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The Retired Investor: Stock Market & Midterm Elections
By Bill Schmick,
06:37PM / Thursday, June 23, 2022
The stock market does not perform well in the year leading up to midterm elections. This year's election may just add to the overall woes besetting equities.   Historically, the average annual return of the benchmark S&P 500 Index in the 12 months before the Nov. 5 election is 0.3 percent, versus the historical average of 8.1 percent in non-midterm years. In 2022, of course, with the S&P 500 down more than 20 percent, those historical numbers look pretty good. Unfortunately, volatility also tends to rise before and after midterm elections.   But this year is different, you might say, since we are witnessing the first European war in decades, as well

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The Retired Investor: Natural Gas Prices Fall But For How Long?
By Bill Schmick,
04:30PM / Thursday, June 09, 2022
Only recently have investors' focus shifted from $120 a barrel of oil to the soaring price of natural gas. Given the many uses of natural gas, from heating and cooling and generating electricity to the production of plastics and petrochemicals, the direction of prices could be critical to our economic well-being.   On Wednesday, June 8, 2022, natural gas prices fell over 10 percent after a fire at a Texas liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminal shut down the Freeport LNG facility for at least three weeks.  The terminal accounts for 16 percent of U.S. export capacity. Gas prices fell because for a brief time, that gas will flow into the domestic market depressing

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The Retired Investor: The Gun Industry Is Doing Just Fine
By Bill Schmick,
03:12PM / Friday, June 03, 2022
Despite the carnage caused by firearms, the business of manufacturing, marketing, and selling guns to Americans is thriving. What is worse, it appears that efforts to control and regulate the industry may only increase sales.   During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-2021), gun purchases accelerated. More than 5 million adults becoming first-time gun owners compared to 2.4 million in 2019, according to a survey published by the Annals of Internal Medicine. Approximately half of all new gun owners were female, and nearly half were people of color. Month after month, sales of guns have surpassed 1 million units for 33 months in a row.   This year (so far),

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The Retired Investor: Wealth Effect Cuts Both Ways
By Bill Schmick,
04:54PM / Thursday, May 26, 2022
Economists know that consumers spend more when their wealth increases, even if their income remains the same. However, if wealth decreases, the opposite occurs.     The concept, known as the wealth effect, has spurred the economy for well more than a decade as savers' 401(k) and other retirement accounts increased year after year. At the same time, real estate values have also risen. Of course, most of the time these gains are only paper profits unless you sell your house or withdraw money from your portfolios.   Nonetheless, there is a behavioral element to this concept. People tend to spend more when stocks and housing prices continue to climb

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The Retired Investor: Interest-Only mortgages Risky In Rising Rate Environment.
By Bill Schmick,
10:06AM / Saturday, May 21, 2022
Over the past decade, as interest rates declined, some home buyers gravitated towards interest-only loans. However, times are changing, and borrowers should be careful in considering this kind of mortgage loan.   During the past two years, many financial lenders have tightened credit standards across most loan types. The combination of the coronavirus pandemic, supply shortages, inflation and the impact of the Ukraine war has created a drag on the U.S. economy. A slowing economy increases the risks of lending, thus tighter standards emerge.   Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored enterprises that back most mortgages exclude interest-only

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