Archive for June, 2012
Posted by Matthew Sauer, Esq.
Stocks endured another choppy week of trading as the second quarter came to a close. Nevertheless, we saw some encouraging hints of progress. Overseas, European leaders convened in Brussels for the 19th time since the EU crisis began. Given the limited results of the previous 18 meetings, expectations were understandably low. Surprisingly, however, the leaders managed to agree on some bold actions this time around. While far from a panacea, these new steps should help ease tensions for the time being and may even pave the way to a longer-term solution down the road. Meanwhile, in the United States, investors gained some clarity on the healthcare front. The vitriolic debate over Obamacare reached some resolution on Thursday when the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality. Immediate backlash followed the decision and some changes may still be in store, but with the initiative now approved by all three branches of government, it is difficult to deny its legitimacy. Though a shock for many, we feel this ruling’s impact on stocks will be minor. Politically, however, the decision is an encouraging reminder that cooperation is still possible in Washington. After the rough and tumble second quarter, some may be tempted to kick off the second half of 2012 from the sidelines. We encourage you to avoid this temptation. When preparing a game plan, investors should consider where we stand now in relation to the past. The S&P 500 is currently trading around levels seen prior to the turn of the new millennium. Are American companies less profitable now than they were 12 years ago? The answer is no. In fact, thanks to cost-cutting measures and cautionary steps taken during the recession and recovery, the domestic corporate landscape is now leaner, flush with cash, and more efficient than ever. We do not feel that investors should be running for cover. Rather, now is the time to get aggressive. Some may be spouting about the end of days. We, on the other hand, encourage investors to maximize their savings and ready themselves for the road ahead. With jobs numbers and the 4th of July holiday on tap, next week is sure to be interesting.
Special Report: Euro Crisis
Posted by Matthew Sauer, Esq.
The European Crisis is one of the most pressing issues facing the global economy. Despite this fact, many are still unclear as to what exactly is taking place in this corner of the developed world. In our NEW special report, The Euro Crisis: Opportunities & Ramifications for U.S. Investors, we look at the complex and delicate economic situation facing this region and present our views for the future Name*FirstLastAddressStreet AddressCityAlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyomingArmed Forces AmericasArmed Forces EuropeArmed Forces PacificStateZip CodeEmail*Phone*
How to Talk to Grown Children About Money
Posted by Matthew Sauer, Esq.
If you’re like many parents with children college-aged or older, you may be a little reluctant to divulge the details of your financial situation. But a financial sit-down with your adult children and potential heirs can help both generations. As parents, you will be able to ensure that your children understand your wishes regarding estate planning, end-of-life care, and related issues. You also might uncover potential problems in your financial outlook while you still have time to fix them. Your children also will gain an understanding of your financial outlook, so they can relax about it–or else step in to render any help you might need. Unfortunately, older parents and their children, especially the affluent, often fail to communicate about these matters. Getting Down to Details If you do decide to talk, hold a family meeting. Talk with your attorney and accountant, and draw up an agenda that includes essential topics. Include an explanation of the meeting’s purpose. Your children may have concerns, so give them an opportunity to contribute to the agenda. With some feedback, you’ll be prepared to explain the following: • Your security. Will you have sufficient retirement funds? Is there a plan for the surviving spouse and other family members? If there’s a family business, is there a plan for continuity? • End-of-life issues. Have you set up a living trust designed to avoid probate and court proceedings if you become incapacitated? Have you detailed your plans for long-term care and end-of-life decisions? • Special instructions. Maybe you want to make a significant charitable donation or send your grandchildren to college. If the division of assets isn’t equal, this is a good time to let your heirs know how you came to those decisions. • Their inheritance. Do you have an updated will that accurately explains your wishes? Have you worked with an attorney, accountant, or other estate planner to minimize taxes? Have you chosen an executor and set aside money to cover estate-settlement expenses as well as taxes and debts? Do you have long-term care insurance to protect the estate from depletion in case of an illness? Have you granted a durable power of attorney for your finances? Let your children know that you’ve taken steps to make the transition easier on them. Talking about your money probably isn’t easy for you, but not talking about it can be hard for the people you care about, now and in the future. If you prepare properly, both you and your children can benefit. If you would like more information on our unique proprietary rating system and the types of funds we include in our model portfolios, please call us at (800) 548-3797.