By: Mark T. Bowers: Financial Advisor
We’ve pretty much seen it all this past year— a bear market, a long rally and even a period of neither-up-nor-down. But even though we’ve only got a few weeks left of 2009, you still have time to make some moves that can pay off for you in 2010 — and beyond.
Here are a few suggestions to consider:
• “Max out” on your IRA — and make regular contributions next year. For the 2009 tax year, you can contribute up to $5,000 to a traditional or Roth IRA, or $6,000 if you’re 50 or older. And you have until April 15, 2010, to fully fund your 2009 IRA. Of course, it’s not always easy to come up with lump sums of money, but do whatever you can to make up for any shortfalls in your IRA for 2009. And in 2010, consider setting up automatic monthly contributions to your IRA — it’s a much more efficient way to maximize a great retirement-savings vehicle.
• Increase your 401(k) contributions. If your employer permits it, try to add more money to your 401(k) or other retirement plan before the year ends. By increasing your 401(k) contributions, you can lower your adjusted taxable income while you potentially build more resources for retirement.
• Convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Depending on your individual situation, a Roth IRA, which offers the potential for tax free growth, provided you meet certain conditions, may be a better choice for you than a traditional IRA, which offers the potential for growth on a tax deferred basis. Consequently, if you meet eligibility limits, you may want to convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. However, this conversion is likely going to be a “taxable event,” so you’ll need to have money available outside your IRA for the tax bill. You’ll want to discuss this move with your tax advisor.
The Yokel who wouldn’t shop Local. Every Morgan County citizen down in Morgan County liked Christmas a lot. But, the Grinch who lived nearly outside the county to the Southwest Did Not! The Grinch HATED Christmas! The whole Christmas Season! Now don’t ask me why; no one quite knows the reason. It could be his gifts were not purchased local! It could be he was just an ugly old yokel! But, whatever the reason . . . buying local or not . . . the Grinch wanted this Christmas to go straight to pot! “I know just what I’ll do,” the mean Grinchy Grinch thought. “I’ll drive through the county’s cities both large and small and I’ll tell everyone to go SHOP AT THE MALL!” He chuckle and clucked: “I know just what the local shopkeepers will do! They’ll all cry BOOHOO!” Now that was a noise the Grinch simply had to hear! So he got in his beat up car and threw it into gear. And he drove through all of Morgan County’s small cities towns and what he saw gave him the biggest of frowns. Scores of people, both young and old, were all of them smiling, shopping local in the cold. The Grinch stopped and puzzled and puzzled some more. “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come to a Mall store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, is something much more!” And, what happened next? Well in Morgan County they say the Grinch opened his wallet and SHOPPED LOCAL ALL DAY! At last, the old Grinch realized shopping local helps families, helps friends. Why it helps the community, the county and all who live within. So this Christmas Season . . . Don’t be a mean Grinch! Stay home and Shop local! It’s fun and a cinch!
That’s right y’all! I flat couldn’t believe I saw the Grinch shoppin’ in downtown Madison just a few minutes ago! Ding dang!
By: Mark T. Bowers: Financial Advisor
As we make the transition from autumn to winter, you may be reminded that seasons don’t just change on the calendar — they also change in your life. And as you move from one season of your life to another, you’ll find that some of your goals may have changed. Consequently, as time goes by, you may need to adjust your financial strategies as well.
To illustrate the “seasonal” nature of your investment strategies, let’s quickly go through a typical life cycle and look at the differing financial goals at each stage:
• Starting out — When you are beginning your career, you may not have a lot of money with which to invest, but it's important to try to put away something each month. If you have a 401(k) where you work, take advantage of it — your money is deducted, pretax, from your paychecks, so it’s an easy way to start investing. And at this stage of your life, consider investing primarily for growth. Of course, when you invest in growth-oriented vehicles, you typically assume an above-average degree of risk because the price of these investments can fluctuate greatly over time. However, if you buy quality investments and hold them for many years, you may be able to overcome the “blips” along the way and benefit from the growth prospects these vehicles can offer.
Momma says the freezer’s flat empty and there ain’t no wild game for our big Shoot ‘N Eat Christmas party feast! This calls for an emergency huntin’ escapade! Momma! Get on your camo and get in the truck! To the woods we go! Whoa! Don’t pay no mind to that “NO TRESPASSIN” sign! Daylight’s burnin’ so move your big booty before we get caught for illegal night huntin’! Shhhhhhh . . . I hear a deer over yonder. Get that rifle . . . Ready. Aim! FIRE! Watch out! HOLD YOUR FIRE! An enraged elf is chargin’ right for us! Ding Dang! I think you shot off his pointy hat! RUN! Hells bells! That elf’s done caught Momma and slapped her into next week! And what in the Sam Hill is Santa’s sleigh doin’ over here in Morgan County before Christmas? Lord. Have. Mercy! Here comes Santa and he’s right mad as that elf! We’ve got some splainin’ to do!
Whew! Good thing Santa ain’t mad at us anymore! But, it’s oh so cool that he’s hangin’ out in Morgan County ‘cause he says it’s real important to get your Christmas gifts local! Wow! That’s right y’all! He says if you don’t shop local then all you’re gonna get for Christmas is a bag of coal or a smelly pair of brown socks!
Three blind mice. I flat can’t wait! Meemaw and Pawpaw have done invited a celebrity chef team to cook up a Thanksgivin’ Feast! Y’all are all invited! To Meemaw’s House We Go! Hummmm. What’s that beat up 1930s Ford doin’ in the driveway? Oh well! I’m starved! Momma! Get the door for me so I can haul in these pies! What the? Watch out! There’s a ding dang monkey wearin’ one of those little red hats swingin’ from Meemaw’s antique chandelier! And what’s that racket in the kitchen!
“Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.” Ploink!
“What’s’a’matter with ya? Ya nuts?”
“Hand me that turkey.”
Oh. My. Ever. Livin’. Gosh! Meemaw’s done hired The Three Stooges to cook up Thanksgivin’ supper! I sense a disaster! I sense a disaster! What the? I smell smoke! Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Watch out! Here comes Larry, Moe and Curly and their chef coats are on flamin’ fire! Call 911 immediately! Now Momma’s got a holt of all three of ‘em and she’s just a slappin’ all of ‘em into the Friday after Thanksgiving! Which reminds me of the wildest, coolest Holiday promotion EVER!
By: Joey Lancaster; Financial Planner