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Friday Financial Five - August 21, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015


Fed still on track for September rate hike

Based on the most recent Fed minutes, it appears the United States is on track for a rate hike in September. While August employment numbers and the continued turmoil overseas prevent it from being a done deal, the majority of Fed governors appear in favor of the hike. Housing and the strength of the dollar continue to be strong, while oil prices continue to be suppressed. Markets reacted strongly and negatively on Thursday to the news.

Harvard professor is new Dallas Fed president

Speaking of the Federal Reserve, they will have a new voice when Robert Kaplan, an associate dean at the Harvard Business School, joins next month. Kaplan was recently named as outspoken Richard Fisher’s replacement as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, which covers Texas and parts of Louisiana and New Mexico. He’ll be present at next meeting’s all-important discussion regarding a rate increase but won’t be able to vote until 2017.

More planning from private school to college

The 2015-2016 school year is just beginning but that doesn’t mean it’s ever too early to start planning for next year, regardless of a child’s age. The CFP Board notes different ways to attack the cost of private schooling. While 529 plans are college only, Coverdell and custodial accounts can be used during elementary and secondary schooling. Another interesting possibility to explore is the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, where gifted children can get private schooling at a qualifying public school. On the college front, a recent clarification by the Department of Education for the 2016-2017 college aid formula still hurts the middle class, according to Troy Onink in Forbes.

Least expensive states for health insurance

A variable in retirement spending that can sometimes cause problems is health related expenses, especially for those people relocating. A new app, created by a company called Healthview Services, attempts to quantify projected health insurance costs in each state, including Medicare A and B plus supplementary coverage. According to the application, the least expensive state for a 65 year old retiring and facing 20 years in retirement is, amazingly, Hawaii. Vermont is the second least costly. The most expensive states are Michigan, Florida and Nevada.

JP Morgan looking at possible fine of $150 million

Another week, another possible settlement by one of the nation’s largest banks. JP Morgan is facing a $150 million payment to the SEC, stemming from the bank selling its own proprietary products to clients without proper disclosure. According to JP Morgan, the focus is on the private bank’s “disclosures concerning the use of hedge funds that pay placement-agent fees to J.P. Morgan Chase broker-dealer affiliates”.

Dan Forbes is a regular contributor on financial issues. He is a CFP Board Ambassador. He leads the firm Forbes Financial Planning, Inc in East Greenwich, RI and can be reached at [email protected].


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