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The Retired Investor: Financial Markets Face Year of Unknowns
By Bill Schmick,
04:45PM / Thursday, December 08, 2022
Historically, mid-term election years are notoriously periods of underperformance in the stock market. The post-election year is a different story altogether. Will 2023 be one of those years?   The average return for the stock market in the 12 months after elections has been 16.3 percent.   2022 will qualify in history as one of those underperforming mid-term election years. To date, the benchmark S&P 500 Index, has lost roughly 20 percent thus far and may end the year even lower.   Historically, looking back to 1932, S&P 500 returns have averaged 14 percent in a split Congress and 13 percent in a Republican-held Congress under a Democratic

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The Retired Investor: Inflation Versus Wages
By Bill Schmick,
04:20PM / Thursday, December 01, 2022
American workers are making more dollars per hour than they did before the pandemic. That's the good news. The bad news is that inflation is wiping away most of those gains and the rate of wage growth is slowing.   Most Americans look at their paychecks today and feel pretty good. However, they realize that after spending on essentials such as food, fuel, education, and health, they realize that their wages are not keeping up with the cost of living.    "Real wages on average are falling, not rising," says San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly, summing up the present state of wage growth.   To be sure, there was a one-time surge

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The Retired Investor: Time to Rebuild the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?
By Bill Schmick,
03:19PM / Friday, November 25, 2022
The nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SRP) has been reduced by more than 25 percent over the last year. That is the lowest level in 40 years. Oil had dropped below $80 a barrel mark this week, causing some critics to argue that it might be time to start building the SRP back up. I disagree.   My reasoning centers on a handful of geopolitical events that could send oil prices soaring in the first week of December. To understand how important the SRP might be in that case, one needs to know more about the Biden administration's use of the SRP since 2021.   A year ago this month, on Nov. 23, 2021, President Joe Biden announced the release of oil from

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The Retired Investor: U.S. Veterans Gaining Jobs
By Bill Schmick,
03:26PM / Friday, November 18, 2022
The unemployment rate for veterans in the U.S. is 2.5 percent. That is a level that is 1.2 percentage points lower than the national unemployment rate. Much of this declining jobless trend can be attributed to the success of hiring, training, and education programs of businesses and the government.   Today, veterans account for 7 percent of the civilian population, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so that's good news for the overall economy. Granted, the tight labor market and demand for workers after the COVID-19 pandemic, have helped everyone seeking a job find one.   In the case of veterans, they have had some extra help from the U.S.

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The Retired Investor: Inflation Hits COVID Dog Owners
By Bill Schmick,
04:35PM / Thursday, November 10, 2022
More than 23 million Americans purchased or adopted pets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, these new pet owners are discovering that the costs of caring for these pets are climbing higher and higher as inflation takes its toll.   The annual inflation rate over 12 months ending in June 2022 was 9.1 percent. We all know what this has done to food prices, rents, energy, etc. One subset of the population that has been especially hard hit by rising inflation is pet owners, according to a recent study by Veterinarians.org. Their Special Reports Team surveyed 1,000 U.S. pet owners to find out how they were coping with inflation. The results are not

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