January 2021 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 (no commission sales)
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®
Please see below for financial articles and tips
Stocks continued higher in December as vaccine and recovery optimism offset increasing Covid cases and a slowing economy.
Index performance Dec 2020____ YTD 2020_
- The S&P index +3.71% +16.26%
- Dow Jones industrial 30 +3.27% +7.25%
- The NASDAQ Index +5.65% +43.64%
- The Russell 2000 Small cap +8.52% +18.36%
- EAFE International Index +4.02% +5.08%
- The US Dollar -2.25% -6.80%
- Oil +7.01% -20.54%
- Gold +6.99% +25.19%
- 10-Year Treasury Yield 0.97% 1.91% on 12/31/2019
- 30-Year Treasury Yield 1.74% 2.36% on 12/31/2019
Volatility was moderate in December for the S&P 500 index. The index began at 3,622 and rose to a high of 3,756 on 12/31 for a difference of 134 points or about 3.7% from low to high.
All major US stock indexes remain at or near all-time highs as December continued a broad-based rally with small company stocks leading the way.
The US Dollar continued to lose ground, but gold and oil both finished 2020 on a strong note.
It was a crazy year and I never would have thought that markets would be where they are right now giving everything that has happened in the last 12 months.
Please contact me if you have questions or simply just wish to talk. I am back in the office doing in-person meetings and I will still do meetings over the phone or computer if you are more comfortable with that.
Recent US Economic Data
US Manufacturing – ISM manufacturing rose and beat expectations.
Jobs – The December payroll report missed expectations losing 140,000 jobs, unemployment remained steady at 6.7% which matched estimates while average hourly earnings rose 0.8% which beat expectations.
Housing Prices –Both Shiller and FHFA home prices rose and beat expectations.
Housing starts – Both Housing starts and building permits rose and beat expectations.
Existing home sales – Fell and missed estimates.
GDP – 3Q GDP final estimate came in at +33.4% and beat expectations.
Retail Sales – Fell and missed estimates.
Leading indicators – Rose and matched estimates.
Durable goods orders – Rose and beat expectations for the 7th straight month.
Inflation data was higher – producer prices rose less than expected, consumer prices rose more than expected, import prices and export prices both rose while PCE prices were flat.
For weekly market updates please visit my blog 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 2.38% and the 30-year rate is at 2.91%. These rates are as of 1/15/2021 and may include points.
CD rates were mixed 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 @ 0.05% 1-Yr CD @ 0.05%
2-Yr CD @ 0.15% 5-Yr CD @ 0.50%
Tips and Suggestions
The next quarterly estimated tax payments are due 01/15/2021 for the 4th quarter of 2020.
If you have a child attending college next fall it is FAFSA time once again beginning 10/1. The sooner you fill out your FAFSA the better chance you have for financial aid.
Time to check your retirement contributions. Develop a cash flow plan to maximize your health savings account, 401k, 457, 403b or IRA contributions for 2020.
It is time to plan for 2021! What would you like to accomplish next year? How much to you want to save and home much do you need to save to reach your financial goals?
Is your estate plan up-to-date? This is a good time to review your estate plan and update your beneficiary designations.
Do you have children age 18 years or older? You may want to plan for an emergency by obtaining HIPPA authorizations or power-of-attorney so that you can get health information, if needed.
ABLE accounts are now available in the State of Michigan. ABLE accounts are for certain individuals with disabilities to accumulate funds for their long-term needs without disqualifying themselves for Medicaid. Check it out at www.miable.org or give me a call.
When is the last time you reviewed your insurance plan? Is your disability income keeping up with your income? Do you have any term life insurance policies expiring soon? Do you need additional coverage or less coverage? Let’s discuss.
Are you on track to meet your financial goals? Do you have a plan to get you where you want to be? If you do not you may not reach your goals. Let’s make a plan to Maximize your financial potential.
Do you need a debt payoff plan? Let’s work on one together.
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!
Are your cash reserves earning less than 1%? Consider a short-term US treasury fund, municipal bond fund or corporate bond fund to give your secondary cash reserves a yield boost.
If you have any questions or if you would like to have help with your financial plan please give me – your Fee-only Certified Financial Planning ™ Practitioner – a call.
Work on Your Financial Plan:
View Your Schwab Accounts: www.schwab.com
Check your risk tolerance:
All articles are now found on my website blog: www.aamllc.com
Social Security Tips – December 2020 – Medicare Premiums
Saving Money for Emergencies Gains Steam During Covid 19
Do’s and Don’ts – Good Advice for Investing Wisely
Holidays 2020 – The Right Time to Teach Good Money Habits to Kids
Do I Need a Trust to Pass on My Money?
Saving Money During Covid
Food for Thought – Are you eating up your nestegg?
Coping with College During Covid-19
Post Pandemic – Maintain Good Saving Habits
Know Your Current College Aid Options
Contact MeDo you 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.