2019 Year End Planning

2019 Year End Planning

With most of 2019 behind us, now is a great time to consider the following financial planning moves, if appropriate for your circumstances. It is important to make sure you end the year on a positive note and are properly positioned for a successful 2020.
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The Wall of Worry (Redux)

The Wall of Worry (Redux)

In more than a few client meetings, we have found ourselves saying that if you only looked at the headlines and what was going on in the media/politics/geopolitical front, you would probably conclude that the stock market is doing horrible. But in fact, the market has continued to do quite well amidst a broader backdrop of uncertainty, trade disputes, and dysfunction in Washington.
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Life Insurance Basics

Life Insurance Basics

Preparing for your family’s future goes beyond investing to meet your goals and objectives. A key component of ensuring your family’s future is financially stable is obtaining the right amount and the right kind of life insurance. Life insurance can help reduce the financial impact your passing could have on your loved ones. Among many other things, it can provide your family with the opportunity to replace lost income, pay educations expenses, eliminate debt, or maintain their current lifestyle.
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A Tale of Two Markets

A Tale of Two Markets

While there is always a bull vs. bear debate in any market environment, the cross-currents in today’s financial markets are fairly stark. Recent stock market action is painting a rosy forward-looking picture, while the action in bond yields is singing a less cheerful tune. So which one is right? That remains one of the difficulties with the current market, knowing which signals to act on and which ones to ignore. Below we try to highlight some of the mixed signals and how we are interpreting them.
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Estate Planning Basics

Estate Planning Basics

Estate planning is the process of planning for how an individual’s assets and liabilities will be managed, preserved, or distributed after incapacitation or death. One of the goals of estate planning is to distribute the individual’s assets in the timeliest, most tax-efficient manner in accordance with the wishes of the incapacitated or deceased individual. Estate planning poses a significant challenge because it forces one to think about their own incapacitation or death. That being said, it is imperative to get organized and think about these events well before they occur so you can ensure your family is protected in the manner you see fit and your assets are handled exactly how you want them. There are four basic documents you will need to begin building your estate plan.
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Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s)

Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s)

A Health Savings Account, more commonly known as an HSA, can be a powerful tool. To put it simply, an HSA is a savings account. An individual or a family can deposit money into this account to be used for future health care costs; with one caveat: the funds inside the account can only be used for certain qualified medical expenses, otherwise taxes and penalties may apply.
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The Central Bank Effect

The Central Bank Effect

As 2018 ended, it appeared as if the Federal Reserve was intent on further interest rate hikes (after 4 in 2018).  In addition to interest rate hikes, the Fed had hinted that the reduction in its balance sheet would continue, and was basically on “auto-pilot”.  Both of these policies made investors fearful that the Fed would over-tighten monetary policy and cause the economy to contract sharply, with a distinct possibility of recession.

This year, one of the reasons the market reacted so strongly to the January Fed meeting was the abrupt pivot that the Fed signaled with respect to rate hikes.  In a fairly dramatic change of tone, the Fed indicated in January that further rate hikes were “on hold”, and that at current levels the fed funds rate was nearing their “neutral” target (whereby monetary policy is balanced).
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Good Debt vs. Bad Debt

Good Debt vs. Bad Debt

Your personal net worth consists of both assets and liabilities. The simple equation to calculate your Net Worth is:

Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities

Liabilities or debts, often given a bad rap, tend to be overlooked in favor of assets. However, debt can be a powerful tool; the amount you borrow and the way in which you use it will determine whether it is good or bad. Read More..

From QE to QT

From QE to QT

Investors will be glad to say goodbye to 2018, and especially the final month of last year, which turned out to be the worst December for the stock market since 1931.  December is usually a solid month for the market historically, which is probably why so many investment managers were caught off balance by the swiftness of the downdraft that occurred.  We had been discussing the prospect of getting more defensive in our portfolios, but believed it would be a task for 2019.
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2018 Year End Planning

2018 Year End Planning

With the end of 2018 fast approaching, now is a great time to give your finances a review. The following financial planning moves, if appropriate for your circumstances, are items to consider as we wrap up 2018 and look forward toward 2019.
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