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Stocks slid lower for the 5th straight month and for the 6th month out of 9 this
year. Continued concerns around European debt and
the possibility of a second global recession weighed on the markets. The S&P 500 index closed out the worst
quarter since 2008 with a 7.18% loss.
Gold and Oil followed suit. Gold
lost 11.07% to $1,623.40 per oz. and Oil dropped 11.40% to close at $78.80. The Dollar rose 6.14% against other major
world currencies at close at $78.69.
Through the end of September the S&P 500 is now down 10.06%, Gold is up 14.34%, Oil
is down 13.79% and the dollar is down 0.46%.
Markets continue to struggle with up weeks and
down weeks looking for progress in the Europe debt situation so that it can
then focus on global growth and current economic conditions.
The US unemployment situation remains fairly
steady which means it is not getting any worse but it is not improving much
either. Manufacturing numbers continue
to move up and down with a slight bias to the upside and other indicators are
mostly making small improvements.
Eventually I do believe growth will pick up once we get some of the
other headline issues behind us.
The S&P index hit a closing low of 1,099 on
10/3 and has since moved higher, recently closing at 1,207 or up 9.8% from the
bottom. Hopefully this is a bottoming of
the current market slump but we have not seen any major trading volume or
capitulation to suggest it.
Mortgage rates moved higher over the last month. The
Schwab Bank 15-year rate is now at 3.78% and the 30-year rate is at 4.44%. These
rates are as of 10/13/2011 and assume no points, no origination fee and a
$250,000 mortgage. 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 were slightly higher 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
6 mo CD @ 0.40% 1-Yr CD @ 0.60%
2-Yr CD @ 1.10% 5-Yr CD @ 2.00%
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
Now could be a good time to rebalance your investments to take advantage of
the lower prices (Buy Low / Sell High).
Have you projected out your 2011 Income taxes? Is there anything you should change to pay
less in taxes over the next few years?
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.
Medicare Open enrollment begins October 15 to December 7. This is a date change from previous
years. If you have questions yourself or
for a loved one please let me know. I
can get you in touch with an expert who will help you out.
Wondering when you should sign up for social security? I have a new tool which will help to figure
that out. Give me a call and we can run
Do you have a question on your health benefits? Should you sign up for disability insurance
or additional group term life insurance?
It is open enrollment season, please let me know how I can help!
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
All articles are now found on my website which has been combined with my blog : www.aamllc.com
Banks Have a New Target for Fees :
A number of major financial
institutions are testing or implementing new programs that will levy monthly
fees on consumers who use their debit cards.
Finding Value in a Beaten-Down Market
Buying on the dips is a favorite
strategy of some stock investors. But
when looking for investment bargains, it’s important to avoid a value trap.
Understanding and Managing Risk in a
Bonds and bond mutual funds offer a
sound way to add diversification to a long-term investment portfolio and help
generate a steady stream of income. But
even fixed income investments – generally considered less volatile than stocks –
pose an element of risk.
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.
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Get LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/ronaldjvansurksum
Weekly Blog Updates and My Website www.aamllc.com
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you enjoy the newsletter please forward to a friend. Please
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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
Ronald J. VanSurksum, CFP®
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