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Boomers Dating, Jobs Up, Stocks Happy

According to a new report by IBISWorld, almost one-third of adults ages 50 to 64 are divorced, widowed or never married. Wow. We talk a lot about “average” adults and “traditional” values, but that’s really an eye-opening statistic for this particular demographic.

The IBIS report touches on some of the markets Baby Boomers are likely to engage in that will help our economy continue to grow. These include dating services, the fitness industry, the RV travel industry, senior housing communities and the do-it-yourself (DIY) home remodeling industry.

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “Baby Boomers: A Burgeoning Customer Market,” at IBISWorld.com, April 2013.]

It’s interesting that Baby Boomers are becoming more engaged with DIY projects, as a recent article detailed why construction jobs posted a decrease during the middle of our real estate recovery. The reduction was largely due to the sequestration of government-funded jobs, leading to a loss of more than 19,000 jobs in public works projects.

Fortunately, the residential sector reported an increase of more than 13,000 jobs among homebuilders and contractors. However, like many of America’s corporations, builders are saying they’re having a hard time finding qualified construction workers.

Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that private sector businesses added 176,000 jobs in April and total non-farm payroll employment rose by 165,000 jobs. This led to a slight decrease in the unemployment rate, now at 7.5 percent.

[CLICK HERE to read “How construction can lose jobs in middle of home building rebound,” at CNN.com, May 3, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read, “The Employment Situation in April,” at The White House Blog, May 3, 2013.]

The day the latest jobs report came out, the stock market expressed extreme joy. The Dow Jones topped 15,000 and the S&P 500 also rose above the 1,500 mark – both new records.

[CLICK HERE to read, “Market Snapshot: U.S. Stocks Jump to Record Heights,” at Foxbusiness.com, May 3, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “April jobs report speeds ticking of bond bomb,” at Investment News, May 3, 2013.]

Sometimes good news is just what it seems – good news, like the stock market uptick. Other times good news can be troubling – like what the positive jobs report and stock market uptick could mean for the bond market. Then, some news is just kind of astonishing – like the whole baby boomer singles phenomenon. If you want to talk about how the current news could impact your financial future, please give us a call.

These articles are being provided to us by third parties. While we believe this information to be reliable as of May 23, we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included. This information should not be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.

By contacting us, you may be offered information regarding insurance products available for purchase.

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

 

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Here’s to the Ladies!

Father’s Day is quickly approaching, but before we take the spotlight off dear mom, let’s take a moment to talk about the influence of mothers–and women in general–on all things financial.

 

Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. secretary of health and human services, recently posted this tweet: “President Obama: Being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition.”

 

That may be a comment specifically directed toward this country’s massive health care initiative, but if you step away for a more distant view, it actually says a lot more.

 

Remember the Virginia Slims cigarette campaign, “You’ve come a long way, baby”?  There was actually a time when women celebrated the acceptance of being able to smoke in public–a symbol of confidence that had grown with increasing independence. It’s only been in the last 30 years that women have broken the glass ceiling and been appointed to top executive positions of major corporations. Less than 20 years ago, it was still difficult for a woman to buy a house on her own. Indeed, women have come a long way.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “BMO Private Bank Mother’s Day Study: Women in Missouri Are Equal Partners in Family’s Long-Term Financial Planning – Or So They Say,” at Marketwatch, May 10, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Gender Wage Gap Causes Typical Woman to Miss Out on $443,360: Analysis,” at Huffington Post, May 9, 2013.]

 

But in the lingering words of Peter Parker’s (Spiderman) Uncle Ben, “with great power comes great responsibility.” In other words, once you start earning your own money, you’re responsible for making sure you’ll have enough retirement income. Fortunately, most women appear to have both the inherent skills and logistical experience to be quite good at financial planning and management.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Today’s Modern Family Creating More Pressure for Women to Seek Financial Independence,” at Marketwatch, May 7, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Women Want More – Desire for Financial and Retirement Planning Knowledge Nearly Doubles Since 2006,” at Businesswire, April 22, 2013.]

 

According to a new study from Fidelity, it’s also true that women tend have more success in talking with their adult children about financial planning topics than fathers do. Apparently, mothers have more detailed conversations with their adult children about sensitive financial topics such as retirement income, estate planning and eldercare, and they are able to convey a more empathetic viewpoint.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Need financial advice? Talk to mom,” at Fidelity Viewpoints, May 7, 2013.]

 

Knowing the details of your financial plan may go a long way to helping you sleep at night. Do you feel like you’re in control of your financial future? Have you left this responsibility for others to plan for you?

 

Consider for a moment that, even if you’re married, when you (and your husband) start taking Social Security benefits will have a direct impact on how much income you will receive. Have you estimated how much you would continue to receive in benefits if your husband passes away before you? If you think that won’t be enough in the future, then it’s important to consider what other income sources are available to supplement your income.

 

According to the Social Security Administration, 48 percent of elderly unmarried women receiving benefits relied on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income in 2011, which is hard to do when their average annual benefit was $12,188.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the fact sheet, “Social Security is Important to Women,” at SSA.gov, February 2013.]

 

Then again, perhaps there’s a time to take on this responsibility and a time to just enjoy the simple pleasures of being a young woman in this vast and complicated world. Which was well demonstrated recently by this charming tweet by an upcoming high school graduate: “I haven’t understood a word my mother and this financial aid woman have said in 15 minutes. I want frozen yogurt.”

 

If you, your daughters, or any other women you know would like to start a conversation about planning for their financial future, please contact us.

 

[CLICK HERE to read financial education articles and tools: “Get a head start toward your financial well being,” at TIAA-CREF, April 2013.]

 

By contacting us, you may be offered information regarding the purchase of insurance products.  Please note that we do not provide specific tax or legal advice.  You’re encouraged to speak with your tax advisor or attorney.  For questions regarding social security, you’re encouraged to contact the Social Security Administration.

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

 

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

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Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

According to a news survey by The Millionaire Corner, a Series 65 online resource about investing, this highly charged political environment regarding the future is about as stressful as swatting at mosquitoes during a Friday night barbeque.

The real issues, at least as far as affluent investors are concerned, are stock market conditions, the economic environment and their own retirement–in precisely that order. All of this partisan-related posturing conjures up about a 5 percent concern (2 percent for millionaires), and that may be just because they were asked how much it bothered them. After all, if someone asks you to list five foods in your order of preference, you wouldn’t leave the last one off entirely.

This is good news, because it signals that more people feel more in control of their future, and less reliant on Congress to figure it out for them. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Affluent Investors Keeping Close Watch on Stock Market Conditions,” at MillionaireCorner.com,  

[CLICK HERE to view graphics of “The recession and recovery in perspective,” at The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, April 26, 2013.]

In an even more blasé survey by Franklin Templeton,1 nearly a third of the surveyed respondents said they thought the stock market was flat or down last year, when in fact the S&P 500 was up 16 percent – and has performed admirably for the last four years. Because the majority of those surveyed also reported that they would be more conservative or make no changes to their investment portfolios, the study concluded that investors are still more concerned with avoiding loss rather than achieving higher returns.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “What Ails the Economy? In a word: Washington,” at Yahoo! Finance, April 26, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Job Picture Looks Bleak for 2013 College Grads,” at Yahoo! Finance, April 26, 2013.]

Despite people’s persistence in going to work every day, paying their bills, making plans for the future, and enjoying their families in this beautiful spring weather, headlines continue to warn us that our legislators are not doing their jobs and it’s causing great detriment to the economy.

The Commerce Department recently reported that the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew by only 2.5 percent in the first quarter–substantially below expectations. It’s no wonder, however, since sequestration began in March. The new numbers reflect, at least partially, a 4.1 percent decrease in government spending, including the 11.5 percent reduction in defense spending.

The government cuts represent an interesting paradox as far as the economy is concerned, with one insider suggesting that, “Whatever your view is on government spending, it’s going to be a headwind for growth.”

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “First Quarter Growth, at 2.5%, Misses Expectations,” at The Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2013.]

Americans, being what we are–resilient to terrorism, the housing bust and, yes, backyard mosquitoes–are taking in all of this economic and policy gloom and doom in stride. If you want to talk about your future, regardless of what goes on at Capitol Hill, please give us a call.

 

By contacting us you may be offered information on the sale of insurance products.  While we believe this information to be correct as of publication, we do not guarantee the accuracy of the information included.

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

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Boil and Bubble: Potential Bond Trouble

“Double, double. Toil and Trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble.” This is dialogue from Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. Translated into today’s vernacular, it could describe what many see as a bubble in today’s bond market.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Vanguard’s McNabb on Budget, Taxes and Bubble Risks,” at The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2013.]

 

After all, bonds have enjoyed quite a run for 30 years, when interest rates began slowly declining from their record highs to today’s near record lows. Even though traditionally, bonds have typically served as a conservative allocation in an investor’s portfolio, they can pose higher risks in a rising interest rate environment.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Big Bet on Rising Rates,” at Wealth Management, April 3, 2013.]

 

When you consider today’s low, low interest rates – an environment held stagnant by the Federal Reserve’s actions – the general feeling is that in the future rates can only go in one direction. Up. Up is a problem for bonds – particularly longer duration bonds that are more sensitive to changes in interest rates.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Bonds Most ‘Overbought’ In 55 Years, Loomis Sayles’s Fuss Says,” at Bloomberg.com, January 30, 2013.]

 

So what’s this bubble people are talking about? The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a non-governmental agency that self-regulates brokerage firms, tries to protect investors with securities compliance procedures and by providing information to the public to make it aware of potential investment risks. Recently FINRA issued this warning about how interest rates can impact bonds:

 

“Currently, interest rates are hovering near historic lows. Many economists believe that interest rates are not likely to get much lower and will eventually rise. If that is true, then outstanding bonds, particularly those with a low interest rate and high duration may experience significant price drops as interest rates rise along the way. If you have money in a bond fund that holds primarily long-term bonds, expect the value of that fund to decline, perhaps significantly, when interest rates rise.”

 

[CLICK HERE to read the alert, “Duration – What an Interest Rate Hike Could Do to Your Bond Portfolio,” at FINRA.org, February 14, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to view the video, “Bond bubble/bond cliff: How should you respond?,” at Vanguard, January 28, 2013.]

 

There are good reasons to invest in bonds but, depending on your objectives, there are also good alternatives that can generate income while managing the risk to your principal*. If you’d like to discuss fixed income vehicles and learn more about bond alternatives, please give us a call.

 

*Guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company. 

 

By contacting us, you may be offered information regarding the purchase of insurance products. Our Firm is a licensed insurance producer and does not provide investment advice.  For questions about your securities, please speak to your registered representative or investment advisor. 

 

The information and opinions in any linked articles are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed.  They are given for informational purposes only.  They should not be construed as advice for an individual’s situation. 

 

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

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Pension Trends

If you could look into a crystal ball and predict which retirement income plan was more likely to be around in 20 years – would you choose Social Security or company pensions?

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “President Obama looks to reduce Social Security cost of living increases with ‘chained CPI’,” at marketplace.org, April 5, 2013.]

 

As much as the solvency of Social Security is constantly debated, it may well stay the course long term in some shape or form. Pensions, on the other hand, are rapidly heading towards extinction. The latest pension plans potentially facing cuts include Boeing and Major League Baseball (MLB).

 

Boeing recently announced its intention to stop offering pensions to new employees, joining the ranks of other large corporations that have adjusted pension offerings, including GE, Lockheed, Ford and General Motors.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Boeing’s latest move confirms nationwide trend to end pensions,” at KPLU.org, March 1, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Ford’s Leaky Pension Boat is a Multi-Billion Dollar Problem,” at Forbes, March 31, 2013.]

 

It may be just as well, since pension plan funding has suffered significantly in recent years. In fact, Boeing has set aside only three-quarters of the $75 billion it owes for future pensions, a sum that represents more than the company’s current stock market value.

 

Boeing is not alone in its savings deficit. According to Olivia Mitchell, executive director of the Pension Research Council at Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania, U.S. corporations currently boast the highest level of pension underfunding in history.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Are Pensions Dead?” at The Motley Fool, March 30, 2013.]

 

Even the MLB, despite climbing revenues of $8 billion a year, is considering cutbacks and/or alterations to pension plans offered by ball clubs. Similar moves by other organizations may not eliminate current pension plans, but they might stop contributing to them.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Personnel pensions on cutting block,” at ESPN, March 20, 2013.]

 

The lesson here is that we may be on our own going forward. Within a couple of decades, the majority of our retirement income may result from our own planning, saving, investing and purchasing insurance policies to protect our income in retirement.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Lessons from the Financial Crisis,” at Fidelity Viewpoints, April 2, 2013.]

 

If you’d like to discuss ways to generate and protect* retirement income in a world where individuals control their financial future, please give us a call.

 

By contacting us, you may be offered information regarding the purchase of insurance products. 

 

*Guarantees offered by annuities are subject to the financial strength and claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company.

 

The information and opinions in the linked articles are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed.  They are for informational purposes only and should are not intended to provide specific advice nor provide the basis for any purchasing decisions. 

 

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The Newly Found, Lost Generation

The new crop of young adults who went to and graduated from college during the midst of the millennium’s economic decline should all be issued “I survived the recession,” tee shirts. There’s a lot resting on their shoulders now, and yet many are still struggling to find jobs and get a foothold in the career of their choice.

 

But like previous generations before them, learning comes in baby steps and often enough from the experience of overcoming adversity. If suffering builds character, then today’s young adults may become one of the most charismatic generations in recent memory. After all, they did go from being the “entitled” generation to “une generation purdue” (the lost generation) in a span of about five years.

 

When managing their own finances, what remains to be seen is whether these young adults will be aggressive risk-takers in order to make up for early lost ground, or more conservative after witnessing losses experienced by their parents.

 

In a recent behavioral finance report from Merrill Lynch, the author refers to today’s young adults as “savvy, independent, skeptical and far more conservative than some might think.” Some of the observations of this report include:

·         Millennials take nothing at face value; they want to be shown the math.

·         Independent but not unorthodox; their investment approach is similar to their parents.

·         Millennials don’t want their lives to revolve around money; young adults who inherit a large sum of money say they don’t want to get richer, but rather do something important with what they’ve been given.

·         They say that the real path to wealth is through business innovation – not investing.

 

 

 

 

[CLICK HERE to read report, “Millennials and Money” at Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking and Investment Group, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read, “Ten ‘Easy’ Steps to Financial Success,” at Forbes, March 26, 2013.]

 

As was inevitable, the millennial are now moving into our neighborhoods, and it’s a good thing, too. The rise of newly formed households has helped drive demand in the housing industry – lowering inventory and thereby increasing prices. These young adults represent the largest number of potential homebuyers coming in to the market. After a four-year delay, there’s plenty of pent-up demand as they acquire jobs and move out of their parent’s home.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “GenX is finally in a mood to buy (houses),” at USA Today, March 28, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Austin named best place for young adults,” at Austin Business Journal, March 27, 2013.]

 

The Merrill Lynch study also revealed that young adults are very open to receiving financial advice. If you have an adult child you think would benefit from a discussion of our services, please encourage him or her to contact us to get that conversation started.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Test Your Financial Fluency” at Kiplinger, March 2013.]

 

By contacting us you may be provided with information regarding the purchase of insurance products.

 

The information and opinions contained herein provided by third parties have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. It is given for informational purposes only. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.

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Market and Economic Update

Just weeks after the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) reached a record high, the S&P 500 closed at a new high of 1,569.19 on Thursday, March 28 – four points above its previous record of 1,565.15 back in October of 2007. The index remains short of its all-time trading high of 1,576.09.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Standard & Poor’s 500 index closes at a record high, beating October 2007 mark,” at StarTribune, March 28, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “S&P 500 Milestone Has More Meaning than Dow Record for Many,” at The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2013.]

 

While the U.S. continues to flirt with economic recovery, we’re being reined in by worries stemming from Italy and the rest of Europe – not to mention the latest debacle in Cypress. Investors continue to buy on weakness and the stock market has seen rapid inflows in the first quarter that rival the marked outflows of 2007.

 

[CLICK HERE to read, “Wall Street slips as euro zone concerns drag,” at Reuters, March 27, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Investing: Funds soar in the first quarter,” at USA Today, March 28, 2013.]

 

Economic moves by the Federal Reserve – namely quantitative easing – continue to abate negative risks. The Federal Open Market Committee recently announced moderate economic growth in the wake of improving numbers in housing values/sales, a gradual decline in unemployment, and positive signs in personal income and savings growth.

 

However, until it sees significant improvement throughout the economy and the labor market in particular, the Fed reiterated its intention to continue the purchase of $40 billion of mortgage backed securities and $45 billion of Treasuries each month. It is maintaining a federal funds rate of 0% to 0.25% for “at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5%.”

 

[CLICK HERE to read the Federal Reserve Press Release from March 20, 2013.]

 

With market fundamentals improving, you may consider repositioning money to take advantage of gains. However, remember that an important element of successful financial management is to focus on your goals – both long and short-term.

 

Where you position money should be directly related to what you hope it will accomplish. We’re here to help you focus on goals. Please contact us to discuss what that means for you.

 

By contacting us you may be provided with information regarding the purchase of insurance.

 

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

 

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

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Welcome

Today’s economic environment is more complex than ever before, and achieving financial success can be an incredibly confusing process to even the most experienced individuals. That’s exactly why we’ve created this blog – to provide a forum for discussion, a portal for helpful information and resources and an ongoing stream of expert insights to help you make informed decisions about your financial future.

What are your biggest financial concerns? If you’re like many individuals preparing for or actively enjoying retirement, you may be wrestling with any number of pressing issues that keep you up at night.  Many find themselves asking questions such as:

           Have we really saved enough?
How do we make up what we’ve lost over the past 2-3 years?
What are the right moves to make in today’s uncertain economy?
What should we be doing with our IRA and 401(K)?
Are there ways to reduce what we’re paying in taxes each year?
How do we create the most meaningful legacy possible for our children and grandchildren?
Will we outlive our retirement savings?

We’ll use this blog to provide valuable insights into each of these areas and more, so take a look around, check out the most recent posts and be sure to offer feedback or post a question if there are topics you’d like to see addressed!

Prefer to have your particular situation reviewed in person? We’d love to meet you!  Simply call 1-(903)-534-5477 to schedule a complimentary consultation today!