“The most important implication of the increase in optimism is that it has raised expectations for the performance of the economy. President-elect Trump must provide early evidence of positive economic growth as well as act to keep positive consumer expectations aligned with performance. Either too slow growth or too high expectations represent barriers to maintaining high levels of consumer confidence.”In his December Investment Outlook, Bill Gross cautioned while many aspects of Trump’s agenda – tax cuts, deregulation, fiscal stimulus – are good for stocks over the near term, investors should keep an eye on the longer term, as protectionist policies could restrict trade and, together with a strong dollar, could hurt corporate profits. European stocks also moved higher last week after the European Central Bank (ECB) announced a taper. Quantitative easing will continue through 2017, but ECB purchases will fall each month beginning in April.
Divorced? You May Want To Investigate Spousal BenefitsIf you weren’t the top wage earner in your marriage, or your job was raising the children, then Social Security’s spousal benefit could prove advantageous. It provides the lower-earning spouse with 50 percent of the higher-earning spouse’s benefit at full retirement age, even if you’re no longer married. AARP.org explained:
“Social Security operates with a philosophy that a divorced person may deserve a personal benefit, having been the long-term partner and helpmate of a member of the workforce. The benefit is similar, in fact, to the spousal benefit that is available to a person who is still married.”To qualify, you do have to answer ‘yes’ to a significant list of requirements:
- You were married for at least 10 years
- You are unmarried now
- You are age 62 or older
- Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security benefits
- The benefit you qualify to receive, based on your work, is less than the benefit your ex-spouse qualifies to receive