Our Thoughts

FJY News to Know #37

Asian Markets Surge Due to Proposed Trade Meetings

Shares rose in Asia late last week after plans were announced for more trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing.  Indices in Japan, Australia, and China all inched up.  On the other hand, the Dow surged almost 400 points, with bond yields jumping also.  As most investors expected, the price of gold fell as a consequence of this new international confidence.  The markets also reacted to recent positive nonfarm payroll numbers.  For more economic perspective and a breakdown of the different forces at work, click here.

An Open Letter to Congress From Three Former SSA Commissioners Seeks to Fix its Growing Customer Service Crisis

This year the Social Security Administration is expected to pay $1.1 trillion in benefits to 69 million recipients of retirement and disability benefits, and other supplemental income. The agency says it’s beneficiary rolls will increase 43% over the next two decades.  However, since 2010 67 field offices have closed, and phone wait time has nearly doubled.  The former commissioners propose that Congress eliminate the requirement that the SSA’s budget is included in the 2011 Budget Control Act.  Read more details about the crisis here.

President Trump Plans on Privatizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

It’s been roughly a decade since the 2008 meltdown.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were both bailed out by the government, costing the latter $190 billion.  Last week the Trump administration proposed a plan to yank the two companies out of government sponsorship.  There is no deadline yet, however, as it’s being left to the Federal Housing Finance Agency to determine when the two could safely operate on their own.  To learn more about the Treasury Department’s plan, click here.

Last Week — Expressed in 13 Dramatic Photos

Fires are still raging in the Amazon rainforest.  There are roughly 70,000 fires throughout the region.  Many are due to farmers clearing land for agriculture.  Conflict in the West Bank continues between the Palestinians and the Israeli government.  The first Costco opened in China, creating significant queues at the store.  Training has kicked off for the Red Bull Cliff Diving competition.  To see more weekly photos, go here.

The IRA and 401k Were Not Exactly Created Equal

Due to many disappearing pensions, the IRA and 401k have become the standard method for employees putting aside money for retirement.  On the surface, they seem similar.  However, there are some marked differences between the two instruments.  For instance, you can borrow up to $10K from an IRA for a new home, although you pay taxes on it.  However, if you try this with a 401k — you’ll get hit with a penalty and tax.  For more perspective on these retirement accounts, read this.