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Financial Services Newsletter October 2017

| October 19, 2017
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FALL NEWSLETTER

It may be autumn, but as this is written, it is 90 degrees outside! Does this portend another mild winter? Our recent West Michigan weather has been setting records for high temperatures this late in the season, and the stock market has recently reached record highs as well, but more on that later.

Retirement Tax Management

Are you contemplating, or perhaps in, retirement? Are your financial strategies in place for meeting your income needs? Keeping taxes to a minimum? Optimizing Social Security and pensions? If you are unsure about any of these topics, we can be a valuable resource for you. Based on conversations with clients, it seems that “conventional wisdom” leads one to draw Social Security as soon as possible, and tap into taxable account assets first, leaving assets in traditional IRAs and other tax-deferred accounts as long as possible (age 70 ½) to continue compounding. Sound familiar? But as often the case, “conventional wisdom” may not be right for your situation. Finding the right strategy for making the most of your money and/or reducing taxes is not always easy. Sometimes more complex, integrated strategies may be beneficial. Once a strategy is implemented, is the job done? Not necessarily. Numerous factors might make a modification of the strategy necessary, such as changes in the tax code, investment and insurance products and features, and your income needs. Feel like your plan may need a review? Give us a call. Our team of financial professionals will be happy to help!

CYBER SAFETY

With the recent rash of hacking and security breaches, it in incumbent on all of us to protect ourselves and our personal information. Here are some tips for you to consider:

  1. Do not open any file or attachment, even if it appears to be sent from someone you know, if you did not request the email or were not expecting the file or attachment.
  2. Never click on a link in an email until you validate the source.
  3. Use antivirus software and keep it up to date.
  4. Never enter personal information in an email or text message.
  5. Make minimal use of unsecured, public networks.
  6. Create strong passwords and change them every 2-3 months. Don't share them...ever!
  7. Do not use the same password for multiple accounts.
  8. Be prudent in what you share about yourself and your job via social media.

DID YOU KNOW?

The fourth quarter is a busy time of year for many reasons. Make time to check on the following items before the year is over:

  • Make the Most of Your Retirement Savings
  • Use Your Medical and Dental Benefits
  • Verify Expiring Sick and Vacation Time
  • Use Your Flexible Spending Account
  • Double Check Required Minimum Distributions
  • Discuss Loss Harvesting with Your Advisor
  • Make Sure Your Estate Plan is Up-to-Date
  • Review Your Insurance Coverages

Free Medicare Consultation

Open Enrollment for Medicare is October 15 – December 7 this year. Contact Kurt or Rachel at Buursma Agency if you would like help navigating through the system. There’s no additional cost to use a local licensed agent! 😊

MARKET UPDATE

Despite weather catastrophes, raging wild fires out West, enhanced North Korea tensions, and even a total solar eclipse, the markets continue to march ahead, both here and abroad. In the US, we monitor GDP because it is a primary indicator used to gauge the health of the US economy. At this time, projections for GDP growth are about 2.2% this year and 2.5% in 2018; a positive increase. Another positive is that the probability of another Fed rate hike this year has been reduced to 30% due to continued low inflation and the aftermath of hurricanes. Over the last 25 years, the S&P 500 stock index has gained an average of +4.9% (total return) over the final 3 months of the year. 20 of the last 25 fourth quarters (80%) have produced a positive total return gain*. We hope that trend continues, but no promises.

Outside the US, optimism continues, especially in the eurozone. We continue to include non-US investments in most of our portfolios.

Now the numbers. Year-to-date, the S&P 500 is up over 14.5%, the Dow is up over 16%, NASDAQ composite up over 21%, MSCI EAFE up over 20%, and the Barclays Aggregate Bond up over 3%. **

All that said, as you might suspect, we continue to be optimistic about stocks over bonds for the balance of the year and moving into 2018. Fixed income investments will continue to be used in portfolios to temper the volatility of stocks, and to keep your individual portfolio(s) within your specific risk tolerance and time horizon.

*BTN Research  **Morningstar

CONNIE’S CORNER

We will soon be kicking off a new way for you to schedule your annual financial review with us!

During the month that your review is scheduled for you, you will be receiving an email from Darlene (as long as we have your email address on file), through Acuity Scheduling, that directs you to an on-line calendar for your advisor. You will be able to select an appointment time from his calendar that fits your schedule, making this process easier for you!

We hope it eliminates a lot of back and forth phone calls and/or emails trying to find a time that works for everyone. Our hope is that if you need to communicate with someone else first, this will give you the opportunity to do so, and then you can go back to the calendar and schedule your appointment! We are currently in a test phase of this, so some of you may have a seen a sneak preview.

LET’S CONNECT!

Don’t forget to check out our social media pages! We post informational articles and blogs, highlights of great things to see and do in Michigan, as well as occasional giveaways.

DeLong & Brower PC- @cpaholland

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238 Hoover Blvd, Ste 10, Holland, MI 49423
Phone: (616) 396-0500    Fax: (616) 396-4170