An Overview of the Political Environment, Prospective Legislation, and Strategies for Investment and Retirement Planning
Early in 2013, Andy Friedman, an expert on Washington political affairs, predicted a downturn in the markets in September as the nation approached the twin deadlines of funding the government and raising the nation’s borrowing limit. He also predicted that Congress would not permit the United States to default on its debt, and that such a downturn would be a buying opportunity for investors, as the markets would rebound once an agreement was in sight. This is exactly what transpired, with the markets suffering a downturn as the funding battles ensued in September and early October, only to recover and hit new highs when it became clear they would be resolved.
Those budget battles will continue in 2014, as Congress works to craft a plan that could include changes to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. At the same time, the chairmen of the House and Senate tax-writing committees have promised to propose and move sweeping tax reform legislation that would make fundamental changes to the tax system. And the implementation of Obamacare will continue, raising questions for consumers as well as investors.
Overhanging all of these deliberations will be the specter of the mid-term election, as the parties vie to hold onto one house of Congress and win the other. The outcome of the elections will affect Washington policymaking during the tail-end of 2014 and the final two years of the Obama presidency.
Andy and his colleague Jeff Bush will discuss these matters and their likely effect on investors and the markets. The ongoing budget battles, as well as the upcoming elections, are likely to spark more market fluctuations. Tax reform could have a significant impact on investors, as it could alter current exemptions, deductions, and preferential rates for capital gains and dividend income on which investors rely. Andy and Jeff also will provide strategies that investors and financial advisors can consider to take advantage of (or protect against) changes arising from the above initiatives, including specific strategies for investment, wealth transfer, and retirement planning.