(WTNH)- 2018 is quickly winding down and when it comes to our finances, this year will be one for the history books.
Local Financial Professional Roger Cowen, Owner of Cowen Tax Advisory services, came to Good Morning Connecticut to share the biggest financial stories of 2018.
Cowen said several important financial stories dominated the headlines over the past year and he said they will have an impact on your finances in 2019 and beyond.
The first, Tax Cuts and Jobs act. Lawmakers passed this in the final weeks of 2017 and it went into effect January 1st of this year. The tax overhaul includes about $100 billion in tax cuts for individuals and about 80% of households are in a lower tax bracket. Cowen said employers started withholding less money from our paychecks because they anticipated lower income taxes. However, many may not be withholding enough.
The second, Tariff Concerns and Trade War Fears. Cowen said 2018 has been marked by multiple rounds of U.S.-imposed tariffs on imported goods. Some companies are absorbing those higher costs; others are passing it along to consumers. This is an issue that isn’t going
away anytime soon. The 10% tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods is set to increase to 25% on January 1st
The third, Fiduciary Rule Shelved. The so-called fiduciary rule was an Obama-era rule designed to require retirement advisers to always act in the best interest of their clients. It never went into effect and was officially shelved in June. Even so, the fiduciary rule raised awareness about the fiduciary standard and empowered people to ask questions of their financial professionals. Cowen says the big takeaway for investors is that you need to find a financial professional who will look out for your best interest.
The fourth, Rising Interest Rates. The Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate three times in 2018. There is no direct link between the Federal Reserve and the interest rates we pay, but the two often go hand in hand. That means the interest rates we are paying on our debt are going up.
And the fifth, Longest Bull Market Run. In August, Wall Street marked the longest bull market run in history: 3,453 days. A bull market is when stocks are expected to rise, and that’s what we’ve been seeing on Wall Street since the S&P 500 bottomed out in March, 2009. Cowen says we can’t predict what will happen on Wall Street, but we can plan for it.