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    Friday, March 26: Our office will be closing at 1 pm today and reopening on Monday, March 28 at 9 am.

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    Tax Season

    Ted Sarenski and Dennis Hebert will once again be answering tax question on WSTM, Channel 3, on Monday nights at 6 pm.

     

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    January 27, 2016

    Federal Reserve leaves rates unchanged. Says U.S. economy slowed late last year, is watching financial developments.

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    Protect Your Valuables

    Informative article from the United States Department of Commerce with suggestion on how to keep you valuables safe. 

    http://www.osec.doc.gov/osy/PDF/2009_Holiday_OPSEC_Briefing.pdf

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    Social Security –

    The hidden changes in the November 2015 two-year budget bill

    By: Ted Sarenski

    More is being written about the Social Security changes in the budget bill passed by congress and signed by the president at the beginning of November 2015, than any other item contained in that legislation. The result of the changes to Social Security bifurcates the baby-boom generation into those that can and those who cannot.In reality, it translates to the haves and the have not’s!

    The early boomers, those born from 1946 to 1953 will be allowed for the most part to take advantage of planning opportunities that have existed since the Senior Citizen’s Freedom to Work Act of 2000. The other half of the boomer generation, those born from 1954 to 1960 and all subsequent generations, will not be able to use the planning strategies that have afforded couples some extra money in their Social Security check. The rationale used to eliminate these planning strategies was that only the top two quintiles of earners were taking advantage of the strategies which meant to congress that only the well-to-do were benefiting. I contend that the bottom three quintiles would have been just as likely to take advantage had they been informed and would have benefited to a greater extent because they rely on Social Security as a major part of their retirement income. So, what happened?

    Click Here to Read Ted’s Entire Article 

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    We thank you for the trust you give us each day to assist you and your families. Please call us to set up an appointment to review your accounts or just to chat about how the recent events might affect your current or future goals. 

    The following excerpt is from JP Morgan’s Guide to the Markets.  We wish to share this with you simply as a reference in light of the recent investment market volatility.  History of markets tells us that 2/3 of the time markets rise and 1/3 of the time markets fall.  What is interesting in the data below is that for the 35 years shown, 27 out of 35 times the S & P 500 ended the year on a positive note even when there was a large drop at some point in that year.  (see the negative numbers in red representing the largest intra-year drop for each year).

    The last several years have been relatively calm for the U.S. stock market. Notably, this bull market has gone 1,418 calendar days without a 10% correction – the third longest such streak in the last half-century. But recent market moves may have some investors concerned. Below are a few key observations you may want to use to frame your conversation with clients.

    *The market is down -5.8% on the week, near its low for the year. This represents a new intra-year decline from recent highs of -7.5%. 

    *In reality, intra-year declines of 5% or worse are not unusual at all. In fact, it’s been 20 years since we experienced a year without at least a 5% decline.

    *As shown below on slide 11 of the Guide to the Markets titled Annual returns and intra-year declines, this is one of the least volatile years in recent history.
    Graph

    What’s behind the weakness?

    The market weakness does not appear to be associated with any one event, but rather seems to be the result of a few factors.

    * Uncertainty around the timing of Fed “lift-off” continues to give the markets indigestion; markets hate uncertainty, and this is a key area of confusion.

    * The narrative around weaker growth in China and emerging markets more broadly has spilled over into commodity and currency markets, causing a new wave of risk-aversion.

    * A general lack of economic data has created a bit of a news vacuum, causing increased focus on the aforementioned developments. 

    For investors, now is a time to invest with composure and to rely on the power of diversification.

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