Happy 2017! We hope the year brings you health, happiness, and prosperity. Our election is finally over and, for many, the result was surprising and unexpected. So far, the market has responded favorably. Now that the inauguration has passed, we will see what President Trump has in store for the country and how the market reacts. If portfolio changes appear necessary, we will be in touch.
Economically, the S&P 500 had its strongest annual gain in two years, and the Dow Industrial Index had its best year since 2013! Excluding the effect of dividends, the S&P was up 9.54% for the year, the Dow was up 13.42%, and the NASDAQ composite appreciated by 7.50%. The MSCI EAFE was off 1.88%, but the MSCI Emerging Market Index recovered to end the year up 8.58%. Interest rates have begun the long-awaited rise, and the 10-year Treasury yield ended at 2.445%, up over 17.5 basis points over the past year, contributing to the US Aggregate Bond Index being up only 2.65% for the year*.
The start of a new year is the perfect time to review your financial well-being. With that in mind, please take a few moments to complete the New Year Checklist on the next page. As always, contact us if assistance is needed with any of your reviewed items.
~The DeLong & Brower Team
*Cetera Daily Market Briefing 1/3/17. Investors cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.
NEW YEAR CHECKLIST
- Do you have any IRA plans (Roth, traditional, rollovers)?
- Do you own any fixed or variable annuities?
- Do you have other investment that are not in a retirement plan?
- Have you recently changed jobs?
- Do you have a college-funding program for your children/grandchildren?
- Do you have long-term care coverage?
- Are you required to take distributions from your IRA that you are not currently spending?
- Have you spoken with a financial professional in the last 12 months?
- Do you or your spouse have a 401(k) that is still at a former employer?
- Do you believe you are saving enough for retirement?
- Are you currently saving money in any kind of retirement plan?
- Are you concerned with your retirement plan’s performance or investment choices?
- Do you have a comprehensive plan for all of your retirement funds (401(k), IRA, ect.)?
- Has your investment portfolio gone up or down dramatically?
- Do you believe you are saving enough for your children/grandchildren’s future education?
- If you have a college savings plan, are you concerned about the program?
- Do you have a will or trust? Year prepared: _________
- If you have a will or trust, do you know if it complies with recent law changes and reflects your current wishes?
- If your net worth is in excess of $1,000,000, have you done a comprehensive estate plan lately?
- Are you concerned about whether you have the right amount of life insurance to provide for your family?
- Is your disability income coverage adequate?
- Are the beneficiary designations on your retirement plans and insurance products up-to-date?
- If you own a business, do you have a succession plan or buy-sell agreement in place?
- Are you comfortable with the current investments in your portfolio?
- Do you think you might inherit assets having significant value?
Happy New Year!
2017 will see a leadership change for our country and some changes in our business as well.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR FIDICUARY RULE: The recently passed Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule and its implications require advisors to have full knowledge of client’s finances before making any recommendations related to investments or retirement planning. Failure to do so could lead to severe fines, suspensions, or, even worse, litigation. For most of our clients, this is already being done- as our business model is holistic in nature. For the few that have not completed holistic plans with us, we will be asking you to provide all relevant statements and other documents prior to, or at, our review meeting to deliver our best advice possible and to remain compliant with these rules. A list will be sent to you at the time of your review.
COMPLIANCE: We also have a few compliance related issues that we need to share with you. Our industry continues to become more regulated, and almost all the time this is designed to protect you, the investor. Some of you may have already experienced one or more of these updates, so thank you for helping us as we adjust.
ACCOUNT DISTRIBUTIONS: It used to be ok for you to communicate with us via email. We must now hear from you personally over the phone and no voice mail messages with trade instructions are allowed. We are not allowed to distribute money to you without personally speaking to you first. If you want to email and then follow up with a phone call, that is great!
DATA SECURITY: If we email sensitive information, it will be through a secure email link. You can then email back via that link to protect any secure information you may be sharing with us. So, please watch for these types of emails from us. Faxing is also a secure way of sending data if you prefer this method. This leads to the next topic – to help you better identify emails from us, we have changed our ceterafs.com email addresses. You will now be seeing the domain as ‘@delongbrower.com’ in our email address instead of ‘@ceterafs.com’. We hope this helps you know that these emails are indeed from us and we would really like you to open and read them before deleting. :)
VALID GOVERNMENT ISSUED ID: We are seeing more and more elderly clients who no longer drive. It is important that they maintain a Michigan (or resident state) ID. This is their form of identification and a current ID will be needed for anything they need to do, whether it be financial, medical, or anything else. We have worked with many of you in the past year helping your parents organize everything financial in one place to ensure everything is in alignment with their will or trust. If you have a parent that needs help in this capacity, please let us know and we will gladly work with you in this area.
Thanks for your understanding!
It’s a new year, with new challenges and changes at home and abroad. Join us for the latest in our DeLong & Brower Financial Education Series:
- What are the myths and realities of retirement?
- What retirement challenges are ahead in 2017 & beyond?
- How can DeLong & Brower help you plan for retirement?
DATE: TUESDAY. FEBRUARY 7TH
TIME: 6-7 PM
LOCATION: DELONG & BROWER
FRIENDS & FAMILY WELCOME
You still have time to contribute to a Roth IRA or Traditional IRA for 2016. Here are some extra tips for the new year:
IT’S JANUARY, AND I FORGOT TO CONTRIBUTE TO MY IRA. IS IT TOO LATE?
No. Generally speaking, the IRS allows you to make your IRA contribution for a particular tax year up until April 15 of the following year. This rule applies to both traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs, giving you some flexibility in terms of the timing of your annual IRA contribution. You can contribute a total of $5,500 to all the IRAs you own in 2017 (unchanged from 2016). In addition, if you’re age 50 or older, you can make an extra “catch-up” contribution of $1,000 a year in 2016 and 2017.
CAN I CONVERT MY TRADITIONAL IRA FUNDS INTO A ROTH IRA?
Yes. Any funds you convert during the tax year, other than amounts that represent nondeductible (after-tax) contributions to your traditional IRA, are treated as taxable income for that year. This means that if the contributions originally made to your traditional IRA were deductible, you may have to pay income tax on the amount converted to the Roth IRA.
CONTACT US IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN CONTRIBUTING TO AN IRA!