Lemonade from A Barrel of Lemons

The May inflation report did little to ease concerns of a coming recession. Overall inflation was up 8.6% year over year, even more than the 8.3% in April. The most volatile segments of the inflation report, food and energy, were up 10% and 35%, respectively. These segments are particularly affected by the Ukrainian War. Investors are concerned that the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) interest rate increases in response to this inflation will slow the economy too much. That is, higher rates and a tighter money supply will slow demand for goods…

0 Comments

Reading the Tea Leaves

Any reading of the financial media focuses on all the problems confronted by the markets. Inflation ravages purchasing power and the Federal Reserve (Fed) responds by raising interest rates. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine crimps food and energy supplies and destabilizes the world order. It’s not all bad news though - there is strength in our current economy. The April jobs report showed an increase of 428,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 3.6%. Job openings of 11.5 million are at record highs. We’ve almost fully recovered from the pandemic job…

0 Comments

A Longer-Term Perspective on Oil Price Spikes

As the situation between Russia and Ukraine has escalated from threatened invasion to an outright war, investors and consumers find themselves facing a rapid spike in oil prices. This development is nothing new. Oil prices have a long history of extreme short-term reactions to events both economic and geopolitical. We appreciate the angst investors and consumers feel from a sharp increase in oil prices. We believe that today’s elevated prices will prove similar to past spikes and move toward more moderate levels over time. It is important to remember that…

0 Comments

The Growing Fascination with Community Property Trusts for Income Tax Planning Purposes

Throughout 2021, there has been much speculation surrounding an increase in income tax rates, a sizable reduction in the gift and estate tax exemption, also known as the applicable exemption amount, and the possible loss of a common tax cost basis adjustment, referred to as basis “step-up,” at death. For now, it appears that the proposed Build Back Better Act legislation is dormant; for exactly how long is anyone’s guess. Currently, the step-up basis adjustment at death remains intact, as does the applicable exemption amount, which increased to $12.06 million…

0 Comments