Weekly Market Notes – January 11, 2021

For the Week of January 11, 2021

The Markets

Stocks closed higher Friday, with the S&P at a record high, despite the Capitol riots and a negative jobs report. Investors appeared buoyed by President-elect Joe Biden’s comment that he would support an economic stimulus package in the trillions of dollars, which would include unemployment benefits and rent forbearance. For the week, the Dow rose 1.66 percent to close at 31,097.97. The S&P gained 1.88 percent to finish at 3,824.68, and the NASDAQ climbed 2.45 percent to end the week at 13,201.98.

Returns Through 1/08/211 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)1.661.6610.709.6716.49
NASDAQ Composite (TR)2.452.4545.8923.8924.57
S&P 500 (TR)1.881.8819.7613.8417.06
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)-0.94-0.946.415.124.10
MSCI EAFE (TR)3.163.1611.674.569.50
Source: Morningstar.com. *Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Three- and five-year returns are annualized. The Dow Jones Industrials, MSCI EAFE, Barclays US Agg Bond, NASDAQ and S&P, excluding “1 Week” returns, are based on total return, which is a reflection of return to an investor by reinvesting dividends after the deduction of withholding tax. (TR) indicates total return. MSCI EAFE returns stated in U.S. dollars.

Long Term — The S&P 500 has gained an average of 10.9 percent per year (total return) over the past 50 years. The index has been positive in 16 of the last 18 years. Over the long-term, the S&P 500 has been up during 40 of the last 50 years (source: BTN Research). 

Jobless — The lowest (3.5 percent) and the highest (14.7 percent) unemployment rates in the United States in the last 50 years both occurred in 2020, and they took place just two months apart (source: Department of Labor, BTN Research).

Every Day — An estimated 10,800 Americans will turn 65 years old each day in 2021. That’s one every eight seconds. This group represents the 11th year of 19 years of baby boomers turning age 65. An estimated 11,500 Americans will turn 65 years old each day in 2029 (source: Government Accountability Office, BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – Quick Facts About the New Stimulus Package

In late December, Congress passed a $900 billion stimulus package, which included $600 checks to qualifying citizens. After initially refusing to sign the bill unless the checks were increased to $2,000, President Trump signed it. Although the House voted to increase the checks, the Senate didn’t pick up the vote, leaving the original package unchanged. Some highlights from the bill include:

The IRS and the Treasury have already started direct deposits. Recipients who don’t have direct deposit set up with the IRS will receive physical checks or Economic Impact Payment cards – provided the IRS gets to them by January 15. Those the IRS doesn’t get to by that cutoff date will need to claim a recovery rebate credit when they file their taxes.

Qualifications for this bill’s checks differ from the CARES Act in a few ways. Eligibility is determined based on 2019 tax returns (compared to 2018 or 2019 with CARES). To receive a full payment, an individual can’t have a 2019 adjusted gross income (AGI) above $75,000; married couples can’t have an AGI above $150,000, and a head of household’s AGI can’t be over $112,500. Eligible parents will receive checks for children under the age of 17.

People with higher incomes will receive a partial payment, which declines by $5 for every $100 of income over the full-payment limits. So, individuals with income of $87,000 and above and married couples filing jointly with $174,000 will not receive payments.

The IRS answers questions about the second stimulus checks and provides a tracking option at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments.

Other provisions from the 5,600-page bill include:

  • Individuals drawing unemployment benefits will receive an extra $300 a week through March 14.
  • Some hard-hit small businesses may be able to apply for a second Paycheck Protection Program loan.
  • Employers deferring payroll taxes under the President’s executive action have until the end of 2021 to increase employees’ withholding to pay back taxes owed.
  • The $300 above-the-line deduction for cash contributions to qualified charities is extended through 2021.

If you have questions on how the bill may affect you or other financial concerns, don’t hesitate to call.  

We do not provide tax advice; coordinate with your tax advisor regarding your specific situation.

*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. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia and Far East Index (MSCI EAFE Index) is a widely recognized benchmark of non-U.S. stock markets. It is an unmanaged index composed of a sample of companies representative of the market structure of 20 European and Pacific Basin countries and includes reinvestment of all dividends. Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged index comprised of U.S. investment-grade, fixed-rate bond market securities, including government, government agency, corporate and mortgage-backed securities between one and 10 years. Written by Securities America, Copyright January 2021. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI# 3399750.1

Weekly Market Notes – January 4, 2021

For the Week of January 4, 2021

The Markets

U.S. stocks rose on the final trading day of a tumultuous year. Amid pandemic-related closures and a global recession, equities plunged into a bear market in February and March but quickly rebounded. The Dow and the S&P 500 broke their records Thursday, and the NASDAQ’s year-to-date gains were the strongest of the three indices. For the week, the Dow rose 1.35 percent to close at 30,606.48. The S&P gained 1.45 percent to finish at 3,756.07, and the NASDAQ climbed 0.66 percent to end the week at 12,888.28.

Returns Through 12/31/201 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)1.359.729.729.9014.65
NASDAQ Composite (TR)0.6644.9244.9224.3922.12
S&P 500 (TR)1.4518.4018.4014.1815.22
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)0.227.517.515.344.44
MSCI EAFE (TR)1.400.007.814.287.45
Source: Morningstar.com. *Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Three- and five-year returns are annualized. The Dow Jones Industrials, MSCI EAFE, Barclays US Agg Bond, NASDAQ and S&P, excluding “1 Week” returns, are based on total return, which is a reflection of return to an investor by reinvesting dividends after the deduction of withholding tax. (TR) indicates total return. MSCI EAFE returns stated in U.S. dollars.

I Need My Space — In 2020, 28 percent of the households in the United States were made up of just one individual living alone. Another 35 percent of households were made up of just two people, of which 65 percent (of the 35 percent) are a married couple (source: Census Bureau, BTN Research).

The Fed — Four of the six current members of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors – Richard Clarida, Randal Quarles, Michelle Bowman, and Christopher Waller – were appointed during President Trump’s four years in office. There remains one vacancy on the seven-member Board of Governors (source: Federal Reserve, BTN Research).

All for Exactly the Same Services — Private U.S. health insurance pays on average $241 for health care services for every $100 that Medicare pays and for every $72 that Medicaid pays (source: RAND, Health Affairs, BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – Why You Should Set Up Your Online Social Security Account

For many of us, Social Security plays an important part in our financial plans for retirement or later stage of life. So even if you’re years away from applying for benefits, there are good reasons to set up your online Social Security account at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

You can go online to ensure there aren’t any gaps in your earnings. Why is that important? Because the amount you receive from Social Security will be based on how much you’ve earned over your working career. Many people change jobs frequently, increasing the possibility an employer will fail to report their earnings, use the wrong Social Security number, or use an incorrect name. In fact, it’s estimated Social Security records have a 3 percent error rate.1 If there is a mistake, you’ll want to fix it as soon as possible, so you aren’t shortchanged when you finally apply for benefits.

You may protect yourself against fraud. By setting up an online Social Security account, you’ll prevent anyone else from doing so. Much like income tax fraud, identity thieves sometimes set up Social Security accounts and file for benefits using other people’s names. You don’t want to wait until you retire to find someone else is collecting your hard-earned benefits. The most effective way to prevent that is by creating your own account.

You can easily replace a lost or stolen Social Security card – for free. With an online account, there’s no need to sit through traffic to get to your local office and wait in line for a new card. You can also download a printable copy of your Social Security 1099/Benefit Statement, the tax form the Social Security Administration mails each year in January. No need to wait.

If you already receive Social Security, you can still benefit from having an online account. You can set up or change direct deposit or address information and get a benefit verification letter, which you may need if you’re applying for a loan. You’ll also be able to check the status of your Social Security benefit application from anywhere you can safely log in to your account.

If you’re wondering about the role of Social Security benefits in your retirement plans or how much income you’ll need in retirement, call our office. We can help you evaluate your financial plan to ensure you’re on track to work toward the retirement you envision.

  1. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/online-my-social-security-account-fights-id-theft/
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. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia and Far East Index (MSCI EAFE Index) is a widely recognized benchmark of non-U.S. stock markets. It is an unmanaged index composed of a sample of companies representative of the market structure of 20 European and Pacific Basin countries and includes reinvestment of all dividends. Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged index comprised of U.S. investment-grade, fixed-rate bond market securities, including government, government agency, corporate and mortgage-backed securities between one and 10 years. Written by Securities America, Copyright January 2021. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI#3388521.1

Weekly Market Notes – December 28, 2020

For the Week of December 28, 2020

The Markets

All three major indices ended a shortened holiday week on an up note as investors digested surging virus cases, the ongoing vaccine rollout, uncertainty over the Georgia runoff, a fall in unemployment claims, and new hurdles to the stimulus bills. For the week, the Dow lost 0.34 percent to close at 30,199.87. The S&P lost 0.49 percent to finish at 3,703.06, and the NASDAQ gained 0.32 percent to end the week at 12,804.73.

Returns Through 12/25/201 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)-0.348.278.359.3614.18
NASDAQ Composite (TR)0.3243.9744.3023.7921.77
S&P 500 (TR)-0.4916.7117.0113.5114.70
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)0.087.277.385.444.38
MSCI EAFE (TR)-0.606.336.834.117.12
Source: Morningstar.com. *Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Three- and five-year returns are annualized. The Dow Jones Industrials, MSCI EAFE, Barclays US Agg Bond, NASDAQ and S&P, excluding “1 Week” returns, are based on total return, which is a reflection of return to an investor by reinvesting dividends after the deduction of withholding tax. (TR) indicates total return. MSCI EAFE returns stated in U.S. dollars.

All the Other Stuff — Administrative costs make up 34 percent of total U.S. health care expenditures (i.e., expenses not related to direct patient care) including medical billing, the scheduling of appointments, and hiring of office staff (source: Annals of Internal Medicine, BTN Research).

Help for College Students —The Department of Education announced on Friday, Dec. 4, a second extension through Jan. 31, 2021, of the forbearance period on federal student loans. The forbearance plan, a pause in required principal and interest payments, began March 13 and was set to expire Sept. 30 but was previously extended on Aug. 21 through the end of 2020. 92 percent of all student loans (by dollar) are federal loans. The remaining 8 percent are loans originated by a private lender (source: Department of Education, BTN Research).

Advantage: Sellers — The number of existing single-family homes for sale has been tracked nationally since July 1982. The total peaked in July 2007 at 3.4 million but has now fallen to match its all-time low of 1.22 million in December 2019 (source: National Association of Realtors, BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – Financial Resolutions for 2021

Despite a crazy year or perhaps because of it, over half of Americans are expected to make at least one financial resolution for 2021.1 If you haven’t identified yours, here are a few to consider.

Pad your retirement savings. You probably spent less on travel, restaurants, movies, gas, or sporting events in 2020. Why not maintain some of those cuts after things normalize and add the savings to your retirement account?

Increase your emergency fund. According to FINRA, almost half of Americans don’t have a rainy day fund. If you don’t have an emergency fund equal to six months of income, start one. If you do, why not add enough to cover an additional month or two of expenses?

Reduce debt, safeguard credit. Automate account payments to avoid missing any. Plan to eliminate debts before retiring.Thwart identity thieves with credit monitoring, which notifies you when key information on your file changes.

Create a long-range plan. If you’re married, project future expenses if you both live to 95 or either of you dies and the other lives to 95. Then go to ssa.gov/myaccount to estimate Social Security benefits you’d receive when claiming at different ages. Determine how much more you’ll need to maintain your lifestyle.

Review your insurance and estate plan. Make sure your insurance coverage is adequate and beneficiaries are up to date. If you haven’t reviewed your estate plan recently, you’ve moved, or your assets or family has changed, schedule a meeting with your estate planning attorney.

Invest in yourself. Health care is expensive. Studies indicate the average 65-year-old couple retiring in 2020 can expect to pay $295,000 for out-of-pocket health care and medical expenses (not including potential long-term care). Taking steps to stay fit now may help you enjoy retirement and save money.

Work with a coach. Your odds of successfully implementing goals increase when you have an objective, knowledgeable partner. Make an appointment to discuss your financial resolutions and how we can work together to make 2021 a happy and prosperous new year!

1https://www.magnifymoney.com/blog/banking/money-resolution-survey/

2money.usnews.com/money/retirement/aging/articles/preparing-for-medical-expenses-in-retirement

*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. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia and Far East Index (MSCI EAFE Index) is a widely recognized benchmark of non-U.S. stock markets. It is an unmanaged index composed of a sample of companies representative of the market structure of 20 European and Pacific Basin countries and includes reinvestment of all dividends. Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged index comprised of U.S. investment-grade, fixed-rate bond market securities, including government, government agency, corporate and mortgage-backed securities between one and 10 years. Written by Securities America, Copyright December 2020. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI#3383589.1

Weekly Market Notes – December 14, 2020

For the Week of December 14, 2020

The Markets

The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ ended Friday with modest declines despite the FDA’s emergency use authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 years of age and older. Investors appeared cautious amid conflicting headlines on progress toward another stimulus deal. For the week, the Dow fell 0.54 percent to close at 30,046.37. The S&P lost 0.95 percent to finish at 3,663.46, and the NASDAQ dropped 0.69 percent to end at 12,377.87.

Returns Through 12/11/201 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)-0.547.702.569.7214.44
NASDAQ Composite (TR)-0.6939.145.1022.9021.50
S&P 500 (TR)-0.9515.392.7113.4315.00
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)0.357.210.905.324.25
MSCI EAFE (TR)-0.514.874.243.967.20
Source: Morningstar.com. *Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Three- and five-year returns are annualized. The Dow Jones Industrials, MSCI EAFE, Barclays US Agg Bond, NASDAQ and S&P, excluding “1 Week” returns, are based on total return, which is a reflection of return to an investor by reinvesting dividends after the deduction of withholding tax. (TR) indicates total return. MSCI EAFE returns stated in U.S. dollars.

Small Businesses Rule — Small American businesses, defined as having less than 500 employees, are responsible for 44 percent of U.S. economic activity (source: U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, BTN Research).

Post-Election Gains — In the 22 trading days following the Nov. 3 election through Friday, Dec. 4, the S&P 500 gained 10 percent (total return) and set seven all-time record closings (source: BTN Research).

Not a Great Return — An American male retiring at age 65 in 2020 who has earned the maximum taxable wage for Social Security taxes every year during his working career ($137,700 in 2020) is projected to have paid $741,000 (stated as a 2020 present value number) in lifetime Social Security taxes but is projected to receive just $533,000 (stated as a 2020 present value number) in lifetime benefits (source: Tax Policy Center, BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – Smart Things to Do With a Year-End Bonus

Despite the pandemic, two-thirds of U.S. employers still plan to offer their employees year-end bonuses. If you work for one of those companies, it is wise to come up with a thoughtful plan for the extra cash. If you need more time to consider your options, deposit the money in a savings account. It will be harder to chip away at it if it’s not connected to your debit card. Here are a few other suggestions.

Account for taxes. If your employer doesn’t withhold taxes from your bonus, or doesn’t withhold enough, make sure to set aside money to pay them. 

Increase your bonus’ value. Contributing the maximum allowed to a pretax employer retirement plan can make your bonus go farther than using it as after-tax dollars, especially if your employer matches the contributions. If your income falls within IRS guidelines, you may be able to make pretax contributions to your 401(k) and a traditional IRA or add post-tax contributions to a Roth IRA, which will grow tax-free.

Put your money to work. Since a bonus is extra money, it may be easier to use it for an investment with long-term growth potential or to rebalance your portfolio by introducing new money rather than selling stocks.

Build your emergency fund. Everyone should have liquid savings available to cover six months’ worth of living expenses when the unexpected occurs. If you keep your fund in a savings account, be sure to shop around for the best rates, or consider a short-term CD.

Invest in yourself or loved ones. Many of the most successful people continually pursue knowledge and increase their skills. You might take a coding course, learn a language, hire a health coach, pay for a professional certification, or enroll in a public speaking program. If you have a child or grandchild, you could contribute to their 529 plan.

Plan an experience. Research indicates great memories often provide more satisfaction than purchases. In the midst of a rough winter, planning a future vacation can give you something to look forward to. 

We’re here to help you reap the rewards of your success and build a brighter tomorrow. Call our office to schedule a time to discuss what you want to accomplish in 2021 and beyond.

We do not provide tax advice; coordinate with your tax advisor regarding your specific situation.

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. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia and Far East Index (MSCI EAFE Index) is a widely recognized benchmark of non-U.S. stock markets. It is an unmanaged index composed of a sample of companies representative of the market structure of 20 European and Pacific Basin countries and includes reinvestment of all dividends. Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged index comprised of U.S. investment-grade, fixed-rate bond market securities, including government, government agency, corporate and mortgage-backed securities between one and 10 years. Written by Securities America, Copyright December 2020. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI#3369082.1

Student Loan Forbearance Extended Through 1/31/21

Folks,

On 12/4/20 the U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced an extension on the federal student loan forbearance period. Federal student loan borrowers will not be expected to make payments through January of next year, 2021. Non-payments will continue to count toward the number of payments required under an income-driven repayment plan, a loan rehabilitation agreement, or the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

During this forbearance period any payments will go directly to the loan principal which will lower your interest payment in the future. We urge our clients to take advantage, if financially feasible, of this opportunity and pay down the principle on your loans.

This article was posted by the U.S. Department of Education:

https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/secretary-devos-extends-student-loan-forbearance-period-through-january-31-2021-response-covid-19-national-emergency

If you or anyone know anyone you know needs help understanding their student loan status please feel free to contact us.

Although information herein has been obtained from sources deemed reliable, its accuracy and completeness are not asserted. All opinions and estimates included in this report constitute the judgment of the financial advisor as of the dates indicated and are subject to change without notice. This report is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security.

Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or a loss. Diversification does not ensure a profit or ensure against a loss. There is no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful.  Past performance is no assurance of future results.

Please consider the charges, risks, expenses and investment objectives carefully before investing. Please see a prospectus containing this and other information. Read it carefully before you invest or send money.

Information provided should not be construed as legal or tax advice.  You should discuss any tax or legal matter with the appropriate professional.

Weekly Market Notes – December 8, 2020

For the Week of December 7, 2020

The Markets

Stocks rose Friday despite a disappointing November jobs report and rising coronavirus cases. Expectations of a new fiscal relief bill helped all three major indices close at record highs. For the week, the Dow rose 1.16 percent to close at 30,218.26. The S&P gained 1.72 percent to finish at 3,699.12, and the NASDAQ climbed 2.14 percent to end at 12,464.23.

Returns Through 12/04/201 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)1.168.2811.8710.0913.82
NASDAQ Composite (TR)2.1440.1046.8423.7920.67
S&P 500 (TR)1.7216.5021.0814.1014.35
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)-0.426.846.785.204.28
MSCI EAFE (TR)1.025.419.254.216.79
Source: Morningstar.com. *Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Three- and five-year returns are annualized. The Dow Jones Industrials, MSCI EAFE, Barclays US Agg Bond, NASDAQ and S&P, excluding “1 Week” returns, are based on total return, which is a reflection of return to an investor by reinvesting dividends after the deduction of withholding tax. (TR) indicates total return. MSCI EAFE returns stated in U.S. dollars.

Most Are Current — One in 13 home mortgages nationwide (7.65 percent) were at least one monthly payment delinquent as of Sept. 30. Just one in 25 home mortgages nationwide (3.97 percent) were at least one monthly payment delinquent as of Sept. 30, 2019 (source: Mortgage Bankers Association, BTN Research).

November to Remember — With one trading day remaining in November, the S&P 500 had gained 11.4 percent month-to-date (total return) through Nov. 27, a performance better than 99.7 percent of the last 360 months (source: BTN Research).

Primary Household Assets — 62 percent of the average net worth of an American household comes from just two assets – the equity they have built up in their home and the value of their retirement accounts (source: Census Bureau, BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – Gifts With Lasting Impact

Looking for gifts that will be appreciated long after the holiday decorations are stashed away for next year? Here are a few ideas for presents with lasting impacts.

For younger children or teens: Encourage an interest in investing with a gift card from Stockpile.com. For $25, $50, or $100, you can purchase fractional shares of stock from popular companies like Pepsi, Facebook, Apple, and Disney. The site offers physical gift cards you can put in Christmas stockings and e-gifts you can send instantly. Recipients redeem the cards on the site, which is an online brokerage. Twenty-five percent of Stockpile’s customers are kids and teens.

Help finance future qualified educational expenses for a loved one by contributing to (or establishing) a 529 savings plan. Although contributions aren’t pretax, earnings aren’t taxed. And some states will let you deduct a portion of contributions from your state taxes. Once the plan is set up, sites such as GiftofCollege.com and LeafSavings.com offer gift cards that make it easy to contribute directly to a 529 account.

For the older teenager with earned income: Encourage a teen to think about the future by helping them start a Roth IRA. You can gift money to fund their IRA for as much as they earn up to the $6,000 limit for 2020.Stocks, U.S. Savings Bonds, and CDs also make good gifts by promoting financial literacy in young investors.

For adult children: If a family member dreams of starting their own business, provide great insights on running a business, franchising, and meeting startup challenges with a subscription to Inc. or Entrepreneur. Magazines like Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, or Money might fuel an interest in investing.

Or give a gift of time. Younger adults just starting out might not have enough financial resources for serious investing – but they do need a financial strategy and could benefit from the guidance of a financial professional. Even an older adult child could benefit from a financial tune-up.

While you may be doing your best to teach your children and grandchildren about personal finances, confirmation from an outside source could reinforce your message. We’d be happy to educate them on the importance of setting long-term goals, creating a budget, and setting up a financial plan.

We do not provide tax advice; coordinate with your tax advisor regarding your specific situation.

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. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia and Far East Index (MSCI EAFE Index) is a widely recognized benchmark of non-U.S. stock markets. It is an unmanaged index composed of a sample of companies representative of the market structure of 20 European and Pacific Basin countries and includes reinvestment of all dividends. Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged index comprised of U.S. investment-grade, fixed-rate bond market securities, including government, government agency, corporate and mortgage-backed securities between one and 10 years. Written by Securities America, Copyright December 2020. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI#3359282.1

December 2020 – Monthly Outlook – “Extraordinarily Uncertain”

Get ready for a wild December:  Virus surging, possible vaccines, budget fights, stimulus proposals, and a final vote in the Electoral College.

Federal Reserve Chairman Powell testified today to the Senate that the economic recovery outlook is “extraordinarily uncertain”.  The job market is starting to show signs of slowing, with 20 million folks still receiving some form of government benefits.

Small business are closing at an alarming rate – and these figures are as of the end of September, before the most recent surge in virus cases.  In the seven months from Feb. 29 to Sep. 30, 163,735 U.S. businesses have closed their doors, including 97,966 businesses (60%) that are likely closed for good (Source: Yelp Economic Average, BTN Research). Small business owners have more economic uncertainty than in the last 20 years.

The immediate concern is December 11th, when Congress needs to pass legislation to fund the government.  Congress also needs to pass additional stimulus to support the economy until the Biden administration is inaugurated on January 20, 2021. I am confident they will get something done on the government funding but remain skeptical on additional stimulus.  All of the safety nets from the original CARES Act (extended unemployment benefits, eviction and mortgage foreclosure moratoriums, student loan interest relief, etc.) expire on December 31st.  The longer it takes to get more stimulus into the system the bigger the risk to the economic recovery.

On the positive side, recent news about potential vaccines give me hope that we are going to begin to see a more normal world in 2021.  Below are some estimates on vaccine distribution and the impact on global economic activity.

We continue to monitor economic and financial market conditions and will adjust your portfolio as needed.  We expect the market to be volatile but range bound throughout December.

P.S. Thank you for your referrals. They are making a big difference in my practice. Feel free to share my name with your friends on Facebook or LinkedIn.   Thank you to Vic & Carol C. for referring friends and Dave P. for having us help his daughters.

December Calendar of Events   (comments and additions for future months are always welcome)

  • December is Universal Human Rights Day.  Let’s pray that all people, regardless of race, religion, gender, or nationality  can learn to treat others as we all wish to be treated.

December 10th            Human Rights Day   –  I have cherished the ideal  of a democratic and free society… it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. – Nelson Mandela

December 10th            Happy Hanukkah  –    May it be a festival of love, happiness, success, and health in your world now and always.

December 15th            Healthcare open enrollment – for coverage starting Jan 1, 2020 – ENDS!   

December 19th            Christian’s birthday

December 21st Winter Solstice    –       The shortest day of the year and the start of winter

December 25th            Merry Christmas – have a wonderful holiday.  Let’s all remember the true significance of this day – the birth of Christ. 

December 26th            Kwanzaa starts – let’s all celebrate African-American culture

Best regards,

Jim

Sources: Blackstone, CNBC, Bespoke Investments

Although information herein has been obtained from sources deemed reliable, its accuracy and completeness are not asserted. All opinions and estimates included in this report constitute the judgment of the financial advisor as of the dates indicated and are subject to change without notice. This report is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security.

Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or a loss. Diversification does not ensure a profit or ensure against a loss. There is no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful.  Past performance is no assurance of future results.

Please consider the charges, risks, expenses and investment objectives carefully before investing. Please see a prospectus containing this and other information. Read it carefully before you invest or send money.

Information provided should not be construed as legal or tax advice.  You should discuss any tax or legal matter with the appropriate professional.

Weekly Market Notes – November 30, 2020

For the Week of November 30, 2020

The Markets

Stocks rose on a shortened, post-Thanksgiving Friday as retailers kicked off the holiday shopping season and coronavirus cases rose. The S&P and NASDAQ closed at record highs Friday, and the Dow closed above 30,000 for the first time earlier in the week. For the week, the Dow rose 2.25 percent to close at 29,910.37. The S&P gained 2.30 percent to finish at 3,638.35, and the NASDAQ climbed 2.97 percent to end at 12,205.85.

Returns Through 11/27/201 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)2.257.048.6810.8013.64
NASDAQ Composite (TR)2.9737.1641.5022.3120.23
S&P 500 (TR)2.3014.5217.5314.0213.98
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)-0.037.287.215.304.34
MSCI EAFE (TR)2.234.347.203.786.40
Source: Morningstar.com. *Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Three- and five-year returns are annualized. The Dow Jones Industrials, MSCI EAFE, Barclays US Agg Bond, NASDAQ and S&P, excluding “1 Week” returns, are based on total return, which is a reflection of return to an investor by reinvesting dividends after the deduction of withholding tax. (TR) indicates total return. MSCI EAFE returns stated in U.S. dollars.

Why Go? — 43 percent of recent college graduates with jobs (under the age of 28) surveyed in September are working in jobs that typically do not require a college degree (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, BTN Research).

People Are Spending Again — Retail sales in the United States were down on a month-over-month basis for three consecutive months (February through April) but have rebounded and have increased on a month-over-month basis for the last six months (May through October) (source: Census Bureau, BTN Research).

Not Coming Back — In the six months from February 29 to August 31, 163,735 U.S. businesses closed their doors, including 97,966 businesses (60 percent) that are likely closed for good (Source: Yelp Economic Average, BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – December 1 Designated Giving Tuesday

Whether it’s due to the holiday spirit or taking advantage of tax deductions before it’s too late, one-third of annual charitable donations are made in December.1 Just as you try to be a mindful shopper who avoids impulse purchases, it’s important to be a careful giver who thoughtfully evaluates emotion-tugging appeals. The following tips can help.

Plan ahead. You can’t buy gifts for every friend and relative, and you can’t donate to every worthy cause. So consider what areas you’re most passionate about. And don’t be like two-thirds of donors, who don’t do any research before giving.2 Examine prospective charities and choose groups who address your concerns most effectively and efficiently. Check out large organizations on charity rating sites like GuideStar.org, CharityNavigator.org, or the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance site, Give.org. Evaluate smaller, local nonprofits by reading their annual report, audited financial statement, and IRS Form 990. Look for entities that spend 75 percent of their budgets directly on programs. You might even volunteer and observe their programming in action.

Concentrate support. After you’ve identified charities with reputations for performing well, narrow your choices. Although diversification works well when investing in stocks, it’s less effective when investing in charities. Giving more to fewer organizations allows them to spend less on fundraising, keep operating costs low, and plan strategically.

Budget for giving. Once you’ve chosen your favorite nonprofits, decide how much you want to give and make room in your budget. See if you can make your gifts go farther by participating in a matching program through your employer or a generous donor.

Be tax smart. You can’t deduct donations unless you itemize your tax return and give to a 501(c)3 tax-exempt entity. (To check whether a charity qualifies, visit the IRS webpage, apps.irs.gov/app/eos). If you receive something in return for your gift (e.g., a dinner or a book), its value must be subtracted from your donation. A cancelled check or credit card statement is adequate proof for gifts under $250, but you’ll need a receipt for gifts above that.  

For more information on targeting your charitable efforts, give our office a call. We can also work with your tax advisor to help you and your causes get the most benefit from your gifts.

We do not provide tax advice; coordinate with your tax advisor regarding your specific situation.

1,2 https://neonone.com/resources/blog/year-end-giving-statistics/

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. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia and Far East Index (MSCI EAFE Index) is a widely recognized benchmark of non-U.S. stock markets. It is an unmanaged index composed of a sample of companies representative of the market structure of 20 European and Pacific Basin countries and includes reinvestment of all dividends. Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged index comprised of U.S. investment-grade, fixed-rate bond market securities, including government, government agency, corporate and mortgage-backed securities between one and 10 years. Written by Securities America, Copyright November 2020. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI#3348652.1

Weekly Market Notes – November 23, 2020

For the Week of November 23, 2020

The Markets

Stocks closed lower Friday amid rising coronavirus cases, increased state-level shutdowns, and fiscal stimulus developments. On Thursday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would allow pandemic-relief lending programs to expire at the end of the year. For the week, the Dow fell 0.65 percent to close at 29,263.48. The S&P lost 0.73 percent to finish at 3,557.54, and the NASDAQ climbed 0.25 percent to end the week at 11,854.97.

Returns Through 11/20/201 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)-0.654.697.6810.2313.12
NASDAQ Composite (TR)0.2533.2140.3121.6419.64
S&P 500 (TR)-0.7311.9516.6013.4513.49
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)0.597.317.265.414.37
MSCI EAFE (TR)1.872.065.713.505.83
Source: Morningstar.com. *Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Three- and five-year returns are annualized. The Dow Jones Industrials, MSCI EAFE, Barclays US Agg Bond, NASDAQ and S&P, excluding “1 Week” returns, are based on total return, which is a reflection of return to an investor by reinvesting dividends after the deduction of withholding tax. (TR) indicates total return. MSCI EAFE returns stated in U.S. dollars.

More Bonds Than Stocks — As of June 30, the U.S. stock market was $33 trillion in size. As of that same date, the U.S. bond market was $50 trillion in size (source: Wilshire, SIFMA, BTN Research). 

Bulls — 56 percent of investors surveyed as of Nov. 11 are bullish on U.S. stocks for the upcoming six months, the highest percentage recorded in this weekly survey since Jan. 3, 2018 (source: Amer. Assoc. of Individual Investors, BTN Research).

Taxes — To take deductions on Form 1040, a taxpayer can use the standard deduction or the taxpayer can itemize deductions if the latter is greater than the former. The standard deduction will be $25,100 for married couples filing jointly and $12,550 for individuals in 2021. Please consult a tax expert for details (source: IRS, BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – Safe Holiday Shopping in 2020

In a year unlike any other, holiday shopping is sure to look different as well. According to Deloitte’s 35th annual holiday shopping survey, the average household expects to spend $1,400 this season, 7 percent lower than last year. Participants cited economic worries for reigning in their overall spending and safety concerns for reducing travel and socializing outside the home. Not surprisingly, over half plan to do more online shopping.

Unfortunately, increased online shopping leads to increased online scams. Here are a few tips to follow if you’re considering a purchase off the beaten path.

While online shopping may offer fewer impulse-buying temptations than in-store experiences, it’s still important to create a disciplined budget for gift giving. From holiday spending to college funding and retirement planning, our office can be a resource for your financial needs. Call us for assistance when you need to create or update a plan for achieving your financial goals.

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. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia and Far East Index (MSCI EAFE Index) is a widely recognized benchmark of non-U.S. stock markets. It is an unmanaged index composed of a sample of companies representative of the market structure of 20 European and Pacific Basin countries and includes reinvestment of all dividends. Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged index comprised of U.S. investment-grade, fixed-rate bond market securities, including government, government agency, corporate and mortgage-backed securities between one and 10 years. Written by Securities America, Copyright November 2020. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI#3342705.1

Weekly Market Notes – November 16, 2020

For the Week of November 16, 2020

The Markets

Stocks rose Friday amid upbeat earnings reports and a surge in virus cases. Positive vaccine news helped the Dow and the S&P achieve strong weekly gains. On Monday, Pfizer reported its vaccine proved over 90 percent effective in its trial. For the week, the Dow rose 4.19 percent to close at 29,479.81. The S&P gained 2.21 percent to finish at 3,585.15, and the NASDAQ dropped 0.53 percent to end the week at 11,829.29.

Returns Through 10/13/201 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)4.195.378.6210.4914.04
NASDAQ Composite (TR)-0.5332.8840.7821.7720.44
S&P 500 (TR)2.2112.7718.0913.7214.40
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)-0.146.687.295.274.28
MSCI EAFE (TR)3.890.183.652.925.96
Source: Morningstar.com. *Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Three- and five-year returns are annualized. The Dow Jones Industrials, MSCI EAFE, Barclays US Agg Bond, NASDAQ and S&P, excluding “1 Week” returns, are based on total return, which is a reflection of return to an investor by reinvesting dividends after the deduction of withholding tax. (TR) indicates total return. MSCI EAFE returns stated in U.S. dollars.

Bad but Not That Bad — The March 27 CARES Act included $139 billion of relief for the 50 U.S. states. From Feb. 29 to Aug. 31, the tax revenue collected by all U.S. states was down $30 billion over the same six-month period from a year earlier. When the CARES Act was being debated in Congress, U.S. governors requested financial support of $500 billion from lawmakers (source: National Governors Association, BTN Research).

Many Can’t Wait — An American worker may begin receiving a monthly Social Security retirement benefit as early as age 62, albeit at a reduced level from what is available at one’s full retirement age. Just under 50 percent of American blue-collar workers take their retirement benefits at age 62, while only 38 percent of white-collar workers begin their retirement benefits early (source: Center for Financial Security, December 2019, BTN Research).

Down, But Getting Better — From a February peak of 158.8 million jobs nationwide, the United States was down 9 million jobs to 149.8 million workers as of the end of October (source: Department of Labor, BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – Maximizing Your Employee Benefits

If you’re among the 49 percent of Americans who receive employer-sponsored health care coverage, you may have already received information on your company’s open enrollment. In previous years, you might not have taken much time to review your company’s options. But the current pandemic underscores the importance of securing the best possible coverage and value.

Even before COVID hit, workers’ average single deductible rose to $1,644 in 2020 – almost double from 10 years ago. And typical annual family premiums under employer-sponsored plans rose 4 percent from 2019 to $21,342. During the pandemic, many of us have postponed tests, routine care, and procedures. If much of that deferred care is scheduled in 2021, PwC’s Health Research Institute projects medical costs could rise as much as 10 percent above pre-coronavirus levels.1

Two ways to fund some of these rising costs are a pretax Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA).

To set up an HSA, individuals must have a qualifying high-deductible health plan (HDHP). They control their HSA and may roll contributions over from year to year. To qualify in 2021, an HDHP must have a minimum deductible of $1,400 for individuals or $2,800 for families. The maximum limits for out-of-pocket costs are $7,000 for an individual or $14,000 for a family.

In 2021, workers with an HDHP can contribute $3,600 for themselves (plus $1,000 if they’re 55 or older) or $7,200 for their family. Once enrolled in Medicare Part A or B, individuals can no longer contribute pretax dollars to an HSA.

FSAs are owned by the employer; this means you may forfeit unused contributions if you leave your job. At year’s end, unused funds do not automatically carry over. Depending on the policy, an employee forfeits them, has a few-month grace period to use them, or is allowed to carry up to $550 (for 2021) into the next year. The maximum amount an employee can contribute in 2021 is $2,750.  Medicare recipientsmay contribute to their employers’ FSA.

Need help choosing the best health care options for your family? I’m happy to review these crucial elements of your financial plan with you.

1 https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/02/5-things-to-watch-out-for-during-open-enrollment-amid-coronavirus.html

*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. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia and Far East Index (MSCI EAFE Index) is a widely recognized benchmark of non-U.S. stock markets. It is an unmanaged index composed of a sample of companies representative of the market structure of 20 European and Pacific Basin countries and includes reinvestment of all dividends. Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged index comprised of U.S. investment-grade, fixed-rate bond market securities, including government, government agency, corporate and mortgage-backed securities between one and 10 years. Written by Securities America, Copyright November 2020. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI# 3332238.1