New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Does the winning team predict the direction of the stock market?

Is there actually a difference in the annual performance of the stock market, depending on who wins the Super Bowl? Should I really consider altering my investment plans based on who wins? Let’s explore this interesting consideration as we approach Super Bowl LII (or Super Bowl 52 if you didn’t take Latin in high school). The Super Bowl The inaugural Super Bowl took place in January 1967. The Green Bay Packers, who had already won several NFL championships in that decade, beat the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs. The Super Bowl developed so that the NFL (National Football League) champions could play the AFL (American Football League) champions. The NFL started in 1920, while the AFL began its first season in 1960. Before the 1970 season, the AFL joined the NFL, forming the NFC (National Football Conference) and the corresponding AFC (American Football Conference). To even out the number of …

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A Genetic Test to Spot Health Risks

Scientists first mapped the human genome 14 years ago. Since then, they have learned a lot about genetics, and someday that wisdom may lead to a cure for many diseases. But we’re not there yet. There’s “a ton we don’t understand,” says Lawrence Brody, director of the genomics and society division at the National Human Genome Research Institute. Keep that in mind if you take advantage of the first “direct to consumer” genetic test for health risks. That test became available in the spring, when 23andMe, a DNA testing firm, was the first company to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration to sell directly to consumers–without a prescription–a genetic test that screens for certain health risks. Here’s how it works: You pay $199 to order a Health and Ancestry kit online from 23andMe.com. When it arrives, you spit into a tube and mail it back. Two months later, …

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Banks Look to Life Insurance for Future Growth

The Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association (LIMRA) says almost a third of U.S. households don’t carry life insurance, and many more don’t carry enough coverage. Part of the reason may be outreach: Even people who know they need more life insurance say they haven’t bought it because they haven’t been approached by a financial professional. More than half of responding households said in 2016 that they would be more likely to buy if advised by trusted financial professionals, which represents an opportunity for banks and credit unions. Profit margins on bank sales of life insurance tend to be strong, and consumers tend to trust their bankers. “It’s an easy sell when you are at the bank, in front of an adviser, and already in the mindset of your financial future,” says JC  Matthews, co-founder of Simply Insurance (simplyinsurance.co), an online insurance service. Here’s what you need to know. More …

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What Impact Will the New Tax Policy Have?

While Republicans are touting a victory in the passage and signing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, it will take some time before most changes go into effect. And with all the sweeping changes in the law, tweaks and fixes are likely in the coming months, experts say. “It’s important to remember that it could be years before the IRS does its interpretation of the tax changes and even longer, if ever, before those interpretations are tested by courts,” says Steven Weil, Ph.D., president and tax manager of RMS Accounting, an accounting and bookkeeping firm. “There are sure to be errors, and corrections that Congress will have to make. How long these will take and how many there will be is anyone’s guess.” In the meantime you may see a few changes sooner, depending on some variables. It Depends on How You File One of the main changes is …

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DOL Proposes Changes to AHP Rules

President Donald Trump issued an executive order last year to expand access to association health plans (AHP). The Employee Benefits Security Administration, part of the U.S. Labor Department, recently issued proposed rule changes that would help expand AHPs under the Affordable Care Act. It’s an effort to help provide more options for small employers looking for other insurance plans besides the small group health insurance market, which has been plagued with higher prices and fewer coverage options. “Association health plans are typically offered as packaged insurance programs to employers within a certain geographic region, such as from local chambers of commerce, or industry, such as statewide trade associations as a benefit of membership of the association,” says Chris Wolpert, managing member and employee benefits adviser at Group Benefit Solutions, an employee benefits management firm. Expanding the rules could mean changes for the insurance industry. Here’s what you need to know. …

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