Medical Professionals: A Prescription for Your Financial Health

The demands on medical practitioners today can seem overwhelming. It’s no secret that health-care delivery is changing, and those changes are reflected in the financial issues that health-care professionals face every day. You must continually educate yourself about new research in your chosen specialty, stay current on the latest technology that is transforming health care, and pay attention to business considerations, including ever-changing state and federal insurance regulations.

Like many, you may have transitioned from medical school and residency to being on your own with little formal preparation for the substantial financial issues you now face. Even the day-to-day concerns that affect most people–paying college tuition bills or student loans, planning for retirement, buying a home, insuring yourself and your business–may be complicated by the challenges and rewards of a medical practice. It’s no wonder that many medical practitioners look forward to the day when they can relax and enjoy the fruits of their labors.

Unfortunately, substantial demands on your time can make it difficult for you to accurately evaluate your financial plan, or monitor changes that can affect it. That’s especially true given ongoing health care reform efforts that will affect the future of the industry as a whole. Just as patients need periodic checkups, you may need to work with a financial professional to make sure your finances receive the proper care.

Maximizing your personal assets

Much like medicine, the field of finance has been the subject of much scientific research and data, and should be approached with the same level of discipline and thoughtfulness. Making the most of your earning years requires a plan for addressing the following issues.

Retirement

Your years of advanced training and perhaps the additional costs of launching and building a practice may have put you behind your peers outside the health-care field by a decade or more in starting to save and invest for retirement. You may have found yourself struggling with debt from years of college, internship, and residency; later, there’s the ongoing juggling act between making mortgage payments, caring for your parents, paying for weddings and tuition for your children, and maybe trying to squeeze in a vacation here and there. Because starting to save early is such a powerful ally when it comes to building a nest egg, you may face a real challenge in assuring your own retirement. A solid financial plan can help.

Investments

Getting a late start on saving for retirement can create other problems. For example, you might be tempted to try to make up for lost time by making investment choices that carry an inappropriate level or type of risk for you. Speculating with money you will need in the next year or two could leave you short when you need that money. And once your earnings improve, you may be tempted to overspend on luxuries you were denied during the lean years. One of the benefits of a long-range financial plan is that it can help you protect your assets–and your future–from inappropriate choices.

Tuition

Many medical professionals not only must pay off student loans, but also have a strong desire to help their children with college costs, precisely because they began their own careers saddled with large debts.

Tax considerations

Once the lean years are behind you, your success means you probably need to pay more attention to tax-aware investing strategies that help you keep more of what you earn.

Using preventive care

The nature of your profession requires that you pay special attention to making sure you are protected both personally and professionally from the financial consequences of legal action, a medical emergency of your own, and business difficulties. Having a well-defined protection plan can give you confidence that you can practice your chosen profession without putting your family or future in jeopardy.

Liability insurance

Medical professionals are caught financially between rising premiums for malpractice insurance and fixed reimbursements from managed-care programs, and you may find yourself evaluating a variety of approaches to providing that protection. Some physicians also carry insurance that protects them against unintentional billing errors or omissions. Remember that in addition to potential malpractice claims, you also face the same potential liabilities as other business owners. You might consider an umbrella policy as well as coverage that protects you against business-related exposures such as fire, theft, employee dishonesty, or business interruption.

Disability insurance

Your income depends on your ability to function, especially if you’re a solo practitioner, and you may have fixed overhead costs that would need to be covered if your ability to work were impaired. One choice you’ll face is how early in your career to purchase disability insurance. Age plays a role in determining premiums, and you may qualify for lower premiums if you are relatively young. When evaluating disability income policies, medical professionals should pay special attention to how the policy defines disability. Look for a liberal definition such as “own occupation,” which can help ensure that you’re covered in case you can’t practice in your chosen specialty.

To protect your business if you become disabled, consider business overhead expense insurance that will cover routine expenses such as payroll, utilities, and equipment rental. An insurance professional can help evaluate your needs.

Practice management and business planning

Is a group practice more advantageous than operating solo, taking in a junior colleague, or working for a managed-care network? If you have an independent practice, should you own or rent your office space? What are the pros and cons of taking over an existing practice compared to starting one from scratch? If you’re part of a group practice, is the practice structured financially to accommodate the needs of all partners? Does running a “concierge” or retainer practice appeal to you? If you’re considering expansion, how should you finance it?

Questions like these are rarely simple and should be done in the context of an overall financial plan that takes into account both your personal and professional goals.

Many physicians have created processes and products for their own practices, and have then licensed their creations to a corporation. If you are among them, you may need help with legal and financial concerns related to patents, royalties, and the like. And if you have your own practice, you may find that cash flow management, maximizing return on working capital, hiring and managing employees, and financing equipment purchases and maintenance become increasingly complex issues as your practice develops.

Practice valuation

You may have to make tradeoffs between maximizing current income from your practice and maximizing its value as an asset for eventual sale. Also, timing the sale of a practice and minimizing taxes on its proceeds can be complex. If you’re planning a business succession, or considering changing practices or even careers, you might benefit from help with evaluating the financial consequences of those decisions.

Estate planning

Estate planning, which can both minimize taxes and further your personal and philanthropic goals, probably will become important to you at some point. Options you might consider include:

  • Life insurance
  • Buy-sell agreements for your practice
  • Charitable trusts

You’ve spent a long time acquiring and maintaining expertise in your field, and your patients rely on your specialized knowledge. Doesn’t it make sense to treat your finances with the same level of care?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This material was prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of Patrick Ray, and The Retirement Group or FSC Financial Corp. This information should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representatives nor Broker/Dealer gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information or call 800-900-5867.

The Retirement Group is not affiliated with nor endorsed by fidelity.com, netbenefits.fidelity.com, hewitt.com, resources.hewitt.com, access.att.com, Glaxosmithkline, ING Retirement, AT&T, Qwest, Chevron, Hughes, Northrop Grumman, Merck, Raytheon, ExxonMobil, Pfizer, Verizon, Bank of America, Alcatel-Lucent or by your employer. We are an independent financial advisory group that specializes in transition planning and lump sum distribution. Please call our office at 800-900-5867 if you have additional questions or need help in the retirement planning process.

Patrick Ray is a Representative with FSC Securities and may be reached at www.theretirementgroup.com.

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Nonprofit Boards: New Challenges and Responsibilities

The days are long gone when nonprofit boards were made up of large donors who expected that little more would be asked of them beyond socializing at the occasional fundraiser. Being a board member can be as demanding and rewarding as any full-time work.

 

Nonprofit board members are being required to do strategic planning for both long- and short-term goals. They must produce demonstrable results that are measured against specific benchmarks. And they are finding that they must stretch already tight budgets further than ever. In turn, stakeholders within and outside nonprofit organizations increasingly are holding board members to a higher standard of accountability for making sure the organization not only delivers on its mission but does so in the most effective way.

 

Learning how to do more with less

 

Of all the challenges facing nonprofits, financial issues can be especially complex. In the last decade, many nonprofits have experienced funding cutbacks. Even those whose funding has remained stable are finding that money has to go further to meet increased client loads and demands on programs and services.

 

In some cases, the issues can be so complex that boards are going outside the organization’s ranks to hire consultants with specific expertise in certain areas. People who stay on top of the latest developments in such fields as tax law, charitable giving regulations, and best practices in accounting can be particularly effective in helping an organization fulfill its purpose without having to add staff.

 

Understanding your role and responsibilities as a board member, as well as the challenges facing nonprofits today, can not only improve your board’s decision-making process, but also can help you have maximum impact. A nonprofit board member has a dual role: support of the organization’s purpose, and governance over how it attempts to further that mission. You and your fellow board members doubtless want to use your collective time efficiently. When thinking about how to focus your efforts, consider whether your organization needs help with any of the following issues.

 

Ensuring accountability

 

Limited budgets and greater demand mean that hard choices will need to be made; in many cases, it’s the board’s responsibility to make them. To make wise decisions, it’s important to understand the organization’s financial assets, liabilities, and cash flow situation. If you’ve had corporate experience, you may be able to help your fellow board members review the balance sheet; if not, it’s worth your time to become familiar with it yourself. For example, knowing whether your organization qualifies for state sales and/or use tax exemption could have a meaningful impact on finances. Little may be more disturbing to potential donors than the feeling that their money may not be used effectively.

 

Also, the IRS is beginning to require more detailed information about nonprofit finances and governance practices, such as involvement in a joint venture or other partnership.

 

Program funders also have increased reporting requirements. When deciding which grants to make, foundations are asking for more information, greater documentation, and increased evaluation of results. Gathering and analyzing accurate, timely, comprehensive data and being able to document a program’s effectiveness and impact is increasingly important. Understanding the organization’s finances doesn’t just improve the board’s oversight capabilities; it also can make you a more effective fundraiser.

 

Higher standards of accountability mean that boards also should ensure that liability insurance is in place for both directors and officers. This is especially true if the organization provides services to the public, such as medical care.

 

Adopting enhanced governance standards

 

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed in the wake of corporate governance scandals and nicknamed SOX, also affects nonprofits. Though the law applies almost exclusively to publicly traded companies, some nonprofits are using SOX provisions as a model for developing formal policies on financial reporting, potential conflicts of interest, and internal controls.

 

Two provisions of SOX also apply to nonprofits. First, organizations must have a written policy on retention of important documents, particularly those involved in any litigation. Second, they need a process for handling internal complaints while also protecting whistleblowers. Individual states have expressed interest in extending other SOX requirements to the nonprofit world, particularly larger organizations. Many nonprofit organizations hope that voluntary compliance efforts will eliminate calls for increased official regulation of such issues as board member compensation and conflicts of interest.

 

Ensuring effective fundraising and money management

 

Nonprofits have not been spared the increases in for-profit health care costs and worker’s compensation insurance that have hit corporations and small businesses. Yet fundraising for such mundane areas as day-to-day operations, staff salaries, and building and equipment maintenance has traditionally been one of the biggest challenges for nonprofits.

 

The twin effects of inflation and increased client loads have underscored the importance of having an adequate operating reserve. Also, corporate sponsorships can be vulnerable to the mergers and acquisitions that occur frequently in the corporate world. It makes sense to ensure a diversity of donors rather than relying on a few traditional sources.

 

Bringing in money is only half the battle; the day-to-day issues are equally important. Board members may be unfamiliar with operational challenges that businesses don’t generally face, such as fundraising, or recruiting and managing volunteers. However, in some cases you might be able to suggest ways to adapt businesslike methods for nonprofit use.

 

For example, appropriately investing short-term working capital can help preserve financial flexibility while maximizing resources. If your group has an infusion of cash that won’t be spent immediately, such as a contribution for a capital spending project, consider alternatives for putting at least some of it to work rather than letting it sit idle.

 

Planning strategically

 

Having a strategic plan can lead to better evaluation of funding needs and targeted fundraising efforts; it also can help ensure that board members and staff are on the same page. Make sure your plan provides guidance, yet allows staff members to do their jobs without constant board supervision.

 

A board of directors also must assure that the organization can attract and retain leadership. Many nonprofits today are led by executives who came of age during the 1960s. As those baby boomers march toward retirement, some experts worry that attracting and retaining executive directors and staff will become increasingly challenging, especially when budgets are shrinking. A succession plan for key personnel might be wise.

 

Using your time wisely

 

Nonprofit board membership can be both demanding and rewarding. Understanding your group’s finances can increase your effectiveness in furthering your organization’s goals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This material was prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of Patrick Ray, and The Retirement Group or FSC Financial Corp. This information should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representatives nor Broker/Dealer gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information or call 800-900-5867.

The Retirement Group is not affiliated with nor endorsed by fidelity.com, netbenefits.fidelity.com, hewitt.com, Glaxosmithkline, resources.hewitt.com, access.att.com, ING Retirement, AT&T, Chevron, Hughes, Northrop Grumman, Qwest, Raytheon, ExxonMobil, Merck, Pfizer, Verizon, Bank of America, Alcatel-Lucent or by your employer. We are an independent financial advisory group that specializes in transition planning and lump sum distribution. Please call our office at 800-900-5867 if you have additional questions or need help in the retirement planning process.

Patrick Ray is a Representative with FSC Securities and may be reached at www.theretirementgroup.com.

Indexed Annuities

An indexed annuity (IA) is a contract between you and an insurance company. You pay premiums in a lump sum or periodically, and the issuer promises* to pay you some amount in the future. The IA issuer also provides a minimum guaranteed* interest rate on your premiums paid.

With an IA, the interest earnings are tied to the performance of an equity index such as the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

With an IA, your interest earnings may increase if the market performs well, but if the market performs poorly, your principal is not reduced by market losses. Indexed annuities are generally subject to a lengthy surrender charge period. Most IAs pay a minimum guaranteed* interest rate (e.g., 3%) on a percentage of premium (e.g., 87.5%). However, if the IA doesn’t earn interest greater than the minimum, cashing in the account prior to the end of the surrender period may cause the investor to lose money.

Note, however, that any return, whether guaranteed or not, is only as good as the insurance company that offers it. Both the IA’s principal and its earnings are entirely dependent on the insurer’s ability to meet its financial obligations.

Also, be aware that buyers of IAs are not directly invested in the index or the equities comprising the index. The index is merely the instrument used to measure the gain or loss in the market, and that measurement is used to calculate the interest rate.

*Annuity guarantees are subject to the claims-paying ability of the annuity issuer.

Basics

The first IAs that were introduced worked very simply; the interest rate was determined by computing the difference between the value of the index to which the annuity was linked on the annuity’s issue date and the value of the same index on the annuity’s maturity date. If the difference was negative (i.e., the market performed poorly and the value of the index decreased), interest was calculated using the minimum interest rate. If the difference was positive (i.e., the market performed well and the value of the index increased), the interest rate used was a percentage of the difference–but usually not the entire difference.

Participation rates

The participation rate determines how much of the gain in an index will be imparted to your annuity. For example, if the difference (i.e., gain) in the index is 7% and the participation rate is 90%, then the interest rate is 6.3% (90% of 7%). Participation rates of 70% to 90% are typical. Obviously, the higher the participation rate, the higher the potential return. Participation rates are set and limited by the insurance company.

Indexing methods

The indexing method is the approach used to measure the change in an index. The original method, which measures index values at the beginning and end of the term, is known as the point-to-point or European method. The point-to-point method is the simplest approach, but it fails to consider market fluctuations that occur in between the issue and maturity dates. This can result in unsatisfactory returns if the market declines at the end of the term.

Another approach, known as the high-water-mark or look-back method, looks at the value of the index at certain points during the term, such as annual anniversaries. The highest value of these points is then compared to the date-of-issue value to determine any gain to be credited to the IA.

A third approach, the averaging method, also looks at the value of the index at certain points during the annuity’s term, then uses the average value of these points to compute the difference from either the date-of-issue value or the date-of-maturity value.

The fourth main indexing method is known as the reset or ratcheting method. With this method, start-of-year values are compared to end-of-year values for each year of the annuity’s term. Decreases in the index are ignored, and increases are locked in every year.

How interest is credited to an IA

With some IAs, no interest is credited until the end of the term. With others, a percentage of the interest is vested or credited annually or periodically, which gradually increases as the end of the term nears. Further, some IAs pay simple interest while others pay compound interest. These features are important not only because they affect the amount of your return, but also because having interest vested or credited to your IA periodically instead of at the end of the term increases the likelihood that you’ll receive at least some interest if the market thereafter declines.

Caution: Many IAs have surrender charges, which can be a percentage of the amount withdrawn or a reduction in the interest rate. Further, withdrawals from tax-deferred annuities before age 59½ may be subject to a 10% penalty.

Interest rate cap

Some IAs put an upper limit on the interest rate the annuity will earn. Say, for example, that an IA has an interest rate cap of 6%. If the gain in the index is 7% and the participation rate is 90%, the interest rate will be 6%–not 6.3%.

Asset fee/spread/margin

Some IAs charge an asset fee, also known as spread or margin, which is a percentage that is deducted from the interest rate. The asset fee may replace the participation rate or it may be added to it. For example, if the gain in the index is 7%, the interest rate on an IA with an asset fee of 2% will be 5%. If there is also a 90% participation rate, the interest rate will be 4.5%.

Questions to ask about an IA

  • What is the minimum guaranteed* interest rate?
  • What is the participation rate?
  • What is the indexing method? How does it work? Is there an interest rate cap?
  • Is there an asset fee/spread/margin? Is it in addition to or instead of a participation rate?
  • What is the term?
  • When is interest credited or vested? Is interest compounded?
  • What are the surrender charges? Are there penalties for partial withdrawals?

*Annuity guarantees are subject to the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the annuity issuer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This material was prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of Patrick Ray, and The Retirement Group or FSC Financial Corp. This information should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representatives nor Broker/Dealer gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information or call 800-900-5867.

The Retirement Group is not affiliated with nor endorsed by fidelity.com, netbenefits.fidelity.com, hewitt.com, resources.hewitt.com, access.att.com, ING Retirement, AT&T, Qwest, Chevron, Hughes, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, ExxonMobil, Glaxosmithkline, Merck, Pfizer, Verizon, Bank of America, Alcatel-Lucent or by your employer. We are an independent financial advisory group that specializes in transition planning and lump sum distribution. Please call our office at 800-900-5867 if you have additional questions or need help in the retirement planning process.

Patrick Ray is a Representative with FSC Securities and may be reached at www.theretirementgroup.com.

Financially, there are reasons why you may want to work a bit longer

Should You Retire Now, Or Later?

The case for working past 65. Increasingly, baby boomers are urged to work until full retirement age or beyond. (Social Security defines “full” retirement age as 66 for those born from 1943-1954; it incrementally rises to 67 for those born in 1960 or later). If your health and workplace allow this, it may be a good idea for a few notable reasons.1

Your Social Security payments will be larger. Researchers from UCLA and Duke University jointly conducted a study and found that about 80% of Americans sign up for Social Security before full retirement age. In fact, 50% of Americans claim their federal retirement benefits either at age 62 or within two months of losing or quitting a job they hold at age 62 or older. The rush to get Social Security comes with a distinct penalty, though.2

As an example, take a hypothetical pre-retiree named Sharon. Born in 1952, Sharon wants to retire next year at age 62. If she leaves work and claims Social Security benefits in 2014, she will end up getting 25% less in monthly benefits than if she had waited until her full retirement age of 66.3

  

You have a chance to save more. Most people need to save more for retirement. Why not give yourself more years to amass extra funds for the next stage of life? They may even prove to be your peak earning years. If you have considerable retirement savings, think about the boost your nest egg could get from just two or three more years of growth and compounding.

Additionally, the longer you work, the shorter your retirement becomes. If you work two or three years longer, that is two or three years less of retirement that you have to fund.

  

You can pay down debts. Do you have a dream of retiring debt-free? Why not give yourself a better chance to realize it? Too many people are approaching retirement with significant debt – not just mortgage debt, but also business and education loans, auto loans and high credit card balances. This is becoming a major headache for baby boomers.

In a recent Securian Financial Group survey, 67% of those polled anticipated retiring with an outstanding mortgage. Credit card debt may seem easy to manage, but consider that most cards charge interest rates of 15% or more. In retirement, will your investments give you that kind of return? Retiring with your house paid off also puts you in position for a reverse mortgage should you need another income stream.2,4

 

You can keep your health insurance. If your employer sponsors a health plan, leaving work at age 62 is a definite risk when you aren’t eligible for Medicare until age 65. Unless you want to shop for your own health insurance or live without coverage for up to three years, it makes sense to stay on the job.4

You have a chance to delay RMDs from your workplace retirement plan. Owners of traditional IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs and SEP-IRAs must take Required Minimum Distributions from those accounts after turning 70½. It doesn’t matter whether you are working or retired; you must do it. That isn’t the case with qualified retirement plans such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s and 457(b)s. With some exceptions, you can wait until the year in which you retire to take your first RMD from those accounts. So each year you work past 70 potentially represents another year in which you don’t have to take an RMD from a qualified retirement plan and see your income taxes jump as a result. No RMD also means a bigger account balance that may benefit from another year of compounding and investment returns.4,5

 

You may even be happier. Working provides a sense of purpose and accomplishment. If you don’t have a new passion or objective in mind when you end your career, you may start to feel a bit adrift.

A 2012 report from the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence found that workers older than 55 enjoy their jobs more than any other age group. Asked why they stayed at their particular job, 80% of the employees polled who were older than 55 said job enjoyment was the main reason, with 76% noting “work-life fit” as the leading justification. In contrast, only 58% of employees aged 18-34 cited job enjoyment as a motivation to stay with their current employer, and just 61% felt their jobs fit well with the other aspects of their lives.6

So if you like what you do, you may want to keep at it a little longer. The financial and emotional benefits could be considerable.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. 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 – ssa.gov/retire2/retirechart.htm [9/19/13]

2 – dailyfinance.com/2013/09/10/reasons-70-new-62-retirement-social-security-debt/ [9/10/13]

3 – ssa.gov/retirement/1943.html [9/19/13]

4 – marketwatch.com/story/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-retire-2013-09-17 [9/17/13]

5 – irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/Retirement-Topics—Required-Minimum-Distributions-%28RMDs%29 [9/4/13]

6 – apaexcellence.org/resources/goodcompany/newsletter/article/391 [9/5/12]

This material was prepared by Peter Montoya Inc, and does not necessarily represent the views of Patrick Ray, and The Retirement Group or FSC Financial Corp. This information should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representatives nor Broker/Dealer gives tax or legal advice. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services.  If other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information or call 800-900-5867.


The Retirement Group is not affiliated with nor endorsed by fidelity.com, netbenefits.fidelity.com, hewitt.com, resources.hewitt.com, access.att.com, ING Retirement, Qwest, 
AT&T, Chevron, Hughes, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, ExxonMobil, Glaxosmithkline, Verizon, Bank of America, Merck, Pfizer,  Alcatel-Lucent or by your employer. We are an independent financial advisory group that specializes in transition planning and lump sum distribution. Please call our office at 800-900-5867 if you have additional questions or need help in the retirement planning process.

Patrick Ray is a Representative with FSC Securities and may be reached at http://www.theretirementgroup.com.

Tax Provisions that will be Expiring in 2014

Some may be renewed, others may not be. 

At the end of every year, certain federal tax breaks face a sunset. Some are renewed, some expire. As 2014 will soon start, here is a list of some of notable tax provisions that may go away next year – offering some opportunities that you may want to take advantage of this year.   

Qualified tuition deduction. For 2013, an individual taxpayer has the chance to claim an above-the-line deduction for tuition and fees. This applies only to qualified higher education expenses. This deduction is set to expire at the end of this year; it may or may not be extended.1,2     

Mortgage insurance premiums deductions. Are you paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI)? This year, you can treat qualified PMI premiums as home mortgage interest, but the deduction only applies if your adjusted gross income is no greater than $109,000. This tax break could go away in 2014; it is available only for mortgages entered into during 2007-13.1,3,4 

Mortgage debt relief. In 2013, canceled mortgage debt of up to $2 million (or $1 million, in the case of married taxpayers filing separately) can be excluded from taxable income. The debt must be forgiven on a qualified principal residence (i.e., a taxpayer’s primary home) due to the borrowers’ financial condition or a decline in value of the residence. You can thank the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 for this. The tax break is set to sunset at the end of 2013, though – and if it does, then any such debt forgiven next year will be taxable income.2,5    

State & local general sales tax deduction. 2013 might be the last year individual taxpayers can choose to deduct state and local general sales taxes as opposed to state and local income taxes. This option is set to expire at the end of the year.1

Educator out-of-pocket expenses deduction. Classroom teachers/instructors, counselors, principals and aides who work in grades K-12 have enjoyed a special deduction of up to $250 in out-of-pocket costs above the line in 2013. As for 2014, this deduction is still a question mark.1  

Qualified charitable distributions from an IRA. If you are over 70½, you have through December 31 to make a tax-free transfer of assets from an IRA directly to a qualified charity. While you can’t deduct the amount as a charitable contribution, it does count toward your annual required minimum distribution (RMD). Will this option be extended into 2014, or be made permanent? No one knows just yet.1

Increased expensing & bonus depreciation allowances. This year, the Section 179 deduction is set at $500,000 while the qualifying property limit is $2 million. In 2014, these limits are slated to drop dramatically: a Section 179 deduction of $25,000, a qualifying property limit of $200,000. In 2013 you can expense off-the-shelf software under Section 179; not so in 2014. This year, you can amend or irrevocably revoke a Section 179 election; next year, a Section 179 election will generally be irrevocable with IRS consent. While you can claim the Section 179 deduction on up to $250,000 of qualified real property this year, 2014 may offer you no such chance. For 2013, qualified leasehold and retail improvements and qualified restaurant property were given a 15-year straight-line recovery period; in 2014 the straight-line recovery period becomes 39 years. Congress may act to preserve all these current allowances.1,2   

Currently, 50% special depreciation is permitted for qualified property additions placed into service in 2013, only long production-period property and certain kinds of aircraft will are slated to qualify to special depreciation in 2014. Again, Congress may preserve the current allowance.2 

Electric vehicle credit. If you bought (or even leased) an electric car this year, you may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $7,500 (variable based on the size of the battery pack used by the vehicle). This tax perk is set to sunset in 2014. If you bought a qualifying 2-wheel or 3-wheel plug-in electric vehicle this year, you are eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $2,500.2,3

Personal energy property credit. Since 2006, there has been a $500 lifetime tax credit available to taxpayers who remodel their homes for energy efficiency. If you haven’t remodeled enough to claim the full $500 credit yet, a heads-up: it is set to expire at year’s end.1,3

R&D tax credit. This credit is admittedly hard to figure, but it can bring about major savings and can be carried forward or back. Up to 20% of R&D expenses (above a base) may generally be used as a credit against tax owed. Who knows, it may not be around for 2014.6

Transit benefits. In 2013, the exclusion for transit passes and/or vanpooling, provided by an employer, is $245 monthly; this is the same as the exclusion for employer-provided parking. Next year, the benefit for public transportation falls to $100 per month (with adjustment for inflation) while the exclusion for employer-provided parking stays at $245 per month.2,3   

One more thing to keep in mind. The IRS will delay the start of the tax-filing season by at least a week, a consequence of October’s federal government shutdown. It had planned to accept tax returns on January 21; that date will now be January 28 or later, with the final determination coming in December. The April 15 deadline for filing returns or requesting extensions still applies.7   

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. 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 – accountingtoday.com/gallery/disappearing-tax-deductions-67830-1.html [10/30/13]

2 – tinyurl.com/k4pgc8f [11/5/13]

3 – dailyfinance.com/2013/11/05/8-tax-breaks-expiring-year-end-2013/ [11/5/13]

4 – inman.com/2013/08/20/dont-count-on-private-mortgage-insurance-deduction-in-2014/ [8/20/13]

5 – efile.com/home-foreclosure-mortgage-forgiveness-tax-relief-exclude-canceled-debt/ [11/14/13]

6 – inc.com/gene-marks/take-advantage-of-tax-breaks-before-december-31.html [10/31/13]

7 – bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-22/irs-delays-start-of-2014-u-s-tax-filing-citing-shutdown.html [10/22/13]

Patrick Ray is a Representative with FSC Securities and may be reached at http://www.theretirementgroup.com. 

This material was prepared by Peter Montoya Inc, and does not necessarily represent the views of Patrick Ray and The Retirement Group or FSC Financial Corp. This information should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representatives nor Broker/Dealer gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information or call 800-900-5867. 

The Retirement Group is not affiliated with nor endorsed by fidelity.com, netbenefits.fidelity.com, hewitt.com, resources.hewitt.com, access.att.com, Verizon, Hughes, Raytheon, Bank of America, AT&T, Northrop Grumman, Glaxosmithkline, Merck, Pfizer, ExxonMobil, Qwest, ING Retirement, Chevron, Alcatel-Lucent or by your employer. We are an independent financial advisory group that specializes in transition planning and lump sum distribution. Please call our office at 800-900-5867 if you have additional questions or need help in the retirement planning process. 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Did Inflation Go?

Shouldn’t it be rising with all this bond buying?

Consumer inflation just hit a 50-year low. So indicates the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge – the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.1

Besides tracking consumer inflation, the PCE price index measures household purchases, a major factor in GDP growth. The core PCE index does the same thing without including volatile food and energy prices. The broad PCE index hit 0.74% in May, with core PCE at 1.05% – a new all-time low, breaking the 1.06%  measured in March 1963.1,2

Why isn’t QE3 generating more inflation? The Fed is still “printing money” to the tune of $85 billion a month, but the headline PCE index has fallen since last year (it approached 2.0% in early 2012). The Consumer Price Index only advanced 1.1% between May 2012 and May 2013, and that was the smallest annualized gain in the CPI since November 2010; the core CPI only rose 1.7% in that period.1,3,4

What is keeping inflation in check? Chalk it up to extraordinary circumstances – and the perception that they will continue. Short-term interest rates are nil and the Fed has told the world that our benchmark interest rate will be at rock-bottom levels until our jobless rate dips below 6.5% or inflation tops 2.5%.4

QE1 and QE2 did boost inflation in the short-term; in fact, one of the things that prompted QE2 was the Fed’s concern about deflation in 2010. Yet inflation has lessened since QE3 started.4

Three factors may be encouraging disinflation. One, the Fed has repeatedly emphasized that QE3 will not stoke inflation; it has not implied, hinted or communicated that it will let inflation get out of hand or exceed its present 2.0% target. Two, economists, analysts and investors seem to have widespread faith that the Fed can capably fight sudden spikes in the PCE index or the CPI and keep things under control. Three, total government spending (as a percentage of potential nominal gross domestic product) fell about 3% from Q2 2010 to Q1 2013 – and that’s not even taking sequestration into account. That implies reduced demand in the economy.4

Psychologically, there is little or no fear of runaway inflation and the prevalent expectation is that there will be low inflation for some time. This psychology may be influencing the current disinflation as well.

Also, while the Fed creates money and purchases bonds from banks via its ongoing stimulus, the bulk of that money has turned into bank reserves. Lenders are conservatively sitting on these reserves as they pay interest. Should the Fed boost the interest it pays on them, it will give these banks more reason to maintain them.4

When might inflation expectations change? If the Fed were to raise its inflation target, they would change greatly. No one sees that happening anytime soon.

Will the Fed taper sooner, or later? With such mild inflation, it might be later. On June 10, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard argued for sustaining an “aggressive” stimulus given the “surprisingly low inflation readings” of recent months, markedly below the central bank’s target.5

“Inflation in the U.S. has surprised to the downside,” Bullard commented at the International Economic Forum of the Americas in Montreal, later adding that “it hasn’t moved back at all. I am still waiting for that to happen and I am getting a little bit nervous.”5

As former Richmond Fed economist Ward McCarthy noted to Bloomberg, “This is an inopportune time to be talking about curtailing [QE3]. They are missing on the inflation mandate.”5  

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. 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 – advisorperspectives.com/dshort/updates/PCE-Price-Index.php [5/31/13]

2 – bea.gov/faq/index.cfm?faq_id=518 [6/13/13]

3 – bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm [5/16/13]

4 – theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/06/the-biggest-economic-mystery-of-2013-whats-up-with-inflation/276772/ [6/12/13]

5 – bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-10/fed-s-bullard-says-low-inflation-may-warrant-longer-qe.html [6/10/13]

The Retirement Group is not affiliated with nor endorsed by fidelity.com, netbenefits.fidelity.com, hewitt.com, resources.hewitt.com, access.att.com, Hughes, ING Retirement, Qwest, Bank of America, ExxonMobil, GlaxoSmithKline, Chevron, Verizon, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Alcatel-Lucent, Merck, AT&T, Pfizer, or by your employer. We are an independent financial advisory group that specializes in transition planning and lump sum distribution. Please call our office at 800-900-5867 if you have additional questions or need help in the retirement planning process.

Patrick Ray is a Representative with FSC Securities and may be reached at http://www.theretirementgroup.com. 

This material was prepared by Peter Montoya Inc, and does not necessarily represent the views of Patrick Ray and The Retirement Group or FSC Financial Corp. This information should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representatives nor Broker/Dealer gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information or call 800-900-5867.

The Major Retirement Planning Mistakes

THE MAJOR RETIREMENT PLANNING MISTAKES

Why are they made again and again?

Much has been written about the classic financial mistakes that plague start-ups, family businesses, corporations and charities. Aside from these blunders, there are also some classic financial missteps that plague retirees.

Calling them “mistakes” may be a bit harsh, as not all of them represent errors in judgment. Yet whether they result from ignorance or fate, we need to be aware of them as we plan for and enter retirement.

Leaving work too early. The full retirement age for many baby boomers is 66. As Social Security benefits rise about 8% for every year you delay receiving them, waiting a few years to apply for benefits can position you for greater retirement income.1

Some of us are forced to make this “mistake”. Roughly 40% of us retire earlier than we want to; about half of us apply for Social Security before full retirement age. Still, any way that you can postpone applying for benefits will leave you with more SSI.1

Underestimating medical expenses. Fidelity Investments says that the typical couple retiring at 65 today will need $240,000 to pay for their future health care costs (assuming one spouse lives to 82 and the other to 85). The Employee Benefit Research Institute says $231,000 might suffice for 75% of retirements, $287,000 for 90% of retirements. Prudent retirees explore ways to cover these costs – they do exist.2

Taking the potential for longevity too lightly. Are you 65? If you are a man, you have a 40% chance of living to age 85; if you are a woman, a 53% chance. Those numbers are from the Social Security Administration. Planning for a 20- or 30-year retirement isn’t absurd; it may be wise. The Society of Actuaries recently published a report in which about half of the 1,600 respondents (aged 45-60) underestimated their projected life expectancy. We still have a lingering cultural assumption that our retirements might duplicate the relatively brief ones of our parents.3

Withdrawing too much each year. You may have heard of the “4% rule”, a popular guideline stating that you should withdraw only about 4% of your retirement savings annually. The “4% rule” isn’t a rule, but many cautious retirees do try to abide by it.

So why do some retirees withdraw 7% or 8% a year? In the first phase of retirement, people tend to live it up; more free time naturally promotes new ventures and adventures, and an inclination to live a bit more lavishly.

Ignoring tax efficiency & fees. It can be a good idea to have both taxable and tax-advantaged accounts in retirement. Assuming that your retirement will be long, you may want to assign that or that investment to it “preferred domain” – that is, the taxable or tax-advantaged account that may be most appropriate for that investment in pursuit of the entire portfolio’s optimal after-tax return.

Many younger investors chase the return. Some retirees, however, find a shortfall when they try to live on portfolio income. In response, they move money into stocks offering significant dividends or high-yield bonds – which may be bad moves in the long run. Taking retirement income off both the principal and interest of a portfolio may give you a way to reduce ordinary income and income taxes.

Account fees must also be watched. The Department of Labor notes that a 401(k) plan with a 1.5% annual account fee would leave a plan participant with 28% less money than a 401(k) with a 0.5% annual fee.4

Avoiding market risk. The return on many fixed-rate investments might seem pitiful in comparison to other options these days. Equity investment does invite risk, but the reward may be worth it.

Retiring with big debts. It is pretty hard to preserve (or accumulate) wealth when you are handing chunks of it to assorted creditors.

Putting college costs before retirement costs. There is no “financial aid” program for retirement. There are no “retirement loans”. Your children have their whole financial lives ahead of them. Try to refrain from touching your home equity or your IRA to pay for their education expenses.

Retiring with no plan or investment strategy. Many people do this – too many. An unplanned retirement may bring terrible financial surprises; retiring without an investment strategy leaves some people prone to market timing and day trading.4

These are some of the classic retirement planning mistakes. Why not plan to avoid them? Take a little time to review and refine your retirement strategy in the company of the financial professional you know and trust.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. 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 – moneyland.time.com/2012/04/17/the-7-biggest-retirement-planning-mistakes/ [4/17/12]

2 – money.usnews.com/money/blogs/planning-to-retire/2012/05/10/fidelity-couples-need-240000-for-retirement-health-costs/ [5/10/12]

3 – http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2012/08/10/americans-clueless-about-life-expectancy-bungling-retirement-planning/ [8/10/12]

4 – www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/personal/shop-smart-avoid-seven-common-errors-in-retirement-plans-635633/ [5/13/12]

The Retirement Group is not affiliated with nor endorsed by fidelity.com, hewitt.com, resources.hewitt.com, Raytheon, AT&T, access.att.com, Chevron, Glaxosmithkline, Pfizer, Verizon, Hughes, Northrop Grumman, ING Retirement, Qwest, netbenefits.fidelity.com, ExxonMobil, Merck, Bank of America, Alcatel-Lucent or by your employer. We are an independent financial advisory group that specializes in transition planning and lump sum distribution. Please call our office at 800-900-5867 if you have additional questions or need help in the retirement planning process.

This material was prepared by Peter Montoya Inc, and does not necessarily represent the views of Patrick Ray, and The Retirement Group or FSC Financial Corp. This information should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representatives nor Broker/Dealer gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information or call 800-900-5867.

Patrick Ray is a Representative with FSC Securities and maybe reached at http://www.theretirementgroup.com.

IRA Rollover

IRA ROLLOVERS FOR LUMP SUM PENSION PAYOUTS 

Give those dollars the opportunity for further tax-deferred growth.

A big payout leads to a big question. If you are taking a lump sum pension payout from your former employer, what is the next step for that money? It will be integral to your retirement; how can you make it work harder for you?

Rolling it over might be the right thing to do. If you don’t have substantial retirement savings, that lump sum may be just what you need. The key is to plan to keep it growing. That money shouldn’t just sit there.

Even tame inflation whittles away at the value of money over time. Most corporate pension payments aren’t inflation-indexed, so those monthly payments eventually purchase less and less. Lump sums are just as susceptible: if you receive $100,000 today, that $100,000 will buy 50% less by 2028 assuming consistent 3% inflation (and that is quite an optimistic assumption).1,2

Putting it in the bank might cause you some financial pain. If you just take your lump sum payout and deposit it, all that money will be considered taxable income by the IRS. (There are very few exceptions to that rule.) Moreover, you won’t get the whole amount that way: per IRS regulations, your employer must withhold 20% of it.2,3

Don’t you want to postpone paying taxes on those assets? By arranging a rollover of your lump sum distribution to a traditional IRA, you may defer tax on those dollars. You can even defer tax on a distribution already paid to you if you roll over the taxable amount to an IRA within 60 days after receipt of the payout.3

In doing so, you are keeping those assets in a tax-deferred account. They can be invested as you like, and that money will not be taxed until it is withdrawn. (You may only transfer a lump sum distribution from a company pension plan into a traditional IRA – you may not transfer it to a Roth IRA.)4

 

If you are considering taking a lump sum payout, make sure you position that money for additional tax-deferred growth. Talk to a financial professional who can help you with the paperwork and get your IRA rollover going.

 

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. Marketing Library.Net Inc. is not affiliated with any broker or brokerage firm that may be providing this information to you. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. 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 not a solicitation or a 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 – money.cnn.com/2012/09/01/pf/expert/pension-payments.moneymag/index.html [9/1/12]

2 – http://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T037-C000-S002-pensions-take-a-lump-sum-or-not.html [9/11]

3 – http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc412.html [1/4/13]

4 – http://www.fool.com/retirement/manageretirement/manageretirement2.htm [1/21/13]

This material was prepared by Peter Montoya Inc, and does not necessarily represent the views of Patrick Ray, and The Retirement Group or FSC Financial Corp. This information should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representatives nor Broker/Dealer gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information or call 800-900-5867.

Patrick Ray is a Representative with FSC Securities and may be reached at http://www.theretirementgroup.com.

The Retirement Group is not affiliated with nor endorsed by fidelity.com, Merck, Bank of America, RaytheonAT&T, Northrop Grumman, hewitt.com, Hughes, netbenefits.fidelity.com, access.att.com, Pfizer, resources.hewitt.comGlaxosmithkline, ExxonMobil, Verizon, ING Retirement, Chevron, Qwest, Alcatel-Lucent or by your employer. We are an independent financial advisory group that specializes in transition planning and lump sum distribution. Please call our office at 800-900-5867 if you have additional questions or need help in the retirement planning process. 

Weekly Economic Update

WILL THE EASING END SOONER, OR LATER?

Last Wednesday, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke lifted stocks by noting that the U.S. economy needed “highly accommodative monetary policy for the foreseeable future,” adding that the current 7.6% jobless rate “overstates the health of the labor market.” Remarks like these didn’t exactly suggest the Fed would scale back its asset purchases soon. The June Fed policy meeting minutes showed 11 of 12 Fed officials agreeing to sustain the central bank’s bond-buying campaign, with “about half” of these 11 envisioning QE3 wrapping up late this year. On Friday, Philadelphia Fed president Charles Plosser emerged from that camp, calling for a “gradual and predictable” end to the program before 2014.1,2,3

HOUSEHOLD SENTIMENT DECLINES A BIT

The initial July consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan dipped mildly to 83.9. June’s final reading was 84.1, and economists polled by Reuters had expected the index to rise to 85.0.4

PRODUCER PRICES LEAP 0.8%

Minus food and energy prices, wholesale inflation wasn’t so pronounced in June. The core PPI rose just 0.2% last month. Analysts surveyed by Briefing.com had projected an overall PPI gain of 0.3%.4,5

WALL STREET GETS A BERNANKE BOUNCE

Dovish comments from the Fed chairman helped the S&P 500 to a new record close of 1,680.19 Friday. On the week, the S&P gained 2.96%. The NASDAQ rose 3.47% for the week to settle at 3,600.08 Friday. The Dow gained 2.17% last week and closed Friday at a fresh all-time peak of 15,464.30.4

THIS WEEK: Monday offers Q2 results from Citigroup, Census Bureau data on June retail sales and a Q2 GDP reading from China. The June CPI appears Tuesday, plus the latest NAHB housing market index, data on June industrial output and earnings from Goldman Sachs, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Charles Schwab, Yahoo and CSX. Wednesday, Ben Bernanke begins two days of testimony in the Senate, a new Fed Beige Book arrives, and American Express, Bank of America, Bank of NY Mellon, Novartis, Abbott Labs, Mattel, eBay, IBM, Intel and SanDisk report earnings. Thursday offers earnings reports from Capital One, BlackRock, Morgan Stanley, United Health, Verizon, Nokia, Google, Microsoft, AMD and Chipotle, plus the latest initial claims figures and the Conference Board’s index of leading indicators. Friday, a G20 summit wraps up and Schlumberger, GE, Vodafone and Honeywell report Q2 results.

% CHANGE

Y-T-D

1-YR CHG

5-YR AVG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+18.01

+22.99

+7.86

+6.96

NASDAQ

+19.23

+25.61

+12.16

+10.76

S&P 500

+17.81

+25.88

+7.11

+6.83

REAL YIELD

7/12 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

0.55%

-0.58%

1.48%

1.88%

Sources: cnbc.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov – 7/12/134,6,7,8

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly.

These returns do not include dividends.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. Marketing Library.Net Inc. is not affiliated with any broker or brokerage firm that may be providing this information to you. 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. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, 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 an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. 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. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. Market indices discussed are unmanaged. Investors cannot invest in unmanaged indices. 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 – cnbc.com/id/100877586 [7/10/13]

2 – cnbc.com/id/100757576 [7/12/13]

3 – blogs.barrons.com/incomeinvesting/2013/07/10/treasury-yields-creep-higher-amid-parsing-of-fed-minutes-bernanke-speech/ [7/10/13]

4 – cnbc.com/id/100882518 [7/12/13]

5 – briefing.com/investor/calendars/economic/2013/07/08-12 [7/12/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=7%2F12%2F12&x=0&y=0 [7/12/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=7%2F12%2F12&x=0&y=0 [7/12/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=7%2F12%2F12&x=0&y=0 [7/12/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=7%2F11%2F08&x=0&y=0 [7/12/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=7%2F11%2F08&x=0&y=0 [7/12/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=7%2F11%2F08&x=0&y=0 [7/12/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=7%2F11%2F03&x=0&y=0 [7/12/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=7%2F11%2F03&x=0&y=0 [7/12/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=7%2F11%2F03&x=0&y=0 [7/12/13]

7 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield [7/12/13]

8 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyieldAll [7/12/13]

The Retirement Group is not affiliated with nor endorsed by fidelity.com, Verizon, Raytheon, netbenefits.fidelity.com, ING Retirement, hewitt.com, Hughes, Northrop Grumman, Qwest, Chevron, access.att.com, resources.hewitt.com, ExxonMobil, AT&T, Glaxosmithkline, Merck, Pfizer, Bank of America, Alcatel-Lucent or by your employer. We are an independent financial advisory group that specializes in transition planning and lump sum distribution. Please call our office at 800-900-5867 if you have additional questions or need help in the retirement planning process.

This material was prepared by Peter Montoya Inc, and does not necessarily represent the views of Patrick Ray, and The Retirement Group or FSC Financial Corp. This information should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representatives nor Broker/Dealer gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information or call 800-900-5867.

Patrick Ray is a Representative with FSC Securities and may be reached at http://www.theretirementgroup.com.

Weekly Economic Update

June 3, 2013

  

CONSUMERS UPBEAT IN MAY, SPEND LESS IN APRIL

Consumer spending slipped 0.2% in April, with a 4.4% drop in purchases of gas, electricity and other energy goods and services being a major influence. In better news, the Commerce Department noted a 3.4% rise in personal spending in Q1, and the two most-watched consumer confidence gauges beat consensus forecasts last week. The Conference Board’s May survey came in at 76.2, topping the 72.5 projected by analysts polled by Briefing.com. The final May consumer sentiment survey from the University of Michigan rose to 84.5; the same group of forecasters had projected it at 82.5.1,2

HOME PRICES GAIN NEARLY 11% IN A YEAR

To be precise, 10.9%: that was the 12-month improvement across 20 cities noted in the March edition of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. In other housing news, the National Association of Realtors announced a 1.5% rise in pending home sales for April, bringing the annualized gain to 7.0%.3

AN UPDATE ON MEDICARE’S LONG-TERM HEALTH

Last week saw the release of the 2013 Medicare and Social Security trustee reports. While Social Security is still projected for a shortfall in 2033, Medicare’s board now forecasts that the program can run until 2026 without depleting its trust fund, citing projected savings from the Affordable Care Act. That is two years longer than previously projected. Friday, Health & Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she did not foresee an increase in Medicare Part B premiums in 2014.4

S&P 500 NOTCHES 7-MONTH WINNING STREAK

Even though it sank 1.14% for the week, the broad U.S. benchmark gained 2.08% for May, ending the month at 1,630.74. While the Dow (-1.23% to 15,115.57) and NASDAQ (-0.09% to 3,455.91) didn’t advance last week either, they respectively gained 1.86% and 3.82% last month.5

THIS WEEK: ISM’s May manufacturing PMI arrives Monday, plus Commerce Department figures on May auto sales. Tuesday, Dollar General announces Q1 earnings. Wednesday, ISM’s May service sector index comes out along with the May ADP employment report, a new Federal Reserve Beige Book and data on April factory orders; Q1 results arrive from Hovnanian and VeriFone. On Thursday, the Bank of England and European Central Bank wrap up policy meetings, and the May Challenger job cuts report comes out along with initial unemployment claims data and earnings from Ann and JM Smucker. Friday, the Labor Department releases the May employment report.

% CHANGE

Y-T-D

1-YR CHG

5-YR AVG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+15.35

+21.96

+3.92

+7.08

NASDAQ

+14.45

+22.23

+7.40

+11.65

S&P 500

+14.34

+24.45

+3.29

+6.92

REAL YIELD

5/31 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

-0.05%

-0.50%

1.58%

1.77%

Sources: cnbc.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov – 5/31/135,6,7,8

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly.

These returns do not include dividends.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. Marketing Library.Net Inc. is not affiliated with any broker or brokerage firm that may be providing this information to you. 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. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, 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 an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. 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. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. Market indices discussed are unmanaged. Investors cannot invest in unmanaged indices. 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 – latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-personal-income-consumer-spending-economy-20130531,0,3433990.story [5/31/13]

2 – briefing.com/investor/calendars/economic/2013/05/27-31 [5/31/13]

3 – foxbusiness.com/news/2013/05/28/case-shiller-us-home-prices-rise-again-in-march/ [5/28/13]

4 – money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-best-life/2013/05/31/social-security-deficit-outlook-remains-unchanged [5/31/13]

5 – cnbc.com/id/100779852 [5/31/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=5%2F31%2F12&x=0&y=0 [5/31/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=5%2F31%2F12&x=0&y=0 [5/31/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=5%2F31%2F12&x=0&y=0 [5/31/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=5%2F30%2F08&x=0&y=0 [5/31/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=5%2F30%2F08&x=0&y=0 [5/31/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=5%2F30%2F08&x=0&y=0 [5/31/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=5%2F30%2F03&x=0&y=0 [5/31/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=5%2F30%2F03&x=0&y=0 [5/31/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=5%2F30%2F03&x=0&y=0 [5/31/13]

7 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield [5/31/13]

8 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyieldAll [5/31/13]

This material was prepared by Peter Montoya Inc, and does not necessarily represent the views of Patrick Ray, and The Retirement Group or FSC Financial Corp. This information should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representatives nor Broker/Dealer gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information or call 800-900-5867.

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Patrick Ray is a Representative with FSC Securities and may be reached at http://www.theretirementgroup.com.