As a consumer, you’ve probably visited a franchise at least once in the last month. But have you ever thought about owning one? If you’re the entrepreneurial type and looking for a career change or another income stream, it might be worth considering. This kind of business venture allows you to be your own boss and offers more structure than a startup. There are pros and cons to owning a franchise, of course, and some questions to ask yourself before taking the plunge.

Which brand is right for me?
While all franchises follow a similar high-level model, no two businesses are alike. It’s critical to select one that seems truly invested in their franchisees’ success. Ranked lists of the best and worst franchises can shed light on what to look for (e.g., creative marketing) and what to avoid (e.g., high fees).

How can I acquire information?
Once you’ve identified a potential franchise, you’ll want to deepen your understanding of the day-to-day operations and learn all of the ins and outs. Attend a Discovery Day, a soft sales event where you can interact face-to-face with franchisors, ask questions and get a better sense of the brand. And they’ll want to get to know you, as well, before moving forward.

Who can assist me?
Of course, investing in a franchise is a big commitment and life event. When it comes to financial decisions of this scale, it’s wise to consult a business law attorney to review your franchise agreement before you sign. And you’ll want to look at the money side of things with an expert to help you frame your expectations and evaluate how this new business will impact other areas of your financial plan. Think a franchise might be for you? Get in touch.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.

No matter how much fun your summer is shaping up to be, it’s no time to put your finances on pause. Take a look at the past six months to gauge how you can adjust your strategic or tactical actions to ensure you’re making steady progress toward your financial goals.

Check In With Your Cash Flow
Is your spending under control, leaving you with a chunk of untouched income each and every month? If not, take a deep dive into your budget to see what your dollars are doing, and tighten that proverbial belt. And make sure your emergency fund is full so you’re not tempted to reach for short-term, high-interest debt when an unexpected need arises.

Look at Long-Term Goal Progress
If your cash flow and emergency fund are in good shape, point that unspent monthly chunk toward larger goals like retirement, kids’ college funds or other investment vehicles. Research has shown that time in the market may be more effective than trying to time the market. Now is an optimal opportunity to diligently and consistently fund investment accounts linked to your long-term goals.

Make Adjustments Based on Life Changes
Have there been any births, deaths, breakups, job promotions or other notable life changes since 2017 began? Milestone events can impact your financial plan and priorities in many ways.

You may need to tweak your insurance coverage, amend your estate planning documents or revisit the beneficiaries listed for your various accounts and policies. Let the appropriate professionals know; they will have the best guidance for each situation, but only if they’re aware of these changes in the first place.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.

True wealth is more than what you earn; what you retain and maintain also matters. Proper insurance coverage helps by protecting your assets from risks that can subtract value or cause costly harm. But do you have ample coverage? High net worth individuals often don’t. Many experience an insurance gap and require attention that’s above and beyond the scope of traditional mainstream products.

Umbrella Coverage for Reduced Liability
Sometimes those with significant wealth can be attractive litigation targets, even after less severe situations like a simple fender bender. Consider adding another layer of protection with an umbrella policy. This additional coverage picks up where your existing insurance leaves off to give you extra security and peace of mind.

Extensive Coverage for Real Estate
Whether you monetize them as rental homes or enjoy them as vacation getaways, having multiple properties in your portfolio can pose unique complications when it comes to homeowners insurance. Review your situation with a fine-toothed comb to properly insure personal property, and keep in mind that high-dollar items, like jewelry and art, may require additional endorsements.

Individualized Attention to Insurance Needs
Sophisticated asset protection may require different types of coverage. If you’re working directly with an agent who’s beholden to a single insurance company, you may be missing out on better, more protective alternatives from other insurers. An independent personal insurance manager can pick and choose policies from multiple insurers to get you coverage that’s customized to your needs.

Just because you’re adept at acquiring assets doesn’t mean you’re as savvy when it comes to protecting them. Choosing the right policies to insure your property will help guard your net worth against unexpected drops in value due to accident, theft and more.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.

A long-term savings strategy like planning for retirement relies on small steps taken over an extended period of time. Make sure you’re on track by avoiding these common mistakes.

Underfunding Retirement Accounts
Are you among the 71 percent of Americans who aren’t putting enough away for retirement? The most effective determining factors of a well-funded retirement are how early you start and how much you save. Aim to contribute the maximum amount allowable into your retirement accounts each year. If that’s a stretch, commit to increasing contributions to retirement accounts any time your income climbs, whether it’s from annual raises or salary boosts when you change jobs.

Ignoring Tax Ramifications
If you’re early in your wealth-building journey or you anticipate a lower-than-usual income this year, it may be worthwhile to take advantage of your lower tax rate and make Roth contributions in your retirement accounts. Just make sure your employer-sponsored retirement plan has a Roth option. If your income disqualifies you from making Roth IRA contributions, consider Roth conversions.

Concentrating Your Investments Too Narrowly
Many Americans who held most of their funds in a single company or sector of stocks learned this harsh lesson during the dot-com bubble. When the bubble burst between 1999 and 2001, so did a portion of those portfolios. And the same concern goes for tying up the bulk of your wealth in your principal residence. Not only is it time-consuming and costly to convert a home to cash, but you’ll also have the added stress of finding a new place to live. Diversification is key to avoiding this mistake.

Whether retirement is a few decades away or just around the corner, the goal is to make steady progress in the right direction as you prepare for life after work.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Landing on the Fortune 500 is a pie-in-the-sky dream of many business owners. The most profitable U.S. companies that make up the latest list collectively employ 27.9 million individuals across the world and represent $840 billion in profits and $12 trillion in revenues. Who are these business dynamos and where are many of them based?

The Top 10
In June 2016, Fortune magazine took a look at 2015’s top moneymakers, most of which are household names. The No. 1 spot goes to the Arkansas-based big-box retailer Wal-Mart, followed by oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil, tech innovator Apple, insurance and investment outfit Berkshire Hathaway, and pharmaceutical distributor McKesson. Health care companies, auto manufacturers and a communications company round out the top 10.

Hot Areas for Headquarters
Many Fortune 500 company headquarters are on the East Coast — from Comcast (No. 37) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; to JetBlue Airlines (No. 405) in Long Island City, New York; to General Electric (No. 11) in Fairfield, Connecticut.

The Midwest also houses several successful centers of operation, including Motorola Solutions (No. 451) in Schaumburg, Illinois; Harley-Davidson (No. 432) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Dow Chemical (No. 56) in Midland, Michigan.

How States Rank for Business
Knowing where a state ranks on business matters and understanding their differing approaches to incentives, tax rates and more may narrow down where to move next, even if a job isn’t waiting for you upon arrival. According to Chief Executive magazine’s “Best and Worst States for Business,” Texas is the most beneficial, pro-growth spot for business owners, while California ranks lowest.

As we begin a new year, one way of exploring the economic landscape ahead of us is to examine the biggest revenue generators in America and the impact they have on national and local scales.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.

When unexpected or worrisome financial news hits, what do you do? Constantly checking your portfolio can derail you from long-term goals, while having zero awareness of your finances can lead to reckless overspending or other bad behavior.

Information travels faster than ever these days, and it’s easy for investors to feel alarmed or panicked about finances when they read the headlines. Get a handle on financial anxiety with a few helpful strategies.

  • Start to see others’ fears as opportunities. When the markets go down, investments can lose value and appear on sale. That’s when some say it’s time to buy rather than sell. Whatever you choose, zoom out on S&P 500 charts to get some perspective and look at the long-term picture.
  • Revisit your goal-based investment plan regularly but not necessarily in response to world events. Sometimes all it takes is a check-in to remember why you have a particular portfolio set up just so. If changes must be made, consider timing them with significant life events like a birth, death, career move or change in marital status.
  • Begin incorporating mindfulness techniques and meditation into your daily life. Not only are these practices ideal for reducing anxiety and stress, which can lead to larger health conditions that are expensive to treat, but they can also improve cognition and concentration.

With the potential for more volatility on the horizon as markets tend to fluctuate during presidential election years, there’s no time like the present to practice taming financial anxiety with the above suggestions. Employing thoughtful techniques can help you stay balanced and on track, both mentally and financially.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Today’s post deals with a simple issue of terminology for investing, which you’ll see when it comes to investing is not so simple. In case you are interested, you can view a comprehensive Financial Vocabulary Booklet we’ve put together, which has many financial terms you might find helpful. Today, we’ll primarily be discussing international verses global and a few related terms. In your everyday non-financial discussions, these two terms are fairly interchangeable. But, not when it comes to investing.

Global – These are investments that are supposed to encompass investing in the entire world. However, keep in mind that often times these investments will exclude all or some emerging market countries. So you have to read prospectuses carefully. Sometimes finance people will refer to Global as being Domestic plus International, which brings us to our next two terms.

International – These are investments that are supposed to encompass the world other than the domestic United States. Sometimes these investments may be referred to as Ex-US, which is short for excluding the United States. Again, these investments will usually exclude emerging markets, so most often International really means developed markets that are non-US.

Developed markets are generally markets which are considered larger, more established, and with more liquidity. As of  2008 the Financial Times of London Stock Exchange (FTSE) classified the following countries as developed: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. Everything else is considered emerging markets.

Emerging markets are non-developed markets. Generally markets in these countries are smaller, less established, and have less liquidity. Emerging markets are actually then subdivided into three categories, which are advanced, secondary, and frontier. I won’t go into those today.

Domestic – This is perhaps one of the more confusing financial terms because domestic should be relative, but most often for investment fund names it is not. What I mean by this is that if you are Australian and live in Australia, domestic should mean “in Australia”, but it doesn’t mean that with most investment fund nomenclature. Most often, but not always, when describing investment funds, the term domestic is synonymous with the United States, which is good for you if you are an American living in the United States. Just remember, domestic is still a relative term in other contexts, including other financial contexts. So, it never hurts to confirm that a domestic investment is referring to the US, particularly if you are looking at an investment that is less broadly traded, is managed in another country, or has some other reason to be dissociated with the United States.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Did you miss Adrian’s brief commentary about Brexit on WBBJ? View it here!

Well, the people of the United Kingdom (UK) have made their voices heard and voted for Brexit. As you are likely already aware by now, Brexit is the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU). And, Brexit is not the only European upheaval on the horizon. In case you missed it, I wrote over two weeks ago about keeping a watchful eye on several European issues to be mindful of in the third paragraph of the “May Jobs Report and the Fed” blogpost. If you’d like more detail on the logistics of Brexit, BBC News has a good piece on the UK’s referendum, but despite calling the piece “All you need to know”, there is a great deal left untold.

What we know:

The first step in a series of steps for the UK to leave the EU: It is important to keep in mind that the“referendum” vote by the people was merely the first step. No official exit has actually taken place yet. While I anticipate the UK to leave officially, it is still not absolutely certain as the politicians could choose not to act on the will of the people. There is already some resistance, but I find it likely that should politicians delay too much, you’ll find the people of the UK ready to replace them to make this happen. Assuming Brexit moves forward without delay, it is still estimated that it may take as long as two years for Brexit to be completed.

Uncertainty yields market flights to safety: There is significant uncertainty not only about the ramifications of the Brexit vote, but even more so regarding how the markets will react years into the future regarding those ramifications. However, that uncertainty could yield positive or negative outcomes depending on what actions are taken from here. Keep in mind that what we have seen in the markets thus far is not based on what investors know; rather it is based on what investors don’t know. I encourage you not to assume that Brexit means doom nor that Brexit means boom!

More on the horizon: Spain, while shadowed by the Brexit vote, had a major election on June 26th that adds the European uncertainty. Despite claims by the People’s Party Mariano Rajoy to have “won”, the vote leaves in place political stalemates because the Party is short of a majority to take actions without consensus from opposing leadership. Furthermore, Greece faces major debt payments of over ~$11 billion over the next several weeks. And finally, France is having major issues with strategic fuel reserves. In mid-May, the French government estimated it had 115 days of reserves left, but the issue is more about logistics and as summer fuel demand increases, this could be another major economic issue to contend with.

Media, government and sales fearmongering: One thing which is already occurring from the Brexit vote is fearmongering. The media is one place where you should expect such to occur.  Here is about 60 seconds of media fearmongering if you already haven’t had enough. There’s no doubt that most major news sources will be playing up the worst aspects for news ratings for some time.

Another source which I anticipate to continue with the fear tactics will be governments. There may or may not be as much coming out of the UK, but certainly expect any other country entertaining an exit to have its leadership use every tactic possible. In particular, I don’t expect Brexit to be completely smooth sailing. Watch for political leadership to seize on any negative Brexit issues for all they’re worth.

Finally, those selling financial newsletters or certain investments such as precious metals will certainly use this to their advantage. And, while I’m not completely opposed to a small holding in non-traditional investments as some advisors may be, I recommend not becoming overzealous just because of fear tactics.

Now, I’ll make some broad speculation. Keep in mind, this is speculative conjecture. Please, do not attempt to make investment decisions based on my musings; consult your investment professional.

What we don’t know:

Euro Demise: First, I think Brexit spells the eventual end for the Euro as we know it. The UK is the first of several nations that will likely exit. It is still undetermined if the EU will place trade sanctions on the UK, which have already been threatened. If the EU does, other EU countries may be more hesitant to exit and the UK will likely see some negative economic consequences. Despite sanctions, I think other nations will still eventually exit, it may just take longer. Of course “receiver” states, those which benefit more economically than they contribute may continue to try and hold the EU together. One must also consider that the UK kept the Pound as their currency in addition to the Euro, whereas other currencies such as the French Franc would have to be reintroduced, which would be more complex. Exits by stronger economic states means that if the Euro does continue to exist, it certainly will not be the currency which some thought would supplant the dollar.

Good for the UK: Economically, I believe it could be very good for the UK to exit the EU, especially if sanctions are not imposed. The UK is better positioned financially than most of the rest of the EU, and if the Pound’s value stays lower in comparison to the Euro and/or the Dollar, it will make business investment more attractive in the UK. But, not only will the UK have more economic independence, it will also have more socio-political independence. We’ve seen time and time again throughout history that more freedom means more economic prosperity. It may take years, or even decades, however I do believe that this is a good first step towards helping the UK re-establish greater financial strength and prosperity. We’ll have to see what other steps are taken by the UK to see how impactful this may be. Keep in mind that for a year or more, this could have the opposite effect. As I said before, uncertainty usually yields a flight to safety and there is a lot of uncertainty in the UK at the moment.

UK Immigration Reform: I believe there were many factors which drove the Brexit vote, not least of which were economic independence and Brits seeking smaller governance closer to home. Certainly, there were numerous socio-political and economic factors of influence. One factor not to discount is the European refugee crisis. Regardless of your personal thoughts on the refugee relocation throughout the world, one cannot deny the fact that it is putting financial strain on receiver nations and influencing the cultural landscape through Balkanization.

The Fed: I still believe the Federal Reserve Bank will raise rates as much and as fast as they feel they can. However, Brexit no doubt puts a hold on rate increases for a while.

 

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Our views may change at any time based on the constantly changing conditions that influence finance and economics. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Eddleman - WBBJ

Here’s a story I was interviewed for on WBBJ about Brexit. Obviously I had much more to say that had to be cut from the piece. Don’t forget, I actually had a brief blogpost weeks ago where I mention Brexit and what else is on the horizon. Expect more details soon in our Eddleman’s Economic Insight blog.

As you’ve probably heard on the news, the May 2016 jobs report was “disappointing”, “concerning”, and a “surprise”, or at least those were the words used by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen. In fact, May’s job creation was the worst since 2010. And, while you might hear the 4.7% unemployment figure bandied about, there’s been considerable pullback in touting this number. Even mass media are now outlining what I’ve been saying for years, which is that the government statistics are unrealistic, though I’d call the numbers plagued with deception. There are actually six different unemployment statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, I recommend persons look at the “Employment” rate for a better statistic, which is hovering at 59.7% at the moment. The Wall Street Journal has compiled a series of such alternative statistics in a recent article, The May Jobs Report in 12 Charts, but what does all this really mean regarding the economy, the Fed, and what you should be mindful of?

The Federal Reserve Bank was formed in 1913 with the purpose of stabilizing the monetary and financial systems. And, while the Fed has continued portray itself as proactive, it has become mostly reactionary. So, despite all its hints of a June rate increase up until a few days ago, I’d be very surprised if we see any change in rates. In fact, I’d classify Yellen’s comments this week as strong backpedaling. Will the Fed raise rates again this year? I think they will take every opportunity they can to raise rates as much as they can as soon as they can. I say this because the Fed wants to be able to lower rates during the next crisis without having to go negative. To do that, they have to get rates up from where they are now. But, what should you really keep your eyes on?

Well, obviously the economy is still very shaky. But, its important to distinguish between the markets and the economy. I would anticipate continued volatility over the short-term in the markets. But, the US economy is not the only place to be watchful. Europe has several, major socio-economic factors coming to turning points in June. Britain will have a vote to potentially exit the Euro on June 23rd called Brexit and polling indicates the voting will be very close with a slight lead projected at the moment for “Remain”. But, depending upon the outcome, you could see the Prime Minister David Cameron exit as well. And, Britain is not the only country potentially looking at major issues in late June/July. Spain has a major election on June 26th that could greatly impact its economic outlook. Furthermore, Greece faces major debt payments of over ~$11 billion in June and July of 2016. And finally, France is having major issues with strategic fuel reserves. In mid-May, the French government estimated it had 115 days of reserves left, but the issue is more about logistics and as summer fuel demand increases, this could be another major economic issue to contend with.

So, what should you do? Make sure you are prepared for potential volatility ahead. It is impossible to predict the outcomes of major economic drivers, much less how the market will react to such drivers. But, make sure you position yourself and your portfolio proactively, so that you can be comfortable with the outcomes whether the market goes up or down and whether those moves are a little or a lot. If you’re unsure of how you want to do that, meet with your investment professional to discuss these impending issues or give us a call, 877-5WEALTH.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.