WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE, December 11th, 2017

 

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTE

 

“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.”

     

– Michael J. Fox

      

   

WEEKLY TIP

 

Consider buying used capital equipment in good condition for your company rather than new equipment. Sometimes, lenders will auction off assets from foreclosed businesses. Through such auctions, you could, potentially, realize big savings.

     

  

WEEKLY RIDDLE

 

What flies without any wings? 

 

 

Last week’s riddle:

What round, white container hides a tasty delight within it, and requires no keys to open? 

 

Last week’s answer:

An egg.

 

 

 

December 11, 2017

   

ANOTHER MONTH OF SOLID HIRING

According to the Department of Labor, the U.S. workforce gained 228,000 more jobs than it lost during November. Annualized wage growth improved from 2.5% to 2.7%. The headline jobless rate held at 4.1% last month, while the U-6 rate, that includes the underemployed, ticked up a tenth of a percent to 8.0%. Even though October’s net job gain was revised down to 244,000, October-November 2017 represents the best two-month hiring period in more than a year.1,2

 

ISM INDEX MISSES EXPECTATIONS

The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge of service sector activity fell 2.7 points to a still-impressive reading of 57.4 in November. Economists polled by Briefing.com expected a retreat, albeit a lesser one: they projected a reading of 59.3.2

 

A SMALL DECLINE FOR CONSUMER SENTIMENT

There was just a bit less optimism in households in early December, at least by the measure of the University of Michigan’s twice-monthly Surveys of Consumers. The preliminary December edition of the university’s consumer sentiment index fell 1.7 points from its final November reading to a mark of 96.8.2

 

TWO OF THREE MAJOR INDICES RISE

Once again, the Nasdaq Composite gave up ground across five trading sessions while the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced. The tech benchmark lost only 0.11% last week on its way to a 6,840.08 Friday close. The same stretch brought gains of 0.40% for the Dow and 0.35% for the S&P; their respective Friday settlements were 24,329.16 and 2,651.50. Dropping 16.19% last week, the CBOE VIX volatility gauge went back under 10, closing Friday at 9.58. Settling at 1,521.72 Friday, the small-cap Russell 2000 lost 1.00% for the week.3

 

THIS WEEK: Casey’s General Stores announces Q3 earnings Monday. Tuesday, the November Producer Price Index comes out, and Verifone presents Q3 results. The Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise the benchmark interest rate Wednesday; the November Consumer Price Index also appears for Wall Street’s consideration. Thursday brings federal government reports on initial jobless claims and November retail sales, plus earnings from Costco and Jabil Circuit. A Federal Reserve report on November industrial output arrives Friday.

 

% CHANGE

Y-T-D

1-YR CHG

5-YR AVG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+23.11

+24.03

+16.99

+7.86

NASDAQ

+27.07

+26.26

+25.94

+15.28

S&P 500

+18.43

+18.04

+17.40

+7.62

REAL YIELD

12/8 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

0.50%

0.45%

-0.86%

1.86%

 

Sources: wsj.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov – 12/8/173,4,5,6

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. These returns do not include dividends. 10-year TIPS real yield = projected return at maturity given expected inflation.

 

 

Please feel free to forward this article to family, friends or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to our distribution list, please reply with their address. We will contact them first and request their permission to add them to our list.

 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy.  The Russell 2000 measures the performance of approximately 2000 small-cap companies in the Russell 3000 Index, which is made up of 3000 of the biggest U.S. stocks. The CBOE Volatility Index® (VIX® Index®) is a key measure of market expectations of near-term volatility conveyed by S&P 500 stock index option prices. The NYSE Group, Inc. (NYSE:NYX) operates two securities exchanges: the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and NYSE Arca (formerly known as the Archipelago Exchange, or ArcaEx®, and the Pacific Exchange). NYSE Group is a leading provider of securities listing, trading and market data products and services. The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX) is the world’s largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading forum for energy and precious metals, with trading conducted through two divisions – the NYMEX Division, home to the energy, platinum, and palladium markets, and the COMEX Division, on which all other metals trade. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. MarketingPro, Inc. is not affiliated with any person or firm that may be providing this information to you. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

 

Citations.

1 – fortune.com/2017/12/08/november-job-report-unemployment-rate/ [12/8/17]

2 – briefing.com/investor/calendars/economic/ [12/8/17]

3 – markets.wsj.com/us [12/8/17]

4 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=12%2F8%2F16&x=0&y=0 [12/8/17]

4 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=12%2F8%2F16&x=0&y=0 [12/8/17]

4 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=12%2F8%2F16&x=0&y=0 [12/8/17]

4 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=12%2F7%2F12&x=0&y=0 [12/8/17]

4 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=12%2F7%2F12&x=0&y=0 [12/8/17]

4 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=12%2F7%2F12&x=0&y=0 [12/8/17]

4 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=12%2F7%2F07&x=0&y=0 [12/8/17]

4 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=12%2F7%2F07&x=0&y=0 [12/8/17]

4 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=12%2F7%2F07&x=0&y=0 [12/8/17]

5 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield [12/8/17]

6 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyieldAll [12/8/17]

 

 

Talking to Your Heirs About Your Estate Plan

Talking to Your Heirs About Your Estate Plan

They should not be left ill-informed or unaware.

 

Provided by

 

Talking about “the end” is not the easiest thing to do, and this is one reason why some people never adequately plan for the transfer of their wealth. Those who do create estate plans with help from financial and legal professionals sometimes leave their heirs out of the conversation.

 

Have you let your loved ones know a little about your estate plan? This is decidedly a matter of personal preference: you may want to share a great deal of information with them, or you may want to keep most of the details to yourself. Either way, they should know some basics.

 

Having this talk can become easier when it is a values conversation, not a money conversation.

 

Values driven estate planning. You can let your heirs know that your values are at the core of the decisions you have made. You need not tell them how much they will inherit. You may let them know about the planning steps you have taken to make a difficult time a bit easier.

 

For example, you can tell your loved ones that you have a will and/or a revocable living trust. In all probability, your executor or successor trustee has been informed of his or her future responsibilities – but other heirs may not know who the executor or successor trustee will be.

 

You can tell them that you have an advance health care directive in place and inform them who you have named as an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so. You can provide the contact information for your estate planner, your CPA, your retirement planner, and any insurance, legal, and medical professionals you consult. Have your heirs ever met these people? Tell your heirs the role they have played for you, your family, or your company and why the judgment of these professionals should be trusted.     

     

Do people beyond your household need to know any of this? Think about it for a second. If you have grandchildren, nieces, or nephews, do they figure into your estate plan? Is it appropriate to let them know that you have made an estate-planning decision or two on their behalf? How about charities or non-profits you have supported – have you notified them of your intent to make a gift from your estate and could knowledge of your decision better facilitate the process? How about your business partner(s)? Do they need to be informed of particular estate-planning intentions you have?

 

Obviously, you must keep certain details close to the vest. Keeping everything to yourself, however, can be problematic. Are your heirs aware of the location of a copy of your health care proxy? Might they discover that you have planned for some of your estate to transfer to charity only after your death? Dilemmas and surprises like these may be avoided through communication – the type of communication that anyone planning an estate should make a priority.

 

Not every couple or individual does, though. BMO Wealth Management asked the high net worth clients it advises if they had disclosed the location of their wills and power of attorney forms with their heirs. Thirteen percent of respondents said their heirs had no clue; 25% said “only my spouse and I” knew the location of the documents.1  

 

A 2017 Caring.com poll determined that just 42% of Americans had gone so far as to draw up a will, let alone an estate plan. So, if you have planned for the transfer of your wealth, you are ahead of many of your peers. Just see that your intentions, and some specific details, are effectively communicated.1

 

Gregg A Hancock
Vice President Wealth Management
Trust Business Development Officer
Wealth Management Services  
 
Southeast National Bank Wealth Management 
309-757-0700 
wealthmanagement@senb.com
www.senb.com

Estate Planning Wills & Trusts

 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

 

 

Citations.

1 – cnbc.com/2017/11/15/12-financial-planning-documents-to-handle-health-end-of-life-care.html [11/15/17]

 

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE, December 4th, 2017

­ 

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE

WEEKLY QUOTE

 

“My father used to say, ‘Let them see you and not the suit.’”

     

– Cary Grant

      

   

WEEKLY TIP

 

Did you just get a great business idea? If you have a product or service offering that you sense your customers will find irresistible, perhaps they could help you finance it. Consider presenting it through a subscription model or have customers pay for the goods or services in advance.

     

  

WEEKLY RIDDLE

 

What round, white container hides a tasty delight within it and requires no keys to open? 

 

 

Last week’s riddle:

Tom figures out that an old grandfather clock is one minute fast every hour. How can Tom manipulate the clock to tell the correct time twice a day, while keeping it running at the same pace? 

 

Last week’s answer:

By making it run backwards.

 

 

December 4, 2017

   

CONSUMERS ACT ON THEIR CONFIDENCE

A new factoid points out just how well the economy is doing: the federal government just upgraded its estimate of third-quarter growth to 3.3%. New data on consumer spending and confidence hints at fourth-quarter strength. Personal spending improved 0.3% in October following the 0.9% leap in September, and household wages were up 0.4% in October for a second straight month. At a mark of 129.5, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index reached a YTD peak in November, having soared 9.1 points in two months.1,2

 

TWO VERY POSITIVE HOUSING SIGNALS

New homes are selling strongly. October saw a 6.2% advance for new home buying according to the Commerce Department, with sales up 30% in the Northeast; the annualized rate of new home purchases was the best in a decade. In addition, the National Association of Realtors announced a 3.5% gain in its pending home sales index for October, a turnaround from the 0.4% September decline.1,3

 

MANUFACTURING SECTOR MAINTAINS A HECTIC PACE

The Institute for Supply Management’s October factory sector purchasing manager index came in at 58.2 last week – a sign of significant expansion. That was half a point below its September reading, but still far above the 50.0 dividing line between sector growth and contraction.4

 

MORE UPS THAN DOWNS ON WALL STREET

News from the nation’s capital affected equity index performance more than anything else as November ebbed into December. When the closing bell called an end to a rollercoaster trading day on Friday, the weekly numbers looked better for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+2.86% to 24,231.59) and S&P 500 (+1.53% to 2,642.22) than for the Nasdaq Composite (-0.60% to 6,847.59). The CBOE VIX volatility index climbed 18.20% for the week to 11.43.5

 

THIS WEEK: Monday, no major economic news items are scheduled. On Tuesday, a new ISM service sector PMI arrives, plus earnings from AutoZone, Bank of Montreal, Land’s End, and Toll Brothers. Wednesday, ADP issues its November payrolls report; investors also review earnings from American Eagle Outfitters, Analogic, H&R Block, Broadcom, Fred’s, Hudson’s Bay Co., and Lululemon Athletica. Thursday offers the latest Challenger job-cut report, a new weekly initial claims report, and earnings from Dell Technologies, Dollar General, and Toro. Wall Street considers the Department of Labor’s November employment report Friday along with the initial University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for December.

 

% CHANGE

Y-T-D

1-YR CHG

5-YR AVG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+22.61

+26.26

+17.21

+8.12

NASDAQ

+27.20

+30.40

+25.50

+15.73

S&P 500

+18.02

+20.59

+17.31

+7.84

REAL YIELD

12/1 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

0.51%

0.48%

-0.79%

1.63%

 

Sources: wsj.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov – 12/1/175,6,7,8

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. These returns do not include dividends. 10-year TIPS real yield = projected return at maturity given expected inflation.

 

 Please feel free to forward this article to family, friends or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to our distribution list, please reply with their address. We will contact them first and request their permission to add them to our list. 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. NYSE Group, Inc. (NYSE:NYX) operates two securities exchanges: the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and NYSE Arca (formerly known as the Archipelago Exchange, or ArcaEx®, and the Pacific Exchange). NYSE Group is a leading provider of securities listing, trading and market data products and services. The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX) is the world’s largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading forum for energy and precious metals, with trading conducted through two divisions – the NYMEX Division, home to the energy, platinum, and palladium markets, and the COMEX Division, on which all other metals trade. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. MarketingPro, Inc. is not affiliated with any person or firm that may be providing this information to you. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

 

Citations.

1 – marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic [12/1/17]

2 – bloomberg.com/quote/CONCCONF:IND [12/1/17]

3 – thestreet.com/story/14403381/1/with-real-sector-booming-what-housing-sector-stocks-will-pop-.html [11/27/17]

4 – instituteforsupplymanagement.org/ismreport/mfgrob.cfm?SSO=1 [12/1/17]

5 – markets.wsj.com/us [12/1/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=12%2F1%2F16&x=0&y=0 [12/1/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=12%2F1%2F16&x=0&y=0 [12/1/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=12%2F1%2F16&x=0&y=0 [12/1/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F30%2F12&x=0&y=0 [12/1/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F30%2F12&x=0&y=0 [12/1/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F30%2F12&x=0&y=0 [12/1/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F30%2F07&x=0&y=0 [12/1/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F30%2F07&x=0&y=0 [12/1/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F30%2F07&x=0&y=0 [12/1/17]

7 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield [12/1/17]

8 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyieldAll [12/1/17]

 

When Will the Business Cycle Peak?

When Will the Business Cycle Peak?

 

As the recovery lengthens further, this is a natural question to ask.

 

Provided by 

 

This decade has brought a long economic rebound to many parts of America. As 2017 ebbs into 2018, some of the statistics regarding this comeback are truly impressive:

 

*Payrolls have grown, month after month, for more than seven years.

*The jobless rate is lower than it has been for more than a decade.

*Business activity in the service sector has not contracted since the summer of 2009.

*The economy just grew 3% or more in back-to-back quarters, a feat unseen since 2014.1,2  

 

In the big picture, the American economy is booming. These statistics, and others, are so noteworthy that analysts are asking: when will the business cycle peak? Has it already peaked? Or are we experiencing a remarkably great exception to the norm? 

 

Any investor must recognize two indisputable facts. One, expansions eventually give way to recessions. Two, bull markets are punctuated by bear markets. The question is when we will see the next recession, the next bear market, or both.

 

All business cycles have four phases. The first phase – expansion – is often the longest. It is characterized by two phenomena: a bull market and annualized GDP of 2% or greater. This expansion culminates at a peak, which is phase two. The peak is characterized by irrational exuberance on Wall Street, economic growth of 3% or more, a distinct acceleration of consumer prices, and the emergence of asset bubbles.3

 

Then – perhaps, imperceptibly – supply begins to exceed demand. Fundamental indicators begin to weaken; yet, the economy still grows – just not at the pace it previously did. Then, the growth diminishes altogether, and the business cycle enters phase three – contraction. GDP goes negative for two or more successive quarters, which defines a recession. Corporate earnings take a major hit, depressing investors. Equities enter a bear market. Finally, things come to a trough – a bottom. On Wall Street, institutional investors reach a point of capitulation – a moment when they decide there is more potential upside than downside to stocks. Investors and consumers start to become less pessimistic. Suddenly, supply has to keep up with demand again. Things brighten, and a new business cycle begins.3

 

How will we know precisely when the business cycle has peaked? Without seeing the future, we cannot know. We can make an educated guess based on fundamental economic indicators and earnings, but we will really only know looking back.

 

How can we prepare for the later phases of this current business cycle? Some healthy skepticism and some diversification may help. Investors who tend to get burned the most in an economic downturn (or bear market) are those who have fallen in love with one sector or one asset class. Their portfolios have become unbalanced, perhaps just because of the gains seen in the bull market.

 

Some investors opt for active portfolio management in recognition of business cycles, and their heavy influence on stock market cycles. Others choose to buy and hold, feeling that it is all too easy to mistime cycles while getting in and out of this or that investment class.

 

We have enjoyed a great bull run, and a new wave of prosperity has pulled many metro areas out of economic doldrums. At some point, times will get tougher. Whether you decide the appropriate response is to ride a downturn out or react quickly to it, a discussion with your trusted financial professional is a wise move.

Gregg A Hancock
Vice President Wealth Management
Trust Business Development Officer
Wealth Management Services  
 
Southeast National Bank Wealth Management 
309-757-0700 
wealthmanagement@senb.com
www.senb.com

 

 

    

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.   

     

Citations.

1 – inc.com/associated-press/jobs-report-october-2017.html [11/2/17]

2 – instituteforsupplymanagement.org/ISMReport/NonMfgROB.cfm [11/3/17]

3 – thebalance.com/where-are-we-in-the-current-business-cycle-3305593 [7/18/17]

 

 

Should We Reconsider What “Retirement” Means?

Should We Reconsider What “Retirement” Means?

 

The notion that we separate from work in our sixties may have to go.

 

Provided by Retirement

 

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.

   

Generations ago, Americans never retired – at least not voluntarily. American life was either agrarian or industrialized, and people toiled until they died or physically broke down. Their “social security” was their children. Society had a low opinion of able-bodied adults who preferred leisure to work.    

 

German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck often gets credit for “inventing” the idea of retirement. In the late 1800s, the German government set up the first pension plan for those 65 and older. (Life expectancy was around 45 at the time.) When our Social Security program began in 1935, it defined 65 as the U.S. retirement age; back then, the average American lived about 62 years. Social Security was perceived as a reward given to seniors during the final years of their lives, a financial compliment for their hard work.1 

 

After World War II, the concept of retirement changed. The model American worker was now the “organization man” destined to spend decades at one large company, taken care of by his (or her) employer in a way many people would welcome today. Americans began to associate retirement with pleasure and leisure.

 

By the 1970s, the definition of retirement had become rigid. You retired in your early sixties, because your best years were behind you and it was time to go. You died at about 72 or 75 (depending on your gender). In between, you relaxed. You lived comfortably on an employee pension and Social Security checks, and the risk of outliving your money was low. If you lived to 81 or 82, that was a good run. Turning 90 was remarkable.

 

Today, baby boomers cannot settle for these kinds of retirement assumptions. This is partly due to economic uncertainty and partly due to ambition. Retirement planning today is all about self-reliance, and to die at 65 today is to die young with the potential of one’s “second act” unfulfilled.

   

One factor has altered our view of retirement more than any other. That factor is the increase in longevity. When Social Security started, retirement was seen as the quiet final years of life; by the 1960s, it was seen as an extended vacation lasting 10-15 years; and now, it is seen as a decades-long window of opportunity.    

 

Working past 70 may soon become common. Some baby boomers will need to do it, but others will simply want to do it. Whether by choice or chance, some will retire briefly and work again; others will rotate between periods of leisure and work for as long as they can. Working full time or part time not only generates income, it also helps to preserve invested retirement assets, giving them more years to potentially compound. Another year on the job also means one less year of retirement to fund.

 

Perhaps we should see retirement foremost as a time of change – a time of changing what we want to do with our lives. According to the actuaries at the Social Security Administration, the average 65-year-old has about 20 years to pursue his or her interests. Planning for change may be the most responsive move we can make for the future.2

  

Ann M Neumann
Senior Vice President & Trust Officer
Wealth Management Services

Gregg A Hancock
Vice President Wealth Management
Trust Business Development Officer
Wealth Management Services  
 
Southeast National Bank Wealth Management 
309-757-0700 
wealthmanagement@senb.com
www.senb.com

 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.   

      

Citations.

1 – dailynews.com/2017/03/24/successful-aging-im-65-and-ok-with-it/ [3/24/17]

2 – ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.html [11/21/17]

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE, November 27th, 2017

 

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE

WEEKLY QUOTE

 

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”

     

– Edith Wharton

      

   

WEEKLY TIP

 

Some investors play a guessing game: they watch Wall Street and try to pick future winners. Other investors recognize that diversification may improve their chances of holding shares in such companies without a lot of guessing.

     

  

WEEKLY RIDDLE

 

Tom figures out that an old grandfather clock is one minute fast every hour. How can Tom manipulate the clock to tell the correct time twice a day, while keeping it running at the same pace? 

 

 

Last week’s riddle:

They can darken the dark; they can also lighten the intensity of the light. What are they?  

 

Last week’s answer:

Sunglasses.

 

 

November 27, 2017

   

CONSUMER SENTIMENT DECLINES FOR NOVEMBER

The University of Michigan’s monthly gauge of how households perceive current and future economic conditions ended the month at a mark of 98.5. Compared to the 100.7 final October reading, this was a disappointment. Still, the index was up 5.0 points year-over-year. Richard Curtin, the economist in charge of the consumer survey, noted that the index has hovered near “the highest levels since 2004” since January.1

 

HOME BUYING GETS A FALL BOOST

Existing home sales rose 2.0% in October, surpassing the consensus 0.7% gain forecast by analysts polled by Investing.com. Elsewhere in its latest monthly report, the National Association of Realtors revised September’s minor advance in home buying down to 0.4%.2

 

LEADING INDICATORS TAKE A MAJOR LEAP

After a decline of 0.2% in September, the Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators soared 1.2% for October. This was double the gain forecast in a Reuters survey of economists. This surge in the 10-component index may signal an impressive fourth quarter.3

 

A NEW MILESTONE FOR A MARKET BENCHMARK

Stocks regained their momentum in time for Thanksgiving. During an abbreviated trading week, the S&P 500 settled above 2,600 for the first time, closing at 2,602.42 Friday and going +0.93% across three-and-a-half days. Weekly gains also came for the Nasdaq Composite (1.57%) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (0.86%); the Nasdaq finished the week at 6,889.16; the Dow, at 23,557.99. The Nasdaq was up 5.07% month-over-month as of Friday’s closing bell.4,5

 

THIS WEEK: Monday, the Census Bureau presents data on October new home sales. The latest S&P/Case-Shiller home price index and the October Conference Board consumer confidence index both appear Tuesday. On Wednesday, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen testifies on the U.S. economic outlook in Congress, and investors also consider the second federal government take on Q3 GDP, a new Fed Beige Book, and the NAR’s latest pending home sales index. October personal spending data, the October PCE price index, and a new initial unemployment claims report arrive Thursday. The Institute for Supply Management releases its November snapshot of the U.S. factory sector Friday.

 

% CHANGE

Y-T-D

1-YR CHG

5-YR AVG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+19.20

+23.00

+16.22

+8.15

NASDAQ

+27.98

+27.60

+26.44

+16.53

S&P 500

+16.24

+17.58

+16.94

+8.06

REAL YIELD

11/24 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

0.50%

0.47%

-0.72%

1.63%

 

Sources: wsj.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov – 11/24/175,6,7,8

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. These returns do not include dividends. 10-year TIPS real yield = projected return at maturity given expected inflation.

 

 

Please feel free to forward this article to family, friends or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to our distribution list, please reply with their address. We will contact them first and request their permission to add them to our list.

 

 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. NYSE Group, Inc. (NYSE:NYX) operates two securities exchanges: the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and NYSE Arca (formerly known as the Archipelago Exchange, or ArcaEx®, and the Pacific Exchange). NYSE Group is a leading provider of securities listing, trading and market data products and services. The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX) is the world’s largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading forum for energy and precious metals, with trading conducted through two divisions – the NYMEX Division, home to the energy, platinum, and palladium markets, and the COMEX Division, on which all other metals trade. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. MarketingPro, Inc. is not affiliated with any person or firm that may be providing this information to you. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

 

Citations.

1 – sca.isr.umich.edu/ [11/22/17]

2 – investing.com/economic-calendar/existing-home-sales-891 [11/22/17]

3 – cnbc.com/2017/11/20/october-leading-indicators-index.html [11/20/17]

4 – finance.google.com/finance?q=INDEXSP%3A.INX&ei=02cYWuG2DYfSjAHDvqqQDA [11/24/17]

5 – markets.wsj.com/us [11/24/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F25%2F16&x=0&y=0 [11/24/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F25%2F16&x=0&y=0 [11/24/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F25%2F16&x=0&y=0 [11/24/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F23%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/24/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F23%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/24/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F23%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/24/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F23%2F07&x=0&y=0 [11/24/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F23%2F07&x=0&y=0 [11/24/17]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F23%2F07&x=0&y=0 [11/24/17]

7 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield [11/24/17]

8 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyieldAll [11/24/17]

 

Year-End Charitable Gifting

Year-End Charitable Gifting

 

What should you keep in mind as you donate?

 

Provided by 

 

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

 

From a tax planning standpoint, itemized deductions are only worthwhile when they exceed the standard income tax deduction. The 2017 standard deduction for a single filer is $6,350. If you file as a head of household, your standard deduction is $9,350. Joint filers and surviving spouses have a 2017 standard deduction of $12,700. (All these amounts rise in 2018.)2

 

Make sure your gift goes to a qualified charity with 501(c)(3) non-profit status. Also, visit CharityNavigator.org, CharityWatch.org, or GiveWell.org to evaluate a charity and learn how effectively it utilizes donations. If you are considering a large donation, ask the charity involved how it will use your gift.

 

If you donated money this year to a crowdsourcing campaign organized by a 501(c)(3) charity, the donation should be tax deductible. If you donated to a crowdsourcing campaign that was created by an individual or a group lacking 501(c)(3) status, the donation is not deductible.3

 

How can you make your gifts have more impact? You may find a way to do this immediately, thanks to your employer. Some companies match charitable contributions made by their employees. This opportunity is too often overlooked.

 

Thoughtful estate planning may also help your gifts go further. A charitable remainder trust or a contract between you and a charity could allow you to give away an asset to a 501(c)(3) organization while retaining a lifetime interest. You could also support a charity with a gift of life insurance. Or, you could simply leave cash or appreciated property to a non-profit organization as a final contribution in your will.1

 

Many charities welcome non-cash donations. In fact, donating an appreciated asset can be a tax-savvy move.

 

You may wish to explore a gift of highly appreciated securities. If you are in a higher income tax bracket, selling securities you have owned for more than a year can lead to capital gains taxes. Instead, you or a financial professional can write a letter of instruction to a bank or brokerage authorizing a transfer of shares to a charity. This transfer can accomplish three things: you can avoid paying the capital gains tax you would normally pay upon selling the shares, you can take a current-year tax deduction for their full fair market value, and the charity gets the full value of the shares, not their after-tax net value.4

 

You could make a charitable IRA gift. If you are wealthy and view the annual Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from your traditional IRA as a bother, think about a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) from your IRA. Traditional IRA owners age 70½ and older can arrange direct transfers of up to $100,000 from an IRA to a qualified charity. (Married couples have a yearly limit of $200,000.) The gift can satisfy some or all of your RMD; the amount gifted is excluded from your adjusted gross income for the year. (You can also make a qualified charity a sole beneficiary of an IRA, should you wish.)4,5

 

Do you have an unneeded life insurance policy? If you make an irrevocable gift of that policy to a qualified charity, you can get a current-year income tax deduction. If you keep paying the policy premiums, each payment becomes a deductible charitable donation. (Deduction limits can apply.) If you pay premiums for at least three years after the gift, that could reduce the size of your taxable estate. The death benefit will be out of your taxable estate in any case.6

 

Should you donate a vehicle to charity? This can be worthwhile, but you probably will not get fair market value for the donation; if that bothers you, you could always try to sell the vehicle at fair market value yourself and gift the cash. As organizations that coordinate these gifts are notorious for taking big cuts, you may want to think twice about this idea.7

 

You may also want to make cash gifts to individuals before the end of the year. In 2017, any taxpayer may gift up to $14,000 in cash to as many individuals as desired. If you have two grandkids, you can give them each up to $14,000 this year. (You can also make individual gifts through 529 education savings plans.) At this moment, every taxpayer can gift up to $5.49 million during his or her lifetime without triggering the federal estate and gift tax exemption.8

 

Be sure to give wisely, with input from a tax or financial professional, as 2017 ends.

 

Ann M Neumann
Senior Vice President & Trust Officer
Wealth Management Services


Gregg A Hancock
Vice President Wealth Management
Trust Business Development Officer

     Wealth Management Services  
 
Southeast National Bank Wealth Management 
309-757-0700 
wealthmanagement@senb.com
www.senb.com

 

 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. 

 

Citations.

1 – tinyurl.com/y8dkleed [8/23/17]

2 – forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2017/10/19/irs-announces-2018-tax-brackets-standard-deduction-amounts-and-more/ [10/19/17]

3 – legalzoom.com/articles/cash-and-kickstarter-the-tax-implications-of-crowd-funding [3/17]

4 – irs.gov/retirement-plans/retirement-plans-faqs-regarding-iras-distributions-withdrawals [8/17/17]

5 – pe.com/2017/11/04/its-not-that-hard-to-give-cash-or-stock-to-charity/ [11/4/17]

6 – kiplinger.com/article/taxes/T021-C032-S014-gifting-a-life-insurance-policy-to-a-charity.html [11/17]

7 – foxbusiness.com/features/2017/10/18/edmunds-what-to-know-about-donating-your-car-to-charity.html [10/18/17]

8 – law.com/thelegalintelligencer/sites/thelegalintelligencer/2017/11/02/with-2018-fast-approaching-its-time-for-some-year-end-tax-planning-tips [11/2/17]

 

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE, November 20th, 2017

­

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE

WEEKLY QUOTE

 

“Humor is just another defense against the universe.”

     

– Mel Brooks

      

   

WEEKLY TIP

 

The classic way to balance a household budget is to reduce expenses. But what about earning more money? In this strong economy, consider asking for a raise at work or creating another income stream.   

     

  

WEEKLY RIDDLE

 

They can darken the dark; they can also lighten the intensity of the light. What are they? 

 

 

Last week’s riddle:

Wherever you notice me, I’ll be in a row. My name has no letters, but my initials are MNO. What am I?  

 

Last week’s answer:

The 6 key on a phone keypad.

 

 

November 20, 2017   

YEARLY INFLATION BACK AT 2.0%

Consumer costs ticked up just 0.1% in October, according to the Department of Labor. The marginal monthly gain left the annualized increase in the headline Consumer Price Index at 2.0%, down from 2.2% a month earlier. The core CPI has risen 1.8% in 12 months. Gasoline prices influenced the October headline number: they fell 2.4% in October after a 13.1% September leap.1

 

RETAIL SALES BEAT EXPECTATIONS

Analysts surveyed by MarketWatch thought retail sales would be flat for October after their huge surge in September. That was not so. They surprised to the upside with a gain of 0.2%. Minus auto buying, the advance was 0.1%.2

 

DEVELOPERS PICK UP THE PACE AS FALL BEGINS

Newly released Census Bureau data shows a 13.7% monthly increase in housing starts in October as well as a 5.9% rise for building permits. Single-family home construction strengthened 5.3% last month.3

 

NASDAQ OUTPERFORMS DOW, S&P 500

After a volatile five days, the Nasdaq Composite closed 0.47% higher on November 17 than it had on November 10: 6,782.79. The trading week was tougher for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which declined 0.27% to 23,358.24, and the S&P 500, which lost 0.13% on the way to a Friday settlement of 2,578.85. The Russell 2000 added 1.19% to wrap up the week at 1,492.82. Wall Street’s hottest index over the past year has been the PHLX Semiconductor – as of Friday, it had gained 49.77% in the past 52 weeks.4

 

THIS WEEK: Monday, Agilent Technologies and Urban Outfitters reveal Q3 results. On Tuesday, investors consider earnings announcements from Campbell Soup, Hormel Foods, and Lowe’s, plus the latest new home sales report from the National Association of Realtors; also, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen stops by New York University for a moderated Q&A session. The Fed releases the minutes from its November policy meeting on Wednesday; Wall Street will also keep an eye out for the final November consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan, a new report on durable goods orders, and earnings from Deere & Co. On Thursday, U.S. financial markets are closed for Thanksgiving. Friday, Wall Street reopens for a shortened trading session ending at 1:00pm EST.

 

% CHANGE

Y-T-D

1-YR CHG

5-YR AVG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+18.19

+23.56

+17.11

+7.73

NASDAQ

+26.00

+27.16

+27.55

+15.72

S&P 500

+15.19

+17.91

+17.93

+7.68

REAL YIELD

11/17 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

0.49%

0.42%

-0.81%

1.80%

 

Sources: wsj.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov – 11/17/174,5,6,7

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. These returns do not include dividends. 10-year TIPS real yield = projected return at maturity given expected inflation.

 

 Please feel free to forward this article to family, friends or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to our distribution list, please reply with their address. We will contact them first and request their permission to add them to our list. 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc.

 

Citations.

1 – cnbc.com/2017/11/15/us-consumer-price-index-oct-2017.html [11/15/17]

2 – marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic [11/17/17]

3 – builderonline.com/money/economics/housing-starts-permits-jump-in-october_o [11/17/17]

4 – markets.wsj.com/us [11/17/17]

5 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F17%2F16&x=0&y=0 [11/17/17]

5 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F17%2F16&x=0&y=0 [11/17/17]

5 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F17%2F16&x=0&y=0 [11/17/17]

5 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F16%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/17/17]

5 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F16%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/17/17]

5 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F16%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/17/17]

5 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F16%2F07&x=0&y=0 [11/17/17]

5 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F16%2F07&x=0&y=0 [11/17/17]

5 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F16%2F07&x=0&y=0 [11/17/17]

6 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield [11/17/17]

7 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyieldAll [11/17/17]

 

EIGHT TIPS FOR PLANNING YOUR RETIREMENT

EIGHT TIPS FOR PLANNING YOUR RETIREMENT

 

A few simple steps to help you get started on the right foot.

 

Presented by 

 

Planning financially for retirement may feel overwhelming. For some, that feeling is what keeps them from really focusing on and implementing a plan. If you haven’t started planning for your retirement – do yourself a favor and make TODAY the day you begin.

 

  1. The earlier the better.

Time is definitely one of your greatest allies. A person who begins contributing a modest amount to a retirement plan in their early twenties could end up on par with someone who contributes much more aggressively but does not start until their mid-thirties. Even if you have to start small, start now. Whatever amount you can afford to set aside for later, do it – and let it grow.  If you don’t have the luxury of starting young, don’t waste time worrying about it. Start now. You’ll never again be younger than you are today.

 

  1. Be smart about what you’ll need. Yes, it’s true – the senior discount is alive and well, and the general cost of living may be less for those who have retired. But don’t forget, there are other costs to consider. Your healthcare costs, for example, may be greater in retirement simply because you’re not as healthy as you were in your youth. Additionally, you’ll want to take inflation into account. If you plan your retirement based on the cost of living and income of your 30’s, by the time you hit your retirement years, you may find you greatly underestimated your needs.

 

  1. Be smart about how long you’ll need it.

When Social Security was being developed, in the 1930’s, a male retiring in the United States was really only expected to live about 12 years past his date of retirement.2 However, the average life expectancy of a United States citizen has risen fairly steadily throughout the last fifty years.1 Depending on when you retire, you may need to plan for 20 or more years of income.

 

  1. Take advantage of tax-deferred contributions.

It sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes people determine how much they can afford to contribute to a retirement account based on their net income, rather than their gross income. You may decide you can only afford $50 less per paycheck, net. But remember that some contributions, like those to your 401(k) for example, may be made with pre-tax dollars. That means you can afford to contribute a bit more from your gross income and still only “miss” $50 from your net income. This is an important consideration.

 

  1. Take advantage of matching contributions.

If your employer offers a 401(k) match – consider scrimping here and there in order to take maximum advantage of it. It’s a very positive domino effect. The more you contribute, the more you earn in matching contributions (up to the maximum allowable amount). Think of it this way – if your employer offers a 50% match, then for every $100 you don’t contribute, you’re missing out on $50 in “free money”. You’re also missing out on the growth potential of that money as well.

 

  1. Do the math.

This might be the most important retirement tip of all. Block off some time to sit down and do some calculations. Consider the different levels of contributions you could make and calculate how far those could take you by the time you reach retirement. Once you see what you COULD achieve, you may be more motivated to increase your contributions.

 

  1. Trim the fat. Keep careful track of your spending for one month (if you bank online, you may have access to tools that help you do this). After one full month, sit down and take a careful look at what you spent money on. Did it all make sense? Was some of it frivolous? Any regrets? Taking a close look at exactly where your money is going is often the best way to discover areas that need improvement, and ways you could adjust your spending habits. Add up all the money you feel you spent unnecessarily, then add that amount to the contribution math you did previously … how much further might that extra monthly contribution have taken you?

 

  1. Get help.

These retirement tips are intended to help you get started down a path toward, potentially, a more successful retirement. But they’re just that – a starting point. While it’s definitely important to educate yourself and understand your finances, seeking the assistance of a financial professional may be one of the best moves you could make.

Retirement Planning Kit

Ann M Neumann
Senior Vice President & Trust Officer
Wealth Management Services

Gregg A Hancock
Vice President Wealth Management
Trust Business Development Officer
Wealth Management Services
 
 
Southeast National Bank Wealth Management 
309-757-0700 
wealthmanagement@senb.com
www.senb.com

 

This material was prepared by Peter Montoya Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. If assistance or further information is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

 

1 – google.com/publicdata?ds=wb-wdi&met=sp_dyn_le00_in&idim=country:USA&dl=en&hl=en&q=life+expectancy [10/29/10]

2 – http://www.newretirement.com/Planning101/Retiring_Too_Soon.aspx [10/25/10]

Your 2018 Financial To-Do List

Your 2018 Financial To-Do List

Things you can do for your future as the year unfolds.

 

Provided by 

                       

What financial, business, or life priorities do you need to address for 2018? Now is a good time to think about the investing, saving, or budgeting methods you could employ toward specific objectives, from building your retirement fund to lowering your taxes. You have plenty of options. Here are a few that might prove convenient:

 

Can you contribute more to your retirement plans this year? In 2018, the contribution limit for a Roth or traditional IRA remains at $5,500 ($6,500 for those making “catch-up” contributions). Your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) may affect how much you can put into a Roth IRA: singles and heads of household with MAGI above $135,000 and joint filers with MAGI above $199,000 cannot make 2018 Roth contributions.1

 

For tax year 2018, you can contribute up to $18,500 to any kind of 401(k), 403(b), or 457 plan, with a $6,000 catch-up contribution allowed if you are age 50 or older. If you are self-employed, you may want to look into whether you can establish and fund a Solo 401(k) before the end of 2018; as employer contributions may also be made to Solo 401(k)s, you may direct up to $55,000 into one of those plans.1,2

 

Your retirement plan contribution could help your tax picture. If you won’t turn 70½ this year and you participate in a traditional qualified retirement plan or have a traditional IRA, you can cut your 2018 taxable income through a contribution. Should you be in the 35% federal tax bracket, you can save $1,925 in taxes as a byproduct of a $5,500 regular IRA contribution.3

 

What are the income limits on deducting traditional IRA contributions? If you participate in a workplace retirement plan, the 2018 MAGI phase-out ranges are $63,000-$73,000 for singles and heads of households, $101,000-$121,000 for joint filers when the spouse making IRA contributions is covered by a workplace retirement plan, and $189,000-$199,000 for an IRA contributor not covered by a workplace retirement plan, but married to someone who is.2

 

Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and 457 plans are funded with after-tax dollars, so you may not take an immediate federal tax deduction for your contributions to these plans. The upside is that if you follow I.R.S. rules, the account assets may eventually be withdrawn tax free.4

 

Your tax year 2018 contribution to a Roth or traditional IRA may be made as late as the 2019 federal tax deadline – and, for that matter, you can make a 2017 IRA contribution as late as April 17, 2018, which is the deadline for filing your 2017 federal return. There is no merit in waiting until April of the successive year, however, since delaying a contribution only delays tax-advantaged compounding of those dollars.4

 

Should you go Roth in 2018? You might be considering that if you only have a traditional IRA. This is no snap decision; the tax impact of the conversion must be weighed versus the potential future benefits. If you are a high earner, you should know that income phase-out limits may affect your chance to make Roth IRA contributions. For 2018, phase-outs kick in at $189,000 for joint filers and $120,000 for single filers and heads of household. Should your income prevent you from contributing to a Roth IRA at all, you still have the chance to contribute to a traditional IRA in 2018 and then go Roth.1

 

Incidentally, a footnote: distributions from Roth IRAs, traditional IRAs, and qualified retirement plans, such as 401(k)s, are not subject to the 3.8% Medicare surtax affecting single/joint filers with AGIs over $200,000/$250,000. If your AGI surpasses these MAGI thresholds, then dividends, royalties, the taxable part of non-qualified annuity income, taxable interest, passive income (such as partnership and rental income), and net capital gains from the sale of real estate and investments are subject to that surtax.5

 

Consult a tax or financial professional before you make any IRA moves to see how those changes may affect your overall financial picture. If you have a large traditional IRA, the projected tax resulting from a Roth conversion may make you think twice.

 

What else should you consider in 2018? There are other things you may want to do or review.

  

Make a charitable gift. You can claim the deduction on your 2018 return, provided you itemize your deductions with Schedule A. The paper trail is important here.6

 

If you give cash, you need to document it. Even small contributions need to be demonstrated by a bank record or a written communication from the charity with the date and amount. Incidentally, the I.R.S. does not equate a pledge with a donation. Contributions to individuals are never tax deductible.6

 

What if you gift appreciated securities? If you have owned them for more than a year, you will be in line to take a deduction for 100% of their fair market value, and avoid capital gains tax that would have resulted from simply selling the investment and donating the proceeds. The non-profit organization gets the full amount of the gift, and you can claim a deduction of up to 30% of your adjusted gross income.7

 

Does the value of your gift exceed $250? It may, and if you gift that amount or larger to a qualified charitable organization, the I.R.S. says you need to keep “a contemporaneous written acknowledgement” from the charity “indicating the amount of cash and a description of any property contributed.” You must also file Form 8283 when your total deduction for non-cash contributions or property exceeds $500 in a year.6

 

If you aren’t sure if an organization is eligible to receive charitable gifts, check it out at irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Exempt-Organizations-Select-Check.

 

See if you can take a home office deduction. If your income is high and you find yourself in one of the upper tax brackets, look into this. You may be able to legitimately write off expenses linked to the portion of your home exclusively used to conduct your business. (The percentage of costs you may deduct depends on the percentage of your residence you devote to your business activities.) If you qualify for this tax break, part of your rent, insurance, utilities, and repairs may be deductible.8

 

Open an HSA. If you are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan, you may set up and fund a Health Savings Account in 2018. You can make fully tax-deductible HSA contributions of up to $3,450 (singles) or $6,900 (families); catch-up contributions of up to $1,000 are permitted for those 55 or older. HSA assets grow tax deferred, and withdrawals from these accounts are tax free if used to pay for qualified health care expenses.1

 

Practice tax-loss harvesting. By selling underperforming stocks in your portfolio, you could record at least $3,000 in capital losses. In fact, you may use this tactic to offset all of your total capital gains for a given tax year. Losses that exceed the $3,000 yearly limit may be rolled over into 2019 (and future tax years) to offset ordinary income or capital gains again.3

    

Pay attention to asset location. Tax-efficient asset location is an ignored fundamental of investing. Broadly speaking, your least tax-efficient securities should go in pre-tax accounts, and your most tax-efficient securities should be held in taxable accounts.

  

Review your withholding status. Should it be adjusted due to any of the following factors?

 

* You tend to pay a great deal of income tax each year.

* You tend to get a big federal tax refund each year.

* You recently married or divorced.

* A family member recently passed away.

* You have a new job, and you are earning much more than you previously did.

* You started a business venture or became self-employed.

 

Are you marrying in 2018? If so, why not review the beneficiaries of your workplace retirement plan account, your IRA, and other assets? In light of your marriage, you may want to make changes to the relevant beneficiary forms. The same goes for your insurance coverage. If you will have a new last name in 2018, you will need a new Social Security card. Additionally, the two of you, no doubt, have individual retirement saving and investment strategies. Will they need to be revised or adjusted once you are married?

 

Are you coming home from active duty? If so, go ahead and check the status of your credit and the state of any tax and legal proceedings that might have been preempted by your orders. Make sure any employee health insurance is still there, and revoke any power of attorney you may have granted to another person.

 

Consider the tax impact of any upcoming transactions. Are you planning to sell (or buy) real estate next year? How about a business? Do you think you might exercise a stock option in the coming months? Might any large commissions or bonuses come your way in 2018? Do you anticipate selling an investment that is held outside of a tax-deferred account? Any of these actions might significantly impact your 2018 taxes.

 

If you are retired and older than 70½, remember your year-end RMD. Retirees over age 70½ must begin taking Required Minimum Distributions from traditional IRAs and 401(k), 403(b), and profit-sharing plans by December 31 of each year. The I.R.S. penalty for failing to take an RMD equals 50% of the RMD amount that is not withdrawn.9

 

If you turned 70½ in 2017, you can postpone your initial RMD from an account until April 1, 2018. The downside of this is that you will have to take two RMDs in 2018, with both RMDs being taxable events – you will have to make your 2017 tax year RMD by April 1, 2018 and your 2018 tax year RMD by December 31, 2018.9

 

Plan your RMD wisely. If you do so, you may end up limiting or avoiding possible taxes on your Social Security income. Some Social Security recipients don’t know about the “provisional income” rule – if your adjusted gross income, plus any non-taxable interest income you earn, plus 50% of your Social Security benefits surpasses a certain level, then some Social Security benefits become taxable. Social Security benefits start to be taxed at provisional income levels of $32,000 for joint filers and $25,000 for single filers.10

 

Lastly, should you make 13 mortgage payments in 2018? If your house is underwater, this makes no sense, and you could argue that those dollars might be better off invested or put in your emergency fund. Those factors aside, however, there may be some merit to making a January 2019 mortgage payment in December 2018. If you have a fixed-rate loan, a lump-sum payment can reduce the principal and the total interest paid on it by that much more.

   

Talk with a qualified financial or tax professional today. Vow to focus on being healthy and wealthy in 2018.   

 

Ann M Neumann
Senior Vice President & Trust Officer
Wealth Management Services

Gregg A Hancock
Vice President Wealth Management
Trust Business Development Officer
Wealth Management Services
 
 
Southeast National Bank Wealth Management 
309-757-0700 
wealthmanagement@senb.com
www.senb.com

 

 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.      

  

 

 

Citations.

1 – cbsnews.com/news/I.R.S.-allows-higher-retirement-savings-account-limits-in-2018/ [10/24/17]

2 – forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2017/10/19/I.R.S.-announces-2018-retirement-plan-contribution-limits-for-401ks-and-more/ [10/19/17]

3 – turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/tax-planning-and-checklists/4-last-minute-ways-to-reduce-your-taxes/L3eJ81kRC [11/9/17]

4 – irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Traditional-and-Roth-IRAs [10/25/17]

5 – bbt.com/wealth/retirement-and-planning/retirement/medicare-surtaxes.page [11/9/17]

6 – irs.gov/taxtopics/tc506 [9/21/17]

7 – tinyurl.com/yc6ecpq8 [10/12/17]

8 – irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/home-office-deduction [10/26/17]

9 – fool.com/retirement/2017/04/29/whats-my-required-minimum-distribution-for-2017.aspx [4/29/17]

10 – smartasset.com/retirement/is-social-security-income-taxable [7/19/17]