This is an interesting survey and article. Some count wealth in terms of dollars or other possessions. Others count wealth in terms of relationships and contentment. Obviously, we need money to live our lives, but true wealth has different meanings to different people.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-15/how-much-money-do-you-need-to-be-wealthy-in-america

 

For the first time ever, there’s now a job opening available for each and every unemployed worker.  According to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), there were 6.6 million job openings in March, compared to 6.59 million unemployed workers.

The government collected $515 billion and spent $297 billion, for a total monthly surplus of $218 billion. That swamped the previous monthly record of $190 billion, set in 2001.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/may/7/cbo-says-april-was-best-month-history-us-budget/

While Target Date Funds in 401(k) plans have performed well since the Bull Market that began 2009, this article does a good job of exposing the risk in those funds.

https://www.thewealthadvisor.com/article/will-your-target-date-401k-fund-blow-your-retirement?

 

How much income do you need to afford the average home in your state?  The answer may surprise you.  Most of the nation’s housing markets have now almost completely recovered back to pre-housing-bubble levels, with many markets far surpassing those peaks.  Howmuch.net collected average home prices for every state from Zillow, and then plugged the numbers into a typical mortgage calculator.

The states needing the highest salaries to afford the average home start with Hawaii at $153,520, followed by Washington D.C., California, Massachusetts, and Colorado.  The states with lowest salaries needed to afford the average home include West Virginia at just $38,320 followed by Ohio, Michigan, Arkansas, and Missouri.

It is important to know that Social Security employees are not allowed to give you advice. By not knowing your maximized Social Security strategy prior to filing for benefits, you could lose literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here is an example of what has happened to many widows and widowers who did not file for benefits in a maximized sequential order.

https://www.nextavenue.org/social-security-shortchanging-widows-widowers/

Do you have at least $10,000 saved for retirement?  If so, congratulations, you’ve managed to put away more than 40% of all working-age Americans.  A recent survey from Bankrate.com found that despite the brisk jobs market and increasing wages, Americans still aren’t saving much.  Only 16% of survey respondents stated they saved at least the recommended 15% of their earnings, while 40% report saving none to just 5%.

Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate stated that while the economy might be prospering now, it won’t last forever.  “With a steady, significant share of the working population saving nothing or relatively little, it’s virtually guaranteed that they’ll be unable to afford a modest emergency expense or finance retirement,” Hamrick said.  The main reason American’s aren’t saving?  Expenses.  It seems obvious that “Expenses” would be a prime reason for not saving among those on the lower rungs of the income ladder, but shockingly, “Expenses” is also the biggest reason why members of the upper middle class don’t save enough as well.  These folks live beyond their means in McMansions, take hugely expensive frequent vacations, eat out too often and drive unnecessarily fancy automobiles.

Bankrate’s blunt advice: downsize your house, sell the cars, stay home more often and – most importantly – live below your means so that there’s always something left over to save.

Here is some interesting economic news…

 

The Port of Los Angeles moved more cargo in 2017 than in any time in the Port’s 110-year history, racking up 9,343,192 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), a 5.5 percent increase over 2016’s record-breaking year. It’s the most cargo moved annually by a Western Hemisphere port.

“We are powering Los Angeles’ economy to new heights every year, because we know that lasting prosperity means investing boldly in jobs, opportunity, and growth,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The success of our Port tells the story of a city whose moment has arrived — and we will continue pushing forward as we expand our role in the global economy.”

https://www.portoflosangeles.org/newsroom/2018_releases/news_011218_2017_TEUs.asp

 

U.S. oil production is expected this year to surpass Saudi Arabia’s output, upending a global pecking order that has been a basis for U.S.-Middle Eastern policy for decades.

Crude output in the U.S. will likely climb above 10 million barrels a day in 2018, which would top the high set in 1970, the International Energy Agency said Friday.

The IEA, a Paris-based organization that advises governments and companies, raised its outlook for U.S. crude supply this year by 260,000 barrels a day, to a record 10.4 million barrels a day, largely a result of the recent rally in crude prices.

Saudi Arabia produces just under 10 million barrels a day, under an agreement with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. The kingdom said it has the capacity to produce 12 million barrels a day. But it has never pumped more than 10.5 million daily and has pledged to limit output this year.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-crude-production-expected-to-surpass-saudi-arabia-in-2018-1516352405

 

The market has had a very good year – in my opinion it is partly due to the expectation that we will see tax cuts this year. But what happens to those expectations if tax cuts are not passed?

This, from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin…

“There is no question that the rally in the stock market has baked into it reasonably high expectations of us getting tax cuts and tax reform done,” Mnuchin said in the interview. “To the extent we get the tax deal done, the stock market will go up higher. But there’s no question in my mind that if we don’t get it done you’re going to see a reversal of a significant amount of these gains.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/18/mnuchin-tax-bill-markets-tank-243890

Yet another reason why having a plan for dealing with the downside of the market is so important.

 

This is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified investment advisor before making investment decisions. Past performance does not indicate future results.

This has to be the perfect example of the adage that three things are important in real estate: location, location, location.

Posting from www.361capital.com