By: Eric Thompson
It’s been about a year since stock prices hit their low point during the long bear market. Since then, of course, we’ve seen a big rally, but some of the decisions you made when the market was at its lowest point may still be affecting your portfolio’s performance and prospects. So now that we’ve reached the one-year anniversary of the market bottom, it’s a good time to see where you are today and how you can prepare for tomorrow.
In looking back at the market depths of a year ago, it’s important to note that we didn’t get there overnight. In fact, stock indices had fallen about 50 percent since hitting their all-time high in October 2007, which means that investors had gone through a 16-month downturn. Consequently, it’s not surprising that many people, tired of seeing gloomy investment statements month after month, decided to “play it safe” for a while by putting large sums into fixed-rate vehicles such as Certificates of Deposit (CDs). And a lot of those CDs had one-year maturities, which means they’re now coming up for renewal.
When you bought your CDs a year ago, you probably did so for their ability to preserve your principal, but in the process, you made some trade-offs. First, you accepted a relatively meager income stream, because short-term interest rates, like those paid on your CDs, were low. And second, you relinquished the growth potential you might have gotten from other investments, such as stocks. So now that we’re a year removed from the bottom of a bear market, can you use the money from your maturing CDs to help you make progress toward your financial goals?
Dear Great and Powerful Weather Decider: Please cease and desist winter. That is all. Sincerely, Biz Buzz.
I mean really! The guy must suffer from multiple seasonality disorder! “I’m Winter. No I’m Spring. No, I’m hot. Wait! I’m cold.” STOP! Momma’s gonna SLAP YOU INTO NEXT WEEK WEATHERMAN! What in the Sam Hill is goin’ on? It’s not like we live up North! Momma’s ‘bout as confused as all get out and can’t figure out whether to fix up a frozen margarita or hot chocolate! Plus it’s pert near time for Spring Break! Ahhh . . . Beaches, bathin’ suits, tan lines, fab fruit cocktails, shorts, scandals . . .I mean sandals, summery jewels and sensational sunglasses! Oh and fishin’!
Ok! So the weatherman might not be able to make up his mind, but honey trust me when I tell you: Spring Has Arrived in Morgan County’s Shops! Sure as shootin’! Well, what are you waitin’ on? I’m drivin’ so jump in and let’s go shop! Oh and don’t forget your t-shirt, fur coat, sunglasses, sweater, rain boots and tennis shoes ‘cause there ain’t no ding dang tellin’ what kind of shoppin’ weather we’re gonna be subjected to!
By: Joey Lancaster: Financial Advisor
In a relationship, generally, one of the partners handles most of the financial planning and money issues. But what happens when the spouse who actively managed the couple’s assets and financial future is no longer the decision maker? The less experienced spouse has to step up to the plate, usually with little or no warning. Because this transfer of responsibility is often occasioned by death, disability or divorce, it can be an emotionally challenging time. Yet critical decisions concerning investments, insurance, financial and estate planning need to be made to avoid or minimize financial hardships later.
Here are some guidelines to help a novice get up to speed. Putting your financial life in order is essentially a five-step process:
Determining your financial and estate planning objectives;
Evaluating the continued viability of any plans in place;
Understanding the options available to achieve your goals;
Formulating a plan to achieve your goals; and
Implementing the plan.
What do you have?
Begin by making an asset and plan inventory, securing existing papers that provide the information that you will need. These documents fall into two groups:
1.Financial documents—including tax returns, bank and brokerage statements, credit card records, mortgages, insurance, retirement and other employee benefits, and similar statements that have information on your assets and liabilities.
2.Legal documents such as your will, durable power of attorney, health care proxy and any trust agreements that name you as a beneficiary or trustee.
Two stores. One party. Barkin’ Dog Shoe Co. and Amelia’s both of 171 South Main St. in downtown Madison right smack next door to each other want all y’all to get in that laid back Spring Fling Thing state of mine by joinin’ them at their: This Weather is Jamaican me Crazy, Mon Party this Thursday, Feb. 25 from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m.! Do y’all hear what I hear? Yes! Bob Marley! Ya Mon! Food, prizes and 15 percent off fab shoes, boots and sandals at Barkin’ Dog Shoe Co., and 15 percent off fab jeans, tops, dresses and more at Amelia’s! Ding dang! I’ll see all y’all there!
By: Mark T. Bowers: Financial Advisor
This month, skiers, skaters, hockey players and other athletes are in Vancouver for the Winter Olympic Games. As spectators, most of us can only dream of duplicating the feats of these world-class athletes — but as investors, we can learn quite a bit from the traits that distinguish these Olympians.
Here are a few of these winning characteristics:
• Discipline — To reach the top of their sports, Olympians train diligently for years. Along the way, they also train themselves to ignore distractions and avoid negative behaviors that could detract from their performance. As an investor, you too, need the discipline to avoid those emotional decisions — such as taking a “time out” from investing when the market is down or chasing after today’s “hot stocks” — to help you reach your goals.
• Long-term focus — Many years ago, skaters, skiers, bobsledders and other athletes started training, while keeping their eyes on the prize — the 2010 Olympic Games. As an investor, you may also want to focus on a distant goal — such as a comfortable retirement — to guide your daily, monthly and yearly investment decisions.
• Ability to overcome obstacles — Most Olympic athletes had to overcome obstacles at one time or another. But whether it was a series of bad performances or a career-threatening injury, they persevered . When you invest for decades, you will also encounter obstacles along the way, such as market downturns, recessions and investments that just don’t pan out. But if you’re resilient enough to bounce back from these setbacks, you can keep progressing toward your financial objectives.
Yay! Positive news for a positively picturesque city in Morgan County! Cross Roads Antiques & Collectables is fixin’ to open up here in beautiful Rutledge! Owner Andy McClure of Rutledge was in the soon-to-open shop located at 124 Fairplay St., right down from yummy Yesterday Café and across from the park! Honey, they are workin’ up a storm to get that shop ready! Andy says it’s gonna be an antique-mall format where they’ll rent out booths to select dealers. Oh and they’re gonna be strictly antiques, so no nonsense y’all! Anywho keep watchin’ this space for more info on Cross Roads Antiques & Collectables! Andy says they’ll be open by the end of March!
Hey and while I was in Rutledge, I popped in over at Rockland Florist – Flowers, Gifts & More to check it all out! Laura Lowe of Rutledge was there and she gave me the grand tour! Y’all they have got the cutest things for spring! What the? Spring is flat right smack around the corner! But, I digress! Rockland Florist has these precious and very affordable bunny rabbit Topiary gifts for only $12! Oh and she has some precious whimsical bunnies too for like $10! That’s a ding dang deal! Rockland Florist is sooo much more than just flowers! Check ‘em out located at 106 West Main St., in Rutledge!