What to do When Receiving Life Insurance Money

Life Insurance Money

Recently, I contributed to an article about receiving life insurance money. The Q&A is below followed by a link to Melanie’s full article on the website Meet Fabric.

So do you have an order of things/checklist that people should go through when getting a life insurance payout? 

Receiving a life insurance payout is no different than a financial plan without life insurance proceeds. People have current needs to address. These vary from paying-off debt, building an emergency fund, saving for retirement, replacing the income of the deceased, paying for the final expenses of the deceased, etc. As a financial advisor providing comprehensive planning, I look at everything for my clients. So upon receiving a life insurance payout, the families needs are addressed first. Next, a go-forward plan is built upon their current situation.

For example, the proceeds going to a family who is debt free and the surviving spouse is still able to work. The priority may be to fund a college education account and increase retirement savings. In another example, the surviving spouse is a stay-at-home parent, and carrying mortgage and credit card debt. For this family, it may be in their best interest to pay-off the debt and use the remaining funds to support day-to-day living expenses. 

Also, one of the stories included someone who received a life insurance payout and kept the money in the interest-bearing account from the company and not get a check into her account. Do experts typically advise leaving it in the interest-bearing account, or taking it out and investing it instead?

Upon the death of a loved one, we encourage the beneficiary to receive the proceeds directly. This allows the beneficiary to pay final expenses and evaluate where the remaining proceeds should be allocated. If the beneficiary already has a comfortable savings account balance, and has a long-term investment plan, than yes, investing is a better option for long-term growth than an interest bearing account. Albeit, taking on more risk.


Do you have any tips for someone that is really emotional and maybe not in the best mental space to make financial decisions? How long should they wait to make a decision? How can they do what’s “best” for their money while dealing with grief? 

There is always emotional grievance. That is why hiring a financial professional to guide you through this period is essential. Your advisor will make decisions that exclude the emotions. Part of the planning I do for clients is to run updated scenarios, with the top industry software, of their financial position including the proceeds. This removes the emotions of planning and allows the family to make the best decisions, taking into account multiple options with their proceeds. As a fiduciary, I always serve with my clients best interests, whether a death in the family has occurred or not. It is important to work with a financial advisor who operates under the fiduciary standard of care. 

Follow this link to read the entire article: https://meetfabric.com/blog/what-should-you-do-with-a-life-insurance-benefit

Follow this link to learn more about life insurance.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, retirement, and insurance planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

The Great Divide – Economy and Markets

The Great Divide - Economy and Markets

The Dog Days are here! School is back in session, some in-person, some virtual. The virus continues to be present and the economy slowly is rebuilding while the markets continue to climb. Last week indexes finished slightly up. The Dow up 1.8%, S&P up 0.64%, and Nasdaq up 0.08%. The S&P began the week rising for it’s 7th straight session in the green and briefly passed the all-time high on Wednesday. The flat performance was a result of uncertainty with economic data, the latest virus patterns, and a second fiscal stimulus package that never was.

Last Week

The S&P 500 index is close to record territory once again. The economy and the stock market seem far off. Thursday marked the 100th day since the market lows on March 23. The markets have rebounded 50% since then. A strong recovery for investors, while millions have lost jobs and over 160,000 Americans have lost their lives. Management reports on earnings calls have been surprised at the speed and scale of the demand rebound. Many companies expected a short lived drop, followed by a gradual recovery. Not so much the “snap-back” experienced.

It is encouraging that the U.S. has added back millions of jobs lost during the first wave. Last Thursday marked the first jobless claims report under 1 million since March. Also, from earnings calls, consensus views are pointing towards record breaking earnings next year. Strongly supported by interest rates, which continue to be favorable for the foreseeable future. Investor fears over companies falling into financial distress are offset by the Feds support of buying bonds and Congress spending on relief. Retail sales also rose in July 1.2% higher than June, setting a new all-time high, and another sign of recovery.

The Week Ahead

The equity markets will have their eyes on Washington in hopes of a new stimulus. On Thursday, unemployment claims will be reported and the hope is that a under 1 million trend goes on. Continuing unemployment claims are still above 15 million, however, this is much lower than the 25 million in May. Stress for parents remains as school openings have created more unrest than security. How the school year unfolds for parents will no doubt impact the workforce productivity. Some areas of the country have already started so watching closely for signs that reopening in person can be done safely is key.

At the end of the day, it is clear the markets and the economy are not one in the same. Very different directions, as reflected in year-to-date index performance; Dow down 2.1%, S&P up 4.4%, and Nasdaq up 22.8% through the close on Friday.

Have a safe week!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Market Brief – 2020 Mid-Year Review

Market Brief 2020 Mid-Year Review

Dog days of summer have arrived. For 2020, it feels like the dog days arrived in March. From the moment the pandemic began to spread, to stay-at-home orders, to lock-downs, to protest rallies, to reopening phases, and back to more restrictions… what a year, and we are only halfway home. Didn’t even mentions the murder hornets! Let’s take a minute to catch our breath and see where we have been, where we are, and where we will go. Currently, we are in the midst of earnings season. Big name stocks will report second quarter earnings this week. Last week the main indexes finished mixed. The Dow up 2.3%, S&P up 1.25%, and Nasdaq down 1.1%. The S&P 500 outperformed the Nasdaq index by the widest margin since February 2016. The markets were mainly buoyed by progress of a virus vaccine.

What Happened?

The year started off strong through mid-February. Early cases and the fast spread of the coronavirus took hold in Asia and quickly jumped country borders to become a worldwide pandemic. Just about a month from the market peak in February came the market lows in March, a 33.9% drop for the S&P index. In just a few weeks, the U.S. economy erased 7 years of employment gains. 30 million Americans lost jobs, driving unemployment as high as 22% in April. By June, the unemployment rate hovered around 14%. Still extremely high, but significantly lower from 2 months prior.

In March, the Fed stepped in and provided a backstop to the equity markets. Stabilizing and possibly adding turbo to the economy via stimulus for individuals and businesses. The pandemic accelerated tech disruption. It changed how companies reach consumers, how supply chains work, how to deal with remote employees, and still build their brands.

Where Are We Today?

Year-to-date index performance; Dow down 6.54%, S&P down 0.2%, and Nasdaq up 17.0% through the close on Friday. Last week, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said the Trump administration and Senate leadership are discussing a new stimulus bill. The end of July is the target time frame as the previous stimulus benefits are ending. The housing market reports are exceeding expectation. Current metrics show a shortage of existing home inventory, limited housing labor to build new homes, and a shortage of entry level homes for the first time home buyer. Historically low mortgage rates help boost the housing demand. Labor income across the board is surging and consumer spending is rebounding.

The markets are in fairly good position today. Much of the strength is attributed to the Fed and swift implementation of monetary policy. With interest rates near zero, investors are willing to pay for future earnings. Growth stocks have done well, value stocks have lagged. When the economy improves and interest rates rise, growth stocks will be challenged by high valuations. Communities have begun to re-open. The U.S. seems to have chosen independence over lock-down. This has led to a recent uptick in coronavirus cases. Deaths due to the virus have decreased as health care has gotten smarter about how to handle symptomatic cases. The resurgence of hiring and end of mass layoffs indicate the job market is recovering. While the decreasing layoffs and increasing hires offer hope, the reopening process has been trending in the wrong direction.

Where Are We Going?

It’s election season. From here on out, politics will headline media reports. Snippets and quotes from leadership on both sides will sway the markets. Bigger than the election is the Fed’s actions. Interest rates are low and likely to remain low for a very long time. This creates a scenario of easy lending and the opportunity for trillions of dollars to remain invested in the market. The future months will measured by the resurgence of the coronavirus, how quickly a vaccine can be developed, another round of monetary stimulus, and the upcoming election. If you thought the first half of 2020 was a roller coaster, the second half might be just as wild! Take care and be safe.

Market Brief’s are taking a summer hiatus, see you at the end of August!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Market Brief July 6, 2020

Market Brief July 6 2020

Welcome back after the holiday weekend. The markets welcomed us back with a big day today, all indexes were in the green! This positive trend is a continuation from the previous week. Last week all indexes finished up. The Dow up 3.3%, S&P 4.0%, and Nasdaq 4.6%. The markets had a short week due to the holiday observance on Friday. Virus cases continue to rise. The Fed remains extremely helpful. And election season is right around the corner.

Last Week

The markets shrugged off the rising Covid cases. The S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq all finished their best quarters in decades. Manufacturing data was better than expected. June payroll was released last Thursday morning, and the positive report sent stocks soaring. The report indicated that 4.8 million jobs were added in the month of June. The U.S. reported a daily record of 52,000 new cases in a 24-hour period. The Fed continues to pump money into the economy. Chances of another round of stimulus are high. And progress for a Covid vaccine get better each day.

The Week Ahead

The markets are in a historically bullish time frame, June 26-July 11. Historically, the market gains 6.3% over this time frame. If history repeats, the indexes could hit all-time highs. On the flip side, it is an election year. The markets tend to fall prior to the election. The beginning of earnings season could help buck the trend as quarterly reports will be released in mid-July.

The U.S. labor market has recouped nearly 1/3 of March and April job losses, but employment fractures linger. Initial jobless claims have provided one of the most current pictures of the state of the economy and have stayed stubbornly high. Continuing claims came in at 19 million last week, so many Americans are still receiving unemployment benefits. This suggest s that either the first wave of job losses continues, or businesses that have re-opened are beg inning to shutter. With the increase of Covid cases, another lock-down is not likely, but delayed progression is inevitable.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow down 9.5%, S&P down 3.1%, and Nasdaq up 13.8% through the close on Friday.

Have a great week. Stay cool and safe!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Market Brief June 1 2020

Market Brief June 1 2020

Optimism regarding the re-opening process is getting stronger. Indices finished the month of May up 4-6%. Unemployment continues to grow. Economic reports, as expected, are not good.

This Past Week

The markets finished with the best 2-month gain since April 2009. Equities moved higher for the week as economic activity starts to improve. More states and businesses continue to reopen. On Thursday, China passed a National Security Law that jeopardizes Hong Kong’s autonomy. These increased tensions may lead to Hong Kong losing their special trading status with the United States. Initial Jobless Claims came in at 2.12M. Continuing Claims reported 21.1M are compared to estimates of 25.7M. Indexes have risen 36.06% from the lows in March.

Week Ahead

As far as employment is concerned, losses have reached levels not seen since the 1930s. Social unrest reflects the 1960s, and city-wide curfews are expected. U.S./China continue to offer headlines news. The focus this week will be on the May jobs and U.S. manufacturing reports. If the job report figures are less than 8 million, this is positive for the economy.

From a technical viewpoint of the markets, investors may be in a good position. TDAmeritrade research released the following statement, “95% of stocks in the S&P500 are trading above their 50-day moving average. Higher than any point since at least 2003. Near-term breadth remains robust. Historically, when this metric exceeds 90% for the first time, it is a statistically significant event. Pointing towards potentially strong equity performance ahead.” Good news for investors.

Looking ahead, the path of reopening different states, and tensions between China and the U.S. will be closely watched by investors. Watch next week’s unemployment report closely, predicted to show a 19.6% jobless rate. The rally in stocks, could continue as markets tend to start to ratchet higher after data starts to bottom. Year-to-date index performance; Dow down 11.1%, S&P down 5.8%, and Nasdaq up 5.8%.

Have a safe week!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options. We are happy to assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Market Brief May 18 2020

Market Brief May 18 2020

Fed Chair Powell reiterated the committee’s outlook for the economy was highly uncertain and that unemployment may peak in the coming month. Another 2.9 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, bringing the 8-week total to nearly 37 million. The bright side, continuing claims ‘only’ rose to 22.8 million from 22.4 million. This is another week of increasing claims at a decreasing rate. The markets all finished down for the week. It was the Dow and Nasdaq’s worst week since week ended April 3, and the S&P 500’s worst week since March 20.

Last Week

Volatility rose last week as confidence in the recovery and re-openings went back and forth. With some parts of the country slowly opening, there are glimmers of hope. Consumer confidence, measured by the University of Michigan, rose slightly in the May preliminary reading. Mortgage applications rose for the fourth straight week. Refinancing slowed, but it is still up 200% compared to the previous year, spurred by low interest rates.

At the same time, U.S and China are back at each other. The Trump administration ordered the federal employee retirement fund not to invest in Chinese companies. Specifically, companies that could be sanctioned for actions supporting the spread of the coronavirus. The unemployment total for the last two months has now reached 36.5 million Americans. For the week, the Dow fell 2.7%, the S&P 500 fell 2.3%, and the Nasdaq fell 1.2%.

This Week

As the economy goes through an unsynchronized reopening process, it seems apparent that any decline in unemployment is unlikely to match the pace of its ascent higher. Economists are projecting the U.S. economy to contract at 6.6% this year. The previous estimate was a contraction of 4.9%. The high unemployment, coupled with declining consumption and a fresh spat between U.S./China keeps everything on the rocks.

Politically, lawmakers are weighing a fresh stimulus. The House passed the $3 trillion spending plan. On the data watch, U.S. building permits will be released on Tuesday. This gauge indicates housing activity as some states edge back to “normal”. Thursday, weekly unemployment claims will be released, and Fed Chair Powell speaks. Wall Street investors will be very tuned into what he has to say.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow down 17.0%, S&P down 11.4%, and Nasdaq up 0.5%.

Have a fun and safe Halloween week!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Market Brief April 27 2020

Market Brief April 27 2020

The markets snapped a 2-week win streak, falling slightly last week. As expected, the economic news was dismal. Unemployment numbers continue to rise. The five week total now exceeds 26 million. The virus continues to wreak havoc, claiming over 200,000 lives around the world, and over 50,000 in the United States. Markets slid as news reported that drug remdesivir, from Gilead Sciences, results were less than positive.

Global manufacturing data dropped on the lowest output, new orders, and employment numbers on record. The oil industry tanked early in the week as contracts were expiring, before recovering by weeks end. Oil’s roller coaster is attributable to low demands for oil, oversupply, and speculation of May crude oil. Low oil prices is great for everyone, except, nobody can go anywhere! So the relief at the pump for unemployed individuals does not go as far as when there is full employment. U.S. home sales fell last week. Durable goods orders dropped over 14% in April.

Despite the efforts of further government stimulus, to aid small business and the overall unemployment picture, the indexes finished down. For the week ending 4/24, the Dow finished down 1.9%, S&P down 1.3%, and the Nasdaq down 0.2%.

The Week Ahead

Today starts a big week of corporate earnings, with 172 companies reporting. Notably the big tech names; Apple, Amazon, FaceBook, and Microsoft. According to FactSet, for the 24% of S&P 500 companies already reporting, the blended earnings decline for the first quarter is -15.8%.

Many companies have suspended their guidance. Thus far, 106 of the S&P 500 companies suspended 2020 guidance. That leaves investors with little to work off of. The companies dropping guidance are following the advice from the SEC. Instead, the calls are focused on the current assessment of the situation and how it affects their business right now.

The economic data paints a dismal picture. Continued focus will be on Thursday’s unemployment figure. Other data of interest this week include Mortgage Applications, Personal Income, and US Manufacturing. None of which will be a surprise, however, the data will provide clarity regarding just how bad. The key for investors is to focus on how quickly we are going to recover. This will depend on finding ways to carefully ease lockdowns. Also, how severe the Coronavirus will be in the months ahead and how quickly vaccines are made. Year-to-date, the Dow is down 16.7%, S&P down 12.2%, and the Nasdaq down 3.8%.

Have a safe week!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Market Brief March 30 2020

Tiger King Market Update

Yes, Tiger King fans, this post is for you. Since the Tiger King rage went viral last week, the market has also hit record setting performance days! Is it safe to say Joe Exotic should be the next Fed Chairman? It’s not a bear market, not a bull market, but a Tiger market! I’m all in … to the show, not stocks…

OK, time to get serious. Market dip to market rip! The Dow soared by 21% over a 3-day span, closing up 12.77% for the week. The largest 3-day gain since October 8, 1931, during the Great Depression. The Dow’s weekly finish was the best weekly gain since 1938, despite losing 4% on Friday. The S&P and Nasdaq indexes also finished up for the week, 10.26% and 9.05%, respectively. The indexes ignored the record weekly unemployment claims of 3.28 million! A record setting number in it’s own right. The U.S. also passed China last week with the number of virus infection cases. The saving grace for markets last week was the announced $2.2 trillion relief plan.

Despite the market bounce that began last Tuesday and continued today, large and fast rallies are frequent characteristics of longer-term bearish periods in the market. The eventual recovery from this public health crisis will be gradual, similar to the financial crisis recovery. The recovery is still unknown, and according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, “the virus makes the timeline,” and that will probably determine the markets recovery as well.

The Bailout

Stimulus, bailout, virus relief, The CARES act, whatever you want to call, came to the rescue at the end of last week. The fiscal policy pumps trillions into the economy, aimed at providing liquidity to households and businesses. These include IRS checks, a major expansion in unemployment benefits, as well as a broad combination of grants, loans, and loan guarantees for businesses (large and small), hospitals, schools, and state and local governments. This stimulus is designed to buffer the economy in the short-term, as the virus hit the hard and fast across the country. Long-term the effects may linger for some time. The upcoming quarterly earnings season will provide investors better guidance on how hard companies have been hit.

The Week Ahead

Policymakers’ huge support has helped stabilize risk, but long-term market stability and declining volatility hinges on the apex of coronavirus infections being in the rear-view mirror. Economic reports for the week include a slew of data including manufacturing and employment. This week’s focus will be on the jobless claims number, showing a more clear picture of the economic state.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow down 24.2%, S&P down 20.96%, and Nasdaq down 16.4%. Volatility remains high and historically market rallies come back after volatility drops to normal range.

Have a safe week and remember to go for a walk outside (after finishing the Tiger King season on Netflix)!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Market Brief March 23 2020

Market Brief March 23 2020

Last week was the worst week the stock markets have seen since 2008. Continued developments of the coronavirus dominated the news, as the number of cases in the U.S. surpassed 15,000. This news left the indexes in a downward free fall. The three major indexes all finished down between 14-17% for the week ending March 20. The increase in cases is also getting the attention of life insurance, as I wrote about last week and you can read it here. Forget gold and oil as great market hedges, the future is now in toilet paper and hand sanitizer! (Just kidding).

To no surprise, economic data last week disappointed. China sales and industrial production was down double digits compared to last year. German economic sentiment also fell to the lowest on record. The lone bright spot from last week, was U.S. sales. For the month of February, U.S. retail sales came in 4.35% higher compared to last year. New home sales dropped for the month, while existing home sales jumped 6.5%. The existing home sales grew to the highest level since 2007, proving the real estate market was on solid ground prior to the virus outbreak.

The Week Ahead

The week ahead will be focused on stimulus news in the U.S., as well as, the flattening of the coronavirus infection curve. Wednesday’s durable goods order report is expected to be positive. However, this could be the last positive report we see for awhile, as business and productivity slows during the state ordered or self-mandated quarantine phases. Thursday’s unemployment claim report will likely soar, as businesses cut staff and hours for workers.

Big Picture and Recovery

Year-to-date index performance; Dow down 32.81%, S&P down 28.66%, and Nasdaq down 23.3%. According to Wilshire, this is approximately $12 trillion of wealth that has evaporated. Due to the recent domestic productivity halt, most banks have cut 2nd Quarter growth outlooks significantly. Goldman Sachs has revised their 2nd Quarter outlook to -24%, while J.P. Morgan cut their outlook to -14%.

The consensus for recovery is based on three outcomes. First, how quickly will the virus be contained. Second, whether businesses will have access to enough liquidity, or capital, over the next 90-180 days. And lastly, whether the fiscal stimulus can stabilize growth forecasts. Until then, volatility looks to remain high and sensitive to the latest news stemming from the virus developments and economic impacts.

Keep your distance, share the TP, and continue to wash your hands this week!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Coronavirus and Panic for Life Insurance

Life insurance and the panic for life insurance

The events of the last two months have brought plenty of craze to the insurance world, specifically life insurance. I am using this post to outline and provide clarity around life insurance planning during this time time of a virus outbreak.

People are looking for life insurance due to the coronavirus.
Should people panic and buy life insurance?

The best practice for whether to buy insurance depends on your individual needs. Despite coronavirus, you either need a policy to protect family, business, estate, etc., or you do not. The coronavirus certainly can cause you to think about your plan, as there is no cure at the moment, which draws concern to folks without a plan in place. However, the virus is no different from any other health scare or accident – cancer, heart attack, car crash – all these events will prompt you to rethink your plan and get coverage in place.

Follow this link to learn more about the different types of life insurance.

What should people know and look for that are interested in
buying a policy right away due to the pandemic?
 

Complete an application while you are healthy. If you wait and contract illness, the insurance companies will review your medical records and may have hesitation to approve your policy at the preferred rating. Worse yet, hospitalization or death could seriously impact your chances of an approved policy.

Are there any exclusions people should be aware of? 

If you are healthy and need coverage get it. Do not wait. The younger and healthier you are, the more favorable the cost. It is uncertain how the underwriters at the insurance companies will consider an illness, such as the coronavirus, when reviewing insurance applications. 

What could keep someone from being able to get a life
insurance immediately?
How long should they expect it to take
for the policy to start?

Insurance policies are largely based on your health and age. If you are old and have poor medical history, chances of getting a policy approved would be difficult. Previous medical history with life threatening illnesses, such as cancer, can also impact your ability to obtain coverage. Having bad habits, such as using tobacco, or a bad driving record, such as multiple DUI’s, also impact your ability to get an approved policy at the best rate. Policies can start at the time of application with what is referred to as “Temporary Life Insurance Coverage”. This coverage begins at the time of application, so the applicant has coverage while waiting for the full underwriting process to be complete. Applications can take a week to as long as a couple of months, depending on the applicant’s medical and lifestyle background. Also worth noting, if the applicant has recently traveled abroad to the virus hotspots, this too could cause a postponed application. Ultimately, the insurance companies are looking at the applicant and asking the question, how big of a risk is this person?

Click here if you would like to learn more about your life insurance options and planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Market Brief February 24 2020

Market Brief February 24 2020

The last week in February is here and the markets have dropped on the news of the increasing spread of the coronavirus. Impact beyond health concerns is the slowdown in supply chains for companies, and the downward effect on economic activity. The US economic report of the Services PMI dropped to a 76-month low in February. This follows a January report that was at a 5-month high. The bright spots from last week are found in manufacturing confidence and housing reports. Both housing starts and building permits figures remain at decade highs, with housing starts at the highest level since 2006. WalMart’s earnings report was positive, in-line with expectations. Significant to the investor, as WalMart is a good gauge of the consumer strength, and sales were up 5.7% last year. With that said, the Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq indexes all finished down last week. The Dow down 1.4%, S&P 1.3%, and Nasdaq 1.6%.

This week will have plenty of economic reports to digest, but the coronavirus developments remain top priority. Tuesday’s consumer confidence report will shed light on whether consumers are concerned with the virus or not. Globally, Chinese banks may be on rocky ground. During the month of January, banks in China had loaned 3 times the amount that was loaned in December. Corporate loans also increased 7 times during the same time period. Debt levels this high could cause concern for long-term recovery and repayment issues.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 1.59%, S&P up 3.31%, and Nasdaq up 6.73%. I continue to encourage buy and hold investing for the long run and potential short-term disruptions can give investors long term opportunities.

Have a great week!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Market Brief February 10 2020

Market Brief February 10 2020

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and the stock market continues to show investors plenty of love! The Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq indexes all finished up last week Dow up 3%, S&P 3.17%, and Nasdaq 4.04%. The coronavirus remains a serious threat, but markets shrugged off the virus news in favor of positive U.S. manufacturing data, strong jobs reports, and company earnings. The Dow and S&P index finished the week with the best performance since the 5 trading days leading up to June 7, 2019. The Nasdaq had it’s best week since November 30, 2018.

The number of coronavirus cases continue to grow and estimates of economic growth for China continue to fall. The coronavirus has spread to different industries at different times. Initially, the travel and oil industries took a hit, as obvious travel restrictions were put into place. Oil prices are down 20% since January. Retail chains, such as Starbucks, also took a hit as many stores in China were closed. Currently, the healthcare industry is taking it on the chin, due to cancelled surgeries and disruption in supply chain. Technology may be on the horizon, as companies like Apple look at their own supply chain and impact the virus will have on production. Throughout February corporate earnings calls, the theme was similar, it is too early to tell the impact, but keep a close eye on what is happening. As of last night, the coronavirus death toll has exceeded that of the SARS virus.

Enter Federal Reserve. After Wednesday’s meeting, Wall Street was leaning towards another rate cut. This belief evaporated by Friday when the jobs report was released and the results were very strong. In Germany, industrial production fell in December by 3.5%, the largest drop post-financial crisis. Global woes remain an area of concern.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 1.98%, S&P up 3.0%, and Nasdaq up 6.1%. What else? For the S&P companies reporting in January, no dividends were cut, same result as January 2019, and 41 companies increased their dividends, which is up from 36 a year ago. Due to low bond yields, investors are flocking to real estate mutual funds and REIT investments. As reported by EPFR Global, $11B of money flowed into mutual funds with a real estate focus in 2019, and another $3B has moved there in 2020.

Have a great week!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Life Insurance – How to Make Sure You Have Enough

Life insurance - How to make sure you have enough

It is often recommended to get life insurance when you are younger, but what if you do not buy enough coverage early on and later become wealthier or have a bigger family than you imagined? What options should you consider and when should you start planning? 

If you need more life insurance coverage as your family grows, buying an additional policy is often the solution. Most people will have life events occur which prompt the need for more life insurance, such as a growing family. And there is no reason not to apply for another life insurance policy to make up for the coverage your family needs. I often find couples I work with who have small starter policies in place. After evaluating their needs, it is often determined they are under-insured, and they want more coverage. Term insurance is a great option for families looking for the lowest cost coverage that provides protection for a certain amount of years. If the couple is looking for a permanent life insurance plan, there are options such as universal life and whole life insurance products to explore. As for the timing of the life insurance purchase, the younger and healthier you are, the lower the premium because you are less of a health risk to the insurance company. That is why if you need the coverage, the best time is right now.

Why is group life insurance not necessarily the best way to go? What are the downsides with group life insurance? 

Group life insurance is a great benefit to have from an employer. However, group life insurance has a couple disadvantages, such as, amount and portability. In terms of amount, group life insurance coverage often equates to 1-2 times annual salary, and most people need much more coverage than that for their family and/or estate. If you leave your current job to go to a new company or start a new career, the coverage does not necessarily go with you. Group plans also have rising premium cost. Whether it is annually or every 5 years, the cost of insurance goes up and it is not always covered by the employer. I recently helped a couple lower their insurance cost by applying for individual policies because over the policy term, it would be cheaper to have an individual policy.

What approach should people take to avoid being under-insured when it comes to life insurance coverage? How often should they review and how should they determine an ideal amount of life insurance coverage?

The approach people should take to avoid being under-insured when it comes to life insurance coverage is to have their plan reviewed at least annually. Life events and changes happen over the years and if you stay on top of your coverage needs, you will always have adequate coverage. There is no ideal amount of life insurance, nor rule of thumb. Everyone has a different need and desire for coverage. Working with an experienced financial advisor or insurance professional who can provide a life coverage analysis is the best way to know if you have the right amount of coverage for your family and estate.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your life insurance planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Market Brief January 21 2020

Market Brief January 21 2020

The Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq indexes all finished up last week Dow up 1.8%, S&P 2.0%, and Nasdaq 2.3%. The indices continued to rise from solid economic reports coming from the housing, retail, and pricing reports, as well as, easing tensions between the U.S. and China. With the trade news somewhat behind us, focus turns towards corporate profits as Q4 earnings season is underway.

This week includes 58 more earnings reports by S&P 500 companies, along with home sales data and jobs numbers keeping investors attention. U.S. existing home sales have missed three consecutive months, so Wednesday’s report will be important. Inflation remains a major headwind for investors.

Caution ahead. The yield curve inversion in 2019 still lingers. As market history proves, the inverted yield curve foresees recession up to 2 years following the initial inversion. Wage growth and corporate earnings. As wages continue to rise and unemployment remains historically low, this puts companies in a tough position. As the expenses rise, the dilemma is whether to pass the cost to the customer, or eat it. Either way, this can lead to a negative outlook for stocks, as companies either will have shrinking margins, or contribute to inflation by way of rising prices. This is worth keeping an eye on going forward.

Have a great week!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Market Brief January 13 2020

Market Brief January 13 2020

Happy Monday to you all! The markets quickly pushed aside the idea of increasing tension between the United States and Iran, as cooler heads prevailed. Global news is now instantly spread and processed by the markets, and being an election year, further geopolitical volatility should be expected. During an address last Wednesday, President Trump gave no signal of further escalation. The Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq indexes all finished up last week Dow up 0.6%, S&P 0.9%, and Nasdaq 1.7%.

The markets shook off the Middle East tensions and lower payroll figure released on Friday, the U.S. economy added 145,000 jobs in December. Despite being weaker than expected, the jobs report extended the streak of gains to 111 months in a row. The decade wrapped up with 10 straight years of job growth as well. Wage inflation reported a 2.9% increase year-over-year, outpacing current inflation levels. Europe economic reports were positive last week. The Eurozone’s December services PMI’s were revised higher and industrial production rose higher.

U.S. inflation, retail, and housing reports fill up the week of economic news. 2019 holiday sales were a record, so the attention is focused on the Retail Sales report released on Thursday.

From the Stock Trader’s Almanac – the first five trading days of the new year were positive, indicating an increased likelihood of an up year for the market. The Santa Claus rally was also positive. Whenever both the Santa Claus rally and first week of trading are positive, the Dow has gained an average 11.5% for the year and rose 80% of the time.

Year-to-date index performance will begin tracking once we have a month under our belt in 2020. The Oklahoma/Ohio State National title was suppose to be tonight! Since we don’t have a dog in the fight, we will take the Tigers to win the championship! And for the sports nuts reading this, I am referring to the Orange and White tigers!

Have a great week!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Market Brief January 6 2020

Market Brief January 6 2020

Happy First Monday of 2020! 2019 was a great year for returns in the market, and I am certainly looking forward to what this next year brings. Following the down year in 2018, all the indexes finished above 20%. The Dow up 22%, S&P up 29%, and the Nasdaq up 35%. The year never felt that way. Many headlines focused on negative sentiment to the trade war, manufacturing struggles, and the inverted yield curve. Despite these concerns, a strong consumer, low unemployment, and a Fed willing to reduce interest rates pushed markets higher.

As we enter 2020, we are reminded that not only trade war, but real wars can also cause market corrections and possible recessions. This unfolded last week with tension between the U.S. and the Middle East quickly escalating. Other points of caution ahead include the political environment in the U.S., as well as, the U.K. and China, and the impact rising wages for workers will have on corporate earnings. Lastly, the repo market remains a question mark as to how the economy and markets respond to the Feds actions. A similar buying spree pushed markets on a tear in 1999, followed by the dot com bust.

The markets never act as expected. So where danger lies, is typically determined after the fact. I don’t make market predictions, the market will go up or down, and volatility along the way is to be expected. Planning around the timing of market fluctuations is not sound for reaching goals. A comprehensive strategy that offers options, organization, and structure can provide the best chance for accomplishing financial goals. Whatever your goals may be for 2020 and beyond, the most sound advice is to work with someone to help you get there!

Have a great week!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Market Brief Dec 23 2019

Market Brief Dec 23 2019

Finish strong! The market continues strength into the holiday season and finishing the year with new record highs! The Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq indexes all finished up last week Dow up 1.1%, S&P 1.7%, and Nasdaq 2.2%. The indices reach for record all-time highs as trade sentiment remains positive and economic reports remain strong from both the U.S. and China. Caution of weakness remain with Europe’s slowing economy and domestic manufacturing.

What a year it has been! Coming off a terrible Q4 of 2018, the question was how far or how much more could the market be beaten down. The market took a few more punches the first week of January, then the snap back rally began. Pullbacks came and went in May, August, and September, stirred up by the trade war uncertainty with China, and perceived economic weakness globally. All pullbacks were short lived, following the Fed’s stance of easing rates, which occurred three times in 2019, and the strength of the U.S. consumer. The theme for the year really is the U.S. Not just companies who primarily have revenues in the U.S, but the consumer and U.S. economy as well. Companies with more than 50% of revenues in the U.S. achieved much better earnings reports than companies selling globally. And the U.S. consumer is strong; unemployment is low, wages are rising, and debt delinquencies are low.

So how about them markets?! Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 22.0%, S&P up 28.5%, and Nasdaq up 34.5%. These numbers are great across the board, given recession fears were news headlines the entire year, impeachments news dominated the latter part of the year, and a trade war with China was never meant to end! Excellent match-up on the last MNF game of the season tonight, for entertainment purposes to keep the pick ’em streak alive its the Pack over the Vikings!

Thanks for reading this market brief, have a fun and safe holiday season, see you in 2020!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Market Brief December 16 2019

Market Brief December 16 2019

The Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq indexes all finished up last week Dow up 0.49%, S&P 0.77%, and Nasdaq 0.93%. The markets continued to march higher following the final Fed meeting of the year and trade optimism heading into the weekend. The Fed closed the final meeting of the year leaving interest rates unchanged due to favorable economic conditions, strong jobs reports, and low inflation. The U.S. and China reached a phase one trade deal on Friday, easing concerns on the tariff war.

The S&P 500 index has now closed higher in 9 of the last 10 weeks. The Fed meeting last Wednesday went pretty much as expected, no surprises. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell made clear that policies would remain accommodating, positive language for stock market bulls. Powell also reiterated that it would take a significant and sustained rise in inflation for the U.S. Central Bank to raise interests rates in the near term.

Economic reports coming out this week include Tuesday’s Housing Starts for November to give a pulse on the housing market. Wednesday will see the mortgage application report, also provide insight to the housing market, as will Thursday’s existing home sales report. And Friday, Q3 GDP numbers and University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment reports are released. Further details on domestic growth and consumer strength.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 20.6%, S&P up 26.4%, and Nasdaq up 31.6%. Stay positive, there are good things going on! Jobs and wages are moving up, companies and consumers continue to benefit from tax cuts, consumer balance sheets look healthy, and serious (90+ day) debt delinquencies are down substantially from post-recession highs. We have a good match-up on MNF tonight, for entertainment purposes to keep the pick ’em streak alive its the Saints over the Colts!

Have a great week! Good luck with your last minute holiday shopping 😉

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

529 Plans for College Savings

529 Plans What you need to know

A 529 plan is an account specifically designed to assist individuals to save money for qualified higher education. Upon opening an account and funding with one-time, and/or, ongoing contributions, the account balance builds over time. The account is commonly invested in a mixture of mutual funds or ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds). The account grows tax-free, so you don’t pay taxes each year on the capital gains or dividends within the account. Upon needing to pay tuition bills for qualified higher education, the account can be withdrawn free of taxation. 529 plan’s are important to offer individuals and families as a way to help pay for higher education.

Advantages of 529 plans include the state tax deduction received for contributions, the tax free growth of the account, and the tax free withdrawals when used for qualified higher educational spending.

Disadvantages include market risk, for the account to grow it needs to be invested, and how you invest can vary based on risk tolerance. Another disadvantage is that if you do not use the account for qualified expenses. The growth portion of the account is taxable and there is a penalty tax upon withdrawing.

The ideal situation is to open an account when the beneficiary (your child in most cases) is born, that will allow approximately 17-19 years of account contributions and growth within the account to maximize before needing the funds for higher education. The ideal amount to save depends on the individual or parents opening up the account. This amount should be discussed with your financial advisor. 529 account contribution limits vary by state, for example in Colorado, the account can receive contributions up until the account value reaches $400,000. The contribution amount will vary based on the desired education, public vs private university, or trade school. 529’s also allow others to make contributions to the account. For example, grandma and grandpa can make gift contributions to the account on behalf of your child. Some of my clients encourage 529 monetary gifts over toys for birthday presents! And if you have more than one child, and the account is not used by the first child, the account can be “turned over” to the next child to use the funds for qualified higher education expenses.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your college savings options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.