It’s that time of year again- the time we do NOT look forward to – the time to file our income taxes.  So now while we all have income taxes on our minds, it seems like a good time to remind you of this:

The IRS will NOT proactively contact you by phone.  They will only call if they are returning your phone call.  However, I’ll bet that you, like me, have received one or more calls from someone purporting to be calling from the IRS with a message that you are possibly subject to penalties, and you need to return a call immediately (in a voice that may sound quite foreign).  Perhaps you’ve gotten a similar message on an email or a text.

In this season scammers are doing their darndest to take advantage of us.

According to the IRS, ‘tax scam calls’ have soared 1,218% since last year, inundating American taxpayers with (sometimes) threatening calls which are supposedly from the IRS.

There are a lot of resources available to help protect yourself, but the most helpful might be a healthy skepticism toward ANY message (by phone, text, email, carrier pigeon, etc.) that you didn’t expect.  Healthy doubt can be a good start.

If you feel you have been scammed (taken advantage of) or just for more information you can check the IRS website here:

Market Minute 3/16/2018 – The FED Has Spoken. Again. And…

As far as I can tell, the news media waited and held their breath.  And at 2pm (EDT) Wednesday the new FED chief, Jerome Powell, announced another rate hike.

And, similar to the reaction to the last rate hike, markets bounced around a bit as he said exactly what was expected. Most likely the media will manage to waste a lot of time analyzing his statements. And as we often comment; when the FED speaks markets tend to bounce one way or the other and then reverse themselves within a couple of days. Basically, this is just noise. I’d suggest you ignore it.

But, on to something important:

Have a look at the graph below of the current reading of the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment. Note that this graph gives data from spring 2008 until today.  Note also that the current reading is the highest in 14 years. 

When consumers are optimistic they tend to spend more than when they are NOT optimistic. That’s the one big reason we track consumer basic spending (called Consumer Staples) separately from the category called Consumer Discretionary. Obviously, it’s the discretionary spending that can rise or fall with increasing or decreasing optimism.

Also obvious is that when people buy stuff, the sales activity of that stuff is also reflected in improving revenue figures for everybody in the supply chain. That then pushes stock prices higher.  

And that’s the direction we’re generally expecting at this time. 

Ronald P. Denk, CFP®
Investment Advisor
Denk Strategic Wealth Partners
10000 N. 31st Avenue, Suite C-262
Phoenix, AZ 85051
Phone (602) 252-8700
Fax (602) 252-8701
Toll-Free (877) The-Denk

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