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Among Amazon.com Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) seemingly endless arsenal of advantages over every other retailer is the 182 million visitors to its websites. No other retailer comes close.

Based on comScore data, Amazon’s 182.2 million unique visitors from mobile and computers placed fifth among all companies in October, just behind Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) at 193.8 million. The comScore top 50 multi-platform properties list has only two other retailers, which are big-box leaders Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) at 93.9 million unique visitors and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) at 62.1 million.

It is impossible to tell which came first to create and sustain Amazon’s traffic. Was it the traditional superstore factory, which allows Amazon to offer large selections of products across nearly countless categories, or the products and services like Prime, Alexa, Kindle and Echo? Amazon had $18.9 billion in North American sales in its third quarter, up 26% over the same quarter a year ago. Net income for this segment of Amazon’s business was $694 million, up 32% on the same basis. It is safe to say the top line will balloon in the fourth quarter, the holiday rush months.

Sponsored by Northwell HealthRobotics

Amazon does have a set of weapons that other retailers cannot rival at all. Prime has morphed free shipping into a suite of services that include its streaming video business, which is built partly on original programming; a music streaming business with a selection that puts it on equal footing with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P); and photo storage capacity. According to recent research, a third of Prime members buy something from Amazon once a week. Prime members also get early access to special sales, another way to tether them to Amazon.

Amazon’s selection of consumer electronics is nearly as broad as Apple’s, and in some cases competes with the giant consumer electronics company. Amazon TV certainly competes with Apple TV, the Fire tablets with the iPad, and Echo with certain features of Siri.

No matter what the reason, for competitors, Amazon’s 182 million visitors can’t be approached



Super Mario Run, according to parent Nintendo, is a game you can “play with one hand”. The character runs wild in the new version, from course to course, and jump to jump, not entirely unlike earlier versions of the game which dates back to 1981. The latest version is so successful it is the top free download on Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iTunes.

Super Mario Run is ahead of several other games, and some of the most popular online products in the world. Two other games on the list of the top 10 downloads are Geometry Dash and Bitmoji  Also one the list are Snapchat, Alphabet’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) YouTube, and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) Messenger, Facebook, and Instagram. Another game which makes the list is the unfortunately name The Moron Test. Rounding out the top 10 is 8 Ball Pool.

iTunes is the glue which attachs customers to the iPhone 7, and thus is among the most important of Apple’s initiatives. CEO Tim Cook recently said people have download 140 billion apps, and roughly 500 million games. He commented:

“The App Store has forever changed the world of software and forever has changed all of our lives. It is phenomenal, and the growth is literally off the charts.”

The popularity of Super Mario Run tells us something about how our lives have changed forever? That may be a stretch, but it still tells how people want to spend their precious time


​When it comes to tax planning, procrastination can be costly; the deadline for implementing most investment-related strategies to help reduce your tax bill for this year is December 30, 2016.

We have assembled a number of valuable tips you may be able to implement before the year ends to help reduce the amount you send the IRS.

1.) Capital losses can offset capital gains

Include year-end long-term capital gain distributions from mutual funds when estimating your 2016 gains.
Determine if you can take advantage of the 0% long-term capital gain tax rate.
Sell by year-end to realize losses. If you want to repurchase the position, talk with your Financial Advisor about strategies that will help avoid a wash sale. Pay attention to potential dividend or capital gain distribution reinvestment that could create a wash sale.
The last day to double up your position (purchase replacement shares ahead of the sale establishing the loss) and still claim a 2016 tax loss (without triggering a wash sale) is Tuesday, November 29, 2016.
Excess capital losses can reduce up to $3,000 of other types of taxable income each year.

2.) Give gifts to help increase deductions

Generally, contributions to charities must arrive by calendar year-end.
For gift fund contributions, the account must be open and deposit completed before calendar year-end to qualify as a 2016 gift.
Be aware of the phase-out rules regarding itemized deductions.
Evaluate the tax benefits of gifting long-term appreciated stock versus cash.
If you are taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from an IRA, consider the potential benefits of a qualified charitable distribution (QCD). For taxpayers over age 70½, distributions from a traditional IRA of up to $100,000 are tax free if sent directly to a charity. Discuss your situation with your tax advisor.

3.) Develop a strategy early for managing company stock benefits

Exercising incentive stock options (ISOs), nonqualified stock options (NSOs), or restricted stock grants could have significant tax consequences, including alternative minimum tax (AMT) implications.
Work with your tax professional before year end to develop a tax-efficient near-term and long-term strategy.

4.) Evaluate the impact of an upcoming change to the medical expense deduction

In 2016, anyone age 65 or older may deduct medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income (AGI). In 2017, that threshold will jump to 10% of AGI resulting in a smaller deduction or none at all.
Anticipate medical expenses for 2016 and 2017. Talk with your tax advisor to determine if it would be beneficial to accelerate elective expenses into 2016 or postpone expenses to 2017.
Deductible medical expenses can include out-of-pocket costs for dental treatments, eyeglasses, hearing aids, some insurance premiums, etc. For a detailed listing, see IRS Publication 502.

5.) Save on taxes while saving for education

Contributions to Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) or 529 plan accounts can grow tax-deferred.
529 plan contributions must be invested with the vendor in time to be reportable on a 2016 account statement to be considered a 2016 contribution.
ESA contributions for 2016 can be made up to April 18, 2017.
Distributions must occur in the same tax year as the payment of qualified education expenses for both types of accounts to be eligible for tax-free treatment.

6.) Consider the tax benefits of retirement plan strategies

In 2016, you can defer $18,000 ($24,000 if you’re age 50 or older) of your compensation by the calendar year-end deadline for many employer-sponsored retirement plan accounts.
If available, consider starting or increasing contributions to your employer’s nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plan.
Evaluate Roth conversion opportunities.

7.) Take advantage of employer-provided tax-advantaged benefit programs

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) typically require annual re-enrollment.
Review 2016 out-of-pocket expenses and adjust 2017 contribution amounts accordingly.
Consider funding an FSA for dependent care expenses if you have a child in day care.

Not sure where to start? Turn to your advisors today.

Schedule an appointment with your tax professional to discuss your situation and review your 2016 tax projection.
Follow-up with your Financial Advisor to evaluate your portfolio strategies and any investment changes that may help lessen your 2016 tax bill.
Go beyond tax planning and create or update your Envision® investment plan profile. With an Envision plan, you can easily make adjustments to account for tax planning considerations or changes in your life (births, deaths, marriages, divorces, etc.). If you’re nearing retirement, your Financial Advisor can also include income projections using the Income Center

​How hard is it to buy an apartment in Trump Tower, the president-elect’s New York City residence and home base of his empire? Built in 1983 for $200 million, many of its apartments have spectacular views of the city and Central Park. It is not hard to get one, for people who can spend over $2 million and brave massive unruly crowds.

According to City Realty, there are 11 apartments for sale in Trump Tower, at price ranges between $2.1 million for a one-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom 1,052 sq. ft. on the 31st floor to one for $11 million. The $11 million buys a two-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom in 2,200 on the 58th floor.

The City Realty description of the building:

The Trump Tower at 721 Fifth Avenue is a glass tower located between 56th and 57th Streets.

Developed by Donald Trump, 721 Fifth Avenue sports a distinctive design that creates many corner windows with breathtaking views. Residential condominiums are located on the highest 38 floors of this 58-story tower and include nine duplex and triplex penthouses on the top nine floors. Many of the Trump Tower apartments have been renovated and feature marble bathrooms, Jacuzzi bathtubs, wood and stone floors, custom kitchen cabinets, state-of-the-art appliances, numerous walk-in closets and washer and dryers. The building’s spacious condos also offer panoramic views of the New York City skyline, Central Park and the rivers.

Amenities include a full-time doorman, valet, a fitness room, maid service and a common storage room.

Such retailers as Bergdorf Goodman and Tiffany’s are nearby, as are well-known restaurants. Central Park and the Plaza Hotel are two blocks away and the area is convenient to most public transportation.

The apartments (notice price reductions):

Residence          Beds          Baths          Size          Price          Price/Ft2         Listed         
1 bd 1.5 ba 1,052 ft2 $2.1M $1,996 Oct 25, 2016
3 bd 3.5 ba 2,714 ft2 $8.5M $3,132 Oct 24, 2016
2 bd 2 ba 1,477 ft2 $4.5M $3,047 Oct 20, 2016
1 bd 1.5 ba – $3M – Apr 11, 2016
1 bd 1.5 ba – $3.4M – Apr 11, 2016
1 bd 1.5 ba 1,139 ft2 $3.195M(-8.7%) $2,805 Mar 28, 2016
1 bd 1.5 ba 1,092 ft2 $2.997M(-7.8%) $2,745 Mar 19, 2016
1 bd 1.5 ba 1,092 ft2 $2.997M(-7.8%) $2,745 Mar 19, 2016
2 bd 2.5 ba 2,250 ft2 $11M $4,889 Mar 11, 2016
1 bd 1.5 ba 1,052 ft2 $2.195M(-26.8%) $2,087 Jan 21, 2016
2 bd 2.5 ba 2,184 ft2 $5.995M(-13.1%) $2,745 Aug 19, 201

​The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported Thursday morning that new housing starts in November tumbled to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million, a decrease of 18.7% from the upwardly revised October rate of 1.34 million and a decrease of 6.9% compared with the November 2015 rate of 1.171 million. The consensus estimate from a survey of economists expected a rate of around 1.23 million.

The revision to the October rate added 17,000 new housing starts from the previously reported total.

The seasonally adjusted rate of new building permits fell in November to 1.201 million, down 4.7% from the upwardly revised September rate of 1.26 million and down 6.6% from the November 2015 rate of 1.286 million. The consensus estimate called for 1.24 million new building permits.

Single-family housing starts rose in November to an annualized rate of 828,000, down 4.1% from the downwardly revised October rate of 863,000. Single-family starts fell 6.9% year over year in November.

Permits for new single-family homes rose 0.5% month over month in November to an adjusted annual rate of 778,000 from an upwardly revised total of 774,000 in October. The rate rose 5.9% year over year.

Multifamily starts for buildings with five or more units dropped by 31.7% year over year in November and fell by 43.9% compared with October.