Category Archives: Presidential Politics

Moving Targets

We focus our effort on improving your retirement, today we start by looking at moving targets in Washington. Healthcare reform is dead. There is no coherent tax reform strategy. The budget talks will inevitably end in an impasse. They have no chance at a comprehensive immigration policy. Have you thought any of those things? Of course, you have, and now we have a stop-gap budget. There is a very high level White House outline of tax reform. The Affordable Care Act is back in the crosshairs, and immigration continues to brew on the side. Smart money seems to indicate that the House Republicans’ tax outline from last fall is the likely jumping off point. You can learn more about that here: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/analysis-house-gop-tax-plan/full. Should the ACA repeal and replace fail again (Don’t look now but the Republican health care bill is in trouble again. Again.) All the more reason to believe they will fight mightily to get something done on taxes.

The apparent lesson of the first 100 days is that this will not be easy. Turns out the Washington system is so dysfunctional that you cannot simply will it to work. Coalition building, which should be a deal maker’s forte, seems to be a giant vacuum. The far right of the Republican party want little to do with progress, standing on principle. The Democrats see that as an opening to stand firm. So, how does the deal maker in chief make these big things happen? Seems to me there will have to be some serious horse trading. If neither the Freedom Caucus nor the Democrats play, we may be in for a long two years. Unfortunately, big things need to get done and there is no template for making that happen.

With all these moving targets where does that leave you and me? Well, we have said this before, focus on what you can control. Today we will throw out a few facts, figures and ideas to help you improve your retirement. Perhaps a little pressure on your elected representatives to move some of these big agenda items will help, too.

Moving Targets: What is the landscape now? What can you be doing?
As always when it comes to major policy changes in DC, don’t hold your breath. It is best to plan given what you do know and what you can control.
Then again, knowing what you are up against is perhaps the best place to start. Imagine this, global central bankers continue to intervene in the world economy on unprecedented scale. Presumably this cannot go on forever … what is their plan? What is yours? BAML: The ‘$1 trillion flow that conquers all’ explains everything happening in markets
In the what else is new category we find another study indicating that Americans are not saving nearly enough for a secure retirement. Hopefully since you are this far down in the piece you are not among them … or committed to changing your ways. Only 1 in 10 Americans in Peak Financial Health
So, start working on your own situation. These 3 easy steps can improve your retirement savings – in less than an hour and Slash your retirement costs with these 5 tips (everyone read #3)

Washington Mayhem

Our political environment continues to be contentious and the Washington Mayhem shows no signs of abating. One might hope our elected officials would seek common ground, but there seems to be little appetite for this. Like it, or not, President Trump has been following through on campaign promises. Still the execution seems sloppy and Executive Orders always feel somehow illegitimate. The brevity, speed and seeming lack of vetting and buy-in on some of these have only exacerbated this inherent issue. The fact that the Senate has not moved on all the Cabinet positions leaves us unable still to judge the leadership style from the White House. Hope remains that a full Cabinet of independent thinkers, combined with an open minded President can yield effective policymaking. What can or should you be doing about this? Let us outline some options below.

Washington Mayhem: Become more involved.
Our government is meant to be of the people, for the people and by the people, right? In large part that means if you don’t like it, do something about it. Strangely enough the Tea Party is a manifestation on the right of this very concept. The talk is that the left may develop a Tea Party of their own as a counter weight. It is worth remembering that no small measure of success for the Tea Party has been heightened voter engagement. Marching and calling representatives is one thing, but getting involved in local politics – committees, town councils and the like – is the most pro-active approach.
Washington Mayhem: Find your quiet place.
One thing we likely all have too much of these days is connectivity. Perhaps a very good idea is to disconnect more. Put down your phone, stop checking the news sites, and find some solace in the forgotten quiet time of pre-internet days.
Washington Mayhem: Literally get away.
In our last installment we highlighted some good getaway spots and encouraged our Hollywood friends who promised to leave to please do so. Now, as we settle into the Trump Administration, here are some additional getaways worth considering. Note that these may not all be practical, but then are you really going to do it? The best hotel suites in the Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean 26 places you should visit before they disappear forever The 7 most incredible train trips to take in Europe 

Memorial Day

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day. Perhaps celebrate is too strong a word, or maybe we tend to lose sight of the reason for the holiday. Indeed, it is far too easy to get caught up in the ‘start of Summer’ mayhem typical for the cherished long weekend. So, I give you some perspective: since the Revolutionary War, US forces have suffered 1,354,000+ deaths and 1,498,000+ casualties (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_of_war). Of course, these days we hear a lot about PTSD and the epidemic of suicides in our veterans. When you are enjoying your weekend, I implore you to reflect a moment on the sacrifice made by these brave men and women to make that possible.

Busy week in the Presidential race.
Defying all odds, Donald Trump surpassed the 1,237 delegates necessary to secure the Republican nomination. Just what are we in for this Fall?
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton continued to have a rocky path to the Democrat nomination, with Bernie Sanders staying wholeheartedly engaged in the race and the State Department Inspector General releasing a scathing rebuke on the email server scandal. The Washington Post is the last place you expect to see critic of Mrs. Clinton, but Washington Post scorches Hillary Clinton in scathing editorial slamming her email setup. Even the AP is calling her to task: AP Fact Check: Clinton misstates key facts in email episode and Clinton email use broke federal rules
Even found a couple of good analysis pieces for your reading pleasure. How Hillary Loses and Trump, Clinton and Sanders: What’s the difference, fiscally speaking? Hint, it’s not a pretty picture.

As we enter peak travel season, some tips.
Do what you can to improve your travel experience. Travel like a CEO: Five experts on how to master the business trip  and 13 Hacks for traveling like the 1% at no cost
Don’t get greedy, though, there are plenty of traps out there, too. Fraudulent hotel booking sites are more common than you might think – here’s how you can spot them
When you get to your destination, have fun. Amazing bars around the world to drink at before you die