Category Archives: Uncategorized

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance

February 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many. At FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), their mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. They are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus. FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred on or after January 20, 2020, under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Learn more below and at https://www.fema.gov/disaster/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance

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The Battle Between Wages and Inflation

Market Memo

January 2022 – By Bob Veres

The good news is that American workers saw their average hourly wage rise $1.46 an hour, a 5.8% increase that brought the average up to $26.61 an hour worked.  The only one-year wage gain to compare with this was in 1981, when wages rose 7.2 percent.  Meanwhile, the Conference Board’s latest survey found that executives at large businesses are budgeting 3.9% salary increases for the current year, which would be the highest growth rate in budgeted raises since 2008. 

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Are College Costs Moderating?

January 2022 – By Bob Veres

One of the biggest differences between attending college in the pre-1980s era and today is the enormous cost difference, to the point where virtually every college student has to take out student loans in order to matriculate.  These loans then sit on the graduates’ balance sheet for years and sometimes more than a decade, reducing their standard of living in the early years of employment.  In the 1980-81 school year, tuition at a private, non-profit four-year college cost an average of $11,810 in today’s dollars.  Last year that cost had risen to $38,780.  Tuition at public four-year universities rose from an average of $2,620 to $10,980—again, in today’s dollars.

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Closing Out The Year

Market Memo

December 2021 – Dan Zalipski, CFA®

The last several weeks have been volatile with a series of headlines moving the markets.  The day after Thanksgiving, while many Americans were out shopping for the holidays, word of the new COVID variant Omicron was announced.  Carrying more mutations and being more transmissible than the Delta variant, the Omicron variant was flagged as being able to potentially evade protection from the current lineup of COVID vaccines, sending the market lower while the world waited for more data.  Fortunately, it appears that the current vaccines and antiviral medications will help reduce the worst-case scenarios, but an increase in break-thru infections is possible.  Investors expect consumers will curb their behavior in the weeks ahead in response to Omicron.  Restaurants are already beginning to see a decline in patrons, and numerous professional sporting events have already been postponed.  Similar to the Delta wave, consumers will likely reduce their activity regardless of what the government suggests.

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