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Reshaping Retirement

Visit an established restaurant in your area and you may be struck by the number of gray-haired patrons. In fact, many of the seemingly older seniors are likely to be accompanied by their graying (or otherwise color-coiffed) middle aged children.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “New Aging Statistics,” at The Administration on Aging, May 8, 2013.]

 

It’s official: Older people are taking over the earth. The stats have been anticipating this for years, but now it’s unmistakable via casual observation.

 

If you are of advanced age yourself, you may not even notice this phenomenon, because as far as you’re concerned these are just members of your peer group. If you’re accompanied by young children, they probably won’t notice either–a combination of not being particularly observant and the fact that the graying of America is very much a part of their normal, everyday lives.

 

But go to dinner with a young adult, and they may in fact notice how many more older people there are in the restaurant than other age groups. Bear in mind that when millennials go out together, they generally tend to pick newer establishments that cater to their demographic, so the local steakhouse and its older clientele could be an eye-opener.

 

It’s an interesting time to be getting older, with the rapid advance of technology. Much of it is designed to make aging easier–or at least can be purposed for such. For example, Skyping allows families to stay closer together, and adult children to keep an eye on aging parents that they don’t get to see very often.

 

Electronic automation enables retirees who live part of the year a thousand miles away from home to pay bills, change the thermostat, water the lawn or check out who just rang the doorbell (via a security camera at the front door) with a smartphone or tablet.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Dinner by Skype & Other Ways Tech Is Reshaping Retirement” at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “10 iPad Apps To Help Seniors Stay In Touch With Their Family and Friends,” at HousingForSeniors.com, April 26, 2013.]

 

Yes, vibrant as ever, older Americans now permeate every aspect of our lives – including those previously reserved for the young. This includes fashion magazines, fitness centers and universities. We’re happy to help discuss ways to position your financial life to accommodate a long and healthy lifestyle in retirement. Please give us a call.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “A single Andie McDowell opens up about dating in her fifties as she poses with stunning daughters in glamorous new shoot,” at The Daily Mail, September 20, 2012.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “84-year-old graduate gets his PhD at Edinburgh Napier University,” at BBC.org, June 27, 2013.]

 

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Interest Rates: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In May, the 10-year Treasury bond yield rose 54 basis points to 2.24 percent in the span of one month. Economists have been predicting the eventual rise in interest rates, but a jump this big in such a short time frame raised a few eyebrows.

 

According to a recent report from Casey Quirk, U.S. investors facing uncertain bond markets will shift about 15 percent of their current fixed-income allocation (an estimated $1 trillion of assets) to strategies designed to help protect them from inflation and rising rates. These defensive strategies may include global and emerging market bonds, high-yield and loan portfolios and alternative fixed-income products.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “When the Tide Turns: Building Next Generation Fixed Income Managers” at Casey Quirk, May 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “A Reset for Bond Markets” at Fidelity.com, June 14, 2013.]

 

On June 19, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke confirmed that the central bank is ready to slow its bond-buying program amid signs of an improving economy and housing market. While there are increased signs of growth in the economy, employment numbers still lag. However, any talk about rising interest rates is generally a good sign of economic growth.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Rising Interest Rates: How Investors Should be Positioned” at CNBC.com, June 18, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Interest rates are rising! Here’s why we should be thrilled,” at The Washington Post, May 31, 2013.]

 

On the housing front, while higher interest rates put a damper on low-cost mortgages, the news could be good for homebuyers. This prolonged era of low rates and low housing prices has spawned a proliferation of investors outbidding potential homebuyers thanks to cheap money and a robust rental market. Rising interest rates may serve to curb the flurry of investor-driven purchases, allowing more opportunities for homebuyers to live in new homes.

 

Since rates are still historically low, they’re not likely to douse the enthusiasm of pent-up homebuyer demand. When it comes to mortgages, banks are still hesitant about extending credit for both new and refinanced loans. Approval criteria is based on a combination of factors, such as loan-to-value, debt-to-income and credit scores.

 

However, according to Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, there was a 570 percent increase in the number of lenders offering conforming loan quotes with down payments of 3.5 to 5 percent in March 2013, compared with data two years earlier.1 Because the refinance craze has decreased in recent years, banks may need to be more liberal in the future in order to compete for this business.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Rising Interest Rates Could Mean Good News for Homebuyers” at mercurynews.com, June 17, 2013.]

 

1 [CLICK HERE to read the article, “Housing Seen Shrugging Off Loan Rate Rise as Banks Loosen,” at Bloomberg.com, June 21, 2013.]

 

If you’re wondering how rising interest rates may impact your financial situation, please contact us. We’re happy to give you a mid-year review in consideration of your financial objectives.

 

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By contacting us you may be provided with information regarding the purchase of insurance.

 

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

 

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

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Designing Retirement Income

In May, Investment News, the financial news publication, held its 2013 Retirement Income Summit, bringing together leaders from the worlds of investing, government and academia to share the latest thinking in retirement policy, Social Security, insurance, estate planning and taxation with financial professionals.

 

One topic covered at this year’s conference was a comparison of the two schools of thought on how to structure a portfolio designed to provide retirement income. The first is the traditional plan, transitioning assets to “safe” investments and determining a safe withdrawal rate so that a retiree’s money lasts throughout retirement. However, this plan can be impacted by economic factors, such as rising interest rates.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Are retirees holding too many bonds?” at Investment News, June 13, 2013.]

 

The second school of thought is based on what is called lifecycle finance theory. With this strategy, retirement income sources are matched to specific retirement needs. So, reliable sources, such as a pension and Social Security benefits, are calculated to ensure that a retiree’s basic needs are covered. Other less-reliable assets, such as securities, are then earmarked to provide extras and luxuries. The more a retiree wants in extras, the more risk he may be willing to take.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Investing for a Lifetime with Lifecycle Investing,” at AdvisorOne, April 29, 2013.]

 

These two methods illuminate the different ways of approaching financial strategies. One is numbers-based, while the other is founded in a retiree’s values. As pre-retirees consider their goals for the future, this re-evaluation of how to approach an income strategy for retirement has become more prevalent. A frank discussion between consumers and their financial professionals might also be necessary to help create a strategy based on specific needs instead of focusing solely on market performance.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Bogle: U.S. faces 3 retirement ‘train wrecks’,” at Pensions & Investments, June 13, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to watch the video, “What Boomers Want from Advisors,” at Investment News, May 13, 2013.]

 

Just as no two retirees are alike, no two retirement income strategies should be alike, either. We’d be happy to discuss how incorporating insurance products into your income strategy can suit your needs and goals for retirement. Please give us a call.

 

[CLICK HERE to watch the video, “A Tale of Two IRA Strategies,” at Investment News, May 14, 2013.]

 

This article is not intended to provide tax or legal advice.  You are encouraged to speak to your tax advisor or attorney.

 

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By contacting us you may be provided with information regarding the purchase of insurance.

 

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

 

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

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Surveying America

How often do you participate in a survey? Maybe you’re stopped outside a store while shopping, or you answer one of those annoying phone calls that always seem to be right around suppertime. Do you stop and graciously give up your time to participate, or do you politely say you’re not interested?

 

If you fall into the latter category, it kind of makes you wonder, who are all those people that participate in the vast number of surveys we hear and read about every day? In fact, is it possible that survey data is somehow biased towards the type of person willing to participate in surveys?

 

In other words, if hypothetically half of America is willing to participate in surveys and the other half is not willing as a general rule, then isn’t it possible to conclude survey data may only represent 50 percent of the population? Further, isn’t it possible to conclude survey data may only represent the type of people willing to give up their time to speak with a perfect stranger about a wide range of beliefs and actions–some of which may be highly personal?

 

For example, a recent survey revealed 24 percent of Americans say they had trouble putting food on the table in the past 12 months. Another recent survey states only 30 percent of the nation’s working population today admits to being fully engaged at work. If you assume these surveys include both people who don’t mind participating in a survey as well as those who do, then those are some pretty staggering statistics.


[
CLICK HERE to read the article, “U.S. stands out as a rich country where a growing minority say they can’t afford food,” at Pew Research, May 24, 2013.]

 

 [CLICK HERE to read the article, “Gallup’s Workplace Jedi on How to Fix Our Workplace Engagement Problem,” at FastCompany.com, June, 2013.]

 

 

This contemplation comes on the heels of learning that the National Security Agency (NSA) is soliciting personal phone records from Verizon and extracting audio and video chats, photographs, emails, documents and connection logs from US Service Providers, including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily,” at The Guardian, June 5, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “U.S., British intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program,” at The Washington Post, June 7, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Why We Fear Broad Surveillance,” at The Economist, June 6, 2013.]

 

While it’s unlikely NSA would find much interest in your daily emails, calls and texts with friends and colleagues, it can be a bit disconcerting to know data about your electronic and communication habits may be accessible by others without your willing participation. Then again, at least the data retrieved can be seen as impartially universal to include both willing and unwilling participants–unlike much volunteer survey data.

 

When it comes to planning your financial future, it’s important that you communicate accurate information/share accurate information so that financial professionals can accurately assess your situation and offer prudent and relevant advice. However, such a relationship requires trust, which is something we work very hard to earn from our clients. We welcome the opportunity to earn your trust at every juncture. Please count on us as we venture into this complex future where battle lines over secrecy and transparency are constantly being redrawn.

These articles are being provided to you for informational purposes only. While we believe this information to be correct as of May 24, 2013, we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included.

 

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New World, Old World – Our World

Countries that have been previously referred to as emerging are gaining respect with a new moniker: The New World. In May, the Boston Consulting Group published its 13th annual report on global wealth, in which it revealed that the “New World” will experience the most significant growth in wealth, increasing 11.4% by 2017 and overtaking North America as the largest wealth region.

 

“New World” countries include Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan), Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. Among them, China is projected to surpass Japan to become the second wealthiest nation.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Future of Wealth? Look to the East,” at WealthManagement.com, May 30, 2013.]

 

Meanwhile, the Georgetown Center of Education and the Workforce recently released survey findings that students graduating with information systems majors have a higher unemployment rate (14.7%) than students with a major in the arts (9.8%).

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “Hard Times: College majors, unemployment and earnings,” from Georgetown University, May 2013.]

 

Back here in the Old World, the 2013 Medicare and Social Security Trustees’ Report made the positive observation that the recent slow-down in health care costs has improved Medicare’s financial outlook. This year’s report projects the program’s trust fund will now last until 2026 – two years later than last year’s forecast.

 

However, a new study attributes at least some of those gains to recent immigrants from the New World. As it turns out, foreign-born workers living in the United States contribute millions in payroll taxes to the Medicare program. In fact, between 2002 and 2009, immigrants contributed $115 billion more to Medicare than they drew out – substantially bolstering the program’s coffers.

 

This phenomenon is attributed to the fact that these New World working immigrants are generally younger than the average Old World user (a.k.a., seniors). On average, New Worlders have a high labor-force participation rate – meaning they come here for jobs.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the “2013 Annual Report of the Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds,” at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, May 31, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Immigrants Contributed An Estimated $115.2 Billion More To The Medicare Trust Fund Than They Took Out In 2002-09,” at HealthAffairs.org, May 31, 2013.]

 

This collaboration between old and new reminds us of wedding attendees – the oddball mix of young adults, weary parents, elderly grandparents, teens sneaking champagne, and hyperactive ring bearers and flower girls tripping over their fancy new clothes. Or perhaps the first Thanksgiving celebrations during colonial times, when world traveling immigrants traded recipes with home-grown natives. This mix of perspectives and experiences have traditionally served our nation well. Let’s hope it continues to benefit us in the future.

 

If you would like to discuss ways to address or take advantage of Old and New World challenges and opportunities in your financial matters, we’d love to explore those avenues with you.

By contacting us you may be provided with information regarding the purchase of insurance products.

 

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

 

These links are being provided by a third party. While we believe this information to be correct as of May 31, 2013, we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included.

 

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

 

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Budget Cuts: Who Loses?

In an effort to balance the budget, Americans are bound to come out ahead in the long run. But it’s the short run we might want to be worried about.

 

In recent news, we learned that four federal agencies recently closed on the Friday before Memorial Day – giving more than 115,000 employees a four-day weekend. They weren’t paid for Friday, but probably got the Monday holiday off with pay. Since one of the agencies involved was the IRS, Americans still waiting for their tax refunds may see delays as the agency will be taking a total of five furlough days between May and August.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “4 Federal Agencies to Shut on Friday,” at CNN.com, May 23, 2013.]

 

These furloughs may well create some short-term savings, but long-term it doesn’t seem like a particularly effective way of running a government. It’s kind of like a company asking its employees to work at half-mast lighting one week out of every month, or a household skipping on all but essential groceries for a week.

 

Here are some articles with more examples and ideas about where we are or should be cutting back:

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Think Tank’s Radical Idea to Cut Defense Budget: Fire ‘Slacker’ Soldiers,” at DailyFinance.com, May 24, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Poor hit hardest by Washington budget cuts,” at CNN.com, May 24, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Abandon ship: Budget cuts force Fleet Week to skip NYC,” at MSNBC.com, May 23, 2013.]

 

Recently we witnessed another natural disaster with the Oklahoma tornadoes. It seems these events are more frequent every year – and they come with a price for recovery. Some politicians have proposed that every dollar that is used for disaster aid is offset somewhere else in the budget. Like this one, it seems like many of the proposals concerning deficit spending are really just moving beans from one jar to another.

 

When allocating resources, politicians are struggling to manage our tax dollars and not all programs will be fully funded. Here are two articles regarding this circumstance:

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Tornado loss estimate: $2 billion to $5 billion,” at CNN.com, May 24, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Disaster Aid and Vital Investments Aren’t Mutually Exclusive,” at US News & World Report, May 23, 2013.]

 

You may face similar decisions in your own household budget each day. Should we go to Disneyland for vacation this year, or visit the in-laws in Des Moines? That’s a monetary decision – probably based on how well your inflow has been this year. In Washington, the inflows have been hard hit for the same reason as households – reduced household income means less tax revenue, and less money to try to serve everyone.

 

Consider how tough a job that must be the next time you argue about whether to eat in or dine out. At least you get to decide.

 

As always, we’re here to help you make decisions to help you meet your financial goals. If you’ve got some big decisions coming up, we’re happy to offer our guidance.

 

By contacting us you may be provided with information regarding the purchase of insurance.

 

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

 

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

 

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Ire With the IRS

The IRS has recently come under fire for targeting tea-party-affiliated groups when scrutinizing applications for exempted tax status.

 

Some organizations’ applications were delayed by up to three years, which meant they were unable to prove their tax-exempt status with the IRS for fundraising purposes. Organizations that receive 501(c)(4) status are permitted to collect money on which they do not have to pay taxes (donations are not tax-deductible for contributors). This type of organization may be involved in political activities and promotion without disclosing its contributors.

 

The IRS claims that its division that handles requests for tax exempt status by political groups was overwhelmed after the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision expanded the ability of corporations, unions and other organizations to participate in election spending, such as advertising for political candidates. In fact, the number of organizations applying for this tax-exempt status doubled, from about 1,700 to 3,500 a year, since that ruling.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “House showdown set over IRS targeting of conservative groups,” at the LA Times, May 17, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to view the video, “Sieb and Wessel: White House Wounded by Scandal,” at The Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2013.]

 

The Inspector General’s report observed that the IRS did not consult anyone beyond the agency when it came up with its own screening criteria, which was meant to be a shortcut to help with the influx of applications.

 

According to the report, “front-line career employees who made the decisions acted out of a desire for efficiency and not out of any political and partisan viewpoint.”

 

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review,” by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, May 14, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “IRS official denies intentional political targeting, lying to Congress,” at CNN, May 17, 2013.]

 

One interesting tidbit is that the top IRS official during the majority of the targeted time frame, Commissioner Douglas Schulman, was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, not President Obama. Steven Miller, the acting IRS commissioner since November, resigned in mid-May over the scandal.

 

 

This latest scrutiny serves to remind us that no one – from large corporations to government agencies to the average Joe on the street – is immune from getting caught and having to take responsibility for their actions. More and more, in this age of transparency and electronic access, we seem to learn who’s breaking the rules and great strides are being made to hold them accountable.

 

If you’re looking for someone to trust with your financial matters, please know that we strive to earn that trust with every client we serve. Please give us a call.

 

By contacting us, you may be offered information regarding the purchase of insurance products. Please note that we do not provide specific tax or legal advice. You ‘re encouraged to speak with your tax advisor or attorney.

 

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

 

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

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Boomers Dating, Jobs Up, Stocks Happy

According to a new report by IBISWorld, almost one-third of adults ages 50 to 64 are divorced, widowed or never married. Wow. We talk a lot about “average” adults and “traditional” values, but that’s really an eye-opening statistic for this particular demographic.

The IBIS report touches on some of the markets Baby Boomers are likely to engage in that will help our economy continue to grow. These include dating services, the fitness industry, the RV travel industry, senior housing communities and the do-it-yourself (DIY) home remodeling industry.

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “Baby Boomers: A Burgeoning Customer Market,” at IBISWorld.com, April 2013.]

It’s interesting that Baby Boomers are becoming more engaged with DIY projects, as a recent article detailed why construction jobs posted a decrease during the middle of our real estate recovery. The reduction was largely due to the sequestration of government-funded jobs, leading to a loss of more than 19,000 jobs in public works projects.

Fortunately, the residential sector reported an increase of more than 13,000 jobs among homebuilders and contractors. However, like many of America’s corporations, builders are saying they’re having a hard time finding qualified construction workers.

Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that private sector businesses added 176,000 jobs in April and total non-farm payroll employment rose by 165,000 jobs. This led to a slight decrease in the unemployment rate, now at 7.5 percent.

[CLICK HERE to read “How construction can lose jobs in middle of home building rebound,” at CNN.com, May 3, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read, “The Employment Situation in April,” at The White House Blog, May 3, 2013.]

The day the latest jobs report came out, the stock market expressed extreme joy. The Dow Jones topped 15,000 and the S&P 500 also rose above the 1,500 mark – both new records.

[CLICK HERE to read, “Market Snapshot: U.S. Stocks Jump to Record Heights,” at Foxbusiness.com, May 3, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “April jobs report speeds ticking of bond bomb,” at Investment News, May 3, 2013.]

Sometimes good news is just what it seems – good news, like the stock market uptick. Other times good news can be troubling – like what the positive jobs report and stock market uptick could mean for the bond market. Then, some news is just kind of astonishing – like the whole baby boomer singles phenomenon. If you want to talk about how the current news could impact your financial future, please give us a call.

These articles are being provided to us by third parties. While we believe this information to be reliable as of May 23, we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included. This information should not be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.

By contacting us, you may be offered information regarding insurance products available for purchase.

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

 

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Here’s to the Ladies!

Father’s Day is quickly approaching, but before we take the spotlight off dear mom, let’s take a moment to talk about the influence of mothers–and women in general–on all things financial.

 

Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. secretary of health and human services, recently posted this tweet: “President Obama: Being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition.”

 

That may be a comment specifically directed toward this country’s massive health care initiative, but if you step away for a more distant view, it actually says a lot more.

 

Remember the Virginia Slims cigarette campaign, “You’ve come a long way, baby”?  There was actually a time when women celebrated the acceptance of being able to smoke in public–a symbol of confidence that had grown with increasing independence. It’s only been in the last 30 years that women have broken the glass ceiling and been appointed to top executive positions of major corporations. Less than 20 years ago, it was still difficult for a woman to buy a house on her own. Indeed, women have come a long way.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “BMO Private Bank Mother’s Day Study: Women in Missouri Are Equal Partners in Family’s Long-Term Financial Planning – Or So They Say,” at Marketwatch, May 10, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Gender Wage Gap Causes Typical Woman to Miss Out on $443,360: Analysis,” at Huffington Post, May 9, 2013.]

 

But in the lingering words of Peter Parker’s (Spiderman) Uncle Ben, “with great power comes great responsibility.” In other words, once you start earning your own money, you’re responsible for making sure you’ll have enough retirement income. Fortunately, most women appear to have both the inherent skills and logistical experience to be quite good at financial planning and management.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Today’s Modern Family Creating More Pressure for Women to Seek Financial Independence,” at Marketwatch, May 7, 2013.]

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Women Want More – Desire for Financial and Retirement Planning Knowledge Nearly Doubles Since 2006,” at Businesswire, April 22, 2013.]

 

According to a new study from Fidelity, it’s also true that women tend have more success in talking with their adult children about financial planning topics than fathers do. Apparently, mothers have more detailed conversations with their adult children about sensitive financial topics such as retirement income, estate planning and eldercare, and they are able to convey a more empathetic viewpoint.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Need financial advice? Talk to mom,” at Fidelity Viewpoints, May 7, 2013.]

 

Knowing the details of your financial plan may go a long way to helping you sleep at night. Do you feel like you’re in control of your financial future? Have you left this responsibility for others to plan for you?

 

Consider for a moment that, even if you’re married, when you (and your husband) start taking Social Security benefits will have a direct impact on how much income you will receive. Have you estimated how much you would continue to receive in benefits if your husband passes away before you? If you think that won’t be enough in the future, then it’s important to consider what other income sources are available to supplement your income.

 

According to the Social Security Administration, 48 percent of elderly unmarried women receiving benefits relied on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income in 2011, which is hard to do when their average annual benefit was $12,188.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the fact sheet, “Social Security is Important to Women,” at SSA.gov, February 2013.]

 

Then again, perhaps there’s a time to take on this responsibility and a time to just enjoy the simple pleasures of being a young woman in this vast and complicated world. Which was well demonstrated recently by this charming tweet by an upcoming high school graduate: “I haven’t understood a word my mother and this financial aid woman have said in 15 minutes. I want frozen yogurt.”

 

If you, your daughters, or any other women you know would like to start a conversation about planning for their financial future, please contact us.

 

[CLICK HERE to read financial education articles and tools: “Get a head start toward your financial well being,” at TIAA-CREF, April 2013.]

 

By contacting us, you may be offered information regarding the purchase of insurance products.  Please note that we do not provide specific tax or legal advice.  You’re encouraged to speak with your tax advisor or attorney.  For questions regarding social security, you’re encouraged to contact the Social Security Administration.

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.   

 

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

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Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

According to a news survey by The Millionaire Corner, a Series 65 online resource about investing, this highly charged political environment regarding the future is about as stressful as swatting at mosquitoes during a Friday night barbeque.

The real issues, at least as far as affluent investors are concerned, are stock market conditions, the economic environment and their own retirement–in precisely that order. All of this partisan-related posturing conjures up about a 5 percent concern (2 percent for millionaires), and that may be just because they were asked how much it bothered them. After all, if someone asks you to list five foods in your order of preference, you wouldn’t leave the last one off entirely.

This is good news, because it signals that more people feel more in control of their future, and less reliant on Congress to figure it out for them. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Affluent Investors Keeping Close Watch on Stock Market Conditions,” at MillionaireCorner.com,  

[CLICK HERE to view graphics of “The recession and recovery in perspective,” at The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, April 26, 2013.]

In an even more blasé survey by Franklin Templeton,1 nearly a third of the surveyed respondents said they thought the stock market was flat or down last year, when in fact the S&P 500 was up 16 percent – and has performed admirably for the last four years. Because the majority of those surveyed also reported that they would be more conservative or make no changes to their investment portfolios, the study concluded that investors are still more concerned with avoiding loss rather than achieving higher returns.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “What Ails the Economy? In a word: Washington,” at Yahoo! Finance, April 26, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Job Picture Looks Bleak for 2013 College Grads,” at Yahoo! Finance, April 26, 2013.]

Despite people’s persistence in going to work every day, paying their bills, making plans for the future, and enjoying their families in this beautiful spring weather, headlines continue to warn us that our legislators are not doing their jobs and it’s causing great detriment to the economy.

The Commerce Department recently reported that the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew by only 2.5 percent in the first quarter–substantially below expectations. It’s no wonder, however, since sequestration began in March. The new numbers reflect, at least partially, a 4.1 percent decrease in government spending, including the 11.5 percent reduction in defense spending.

The government cuts represent an interesting paradox as far as the economy is concerned, with one insider suggesting that, “Whatever your view is on government spending, it’s going to be a headwind for growth.”

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “First Quarter Growth, at 2.5%, Misses Expectations,” at The Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2013.]

Americans, being what we are–resilient to terrorism, the housing bust and, yes, backyard mosquitoes–are taking in all of this economic and policy gloom and doom in stride. If you want to talk about your future, regardless of what goes on at Capitol Hill, please give us a call.

 

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