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The Mix of Politics and Investing

Jessica Lanning

Every election cycle bring the pre-election stories about what the election will mean for the economy and the markets, and then there’s the post-election stories about what the election will mean for the economy and the markets, and every time I remember the same thing:  It’s just something to talk about.  At the end of the personal finance day, it’s not about who won or who lost, but what happens when those folks take office.  The economy and the markets are largely out of their control.  No point in getting too worked up—one’s strategy has to adjust with the world no matter who won.

(And, am I the only one feeling that there was way too much excitement last week?  The Giants won the World Series, the election, the fall back to Standard Time, and then I had my client appreciation event all day yesterday.  That’s a lot of life in one week.)

And so now what?

This might be one of the most interesting lame-duck sessions we’ve ever seen in Congress.  The two big ones I have my eye on are whether the Bush tax cuts will be extended and whether Congress is going to do something about the estate tax for 2011 and beyond.  Many of us stand to be impacted dramatically by those decisions. I can’t remember the last time I saw so many of my CPA and estate planning lawyers paying so much attention to Congress.  Decisions made at the last hour of this year might allow for little planning and maneuvering before year-end, so it seems much planning is being done in anticipation of one move or another.  Make sure you are in touch with these professionals in your life, especially if you are self-employed, have a family income in excess of $200K, are 70-and-a-half or older, or have a net worth in excess of $750K.