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Brower Financial Group Articles

Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - October 9, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Oct 10, 2017 10:02:37 AM

WEEKLY TIP

Your household may want to budget by the 50/20/30 rule: 50% of take-home pay assigned to fixed monthly costs, 20% to saving/investing, and 30% to flexible consumer expenses.

HURRICANES HURT SEPTEMBER JOB NUMBERS

For the first time in seven years, the economy went a month without payroll growth. The Department of Labor’s September employment report revealed the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma: it showed 33,000 fewer people working. Average hourly wages rose 0.5% to take the annualized gain to 2.9%, but this may have been an effect of the net loss of 105,000 lower-paying bar and restaurant jobs. In a statistical fluke, the headline jobless rate fell to 4.2%, and the U-6 rate, counting the underemployed, declined to 8.3%, even as slightly more Americans looked for work.1  

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update

Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - October 3, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Oct 3, 2017 8:22:54 AM

WEEKLY TIP

When a grandparent, relative or friend of the family pays for a child’s medical expenses that are not covered by insurance, direct payments to doctors for such costs are not considered gifts to the child and do not count against the annual gift tax exclusion amount (currently $14,000).

PERSONAL SPENDING BARELY IMPROVES

Consumer spending increased by only a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in August, while consumer incomes rose 0.2%. Those gains precisely matched the projections of economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal. Factoring in inflation, household spending actually retreated 0.1% during August. Hurricane Harvey may be partly to blame for these numbers.1

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Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - September 25, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Sep 26, 2017 12:09:37 PM

WEEKLY TIP

Are your antiques and collectibles worth more than they used to be? Their current value should be accurately stated on your homeowner insurance policy. Otherwise, an insurer may not reimburse you for their full value if they are lost or damaged.

FEDERAL RESERVE: UNWINDING WILL BE GRADUAL

Last Wednesday, the country’s central bank detailed how it would shrink its mammoth balance sheet. During the fourth quarter, the Fed will unload $10 billion of maturing bonds per month; in each subsequent quarter, the monthly runoff will increase by $10 billion until reaching a limit of $50 billion. Fed chair Janet Yellen said that this schedule is set in stone, barring a “sufficiently great” economic threat. The Fed made no interest rate move last week, but 12 of 16 Fed officials do project a hike before 2017 ends.1

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update

Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - August 28, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Aug 29, 2017 8:05:27 AM

WEEKLY TIP

In retirement, arranging income distributions with an eye on tax efficiency could help your savings last longer. Smaller, tax-deferred account distributions will make your annual income taxes more bearable.

SUMMER SLOWDOWN HITS HOUSING MARKET

Low inventory and high prices are taking a toll on existing home sales. They declined 1.3% in July, according to the National Association of Realtors, making a second straight monthly retreat. In the past 12 months, the number of existing homes on the market has shrunk 9.0%, while the median sale price has risen 6.2% to $258,300. While resales were up 2.1% year-over-year, the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate reached a 2017 low in July. Census Bureau data showed new home sales falling 9.4% last month.1,2

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update

Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - August 21, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Aug 22, 2017 1:27:42 PM

WEEKLY TIP

Business owners should dedicate one hour per month to collect and sort receipts. This is vital for independent contractors, whose tax liability is linked to the expenses they deduct.

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update

Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - August 14, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Aug 15, 2017 7:58:25 AM

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The investment markets experience cycles, and the major indices inevitably see downturns at some point. If you are focused on long-term performance, the good news is that the markets have the potential to rebound in reasonable time. If your portfolio is diversified, that may provide you with some insulation in a correction.

TAME INFLATION PERSISTS

Can the Federal Reserve justify another interest rate hike in the second half of 2017? Given weak inflation pressure, maybe not. The central bank has set a 2% yearly inflation target, but the Consumer Price Index rose only 0.1% in July, resulting in a 1.7% year-over-year gain. Core consumer prices rose 0.1% for a fourth consecutive month in July, so annualized core inflation was also at 1.7%. The Producer Price Index fell 0.1% last month; analysts polled by Briefing.com expected a 0.2% rise.1,2

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update

Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - August 7, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Aug 9, 2017 8:00:25 AM

WEEKLY TIP

If you are in your twenties, saving should be your top financial goal: saving for emergencies, for investment, and for retirement.

LATEST JOBS REPORT BRINGS GOOD NEWS

U.S. payrolls swelled with 209,000 net new workers in July, according to the Department of Labor. That beat the 183,000 estimate by analysts surveyed by Reuters. About 53,000 of the hires were at restaurants and bars, with another 49,000 in the professional and business services category. While yearly wage growth remained at 2.5%, the headline jobless rate ticked back down to 4.3%. The U-6 rate (which includes the underemployed) stayed at 8.6%.1

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Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - July 24, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Jul 26, 2017 8:51:36 AM

WEEKLY TIP

Business owners can waste hours chasing late payments. If you have clients or customers who constantly pay late, ask yourself whether keeping them is worth the headache. It may not be.

WILL STOCKS GET AN EARNINGS BOOST?

While the first full week of the Q2 earnings season saw no pronounced rallies, there were also no shocks. By Friday’s closing bell, 20% of S&P 500 member firms had reported calendar Q2 results, and a FactSet analysis showed 77% had topped sales projections and 73% had beaten earnings-per-share forecasts – a good sign in an earnings-driven market climate. The Nasdaq Composite gained 1.19% last week and settled at 6,387.75 Friday; the S&P 500 rose to 2,472.54 after a 5-day gain of 0.54%. As blue chips fell 0.27% across five trading days, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 21,580.07 Friday. All three indices hit record highs during the week.1,2 

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update

Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - July 10, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Jul 11, 2017 10:27:59 AM

WEEKLY TIP

Many life and auto insurance policies offer the buyer the option to pay premiums on a month-to-month or quarterly basis. While this option is convenient, these fractional premiums sometimes prove more expensive than a lump-sum premium paid annually.

HIRING PICKS UP AGAIN

The Department of Labor announced some good news Friday: the creation of 222,000 net new jobs in June, the largest hiring gain in four months. Approximately 4.7 million people reentered the labor force and found work in June, a peak unmatched in 27 years of monthly data. Wages rose 0.2% for an annualized gain of 2.5%. The main unemployment rate ticked north to 4.4% as more Americans joined the job hunt; the U-6 rate, including the underemployed, increased 0.2% to 8.6%, its first rise since January.1

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Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - June 13, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Jun 13, 2017 9:38:45 AM

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One option that might help you leave more of your assets to charity when you pass away: put provisions in your estate planning documents that allow heirs to individually disclaim some or all of their inheritance in favor of a charitable donation. The disclaimed portion of the inheritance that is donated to charity will not be subject to estate tax. 

AN UPBEAT REPORT ON THE SERVICE SECTOR

The Institute for Supply Management’s May non-manufacturing purchasing manager index displayed a reading of 56.9 last week, showing expansion in U.S. service industries for an eighty-ninth straight month. Although the gauge declined 0.6 points from its April mark, it signaled a solid pace of growth. The index’s employment component rose 6.4 points to a mark of 57.8, as 15 industries added workers in May. The PMI has averaged a reading of 55.9 over the past 12 months.1

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update