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Tariffs, International Trade and Game Theory

  If you were in charge… If you oversaw your own country, what trade policy would you pursue?  Would you be friendly and cooperative or unfriendly and betraying?  Maximizing your country’s payoff may be more difficult than imagined.  Game theory can be used to measure success and failure.  It can also validate just how hard it can be to strike the right balance and allow both trade partners to win.   The prisoner’s dilemma… The current trade and tariff dialogue between the U.S. and China is essentially a repeated prisoner’s dilemma – a workhorse model of game theory that captures the tradeoff between mutually beneficial cooperation and individually beneficial betrayal[1]. If played once, there is only one outcome where neither side can do better with a different strategy: both sides betray one another.  While unfriendly, the mutual betrayal results in equilibrium or balance.  The shortfall of playing one time as if there is no tomorrow, is that trading partners have an infinite number of days in which to trade goods. If prisoner’s dilemma is played multiple times, even infinitely, game Read on! →

The 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and you!

As we begin the new year, there are many changes afoot which will impact clients in a variety of ways.  The passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act introduces many changes to personal income taxation beginning with the 2018 tax return filing.  The following contains a few of the highlights which will impact your overall taxation going forward.     2017 Individual Income Tax Rates 2018 Individual Income Tax Rates Married Filing Jointly and Surviving Spouses: Married Filing Jointly and Surviving Spouses: 10% (Taxable income not over $18,650) 10% (Taxable income not over $19,050) 15% (Over $18,650 but not over $75,900) 12% (Over $19,050 but not over $77,400) 25% (Over $75,900 but not over $153,100) 22% (Over $77,400 but not over $165,000) 28% (Over $153,100 but not over $233,350) 24% (Over 165,000 but not over $315,000) 33% (Over $233,350 but not over $416,700) 32% (Over 315,000 but not over $400,000) 35% (Over $416,700 but not over 470,700) 35% (Over $400,000 but not over 600,000) 39.6% (over $470,700) 37% (over $600,000) Single Individuals: Single Individuals: 10% (Taxable income not Read on! →

Helping your Elderly Parents – Consumer Reports

Cheryl Sherrard was recently quoted in a Consumer Reports article written by Mary Hickey entitled, “How to Help your Elderly Parents with their Finances”.  Her contributions focused on money management assistance and emphasized a cooperative approach to helping elderly parents with their financial tasks, allowing them to stay involved for as long as feasible.  Cheryl helps families navigate later life issues through her ongoing financial planning work with senior clients and their families.

Protecting your “most” important number!

  What is the most important number you possess which is with you from birth to death?  Your Social Security number! Newborns receive their unique number within a few weeks of their birth, where it is used throughout their lives to be claimed as a dependent on their parent’s tax return, apply for that first job, to identify them for credit purposes and eventually to allow them to file for benefits based on their lifetime earnings.  Because of the importance of this number throughout your life, it is equally important to protect and review the information tied to it throughout your life. How do you protect your Social Security number (SS#)? Don’t carry your card in your wallet. If your wallet is lost or stolen, thieves will likely have not only your SS#, but will probably get your driver’s license and other information.  This can quickly lead to identity theft. Don’t give out your SS# to retailers, phone callers, or others. The practice of using your SS# as your user id for logons has been largely halted and should be Read on! →