Total US household debt hit a record $13.15 trillion at the end of 2017, up $193 billion from the previous quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Mortgage debt and credit card debt increased most, climbing by $139 billion and $26 billion, respectively.
In a survey of advisors conducted by Jefferson National, 83% said their clients were anxious about the recent return of volatility to the stock market, but 87% said they have adjusted their clients' portfolios to mitigate the impact of a downturn. Increased cash holdings, purchases of international stocks and investment in more liquid alternatives were cited as popular strategies for reducing risk.
Brighthouse Financial said in its most recent earnings report released Monday that the company sold $2.5 billion of its Shield buffered annuities in 2017, a 50% increase over 2016 before. A recent report from the Insured Retirement Institute noted that sales of buffered annuities, which combine some of the features of indexed annuities and variable annuities, are "beginning to flourish."
Any annuity sales standard adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners should recognize federal rules governing the sale of annuities are likely to change, Cathy Weatherford, president and chief executive officer of the Insured Retirement Institute, said in comments submitted to the association. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has not formally adopted a best-interest standard, but if it does, it could serve as a "safe harbor" for annuity sales, she said.
A higher-than-expected jump in consumer prices in January is a solid indication that worker wages are rising. However, the news brought consternation for many investors, who fear more interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve this year.
A Florida appeals court found that the state's five-year statute of limitations for actions against surety bonds can start to run when a construction project is abandoned by the principal. The decision and others indicate that Florida courts "will look to the actions of the principals [on] bonds to determine when the limitations period for actions begins to run," an attorney writes.
An audit found that the recently elected tax collector of Hazle Township, Pa., is not properly bonded, and real estate tax bills have not been mailed to property owners as a result. The tax collector succeeded his father in office and submitted a bond in his father's name while he was seeking a new one for himself.
Making direct payments to subcontractors may seem like a good arrangement, but contractors need to understand the pros and cons, an attorney writes. The practice can be convenient, but extra payments can arise in cases of insolvency.
Construction starts in the US are predicted to grow 3% in 2018 and then by about 5% a year through 2022, while Canadian starts are predicted to grow 8% a year through 2020, a forecast shows. Factors behind the projected increases include growth in US gross domestic product, changes in US tax law and improvements in global trade.
Author Michael Port explains how techniques frequently used by actors can be adopted by advisors to help them gain better outcomes with clients and prospects. Port discusses the value of honesty, rehearsal and strategically applied moments of silence, among other methods.