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Timely advice & commentary about investing, taxes, financial planning and more.


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By Washington Trust / January 14, 2020
2019 was icing on the cake to a decade that began with trepidation coming out of the financial crisis and the Great Recession but proved to be extremely rewarding for U.S. investors.

By Washington Trust / January 14, 2020
In a surprise move, the SECURE Act passed as part of the massive end-of-year spending bill that was required to avoid another government shutdown. While there are several positive provisions, Congress paid for the SECURE Act with a very substantial negative provision: eliminating the “stretch” for inherited IRAs and retirement accounts. For most beneficiaries other than surviving spouses, the new rules require that the entire IRA/retirement plan balance be paid out within 10 years.

By Washington Trust / January 14, 2020
The SECURE Act made many sweeping and significant changes for retirement plans, including IRAs. With regard to IRAs, the major changes impact the IRA rules after age 70 and after death.

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By Washington Trust / October 18, 2019
U.S. financial markets have soared year to date through September 30, 2019. Not only has the Standard & Poor's 500 Index (S&P 500 Index) surged 20%, but bond prices have also climbed with the Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index advancing 8.5%. Investors are struggling to ascertain the message of the markets. Does strength in stocks presage robust growth, or do plummeting interest rates, which caused bonds to rally, signal a sharp slowdown?

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By Washington Trust / July 25, 2019
Given its longevity and the fragility of the global economy, concerns abound over the expansion’s durability. There is little indication, however, of an impending downturn. U.S. GDP was off to a solid start in the first half of 2019, paced by a robust 3.1% annualized advance in Q11 and moderate growth of just over 2% likely for Q2. Our full year forecast, for GDP to increase in a range of 2% - 2.5%, is intact. 2.

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By Washington Trust / July 25, 2019
In our last Financial Empowerment article, we talked about the basics of financial planning. We reviewed the process and the major information needed to start building a plan. Of those pieces of information, we discussed income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Today, we are going to focus a little more on one of those topics: income.

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By Washington Trust / April 24, 2019
Although 2018 ended dismally amidst tumbling financial markets, 2019 kicked off with optimism. Risk assets surged during the first quarter. Global stocks, led by the U.S., soared 12%1. Corporate debt including high-yield produced mid to high single digit returns. The transition by investors from extreme risk aversion to “risk on,” inspired by a shift in Federal Reserve policy, was almost instantaneous.

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By Washington Trust / January 28, 2019
With apologies to Charles Dickens, 2018 was the “best of times and the worst of times”. The U.S. economy apparently grew at its fastest pace since 2005. (We don’t know for sure as the Bureau of Economic Analysis was shuttered due to the impasse in Washington, although the Bureau of Labor Statistics has remained open.) For the full year 2018, we estimate that GDP advanced just over 3%. The S&P 500 index, on the other hand, fell by 4.4%, posting its first negative return in a decade. Benchmarks for smaller capitalization stocks and foreign shares suffered double digit declines. Bonds managed to finish the year essentially flat, erasing earlier losses.

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By Kimberly I. McCarthy, Esq. / January 28, 2019
The Tax Reform Act changed so many income tax provisions affecting individuals, corporations, pass-throughs, and specific industries that it is impossible to provide a brief and succinct overview of new planning opportunities. But DAFs and GLIs are two tax-planning acronyms to consider in 2019.

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By Matthew S. Blank, CFA® / October 22, 2018
Despite worries over rising interest rates, a more hawkish Federal Reserve, and continuing trade friction, we are hard pressed to find signs of an imminent economic slowdown in the U.S. GDP advanced at a stellar 4.2% pace in the second quarter, the best quarterly gain since 2014. Eliminating a 1% boost to Q2 GDP from a surge in exports to avoid the imposition of Chinese tariffs, the economy seems likely to keep chugging along at a robust 3% clip in the back half of this year. It appears, the 2018 full year growth may even slightly exceed our projected 2.5% - 3.0% range.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and may not reflect those of Washington Trust Wealth Management. The information in this report has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. Any opinions expressed herein are subject to change at any time without notice. Any person relying upon this information shall be solely responsible for the consequences of such reliance. Performance is historical and does not guarantee future results.

Such information does not constitute legal or professional advice as all situations are unique and are based on individual facts and circumstances.

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