Fee-Only Financial Planning in North Carolina

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Monthly Archives: December 2009

Can we balance federal & state budgets ?

The Economist had a fascinating article on potential methods of addressing the US federal & state budget gaps (canyons, actually). The upshot – what the Economist says, plus my 2 cents: • It will take at least a decade to get the federal annual budget deficit down to 3%. And that will rely on nothing bad happening that hits us from left field (Iran? […] Read the rest of this entry »

Estate Tax Update

This week, the US House of Representatives voted to make permanent the current estate tax exemption and rate. It is: exemption of $3.5M per person with 45% federal estate tax on assets more than this. The bill now goes to the Senate where it will face challenges to be lowered to $5M and 35%. Let’s hope the “world’s greatest deliberative body” can change the […] Read the rest of this entry »

How is the US consumer

• Consumer confidence improved from near historical lows to just above that. • Despite government gimmicks / temptations, auto buying plans dropped to an eight-month low. • Home buying plans slipped to a new 27-year low. • Plans to buy major appliances stayed at a 14-year low. • US realtors showing only 7 months supply of homes, but add 3.5M unoccupied homes from census […] Read the rest of this entry »

US Unemployment

Here is some good news. The national unemployment rate dropped 0.2% in November (from 10.2% to 10.0%). True, it dropped to the level that is 2X the widely accepted full employment level (5%), but at least it seems to have temporarily stopped getting worse. The US economy has shed jobs for 23 straight months. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data seems miss-aligned with […] Read the rest of this entry »