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Consider the Alternatives

An Introduction to the Fundamentals of Alternative Investments

Alternative investments have been used by institutional investors, such as foundations and endowments. Some traditional portfolios comprised of just equities, bonds and cash have not adequately withstood prolonged market volatility. This has prompted the investment community to seek ways to reduce risk and provide more durable income for clients. These strategies have become available to retail investors.

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Is a Strong Dollar Good for the U.S. Economy?

On January 16, 2015, the U.S. dollar reached an 11-year high in its value against the euro — part of a trend that has seen the value of the dollar rise steadily against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners since mid-summer 2014.1–2 Not coincidentally, the price of oil has dropped sharply during the same period (see chart).1

It would seem that a strong dollar is good for the U.S. economy. However, the outlook is more complex than it may appear. As a consumer and investor, you might take a moment to consider the causes and potential effects of the rising dollar.

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Are Your Beneficiaries Up-to-Date?

The end of the year is a time when families often gather together. It might also be a good time to make sure you have accurately designated family members as beneficiaries in your will, insurance policies, and retirement accounts.

This is especially important if there have been changes in your life, such as the birth of a child or grandchild, a death in the family, a divorce, or a remarriage. But even if your family situation remains the same, it’s a good idea to review your beneficiary designations to be sure they are complete and reflect your current wishes.

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