Weekly Market Notes – June 7, 2021

For the Week of June 7, 2021

    The Markets

Stocks rose Friday. The Labor Department’s May jobs report showed unemployment fell to a pandemic-era low of 5.9 percent, and new job growth was stronger than April’s but short of expectations. The mixed news appeared to assure investors the Fed would retain its accommodating money policies. For the week, the Dow rose 0.69 percent to close at 34,756.39. The S&P gained 0.64 percent to finish at 4,229.89, and the NASDAQ climbed 0.49 percent to end at 13,814.49.

Returns Through 6/04/211 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)0.6914.5534.9214.4517.00
NASDAQ Composite (TR)0.497.5144.7223.1824.08
S&P 500 (TR)0.6413.3538.0817.6517.28
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)0.12-2.170.165.293.15
MSCI EAFE (TR)0.7311.2232.518.189.95

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.

Did You Need It? — 40.3 percent of college graduates aged 22 to 27 are working in jobs in which they are underemployed, i.e., they are working in a job that typically does not require a college degree. Historically, 33.5 percent of college grads are underemployed (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, BTN Research).

Will It Be Spent Eventually? — The personal savings rate in the U.S. in the first quarter 2021 was 21 percent. The personal savings rate in the U.S. in the first quarter 2001 was 5 percent. The personal savings rate is defined as savings (i.e., after-tax income less consumption spending) divided by after-tax income (source: Department of Commerce, BTN Research).

Not a Big Number? — At its peak, 3.7 million home mortgages (out of 52.4 million mortgages nationwide) had requested and received forbearance protection afforded through the CARES Act that was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27, 2020. As of March 2021, that total had fallen to 2.2 million home mortgages still in forbearance, or just 4.2 percent of all mortgages (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – June Is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

It’s difficult to find someone who has not been emotionally and/or financially impacted by Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is one of our nation’s costliest diseases. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, total payments for all individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are estimated to total $355 billion in 2021 (not including unpaid caregiving). Sadly, afflicted individuals without adequate long-term care insurance frequently lose most, if not all, of their financial assets.

But even dementias’ beginning stages and mild cognitive impairment experienced by healthy seniors can put personal wealth at risk. That’s why it’s important to begin having conversations about your aging family member’s finances well before you see signs of mental decline. Obviously, this has to be done with great sensitivity and respect. Make sure they know you don’t want to take control, but you would like to ensure they are protected and their wishes honored in the years to come.

During ongoing dialogs, try to learn what you’ll need to know if it becomes necessary to manage their finances: the names and contact information of their financial planner, accountant, and attorney; financial records and where they are kept; their monthly income and the sources; insurance policies; the location of financial accounts; regular bills and how they are paid; and log-in information for online accounts.

Suggest meeting jointly with their financial professional and/or other family members. Gain an understanding of their priorities and wishes. Ask which assets are most important to them, what causes they want to support, and whether their will is up to date.

Propose having legal documents created that will allow you or another family member to make decisions if your loved one becomes unable to. This can include: a health care power of attorney (POA) or a more limited living will, either a limited or durable power of attorney for finances, an authorization to disclose account information, and a form authorizing a financial institution to contact you if concerns arise about their ability to manage finances. Not having these documents when they’re needed can make helping your elderly relative considerably more difficult. For example, without a POA, you may need to go to court to attain guardianship of your family member to access accounts on their behalf.

Contact our office if you would like more information about protecting your loved one or help creating a plan to care for them.

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 June 2021. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. and/or Arbor Point Advisors LLC, registered investment advisers. Securities America, Inc., Securities America Advisors, Inc., and Arbor Point Advisors LLC are separately owned and other entities and/or marketing names, products or services referenced here are independent. Securities America • 12325 Port Grace Blvd. • La Vista, NE 68128 • 800-747-6111 • securitiesamerica.com #3621494.1

Weekly Market Notes – May 10, 2021

For the Week of May 10, 2021

The Markets

Stocks rose to record levels Friday despite negative economic news. The Labor Department reported just 266,000 non-farm jobs were added last month, far from the 1 million forecasters expected, and the unemployment rate rose 6 percent. Bad news seemed to be good news to investors expecting the Fed to keep interest rates low. For the week, the Dow rose 2.72 percent to close at 34,777.76. The S&P gained 1.26 percent to finish at 4,232.60, and the NASDAQ dropped 1.48 percent to end at 13,752.24.

Returns Through 5/7/20211 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)2.7214.3348.7315.2417.13
NASDAQ Composite (TR)-1.486.9454.3624.9225.05
S&P 500 (TR)1.2613.2549.3518.7917.79
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)0.28-2.340.175.313.21
MSCI EAFE (TR)2.599.3646.887.2510.11

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.

Tax Cheaters — In September 2019, the government projected our nation’s tax gap, i.e., the difference between what all taxpayers should have paid compared to what they actually paid, was $441 billion per year. On April 13, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig testified before the Senate Finance Committee the tax gap could be as high as $1 trillion annually, or more than double the previous estimate (source: IRS, BTN Research).

Wood — The average cost of building a new single-family home in the U.S. has increased by 8 percent in the last year ($24,000) solely because of the rising cost of lumber. Lumber mills shut down nationwide in 2020 for as long as four months, leading to a lumber shortage as homebuilding demand accelerated. Lumber imports into the U.S. have been impacted by a beetle plague ravaging Canadian forests (source: National Association of Homebuilders, BTN Research).

Half — 49 percent of the United States’ 330 million population maintain their health insurance through an employer’s health insurance plan either as an employee or a dependent of an employee (source: Kaiser Family Foundation, BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – Make Your Tax Refund Work for You

If you’re one of the millions of Americans receiving a tax refund this year, why not use that money to reap long-term benefits? The following seven options could make a lasting impact on your financial well-being:

  1. Having an emergency fund to cover basic living expenses is an important step to achieving your financial plans and keeping your retirement funds secure. If you don’t have six months of living expenses set aside in a high-interest savings account, use your tax refund to get closer to that goal.
  • If you have credit card debt, pay down your balance to get out of debt quicker. Then invest the money you save each month.
  • If your emergency fund is set and you don’t have high-interest debt, invest your tax refund in your retirement plan. If you want to reap the full benefits of compound interest, the sooner the better.
  • If there’s a course you’ve been wanting to take to boost your career, use your refund for tuition. Or, perhaps you have a hobby you’ve always wanted to turn into a side business. Why not use the money to create a website or build the inventory you need to get started?
  • Increase your home’s efficiency with new windows or appliances. You’ll save money on utility bills now and make your home more valuable when it’s time to sell.
  • Purchase a term life insurance policy to guarantee your loved ones an equal standard of living should tragedy strike.
  • Donate part or all of your tax refund to a charity and lower your taxable income in the process.

How you spend your money will ultimately depend upon your goals and individual financial situation. If you need help deciding your best route, call our office.

* 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. SAI#1581151.1 

Weekly Market Notes – April 26, 2021

For the Week of April 26, 2021

The Markets

Stocks rebounded Friday after dropping Thursday following reports President Biden planned to propose doubling capital gains taxes on individuals earning $1 million or more. But the S&P ended Friday close to its record high amid expectations of a strong earnings report this week. For the week, the Dow fell 0.42 percent to close at 34,043.49. The S&P lost 0.11 percent to finish at 4,180.17, and the NASDAQ dropped 0.25 percent to end at 14,016.81.

Returns Through 4/23/211 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)-0.4211.8647.8714.2616.30
NASDAQ Composite (TR)-0.258.9666.3026.5124.65
S&P 500 (TR)-0.1111.8051.9218.3317.12
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)0.13-2.43-0.055.323.31
MSCI EAFE (TR)-0.417.4145.966.588.94
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.

Thirty-Something — The average age of a first-time U.S. homebuyer in 2020 was 36.1 years old (source: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel, BTN Research).

Need a Charge? — The American Jobs Plan, a $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan proposed by the Biden White House on March 31, includes $174 billion (8 percent of the total plan) to be invested in the domestic electric vehicle market. Funds would be used to build and maintain 500,000 charging stations nationwide (source: Biden White House, BTN Research).

Money In, a Lot More Out — Halfway through fiscal year 2021, i.e., the 6 months ending March 31, 2021, the U.S. government has taken in $1.7 trillion in taxes and spent $3.4 trillion, resulting in a 2021 fiscal year deficit to date of $1.7 trillion with 6 months still to go in the fiscal year. Last year’s fiscal year 2020 budget deficit of $3.1 trillion was our nation’s all-time record (source: Treasury Department, BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – Without Umbrella Coverage, Your Assets Could Be at Risk

You’ve worked hard to build up your nest egg. But what would happen if you were involved in an accident, which left you liable for an amount above the limits of your homeowners or auto insurance? All your hard-earned assets could be gone over night.

To protect your savings, you may want to consider adding umbrella insurance to your homeowners and auto coverage. Also known as excess personal liability insurance, umbrella insurance provides an extra layer of security, which will pay for a judgment or settlement if you’re found responsible and cover your defense expenses even if you’re not at fault.

If you own property or items that could cause an injury to someone else, such as a pool, a dog, a trampoline, a boat, or a snowmobile, you should consider purchasing umbrella insurance. If you’re a landlord, serve on the board of a nonprofit, coach kids’ sports, or volunteer, you could also benefit from the protection offered by an umbrella policy.

Umbrella insurance is typically sold in increments of $1 million. The price of a policy will vary by risk and where you live. Because the insurance only pays if a claim exceeds the liability limit of your homeowners or auto insurance, coverage is generally affordable. You can expect to pay $150 to $300 per year for $1 million of coverage.

For an additional $100 to $200, you can add excess uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, which covers you if you’re injured by another driver who doesn’t have enough coverage. For about $1,000 a year, you can tack on an endorsement that will provide additional protection from lawsuits if you serve as an officer or volunteer on a nonprofit board.

To keep premiums low, it’s best to purchase your umbrella insurance from the same provider you purchase your home and auto insurance from. It’s common for an insurance carrier to require you to have $250,000 in auto insurance and $300,000 of homeowners coverage before you can purchase an umbrella plan. (Make sure you don’t have a coverage gap between your original and umbrella policies.)

If you would like to learn more about umbrella insurance and other ways you can protect your finances, call us today to schedule an appointment.

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 April 2021. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. and/or Arbor Point Advisors LLC, registered investment advisers. Securities America, Inc., Securities America Advisors, Inc., and Arbor Point Advisors LLC are separately owned and other entities and/or marketing names, products or services referenced here are independent. Securities America • 12325 Port Grace Blvd. • La Vista, NE 68128 • 800-747-6111 • securitiesamerica.com SAII# 3564999.1

Weekly Market Notes – March 29, 2021

For the Week of March 29, 2021

The Markets

Stocks rose Friday after February data showed lower price pressures, which eased inflation concerns. Each major index rose more than 1 percent. For the week, the Dow rose 1.36 percent to close at 33,072.88. The S&P gained 1.58 percent to finish at 3,974.54, and the NASDAQ dropped 0.57 percent to end the week at 13,138.72.

Returns Through 3/26/211 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)1.368.5849.8513.5516.28
NASDAQ Composite (TR)-0.572.1169.8523.2923.74
S&P 500 (TR)1.586.2053.7216.5316.58
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)0.35-3.281.724.883.25
MSCI EAFE (TR)-0.553.7245.166.479.32
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.

And in the Next Year — 2020 was the 10th year in the last 70 years in which the U.S. economy contracted. Our nation’s gross domestic product shrunk by 3.5 percent last year. Following the nine previous down years, the U.S. economy has rebounded in the next year with positive growth seven out of nine times, growing by an average of 3.3 percent per year for all nine bounce back years (source: Commerce Department, BTN Research).

Money They Will Spend — 42 percent of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, $800 billion out of the $1.9 trillion, is direct support that will be distributed to households in the form of stimulus payments, unemployment benefits and child tax credits (source: American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, BTN Research).

Year-Over-Year Improvement — The aggregate earnings per share of the companies in the S&P 500 in the first quarter of 2021 are forecasted to be 21.5 percent greater than the actual aggregate earnings per share of the S&P 500 companies from the first quarter 2020 (source: FactSet, BTN Research).

WEEKY FOCUS – Avoid These Medicare Mistakes

If you’re a newcomer to the complex Medicare system, or will be soon, it’s wise to research potential options and pitfalls to prevent future regrets. As a starting point, here are a few mistakes to avoid:

Missing Part B deadlines. If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits at 65, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (doctors’ services, outpatient care, and medical equipment). Otherwise, you must apply. Fail to sign up for Part B during the seven months surrounding your birthday, and you risk incurring a late penalty surcharge on all your future premiums. You can delay enrolling only if you have health coverage from your or your spouse’s employer, and the company employs 20 or more workers. But if you do, make sure you enroll in Part B within eight months of leaving the company.

Not enrolling in Medigap promptly. It’s also wise to purchase a Medigap supplemental policy within six months of enrolling in Part B. Medigap standardized, private insurance plans cover some or most out-of-pocket expenses. Enrolling within that window restricts Medigap insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums due to current health or pre-existing medical conditions. Choose your plan carefully because those protections may not be extended if you try to switch later.

Not understanding Medicare Advantage plans. If you’re considering a Medicare Advantage plan in lieu of Medicare Parts A, B, and D, look beyond lower premiums and compare deductibles, copayments, and out-of-pocket costs. Bear in mind these plans may have more restrictions. And be sure to compare star ratings provided at Medicare.gov.

Not signing up for Part D. Even if you aren’t on any medications, developing one health problem could cause you to regret not getting a drug plan during an enrollment period. And you could incur a permanent late enrollment penalty if you don’t have Medicare or other creditable prescription drug coverage for 63 days in a row at any time after your initial enrollment period is over.

Not comparing Part D plans annually. Part D plans vary in the drugs they cover and the copays they charge. Use the Plan Finder program on Medicare’s website to compare plans. And once you’ve signed up, don’t put your Part D on autopilot. Check for premium increases and changes in coverage every year.

If you need help determining how health care costs may impact your retirement, please call our office.

* 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. SAI#1581151.1 

Weekly Market Notes – March 22, 2021

For the Week of March 22, 2021

The Markets

The Dow Jones and the S&P 500 fell Friday after the Federal Reserve decided not to extend a pandemic rule, which relaxed banks’ supplementary leverage ratio, allowing them to hold less capital against Treasurys and other holdings. For the week, the Dow fell 0.45 percent to close at 32,627.97. The S&P lost 0.74 percent to finish at 3,913.10, and the NASDAQ dropped 0.77 percent to end the week at 13,215.24.

Returns Through 3/19/201 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)-0.457.1265.9812.4115.84
NASDAQ Composite (TR)-0.772.7086.3222.8423.77
S&P 500 (TR)-0.744.5565.2515.1616.06
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)-0.28-3.614.264.753.17
MSCI EAFE (TR)0.594.2965.005.968.96
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.

Blame the Pandemic — Total exports of goods and services by American corporations in calendar year 2020 were $2.13 trillion, down 16 percent from the year before and the smallest total recorded nationwide since 2010 (source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, BTN Research).

Adding to Cash — Money market funds in the United States, including retail and institutional funds, both taxable and tax-free, have increased $615 billion (to $4.39 trillion) over the last 12 months through Friday, March 12, an average increase of $12 billion a week (source: Investment Company Institute, BTN Research).

Since Then — President Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency on Friday, March 13, 2020. Over the one year since that announcement, the S&P 500 had gained 48 percent (total return), in spite of a horrible 12 percent loss (total return) on Monday, March 16, 2020 (source: BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – Don’t Let Unexpected Expenses Derail Your Retirement

While it’s natural to look ahead to a leisurely retirement, it’s prudent to prepare for expenses that catch many retirees by surprise. In a recent survey, nearly one-third of retirees reported they faced at least four unforeseen expenses during retirement. Some of the most common include:


Inflation: Inflation rates have been low since the 2008-2009 recession. But even subtle increases can add up over time. For example, $100 in June 2009 had the same buying power as $119.52 in June 2020.1  Unless that $100 was invested and grew, it effectively lost 20 percent of its value in just 11 years. And there is no guarantee inflation will remain low. It’s important to retain some investments that will grow your money to keep your retirement funds from losing their purchasing power over time.

Home Expenses: If the value of your home dramatically increases, so will your property taxes. On the flip side, if the value of your house declines dramatically, you may not be able to sell it without a loss. And there are repairs and maintenance to consider. Some financial professionals suggest setting aside 10 percent of your monthly payment, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance for repairs and maintenance. Paying off your mortgage or downsizing can reduce monthly expenses and allow you to hold on to your home until reduced prices rebound.

Social Security and Other Taxes: If you’re like most recipients, you’ll pay income tax on your Social Security benefits. Individuals with total gross income (including benefits) of $25,000 may pay taxes on up to 50 percent of their Social Security benefits. Up to 85 percent of benefits are taxable for individuals with a combined gross income more than $34,000.

And all that pretax money you put into your 401(k) or traditional IRA is taxed at your top ordinary-income tax rate when you withdraw those funds. To mitigate the impact of taxes, consider withdrawing from those accounts earlier or putting money into a Roth IRA, which has no required minimum withdrawals and can be tapped without paying taxes.

Retirement is something most of us look forward to. Ensure your plans aren’t derailed by these unexpected expenses and others. Make sure you’re on the right track. Contact our office for a review of your financial situation and an evaluation of your goals.

Securities America and its representatives do not provide tax advice; therefore it is important to coordinate with your tax advisor regarding your specific situation.

[1] https://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

Weekly Market Notes – March 15, 2021

For the Week of March 15, 2021

The Markets

Stocks ended mixed on Friday. Tech stocks slid as Treasury yields rose. The Dow Jones and the S&P achieved record closing highs after President Biden signed the stimulus bill into law. For the week, the Dow rose 4.17 percent to close at 32,778.64. The S&P gained 2.69 percent to finish at 3,943.34, and the NASDAQ climbed 3.12 percent to end at 13,319.86.

Returns Through 3/12/211 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)4.177.6058.0911.7416.47
NASDAQ Composite (TR)3.123.5086.4721.8324.21
S&P 500 (TR)2.695.3361.7814.4816.55
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)-0.43-3.350.884.893.39
MSCI EAFE (TR)3.003.6852.045.329.05
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.

Quick, Before Rates Rise — 13 percent of outstanding home mortgages nationwide as of Dec. 31, 2020, i.e., 7.2 million mortgages out of 53.9 million mortgages, were refinanced during 2020 (source: Federal Reserve Bank of NY, BTN Research).

It’s the Renters Who Are Hurting — Just one in 39 homeowners (2.5 percent) was at least three months behind in paying their monthly mortgage as of Dec. 31, 2020. However, one in five renters (20.5 percent) was at least three months behind in paying their monthly rent as of Dec. 31, 2020 (source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, BTN Research).

What a Comeback — Many American employers have recovered, and as of Feb. 28, they have hired back 67 percent of the 25.4 million jobs that were lost last year during March and April 2020 (source: DOL, BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – Protect Yourself on Social Media

Like so many areas, social media cyber-attacks are on the rise, both on individual accounts and wider platform hacks. While you can’t prevent a large, headline-making hack, you can take practical steps like these to protect your own information:

  • Always use complex passwords on your social media accounts and update them frequently.
  • When filling out a social media profile, leave personal details – such as your home address, phone number, birthday, and email – blank. And don’t mention your mother’s last name or other personal details in posts, which cybercriminals could use to answer security challenge questions.
  • Don’t accept friend requests from anyone you don’t know in the real world. Don’t accept a second friend request if you’re already connected.
  • Secure your mobile devices with passcode, fingerprint, or facial protection/recognition. Upgrade as soon as possible when a social media app prompts you to do so.
  • Avoid using your social media accounts on public wireless connections, which make it easier for others to see your sensitive data. And if you access social media on a public computer (ideally, don’t), be sure to log out and clear your browsing history when you’re done.
  • Avoid signing into other apps using Facebook.
  • Consider setting up a “burner email” for social media activity, which isn’t tied to your name or other email accounts. 
  • Turn location tracking off on your social media channels. Turn off the GPS function on your smartphone camera if you plan to post images. Don’t post vacation photos until you return home.
  • Be cautious about clicking on links – even from friends – and completing quizzes and surveys.
  • Check your security settings on your social media accounts regularly. They may revert to a less private default when updates occur.
  • Make sure you have a quality security software installed on your devices.

Just as you strive to protect your personal information on social media accounts, we’re committed to keeping your financial account information secure. And as always, we’re available to discuss any concerns you may have about your finances.

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 March 2021. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI#3492438.1

Weekly Market Notes – March 8, 2021

For the Week of March 8, 2021

The Markets

Stocks ended higher Friday, reversing earlier losses. A report showing faster-than-expected job growth in February encouraged investors. Despite the rebound, the NASDAQ was negative for a third week in a row. For the week, the Dow rose 1.85 percent to close at 31,496.30. The S&P gained 0.84 percent to finish at 3,841.94, and the NASDAQ fell 2.05 percent to end at 12,920.15.

Returns Through 3/05/211 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)1.853.2923.2510.7015.83
NASDAQ Composite (TR)-2.050.3749.0822.0023.62
S&P 500 (TR)0.842.5729.3014.3516.21
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)-0.80-2.93-0.265.083.46
MSCI EAFE (TR)-0.490.6618.645.098.64
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.

Smaller Homes — The average size of a single-family home built in the United States in 2019 was 2,509 square feet, the fourth consecutive year that the national average size has declined (source: Census Bureau, BTN Research).

Record Low Set a Year Ago — The yield on the 10-year Treasury note closed at 1.46 percent on Friday, Feb. 26. The all-time record-low close for the 10-year note was .50 percent set on March 9, 2020. 10-year notes have been traded in the U.S. since 1790 (source: Treasury Department, BTN Research).

All My Work — The average American worker has increased their productivity by 50 percent in the last 21 years. As of Dec. 31, 2020, an average worker can complete in two hours, the same amount of work that it took them three hours to finish as of Dec. 31, 1999 (source: Department of Labor, BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – Don’t Shred Those Tax Documents Yet

Once you complete this year’s taxes, you may wonder what to do with that pile of records, 1099s, receipts, and bank statements. The IRS recommends holding on to any documents related to the income you’re reporting or any deduction or credit you’re claiming, including:

  • Proof of income, including W-2s and 1099s, bank and brokerage statements, K-1 forms, and spousal-support payment records
  • Bills and invoices, credit card statements, mileage logs, and cancelled checks
  • Financial records related to real property, including paperwork from the purchase or sale of a home and all documents associated with the costs of buying, selling, or managing rental properties
  • Investment records related to stock transactions, IRAs, and other retirement accounts

If you’re not sure whether to keep a document or not, err on the side of caution and store it in your files. How long you should hang on to all those documents varies, depending on the action, expense, or event that the document records. The IRS has the right to review all tax returns filed during the Period of Limitations, the time in which you can amend your tax return to claim a credit or refund or the IRS can assess additional tax. That period is typically three years from the date you filed for any given year.

Some documents should be kept even longer. For example, the IRS recommends keeping employment tax records for at least four years after related taxes become due or are paid, whichever is later. Tax records related to property should be kept until the period of limitations expires for the year you dispose of the property. If you believe you may have under-reported your annual income by 25 percent or more, you should keep your return and related documentation for six or seven years.

It’s best to create digital copies of all your documents. That way, if the printed version is lost or destroyed, you’ll have a backup.

We are happy to work with you and your tax professional to help keep your financial records up-to-date and create a personal financial plan tailored to your habits and lifestyle. Call us today. 

Securities America and its representatives 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 March 2021. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI# 3482518.1

Weekly Market Notes – March 1, 2021

For the Week of March 1, 2021

The Markets

Stocks closed mixed Friday as government bond yields rose, spurring concerns of rising inflation. The NASDAQ pared earlier losses but still suffered its worst weekly loss since October. For the week, the Dow fell 1.70 percent to close at 30,932.37. The S&P lost 2.41 percent to finish at 3,811.15, and the NASDAQ dropped 4.90 percent to end the week at 13,192.35.

Returns Through 2/26/211 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)-1.701.4124.419.8016.08
NASDAQ Composite (TR)-4.902.4755.2723.1724.99
S&P 500 (TR)-2.411.7231.2914.1416.82
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)-0.36-2.151.385.323.55
MSCI EAFE (TR)-2.801.1522.464.599.73
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.

How We Live — Of the 7.2 million new U.S. households created in the last four years, 100 percent were owner households while none were renter households, i.e., owner households grew from 75.6 million (Dec. 31, 2016) to 82.8 million (Dec. 31, 2020), while renter households remained flat at 43 million (source: Census Bureau, BTN Research).

Supply and Demand — The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil had fallen to $22.76 a barrel as of April 9, 2020, as the global impact of COVID-19 was crushing the worldwide demand for oil. On Friday, Feb. 12, WTI crude oil closed at $59.47 a barrel, its highest closing price since Jan. 9, 2020 (source: NYMEX, BTN Research).

Stock Market — The median annual return of the stock market over the last 45 years (1976-2020) was a gain of 15.8 percent (total return). The stock market has produced a positive total return gain in 37 of the last 45 years, i.e., 82 percent of the time. The S&P 500, consisting of 500 stocks chosen for market size, liquidity, and industry group representation, was used as the stock measurement. It is a market value weighted index with each stock’s weight in the index proportionate to its market value (source: BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – The Art of Complaining

Even when you do your research, you can wind up with a purchase that doesn’t live up to a company’s claims. Since this is National Consumer Protection Week, today’s article tells you what to do to avoid losing money when marketing claims prove inaccurate.

Gather pertinent information. Find the company’s return and exchange policies. For instance, time limits for retail returns can vary from seven to 90 days. Locate your receipt, contract/warranty, order number, model number, and previous communication. If you don’t have a receipt but paid with a credit card, find the purchase date on your statement. For in-person returns, bring the card you used and your ID.

Choose your form of contact. A face-to-face or phone conversation may make it easier to connect on a personal level and appeal to a service person’s compassion. Address them by name, describe your problem, and ask, “Can you help me?” When you’re seeking a simple fix or want to create a communication trail, use email. Including words like “complaint” or “refund” may bump your email to a priority list since some systems look for such keywords.

Stay calm. Don’t expect a resolutionin 60 seconds. Be patient, respectful, specific, and concise. Know what you want: a replacement, refund, or repair. But wait to see what they offer before stating your goal. You can always counter, and their suggestion may be better than you expect. Document each interaction with the date, person you communicated with, and what you were told. Keep copies of correspondence or screenshots of online chats.

Escalate if needed. When you can’t settle your issue through customer service, ask to speak to a manager or write a short letter to an executive. Or check the company’s Facebook page to see if they respond to customer service matters there. If nothing else works, you can file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Make sure your statements are accurate and complete; once you submit your complaint, it can’t be edited. It’s important to remember you are legally responsible for what you say. If you want to go farther, you can complain to your state attorney general’s office or take the business to small claims court.

Ensuring you get what you pay for – so you don’t have to spend additional money to replace an item – is just one way to preserve assets. Contact our office if you’d like help identifying others.

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 March 2021. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI#3471986.1

Weekly Market Notes – February 22, 2021

For the Week of February 22, 2021

The Markets

Stocks ended a choppy week mixed. The S&P and the NASDAQ  suffered their first weekly losses this month amid rising interest rates and expectations of growing inflation. For the week, the Dow rose 0.16 percent to close at 31,494.32. The S&P dropped 0.68 percent to finish at 3,906.71, and the NASDAQ fell 1.54 percent to end the week at 13,874.46.

Returns Through 2/19/211 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)0.163.179.7010.1916.67
NASDAQ Composite (TR)-1.547.7542.5325.4626.56
S&P 500 (TR)-0.684.2317.4414.8317.59
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)-0.57-1.803.515.463.66
MSCI EAFE (TR)0.274.0713.095.2810.39
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.

It’s an Index — Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), was up 1.4 percent for 2020. The category food in the CPI calculation was up 3.9 percent for the year and medical care services was up 2.8 percent, but energy was down 7.0 percent last year (source: Department of Labor, BTN Research).

Let’s Shoot for More — A 65-year-old American male has a life expectancy of 18.2 years. A 65-year-old American female has a life expectancy of 20.8 years (source: National Center for Health Statistics, BTN Research).

Thought It Would Be Higher — 522,808 Americans filed bankruptcy in 2020, down 30 percent from 752,160 bankruptcy filings in 2019 (source: United States Courts, Table F-2, Bankruptcy Filings, BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – Financial Health Check

With almost two months of the new year elapsed, it’s a good time to look at how well your recent behavior aligns with your financial goals. If there’s room for improvement, you might consider applying one of these savings strategies.

Try a financial fast. Just as intermittent fasting from food has become popular among dieters and health enthusiasts, you might try a financial fast to quick start your savings. You may choose to go cold turkey, avoiding all unnecessary purchases, or to eliminate specific activities or categories of spending for a designated period of time. For instance, you could avoid shopping with credit or debit cards since researchers say customers spend less when using cash or put off clothes shopping. A financial fast can be as short as a week or extend a month or more.

Budget by the day. Another way to modify behavior is to set a daily budget and track your spending to see how it aligns when averaged over a month. Suppose you think $50 a day is a reasonable goal for non-fixed expenses, including groceries. Record your daily purchases in a spreadsheet; there’s something about seeing what you’re spending day by day that inspires discipline. If you are over goal for a week or two, try to spend less the following weeks to stay on target for the month.

Delay gratification. Before putting an item in your shopping cart (in person or online), pause for 20 seconds and ask yourself if you really need it. Better yet, wait a day and see if you still want it. It’s surprising how often enthusiasm cools after an impulse fades. For larger purchases, wait several weeks to evaluate your decision.

Time purchases. Trying to time the stock market rarely works, but many purchases are another story.You’ll usually save by buying food in season and clothing out of season. Some items are consistently on sale at certain times. Shop for mattresses in May and computers during back-to-school or Black Friday sales. Look for last year’s car models between September and December, when most new models come out.

Any of these approaches can help you resist the urge to splurge and lead to more mindful spending. Contact our office if you need more help identifying potential money-saving opportunities.

*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 February 2021. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI#3461689.1

Weekly Market Notes – February 16, 2021

For the Week of February 16, 2021

The Markets

Stocks rose Friday, thanks to a recent drop in new COVID cases and hospitalizations, stronger-than-expected earnings over the past couple weeks, and anticipation of new fiscal aid. The S&P and the NASDAQ closed at record highs. For the week, the Dow rose 1.11 percent to close at 31,458.40. The S&P gained 1.28 percent to finish at 3,934.83, and the NASDAQ climbed 1.74 percent to end at 14,095.47.

Returns Through 2/12/211 WeekYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)1.113.008.9411.0817.27
NASDAQ Composite (TR)1.749.4446.1827.6627.93
S&P 500 (TR)1.284.9418.5616.2118.42
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)-0.13-1.234.445.623.81
MSCI EAFE (TR)2.375.0413.595.8210.88
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.

Jobs — The Congressional Budget Office forecasted on Feb. 1 that the number of employed Americans (150 million as of Jan. 31) will not recover to its pre-pandemic level of 158.7 million until 2024 (source: CBO, BTN Research). 

Global Trade Rebounds — After declining for 10 months during the 2020 pandemic, the monetary value of goods shipped worldwide in November 2020 exceeded its previous high-water mark achieved in December 2019 (source: Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, BTN Research).

Nothing — 76 percent of 619 millennials surveyed in the fourth quarter 2019 do not believe Social Security will exist when they retire. Millennials were born between 1981-97 and are ages 24-40 in 2021 (source: Transamerica, BTN Research).

WEEKLY FOCUS – Choosing an Executor for Your Will

Most of us recognize the importance of creating a thorough, well-reasoned estate plan. But we may not give adequate thought to choosing an executor to carry out the provisions of our wills. It’s all too easy to default to a relative without objectively weighing their qualifications or the challenges they may face. Because of the importance and potential complexity of the executor’s role, it’s wise to answer multiple questions before making your choice.

Will they be around? You probably shouldn’t select someone who is older than you or in questionable health. To be on the safe side, name an alternate in case your primary executor is unable to fulfill the role. This is usually a better option than co-executors. Although it may seem sharing responsibilities could lighten the load, it often complicates decisions, paperwork, and banking activities.

Are they local? Some states don’t allow out-of-state executors unless they are a relative or a primary beneficiary. Many states impose special rules for non-resident executors or require them to obtain a bond. An executor who lives outside the area may also find it more difficult to maintain the deceased’s property.

How capable are they? A business or legal background is helpful but not necessary. Executors can, and often should, work with an attorney and an accountant. Honesty, intelligence, discipline, organizational skills, and the ability to communicate well are essential.

Are they willing? Never name an executor without asking their permission.

Are they still the right choice? Just as you do with beneficiaries, it’s important to review your decision periodically in case something has changed. Perhaps there has been a divorce or the person you designated has developed a health condition.

Should you consider a professional? You may want to name a third-party executor if you have a blended family, your family dynamics are difficult, you want to make things easier for a bereaved spouse, or you don’t have a suitable relative or friend. A bank, trust company, or a professional who has experience dealing with estates can serve as an executor. Executor fees vary from state to state but often range between one and five percent of the estate.

Estate planning can be very involved, and it’s crucial to get it right. We are happy to work with you, your attorney, and your tax professional to find solutions for your situation. 

Securities America and its representatives do not provide legal advice; therefore it is important to coordinate with your legal 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 February 2021. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI#3453509.1