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US Stocks traded higher yet again last week and are on track to have their best year since 1997 with the S&P 500 up 29% year-to-date.

Homebuyers in 2019 faced a tough housing market again, while current homeowners enjoyed another increase in home equity.  A lack of homes for sale, a crowd of potential buyers, and low mortgage rates helped to boost housing prices higher in 2019, the seventh straight year that prices have increased.  Median home prices hovered around $250,000, up more than $11,000, or 5%, versus last year.  The states that saw the most home price appreciation were Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois, and Texas.

The Secure Act, which was signed earlier this month, changes the way beneficiaries will receive money from inherited retirement accounts.  The new rules say beneficiaries of qualified retirement accounts, such as individual retirement accounts and 401(k) plans, need to withdraw all of the money out of those accounts within 10 years, instead of over their life expectancy as was previously allowed.  There are no required minimum distributions within that time frame, but the account balance must be zero after the 10th year.

President Donald Trump’s strategy to use import tariffs to protect and boost U.S. manufacturers backfired and led to job losses and higher prices, according to a Federal Reserve study released this week.  The Fed found that the tariffs are associated with reductions in manufacturing employment and increases in producer prices.  While the tariffs did reduce competition for some industries in the domestic U.S. market, this was more than offset by the effects of rising input costs and retaliatory tariffs


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones

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