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Market Commentary - Week of 7/30/12

Weekly Commentary
Week of July 30, 2012

The Markets

“Within our mandate, the ECB is willing to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro and, believe me, it will be enough.”
--Mario Draghi, European Central Bank (ECB) President

2013 Federal Income Tax Update

This may be the final year the Bush tax cuts remain in effect unless Congress acts to further extend them. The Bush tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003, were originally scheduled to expire for tax years beginning in 2011. However, President Obama signed legislation in late 2010 that temporarily extended the Bush tax cuts through 2012.

Many commentators agree that Congress is unlikely to extend the Bush tax cuts prior to the November elections, but uncertainty remains as to whether Congress will take action following the elections. Provided Congress fails to extend the Bush tax cuts, many significant rate changes and other substantive changes will take effect in 2013. This article summarizes the major federal income tax changes that are scheduled take effect in 2013 if Congress allows the Bush tax cuts to expire, certain other changes scheduled to take effect independent of the Bush tax cuts, and planning strategies to reduce the impact of these changes.

Market Commentary - Week of 6/25/12

Weekly Commentary
Week of June 25, 2012

The Markets

While nobody knows what the future holds, one powerful person came pretty close to accurately predicting the problems Europe is having with the euro – a full 17 years before the current crisis began in 2010.

Maximizing Social Security

Believe it or not Social Security is the foundation of most U.S. citizens’ retirement plans.  And, as most financial planners stretch the average duration of a client’s retirement to 20 and 30 years, those Social Security payments could be valued well over $1,000,000.  So this begs the question, if I could maximize an already great benefit, why would I NOT?  Why wouldn’t I want more income when cost of living is going up and I am least able to make up the difference by working?

Below we have put together five strategies for maximizing your Social Security benefits.  Enjoy, but do so while you consider which ones would work for you.

Market Commentary - Week of 5/29/12

Weekly Commentary
Week of May 29, 2012

The Markets

Judging by what’s happening in the bond market, it appears that some investors are more concerned about the return of their money than the return on their money.

Market Commentary - Week of 4/30/12

Weekly Commentary
April 30, 2012

The Markets

Austin’s Mueller Community Growth

For the last 20 years there has been a redevelopment evolving at the old airport site at Mueller community and the lead developer is Catellus Development Corp., appointed by the city of Austin.  This is a huge undertaking with approximately 700 acres located in the CBD of Austin, and it will be the largest public-private venture in Austin’s history.  The project completion will take another 4 to 6 years, and the city estimates that Mueller will add about $1.1 billion in taxable property value.

One of the most anticipated properties is a 75,000 sq. ft. H-E-B grocery store which will anchor the Market District.   This spring ground breaking construction is to start on a 112 room Residence Inn by Marriott.  Our clients that have the financial suitability, classified as accredited by FINRA, may consider this as an investment.  
There is also a second phase of apartments, 301 units, being developed by Simmons Vedder Company.  In addition, by summer or early fall, the Austin Independent School District should break ground on a highly anticipated performing arts center with a targeted opening of August 2013.

The Problem with Social Security

There are several misconceptions about Social Security: You have to be old to collect; the system is going broke; the benefit amounts are too small to bother with; and, Social Security personnel can help.

First of all, children could be eligible for Social Security benefits if a parent dies and that parent has contributed to Social Security.  Currently about 4.4 million children receive approximately $2.4 billion per month because one or both parents are disabled, retired or deceased, according to www.ssa.gov (June 2011), publication #05-10085.  Those dollars help to provide necessities of life for family members.

The system is broke…well, sort of.  Currently the Social Security Trust Fund has approximately $2.6 trillion in funds.  Based on a 2011 OASDI Trustees report, 100% of the benefits could be payable until approximately 2037.  Careful with inflation though.  If we see the same inflation rates as we had in the 1980s, the “well” could run dry long before 2037.

Mikiel Featherston working to earn “Wood Badge” award

Mikiel Featherston and his wife Laura are undergoing the intense training and preparation required to earn the prestigious Wood Badge. The Wood Badge is the award given by the Boy Scouts of America upon successful completion of their rigorous and advanced leadership training program. It is one of the highest levels of adult personal and professional growth training offered by the Scouts.

In addition to classroom training, Mikiel will spend an entire week living outside at the Lost Pines Scout Reservation, located in Bastrop, Texas. He has completed half of the outdoor training, and will complete the other half at the end of March. Then, over the next 18 months, Mikiel must complete five leadership tasks known as “ticket items,” which are a series of personal goals he will develop throughout the course.

Market Commentary - Week of 3/26/12

Weekly Commentary
Week of March 26, 2012

The Markets

A trillion here, a trillion there and, pretty soon, you have a nice market rally.

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