About Mark Johnson

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So far has created 22 blog entries.

It’s The Witching Month

Over the years, October has often been a period when the stock market tended toward unusual volatility.  The biggest drop of the past half century, 22%, took place back in October, 1987, and more than a few of those early fall months have seen substantial movements in both directions.  Indeed, only a year ago, following […]

Six Social Security Traps To Avoid

On January 31, 1940, the first monthly Social Security check was issued to Ida May Fuller of Ludlow, Vermont.  It was for $22.54.  She was 65 years old at the time and passed away at 100 years of age.

Ida May Fuller worked for three years under the Social Security program, paid a total of $24.75 […]

The Bond Market Turns Upside Down

When I was younger–much younger–I remember folks with stocking stuffers and presents under a tree.  For some kids, the stocking stuffers included a passbook savings account, with a $100 gift from Santa.  Wise parents, for sure.

Besides offering a great lesson on savings, those parents provided a simple explanation of bank savings accounts and monthly interest. […]

One Small Step . . .

It seems like only yesterday that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon, but yesterday really was a half century ago.  Since then, this country’s pace of space exploration has slowed dramatically.  Over the same period, the rate of progress on Wall Street has taken off.

It’s hard to believe that back then […]

Records Are Made To Be Broken

We’ve all heard it said: “Records are made to be broken.” We celebrate record-breaking winning streaks from our favorite teams. Conversely, we hope to avoid a long string of losses.

The bull market that began in 2009 is not the best performing since WWII. That title still resides with the long-running bull market of the 1990s. […]

Navigating Global Headlines

Last month I said, “Investors remain optimistic that U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators will come to terms on an ever-elusive trade agreement.”  Unfortunately, “ever-elusive” continues to be the operative word.

Since early May, there has been an ongoing issue of tariffs, first with the Chinese, then with Mexico. The planned tariff on some Chinese imports was […]

Saving for College – 529 Plans

We all want what is best for our children.  At an early age, we teach them to eat the right foods; we place them in the best preschools; we encourage them in grade school and high school; and we cheer them on when they excel in extracurricular activities.

Put another way, we want our children to […]

Defining A Recession

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” retells the story of a patriot who shouts a harrowing warning to his fellow colonists: “A recession is coming! A recession is coming!”

Well, that’s not quite the story, but given the seemingly non-ending talk about a recession, you might think that economists are channeling Paul […]

America The Beautiful

It’s common practice for the president or CEO of a company to include a letter to shareholders in the annual report.  Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman and CEO, Warren Buffett, doesn’t buck the trend.

His annual letter captures plenty of attention, and this year was no exception.  The focus is on the investments and operating performance of Berkshire […]

Time to Return to Normal

The U.S. economy exhibited strong growth in the second and third quarter, a recession did not ensue, and yes, 2017’s lack of volatility was remarkable.  We knew it wouldn’t last, but predicting an expected exit date is difficult.

January began 2018 on a firm footing, building on highs in the wake of tax reform, low interest […]