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The Independent Investor: Are Americans Saving Enough for Retirement?
By Bill Schmick,
05:00PM / Thursday, May 17, 2018
If you simply read the headlines, you would assume that over half of Americans aged 55 and over, have no savings as they approach retirement. That's a dramatic statement, but is it true?   Most statisticians derive that data by adding up those who have an IRA or similar tax-deferred savings account such as a 401(k). The latest data compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank's Survey of Consumer Finance indicated that 53 percent of households, age 55 to 64, had some savings in those tax-deferred accounts. So, yes, by that standard, almost half of all Americans fail the savings test.   But what about all the people who work for the government? There are 22

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@the Market: Stocks Look Ready to Reach New Highs
By Bill Schmick,
10:25AM / Saturday, May 12, 2018
The S&P 500 Index had its best week in two months. All the averages made good gains and investor sentiment numbers are improving. We could see a return to the January highs before summer unless something comes out of left field.   Left field has become a familiar place for the markets under the present political regime, but not all the news has been negative on that front. Take the release of three American prisoners by North Korea as an example. Kudos to the president for that one. Then there is the Iran nuclear deal — another campaign promise kept. Why are these important?   An American politician willing to keep his campaign promises is a historical

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The Independent Investor: What's Up With Oil?
By Bill Schmick,
11:00AM / Friday, May 11, 2018
Two years ago, the experts were telling us that the price of oil would continue to fall. Twelve-dollar oil was a real possibility. The end of OPEC was nigh as well as their ability to influence geopolitics. It appears those predictions were premature.   The price of oil has more than doubled over that time, from roughly $30 a barrel in the spring of 2016 to over $71 a barrel today for West Texas Intermediate crude. Those same experts now expect the price could gain further, but there is no agreement on how much higher it can go.   The "swing" factor in that equation is firmly in the hands of American shale producers. They are the culprit of the past

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@theMarket: China Worries Dominate Markets
By Bill Schmick,
04:59PM / Friday, May 04, 2018
You would think an unemployment rate that hit 3.9 percent in April would have cheered the market. It was, after all, the lowest such rate in 18 years. But no, all eyes were focused on the first round of China/U.S. trade talks, which conclude today.   The American team includes Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and two, hardline China hawks: Robert Lighthizer, our trade rep, and the administration's trade and manufacturing adviser, Peter Navarro. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin heads the team that is trying, according to the President 's tweet, "trying to negotiate a level playing field."   What we would like to see from the Chinese is a

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The Independent Investor: Financial Scams Targeted at Elderly Are Epidemic
By Bill Schmick,
04:50PM / Thursday, May 03, 2018
As Baby Boomers age, the volume of reported financial scams directed against them continues to escalate. By some estimates, more than $37 billion a year is now being stolen from America's elderly. And those are only the reported cases.   It is estimated that 5 million Americans are bilked by con artists every year. Some financial firms believe the total can exceed $37.5 billion annually. The Office of Children and Family Services in New York begs to disagree. They say that in their state alone $1.5 billion a year is stolen. And for every case that is reported, 44 are not.   Aside from the impact of losing their entire savings, elder fraud victims are dying

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