in the marketplace. This article includes tips for managing social media profiles effectively.

June 2017

Consumer Prices Bounced Back in 2016
Inflation rose 2.1% in 2016 — right in line with the 20-year average of 2.13%. Accompanying chart shows the annual change in the Consumer Price Index from 1997 to 2016.
Stretch IRA
A Tax-Friendly Strategy to Help Preserve Your Inheritance
A stretch IRA strategy leaves more of the inherited assets untouched so they can keep accumulating on a tax-deferred basis. This article focuses on some of the complicated rules and deadlines for handling inherited IRA assets and taking required minimum distributions.
Anticipating Inflation?
TIPS May Fit into Your Fixed-Income Portfolio
One way to help protect a bond portfolio from a potential spike in inflation is by investing in Treasury inflation-protected securities. Investors trade the certainty of knowing how much interest they will receive for the assurance that the investment will maintain its purchasing power over time.
Offering Life Insurance as an Employee Benefit
Making life insurance part of an employee benefit program could be a cost-effective way to recruit, reward, and retain valuable employees. This article discusses group term policies and bonus plans funded with cash-value life insurance for key executives.

May 2017

How Long Will You Be Retired?
Longevity is increasing, which is one reason why waiting to claim a higher Social Security benefit could pay off in the long run. Statistically, for a 65-year-old couple, there is a 50% chance that one spouse will live until at least 92. Accompanying chart compares the average U.S. life expectancy at age 65 in 1940 and 2015.
Social Security and Your Retirement
What You Don’t Know Could Affect Your Benefits
Many retirees rush to file for Social Security before carefully weighing their options, but an understanding of the program’s rules and benefits is an important part of long-term retirement planning. This article focuses on three often-misunderstood aspects of Social Security: the retirement earnings test, the taxability of benefits, and how filing at a later age could boost lifetime benefits.
Indexed Annuities
One Option for Turning Savings into Retirement Income
Many workers who won’t receive a traditional pension could benefit from incorporating an annuity strategy into their retirement planning. This article discusses the benefits and risks of indexed annuities, including ways in which return rates are calculated and how index performance can affect the growth of the annuity.
The Pros and Cons of Financing Options
Even though the credit market has become friendlier overall, small companies still have a more difficult time getting approved for bank loans than larger businesses. This article discusses some common types of financing that might be available to help small businesses expand, pursue new opportunities, or cover operating expenses.

April 2017

Too Little, Too Late?
According to a 2016 survey, 36% of older Americans said that reaching a significant birthday was the reason they started planning for retirement. Accompanying chart shows ages when retirement planning began.
Pre-Retirement Tax Planning
High Earners Can Take Alternate Route to a Roth IRA
Eligibility to contribute to a Roth IRA phases out at higher MAGI levels. This article discusses two planning strategies that could help reduce future RMDs while building a source of tax-free retirement income: Roth conversions and Roth 401(k) contributions.
How Much Risk Can You Take?
Stress Test Your Portfolio, and Yourself
A portfolio’s risk profile should reflect the investor’s ability, both financially and emotionally, to endure periods of market volatility. This article explores factors that may influence an individual’s risk tolerance.
Consider Taxation When Setting Compensation
Depending on the structure of a business, the owner generally has two options for taking home a paycheck: a salary and/or a draw (or distribution). This article discusses the tax considerations involved in setting a small-business owner’s compensation.
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