Today’s bits: Price wars

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Fidelity slashes commissions – Most of you are likely investing in index funds and not paying any commissions, but if you are buying individual stocks and/or ETFs, you may be happy to see than there is a price war on commissions. Recently Schwab lowered their commissions to $6.95. Today, Fidelity lowered their commissions by 38% from $7.95 to $4.95, (Fox)

UPDATE: Schwab matches! – And before I could even send out this update, Schwab has again lowered its price to match Fidelity at $4.95. OK, Fidelity, ball’s in your court… (Reuters)

Are 10% gains going to last? – We have seen a huge run-up in the markets. Can these gains be sustained long term? History would indicate that it could, but Mark Hulbert suggests that dividends may be an issue in the future… and dividends are key to many company’s returns. (Marketwatch)

How to lower your tax bracket – President Trump and congress and looking at ways to change the tax system. One item on the table is the number of tax brackets. They are looking to minimize and simplify the number, lowering it from seven down to just three. Regardless of the number of brackets, and whether or not such as change takes place, you may be able to put yourself into a lower tax bracket and pay less taxes. Lowering your tax bill is always a joy. For most taxpayers, it’s fairly easy to trim down your tax liability without breaking the rules (and therefore inviting some truly nasty penalties down the road). The simplest way to manage this feat is to reduce your taxable income. (USA Today)

You Want to Avoid These 6 Social Security Claiming Mistakes – You could miss out on thousands in Social Security benefits by making one, or several, of the following six Social Security claiming mistakes. (The Balance)

Is your portfolio a mess? Hopefully you have a simple portfolio consisting of just a small number of index funds. However, many people can’t help themselves and they buy and sell individual stocks and funds based on tips. If that’s you, here’s how you can clean up your act. (Money)

This Type of Employee Gets More Sleep, Eats Better, and Exercises More – Study shows a certain group of workers have healthier lifestyles. Here’s why… (Inc)

Finally, a Retirement Plan for Job-Hopping Millennials – Workers in their 20s and 30s are changing jobs at a record pace, yet they often view retirement. (NY Times)

YouTube Tops 1 Billion Hours of Video a Day, on Pace to Eclipse TV – YouTube viewers world-wide are now watching more than 1 billion hours of videos a day, threatening to eclipse U.S. television viewership, a milestone fueled by the Google unit’s aggressive embrace of artificial intelligence to recommend videos. That 1 billion hours a day usage is a 10-fold increase over the usage just 5 years ago. (WSJ)

Chart of the Day

Infographic: Defense: The U.S. Outspends These Countries Combined | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista

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