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October 2012 AAM Newsletter
Hello and thank you for reading my e-newsletter.
I hope you find the information useful. If you enjoy the newsletter please forward to a friend. Please also let me know what you like to see so that I may continue to provide relevant content.
If you are a client of mine, thank you for your continued business and please update me on any changes in your situation do that I can make the appropriate changes to your financial plan and investments.
If you are not a client please consider giving me a call or emailing me if you would like to begin a plan to get you to your financial goals. I consider myself different from many of the advisors out there for the following reasons :
1) You will not be pressured to purchase any products because I am a fee-only advisor and a NAPFA® Member
2) You will have a comprehensive financial plan completed by a Certified Financial Planner ™ Practitioner or CFP® – I have committed to financial planning and continuing education.
3) You will have a reasonable fee for the services performed. I charge less than the typical large financial planning firm by being a small shop and keeping my business expenses low.
Ronald J. VanSurksum, CFP®
Certified Financial Planner ™ Practitioner
Stocks drifted higher again in September as the US Federal Reserve initialed QE3 to try and stimulate job growth and Europe continued to stabilize or at least failed to deteriorate.
Index performance October 2012 Year-To-Date
- The S&P index +2.42% +14.56%
- Dow Jones industrial 30 +2.58% +9.98%
- The NASDAQ Index +1.61% +19.62%
- The Russell 2000 Small cap +3.42% +13.03%
- EAFE International Index +2.70% +6.95%
- The US Dollar -1.56% -0.36%
- Oil -4.60% -7.08%
- Gold +4.74% +13.33%
- The 10 year treasury is currently yielding 1.65%
- The 30 year treasury is yielding 2.82%
Stocks continued to trend higher in September as the Fed engaged in additional Quantative Easing (QE3) by committing to purchase as much mortgage bonds as it will take to stimulate the economy and increase job growth in the US. Markets jumped on the news and continued to hold on to the gains for the remainder of the month of September to finish near the highs of the month.
US housing continued to improve throughout the month. Manufacturing was mixed with signs of improvement in the October 1st report. Payrolls mostly disappointed but a surprising revision in prior months data moved the unemployment rate down to 7.8%, the lowest since 2009.
Overseas the focus was mainly on Spain and Greece. Spain banks were under fire mid-month but that issue seemed to get settled by the end of September as the Spanish budget was approved and the banks were said to be healthier than projected. In Greece austerity protests continued throughout the month but no other major news developed. China continues to show slower growth in the 7% range.
September turned out to be a good month for the markets and October has started positive as well. With everything that is going on right now in the world, the markets have been very resilient. This is another example of why it is so tough to try and time the markets.
Over the next few months we are going to have to tackle a number of major issues in the US including the election and the “fiscal cliff” of tax increases and spending cuts. It will be an interesting quarter.
For weekly market updates please visit my blog which is now part of my new website at www.aamllc.com
Mortgage rates were slightly lower over the last month. The national average on mortgage as per Bloomberg.com shows the 15-year rate is now at 2.85% and the 30-year rate is at 3.43%. These rates are as of 09/30/2012 and may include points. Again, if you have the equity in your home and a 5+ year time frame this could be a great time to refinance and lock in historically low rates.
With the money you save you could be paying off your mortgage sooner, paying off other bills, increasing your cash reserves or building up your long-term investments. Another great thing to do would be to save for that vacation you have always wanted.
CD rates moved lower over the last month. Charles Schwab has access to CD’s from banks all over the country. Here are some of the current CD rates offered.
6 mo CD @ 0.35% 1-Yr CD @ 0.45%
2-Yr CD @ 0.85% 5-Yr CD @ 1.55%
Currently I am not doing much with CD Ladders. I will start using them again as rates begin to rise. If you want to know what I am doing as an alternative let me know.
Tips and Suggestions
It is Medicare enrollment time as of 10/15 to 12/7. If you have a Medicare supplement policy this is your annual chance to change your plan. If you have any questions please contact me and I can get you the resources you need to make a quality decision.
See my blog post for more info from Social Security:
Previously extended income tax returns are due on 10/15. Also, if you completed a Roth conversion in 2011 you have until 10/15 to “undo” the conversion. If you do this you must wait 30 days to re-convert.
As we near the annual benefits enrollment period it may be a good time to sit down and review your current employer provided benefits.
If you are a 401k participant you should receive your first annual fee disclosure by August 30th. If you didn’t, call your plan administrator to request one. When you get it let’s review it together.
It is time to start thinking about year-end tax savings steps. With all of the looming changes in tax law for 2013 it may keep more money in your pocket to plan your 2012 and 2013 taxes in advance. Let’s discuss.
Need help with your 401k? I am now using GoToMeeting.com to allow me to help review your 401k online and help you rebalance. We can access the plan together online, I can give you control to log in and then we can discuss and make changes together. Let me know if you want to discuss!
I have added a social security projection program to help me provide advice on when to begin taking social security payments. Should you wait to your full retirement age? Should you draw at 62? Is there a strategy that could allow you to draw more over your lifetime. If you are wondering, let me know and let’s check it out.
I have also added a document vault to allow us to share documents and store them on a secure online server. Check it out at www.aamllc.sharefile.com. Let me know if you would like to meet to set up for your use.
Are your cash reserves earning less than 1%? Consider a short-term US treasury fund or Corporate Bond fund to give your secondary cash reserves a yield boost.
If you have any question or if you would like to have help with your financial plan please give me – your Fee-only Certified Financial Planning ™ Practitioner a call.
All articles are now found on my website which has been combined with my blog: www.aamllc.com
Using Life Insurance to Ensure Business Continuity
How can a business survive the loss of key personnel? Consider a buy-sell agreement.
Strategies for Managing Volatility
Successful asset allocation strategies depend on using assets with low correlation.
Alternatives on the Rise
Recent studies indicate that investors are turning increasingly to commodities, hedge funds, private equity, and other alternative investments to bolster returns and diversify their holdings.
What Is the Difference Between Disability Insurance and Long-Term Care Insurance?
Disability insurance is designed to protect wages lost due to an illness or accident. In contrast, long-term care insurance is designed to help cover costs of health care services provided in your home, a nursing home, a rehabilitation center, or an assisted living facility.
Want more information on how I can help you? Give me a call or drop me an email to review or set up a free initial consultation.