23Jan
Thoughts on the U.S. and International Bond Market for 2017
Economy

(The source of the following is BNY Mellon Weekly Fixed Income Market Commentary December 7, 2016, Investing Haven “Bond Market Outlook for 2017”: “Investment Outlook” Bill Gross, Janus Capital Group.)

There are currently two key drivers of the market.  One is the election of Donald Trump, and the other is central banks.  The banks are significant, because they are the largest holders in the debt market.

From the U.S.:  Interest rates increased one-quarter of one percent to 0.75% in December 2016.

From Europe: We expect the ECB to extend the current Quantitative Easing buying program.  (The ECB is currently buying 80 billion euros per month.  The expiration date is March, 2017.)

Why is this important?  It is important because increasing interest rates impact stocks, gold, commodities, and currencies.  Based on recent signs, rising rates have a negative impact on gold and a positive influence on the dollar and financial stocks.

As we work to define the impact in 2017, we will be watching the 20 year bond market (TLT) and what happens to other sectors when the TLT reaches amounts around the $120 level.   TLT is an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) that tracks the 20 year Treasury.

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17Jan
Expect These Campaign Promised to Be Kept
Economy

In my previous blog, I shared which campaign promises are expected to be broken.   This blog covers the ones expected to be met.

(Source: The Kiplinger Letter November 11, 2016.)
  1. Domestic oil, gas, and coal production will be more in favor. Drilling in new regions as well as offshore will be favored.
  2. He will push hard for more spending on infrastructure.
  3. Trump will try to overhaul financial regulations in order to boost bank lending. (Dodd-Frank is at risk.)
  4. The Trump isolationist stance will force European nations to spend more on their own defense and security needs.
  5. Trump is likely to rip up the Iran nuclear deal and issue new sanctions.


Barbara A. Culver

CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.

(513) 605-2500

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11Jan
Money… From Source of Stress to Valued Resource
Intergenerational Planning

Money… for many of us….is a complex, controversial and sometimes competitive topic.  While each generation has its distinct challenges, money can also be the number one stressor for individuals, couples, and families.

In this blog, I explain how each generation relates to money, how money stresses the generations, and offer solutions to the crushing stress factor.

Let’s begin with the World War II Generation or those born between the years of 1925 and 1942.

For many in this generation, also called “The Silent Generation”, money was associated with the deep scars of scarcity created by the Great Depression.  Therefore, the emphasis was on saving and always spending less than they earned.  This generation was largely content with keeping one house for as long as possible and keeping cars and other possessions until they wore out.  The primary money motivator for the WW II Generation was to replace scarcity with “having enough” or sufficiency.

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04Jan
Campaign Promises Most Likely to be Broken
Economy

In the November 11, Kiplinger Letter, we find the following ideas which I thought would be of value to you:

  1. President-elect Trump stated: “I will increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth to 4% a year”.  Kiplinger believes the 2017 GDP
    to be closer to 2.1%; in-part, due to the fact that fiscal change will happen more slowly than the president-elect predicted.
  2. There will be no wall built on the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
  3. Trump will find it difficult to create the relationship he wants with Putin.  Even though the goal of closer ties would be to defeat ISIS and end Syrian conflict, collaborating with Putin will draw great resistance from the U.S. military.
  4. Repealing Obamacare immediately.  This topic is very tricky.  The details will take years to sort out; nothing is going to happen quickly.

Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.

(513) 605-2500

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27Dec
The Trump Election and Interest Rates: What to Do Now
Economy

(Credit goes to Michelle Borre CFA, Oppenheimer Funds; “Will Trumponomics Bring a New Interest Rate Regime?” and Scott Page CFA and Craig Russ Co-Directors of Bank Loans at Eaton Vance “Fed Delivers Continued Tailwind for Floating Rate Loan Investors”.)

None of the information below is to be considered a recommendation to buy, hold or sell any particular position.

The following stated goals from President Elect Trump could bring sweeping change to some long-held market views on interest rates:

  1. Fiscal stimulus in the form of corporate and individual tax cuts;
  2. Incentives to bring offshore cash back on shore;
  3. Increased infrastructure spending;
  4. Tariffs or taxes on imported goods which still cause these goods to be more expensive to purchase.
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22Dec
Investing to Make a Difference
Investing

As Resonate re-branded itself is 2015, we found these things to be of primary importance to us:

“Encouraging our clients to clearly define what is most important to them about life and money” and then “Aligning our clients’ money with their life and purpose to express social, political and environmental values which lead to creating meaningful outcomes.”

This has led us to consider the following in offering investment choices to our clients:

  • “Investing in businesses which pass certain ethical practice screens;
  • “Considering social, political or environmental impact as important in investment decisions;
  • “Providing values’ based investing.”

What does it mean to invest in businesses that pass certain ethical practice screens?

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20Dec
Women and Social Security
Retirement

Did you know that 55% of Social Security beneficiaries are women?

Social Security is important for all seniors, but it’s a particularly valuable program for women for a combination of reasons.

  1. The Social Security Administration data continues to indicate that, on average, women have shorter lifetime work histories than men.  This is true in spite of the growing number of women in the workforce.
  2. Next, because women still tend to outlive men by an average of 5 years, they will receive payments longer than men. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and  Prevention)

Unfortunately, the widow will receive only one Social Security check.  While it represents the larger of the two checks that the couple had received, this reduction in income is still significant.  As of December 2015, retired male workers were receiving an average benefits check of $1,500 per month, compared to $1,182 for women.  (Source: www.ssa.gov)

This is depicted in the chart below.

(Credit also to the Motley Fool “6 Social Security Facts you’re Probably Not Aware of”, Sean Williams, September 15, 2016.)

This is one of the reasons that the Resonate team specializes in working with women.  Whether married, never-married, partnered, divorced, or widowed, we welcome you.  We know how to take the complicated issues and make them clear and understandable; we are committed to working in your best interest, and are excellent at helping create a plan and pathway to get you from “where you are to where you want to be”.   We provide financial peace of mind so that you can relax and enjoy life.

Let’s talk!

Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.

(513) 605-2500

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16Dec
How to Keep Your Family Connected
Intergenerational Planning

family-connectionFidelity Investments recently published the results from the “2016 Family and Finance Study”.

Here are the key findings:
While adult children are willing to help their parents as they age, four in ten families disagree on the roles and responsibilities children should assume.

  1. For example: 93% of parents state is it unacceptable for them to be financially dependent on their children, but only 30% of the adult children feel the same way.
  1. Four in ten families disagree on the roles children will play as parents age in terms of caregiving, advocates, financial power of attorney and executor (trix) of the estate.
  1. 67% of families disagree about the appropriate time to initiate a conversation about finances.
  1. Additionally, most families avoid talking about retirement living expenses, health, and long-term care expenses and content and location of estate documents.

This is exactly why Resonate created a “partner” consulting company named Connect-Gens that offers “Purposeful Planning: Conversations Beyond the Balance Sheet”.  We understand that initiating this conversation can be difficult.  We understand the content is often very emotional, and that the direction of the conversation is unpredictable.  Since most people choose to avoid that which we either cannot control or represents the unknown, families do not engage in these essential conversations.

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13Dec
Social Security Myth
Issues of Aging

soc-securityThere seems to be an increasing amount of misinformation circulating in regard to the Social Security system. The following information is sourced from: www.ssa.gov.

The purpose in writing this blog is to correct this myth:

The Social Security System is going to be bankrupt by 2034 (or any other year you may have heard).

Here’s why this statement is not true:

People who are employed will continue to contribute to Social Security from each and every paycheck.

In fact, we now know that those earning over $118,500 a year will pay Social Security taxes up to $127,200 of annual earnings.  This represents a 7.3% increase in the “maximum taxable earnings amount” from 2016 to 2017.

What is true is that the 2016 Social Security Board of Trustees report does anticipate the program will exhaust its $2.8 trillion-plus in existing spare cash by the year 2034.

What this means is the Social Security administration would pay out in benefits what it receives in payroll taxes.

Without other changes to the Social Security system, the trustees anticipate this could lead to a 21% reduction in benefits across the board.  Of course, there are many options that could be implemented between now and then to create better results for those receiving a Social Security check.

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05Dec
Practical Caregiving Tips for Advocates and Their Aging Loved Ones
Issues of Aging

caregivingAs many of you know, Resonate’s reputation is growing rapidly on a national level as we continue to provide resources and facilitate conversations on the Issues Associated with Aging.

In addition to many of you, I, too, have served in the roles of caregiver and advocates for aging parents.  I understand the stress, heartache, fatigue, and joy that often accompany these necessary roles.

I recently saw some very practical “Caregiving Tips” in the November issue of AARP.

  1. “Now which key is it?” When someone has difficulty sorting through the choices of keys (s) he owns, use nail polish to distinguish them.  Also, keep the number of keys to a minimum.
  1. “Remember sponge rollers?” In addition to proving a cushion for sleeping, they can also be used to push onto items such as pens, toothbrushes, and silverware to create an easy grip.
  1. “I broke another glass today.” Consider substituting plastic for glass.  Alternatively, place four to five ordinary rubber bands around a glass for easy gripping.

Now let’s focus on you… the advocate and/or caregiver.

These roles can be very stressful…especially because we so often feel inadequate or unprepared.  It is crucial for you to manage the stress before it manages you.  Here are some suggestions from the Brandywine Senior Living website:

  1. Know your stress triggers. Create a plan ahead of time regarding what you need to do when you feel these triggers activate.
  2. Attend a local support group specific to the situation with which you are dealing.
  3. Ask for help. To whom can you delegate or with whom can you share some of the load?
  4. Keep a journal. The simple act of writing to express your feelings is a wonderful outlet for stress.
  5. What actually needs to be done today, and what can wait?
  6. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. Consider respite stays, schedule massages, stay as flexible as possible, practice forgiveness.
  7. Find answers to your financial questions. Oftentimes, finances are major source of stress.  Having a plan for how best to use existing assets, navigating the world of long term care, and medical insurance can relieve much of that stress.

The Resonate team offers resources in each of the seven areas above.

We look forward to hearing from you, so that we can create a framework of support for you and your loved ones.

Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.
(513) 605-2500

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