Volatility and Its Significance

Volatility is a measure of the variation in the price of stocks.  You may remember trading days earlier this year when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (The Dow) moved up or down as much as 200 to 300 points in one day.  That is volatility.  The VIX is a chart that was created by Chicago Board Options Exchange in 1993 to track volatility.  It is used today … [Read more...]

Question: Should I take my employer pension plan in a lump sum or take annuity payments at retirement?

Like many questions, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this important question.  Professional advice is very important before you make a decision about how to receive your pension benefits. Here are some things to consider: What is your health status and possible life expectancy? If you are in poor health when you retire or you are convinced … [Read more...]

Question: Are bonds a safe place to put money that I don’t want at risk in the stock market?

Answer:  Conventional thinking says that bonds are a buffer and offer diversification from the stock market, and many people don’t realize that bonds can lose value, too.  A bond is a debt instrument.  When you buy a bond you are loaning your money to the government or a municipality or a corporation.  In return for the loan, the issuer of the bond promises … [Read more...]

A Range-Bound Market

The battle between buyers and sellers has kept the major indexes range-bound in 2015.  The Dow and the S&P are struggling to make progress with the Dow continuing to back off each time it tips above 18,000 and the S&P is struggling to get above 2,100.  The Dow closed above 18,000 for the first time ever at the end of December and reached an all-time … [Read more...]