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Special Needs Children

Planning for Special-Needs Children

It’s been said that the best inheritance we can give our children is a few minutes of our time every day. It’s also true, though, that our children will not always have us in their lives.

Children with special needs may require lifetime assistance, which can necessitate that parents prepare for their child’s care after they are gone, or are unable to care for him or her any longer.

Parents have to think about the potential needs of their surviving child. Will he or she require daily custodial care? Ongoing medical treatments? Will your child live alone or in a group home? Can family assume some of the care?

Answers to these and other questions can help form the vision of what may need to be done to plan for your child’s care.

Supporting lifetime needs can outstrip your resources. One funding resource is government benefits, which your child may qualify for when he or she becomes an adult, e.g., Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.

Because such government programs have low asset thresholds for qualification, you may want to consider whether to make property transfers to your special needs child.

Ensure you have an up-to-date will that reflects your wishes. Consider creating a special needs trust, the assets of which can be structured to fund your child’s care without disqualifying him or her from government assistance.1

All affected family members should be involved in the decision-making process. You will want a united front of surviving family members to care for your child after you’ve passed.

In order for caregivers to make financial and healthcare decisions after your child reaches adulthood, the caregiver must be appointed as guardian. This can take time, so contemplate starting early.

Consider a “Letter of Intent” to the caregiver and family to express your wishes, along with information about your child’s care. This isn’t a legal document, but it may help to communicate your desires. Store this letter alongside your will in a safe place.

Planning for a special needs child can be complicated, confusing, and even overwhelming. Be sure to work with qualified professionals to help you navigate the myriad considerations attendant this challenge.

  1. Using a trust involves a complex set of tax rules and regulations. Before moving forward with a trust, consider working with a professional who is familiar with the rules and regulations.

Weekly Vantage Point | 10.26.15

 
S&P 500 Returns to Positive YTD Performance

October 26, 2015 – U.S. stocks posted sharp gains on Thursday and Friday, capping the S&P 500 with its fourth straight weekly advance and finished near a two-month high. The gains helped erase the benchmark equity index's YTD loss that had reached nearly 10% on August 25, rallying 11% since the late-summer low. The past week's advance was largely driven by overseas central bank actions. On Thursday, the European Central Bank signaled that it will likely boost and extend its bond-buying stimulus program in December, while, on Friday, China's central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates across the board. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) cut their key one-year lending rate by ¼–point to 4.35% as well as reducing their one-year deposit rate to 1.5% from 1.75%. The PBOC issued a statement saying that while their economy faces downward pressure, they will step up to support weak spots in China's economy.

Investors also welcomed better-than-forecast earnings reports in technology and industrial shares. Internet and software stocks have been the strongest contributors to the rebound from the August selloff. Among key domestic economic data last week, housing starts jumped 6.5% last month, led by an 18.3% increase in multi-unit construction, while single-family starts rose just 0.3%. A preliminary PMI reading of U.S. manufacturing perked up, rising one-point to 54 for October, a five-month high.

For the week, the S&P 500 advanced 2.09%, ending above its 200-day moving average and within just 2.6% of its all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 2.50% and the NASDAQ Composite surged 2.97%. Eight of the ten major sector groups posted gains, led by Technology (+4.61%), Industrials (+3.87%) and Financials (+2.51%). Energy (-0.99%) and Utilities (-0.47%) lagged. The US dollar index rose 0.76% on Friday to 97.112, capping a seventh daily gain, its longest rally in ten months. Treasuries fell, pushing the yield on 10-year Treasuries to a two-week high, up 5.4 basis points on the week to end at 2.088%.

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Words of Wisdom
 

"I don't struggle to find the needle in the haystack; I just buy the haystack."

Jack Bogle

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Market Watch
Stocks 1-Wk MTD 3-Month YTD 1-Year
DOW 2.50% 8.36% -0.48% -0.99% 5.81%
S&P 500 2.09% 8.19% -0.75% 2.47% 8.61%
NASDAQ 2.97% 8.95% -1.94% 7.19% 14.32%
Russell 3000 1.73% 7.66% -1.66% 1.80% 7.96%
MSCI EAFE 0.83% 8.14% -4.75% 2.44% 2.60%
MSCI Emerging Markets 0.39% 9.74% -5.43% -7.24% -9.37%
Bonds 1-Week MTD 3-Month YTD 1-Year
Barclays Agg Bond -0.09% 0.34% 1.19% 1.47% 2.07%
Barclays Municipal 0.01% 0.25% 1.32% 2.02% 2.69%
Barclays US Corp High Yield 0.61% 2.84% -1.27% 0.31% -1.76%
Commodities 1-Week MTD 3-Month YTD 1-Year
Bloomberg Commodity -2.60% -0.43% -7.34% -16.16% -25.41%
S&P GSCI Crude Oil -6.54% -1.09% -7.95% -16.28% -45.69%
S&P GSCI Gold -1.72% 4.27% 6.18% -1.80% -5.40%
Source: MorningStar
World Growth Outlook Set to Improve
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Home Buyers Still Face Obstacles

According to Franklin Templeton, all eyes are now focused on the corporate earnings season, with a number of observers fearful that while cost-cutting and productivity gains for much of corporate America have been boosting profitability for some time, top-line revenues are declining, at least for energy-related companies (which have been hit by weak commodity prices) and for exporters (hit by weakening growth in emerging markets and a strengthening U.S. dollar). Prospects for U.S. exporters have certainly dimmed, with statistics showing that the U.S. trade deficit jumped sharply in August due to a drop in the export of goods to their lowest level since June 2011 and a rise in imports.

A faltering manufacturing and export sector on the one hand, and continued expansion of services thanks to strong US consumer spending on the other, offers a contrasting vision of prospects for the U.S. economy, and GDP growth for the third quarter is set to be markedly lower than in the second. But since consumer spending accounts for about 70% of US GDP, we believe the U.S. economy should be able to withstand global headwinds.

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Week's Economic Calendar
 

Monday, October 26: New Home Sales, Dallas Fed Mfg Survey;

Tuesday, October 27: FOMC Meeting Begins, Durable Goods Orders, S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices and Consumer Confidence;

Wednesday, October 28: Weekly Mortgage Applications, FOMC Rate & Policy Decisions (2 pm ET);

Thursday, October 29: 1st of 3 Third Quarter GDP Estimate, Jobless Claims, Pending Home Sales;

Friday, October 30: Personal Incomes & Outlays, Labor Costs, Chicago PMI, Consumer Sentiment.

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Weekly Trivia
 

Today: Lake Superior has a maximum depth of 1,332 ft and holds three-quadrillion gallons, enough to cover North and South America with one foot of water. Its total water volume is equal to all the water in the other Great Lakes combined plus how may more Lake Eries?

  • One,
  • Three
  • Five or
  • Ten?

Last Week: In China, animals are forbidden to use human language. This belief led to the ban of which book and which famous writer in that country?

Answer: Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."

Tomb It May Concern

 

How To Not Blow Your Retirement Savings When The Markets Dip

This is a common scenario given recent stock market activity: Joe Smith, a 50-year-old executive saving for retirement, listens to the news every morning. One day, he watches the stock market take a tumble, and in a panic, quickly pulls his investments in stocks and switches to bonds - what he thinks is a safe alternative to protect his cash. A few days later, the market rebounds and the selloff Mr. Smith participated in eventually cost him a significant decrease in his retirement savings. That's because he sold too low and missed potential earnings in the rebound had he left his money where it was.

One of the common rules of investing is to buy low and sell high. When you sell during a market crash, you are essentially doing the opposite. There is no telling what the stock market will do from day to day - it may take a nosedive again or keep moving higher. In order to avoid making hasty decisions with your hard-earned retirement savings, here are some common investment rules to follow:

Rule #1: Remember, it's a long-term game. If you feel tempted to let emotions convince you to dump your investments out of panic, just repeat this mantra: This is long-term investing. The key to building wealth over time is to hold tight with a long-term investment perspective. Consider this: some individuals who stayed the course when the market bottomed out in 2009 have since seen their retirement investments nearly triple as the S&P 500 has gone up a whopping 220 percent since the recession low in March 2009.

Rule #2:

Market declines are an inevitable part of investing. The stock market is unpredictable and shifts happen. Historical data has shown that keeping your assets where they are can help outlive most market declines. Here's a recent history of ongoing market declines ranging from 1900 to December 2014 for the Dow Jones Industrial average.

% Decline

Average Occurrence

Last Occurrence

-5% or more

3x a year

December 2014

-10% or more

1x a year

October 2011

-15% or more

1x every 2 years

October 2011

 

When you work with a financial professional on our team, you know your money is invested where it needs to be based on your goals, risk tolerance and years until retirement. Leave your investments alone. Although it may make you cringe to watch your assets dip from time to time, corrections will happen and your savings will keep on growing.

Rule #3: Move your money only when it makes sense. Over the last 100 years, the most common market declines are just 5 percent or less. Knowing this statistic may help minimize your fears and avoid abandoning a long-term investment philosophy. There are a few occasions, however, when we may advise you to consider moving your money:

- Your asset mix is not meeting your retirement saving goal and/or timeline.

- Your risk profile has changed and you may not be able to handle as much risk today as when you first invested.

- You haven't re-balanced your portfolio in more than a year.

- You are planning to retire sooner than expected.


(As a reminder, if you visit our website and click on "Free Portfolio Risk Analysis" at the top right, it will take you to a link to our risk tolerance questionnaire. The questionnaire takes on a purely quantitative approach to understanding what risk you are comfortable taking for potential rewards using real dollar amounts).

Otherwise, if you feel your portfolio mix is on target, your level of risk is adequate and you've re-balanced once or even twice a year, then keep your money where it is.

 

Millennial Lingo

A little blurb to fill you in on what your kids and grandkids are talking about.  

  

Bitmoji: your own personal "emoji". You can create an expressive cartoon avatar and pick everything from hair color, face shape, eye color, earrings (you  name it)... and use it right from your keyboard! If you have an iPhone just go to your iTunes store and download the app Bitmoji. Your kids will never see it coming.

Citations

How To Not Blow Your Retirement Savings When The Market Dips: https://s3.amazonaws.com/static.contentres.com/media/documents/915d0a6c-222e-488e-9f5a-78f40d63a31f.pdf

Table 1: https://www.americanfunds.com/individual/planning/market-fluctuations/past-market-declines.html

When Does Your Personal Car Become a Commercial Vehicle?

For small business owners, the line between the personal and their business can be a bit hazy at times. Yet, when it comes to a vehicle that may be used for personal and business-related reasons, it’s important to know how your auto insurer is expected to define what constitutes commercial use.

If you own a car and cover it under a personal auto insurance policy, an insurance company may not pay claims for any damages you incur if the insurance company deems that it was used as a commercial vehicle.

Not being on the same page with your insurance carrier may result in financial losses, so it pays to ask yourself important questions about your vehicle’s use in order to select the right policy for your car.¹

The key distinction for determining if a personally owned car may need commercial auto insurance coverage is whether the vehicle is used for any business-related purpose.

Defining Business-Related Purpose

Your auto may be defined as a commercial vehicle if you use your vehicle to:

  • pick up or deliver any goods,
  • provide a service for a fee,
  • travel to a remote work location or between work locations, or
  • visit client locations.

Additional conditions under which your car may be defined as a commercial vehicle include:

  • the owner named on the vehicle title is a business—incorporated, unincorporated or LLC,
  • the vehicle is rented or leased by others,
  • the vehicle is equipped with a snow plow, has an altered suspension system or other equipment or modification, or
  • driven by you or your employees for both business and personal use on a consistent basis.

If you use your personal vehicle for business reasons only occasionally, it may be covered under your personal policy, but you may need to indicate that on your application for auto insurance.

The wisest course of action is to describe how you expect to use your vehicle for personal and business purposes and let your insurance agent guide to the most appropriate policy for your situation.

  1. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.

Weekly Vantage Point | 10.19.15

 
U.S. Stocks Higher on Hopes for Fed Pause

October 19, 2015 — U.S. stocks were slightly up on Friday as investors continued to digest corporate earnings and economic data. In earnings news, shares of Industrials bellwether General Electric (GE) rose after the company beat earnings estimates. Economic data came in mixed on Friday, as one report showed U.S. factory output fell in September as high inventories and tepid overseas demand weigh on producers, while another report showed that consumer sentiment rose unexpectedly in October. Earlier in the week, a weak inflation report helped spur investor hopes that the Federal Reserve would hold off raising rates until sometime in 2016.

The major benchmarks ended mixed for the week, with the large-cap indices managing to build on their strong gain from the previous week, while the small-cap and mid-cap indexes struggled. For the week, the S&P 500 advanced 0.93%; the Dow Industrials added 0.77%; and the NASDAQ Composite rose 1.17%. The technology-heavy NASDAQ Composite led the S&P 500 and the Dow Industrials as it was helped by a bounce in biotechnology stocks after the topic of drug pricing did not feature prominently in the first Democratic presidential debate as some investors had feared.

In the bond market last week, U.S. Treasuries rallied, pushing their yields lower (10-year Treasury lost 7 basis points on the week), as generally weak economic data led more investors to believe that the Federal Reserve will delay interest rate "liftoff" until 2016. The week also featured many public speeches from Fed officials, whose statements largely struck a dovish tone.

Eight of the major sectors posted gains led by Utilities (2.29%), Health Care (1.96%) and Telecom (1.87%). Industrials (-1.21%) and Materials (-0.12%) were the only decliners of the week. 10-year Treasury yields fell 0.074 percentage points to 1.982%. For the week, despite falling on Friday, Gold rose 2.35%. On the other hand, WTI crude oil was down 4.44% for the week.

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Words of Wisdom
 

"Every day I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I'm not there, I go to work."

— Robert Orben

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Market Watch
Stocks 1-Wk MTD 3-Month YTD 1-Year
DOW 0.77% 5.72% -4.99% -3.41% 6.82%
S&P 500 0.93% 5.98% -3.77% 0.38% 11.43%
NASDAQ 1.17% 5.80% -5.08% 4.10% 17.22%
Russell 3000 0.70% 5.84% -4.46% 0.07% 11.03%
MSCI EAFE 0.29% 7.25% -6.37% 1.59% 5.45%
MSCI Emerging Markets 0.71% 9.32% -7.58% -7.60% -8.66%
Bonds 1-Week MTD 3-Month YTD 1-Year
Barclays Agg Bond 0.37% 0.43% 1.62% 1.56% 1.80%
Barclays Municipal 0.21% 0.25% 1.72% 2.02% 1.93%
Barclays US Corp High Yield 0.07% 2.22% -2.95% -0.29% -0.38%
Commodities 1-Week MTD 3-Month YTD 1-Year
Bloomberg Commodity -1.35% 2.23% -8.45% -13.92% -23.61%
S&P GSCI Crude Oil -4.44% 5.83% -6.87% -10.42% -41.79%
S&P GSCI Gold 2.35% 6.09% 3.24% -0.08% -4.68%
Source: MorningStar
Homebuilders are Optimistic But Home Buyers Face Obstacles
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Home Buyers Still Face Obstacles

With the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index, a monthly survey that measures market conditions for new home sales, showing its highest sentiment in 10 years, we thought it would be a great opportunity to review lending conditions and affordability. While builders are optimistic, buyers continue to face obstacles. The chart on the left illustrates one measure of housing affordability, which is well below its historical average. The chart on the top right shows while houses have become more affordable to those who already own one, the size of the down payment relative to income is keeping many out of the housing market. The bottom right chart shows the average FICO score on new approved mortgage loans, which is relatively high compared to historical averages, also limiting access.

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Week's Economic Calendar
 

Monday, October 19: Homebuilders Index;

Tuesday, October 20: Housing Starts;

Wednesday, October 21: MBA Mortgage Applications;

Thursday, October 22: Weekly Jobless Claims, Existing Home Sales;

Friday, October 23: PMI Manufacturing Index (Flash)

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Weekly Trivia
 

Today: In China, animals are forbidden to use human language. This belief led to the ban of which book and which famous writer in that country?

Last Week: Which of the following are available as 'drive-throughs' someplace in the United States?

  • casket viewings
  • weddings
  • voter registration
  • liquor store

Answer: All of them!

Weekly Vantage Point | 10.12.15

 
Best Week This Year!

October 12, 2015 — U.S. stocks rose on Friday, capping the S&P 500 with its strongest weekly performance since December as equities rebounded from their worst quarter since 2011. The rally was largely driven by gains in energy and commodity-related producers, the best performing S&P 500 groups so far this month. Last week's gains basically extended the prior week advance, sparked by speculation that September's weak payrolls will likely pressure the Federal Reserve to once again delay raising interest rates. This in turn weakened the dollar, which boosted the appeal of most commodities. The U.S. dollar had its worst week in four months, while the Bloomberg Commodity Index gained 3.5%, rising to its highest level since August 11. The benchmark S&P 500 index has recovered by 7.9% from its August 25 low.

Among key economic data last week, the minutes from the Federal Reserve's September 16-17 policy meeting revealed added caution among policymakers over raising rates amid signs that China's slowing growth could spill over to other global markets. Fed members did however note continued strength in the U.S. recovery. Fed funds futures are now pricing in around a 39% chance that the central bank will raise rates in December, with 62% odds for a March 2016 rate hike.

For the week, the S&P 500 advanced 3.30%; the Dow Industrials added 3.75%; and the NASDAQ Composite trailed with a 2.62% gain. All ten major sector groups posted gains last week, led by Energy (+7.77), Materials (+6.83%) and Industrials (+6.13%). Healthcare (+0.25%) rose the least, followed by Utilities (+1.10%). Treasury bond prices declined as riskier assets gained, pushing the yield on 10-year Treasury notes up 9.3 basis points to end at 2.089%.

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Words of Wisdom
 

"Charlie Munger and I have not learned how to solve difficult business problems. What we have learned is to avoid them."

— Warren Buffett

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Market Watch
Stocks 1-Wk MTD 3-Month YTD 1-Year
DOW 3.72% 4.91% -2.64% -4.14% 2.55%
S&P 500 3.30% 5.01% -1.25% -0.54% 6.69%
NASDAQ 2.62% 4.58% -1.58% 2.90% 11.62%
Russell 3000 3.41% 5.10% -1.88% -0.63% 7.11%
MSCI EAFE 5.36% 6.94% -2.64% 1.29% 0.94%
MSCI Emerging Markets 6.52% 8.55% -5.89% -8.25% -12.69%
Bonds 1-Week MTD 3-Month YTD 1-Year
Barclays Agg Bond -0.27% 0.05% 1.10% 1.18% 2.02%
Barclays Municipal -0.18% 0.04% 1.43% 1.81% 2.46%
Barclays US Corp High Yield 2.72% 2.15% -2.60% -0.36% -1.60%
Commodities 1-Week MTD 3-Month YTD 1-Year
Bloomberg Commodity 3.55% 3.63% -8.10% -12.75% -23.41%
S&P GSCI Crude Oil 9.65% 10.75% -5.71% -6.25% -41.51%
S&P GSCI Gold 1.70% 3.65% -0.36% -2.38% -5.67%
Source: MorningStar
Surprising Strength in Auto Sales
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Among the Best Quarterly Sales since 1967

Light vehicle sales came in at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 18.1 million in September, a new high for the post-2009 recovery and one of the strongest months for sales in recent decades. As Figure 1 above shows, when scaled by population, the September sales data was not as impressive, but still very strong. The monthly sales data can be choppy but the trend has clearly accelerated lately, and the 3Q was one of the strongest quarters on record dating back to 1967.

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Week's Economic Calendar
 

Monday, October 12: no major releases, Columbus Day;

Tuesday, October 13: Treasury Budget 2 pm ET;

Wednesday, October 14: Producer Price Index, Retail Sales, Business Inventories, Beige Book;

Thursday, October 15: Consumer Price Index, Weekly Jobless Claims, Empire State Mfg, Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook;

Friday, October 16: Industrial Production, JOLTS, Consumer Sentiment.

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Weekly Trivia
 

Today: Which of the following are available as 'drive-throughs' someplace in the United States?

  • casket viewings
  • weddings
  • voter registration
  • liquor store

Last Week: How many individuals have filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for U.S. president in 2016, through August?

Answer: 1018

TURBULENCE, PERSPECTIVE AND OPPORTUNITY: AN INVESTOR’S GUIDE

 

Though there's no foolproof way to handle the ups and downs of the stock market, there are several things you can do to help you stay on track with your long-term goals.

Read more about how you can stay committed to your plan even in times of economic uncertainty.

Please feel free to give PlanningWorks a call if you have any questions.

Weekly Vantage Point | 10.5.15

 
Fed Policy Confusion Sent Stocks Lower

October 5, 2015 — U.S. equities bounced back twice last week after the S&P 500 had approached its August 25th low of 1,867. The benchmark index had fallen as much as 2.6% last Monday after Glencore Plc, one of the world's largest commodities export firm, plunged 28% on a selloff in commodities. Meanwhile, on Friday, stocks recovered from a morning retreat surrounding a very disappointing jobs report. Labor Department officials said the economy added just 142,000 new jobs last month, well below economists' consensus forecast for 203,000. Downward revisions in August and July subtracted 59,000 jobs. And while the unemployment rate held steady at 5.1%, it did so because the labor force contracted by 350,000. The jobs data renewed concerns over slowing global growth, yet investors realized the disappointment will likely cause the Federal Reserve to once again delay raising interest rates.

In other key economic data last week, factory orders fell by 1.7% in August to $473.0B, missing projections for a 0.2% gain. On a brighter note, Congress passed temporary budget legislation to fund the federal government through December 11th, thereby avoiding a shutdown of non-essential operations. Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Congress that the government will exhaust its borrowing authority a month sooner than expected, and would likely occur on or near November 5th. He asked Congress to raise the debt ceiling beyond the current level of $18.1 trillion.

For the week, the S&P 500 advanced 1.10%; the Dow Industrials added 0.97%; and the NASDAQ Composite trailed with a 0.49% gain. Nine of the ten major sector groups posted gains last week, led by Energy (+4.01), Materials (+2.41%) and Healthcare (+2.09%). Telecom (+0.11%) rose the least, while Financials were unchanged. Treasures prices advanced on safer-haven buying, pushing the yield on 10-year Treasury notes down 16.9 basis points to end at 1.994%.

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Words of Wisdom
 

"Perhaps the straight and narrow path would be wider if more people used it."

— Kay Ingram

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Market Watch
Stocks 1-Wk MTD 3-Month YTD 1-Year
DOW 0.97% 1.15% -7.09% -7.58% -1.96%
S&P 500 1.10% 1.65% -5.54% -3.72% 2.36%
NASDAQ 0.49% 1.91% -5.75% 0.27% 7.50%
Russell 3000 0.81% 1.64% -6.25% -3.90% 2.41%
MSCI EAFE 0.66% 1.49% -9.60% -3.86% -4.90%
MSCI Emerging Markets 1.92% 1.52% -16.63% -14.19% -17.01%
Bonds 1-Week MTD 3-Month YTD 1-Year
Barclays Agg Bond 0.68% 0.33% 1.78% 1.46% 2.89%
Barclays Municipal 0.49% 0.22% 2.00% 1.99% 3.14%
Barclays US Corp High Yield -1.78% -0.55% -5.62% -2.99% -4.16%
Commodities 1-Week MTD 3-Month YTD 1-Year
Bloomberg Commodity -0.68% 0.08% -13.71% -15.73% -25.65%
S&P GSCI Crude Oil -0.35% 1.00% -20.01% -14.51% -49.99%
S&P GSCI Gold 0.79% 1.92% -2.31% -4.01% -6.46%
Source: MorningStar
Disappointing September Payrolls Report
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Odds for 2015 Fed Rate Hike Goes Down...a Lot

Payroll employment increased by just 142,000 last month (203,000 was forecast), and August's total of 173,000 was revised lower to 136,000. As the above chart illustrates private-sector payrolls (i.e. non-government jobs) increased by just 118,000 in September and were revised to 100,000 for August. The last time private-sector job gains were this low was back in mid-2012. And while back then, the Federal Reserve had responded by launching a third round of quantitative easing (QE3), no such "QE4" response is even being contemplated today. However, this does mean that the Fed would be very hard pressed to raise interest rates with these low jobs numbers. Aside from this report and negative strong US dollar effects that are slowing manufacturing, most other U.S. economic measures are quite positive, especially improvements in consumer spending.

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Week's Economic Calendar
 

Monday, October 5: PMI Services Index, ISM Non-Manufacturing Index;

Tuesday, October 6: International Trade Deficit;

Wednesday, October 7: Weekly Mortgage Applications;

Thursday, October 8: Weekly Jobless Claims, September FOMC Minutes;

Friday, October 9: Import & Export Prices, Wholesale Trade Data.

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Weekly Trivia
 

Today: How many individuals have filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for U.S. president in 2016, through August?

Last Week: What animal can go without water for longer than a camel?

Answer: Giraffe

Succeeding at Business Succession

LegalZoom reported that 75% of small-business owners have no formal succession plan.¹ While the number may shock, it doesn’t surprise since so many small business owners are consumed by the myriad responsibilities of running their businesses.

Nevertheless, owners ignore succession planning at their peril, and possibly at the peril of their heirs.

There are a number of reasons for business owners to consider a business succession plan sooner rather than later. Let's take a look at two of them.

The first reason is taxes. Upon the owner’s death, estate taxes may be due that a proactive strategy may help to better manage.² Failure to properly plan can also lead to a loss of control over the final disposition of the company.

Second, the absence of a succession plan may result in a decline in the value of the business in the event of the owner’s death or unexpected disability.

The process of business succession planning is comprised of three basic steps:

  1. Identify Your Goals: When you know your objectives, it becomes easier to develop a plan to pursue them. For instance, do you want future income from the business for you and your spouse? What level of involvement do you want in the business? Do you want to create a legacy for your family or a charity? What are the values that you want to ensure, perhaps as they relate to your employees or community?
  2. Determine Steps to Pursue Your Objectives: There are a number of tools to help you follow the goals you’ve identified. They may include buy/sell agreements, gifting shares, establishing a variety of trusts or even creating an employee stock ownership plan if your desire is that employees have an ownership stake in the future.
  3. Implement the Plan: The execution step that converts ideas into action. Once implemented, you should revisit the plan regularly to make sure it remains relevant in the face of changing circumstances, such as divorce, changes in business profitability, or the death of a stakeholder.

Keep in mind that a fundamental prerequisite to business succession planning is valuing your business.

As you might imagine, business succession is a complicated exercise that involves complex set of tax rules and regulations. Before moving forward with a succession plan, consider working with legal and tax professionals who are familiar with the process.

  1. National Federation of Independent Business, October 2013

Weekly Vantage Point | 9.28.15

 
Fed Policy Confusion Sent Stocks Lower

September 28, 2015 — Stocks fell last week, as investors expressed concerns about the pace of world growth and uncertainty surrounding the Federal Reserve's plans on raising interest rates. The Fed sparked the debate over whether the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand a rate hike. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in her press conference following the September 17th "no-change" rate decision that policymakers' primary concerns were downside economic risks on China and emerging markets. The S&P 500 declined each day last week except on Monday, when a handful of Fed members spoke out in favor of a rate hike. Partial clarity came on Thursday when Yellen confirmed in a speech that a rate hike is still appropriate this year, adding however that "economic surprises" could change that plan.

In key economic data last week, existing home sales declined 4.8% in August from July's eight-year high, while the 6.2% year-over-year sales figure has decelerated to the slowest pace since February. Turning to new home sales data, a different picture emerges. Newly-built home sales last month shifted into a higher gear, rising to a 552,000 annualized pace, the highest since February 2008. The most pleasing data release last week was an upward revision for the final reading of second quarter GDP. The Friday report showed the U.S. economy expanded by 3.9%, up from a prior estimate of 3.7%.

An additional overhang to performance was a major selloff in biotech stocks, triggered by a tweet message from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, suggesting there is "price gouging" in the market for prescription drugs. The NASDAQ Biotech Index tumbled 13% during the week. For the week, the S&P 500 fell 1.35%, the Dow Industrials slipped 0.43%, and the NASDAQ Composite sank 2.91%. Seven of the ten major sector groups declined with Healthcare (-5.75%), Materials (-4.01%) and Industrials (-1.97%) down the most last week. Utilities (+1.27%), Consumer Staples (+0.74%) and Financials (+0.53%) advanced. Treasures prices edged lower, lifting the yield on 10-year Treasury notes by 2.9 basis points to end the week at 2.163%.

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Words of Wisdom
 

"If the world were perfect, it wouldn't be."

"I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous."

"It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future."

— Yogi Berra

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Market Watch
Stocks 1-Wk MTD 3-Month YTD 1-Year
DOW -0.43% -1.29% -8.81% -8.46% -3.73%
S&P 500 -1.35% -1.94% -7.65% -4.77% 0.28%
NASDAQ -2.91% -1.83% -8.06% -0.21% 6.15%
Russell 3000 -1.72% -2.12% -8.22% -4.68% 0.54%
MSCI EAFE -3.09% -4.29% -12.67% -4.49% -8.79%
MSCI Emerging Markets -4.87% -3.39% -19.38% -15.80% -21.18%
Bonds 1-Week MTD 3-Month YTD 1-Year
Barclays Agg Bond -0.24% 0.32% 1.11% 0.77% 2.49%
Barclays Municipal 0.25% 0.45% 1.52% 1.49% 2.98%
Barclays US Corp High Yield -1.45% -1.39% -4.23% -1.24% -2.49%
Commodities 1-Week MTD 3-Month YTD 1-Year
Bloomberg Commodity 0.87% -2.68% -12.28% -15.16% -25.68%
S&P GSCI Crude Oil 1.51% -7.11% -23.45% -14.21% -50.63%
S&P GSCI Gold 0.69% 1.16% -2.24% -3.25% -6.25%
Source: MorningStar
Implications of European Central Bank (ECB) Stimulus Options
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A Quantitative Easing (QE) Extension is Most Likely

We think that an ECB announcement in October will be more impactful than in December, as it will come as a surprise to the market. However, given the recent comments by ECB council members, expectations for October are increasing. Exhibit 11 above summarizes the most likely policy innovations as well as market reactions if the ECB acts/ guides the market in October. We expect any new ECB action to be broadly bullish for rates. An additional possibility is for the ECB to include other assets (e.g., buying corporate bonds), while increasing monthly purchases.

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Week's Economic Calendar
 

Monday, September 28: Personal Incomes & Outlays, Pending Home Sales, Dallas Fed Mfg Survey;

Tuesday, September 29: S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices, Consumer Confidence;

Wednesday, September 30: ADP Private Jobs, Chicago PMI;

Thursday, October 1: Weekly Jobless Claims, PMI Mfg Index, ISM Mfg Index, Construction Spending;

Friday, October 2: September Non-farm Payrolls, Factory Orders.

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Weekly Trivia
 

Today: What animal can go without water for longer than a camel?

Last Week: What is the only grain native to North America?

Answer: Wild Rice (and it is actually classified in the grass family).

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