The addition of 224,000 new jobs in June confirmed that the U.S. economy continues to grow. Slowing manufacturing is a concern, with trade conflicts taking a toll. Might President Trump have to choose between continuing to wage tariff wars and being a one-term president? The next Federal Reserve interest rate decision meeting occurs at the end of this month. The markets expect a rate cut of at least 0.25%, but it may not be a given. Expect market tension to build, as we near that meeting.
These Notes include several useful planning and informative lifestyle articles too. Personal favorites include the note on coffee as “superfood” and the article on a “going like gangbusters” Portland/Miami startup led by a former RSWA employee. Read on and enjoy.
- Seven Economic Indicators: This excellent article summarizes some mixed economic indicators. Four indicators are positive “green lights” (i.e., truck sales, jobless claims, temporary hires, and bank lending). One is a cautionary “yellow flag” (i.e., business spending). One is a “yellow to red flag” (i.e., trucking), and one is a concerning “red flag” (i.e., manufacturing). Washington Post
- The Strait of Hormuz: The best case for the Middle East conflict with Iran is that it simmers, but it is just as likely to boil over into what could become an ugly military conflict. Given that 20% of the world’s oil supply flows through the narrow Strait of Hormuz, we think this article about the Strait is well worth the read. New York Times
- Maine Is the Best-Ever Vacation Spot: That is a bold claim for sure, but it is the title of a recent laudatory piece in Bon Appetit magazine, written by Adam Rapoport, its Editor-in-Chief, no less. But we all know that our food rocks and that Maine’s seacoast can be stunning. Bonappetit.com
- Nervous Nouriel: Nouriel Roubini, the noted economist, has serious concerns about the impact of the trade conflicts on the global economy. Roubini, who was one of the few in his profession to predict the 2008 recession, has been nicknamed “Dr. Doom”. We take him seriously but do not believe it is panic button pushing time. CNBC
- Talking to Aging Parents: Michelle Singletary, an excellent financial writer, offers some words of wisdom on how to open a planning conversation with parents who may be starting to struggle in various ways. Portland Press Herald
- Which Gender Spends More Impulsively? Both men and women are prone to impulsive spending (close to 90%), but this study says that men tend to spend more when they do. More expensive “toys”? This article has some excellent tips on cutting back on impulsive purchases. Using a waiting list (#2) has worked with surprising effectiveness for me at times. Once the initial urge passes, the prefrontal cortex kicks in with a more rational cost-benefit analysis. CNBC
- Coffee As a Superfood: What improves overall health, promotes longevity and fights obesity? That would be coffee, per some recent research at an English university. Inc.com
- RSWA “Alumnus” Crushing It: You might have seen the linked article about Brickell Men’s Products, a rapidly growing startup company specializing in men’s skin care products, with its distribution center in Portland. Brickell was founded by two Mainers, one of whom is Josh Meyer, who worked for RSWA (then Robinson Financial) for several years. Josh now lives in the Miami area but has remained a personal friend and friend of the firm. He is truly a great guy, and I am thrilled (but not surprised) to see his success. Portland Press Herald
- More Upscale Senior Housing in Southern Maine: A new retirement community option, called Cumberland Crossing, is being built in Cumberland Center. It targets the more affluent market. Seacoast Management is the developer. The same family team developed OceanView in Falmouth. Portland Press Herald
- Maine Personal Income Jumps: Maine gets such little positive press on economic issues that we want to highlight some good news. Maine’s 5.4% increase in personal income in the first quarter was the third largest in the U.S. Putting the story into perspective, however, much of the increase was attributable to increases in social security benefits, which benefits Maine disproportionately as the state with the largest percentage of residents over 65. Portland Press Herald
Feel free to send us feedback on any topic or make a request or to forward the notes on to anyone who might be interested.