Author Archive for Tonya Ryan

Weekly Economic Update 2-11-19

SENB Wealth Management presents Weekly Economic Update 2-11-19

In this week’s recap: minor gains for major stock indices, a March deadline looms for U.S.-China trade talks, and good news about the service industry.


Major U.S. stock benchmarks eked out slight gains last week, with corporate profit reports and news about U.S.-China trade negotiations vying for investor attention over five trading sessions.

The big three ended the week little changed from where they settled the previous Friday. The Dow Jones Industrials rose 0.17%, while the S&P 500 Index gained 0.05%. The NASDAQ Composite ended the week up 0.47%. Looking at international stocks, the MSCI EAFE index retreated 0.47%.1,2



As of last Friday, 66% of all S&P 500 companies had reported fourth-quarter earnings. So far, 71% of these firms have announced earnings exceeding estimates, and 62% have seen revenues top projections.3

Halfway through earnings season, 2019 future guidance has been a mixed bag for S&P 500 companies. For Wall Street, future earnings can be just as important as current earnings. We keep a close eye on both. 3



March 1 is the 90-day deadline set by President Trump for a trade deal with China. If no agreement is reached, the U.S. may consider a new round of tariffs. On Thursday, news that President Trump and Chinese President Xi may not meet before the March 1 deadline added to the market volatility.

The decision by the U.S. on new tariffs may hinge on how much progress has been made toward a new agreement. We do not expect that to become clear until the deadline nears.



Many indicators help economists take the pulse of the overall economy. The Institute for Supply Management keeps a critical, but not widely followed, index, which helps gauge the health of the service sector.

The January reading on this index came in at 56.7. Any reading above 50 shows that the service industry is seeing solid growth.4



Over the next several weeks, we are expecting more volatility as the markets digest economic news, a new wave of corporate earnings, and twists and turns on the geopolitical front. We will be watching to see if anything changes our short-term and long-term view. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.



T I P   O F   T H E   W E E K

New parents should seek to create an emergency fund equivalent to 3-6 months of living expenses. Sticking to a budget can help a household save over time.


Wednesday: January’s Consumer Price Index, which measures monthly and yearly inflation.

Thursday: December retail sales figures (a delayed release due to the government shutdown).

Friday: January’s preliminary University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, a gauge of consumer confidence levels.

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, February 8, 2019

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision. The release of data may be delayed without notice for a variety of reasons, including the shutdown of the government agency or change at the private institution that handles the material. 



Monday: Loews Corp (L)

Tuesday: Activision Blizzard (ATVI), HubSpot (HUBS), Occidental Petroleum (OXY)

Wednesday: Cisco (CSCO), Hilton Worldwide Holdings (HLT), Yelp (YELP)

Thursday: Applied Materials (AMAT), CBS (CBS), Coca-Cola (KO)

Friday: Deere & Co. (DE), PepsiCo (PEP)

Source:, February 8, 2019

Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame and risk tolerance. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.



Q U O T E   O F   T H E   W E E K

“In all affairs it is a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”


T H E   W E E K L Y   R I D D L E

I have no eyes, ears, tongue, or nose, yet I have the power to see, hear, taste, and smell everything. What am I?


LAST WEEK’S RIDDLE: You can throw a ball 25’ and make it come right back to you, without the ball hitting anything or being caught by anyone. How can you make this happen?

ANSWER: Throw the ball straight up in the air.



SENB Wealth Management


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1 – [2/8/19]

2 – [2/8/19]

3 – [2/8/19]

4 – [2/5/19]

Weekly Economic Update 2-4-19

SENB Wealth Management presents Weekly Economic Update 2-4-19

In this week’s recap: a hiring surge, a noteworthy remark from Jerome Powell, a dip for a respected household confidence index, and gains on Wall Street.


Payrolls swelled with 304,000 net new jobs last month, according to the Department of Labor’s February employment report. (A Bloomberg survey of economists, however, had projected a gain of 165,000.) The number of Americans temporarily laid off or working part time for economic reasons increased greatly in January as a consequence of the partial federal government shutdown; that left the unemployment rate (4.0%) and underemployment rate (8.1%) higher. Average hourly wages were up 3.2% year-over-year. Additionally, the factory sector expanded at a faster pace last month: the Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing manager index improved 2.5 points to a mark of 56.6.1,2


The Federal Reserve made no interest rate move last week, but at its January 30 press conference, Fed chairman Jerome Powell had an interesting comment for the media: “We believe we can best support the economy by being patient before making any future adjustment to policy.” To investors large and small, that remark sounded like a declaration that the central bank was ready to exercise extra caution in considering future rate increases. In addition, Powell noted the recent emergence of “some crosscurrents and conflicting signals about the [economic] outlook” as a factor.3


The latest readings on the country’s two most-watched consumer confidence indices look good, but one just took a major fall. The Conference Board’s monthly index went from a December mark of 126.6 to 120.2 in January. In its final January edition, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment gauge displayed a 91.2 reading, up 0.5 points from its preliminary version.2


Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq Composite all gained more than 1.3%, thanks in part to some of the developments mentioned above. The S&P rose 7.87% during January. Oil ended the week at $55.31 on the NYMEX; gold, at $1,322.60 on the COMEX.4,5


T I P   O F   T H E   W E E K

Does your employer offer long-term disability coverage in its benefits package? Do you know how much income that coverage would pay out if you become disabled? Check to see if the income would be adequate; if it appears inadequate, consider arranging supplemental coverage.


Alphabet, Beazer Homes, Clorox, Gilead Sciences, Panasonic, Seagate Technology, Sysco, and The Hartford release earnings news Monday. | Additionally, on Tuesday, ISM’s January non-manufacturing PMI complements earnings from Allstate, AmeriGas, Anadarko Petroleum, Archer Daniels Midland, BP, Chubb, Electronic Arts, Estee Lauder, Genworth Financial, Mitsubishi, Pitney Bowes, Ralph Lauren, Snap, Viacom, Voya Financial, and Walt Disney Co. | Also, on Wednesday, earnings arrive from Chipotle, Cummins, Eli Lilly, General Motors, GlaxoSmithKline, Humana, MetLife, Prudential Financial, Spotify, Take-Two Interactive, and Valvoline; in the evening, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell takes questions at a Washington, D.C. town hall meeting. | Meanwhile, on Thursday, the earnings roll call includes news from ArcelorMittal, Dunkin’ Brands, Fiat Chrysler, Kellogg, L’Oréal, Marathon Petroleum, Mattel, Motorola Solutions, News Corp., Philip Morris, Twitter, Tyson Foods, and Yum! Brands. | Finally, on Friday, Exelon, Hasbro, and Phillips 66 present Q4 results.


Q U O T E   O F   T H E   W E E K

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.”

St. Francis de Sales


Sources:, – 2/1/194,6,7

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. Similarly, these returns do not include dividends. Also, Weekly and year-to-date market index returns are expressed as percentages and 10-year Treasury note yield = projected return on investment, expressed as a percentage, on the U.S. government’s 10-year bond. Finally, weekly and year-to-date 10-year Treasury note yield differences are expressed in basis points.

SENB Wealth Management


SENB Wealth Management presents Weekly Economic Update 2-4-19



1 – [2/1/19]

2 – [2/1/19]

3 – [1/30/19]

4 – [2/1/19]

5 – [1/31/19]

6 – [2/1/19]

7 – [2/1/19]

Countdown to College

SENB gives tips on preparing for college

Preparing for college means setting goals.

Most parents want to give their children the best opportunity for success and getting into the right college may help open doors. According to the latest income-per-education-level data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American adults who have a bachelor’s degree had median weekly earnings of $1,173 and a jobless rate of 2.5% in 2017, compared with median earnings of $712 and unemployment of 4.6% for those with just a high school diploma.1

Unfortunately, being accepted to the college of one’s choice may not be as easy as it once was. These days, preparing for college means setting goals, staying focused, and tackling a few key milestones along the way.

Before High School.

The road to college begins even before high school. As early as elementary and middle school foster your child’s love for learning. Encourage good study habits and get them dreaming about college. A trip to a nearby university or your alma mater may help plant the seed in their minds. When your child reaches middle school, take the time to find out which prerequisite courses may set the right track for math and science in high school.

The earlier you consider how you expect to pay for college costs, the better. The average student loan borrower owes $32,731 in education debt, which amounts to between 65-111% of first-year salary.2

Freshman Year.

Before the school year begins, consider meeting with your child’s guidance counselor. Discuss college goals and make sure your child is enrolled in classes that are structured to help them pursue those goals. Also, encourage your child to choose challenging classes. Many universities look for students who push themselves when it comes to learning. At the same time, keep a close eye on grades. Every year on the transcript counts. If your child is struggling in a subject, don’t wait to get a tutor. One-on-one instruction can be a huge benefit when mastering difficult material.

In addition to academic performance, many colleges want prospective students to be well-rounded, so encourage your child to engage in extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, art, community service, and social clubs.

Sophomore Year.

During their sophomore year, some students may have the opportunity to take a practice SAT. A practice exam is a good way to give your child a feel for what the test entails as well as any possible areas improvement they may have. If your child is enrolled in advanced placement (AP) courses, encourage good performance on AP exams. High exam scores show universities your child can succeed at a higher level of learning.

Sophomore year is also a good time to get some depth in extracurricular activities. Help your child identify passions and stick to them. Encourage your child to read as much as possible. Whether they read Crime and Punishment or Sports Illustrated, they will expand their vocabulary and critical thinking skills. Summer may be a good time for sophomores to get a job, do an internship, or travel to help fill their quiver of experiences.

Junior Year.

Near the beginning of junior year, your child can take the Preliminary SAT (PSAT), also known as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). Even if they won’t need to take the SAT for college, taking the PSAT could open doors for scholarship money. Junior year may be the most challenging in terms of course load. It is also a critical year for showing good grades in difficult classes.

Top colleges look for applicants who are future leaders. Encourage your child to take a leadership role in an extracurricular activity. This doesn’t mean they have to be drum major or captain of the football team. Leading may involve helping an organization with fundraising, marketing, or community outreach.

In the spring of junior year, your child will want to take the SAT or ACT. An early test date may allow time for taking the test again in senior year, if necessary. No matter how many times your child takes the test, colleges will only look at the best score.

Senior Year.

For many students, senior year is the most exciting time of high school. They will finally begin to reap the benefits of all their efforts during the previous years. Once your child has decided to which schools they wish to apply, make sure you keep on top of deadlines. Applying early can increase your student’s chance of acceptance.

Now is also the time to apply for scholarships. Your child’s guidance counselor can help you identify scholarships within reach. Also, find out about financial aid and be thorough. According to research by, well over $2 billion in free federal grant money is going unclaimed each year simply because students are failing to fill out the free application.3

Finally, talk to your child about living away from home. Help make sure they know how to manage money wisely and pay bills on time. You may also want to talk about social pressures some college freshmen face for the first time when they move away from home.

For many people, college sets the stage for life. Making sure your children have options when it comes to choosing a university can help shape their future. Work with them today to make goals and develop habits that will help ensure their success.



SENB Wealth Management




SENB Wealth Management gives tips on preparing for college

1 – [4/18]

2 – [12/13/18]
3 – [10/17/18]



Your Emergency Fund: How Much is Enough?

An emergency fund may help alleviate the stress associated with a financial crisis.

Have you ever had one of those months? The water heater stops heating, the dishwasher stops washing, and your family ends up on a first-name basis with the nurse at urgent care. Then, as you’re driving to work, giving yourself your best, “You can make it!” pep talk, you see smoke seeping out from under your hood. Bad things happen to the best of us, and instead of conveniently spacing themselves out, they almost always come in waves. The important thing is to have a financial life preserver, in the form of an emergency cash fund, at the ready.

Although many people agree that an emergency fund is an important resource, they’re not sure how much to save or where to keep the money. Others wonder how they can find any extra cash to sock away. One recent survey found that 29% of Americans lack any emergency savings whatsoever.1

How Much Money?

When starting an emergency fund, you’ll want to set a target amount. But how much is enough? Unfortunately, there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer. The ideal amount for your emergency fund may depend on your financial situation and lifestyle. For example, if you own your home or provide for a number of dependents, you may be more likely to face financial emergencies. And if the crisis you face is a job loss or injury that affects your income, you may need to depend on your emergency fund for an extended period of time.

Coming Up with Cash.

If saving several months of income seems an unreasonable goal, don’t despair. Start with a more modest target, such as saving $1,000. Build your savings at regular intervals, a bit at a time. It may help to treat the transaction like a bill you pay each month. Consider setting up an automatic monthly transfer to make self-discipline a matter of course. You may want to consider paying off any credit card debt before you begin saving.

Once savings begin to build, you may be tempted to use the account for something other than an emergency. Try to budget and prepare separately for bigger expenses you know are coming. Keep your emergency money separate from your checking account so that it’s harder to dip into.

Where Do I Put It?

An emergency fund should be easily accessible, which is why many people choose traditional bank savings accounts. Savings accounts typically offer modest rates of return. Certificates of Deposit may provide slightly higher returns than savings accounts, but your money will be locked away until the CD matures, which could be several months to several years.

Certificates of deposit (CDs)

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insures bank accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs) up to $250,000 per depositor, per institution in principal and interest. CDs are time deposits offered by banks, thrift institutions, and credit unions. CDs offer a slightly higher return than a traditional bank savings account, but they also may require a higher amount of deposit. If you sell before the CD reaches maturity, you may be subject to penalties.2

Money  Market

Some individuals turn to money market accounts for their emergency savings. Money market funds are considered low-risk securities, but they’re not backed by the federal government like CDs, so it is possible to lose money. Depending on your particular goals and the amount you have saved, some combination of lower-risk investments may be your best choice.2

Money held in money market funds is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Money market funds seek to preserve the value of your investment at $1.00 a share. However, it is possible to lose money by investing in a money market fund. Money market mutual funds are sold by prospectus.2

Please consider the charges, risks, expenses, and investment objectives carefully before investing. A prospectus containing this and other information about the investment company can be obtained from your financial professional. Read it carefully before you invest or send money.

The only thing you can know about unexpected expenses is that they’re coming – for everyone. But having an emergency fund may help alleviate the stress and worry associated with a financial crisis. If your emergency savings are not where they should be, consider taking steps today to create a cushion for the future.

SENB Wealth Management




1 – [7/6/18]
2 – [12/13/18]

Weekly Economic Update 1-21-19

SENB Wealth Management Presents Weekly Economic Update 2-11-19

In this week’s recap: consumer sentiment declines, new ideas surface in U.S.-China trade talks, oil advances again, and the major indices post weekly gains.


Analysts surveyed by MarketWatch thought the University of Michigan’s preliminary January consumer sentiment index would display a reading of 97.5. Instead, it came in at just 90.7, dropping 7.6 points from its final December mark to its lowest level since October 2016. Richard Curtin, the economist who has long overseen the university’s survey, attributed the slip not only to households reacting to the partial federal government shutdown, but also to “the impact of tariffs, instabilities in financial markets, the global slowdown and the lack of clarity about monetary policies.”1


Investors were encouraged Friday by news that China had offered a plan to reduce its trade surplus with the U.S. from more than $320 billion to $0 by 2024. The concept, first presented to U.S. trade officials earlier this month, would involve China buying $45 billion more in U.S. goods this year and incrementally more in the five years to follow. Whether the strategy would work is questionable, as America’s strong ongoing demand for Chinese products is arguably the biggest factor in the trade imbalance. Nevertheless, stocks rallied after the news. A day earlier, a Wall Street Journal story noted that U.S. officials were considering easing current tariffs on Chinese imports in exchange for such concessions.2,3


As a result of that gain, WTI crude was worth $53.80 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at Friday’s close. The latest developments in U.S.-China trade negotiations and the sharpest weekly pullback in the U.S. rig count since 2016 helped to push the price higher.3


Through Friday, 11% of S&P 500 firms had reported Q4 results. Seventy-six percent of those companies reported actual earnings-per-share exceeding projections, and 56% beat revenue estimates. As the trading week ended, stock market analytics firm FactSet projected year-over-year earnings growth of 10.6% for all S&P constituents for Q4. While this would represent a fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit improvement, such an advance would be the smallest since Q4 2017. Last week, all three major U.S. equity indices rose; you will find their weekly and YTD performances below, along with last Friday’s settlements.4

T I P   O F   T H E   W E E K

Most loan payments are scheduled monthly, but if monthly payments are cut in half and paid every two weeks, two months per year  three payments will be made instead of two. This results in 13 months of payments in 12, so a loan is paid down more quickly.


U.S. financial markets are closed Monday as the nation observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. | Capital One, Fifth Third, GATX, Halliburton, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, TD Ameritrade, Travelers Companies, UBS Group, Union Bank, and Zions Bancorp report earnings Tuesday, and investors also consider December existing home sales figures. | Wednesday’s earnings parade includes Abbott Labs, Comcast, Ford Motor Co., Kimberly-Clark, Northern Trust, Procter & Gamble, and Texas Instruments. | Firms reporting Thursday include Alaska Air, American Airlines, Bristol-Myers, Discover, Freeport McMoRan, Intel, JetBlue, Norfolk Southern, Starbucks, Union Pacific, and Western Digital; beyond the earnings news, a new initial claims report and the Conference Board’s latest index of leading indicators emerge. | AbbVie, Colgate-Palmolive, D.R. Horton, and NextEra Energy announce earnings Friday; and finally, data on December new home sales and durable goods orders may be released if the partial federal government shutdown ends.


Q U O T E   O F   T H E   W E E K

“Always seek out the seed of triumph in every adversity.”


Sources:, – 1/18/195,6,7
Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. These returns do not include dividends. Weekly and year-to-date market index returns are expressed as percentages. 10-year Treasury note yield = projected return on investment, expressed as a percentage, on the U.S. government’s 10-year bond. Weekly and year-to-date 10-year Treasury note yield differences are expressed in basis points.


T H E   W E E K L Y   R I D D L E

Round like an orange, deep like a cup, set in the earth, and nothing can pull it up. What is it?


LAST WEEK’S RIDDLE: What speaks, also listens, and has ten digits yet no hands?
ANSWER: A phone.


SENB Wealth Management



1 – [1/18/19]
2 – [1/18/19]
3 – [1/18/19]   
4 – [1/18/19]
5 – [1/18/19]
6 – [1/18/19]
7 – [1/18/19]


Weekly Economic Update 1-14-19

SENB Wealth Management Presents Weekly Economic Update 1-14-19

In this week’s recap: the CPI decreases, a service sector activity index takes a fall, oil’s rebound continues, and equities advance.


December brought a 0.1% decline in the Consumer Price Index, the first in nine months. As in November, cheaper gasoline was a factor: gas prices took a 7.5% monthly fall. The CPI advanced 1.9% across 2018. The core CPI, which excludes food and energy costs, rose 0.2% in December for a third consecutive month and gained 2.2% for the year. In short, yearly inflation is back in the vicinity of the Federal Reserve’s 2.0% target.1


The Institute for Supply Management said that its purchasing manager index service, tracking industry activity, descended to 57.6 in December, paralleling the dip of its factory sector PMI. While the decrease of 3.1 points was a disappointment, the new orders sub-index did rise slightly to 62.7, and the service sector expanded for the 107th straight month.2


Crude oil futures are no longer scraping near 52-week lows. WTI crude settled at $51.59 on the New York Mercantile Exchange at Friday’s close, up 7.6% for the week. A down day on Friday broke a 9-session streak of advances for the commodity, the longest seen since January 2010.3


Investors were encouraged by hints of progress in U.S.-China trade negotiations last week and seemed unruffled by the ongoing shutdown of parts of the federal government. Across five trading days, all three major Wall Street equity indices rose 2.4% or more, and both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average exited correction territory with the fourth-quarter reporting season just ahead. (See the table within this Weekly Economic Update for their Friday closes as well as weekly and YTD performances.)4


T I P   O F   T H E   W E E K

Many people sign up for credit cards without looking at their interest rates and terms. Be sure to read the fine print when applying for a card.


A new earnings season starts Monday as Citigroup presents Q4 results. | JPMorgan Chase, UnitedHealth Group, and Wells Fargo report earnings on Tuesday, and the December Producer Price Index also emerges. | Wednesday, Alcoa, Bank of America, BNY Mellon, Blackrock, Comerica, CSX, Goldman Sachs, PNC Financial Services Group, and U.S. Bancorp announce earnings, the Federal Reserve publishes a new Beige Book, and data on December retail sales arrives. | Thursday, earnings roll in from American Express, BB&T, KeyCorp, and Netflix; in addition, investors will consider a Census Bureau report on December housing starts and the latest initial jobless claims figures. | Regions Financial, Schlumberger, and SunTrust Bank offer earnings Friday, which is also when the University of Michigan provides its preliminary January consumer sentiment index.


Q U O T E   O F   T H E   W E E K

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

Steve Jobs


Sources:, – 1/11/195,6,7

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. These returns do not include dividends. Weekly and year-to-date market index returns are expressed as percentages. 10-year Treasury note yield = projected return on investment, expressed as a percentage, on the U.S. government’s 10-year bond. Weekly and year-to-date 10-year Treasury note yield differences are expressed in basis points.


T H E   W E E K L Y   R I D D L E

What speaks, also listens, and has ten digits yet no hands?


LAST WEEK’S RIDDLE: Bryn’s mother and father have three kids. One is Kenzie, the second one is Carrie, who is the third?



SENB Wealth Management




1 – [1/11/19]

2 – [1/7/19]

3 – [1/11/19]

4 – [1/11/19]

5 – [1/11/19]

6 – [1/11/19]

7 – [1/11/19]


Weekly Economic Update 1-7-19

SENB Wealth Management Presents Weekly Economic Update 1-7-19

In this week’s recap: an impressive jobs report, a disappointing factory activity index, a slight recovery for oil, and some tailwinds on Wall Street.

2018 Ended with a hiring surge

The latest Department of Labor jobs report suggests an economy with plenty of forward momentum. Employers added 312,000 net new jobs in December, the most in ten months. The main jobless rate rose 0.2% to 3.9% as more Americans entered the labor force; the U-6 rate, measuring underemployment, held at 7.6%. Last month, wages were improving at a rate of 3.2% per year, an increase of 0.1% from the prior report. November’s job gain was revised up to 176,000 from the previously reported 155,000.1


In December, the Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing manager index, tracking business activity among the nation’s factories, dipped to 54.1. This reading indicates healthy expansion for the sector; on the other hand, this was the index’s lowest level in 25 months. It was at 59.3 in November.2



WTI crude just snapped a 3-week losing streak. Futures settled at $47.96 per barrel on the NYMEX, rising 5.8% in four trading days. Some analysts credited the advance to reduced worries about a recession, citing the excellent December hiring numbers and the renewed U.S.-China trade negotiations.3



Three encouraging developments brought out the bulls at the end of the week. The federal government’s December employment report was one pleasant surprise. Another came when Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said that the central bank was amenable to adjusting monetary policy and would be patient about raising rates this year. Lastly, China announced plans to cut taxes and inject money into its banking system, and additionally, discussions on trade issues with the U.S. would resume this week. Friday, the S&P 500 climbed 3.43% to advance 1.00% on the new year to 2,531.94. The Nasdaq added 1.56% for the week to reach 6,738.86 at Friday’s close; the Dow Industrials, 0.45%, to settle at 23,433.16.4,5



T I P   O F   T H E   W E E K

Some business owners put off buying insurance because they believe the coverage will be too costly. Having some insurance is better than none. A small business can insure itself with coverage at relatively low limits to start, and then, increase them as time passes.




U.S. and Chinese diplomats sit down for further trade discussions in Beijing on Monday; stateside, ISM releases its December non-manufacturing PMI. | On Tuesday, U.S.-China trade meetings conclude, with Wall Street hoping for progress. | The Federal Reserve presents the minutes from its December policy meeting Wednesday; in addition, Bed Bath & Beyond, Constellation Brands, KB Home, and Lennar host earnings calls. | Fed chair Jerome Powell reflects on the economy and monetary policy at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., on Thursday afternoon, and Fed vice chair Richard Clarida delivers a speech on the same topics in New York City Thursday night. | Friday brings December inflation data from the federal government and quarterly results from Infosys.



Q U O T E   O F   T H E   W E E K

Defer not till tomorrow to be wise, tomorrow’s sun to thee may never rise.”

William Congreve


Sources:,, – 1/4/195,6,7,8

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. These returns do not include dividends. 10-year TIPS yield = projected return on investment, expressed as a percentage, on the U.S. government’s 10-year bond.



T H E   W E E K L Y   R I D D L E

Question mark inside of head profile

Bryn’s mother and father have three kids. One is Kenzie; the second one is Carrie. Who is the third?


SENB Wealth Management



1 – [1/4/19]

2 – [1/3/19]

3 – [1/4/19]

4 – [1/4/19]

5 – [1/4/19]

6 – [1/4/19]

6 – [1/4/19]

6 – [1/4/19]

7 – [1/4/19]
8 – [1/4/19]



Why You Want a Retirement Plan in Writing

SENB Explains Retirement Plans

Setting a strategy down may help you define just what you need to do.


Many people save and invest vaguely for the future.

They know they need to accumulate money for retirement, but when it comes to how much they will need or how they will do it, they are not quite sure. They will “wing it,” hope for the best, and see how it goes. How do they know they are really contributing enough to their retirement accounts? Would they feel less anxious about the future if they had a written plan?

Make no mistake, a written retirement plan sharpens your focus.

It can refine dreams into goals and express a strategy to pursue them. According to a Charles Schwab study, just 24% of Americans plan their financial futures according to a written strategy. Here is why you should join their ranks, if you are not yet among them.1,2

You can figure out the “when” of retirement planning.

When do you think you will retire and start drawing income from your taxable and tax-advantaged accounts? At what age do you anticipate you will start to collect Social Security? How long do you think you will live? No, you cannot precisely know the answers to these questions at this point – but you can make reasonable assumptions. Your assumptions may be altered, it is true – but a good retirement plan is an evolving document, one that can be revised with changing times.  

You can set a target monthly or annual savings rate.

Once you have considered some of the “whens,” you can move on to “how.” Assuming a conservative rate of return on your invested assets, you can specify how much to defer into retirement accounts.

You can decide on a risk tolerance and an investment mix that agrees with it.

Ultimately, you will invest in a way that a) makes sense for your objectives and b) makes you comfortable. The investment mix that you decide on today may not be the one you will favor ten years from now or even three years from now. Regular portfolio reviews should complement the stated investment approach.

You can think about ways to get more retirement income instead of less.

Tax reduction should be part of your retirement strategy. Think about the possibility of part of your Social Security income being taxed. Think about tax on your Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from your IRAs and employee retirement plan. What could you do to manage, or even minimize, the income and capital gains taxes ahead of you?

You can tackle the medical expense question.

That is, how will you fund the medical care that you will inevitably need to greater or lesser degree someday? Should you assign part of your savings to a special account or form of insurance for that purpose? Retiring before 65 may mean paying for some private health insurance in the years before Medicare eligibility.

You can think about your legacy.

While a retirement plan should not be equated with an estate plan, the very fact of planning for your later years does make you think about some things: where you want your money to go when you are gone; your endgame for your company or professional practice; whether part of your accumulated wealth should go to causes or charities.

A written plan promotes confidence and a degree of control.

A 2017 Wells Fargo/Gallup survey determined that those with written retirement plans were nearly twice as confident of having sufficient retirement income in the future, compared to those with no written plan.3


If you lack a written retirement plan, talk to the financial professional you know and trust about one. Writing it all down may make a difference in planning for your second act.

“With today’s technology and tools to better achieve retirement success, please take the time to remove the speculation of what your retirement will look like. It all starts with a single click.”


SENB Wealth Management




1 – [10/25/17]

2 – [6/17]

3 – [7/18/17]

Weekly Economic Update 12-31-18

SENB Wealth Management 12-31-18 Weekly Economic Update

In this week’s recap: A look back at 2018.

Year-End Special Edition: A Look Back at 2018

The close of the year provides an opportunity for investors to step back and consider the wider financial landscape. This week, we’re reviewing some key issues that defined 2018, as well as some factors that may influence financial markets in the coming year.

Year in Review

Wall Street began 2018 in rally mode, as enthusiasm for the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act spilled over into the New Year. Strong economic news encouraged investors, who put aside fears that rising inflation may lead to higher interest rates. What Wall Street did not see coming were the spring and summer trade disputes with China, Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. Fear of a global economic slowdown contributed to a sharp decline in stock prices in October. U.S. economic growth forecasts were tempered in November for 2019, with bulls and bears engaged in a fierce tug-of-war as the year came to a close.1

Economic Growth

After expanding at a middling 2.2% pace in the first quarter, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose 4.2% in Q2 and 3.5% in Q3. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta forecast a 2.8% increase for Q4, which will be released on January 30, 2019 by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The Congressional Budget Office expects GDP growth in 2019 to slow to 2.4% “as growth in business investment and government purchases slows.”2,3,4,5

Interest Rates

At the close of its September 2018 meeting, the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate to 2.25%, a full percentage point higher than it was a year earlier. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell appeared to change his stance on monetary policy, saying interest rates were “just below” a neutral level. Prior to that, he indicated rates were a “long way” from neutral.6

Consumer Prices and Wage Growth

The number of future interest rate hikes by the Fed may largely depend on its reading of inflation. An uptick in consumer prices or an increase in wage growth may prompt the Fed to consider additional hikes in 2019.6

Trade Talk Progress

Tariffs were a highlight of 2018 news. On July 10, the Trump administration announced a list of tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods. The escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China is an enormous overhang on the financial markets. The continuing impasse may affect economic growth and push consumer prices higher.7

2018 also was a year in which a major trade pact started to come together. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was approved in principle in October. However, the agreement must be approved by Congress and the legislative bodies of Mexico and Canada before it can take effect.8

U.S. Dollar

Rising interest rates and robust domestic growth in 2018 lead to a strengthening of the U.S. dollar. A strong U.S. dollar may negatively affect profits of U.S.-based multinational companies, since it may make their products more expensive to overseas buyers. This will also be something to watch in the coming year.1,2,3

Real Estate

The trend of higher interest rates in 2018 was also felt in the real estate market. The average rate on a 30-year conventional home loan stood at 3.95% in January 2018. At year’s end, it was hovering near 5% according to Freddie Mac.9

We hope you enjoyed this special edition newsletter! Next week, we’ll be back to covering the market numbers. Best wishes to you for a prosperous New Year.


T H E   W E E K L Y   R I D D L E

question mark inside of head profile

The Weekly Riddle returns next week.

LAST WEEK’S RIDDLE: It is known for its aggressive styling and performance, yet its name contains the name of a gentle mammal. What make of car is it?

ANSWER: Lamborghini.


SENB Wealth Management


SENB Wealth Management 12-31-18 Weekly Economic Update


1 – [11/20/18]

2 – [11/6/18]
3 – [12/3/18]

4 – [2018]

5 – [8/14/18]

6 – [11/28/18]
7 – [7/10/18]

8 – [10/2/18]

9 – [11/7/18]



Happy Holidays 2019

From SENB Bank to your family – have a safe and happy holiday season!