State of the Housing Market in 2018

State of the Housing Market in 2018: Location, location, retirement As we look toward 2018, the housing market continues to show few signs of slowing down, although there are hints of developing headwinds. While it’s true that housing prices are very much geographically based, across the entire U.S., experts are predicting home prices to rise about 4.5 – 5.5% this year. Let’s examine a few facts and predictions: Current State of Housing  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, home ownership stands at about 64%. As the end of 2017, the median home value in the United States was $203,400. From 2012-2017, the median sales price of existing homes has increased by the following amounts: 6.6%; 11.4%; 5.8%; 6.5%; 5.1% and 5.8%. The low inventory has driven up the median home value by 48% since 2011. Existing home sales are projected to be unchanged at about 5.6 million after rising 6.3%, 3.8% …

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401k Loans: Pros and Cons

You might be considering taking out a loan from your 401k. But before you do, you should know the rules and weigh the risks against the benefits. Because not knowing the rules and understanding the risks might hurt you and your retirement in the long-term. Consider this for a Second Most of us simply do not have enough in our 401k where we can afford to borrow. According to Fidelity Investments, the average 401k balance was approximately $91,000. And while that is a lot of money, it won’t cover the average retiree’s health-care costs. Fidelity projects that a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2014 will incur an average of $220,000 in retirement healthcare costs alone. Before you take out that 401k loan, know this: According to the IRS: the maximum amount that the plan can permit as a loan is (1) the greater of $10,000 or 50% of your vested account …

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Human Capital is More Valuable to Economies Than Physical Assets

Human capital is more than twice as valuable to the global economy as physical capital, but business leaders often overestimate the value of tangible forms of capital and underestimate the importance of employees to their company’s performance, a study commissioned by executive search firm Korn Ferry has concluded. The report, “The trillion-dollar difference,” outlines the findings of a survey of more than 800 global business leaders that was conducted in August and September 2016, as well as of a global economic analysis that was conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research. The report was released on December 15, 2016. To quantify the relative value of human and physical capital, researchers developed a lifetime income calculation for measuring human capital that encompasses the ability of people to perform labor and add productive value over time. Physical capital was measured by the value of tangible means of production (such as …

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What You Need to Know About Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies made big news in December when the leading cryptocurrency, bitcoin, lost about a third of its value in a day. The tumble raised questions about cryptocurrencies in general — are they good investments? Can they really take the place of mainstream currencies? What does the future hold? Understanding cryptocurrencies is key to getting the most out of them. They are are a nontangible form of currency that exists exclusively in a digital database called a blockchain, says Fred Schebesta, CEO and co-founder of Finder.com, a financial comparison website. They let users transfer real-life assets such as cars, money and property instantly and without the involvement of third parties. They represent an opportunity for financial professionals, but like any investment they need to be carefully researched before you jump in. “Approach all tokens with a sense of discovery and skepticism,” says Joseph Bradley, director of investor relations at Apex Token …

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Make the Most of Your Pretax Deductions

Don’t set it and forget it when it comes to pretax contributions. The money that comes out of your paycheck before taxes can work for you, but only if you manage it properly. Many employees mismanage or underutilize the pretax deduction programs that employers offer, says Joe Holberg, founder and CEO of Holberg Financial, so it’s important to learn as much as you can about your options. “The first major step is to know what is available to you. This is when you read the nitty-gritty paperwork, reach out to the HR person and figure out what portions of the pretax opportunities make sense for you.” Follow this checklist to get the most out of your pretax deductions. HSAs You can get a health savings account only if you have a high-deductible health plan — but once you open the account, it sticks with you even if you change jobs. …

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