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The Independent Investor: How the CARE Act Changes Tax-Deferred Account Rules
By Bill Schmick,
04:35PM / Friday, April 03, 2020
Listen up, big changes have just occurred because of the newly passed CARE Act. Aside from the "free money" that 90 percent of Americans are expecting, important changes to your retirement accounts have been passed. These changes can save you a bundle in taxes while providing instant cash relief, if you need it.   Normally, if you need money from a retirement account, and you are under 59 1/2 years old, you are required to pay a 10 percent penalty, plus the income tax owed on your withdrawal. There are some exceptions to the rule and the CARE Act just added a big one. The federal government just eliminated that 10 percent penalty for any distributions from IRAs,

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The Independent Investor: An Economic Game Plan
By Bill Schmick,
10:34AM / Friday, March 27, 2020
Now that Congress and the Federal Reserve Bank have fired the first salvo of relief spending, investors are wondering how long the trillions of dollars in aid will take to actually do something to alleviate some of the losses to the economy.   Administration officials believe that the cash payments to Americans should start arriving within the next three weeks. That said, most economists expect the country will fall into recession in the second quarter. That begins next week. No one knows how deep of a decline we will ultimately suffer, but suffice it to say, it will be a shock to most of us.   We can also expect a large, possibly a historical, jump in the

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The Independent Investor: An Old Dog Learns New Tricks
04:00PM / Thursday, March 19, 2020

Bill trying to work from home.  COVID-19 has upended my life. Like so many other elderly workers, I am at risk, according to the government, the media and the medical community. As a result, if I want to avoid getting sick or dying, working from home is my only option.   When I made that decision last Friday, I didn't think it would be a big deal. After all, I have worked at home before (when I was sick or recovering from one of my many surgeries).   But as I am in day four of this self-imposed isolation, I am learning that, at least for me, my work habits are going to need an overhaul.   As a self-confessed workaholic,

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The Independent Investor: Chances of a 2020 Recession Have Just Sky-Rocketed
By Bill Schmick,
12:19PM / Friday, March 13, 2020
The one-two punch of a worldwide pandemic, plus the sudden sharp decline in energy prices have increased the odds that the U.S. economy could fall into a recession as early as this year. The fact that we still do not know the economic damage of the COVID-19, only increases the odds of a prolonged economic downturn.   At this writing, the number of cases and deaths attributed to the pandemic is growing, which is moving both consumers and businesses to dial back their spending on travel, conferences, large events and various work processes. As schools close, more and more parents are stuck at home instead of going into the office. This is also causing increased disruptions in

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The Independent Investor: The Biden Bounce
By Bill Schmick,
04:12PM / Thursday, March 05, 2020
Super Tuesday surprised many investors. As the smoke cleared and the results came dribbling in, it became apparent that Joe Biden had risen from the dead. Wall Street celebrated by gaining over 4 percent in one day.   The market's performance says a lot about how investor's view the Democratic candidates. Taken as a group, Wall Street was not happy with where the Democratic candidates were heading. Last week, for example, I discussed Bernie Sander's election platform. The price tag alone ($50 trillion over 10 years) was enough to convince most Wall Streeters that the market and economy would be in for some really rough sledding if Bernie were to be

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