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Comments from a Federal Reserve Chair nominee, who said it was too early to end the current stimulus, helped the Dow and the S&P 500 reach new highs on Friday for a sixth straight week of gains. For the week, the Dow rose 1.37 percent to close at 15,961.70. The S&P gained 1.61 percent to finish at 1,798.18 and the NASDAQ climbed 1.70 percent to end the week at 3,985.97.

Last week was a very strong week for all three stock indices. Am I happy?? Sure. Do I believe this upward move will continue? I am skeptical. This is why you diversify.

 





 

 Estate Taxes – The maximum amount that a deceased individual may pass onto his or her heirs federally estate-tax free (with proper planning) rises to $5.34 million in 2014, up from $5.25 million in 2013. The limit was $325,000 in 1984 or 30 years ago (source: Internal Revenue Service, BTN Research).

 

Avoiding The Dreaded Dip – As of Nov. 10, 2013, the S&P 500 has gone 769 calendar days without a 10 percent or greater drop in the index, the fifth longest stretch without a double-digit pullback in the past 50 years. The longest stretch without a double-digit loss in the past 50 years was the 2,553 calendar days which ran from Oct. 11, 1990, to Oct. 7, 1997 (source: BTN Research).

 

Skill Set – If the 3.88 million job openings in the U.S. were filled, the number of unemployed Americans would drop from 11.272 million to 7.389 million, and the jobless rate would fall from 7.3 percent to 4.8 percent (source: Department of Labor, BTN Research).



WEEKLY FOCUS – Good Relationships Rely On Good Communication

 

Satisfaction within a relationship depends largely on communication that sets expectations and fosters trust. The familiarity that comes with long-term relationships often leads to shortcuts in communication through assumptions, one way to sabotage a relationship.

 

We want to foster our long-term relationship with you by ensuring we don’t resort to shortcuts and assumptions. One way we do that is by setting client service standards that establish expectations for the services we provide, the way we provide them and the steps you can take to help us do the best job possible.

 

Making us aware of changes in your life, both big and small, ranks at the top of that list of steps. Between current contact information and major events like marriage, birth of a child and a death in the family, lie those life happenings you may not think to share. These may include loss of a key account at your business or employer, damage to your home or the gradual decline of a parent’s health.

 

Because we tend to let lesser events slip by in our busy lives or we become accustomed to gradual changes, it’s important for us to meet face to face periodically to talk about your life and your finances. We recommend meeting at least annually, but your individual circumstances may require more frequent meetings, perhaps just until a situation has resolved itself.

 

We find these meetings most productive when you share with us your full financial information. Clients sometimes think of us only in terms of asset management and growth. To provide the best service, we benefit from understanding your financial obligations and current risk management tools as well as your assets and wage earnings. We can work with your other professional advisors, such as an attorney or CPA, to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

 

Call our office today to schedule a time when we can catch up over coffee or perform a more comprehensive year-end portfolio review.

Steve

 

Diversification does not guarantee a profit or protection from losses in a declining market. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. Written by Securities America.

 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

As you get older, the pressure to plan for long-term care costs rise with your age. To get a good deal on long-term care (LTC) insurance easier, here’s a few secrets for you. 1. Assess your risk. When you’re searching for the right LTC...

 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Even though required minimum distributions (RMDs) are due by the end of the year, there’s some practicality in taking advantage of your RMDs earlier rather than later. Here’s three reasons why taking RMDs out early can be advantageous:...

 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Annuities have been a hot commodity in recent years but can sometimes get a bad reputation. While annuities aren’t for everyone, there are situations where annuities may be the best option available, especially as you near retirement....

 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

It’s that time of year—Uncle Sam is asking for money again. If you’ve kept up with the news, you probably know the tax laws have changed a bit. Here’s five important changes you should know before Tax Day. 1. Standard deductions...

 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Not the most exciting topic, long-term care (LTC) is often avoided or overlooked by people when planning their retirement years. However, it can be one of the most important things to have later in life. Having an LTC policy in place...

 

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

It’s not for everyone. But, if it’s possible for you, there’s a few great reasons to start collecting Social Security once you hit the age of 62. Check out the reasons below and see if it seems right for you. Reason #1: You may have to...

 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Whether you're aware of them or not, there are some substantial benefits to having a 401(k) plan. Here are four benefits that make these plans worth having. 1. Payroll deduction. At the surface it may not seem ideal, but in reality,...

 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A lot of people ask, “When should I start my estate planning?” The shorter answer is: it’s never too early. There’s lots of ways to go about planning, but generally there are three main steps to be followed when you start: Start by...

 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The new year has begun, and with it, some tweaks and changes have been made to Social Security that its beneficiaries may notice. Here’s a look at what you can expect if you’re a beneficiary in 2018: A higher tax cap. Workers will now...

 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Annuities: insurance contracts that offer guaranteed income, usually for life. Some even have capital appreciation. But, you probably already knew that. Do you know the five primary types of annuities, though? Each is unique, and all...

 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A new year brings with it lots of excitement, but also a lot of uncertainty. As a family, are you taking to necessary steps to set achievable, realistic financial goals for 2018 that will help remove any uncertainty from your personal...

 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Giving to charities is a great way to help out your community and give back during the holiday season. Charitable gifting can take many forms, from cash donations to even donated appreciated assets. And individual donations make up...

 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Financial information can often include confusing industry jargon and lingo. But understanding your financial details can help you use better judgment to make decisions. We are continuing our guide to help you get a hold of common...

 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

No matter your stage in life, saving money is essential to ensure you can afford your lifestyle. Yet, Americans have a money-savings problem: 69% of people do not have $1,000 in savings.[1] Without this financial buffer, we end up...

 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Losing a loved one and life partner is a devastating experience that no one can fully predict. Despite the emotional heaviness one must navigate, another pressing topic requires attention: finances. Knowing how to move forward in your...

 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Financial literacy in America is staggeringly low. The U.S. ranks 14th on a global scale of financial literacy, and 1 in 5 teenagers do not have basic financial skills.[1] Helping our younger loved ones to understand the...

 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Saving enough money to last through retirement is an ongoing responsibility and one that Americans should take seriously. And the money you may need could be is more than simply replacing the income you had during your career. You...

 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Owning a business in the U.S. is an integral factor of our economy. In fact, the U.S. has 28.8 million small businesses, comprising 99.7% of all business in America.1 And while risks abound in entrepreneurship, owners can take...

 

Monday, November 6, 2017

When purchasing a life insurance policy, you can opt to add on different benefits to a standard policy and expand your coverage. These riders help you customize your protection for supporting your family’s unique needs. Different life...

 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

When purchasing a life insurance policy, you can opt to add on different benefits to a standard policy and expand your coverage. These riders help you customize your protection for supporting your family’s unique needs. Different life...

 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Financially preparing for retirement is essential in order to maintain your quality of life as you age. As long-term-care costs continue to rise, having adequate money to cover any medical situations is an escalating concern. And the...

 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

So, you have sent the kids off on their own and now find yourself an empty nester. This new life stage brings quieter vibes in the house and less multitasking to manage. But beyond the physical changes, you also have new financial...

 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Finding any helpful reason to pull down your tax liabilities is a welcomed benefit, no matter one’s age. But, once you move into your golden years, exploring new tax benefits is worth the time and effort—you may have specific tax...

 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Once retired, many once-active people fall prey to the lure of the couch. With newfound time on their hands and a new life stage before them, finding ways to occupy themselves can be challenging. Yet, making a point to stay active and...

 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, which aims to increase awareness about the importance and helpfulness of having life insurance coverage. Over the years, life insurance has become an essential way to protect one’s...

 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

No matter what life stage you’re in, knowing your financial health is important. Just as a regular checkup with the doctor will give you insights on your medical well-being—and any course corrections you should take—so, too, will...

 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ensuring you have the money you need to support you throughout retirement is an ongoing responsibility that shouldn’t be overlooked, no matter what retirement stage you’re in. When building and maintaining your plan, healthcare is a...

 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Serving as a caregiver for your parents and children is a hefty responsibility that can impact many areas of your life. As a “sandwich generation” member, you are supporting aging parents—who may be ill, unable to be financial...

 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Aging can be a difficult topic for families to address when planning for seniors’ financial and care needs. Discussing emotional details such as wills and caregiving needs can feel heavy and complicated, making the conversations easy...

 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Having enough money to last through retirement is essential, and retirees have a variety of financial strategies to help them build the lifelong income they need. One such financial option is purchasing annuities. Yet, many myths...

 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Most of your adult life, you’ve probably focused on building a retirement savings that will cover your living costs. But once you officially retire, your financial planning shouldn’t stop. Managing your expenses to support your...

 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Our lives inevitably change requiring us to evolve with the momentum. And for those holding life insurance policies, keeping your policy up-to-date and relevant to your life is essential. A variety of events can come our way at any...

 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

For many people planning for retirement, investing into annuities is a helpful strategy to build guaranteed income. Once you take retirement distributions, you receive a set amount based on details like the annuity you purchased and...

 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

No matter what stage of life someone’s in when he or she marries, a union brings reason to celebrate. And, for individuals who are 55 and older, remarrying is even on the rise.[1] When marrying later in life, people’s finances are...

 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Everyday, more and more baby boomers retire, bringing with them a shifting retirement landscape. This large demographic began turning 65 years old in 2011, and by 2029, all boomers will be at least 65, forming 20% of the U.S....

 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A seasoned military career brings a unique professional experience for millions of people each year. We have roughly 1.3 million active-duty military service members.1 And at least 1.47 million non-disability military retirees receive...

 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

As retirees embrace their new life stage, many of them consider relocating to other locales. In fact, almost two-thirds of retirees plan to move or do move in retirement.1 While retirees move for a variety of reasons, relocating in...

 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Many retirees invest in annuities as a helpful strategy for building retirement income. Since fixed-rate annuities can provide guaranteed payments at set amounts, retirees can more easily predict and manage their budget. And having...

 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Divorcing later in life is becoming more normal for people who are 50 years or older. In fact, since the 1990s, this “silver divorce” rate has more than doubled. In 2015, for every 1,000 married people 50 and over, 10 divorced — an...

 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Summertime is nearly here, along with running ACs, cooling off at the pool, and other quintessential summer actions returning across the country. Beyond the temperature increase, summer can also bring increased spending. Here are some...

 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Have a new college graduate? Give your loved one the gift of financial readiness. The time of year is here when budding college graduates go out into the world to make their career dreams and goals a reality. Yet despite their new...

 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Navigating complex terms when managing your finances is an ongoing responsibility. Yet, with all the information to process, understanding the plethora of jargon and industry-specific terms can be cumbersome. We’re continuing our...

 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

When retirees have policies such as annuities, they receive distributions from these investments that can provide them with income. As such, when you hold annuities, you can typically elect different ways to receive this money, and...

 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

When you are planning for retirement, creating a strategy to receive ongoing income is an important way to help ensure you can maintain the quality of life you desire. Annuities can be a helpful tool for many investors, due to the...

 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

With the spring season budding, now is a great time to ensure your financial accounts are up to date and secure. Just like the dust that can collect in your house, so too can your financial accounts grow stale. No one wants to add...

 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Know The Difference Between Qualified and Nonqualified Annuities For many investors looking to secure their cash flow in retirement, annuities are a common way to receive the guaranteed income they need in the future.1 Different...

 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Paying for healthcare in retirement is no small task. With costs escalating and coverage growing more complex, you can take steps today to help ensure you’re not struggling tomorrow. As your explore your own retirement planning and...

 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Maintain Your Standard of Living in Retirement Saving for retirement, and working to maintain your standard of living, is an ongoing responsibility so you don’t see your quality of life drop in your later years. Unfortunately, for...

 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Last week, all four of the indexes we discuss in these market updates saw their performance stumble. The S&P 500 lost 1.44%, the Dow was down 1.52%, the NASDAQ gave back 1.22%, and the MSCI EAFE declined 0.07%. 1 On Tuesday, March 21,...

 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Being a small business owner is a unique life experience that can provide many personal and professional rewards, such as being in control of your career. But, this also brings specific financial challenges when creating a path to...

 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Before you retired, you spent time creating strategies that could help you reach your goals in retirement. You might have invested for the income you need, minimized your debt, or protected yourself with long-term-care insurance,...

 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Life insurance policies and annuities can be a helpful tool for providing extra protection and income for yourself and your family. But, you can also receive deeper benefits thanks to certain tax advantages that each investment offers...

 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Financial fraud is, unfortunately, a common practice in America that costs individuals and businesses billions of dollars each year. And research shows that people underreport financial fraud, which can also be difficult to...

 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Losing a spouse is never easy — and a difficult topic for many to think about. But when you become a widow or widower, moving beyond the grief to address important financial items in your life is essential. Whether you recently lost...

 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Financial lives are inherently complex and require thoughtful perspectives and strategies for yourself and your loved ones. And you have even more financial nuances to organize if your family has two or more adult generations living in...

 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Enjoying a comfortable retirement depends on how well you prepared ahead of time to support your desired lifestyle — and how well you keep a pulse on your financial wellbeing after your retire. You may need to periodically check in and...

 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Life insurance and annuities can bring protection and retirement income that is essential for many people’s financial needs and goals. And when you purchase these items, you gain the opportunity to name beneficiaries who will receive...

 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

When preparing for retirement, imagining the new lifestyle you’ll embark on can be exciting. From travel to family time to relaxation, a fulfilling retirement looks different to each individual. But preparing for the quality of life...

 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The financial world is filled with confusing industry jargon and lingo. So, to help you get a hold of common terms you should know, we’ve put together a quick guide for your reference. From life insurance to annuities, use this...

 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

For most of your adult life, you’ve had the protection of life insurance to help safeguard you and your family. But as your life evolves, your family's needs and financial goals will inevitably change, too. With every transition and...

 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

For most of your adult life, you’ve protected yourself and your family with life insurance. Having a back-up tool in place to help replace income for your family should you pass away is part of a sound wealth-preservation plan. For...

 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

For many Americans, preparing to retire takes decades of investing and careful saving so you have the income you need to support your lifestyle. And once that retirement begins, you have to start collecting on your investments into...

 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Thanksgiving flew by, and now here we are, deep in the holiday season. And if you’re a grandparent, finding the perfect gift for your grandchildren can be challenging. While the hottest new toys and gadgets offer an exciting present...

 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Your Beneficiary Planning — Life Insurance and Annuities Investing brings with it a world of planning complexities to navigate as you pursue your unique financial goals. And your beneficiary planning when you have life insurance and...

 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

No matter what life stage you’re in, making sure you have the income you need for retirement is an ongoing planning need. However, fewer than half of Americans are prepared to afford at least 80% of retirement expenses1. Retirees have...

 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Managing your family’s financial needs requires daily, ongoing oversight and planning if you want to uphold lifelong wellness. And for families who have loved ones with disabilities, the planning needs become even more intricate. You...

 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Owning a small business can be an incredibly rewarding experience. But, when you’re your own boss, you also control your business’ destiny — which can directly affect your own life outside of being a business owner. And in order to...

 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

So, you’re looking to save more money to support the income you need in retirement and are considering or want to revisit your annuities. As a retirement-income investment, annuities can help you grow tax-deferred savings until you’re...

 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Growing older in America today isn’t what it used to be. Twenty years ago, the average person’s life expectancy was 76 years1. Fast forward to 2016, and a woman turning 65 today can expect to live until 87 years old and a man can...

 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Life with grandchildren means getting to spend your later years doting on your favorite little ones. For some, it also means a new chapter of raising a family in a “second parenthood.” In fact, across the U.S., 2.7 million people are...

 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Retiring in America is how many people look to their futures. Saying goodbye to your working years and entering a stage of enjoying your life in new ways — often in ways you’ve dreamed of — is a rite of passage for most Americans. Of...

 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

So, you’ve saved with your 401(k) and maxed out your IRA contributions and other traditional retirement-savings strategies. And you still have taxable money that should be helping you develop lasting retirement income, rather than...

 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

We all know that life isn’t static. A constant ebb and flow of events like family developments, career changes, and retirement inevitably bring changes to your financial needs and lifestyle. When these events occur, they can often...

 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

For most people, life insurance is an essential tool for protecting your estate and loved ones should anything happen to you. When you take out a permanent life insurance policy — whole, universal, or variable — you gain another...

 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sending a child or grandchild to college comes with new insurance responsibilities. Whether they’re already in college or still have a few years to go, your family’s insurance needs change when your children go off to school....

 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Starting in August 2016, Social Security is adding a new step to protect your privacy as a my Social Security user. This new requirement is the result of an executive order for federal agencies to provide more secure authentication...

 
 

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