2010 Insights

December 2010

Flexible spending account funds must be used by year end or they are forfeited.  You can use these funds for eyeglasses, co-payments, acupuncture and through 2010, over-the-counter medications such as aspirin.  Starting in 2011 you’ll need a doctor’s approval to purchase over-the-counter items for flex spending reimbursement.

November 2010

Recently, prominent financial writer Gail MarksJarvis wrote a column about how balanced portfolios that people held steady rather than selling have basically recovered.  It was difficult to imagine at the market low in March of 2009 that we would see such a dramatic recovery in 18 months. See www.chicagotribune.com/business/sc-cons-1021-marksjarvis-20101021,0,7993103.column to read more.

If you would like a review of your portfolio, please contact us for an appointment.

October 2010

We are hosting 2 workshops; the first will be on Thursday, October 21st from 7:15 – 8:30 PM and will cover financial basics such as building a spending plan and basic financial terminology.  The second will be on Thursday, November 18th from 7:15 to 8:30 PM and will discuss IRAs and Roth IRAs.  Please contact us for more information or to register.

September 2010

According to a Wall Street Journal survey, companies favor the large state universities for recruiting students because of the practical skills they teach and large student population – and it’s more efficient to recruit at fewer schools.  The top 3 choices are Pennsylvania State University, Texas A&M University and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

August 2010

The dog days of summer have hit us hard this year compared to recent summers.  Keep your cool by using fans to help keep air conditioning costs down.  Ceiling fans or box fans can help you feel cooler with the temperature set up a bit higher.

July 2010

Thinking about remodeling?  You can see cost and value (how much would you recoup) comparisons for home projects such as decks, basements, etc. by going to www.remodeling.hw.net/2009/costvsvalue/national.aspx  You can read more about strategies for waiting out the housing slump by going to our 3rd Quarter 2010 Newsletter.

June 2010

According to the 2010 Retirement Confidence Survey published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute 25% of Americans have less than $1,000 in retirement savings compared to 20% in 2009.  This lack of savings may be indicative of a lack of retirement goals.  Less than half of workers tried to estimate how much money they’ll need to live in reasonable comfort.

May 2010

According to US News and World Report, more Americans are delaying retirement for reasons such as the stock market slump, not saving enough, less employer assistance (like pensions or reduced/eliminated 401(k) match), some are waiting until 65 when Medicare kicks in, and many are delaying for personal fulfillment reasons.

April 2010

It is tax time, so after you have completed your 2009 taxes, get started with your spring cleaning and get a jump on 2010 taxes by donating used clothing and other items, assuming you itemize your deductions.  Also, be sure to list a “fair value” (think what the item would sell for in a thrift shop).  Then store the list in your tax file for 2010.

March 2010

One year ago the “bear” market hit its trough and a new “bull” market has taken hold with markets rising over 50%.  How long will the bull market run?  No one knows for sure, but the long-term historical trend has always been positive.  Contact us if you’d like to secure gains and prepare your portfolio to meet your objectives, both short-term and long-term.

February 2010

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute about 47% of those currently retired left their jobs before they had planned to.  Numerous reasons were cited including job loss, divorce, death of spouse, or disability (self or loved one).  About 60% of the survey respondents had some type of major financial setback during their careers.  These results show that saving for that proverbial “rainy day” is always a good idea.

January 2010

New tax rules effective January 1, 2010 allow virtually everyone with an IRA to “convert” it to a Roth IRA.  Until now people with incomes over $100,000 – and married couples filing separately – were ineligible to convert to a Roth IRA.  There are a number of things to consider when deciding whether a conversion makes sense for you; understand the pros and cons before making any changes.  Please call our office if you’d like to learn more about this new opportunity.