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Changing Landscape of College Admission: If you have older kids, you are well aware of the consistent, maybe daily, conversation about college, preparing for it, and choosing activities and classes that push you ahead in the admission line. The changing landscape of college admission has thrown a bit of a wrench in typical thinking. Some say college admissions is currently about work experience, life experience, volunteering, and activities instead of testing and academics. The average high school GPA in 1990 was 2.68; in 2019, that rose to 3.11. There are a lot of factors to consider with that statistic, but parents might be a bit shortsighted in the “bring home all A’s” or “take advanced math or science” campaign. The average number of students taking advanced algebra has increased from 56% in 1990 to 85% in 2019, with precalculus taken by 40% of students. Conversely, students taking general mathematics have declined from 51% to 29%.

[1 "2019 NAEP High School Transcript Study," National Assessment of Educational Progress, March 2022.]

Regardless of your approach to college admissions, we wanted to remind you that we work with My529 to help you financially plan for your student(s) future college career. We don’t have a management fee associated with those accounts and are very impressed with the ease of use of their system, both for us and the client. We’d happily help you open and set up funding for 529 accounts today.

Reflecting at the End of Tax Season: With another tax season mostly behind us (extensions anyone?), it’s worthwhile to reflect a bit. Financial plans, of course, focus on savings and retirement income planning, but taxation is a common consideration. We naturally want to pay the minimal amount of taxes today. As our income increases, the amount we pay in taxes becomes more apparent and painful. This is especially true when you look at where our tax dollars are going (or not, in the case of the defense department):

Regardless of how you feel about taxes, they are a certainty in life. In addition, the strategic decisions you make on the tax side impact your long-term plan more and more as your net worth and income increases. If you’d like to discuss this topic as it relates to property taxes, capital gain/losses, or Roth vs. Traditional IRAs, reach out to your advisor today.

Business Briefing:

  • Apple Revenue Down: On Thursday, Apple reported declining revenue for the second straight quarter, although it said iPhone sales jumped thanks to high demand in emerging markets. The first-quarter report marked just the third time in 10 years that the tech giant has posted falling revenue for two straight quarters. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • AI Concerns: President Biden met with CEOs of Microsoft, Google-parent Alphabet, and other tech companies to discuss the dangers of artificial intelligence technology. Companies are rushing to introduce apps like ChatGPT and exploring the potential of AI to do everything from medical diagnoses to writing legal briefs. The White House said that participants had a “frank and constructive discussion” about the importance of transparency and evaluating national and personal security concerns. (Reuters)
  • Another Interest Rate Increase: On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve increased rates a quarter of a percentage point and suggested it might pause its aggressive campaign to fight inflation to assess whether the damage from recent bank failures will get worse. The indication that this 10th-straight hike might be the last marked a significant shift in the central bank’s effort to bring down inflation and steer the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. (Reuters)

What We Found Interesting This Week: Our team of advisors and client service representatives always comes across interesting articles, videos, or graphs we want to share with you. So here are a few from this week …

  • Bank Failures: Obviously, the recent failure of major banks has been in the headlines. We thought this was an interesting representation of the historical bank failures to scale:

Check out this article for a more in-depth thought piece on bank failures and why the recent ones may be less systematic.

  • Lessons in Humility: Milwaukee Bucks’ Power Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo responds to a reporter’s question about the team’s “failure” after a quick exit from the NBA playoffs in a loss to the Miami Heat. It’s a 2-minute lesson on humility, and worth your time to watch his response here.
  • For Those Who Might Say “College Isn’t for Me”: A recent article in The New Yorker identifies a shortage in the American economy of electricians. A skilled-labor gap is very real, and opportunities abound for entrepreneurs in this market. Read the article here.