The Family Firm Blog

US Factory Growth Highest Since 2015

Posted by Stephen Daly on 1/4/18 2:50 PM

The output of US manufacturers increased at a substantial pace in December of 2017 with growth reaching an 11 month high.

Manufacturers attributed the increased demand to both new and existing domestic customoers with realtively flat demand on export sales.

US based manufactures also noted that the cost of their inputs had increased and that they had been adding to their firm's payrolls.

It is still to early to see if this is part of a longer term trend and if the increased cost of inputs and additional staff finally lead to a pick up in the overall llevel of inflation.


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German Manufacturing

Posted by Nate Gendelman on 12/6/17 2:37 PM

Germany still remains the key to European economic progress. Manufacturing in that nation continues to impress. A measure of manufacturing strength is at heights last seen over 6 years ago.

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The Family Firm Co-Sponsors Taste of Bethesda

Posted by Stephen Daly on 10/17/17 12:38 PM

The Family Firm co-sponsored the 2017 Taste of Bethesda festival which drew over 30,000 attendees to Woodmont Triangle in Bethesda.

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Small Increase in Social Security Cola for 2018

Posted by Nate Gendelman on 10/14/17 4:36 PM

The 1 in 5 Americans receiving benefits from Social Security will see a 2% boost in their payments next year.

Whether this is viewed as good news or bad is a matter of perspective and playing with numbers. Viewed as glass half full: 2% is better than the miniscule increase for 2017, which in itself was better than the 0% raise for 2016.

Glass half empty: 2% is far below historical levels and is reflective of the lack of inflation in the overall economy. For instance, the average increase in the 80s and 90s was over 4%.

Anyone tempted to pop the cork on their Dom Perignon in celebration should also remember that, just as inflation has worked to increase the SS benefit, that same inflation will work to increase the Medicare Part B premium. Sigh

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Quality, Quantity and Performance of IPOs

Posted by Nate Gendelman on 10/13/17 4:34 PM

One way to measure the strength of the stock market is the vitality of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs). Quality, quantity, performance.

Quantity: although the 3rd quarter was a quiet one, 2017 overall has seen more action than 2016. Several big names such as Spotify and Dropbox may go public later this year, which would give the IPO market a lift.

Quality/Performance: the average IPO in the 3rd quarter of 2017 gained 36%. This was entirely due to strong results from biotechs.

Overall, the IPO market will never be like it was twenty years ago. The markets have changed and companies have other routes for funding than the heavily regulated public markets.

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Strong Industrial Production Across Europe

Posted by Nate Gendelman on 10/13/17 10:30 AM

Strong industrial production across Europe confirms the robust expansion taking hold across the region.

Particularly strong production results were recorded in Germany, Italy and Spain.

Should we be expecting more strength from the euro?

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Virtually all markets rose during the third quarter

Posted by Nate Gendelman on 10/9/17 9:57 AM

Virtually all markets rose during the third quarter. Emerging markets, energy, and technology stocks were particular standouts. Volatility remains eerily low. Bonds had a decent quarter despite another rate increase from the Fed.

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Odds of Another Rate Hike in 2017 Have Risen

Posted by Nate Gendelman on 9/27/17 3:59 PM

Odds of another rate hike in 2017 have risen following recent utterings from Yellen and other Fed movers and shakers.  They continue to expect an emergence of inflation. Perhaps they are even more alarmed by the extremely large (and unnecessary) tax cut that is in the pipeline.

In response, the dollar is up and bonds are down. 

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Protecting Your Credit Record

Posted by Stephen Daly on 9/11/17 10:57 AM

As you have likely heard, Equifax, one of the nation’s three main credit reporting agencies, announced last week it was the victim of a major hack that exposed the personal information of at least 143 million Americans.  Hackers were able to gain access to consumers’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license and credit card numbers. 

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself given the recent events: 

  1. Consider putting a credit freeze on your record at all three of the credit reporting agencies.  For a small fee, you can “freeze” your records from being accessed by anyone. This will prevent anyone from being able to open a credit in your name and is the most effective tool at preventing credit fraud.  There is no impact on the use of your existing credit cards and other lines of credit when a freeze is in place. 

Here are the links for each credit reporting agency on how to put a freeze on your account:

  1. Sign up for a credit monitoring service.  Credit monitoring will not prevent criminals from fraudulently opening accounts in your name but it will allow you to monitor your credit for unauthorized activity.  Equifax has offered one year of monitoring for free for all Americans.  They have also clarified that signing up for this service will not exclude you from being able to participate in a class action law suit in the future.  Credit Karma and Capital One’s Credit Wise are other free services that are available. 
  1. Request a free copy of your credit report from and check for any activity you don’t recognize.  You are entitled to one report per bureau annually so one strategy is to request a credit report from one of the three bureaus every 4 months. 
  1. Closely monitor your credit card statements for unusual activity. 
  1. Be especially vigilant regarding scams in upcoming months: 
  1. Add two-factor authentication to your online access to your bank and Schwab.  Two factor authentication, as well as voice ID, can be added to your Schwab account by contacting Schwab Alliance at 1-800-515-2157. 

More information on how to protect yourself can be found at:

Please contact your financial advisor with further questions and concerns.

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Get back an hour or two of your weekend by having Instacart do your grocery shopping.

Posted by Stephen Daly on 9/1/17 12:00 PM

Had enough of the weekly ritual of facing long check-out lines, waiting for parking, and dodging foot traffic while doing your grocery shopping at Whole Foods?  Skip it all by using Instacart and have your groceries delivered to you in as little as under an hour and for only $5.99. (available throughout the Metro DC area including in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Chevy Chase, Washington DC, McLean and Herndon)

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