Skip Navigation

Your Life and the Economy

Your Life and the Economy

A blog covering current economic trends, legislative activity, or major events in the world of commerce and industry… and how they’ll impact your personal finances. By Patrick Catania.

12/1/13

Reviewing the Financial Markets for 2013 and Looking Ahead to 2014

  There is no need to wait until December 31st to review the performance of the stock and bond markets for 2013; there is already plenty to talk about and even more to prepare for going forward. Read the rest of this entry…
10/24/13

Focus on Retirement: Is There Still Time to Prepare?

  In the midst of government shutdowns, looming Federal debt ceilings, and the daily diet of financial news related solely to our political deadlock and the expected impact on the economy, there is a real danger that we could take our eye off the ball with regards to our own financial well being? Read the rest of this entry…
9/17/13

Understanding Stock Market Volatility as a Means to Improving Our Investment Returns

  On a daily basis, the financial press is replete with references to “stock market volatility” and its impact on pricing and returns. But what is volatility as it applies to the stock market? Furthermore, how can our understanding of volatility work in our favor when making investment decisions? Read the rest of this entry…
7/11/13

Credit Unions Offer Many Consumers Easy Access to Important Financial Services

  Most Americans use retail banks or similar mainstream financial institutions to conduct their financial affairs, giving them ready access to some of the most efficient and sophisticated financial services in the world. But alongside these consumers, there are also millions that conduct financial transactions without ever using the well regulated and easily accessible financial services providers that are available. Read the rest of this entry…
5/9/13

Strength of the U.S. Dollar and Personal Finances

  This discussion is written as a follow-up to an article I wrote for this web site in late 2009 entitled "Strong Dollar? Weak Dollar? What Does it Mean to Individual Investors?" The same trends warrant further attention as the U.S. economy is even more entrenched in the "cheap dollar" policies of the Federal Reserve Board. Read the rest of this entry…
3/7/13

Technical Analysis and Programmed Trading

  This discussion is written as a follow-up to an article I wrote for this web site in late 2009 entitled "Strong Dollar? Weak Dollar? What Does it Mean to Individual Investors?" The same trends warrant further attention as the U.S. economy is even more entrenched in the "cheap dollar" policies of the Federal Reserve Board. Read the rest of this entry…
3/7/13

Investing in 2013: What to Look For

  As we embark on a new year, it is always good to take a look at where we have been in order to assess where we may be going when it comes to investing. If we keep a focus on three traditional areas of investment, it will be easier to keep track of what is happening and where we may want to allocate our investment dollars. Considering the stock market (equities), the bond market (fixed income investments), and real estate (both for personal use and as income property), we cover a very large portion of potential investment vehicles. Read the rest of this entry…
12/12/12

The “Fiscal Cliff” or "Dip in Road"

  For those who have followed my columns in this space, I have tried to keep you well informed on most major economic hurdles and pitfalls in recent months. Last month, I outlined the meaning of the “fiscal cliff” syndrome. With the presidential election behind us, I want to give my opinion on what the Congress may or may not do in the coming weeks. Read the rest of this entry…
11/12/12

The “Fiscal Cliff” and the European Crisis

  “Fiscal cliff” is the popular shorthand term used to describe the conundrum that the U.S. government will face at the end of 2012, when the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 are scheduled to go into effect. Read the rest of this entry…
9/20/12

Generation Y: The Road To Financial Independence As Mom And Dad Let Go

  “Fiscal cliff” is the popular shorthand term used to describe the conundrum that the U.S. government will face at the end of 2012, when the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 are scheduled to go into effect. Read the rest of this entry…
8/1/12

Generation Y: How To Help Our Children Achieve Financial Independence

  “It's pretty clear that young people are facing a lot of things that our parents didn't—[including] student loan debt and very low job placement rates among recent grads. That's a pretty devastating combination," says Zac Bissonnette, recent college graduate and author of How to Be Richer, Smarter, and Better-Looking Than Your Parents, a popular and well-received new personal finance book for young people. Read the rest of this entry…
6/21/12

Buy Or Rent? Addressing Our Need For Housing

  The last five years have provided consumers with every possible positive and negative element of the real estate market. Amazingly, each of these elements has been both extremely positive and extremely negative during those five years. Real estate values, mortgage rates, closing costs, loan requirements, real estate taxes, and employment status have each grabbed the headlines regularly prior to and during the current economic downturn. Those who purchased homes right before the collapse of the economy were undoubtedly dealt the worst blow. Read the rest of this entry…
5/9/12

Long Term Financial Security Part II

  Last month I offered some perspective regarding management of our own personal financial well-being. The crux of my argument was that we need to remove our fears, anxieties, historical perspectives, and previous investment results from our vision of what we want to achieve and where we want to be financially, moving forward. I maintained that professional advice, or at least very well-informed advice, is needed in order to continually improve our chances for financial success. Read the rest of this entry…
4/1/12

Long Term Financial Security

  During the life of this column, I have often recommended the use of financial advisors to help map out your plans for long term financial security. This perspective is particularly applicable to today’s financial marketplace as we are once again at a “crossroads” which requires some decisions in managing our personal finances going forward. A brief review of the financial markets’ performance over the last two years will underscore the importance of considering professional advice at this juncture. Read the rest of this entry…
2/15/12

Presidential Elections and Stock Market Cycles

  As all of the rhetoric heats up and the two largest political parties begin to duke it out heading for the November election, let's take a look at the historical stock market reactions to the unavoidable presidential election cycle. Since the 1970's, when we spiraled upward on the inflation scale to surpass 15% annual inflation rates and interest rates of 18, 19, 20% on 90 day treasury bills and short term certificates of deposit, the economy has been the leading driver in terms of election results. Over the last 40 years, some significant patterns have emerged. Read the rest of this entry…
1/11/12

Whole Life Insurance: Steady Performance For The Long Term

  All life insurance was originally temporary (term) insurance. However, because term insurance only paid off if death occurred during the stated term period (premature death), term policy holders were faced with the prospect of paying premiums for 20-30 years and then having nothing to show for those premiums paid once the term expired. Read the rest of this entry…



Life. Money. You.™ is a trademark of BCU.

The views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Baxter Credit Union, its Board of Directors, or its employees. The author is responsible for the content. Readers should consult with, and seek professional advice from their own attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors with respect to their individual financial needs and circumstances.

We welcome your feedback and ideas regarding this service. To submit a comment or idea for a future article, please email us at member.feedback@bcu.org