While the road to new market highs could get a little bumpy as investors deal with Brexit and China trade concerns, investors are encouraged to focus on the fundamentals supporting economic growth and corporate profitability in 2019.
While most of us are shoveling our driveways and warming ourselves by the fire, the stock market been warming up after a chilling December. Since the lows in December, the market is up more than 16% (as of Feb. 6, 2019). Some recent reports have been encouraging and point to a steadily expanding economy.
Many of us often wish to start a new year with a renewed positivity about the opportunities that may come in the year ahead, and this current market environment certainly makes that challenging. But a new year is also about making a commitment to make positive changes for the long term. A successful new year’s resolution is about having discipline, consistency, and dedication—thinking beyond the action you may take in January and instead envisioning sustainable improvements.
It’s important to recognize the difficulty that market volatility can have on investor confidence. As hard as it may be to believe, this year has been very typical in terms of the volatility that markets have experienced historically. Though indicators pointed to higher volatility this year, these periods can be challenging. When we’re prepared for it, and have a plan, we’re in a better position to make good decisions despite increased uncertainty.
A credit freeze is a valuable tool for protecting your credit in case of a data breach. If you put a freeze on your credit report, a credit agency is prohibited from disclosing the report to anyone. Without the ability to check a credit report, lenders won’t extend credit to anyone attempting to open an account in your name.
It seems like hardly a month goes by without news of a major company suffering a data breach. Many smaller incidents fly under our radar because we weren’t affected. But given that billions of records have already been stolen this year, we should all educate ourselves about how to react when our data ends up in criminal hands.
Either way, since 1950 the U.S. stock market has displayed a sort of “relief rally” after the midterm elections; so if history repeats itself, we may see strong performance through the rest of 2018 and into the first half of 2019
The upcoming midterms have been dominating media headlines. The outcome may put the future of certain policies in question; e.g., a Democratic Congress could seek to roll back some of the recently enacted tax cuts next year. Yet, the important takeaway for investors right now is that it’s often the uncertainty leading up to the elections that causes more market volatility. Regardless of the results, investors may respond well once we have some political clarity post-election.
May’s arrival has brought warmer weather to many parts of the U.S. (finally), but it also brings talk of one of the most widely cited stock market clichés in history. “Sell in May and go away.” Before you spring into action, it’s important to step back and look at the big picture of what’s really driving our current market environment.
Are you about to buy life insurance? Shop carefully. Make your choice with insight from an insurance professional, as it may help you avoid some of these all-too-common missteps.
Buying the first policy you see. Anyone interested in life insurance should take the time to compare a few plans – not only their rates, but also their coverage terms. Supply each insurer you are considering with a quote containing the exact same information about yourself.1
Did you recently graduate from college? The years after graduation are important not only for getting a career underway, but also for planning financial progress. Consider making these money moves before you reach thirty.
Your investment portfolio may be off-kilter, and you may not even know it.
Is 80% of your portfolio held in equities? Perhaps it is without you realizing it. You could invite this risk, and others, if you go too long without rebalancing your portfolio.
Some investors stick with the same asset allocation in their investment portfolios (and retirement accounts) for decades: they “set it and forget it.” The longer the initial (target) asset allocation goes unreviewed, the greater the potential divergence between the target allocation and the actual allocation.
Even with less itemizing, there are still tax documents you want to retain for years to come.
Fewer taxpayers are itemizing in the wake of federal tax reforms. You may be one of them, and you may be wondering how many receipts, forms, and records you need to hold onto for the future. Is it okay to shred more of them? Maybe not.
Are you in your fifties and unsure if you have enough retirement savings? Then you have two basic financial choices. You could start saving and investing more of your pay than you currently do, or you could work longer so you have fewer years of retirement to fund.
That second choice might be more manageable, and it may also work out better financially.
A review of some options for federal and private loans.
Are you dealing with student loan debt? Have you explored ways to try and restructure it or have it forgiven?
No one wants to carry five figures of education debt into middle age or retirement, but some do. The burden is not just financial. Last fall, the Madison Capital Times asked student loan borrowers in the state of Wisconsin how they felt about their education debt. Sixteen percent said they were “terrified” of it, and another 30% indicated they felt only slightly less so. Fortunately, you may have possibilities to manage and reduce the debt load and the anxiety it breeds.1
After 20 months of relative calm, this volatility needs to be taken in stride.
Are you upset by what is happening on Wall Street? It may help to see this pullback within a big-picture context. Corrections have become so rare as of late that when one occurs, emotion threatens to influence investment decisions.
So far, February has been a rough month for equities. At the close on February 8, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was officially in correction territory after a slide occurred, which included two 1,000-point descents within four days. Additionally, nearly every U.S. equity index had lost 7% or more in the past five trading sessions.1,2
Below please find the updated mailing schedule for your 1099 Consolidated form from LPL Financial. LPL mails 1099 Consolidated forms in waves to account for various deadlines and income variations so that your tax information is timely, accurate and reliable.
Constructing a portfolio this way may help you ride through a bear market in retirement.
Stocks sometimes retreat. That reality can be overlooked in a long bull market. Bear markets do appear, and a deep downturn could force you to sell securities in retirement, so you can pay for necessary expenses.
Right now, you might have too much money in stocks. Years of steady gains may have unbalanced your portfolio and heightened your risk exposure. If you are 60 or older, that constitutes a warning sign, especially given this bull market’s age. What would a downturn do to your retirement fund and your retirement income?
You have a chance to manage your money better than previous generations have. Some crucial financial steps may help you do just that.
Live below your means and refrain from living on margin. How much do you save per month?Generations ago, Americans routinely saved 10% or more of what they made, either depositing those savings or investing them. This kind of thriftiness is still found elsewhere in the world. Today, the average euro area household saves more than 12% of its earnings, and the current personal savings rate in Mexico is 20.6%.1
Think about these matters before you leave work for the last time.
Retirement planning is not entirely financial. Your degree of happiness in your “second act” may depend on some factors you cannot quantify. Here are a few of those factors as well as the questions they may end up provoking in your mind.
How much does the average American household have in the bank? Estimates vary, but the short answer to this question is “not enough.”
Last year, a GoBankingRates poll discovered that 57% of U.S. households had less than $1,000 in deposit accounts (although, 25% reported having at least $10,000). A 2017 analysis from Moebs Services, a research firm consulting banks and credit unions, noted that the average U.S. checking account contained around $3,600.1,2
Age 64 is the age when you are reminded that you are a baby boomer growing older. Regardless of how young or old you feel at 64, you should make sure to sign up for Medicare.
The sign-up period will be here before you know it. In fact, you might already be within it, so act quickly if you are. Medicare gives you a 7-month window in which to enroll. That initial enrollment window opens three months prior to the month in which you turn 65 and closes three months after the month in which you turn 65.
Investors attracted by bitcoin & other altcoins should recognize their downsides.
Bitcoin. Ethereum.Litecoin. Ripple. These are just four of the cybercurrencies attracting opportunistic investors today. Are they the next big thing? Or the next big bust?
The answer to that question may vary per day, week, month, or year. These altcoins are classified as commodities, not currencies, by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Like all commodities, their value can quickly change.1
You want information that’s up to the minute and easy to get, as fast as possible. We understand. That’s why we are pleased to offer you the digital convenience of Account View and e-Delivery—secure online access to your portfolio from any device, anytime, anywhere. For FREE!
There are many benefits of Account View and e-Delivery, detailed...
2017 was another eventful year! Nancy and I traveled across New York and Pennsylvania and back to Boston for the LPL National Conference. We visited the Baseball Hall of Fame, Finger Lake Region, Niagara Falls, Lake Erie and the Amish Countryside. Traveling is wonderful but family is our greatest blessing. We lost my Dad in February and Mom transitioned to Spokane in March. I miss my Dad greatly but now get to spend more time with Mom. Our children’s families and Mom celebrated Thanksgiving at our home. We are looking forward to the love and thanks that happen this time of year. Wishing you a blessed season and homes filled with family and friends!
Are you making charitable donations this holiday season? If so, you should know about some of the financial “fine print” involved, as the right moves could potentially bring more of a benefit to the charity and to you.
To deduct charitable donations, you must itemize them on I.R.S. Schedule A. So, you need to document each donation you make. Ideally, the charity uses a form it has on hand to provide you with proof of your contribution. If the charity does not have such a form handy (and some charities do not), then a receipt, a credit or debit card statement, a bank statement, or a cancelled check will have to suffice. The I.R.S. needs to know three things: the name of the charity, the gifted amount, and the date of your gift.1
The notion that we separate from work in our sixties may have to go.
An executive transitions into a consulting role at age 62 and stops working altogether at 65; then, he becomes a buyer for a church network at 69. A corporate IT professional decides to conclude her career at age 58; she serves as a city council member in her sixties, then opens an art studio at 70.
Are these people retired? Not by the old definition of the word. Our definition of “retirement” is changing. Retirement is now a time of activity and opportunity.