99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
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Newsletters | Simon Financial Group

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Start the New Year off Right!

Life insurance is a key component of your comprehensive financial plan. How much life insurance do you need? Do you have enough? If you are not sure, it may be time to talk!

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Tax changes keep coming

Two new tax acts were passed in 2019 that extended provisions from the 2017 tax act. Other changes were made as well that were not included in the act. From mortgage related items to retirement savings and the kiddie tax, these changes affect many taxpayers.

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File now? File later?

While it doesn’t apply to everyone, there are several reasons to file your income taxes early. If you expect to get a refund or want to avoid the late-season identity theft, amongst other reasons, it’s something to consider.

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The top 1% of the world? Really?

It may be hard to believe, but many Americans are in the top 1% of the wealthiest people in the world. A good income and investments, savings, and personal assets put many of us in that category.

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Hi, I’m not from the Census Bureau

The 2020 Census is about to begin and scammers are already exploiting it. They want to make the most of it so protect yourself from money scams.

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CRN-2942200-020620


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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MOST IN A FEW - 10% of American households own 84% of all stocks in the country, including direct ownership of general securities and indirect ownership through mutual funds and other pooled accounts that are held both in pre-tax and post-tax accounts (source: Survey of Consumer Finances).

THE IMPACT? - 9.3% of the world’s population is at least age 65 in 2020.  12.0% of China’s population is at least age 65 in 2020.  16.6% of the USA’s population is at least age 65 in 2020 (source: U.N. Population Division).

THE NEXT CENTURY - If you are having a daughter or granddaughter born in 2020, and that newborn girl lives an average female life expectancy of 81.2 years, she will live to the year 2101.  Updated life expectancy numbers for American babies were released on 1/30/20 (source: Center for Disease Control).

FEWER TOOLS AVAILABLE - The Fed cut short-term interest rates by 5 percentage points during the nation’s last recession (a downturn that ran from 12/2007 to 6/2009), an action that could not be replicated today since the Fed’s key short-term rate is 1.75% (source: Federal Reserve).

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A growth rate for the US economy of +3% per year has been the expected standard for our country for years, in spite of the fact that we have not hit that benchmark since 2005.  Our +2.3% growth rate in 2019, i.e., year-over-year increase from 2018 to 2019, pushed the size of the US economy to a record $21.7 trillion, up +$869 billion in the last year.  The economy of the United States, the largest in the world, is +53% bigger than 2nd place China’s $14.2 trillion economy (source: Commerce Department).

The American homeowner has made a significant comeback in the last 3 years.  From 12/31/16 to 12/31/19, the number of US homeowners has increased +5.1 million to end last year at 80.7 million.  Over the same 3 years, the number of US renter households has increased just +237,000 to 43.3 million (source: Census Bureau).

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported last week that our nation’s “debt held by the public” is projected to rise from $17.2 trillion today to $31.4 trillion by 2030.  The $31.4 trillion of debt is equal to 98% of the USA’s projected 2030 gross domestic product (GDP), resulting in a higher percentage of “debt-to-GDP” than at any time since the end of WWII.  Purists believe the nation’s debt problem is even worse – the $17.2 trillion of “debt held by the public” does not include $6.1 trillion of “intergovernmental debt,” i.e., Treasury bonds held by government trust funds such as Social Security (source: CBO).

CRN-2933804-020320


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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We recently sent out a letter regarding the signed Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. As a reminder, this Act increases the required minimum distribution age from 70-1/2 to 72, changes the rules for required distributions of non-spousal account inheritors, eliminates the maximum age limit for contributions to traditional individual retirement accounts, offers small businesses tax incentives to set up automatic enrollment in retirement plans or to join multiple employer plans, permits annuities in 401(k) plans and expands access to employer-sponsored retirement plans for long-term part-time workers.

Here are some key components of
the legislation that may impact you:

Implications for IRAs

Implications for IRAs

Today the law requires that most individuals take out required minimum distributions from their retirement accounts once you reach age 70-1/2. People turning 70-1/2 in 2020 and later will not be required to withdraw RMDs until they are 72.

Implications for IRAs

The maximum age limit of 70-1/2 on traditional IRA contributions is eliminated. The law now allows clients to contribute to their traditional IRAs in the year they turn 70-1/2 and beyond, provided they have earned income.

Implications for IRAs

The Act requires beneficiaries to withdraw all assets of a non-spousal inherited account within 10 years of the account holder’s death. There are no required minimum distributions within those 10 years; however the entire balance must be distributed after the 10th year. Please note that anyone who inherited an IRA from an original account owner who passed away prior to January 1, 2020 can continue their current distribution schedule.


Interested in learning more?
If you would like to discuss this topic further, simply
reply to this email or call today for more information.


CRN-2912154-011720


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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STOCKS OVER TIME - As of 12/31/19, the S&P 500 was “up” 74 of the last 100 months (74%), 140 of the last 200 months (70%) and 202 of the last 300 months (67%).  The S&P 500 consists of 500 stocks chosen for market size, liquidity and industry group representation.  It is a market value weighted index with each stock's weight in the index proportionate to its market value (source: BTN Research).

CONCENTRATED - There are 3,142 counties in the United States.  Just 31 counties, or 1% of 3,142, produce 32% of the nation’s GDP.  Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the annual market value of all goods and services produced domestically by the US (source: Bureau of Economic Analysis).

CHANGE IN THE LAW - The newly passed SECURE Act allows Americans to withdraw money from a pre-tax 401(k) or IRA without paying a 10% penalty for an “early withdrawal” if the funds are used to cover costs related to childbirth or adoption.  The withdrawal would be subject to ordinary income tax.  Please consult a tax expert for details (source: SECURE Act).

WHAT IF? - The average interest rate paid by the US government on its interest-bearing debt was 2.429% as of 12/31/19, more than two percentage points less than the 4.508% paid as of 12/31/04, i.e., 15 years ago (source: Treasury Department).

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Donald Trump was sworn in as the USA’s # 45 president 3 years ago (1/20/17).  The S&P 500 has gained +16.0% per year (total return) over the 3 years, an aggregate gain of +56.1% (total return).  That result is above the index’s trailing 50-year average annual return of +10.6% achieved over the 5-decade period from 1970-2019.  All-time record closes for the S&P 500 have been set on 121 trading days over the 3 years of the Trump administration (including last Friday 1/17/20), an average of 1 every 6 trading days (source: BTN Research).

Inflation, as measured by the “Consumer Price Index” (CPI), was up +2.3% for 2019.  For the decade of the 2010s, inflation was up just +1.8% per year (up +19% for the decade), the lowest decade of inflation in the USA since the 1930s.  By comparison, the decade of the 1970s suffered +7.4% annual inflation (up +103% for the decade).  The Fed continues to believe that “too little” inflation is bad for the US economy, encouraging consumers to delay key purchases to a later date (source: Department of Labor).

US banks foreclosed on 143,955 homes nationwide in 2019, down 37% year-over-year from 230,305 foreclosures in 2018.  The worst single month of foreclosures in US history was 102,134 foreclosures in September 2010, part of the 2010 calendar year record of 1.05 million foreclosures (source: ATTOM Data Solutions).

CRN-2913604-012120


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Yes, a perfect score!

Start the new year off knowing you don’t have any credit issues. It’s free and easy so check your score by requesting your annual credit report.

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Be vigilant for scams

With the new year, scammers are more devious than ever. The 2020 Census gives them a great opportunity to cause you trouble so protect yourself.

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Retirement here I come

Boosting your retirement plans contributions is one of the best things you can do. The 2019 maximum IRA contribution limit is $6,000 or $7,000 if you are 50 or older. The deadline for 2019 contributions is April 15, 2020. The 401(k) contribution limit is $19,500 with a catch-up contribution of $6,500.

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I think it’s what I need

It’s best to know what insurance coverage you have and need. An annual insurance checkup is just the thing and should include any life changes. Reply to this email if you would like to review your current insurance needs.

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CRN-2896892-010820


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Congress recently passed—and the President signed into law—the SECURE Act, landmark legislation that may affect how you plan for your retirement. Many of the provisions go into effect in 2020, which means now is the time to consider how these new rules may affect your tax and retirement-planning situation. However, clients, financial advisers and tax professionals must pay close attention to the effective dates of the various provisions of the SECURE Act. For example, some of the SECURE Act’s provisions became effective prior to 2020.

Here is a look at some of the more important elements of the SECURE Act that have an impact on individuals. The changes in the law might provide you and your family with tax-savings opportunities. However, not all of the changes are favorable, and there may be steps you could take to lessen their impact.

Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act)

Selected key provisions affecting individuals:

Repeal of the maximum age for traditional IRA contributions.

Before 2020, traditional IRA contributions were not allowed once the individual attained age 70½. Starting in 2020, the new rules allow an individual of any age to make contributions to an IRA, if the individual has compensation, which generally means earned income from wages or self-employment.

Required minimum distribution age raised from 70½ to 72.

Before 2020, retirement plan participants and IRA owners were generally required to begin taking required minimum distributions, or RMDs, from their plan or IRA by April 1 of the year following the year they reached age 70½. The age 70½ requirement was first applied in the retirement plan context in the early 1960s and, until recently, had not been adjusted to account for increases in life expectancy.

For distributions required to be made after December 31, 2019, for individuals who attain age 70½ after that date, the age at which individuals must begin taking distributions from their retirement plan or IRA is increased from 70½ to 72. In addition, certain individuals working past age 72 may be able to defer RMDs even further.

Partial elimination of stretch IRAs.

For deaths of plan participants or IRA owners occurring before 2020, beneficiaries (both spousal and nonspousal) were generally allowed to stretch out the tax-deferral advantages of the plan or IRA by taking distributions over the beneficiary's life or life expectancy (in the IRA context, this is sometimes referred to as a "stretch IRA").

However, for deaths of plan participants or IRA owners beginning in 2020 (later for some participants in collectively bargained plans and governmental plans), distributions to most nonspouse beneficiaries generally are required to be distributed within ten years following the plan participant's or IRA owner's death. So, for those beneficiaries, the "stretching" strategy is no longer allowed.

Exceptions to the 10-year rule are allowed for distributions to (1) the surviving spouse of the plan participant or IRA owner; (2) a child of the plan participant or IRA owner who has not reached majority; (3) a chronically ill individual; (4) a disabled beneficiary; and (5) any other individual who is not more than ten years younger than the plan participant or IRA owner.

Those beneficiaries who qualify under this exception generally may take their distributions over their life expectancy (as allowed under the rules in effect for deaths occurring before 2020).

Note: This particular provision of the SECURE Act can significantly affect your current retirement plans and planning for beneficiaries of your IRAs and certain qualified plans (e.g., IRC section 401(k)) upon your death. For individuals who died prior to 2020, the SECURE Act’s impact will be more limited regarding stretch IRAs.

If your retirement and/or estate plan include designated beneficiaries, other than those enumerated exceptions in the paragraph above, then you need to determine whether your goals and objectives are impacted by the SECURE Act. For example, if your designated beneficiaries include adult children, a trust, etc., the SECURE Act will affect such beneficiaries’ ability to accomplish a stretch IRA strategy.

While a stretch IRA strategy may be limited under the SECURE Act, there are other strategies that can help extend a beneficiary’s recognition of income. In addition, there are methods to replenish (or replace) the benefits lost, that were available to designated beneficiaries prior to the passage of the SECURE Act.

Expansion of IRC section 529 education savings plans to cover registered apprenticeships and distributions to repay certain student loans.

An IRC section 529 education savings plan (a 529 plan) is a tax-exempt program established and maintained by a state, or one or more eligible educational institutions (public or private). Any person can make nondeductible cash contributions to a 529 plan on behalf of a designated beneficiary. The earnings on the contributions accumulate tax-free. Distributions from a 529 plan are excludable up to the amount of the designated beneficiary's qualified higher education expenses.

Before 2019, qualified higher education expenses didn't include the expenses of registered apprenticeships or student loan repayments.

However, for distributions made after December 31, 2018 (the effective date is retroactive), tax-free distributions from 529 plans can be used to pay for fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for the designated beneficiary's participation in an apprenticeship program. In addition, tax-free distributions (up to $10,000 per beneficiary) are allowed to pay the principal and/or interest on a qualified education loan of the designated beneficiary, or a sibling of the designated beneficiary. Be aware that some states may not follow the federal law changes relating to 529 plans.

Kiddie tax changes for gold star children and others.

In 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which made changes to the so-called "kiddie tax," which is a tax on the unearned income of certain children. Before enactment of the TCJA, the net unearned income of a child was taxed at the parents' tax rates if the parents' tax rates were higher than the tax rates of the child.

Under the TCJA, for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, the taxable income of a child attributable to net unearned income is taxed according to the brackets applicable to trusts and estates. Children to whom the kiddie tax rules apply and who have net unearned income also have a reduced exemption amount under the alternative minimum tax (AMT) rules.

There had been concern that the TCJA changes unfairly increased the tax on certain children, including those who were receiving government payments (i.e., unearned income) because they were survivors of deceased military personnel ("gold star children"), first responders, and emergency medical workers.

The new rules enacted on December 20, 2019, repeal the kiddie tax measures that were added by the TCJA. So, starting in 2020 (with the option to start retroactively in 2018 and/or 2019), the unearned income of children is taxed under the pre-TCJA rules, and not at trust/estate rates. Additionally, starting retroactively in 2018, the new rules also eliminate the reduced AMT exemption amount for children to whom the kiddie tax rules apply and who have net unearned income.

Penalty-free retirement plan withdrawals for expenses related to the birth or adoption of a child.

Generally, a distribution from a retirement plan must be included in income. Unless an exception applies (for example, distributions in case of financial hardship), a distribution before the age of 59½ is subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty on the amount includible in income.

Starting in 2020, plan distributions (up to $5,000) that are used to pay for expenses related to the birth or adoption of a child are penalty-free. That $5,000 amount applies on an individual basis, so for a married couple, each spouse may receive a penalty-free distribution up to $5,000 for a qualified birth or adoption.

Taxable non-tuition fellowship and stipend payments are treated as compensation for IRA purposes.

Before 2020, stipends and non-tuition fellowship payments received by graduate and postdoctoral students were not treated as compensation for IRA contribution purposes, and so could not be used as the basis for making IRA contributions.

Starting in 2020, the new rules remove that obstacle by permitting taxable non-tuition fellowship and stipend payments to be treated as compensation for IRA contribution purposes. This change will enable these students to begin saving for retirement without delay.

These are just some of the SECURE Act’s significant changes that may affect your current retirement and/or estate plans. Please contact us so we can help tailor a plan, with your other advisers, that will work best for you.

CRN2889173-010220

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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ALMOST A MILLION BUCKS - If the nation’s aggregate net worth of $113.8 trillion was spread equally across all 122.7 million US households, every American household would be worth $927,000 (source: Federal Reserve).

MIND BOGGLING - Our national debt is $23.1 trillion as of Thursday 12/12/19.  If the United States was to pay down the national debt by $1 million a minute, i.e., $1.44 billion a day, it would still take 44 years to extinguish $23.1 trillion of debt (source: Treasury Department).

POPULATION PROFILE - 13.7% of the US population (44.7 million individuals), approximately 1 out of every 7 people, was born outside the United States (source: Census Bureau).

IS COST A FACTOR? - There are fewer college students in 2019 (18.9 million) than there were 8 years ago in 2011 (20.4 million) (source: Census Bureau).

Magnifying Glass Picture
The current job approval rating of Congress is only 25%, but a “government shutdown” that would have taken place on Friday 12/20/19 will not add to the frustration level of Americans.  Washington lawmakers finally agreed last week on the 12 spending bills required to fund government outlays for fiscal year 2020, the 12 months that began on 10/01/19.  The $1.37 trillion of discretionary expenditures that the spending bills contain represent just 29% of the anticipated $4.75 trillion of total outlays for the year, the difference ($3.38 trillion) being mandatory spending (source: Gallup, Congress).

Negotiators from both the United States and China ultimately did what was necessary to avoid the latest US tariffs on Chinese imports that would have gone into effect on 12/15/19.  The trade deal, announced last Friday 12/13/19, contains a gradual reduction in tariffs between the 2 economic superpowers.  The S&P 500 rallied on the trade news, finishing last week up +28.9% YTD (total return).  The last year that produced a full-year result better than +28.9% was 22 years ago in 1997 when the stock index gained +33.4% (source: BTN Research).

Forgotten in the decade-plus since the real estate crisis struck the USA in 2008 is the work done to strengthen the balance sheets of US banks.  Through last Friday 12/13/19, just 4 American banks had failed YTD and required a bailout from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).  Since the FDIC was created in 1933 during the Great Depression, there have been just 3 years – 2005, 2006 and 2018 – when there were no bank failures during the calendar year.  157 American banks failed in 2010 at the height of the real estate crisis, an average of 3 per week (source: FDIC).

CRN-2872634-121619


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Watch out!

Make sure that the 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax doesn’t catch you unaware. It applies to individuals, trusts, and estates.

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Help others and get a charitable tax break

As the year draws to a close, and the holiday season is here, it's a good time to help others. You can also help yourself by making your IRA required minimum distribution through a qualified charitable contribution.

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May I lower my liability please?

If you own a business, you want to be confident that you are doing all you can to minimize your tax liability. Here are a few things to consider.

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Maximize a Health Savings Account for added tax benefits

Maximizing the tax-deductible contributions to a health savings account can help lower your tax bill. Tax-free withdrawals are always attractive too.

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CRN-2857070-120419


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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ONE STOCK - 56 stocks within the S&P 500 are up at least +50% YTD through the close of trading last Friday 11/29/19.  There are also 13 stocks that are down at least 30% YTD (source: BTN Research).

LIGHTS ON - 38% of US electricity next year is forecasted to be generated by natural gas, 22% from coal, 20% from nuclear power plants, 7% from hydropower and the remaining 13% from wind, solar and other suppliers (source: Department of Energy).

POTUS - Americans have had a “Baby Boomer” serving as President for the last 27 years, i.e., 1993-2019.  “Baby Boomers” are the 78 million Americans born between 1946-1964 (source: BTN Research).

TARIFFS - The USA is scheduled to implement a new 15% tariff on $156 billion of Chinese imports as of 12/15/19.  If enacted, nearly all imports from China will subject to a tariff (source: CNBC).

Magnifying Glass Picture
Nearly 46 years ago (January 1974), then President Richard Nixon boldly declared that “in 1980, the United States will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need.”  The US has not achieved Nixon’s goal of total energy independence, but the United States did export more barrels of crude oil and petroleum products in both September and October this year than our country imported, the 1st time that our nation’s oil exports have exceeded its imports based upon monthly records maintained since 1949, i.e., for the last 70 years (source: Energy Information Administration).

The real estate crisis that devastated the US housing market in 2007-2010 was a function of “too many buyers” borrowing “too much money” to purchase “too many homes.”  The resulting housing bubble forced a deluge of existing homes to hit the market “for sale” at the same time – a stunning 4.433 million in October 2007 (by comparison, there were just 1.770 million existing homes “for sale” in October 2019).  By the year 2037, 21 million of the 79.5 million homes in the country (26% of all current homes) are projected to go on the market “for sale” as the “Baby Boomer” generation dies.  “Baby Boomers” were born between 1946-1964, making the group age 55-73 in 2019 (source: NAR, Zillow).

Economists have suggested that when Americans are feeling upbeat about their finances, they are more likely to adventure out and accept a new job or business opportunity, and thus more likely to move.  Surprisingly, just 9.8% of Americans changed their residence for the 12 months ending 6/30/19, the lowest percentage of Americans moving over the course of a year based upon annual records maintained since 1947.  In 1985, 20.2% of Americans had moved in the previous year (source: Census Bureau).

CRN-2852137-120219


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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There are only two months left in 2019 if you want to take advantage of methods to reduce income taxes. Many of the provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are in effect until 2025 so act while you can.



BUNCH CHARITABLE DONATIONS to maximize deductions by donating in a single year the amount you would in two years to improve the likelihood of exceeding the standard deduction.
CONSIDER A ROTH IRA conversion to insure part or all of your retirement savings against future tax rate increases.
INCREASE RETIREMENT PLAN savings by contributing up to the maximum of $19,000 to a 401(k), 403(b), or Thrift Savings Plan, plus a $6,000 catch-up contribution if you're 50 or older.

Keeping an eye on the horizon
and planning for 2020 is a great
way to end 2019.
Do you have questions about your year-end
planning? Call or email today and
together, we can put a strategy in place.


CRN-2820169-111119


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Header Picture September is Life Insurance Awareness Month

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BONDS, NOT STOCKS - 72% of the investment portfolios of US life and health insurance companies at the end of 2018 were invested in bonds while just 2% of their assets were invested in stocks (source: NAIC).

OLD AND STILL OWING MONEY - In 2016, 46% of American homeowners ages 65-79 had outstanding mortgage debt on their primary residence, almost double from the 24% of this age bracket that had mortgage debt 30 years earlier (source: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University).

BUYING HOUSES AGAIN - Over the decade from 9/30/06 to 9/30/16, the number of homeowners in the United States declined by 0.2 million from 75.6 million to 75.4 million.  Over the last 3 years from 9/30/16 to 9/30/19, the number of homeowners in the United States increased by +4.1 million from 75.4 million to 79.5 million (source: Census Bureau).

NO COLLEGE DEBT - Military veterans who have served at least 3 years of active duty after 9/10/01 qualify for the “Active Duty GI Bill,” i.e., the veteran’s tuition and fee payments at an in-state college are paid in full.  Different rules and payouts apply for veterans with less than 3 years of duty or if a private college is selected.  Contact the Department of Veterans Affairs for details (source: Department of Veterans Affairs).

Magnifying Glass Picture
Importers of foreign goods coming into the United States paid tariffs of $7 billion in September 2019, the highest monthly total ever collected by the Treasury Department.  Products from China drove $5 billion of the $7 billion total, leverage that continues to lead stock market strategists to believe a resolution to the US-China trade war may still occur this year.  The S&P 500 reached another closing high last Friday (11/08/19), its 6th record set in just the last 2 weeks.  The index’s bull run is now 10.67 years in length, double the duration of all stock market bulls since 1950 (source: Treasury Department).

143 million individual tax returns were filed nationwide for tax year 2017, the most recent year for which complete data has been compiled.  To rank in the top 2% of those 143 million returns required an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $339,478, a highly paid group that received 26% of all AGI in the country, yet they paid 47% of the $1.6 trillion of federal income tax paid that year.  Voters in next year’s presidential election may be asked to decide if this top group is indeed paying their “fair share” (source: IRS).

10,800 Americans will turn 65 years old each day during 2020, i.e., 1 every 8 seconds.  This group represents the 10th year of 19 years of “Baby Boomers” turning age 65.  An estimated 11,500 Americans will turn 65 years old each day in the year 2029, the final year of the 78 million “Baby Boomers” (source: Government Accountability Office).

CRN-2818663-111119


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
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Wait, what date is it?

It's hard to believe but the year is winding down. Before you start enjoying turkey and presents, take a few minutes to consider what you need to do before New Year's Eve is here.

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Will you give me all your information, please?

Running a small business is hard enough without worrying about the security of your data. Cybercriminals are always thinking of new ways to obtain the information and use it to their advantage.

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Long-Term Care?

Life continually presents new challenges as you age. One of those is making sure you have the care you need when you require it.

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A most difficult time

Heading into the workforce during the Great Recession was difficult enough. Now, the Millennial generation is having a difficult time coping with the effect it’s still having on their lives.

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CRN-2806246-103119


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Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS - 41% of American households make less than $50,000 of adjusted gross income (AGI) per year.  Only 8% of American households make at least $200,000 of AGI (source: Census Bureau).

UNAFFORDABLE FOR MANY - The median home price in June 2019 in San Francisco ($1,466,900) was more than 5 times the median home price in Phoenix ($280,000), i.e., by moving 754 miles southeast from the northern California coast to the Arizona desert, the median home price drops by 81% (source: Redfin).

NO WORK - 37% of American seniors report they retired earlier than planned as a result of health problems, buyout packages, layoffs, grandchildren, or caring for an aging parent (source: Health and Retirement Study).

ROTTEN KIDS - A study involving 2,500 wealthy families over decades of wealth transfers across generations found that on average only 30% of the original family fortune remained at the end of the 2nd generation, and only 10% remained at the end of the 3rd generation (source: Williams Group).

Magnifying Glass Picture
Stock market investors are voting with their dollars and apparently, they believe a US-China trade deal is more likely than not.  The S&P 500 rallied to close at 3023 last Friday (10/25/19), within 0.1% of its all-time closing high set 3 months ago on 7/26/19.  The venerable stock index is up +22.5% YTD (total return) (source: BTN Research).

The US government is like any other organization – if the news isn’t all that flattering, release it to the public late on a Friday afternoon.  They did exactly that on Friday 8/05/11 when S&P downgraded the US from a top credit rating that America had held for 70 years.  And they did it again last Friday 10/25/19 when the Treasury Department released at 2 p.m. ET the final deficit number for our government for fiscal year 2019 (the 12 months ending 9/30/19), a stunning $984 billion (source: Treasury Department).

Operating in the red isn’t uncommon for Uncle Sam - 54 of the last 59 fiscal years, i.e., 1961-2019, have resulted in an operating deficit.  The only surplus years were 1969, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.  To change this pattern, the United States must either raise taxes (unpopular) or reduce spending (also unpopular).  Our spending is however concentrated: 62% of the $4.45 trillion of total 2019 outlays went to just 4 categories – Social Security ($1.044 trillion), National Defense ($688 billion), Medicare ($651 billion) and Net Interest Expense ($376 billion) (source: Treasury Department).

CRN-2798974-102819


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
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It might be appealing to realize the appreciation on a property you own whether a primary residence, second home or vacation property. Being mindful of the potential tax impact of any transaction for an appreciated property is necessary as federal and state taxes, including capital gains, can be significant.


Mitigating the income tax impact


Does the tax impact concern you?
If you would like to discuss this topic further, call or simply reply to this email today to learn more.


CRN-2777214-101519


Brought to you by:
Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

     

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Header Picture September is Life Insurance Awareness Month

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RARELY DOWN - The bond market has had just 3 down years in the last 40 years, i.e., 1979-2018.  The bond market is up +8.2 YTD (total return) through last Friday 10/11/18.  The Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate bond index, calculated using 6,000 publicly traded government and corporate bonds with an average maturity of 5 years, was used as the bond measurement (source: BTN Research).

HALF-AND-HALF - The United States government has maintained financial records since 1789, i.e., for the last 230 years.  As of 5/31/09, the US had amassed a national debt of $11.3 trillion.  As of 9/30/19, the US had amassed a national debt of $22.7 trillion.  Thus, the US government has accumulated as much debt in the last 10 years ($11.4 trillion) as it accumulated in its first 220 years ($11.3 trillion) (source: Treasury Department).

WE THE PEOPLE - As of the end of September 2019, 158 million Americans were working and had full-time jobs and 6 million Americans were out-of-work, a total of 164 million Americans who were either working or looking for work.  Another 166 million Americans are either too young to have a job or they have retired from the workforce.  Adding both groups together makes up our nation’s population of 330 million (source: Department of Labor).

JAPAN IS OUT, CHINA IS IN - In 2008, China’s economy ($4.5 trillion) was smaller than Japan’s ($4.9 trillion).  In 2019, China’s economy ($14.2 trillion) is nearly triple the size of Japan’s ($5.2 trillion) (source: Focus Economics).

Magnifying Glass Picture
The US Treasury Department has auctioned off 30-year government bonds since 1977.  The lowest yield ever on our nation’s 30-year paper occurred this summer when the yield dropped to 1.94% on 8/28/19.  Last Thursday’s $16 billion quarterly auction (10/10/19) of new 30-year bonds was priced at a 2.17% yield, the lowest yield ever on an initial purchase of the Treasury long-bond (source: Treasury Department).

Low treasury yields suggest bond traders are pricing in a weak outlook for inflation.  The “consumer price index” (CPI) was flat in September and was up just +1.7% on a trailing 1-year basis through 9/30/19.  From 1966-1991, the CPI was up at least +3% in 25 of 26 years.  More recently, the CPI has been up at least +3% in just 1 of the last 13 years, i.e., 2006-2018 (source: Department of Labor).

The beneficiary of low-interest rates and low inflation: anyone borrowing money, from first-time home buyers to the largest multinational corporations.  More corporate bonds (by dollar amount) were issued globally ($434 billion) in September 2019 than in any month in history, fueled by historically low worldwide interest rates (source: Dealogic).

CRN-2772695-101419


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Header Picture September is Life Insurance Awareness Month
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Are you a 401(k) millionaire?

Putting some money aside on a regular basis is the best way of hitting your goal. Increasing your contribution every year is the key to making it happen.

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Have you adjusted your withholding?

The 2018 tax cut reduced the amount withheld from wages. Make sure you're on track to avoid a surprise when tax time comes around.

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Retire on a cruise ship?

It's an option that may make sense for the right person. However, there are considerations to be made before taking in the fresh sea air.

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Financially prepared to be a caregiver?

Being a caregiver can be difficult and have a significant financial impact. Unforeseen costs can make it even more stressful.

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CRN-2751185-093019


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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MILLION BUCKS - If the nation’s aggregate net worth of $113.5 trillion was spread equally across all 122.5 million US households, every American household would be worth $927,000 (source: Federal Reserve).

VOTING - The 2020 elections in the US take place 400 days from Monday.   On 11/03/20, Americans will vote for a President, all 435 members of the House and 33 members (out of 100) of the Senate (source: Congress).

EACH AND EVERY DAY - The world consumes 101 million barrels of crude oil per day, with the United States consuming 21 million barrels of the global daily total (source: Department of Energy).

FREEDOM AND UNITY - The lowest unemployment rate in any US state as of August 2019 was 2.1% in Vermont (source: Department of Labor).

Magnifying Glass Picture
Congress managed to turn back from the precipice of a government shutdown last week by agreeing to delay the legislative fight to another day.  The signing of a “continuing resolution” by the House of Representatives (on 9/19/19) and by the Senate (on 9/26/19) will permit fiscal year 2020 to begin tomorrow (on 10/01/19) as scheduled, albeit with a spending plan carried over from fiscal year 2019.  Both chambers of Congress now have until Thursday 11/21/19 (a week before Thanksgiving) to agree on new spending limits for our nation’s discretionary outlays for the new fiscal year, representing 30% of our anticipated spending, i.e., $1.4 trillion out of $4.6 trillion (source: Congress).

Call it a disagreement or a difference of opinions, but either way, Fed members are not on the same page with regard to the future of rate cuts.  The Federal Reserve Board consists of the 7 members of the Fed’s Board of Governors (which has 2 vacancies currently) and the presidents of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, i.e., there are 17 current members of the Federal Reserve Board.  At the 9/18/19 Fed meeting where an interest rate cut was approved, 7 of the 17 supported an immediate rate cut and saw the need for an additional rate cut later in 2019, another 5 of the 17 supported an immediate rate cut but anticipated no further action during 2019, and the final 5 of the 17 did not support the most recent rate cut or any other reductions in 2019 (source: Federal Reserve).

The ultimate winner of the US-China trade war may not be Washington or Beijing but may be Vietnam.  US corporations caught in the middle of the conflict have increasingly turned to Vietnam to establish new manufacturing relationships, including some of Silicon Valley's biggest technology names (source: Financial Times).

CRN-2749729-093019


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Header Picture September is Life Insurance Awareness Month

According to the 2018 Insurance Barometer Study, Life Happens and LIMRA1,

1 in 5 people who have life insurance say they do not have enough.

Almost everyone (90%) thinks a family’s primary wage earner needs to own life insurance.

More than a third (35%) of households would feel the financial impact within 1 month, if the primary wage earner died.

44% of Millennials overestimate the cost of life insurance by five times the actual amount.

The last thing you want is for your loved ones to shoulder extra burdens during a time of bereavement. Without the necessary resources, someone you love may need to assume the hardships of debt, loss of income, the cost of education, or the responsibility for your business.

For any of these reasons, or others, you may be uninsured or underinsured. Simply reply to this email with a quick note asking for help. I'll l make this promise to you: I will objectively advise you, not sell you. The process will be pressure-free and geared completely to your interests, needs and financial goals.

It's time to make an informed decision for yourself and those you love.

1 https://lifehappens.org/blog/2018-barometer-study/

CRN-2737842-091919

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SO FAST - The new 5G technology being installed across the US is estimated to be 20 times faster (in terms of download speed) than the current 4G technology that is in place nationwide (source: Lifewire).

WE’RE ALMOST EVEN - The USA has 121 companies in the Fortune Global 500 rankings for 2019 compared to 119 companies from China.  20 years ago (1999), the USA had 181 companies in the Fortune Global 500 rankings while China had just 5 companies.  The rankings are based upon annual revenues (source: Fortune).

GUARANTEED INCOME - The city of Stockton, CA started a program in February 2019 to pay $500 per month to 125 low-income citizens for the next 18 months.  There are no restrictions on how recipients can spend the money (source: Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration).

IMPACT ON TAXES - A maximum $2,500 of interest expense from student loans is deductible annually from taxable income.  Please consult a tax expert for details (source: Internal Revenue Service).

Magnifying Glass Picture
It’s analogous to not getting sick for as long as you can remember, and wondering when your “good health” streak is going to end?  The US economy, in its 123rd consecutive month of “expansion,” is currently experiencing its longest economic stretch without a recession in our nation’s history.  We will get “sick” someday because recessions do happen.  Since 1950, the US has suffered 10 recessions or approximately one downturn every 7 years.  The average duration of those 10 recessions since 1950: 11 months (source: National Bureau of Economic Research).

When the Federal Reserve lowered short-term interest rates on 7/31/19 for the first time in 10 ½ years, Chairman Jerome Powell called the action a “preemptive strike” designed to get ahead of a slowing global economy.  The European Central Bank, the central bank for the 19 European nations that use the Euro as their common currency, last week took similar action by cutting interest rates for the first time since 2016.  Europe and the United States are leery of the same problems: weak growth, stagnant inflation and trade tensions (source: ECB).

The US government begins a new fiscal year in 2 weeks as fiscal year 2019 ends on Monday 9/30/19 at midnight.  With just the final month of the 2019 fiscal year yet to be calculated, the US has already surpassed a trillion-dollar deficit ($1.067 trillion).  But chances are good for a financial bounce-back in September: the US has produced a surplus in each of the last 7 Septembers (2012-2018) and the average surplus has been $73 billion, including $119 billion in September 2018 (source: Treasury Department).

CRN-2730817-091619


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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OUT OF BUSINESS - Lehman Brothers, a 158-year old company, was forced to file for bankruptcy protection on 9/15/08 (11 years ago) when no “white knight” emerged to rescue the company from its substantial investment in subprime mortgages.  It was (and still is) the largest US bankruptcy ever (source: Business Insider).

THE MOST PAID - The maximum Social Security benefit paid to a worker retiring at full retirement age in 2019 was $2,861 per month, more than triple the $899 per month paid 30 years ago in 1989 (source: Social Security).

TARIFFS IN PLACE - 59% of all imports coming into the US in 2019 (as measured by dollar) are subject to a trade tariff imposed by the United States.  75% of all imports coming into China in 2019 (as measured by dollar) are subject to a trade tariff imposed by China (source: Global Trade Alert).

LABOR DAY - Only 6% of private sector workers belong to a union, compared to 37% of public sector workers.  Overall, 13% of US workers, i.e., 1 out of every 8, belong to a union (source: Gallup).

Magnifying Glass Picture
Hurricane Dorian caused life-altering damage to the Bahamas but failed to inflict the same level of destruction to the United States.  The storm, reaching 185 mph of sustained winds as it lingered over the Bahamas for 40 hours early in the week, moved slowly northward along the Eastern Seaboard until it crossed land on North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Friday 9/06/19.  Although heavy rains, storm surge and high winds from Dorian were anticipated, what was not expected were the 20 tornadoes generated by Dorian that moved inland across the Carolinas (source: BTN Research).

Wall Street bond investors traditionally are thought of as the “smartest” guys/gals in the room.  Stock investors willingly admit that they look to the debt market for a gauge on future economic growth and for the direction of inflation in the coming months.  But the bond market couldn’t have been more wrong with its prediction that interest rates would rise throughout 2019.  Thus, investors should take the current forecast from the bond market and couple that with an appropriate dose of humility from the prognosticators: today’s low level of interest rates suggests that slow economic growth and low inflation will be the storyline for the next year (source: BTN Research).

One American financial record that will be set in 2019: retail store closures.  Through 8/31/19, a staggering 8,051 US retail stores have closed YTD.  That total will likely exceed in the coming weeks the all-time calendar year record of 8,139 store closures set just 2 years ago in 2017 (source: Coresight Research).



CRN-2721220-090919


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Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Close the lemonade stand!

Paying for private school tuition can be daunting. Learning the different options on how best to do that can make all the difference in a child's education.

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Sure you can have what you earned today

Pay-centric wages gives employees on-demand access to earned income. It's a benefit with advantages for employees and employers.

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Yes! That's a retirement crisis...

Millennials carry a heavy load of student debt, with potentially less job security and fewer retirement benefits than previous generations. Saving enough for retirement is a concern.

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What did you buy with my credit card?

Establishing good credit is vitally important to financial success, especially in today's world. Starting early with a debit or credit card for a teen may not be such a bad idea.

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CRN-2709455-083019


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Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Living longer requires more planning

There are many planning implications to living longer. The Social Security Administration says the current average life expectancy for a man reaching age 65 is 84 and for a woman turning 65 is 86. The quality of life, the desired lifestyle, and people who are dependent on you are prime factors in financial longevity planning.

There are many things to consider:

CRN-2687101-081519


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
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WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE? - Foreign investors held $6.54 trillion of US Treasuries in May 2019, i.e., short-term bills, intermediate-length notes and longer-term bonds, its highest level ever (source: Treasury Department).

LAST TIME - The last rate cut cycle by the Fed lasted from 9/18/07 to 12/16/08 (15 months) and saw the Fed cut its key short-term rate by 5 percentage points, i.e., from 5.25% to 0.25% (source: Federal Reserve).

BIG NUMBERS - The total net worth of Americans as of 3/31/19 was $108.6 trillion, including $29.1 trillion (27% of the overall net worth total) in retirement accounts (source: Investment Company Institute).

PRICEY - The cost of tuition, fees, room and board for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year at Bennington College in Vermont is $72,650 (source: Bennington College).

Magnifying Glass Picture
The US Treasury Department labeled China as a “currency manipulator” last Monday 8/05/19, the first time the US has made such a claim against China since 1994 or 25 years ago.  Since 1988, the US has accused just 3 countries of weakening their domestic currency to gain a trading advantage – Japan (1988), Taiwan (1988 and 1992) and China (1992-94).  Up until 2005, the Chinese government suppressed the value of its currency in order to lower the cost of Chinese exports to foreign buyers, providing its exporters an advantage over competitors.  From July 2005 to the end of 2013, the value of the Chinese currency (the renminbi) had grudgingly increased in value as a result of global pressure, rising by +37% over the 8 ½ years from 12.08 cents to 16.50 cents.  In retaliation last week against the US, the Chinese government pushed the value of the renminbi down to 14.16 cents on Wednesday 8/07/19 (its lowest level in 11 years), a negative for American exporters selling to China but a positive for American consumers buying an export from China (source: BTN Research).

3.43 million American workers quit their jobs in June 2019.  A decade earlier, just 1.79 million American workers quit their jobs in June 2009 (during the nation’s 2008-09 recession).  A higher “quit level” is indicative of a greater level of confidence in finding a new job to replace one’s current occupation (source: Department of Labor).

It has been 8 years since the United States lost its top credit rating from Standard & Poor’s.  There are just 10 countries in the world that currently maintain the top credit rating from each of the 3 major credit rating agencies, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Norway and Sweden (source: Trading Economics).

CRN-2677815-081219


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
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AND THE WORLD DIDN’T COLLAPSE – Monday was the 2,000th trading day for the bond market since the USA was downgraded by S&P from a top credit rating on 8/05/11 (source: BTN Research).

JUST IGNORE IT - The “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019” was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Friday 8/02/19.  The bill increases our nation’s discretionary spending by $324 billion over the next 2 fiscal years (2020-2021) above the statutory caps agreed to by Congress in December 2011 (source: BBA 2019).

A LOT IN A FEW - Of the 532 bank failures that have occurred in the USA during the 15 years ending 7/31/19, 51% (270 failures) have taken place in just 4 states – Georgia, Florida, Illinois and California (source: FDIC).

GROWING POPULATIONS - From 1970 to 2019, San Jose has gone from the # 31 largest US city to # 10, and Phoenix has gone from # 20 to # 5 (source: Census Bureau).

Magnifying Glass Picture
It was 8-years ago that the rating agency S&P downgraded the debt issued by the USA from a top credit rating, a ranking that had been held for 70 years.  Gloom-and-doom predictions that forecasted rising interest rates for US government bonds sent the stock market down 6.6% the next trading day as investors feared the worst was yet to come.  The Wall Street experts however were wrong.  Since 8/05/11, the yield on the US 10-year Treasury note has not gone up but has fallen from 2.57% to 1.85% and the S&P 500 did not collapse but has gained +189% (total return) over the 8 years, equal to +14.2% per year (source: BTN Research).

The Federal Reserve did exactly what was expected last week, but not as much as had been hoped for.  The Fed lowered its key benchmark interest rate by ¼ of 1%, its first rate cut in 10 ½ years, but less than the ½ of 1% drop desired by stock investors.  Chairman Jerome Powell called the Fed’s action a “mid-cycle adjustment to policy” instead of labeling it as the beginning of a series of rate cuts, leading some market watchers to conclude the drop might be a “one-and-done” reduction.  Additional rate cuts will be driven by the weakness/strength of the global economy and an escalation/resolution of trade tensions with China (source: Federal Reserve).

The White House, convinced China is not holding up its end of an agreement to buy more grain from US farmers, is now threatening to impose 10% tariffs on almost all remaining Chinese imports (worth $300 billion annually) that are not subject to the 25% tariff previously implemented.  The new tariffs would begin 9/01/19 (source: White House).

CRN-2668611-080519


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Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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I owe you, I owe you, and I owe you too

Personal debt can be a financial trap, especially for Millennials, but with some planning and perseverance, it’s possible to pay it off. Boy, won’t that feel good!

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Maybe we shouldn't have done that

Retirement is not always the golden years. There are many things that go into making it a secure, stable and enjoyable time.

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Wait a minute, that's a mistake

Your credit score is crucial to your financial well-being. Errors on your credit report can have a negative impact on every financial aspect of your life.

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I was never good at math

Planning for retirement can be an anxious time. Figuring out whether to pay off a mortgage or not can be a difficult decision.

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CRN-2644351-071619


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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If you have good news then
I want to hear from you!

Here are a few action items that may necessitate the need for a new plan or an update of your current plan.

Marriage

Have you gone through any of these life events recently? Or perhaps you will soon? Call me, and we'll discuss appropriate ways to prepare for them.



* Property & Casualty insurance is not offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp.


CRN-2644297-071619


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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WHERE DID THEY GO? - The number of publicly listed companies, i.e., companies traded on an exchange, has dropped from a peak of 8,090 in 1996 to just 4,336 today (source: theglobaleconomy.com).

WANT A PENSION? - 83% of full-time state and local government employees were participants in a defined benefit pension plan in 2018.  Just 16% of full-time workers in the private sector were participants in a defined benefit pension plan in 2018 (source: Urban Institute).

RICHEST - The top 1% of wage earners in the US reported at least $480,804 of pre-tax income in 2016 and own an estimated 29% of the total wealth in the country (source: Survey of Consumer Finances).

GRAY HAIR OR NO HAIR - An estimated 56 million Americans will be at least 65 years old by the year 2020, i.e., 1 out of every 6 Americans.  An estimated 73 million Americans will be at least 65 years old by the year 2030, i.e., 1 out of every 5 Americans (source: Census Bureau).

Magnifying Glass Picture
It was an “old movie” that long-time stock investors have seen before: the chair of the nation’s central bank calmed the fears of skittish investors and all but guaranteed that a rate cut would occur in the coming weeks, causing stocks to surge.  Alan Greenspan, Fed Chair from 1987-2006, did it so often it became known as the “Greenspan Put,” i.e., whenever a financial crisis arose, the Fed would come to the rescue by lowering interest rates.  Current Fed Chair Jerome Powell oversees an economy with a historically low jobless rate, low inflation and a stock market already at record levels, but he is still concerned that global speed bumps may eventually work their way into our economy – thus the need now for a rate cut in the near term (source: BTN Research).

Stock investors celebrated Chairman Powell’s comments to Congress last week by pushing the S&P 500 above 3,000 for the first time ever.  The stock index closed at 3014 on Friday (7/12/19), its 10th record close this year and 217th in the ongoing 124-month bull run that has produced a gain of +453% since March 2009, equal to an annualized return +18.0% per year.  Rumor has it that bulls don’t last forever, but that fact has been lost for now on this streak of more than 10 years (source: BTN Research).

OPEC, once the king of global oil production, has seen its status diminish with the boom of American shale oil.  The 15-nation cartel was the source of just 29.8% of the world’s daily production of oil as of July 2019, its lowest total by percentage in almost 29 years, i.e., since September 1990.  OPEC generated 39.5% of the world’s oil in April 1998 (source: International Energy Agency).

CRN-2642005-071519


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Whatever you do, don't get sick

Health care costs never go down, and the amount of money you need for it in retirement increases every year. Proper planning is the key to staying healthy.

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Psst! Hey Millennial, want to buy a home?

Overwhelming college debt prevents many millennials from buying a home. Those that do buy are being frugal.

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Uncertainty is never a good thing

You've worked hard over the years to build your business. A succession plan will make sure it continues when you are no longer there.

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May I have your health insurance number, please?

Medical identity theft is on the rise and has serious implications for your financial well-being. It can take years to undo the damage, so be careful.

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CRN-2623046-070119


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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NOT AS MUCH - China’s ownership of Treasury securities peaked at $1.20 trillion in August 2017 but has dropped 7.4% to $1.11 trillion as of April 2019 (source: Treasury Department).

MAYBE NEXT TIME - The Fed’s 4th meeting of 2019 ended last Wednesday with no change in short-term interest rates.  The Fed last cut interest rates on 12/16/08 or 10 ½ years ago (source: Federal Reserve).

AT RISK OF A TUMBLE? - The 4 most overvalued housing markets in the world today are Hong Kong, Munich, Toronto and Vancouver (source: UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index).

JULY FOURTH - When the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence on 7/04/1776, the population of the 13 colonies was 2.5 million, equal to the population of Houston today (source: Census Bureau).

Magnifying Glass Picture
Last week’s press conference following the Fed’s 2-day meeting presented Chairman Jerome Powell, on the job for less than 17 months, with a significant challenge – how to describe the US economy in an optimistic light, but at the same time firmly communicate the central bank’s willingness to come to the rescue should aid be needed.  Powell, the first Fed Chair in more than 30 years not to hold a Ph.D. degree in economics, delivered a “dovish” tone that indicates the Fed will “act as appropriate to sustain the (nation’s) expansion” (source: Federal Reserve).

Powell’s signal that he is willing to cut rates quickly rippled across many US securities.  Both stocks and bonds were already hoping that interest rate cuts could occur as soon as late July 2019, but now they appear to be expecting that action.  The S&P 500 index closed at a record level on Thursday 6/20/19, its 5th record close for the year and 212th in the 10 ¼ year bull market run.  The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note dipped to 1.99% last week, its first time below 2% since November 2016.  Lower interest rates translate into a weaker US dollar, just the tailwind needed by US exporters fighting multiple tariff battles (source: BTN Research).

US and Chinese trade teams meet in Japan this week, setting the stage for a face-to-face dialog between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping late in the week.  The White House’s threat from early May 2019 to increase tariffs from 10% to 25% on an additional $325 billion of Chinese imports is Washington’s leverage in the negotiations that will take place in Osaka (source: White House).

CRN-2611124-062419


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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The new tax law has reduced the ability to itemize for many people. “Bunching” charitable deductions is a new and tax-efficient approach to charitable giving and allows you to maximize deductions by combining deductions into a single year and maximize the amount over the standard deduction.

You donate the same amount you would in two years but in a single year. These larger than normal charitable contributions, combined with other itemized deductions, increase the likelihood of exceeding the standard deduction and providing additional tax savings.

  • For example, a married couple claims $5,000 in mortgage interest and the maximum state and local income tax deduction of $10,000. They usually give $6,000 a year to charities. These amounts do not exceed the $24,000 standard deduction. By doubling up the usual annual gift to $12,000, they maximize their deductions and achieve greater tax savings.
     
  • Consider using your annual required minimum distributions to take advantage of a significant charitable contribution.

Bunching is a complex charitable planning technique and will work differently for each taxpayer depending on their particular situation. If this sparks your interest let me know and I’ll add it to our next meeting agenda.

Call or email today to learn more.



CRN-2601420-061819


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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SIX-TO-ONE RETURN - The average American worker who retires next year (in 2020) will have paid $36,000 in Medicare taxes during his/her working lifetime, far less than the $229,000 in Medicare benefits that he/she is projected to receive.  The projected lifetime benefit total is net of Medicare premiums paid by the retiree (source: Urban Institute).

MONEY - The top 10% of taxpayers received 47% of the $10.2 trillion of adjusted gross income (AGI) earned nationwide in tax year 2016.  The bottom 90% of taxpayers received the other 53% of AGI (source: Internal Revenue Service).

SUBJECT TO A TARIFF? - 35% of the auto parts used by domestic auto makers are manufactured outside the United States, then imported into America (source: Deutsche Bank).

SERVED OUR COUNTRY - The 18.2 million military veterans in the United States are split 91/9 between men and women (source: 2017 American Community Survey).

Magnifying Glass Picture
The tariff dispute between the US and China is a clash between the world’s 2 largest economies.  The tariff dispute between the US and Mexico pits the world’s largest economy up against the globe’s 15th largest, coupled with an unequal relationship between the neighboring countries.  80% of Mexico’s exports are shipped to the United States, while just 16% of US exports are sold to Mexico.  President Trump’s greatest leverage was that an extended trade battle with the USA could tip Mexico’s economy into a recession, an outcome that Mexican President Lopez Obrador had to avoid.  Late last Friday night (6/07/19), the White House was satisfied with the progress made regarding border security and pulled the 5% Mexican tariffs off the table (source: BTN Research).

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell may not have explicitly said a rate cut was going to occur in the near term, but that’s what the US stock market heard.  Powell’s commitment to “act as appropriate to sustain the (economic) expansion” increased the odds of a summer rate cut, three days before a sluggish jobs report from May 2019 showed only 75,000 new hires, well below the average 209,000 new jobs created each month over the last 5 years (source: Department of Labor).

A week ago (6/03/19), the S&P 500 was in the middle of a near 7% tumble driven by trade turf wars and a declining global growth outlook.  Before Chairman Powell came to the rescue, a market correction seemed more likely than a late week rally.  By Friday’s close however, the S&P 500 was back to a +15.7% YTD gain (source: BTN Research).

CRN-2581653-061019


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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No, I don't want another loan

43 million people owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. Putting off buying cars and homes or getting married and starting a family, student debt is a difficult thing for Millenials to deal with.

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But I like working

Not everyone is ready to quit working and put their feet up when they turn 65. For those with college degrees and higher incomes, it is a growing trend.

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Hey kid, how about a little capitalism?

Summer camp isn't what it used to be. Learning how to run a business or become an entrepreneur may be a good way for kids to spend a few days.

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It’s not always easy to figure out

Social Security is more than retirement benefits. It’s complicated and sometimes difficult to understand how to maximize all the benefits available to you. Knowing a few tips never hurts.

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CRN-2559817-053019


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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BIG AND REALLY BIG - 62 publicly held US companies produced at least $1 billion of sales per week in 2018, up from 58 companies that accomplished that level of weekly sales in 2017.  Just 1 domestic company generated more than $1 billion of sales per day during 2018 (source: Fortune).

COLLEGE - During the 2018-19 school year, American colleges awarded 1.88 million bachelor’s degrees, down from a record 1.96 million degrees from the 2016-17 school year (source: NCES).

RECYCLING - Just 15% of plastic is recycled globally, i.e., 85% of plastic ultimately is burned, dumped into a landfill or dropped into the ocean (source: United Nations).

NEWBORNS - Our nation’s “general fertility rate,” defined as the number of births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15-44, was just 59.0 births in 2018, a record low for birth data that has been tracked nationally since 1909 or for the last 110 years (source: National Center for Health Statistics).

Magnifying Glass Picture
Last week likely did not bring any resolution to the US-China trade conflict.  Both sides are resolute with their positions, reluctant to accept terms proposed by the other.  What is apparent however is that tariffs are impacting sales.  US companies exported $26 billion of goods to China in the first quarter 2019, on pace for $104 billion for the entire year.  That projection is 13% lower than the $120 billion of actual exports to China in 2018.  Chinese companies exported $106 billion of goods to the United States in the first quarter 2019, on pace for $424 billion for the entire year.  That projection is 21% lower than the $540 billion of actual exports sent to America in 2018 (source: Commerce Department).

Traders in the oil market juggle a myriad of issues each trading day that go well beyond the classic supply/demand discussion – inventory disruptions, geopolitical tensions, recessions, and now the potential consequences of the US-China trade dispute.  But the majority of topics that would have moved the pricing-needle a decade ago are now oftentimes overshadowed by the surging supply of US shale oil.  Crude oil production in the United States, running at 5 million barrels a day just a decade ago, is at 12 million barrels a day in 2019, largely a result of the US shale oil revolution (source: DOE).

In less than one week, the USA will begin its 120th month while in an expansion, tying the longest growth-run in US history.  However, the message from the US bond market (falling interest rates recently) suggests we are heading into a period of ordinary if not slowing-growth, and weak-to-low inflation.  If the Fed follows the bond market’s lead, its next action would be to ease monetary policy, i.e., lower rates (source: BTN Research).

CRN-2555918-052819


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Now that the dust has settled from tax season, it's time to look ahead. Here are a few items you should consider:

The tax cut resulted in smaller tax withholding from each pay period. Many people did not adjust their withholding and received smaller refunds or had to pay taxes. Review your withholding now to make sure you are not hit with an unexpected tax bill next year.

The IRA contribution limit is $6,000 for those under 50 and $7,000 for those 50 and older. The maximum 401(k) and 403(b) contribution limits are $19,000 for those under 50 and $25,000 for those 50 and older.

Section 199(a) of the Internal Revenue Code provides many owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, S corporations, and some trusts and estates a 20% income deduction.


If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact me. I am always here to help.



CRN-2533307-050819


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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MAYBE THEY WILL? - The Fed Funds futures market is forecasting a 57% chance of a December 2019 rate cut by the Federal Reserve as of the close of trading last Friday 5/10/19 (source: CME Group).

INTO THE TRASH CAN - 61% of 600 human resource managers who were surveyed do not review the resumes of job applicants who are lacking a 4-year college degree (source: Harvard University).

NOT A PENNY - 23% of working Americans save nothing from their monthly income for their future retirement (source: First National Bank of Omaha 2019 Savings Survey).

IN THE RED NOW - The Social Security Trust Fund paid out $853.5 billion in 2018, more than the $831.0 billion the fund produced in total income.  The 2018 deficit breaks a streak of 34 consecutive years (1984-2017) of “income exceeding cost.”  As recently as 2009, the annual surplus was $134 billion (source: OASI Trust Fund).

Magnifying Glass Picture
It was the threat that sent a shiver through stock markets worldwide last week.  The White House accused China of backpedaling on previous trade deal commitments, specifically language that was to be written in Chinese law that would strengthen the intellectual property rights of American firms.  Last Friday (5/10/19), the United States acted on the threat and raised the tariff on 38% of the goods imported from China (estimated to be $200 billion annually) from its current tariff level of 10% to 25%.  American manufacturers that import product parts from China are in a difficult position – absorb the cost increase and reduce profits or pass onto its customers the price increase and potentially lose sales (source: BTN Research).

The S&P 500 has fallen in 6 of 8 trading days during the month of May, largely due to the US/China trade spat.  From its all-time closing high of 2946 on 4/30/19, the S&P 500 has fallen 2.2% to its closing value of 2881 as of last Friday 5/10/19.  During the index’s bull run that started on 3/10/09, the S&P 500 has withstood 12 drops of at least 5%, including 6 drops of at least 10% and 3 drops of at least 15% (source: BTN Research).

The US government suffered a $234 billion deficit in February 2019, the largest monthly deficit in history.  But last month (April 2019), tax receipts climbed to $536 billion (a monthly record for the United States), driving a $160 billion surplus for the month.  With only 5 months to go in fiscal year 2019, i.e., the 12 months ending 9/30/19, our country’s fiscal year deficit is $531 billion (source: Treasury Department).

CRN-2538073-051319


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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JUST FOURTEEN DAYS - The best 14 trading days for the S&P 500 over the last 10 years (2009-2018) gained +86.2% (total return), more than the +84.2% gained by the other 2,502 trading days in the decade (source: BTN Research).

ALL ARE TOO HIGH - On 12/17/18, 10 Wall Street strategists forecasted the yield of the 10-year Treasury note as of 12/31/19, i.e., a year into the future.  The 10 predictions ranged from a low of 2.75% to a high of 3.60%.  The yield on the 10-year Treasury note closed at 2.50% as of Tuesday 4/30/19 (source: Barron’s).

GOOD START - It was only the “advance” estimate on the growth of the US economy during the 1st quarter 2019, but the +3.2% increase (i.e., quarter-over-quarter change expressed as an annualized result) reported on 4/26/19 represents a rate that has not been bested during any calendar year since 2005 (source: Department of Labor).

DOLLARS IN, DOLLARS OUT - At the end of 2018, Medicare was covering 59.9 million Americans (18% of our population).  The program was cash positive in 2018, taking in $756 billion of income (including $10 billion of interest income) while paying out $741 billion in benefits (source: Medicare).

Magnifying Glass Picture
US employers added +263,000 jobs in April 2019, pushing the nation’s jobless rate to 3.6%, its lowest level since December 1969.  In fact, the government has reported an unemployment rate lower than 3.6% only 17 times since January 1954 (65 years ago), equal to just 2% of the preceding 783 months (source: Department of Labor).

The US Federal Reserve has long maintained that +2% annual inflation is its target – somewhere between “too much inflation” (which can lead to an overheated economy that may suffer from runaway inflation) and “too little inflation” (which can lead to a sluggish economy that may stumble into a recession).  The message from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell following last week’s meeting of the nation’s central bank: the Fed will do what it takes to get our “too little inflation” back on target, but for now, that commitment does not include an interest rate cut (source: Federal Reserve).

Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate announced an “agreement in principle” with President Donald Trump last week on a $2 trillion infrastructure spending plan for the next decade.  The broad outline, roughly equivalent to $4 billion of spending per week for the next 10 years, would repair or replace our nation’s aging system of roads, airports, and power plants while bringing high-speed internet access to all sections of the country (source: White House).

CRN-2528913-050619


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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It's not as easy as it was.

Being a Millennial is not easy these days. Baby boomers and Millennials have different concerns when it comes to money.

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The retirement countdown clock is ticking.

Planning for retirement is not for the faint of heart. But, having a comprehensive plan for when that time comes is one of the best things you can do.

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You've worked hard all these years.

Succession planning is key to ensuring your family business continues after you are no longer involved. There are many considerations when developing a plan.

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They are all good causes.

There is a gender gap when it comes to philanthropy. On average, women donate more money and time than men.

-

CRN-2518935-042619


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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A LOT IN A FEW - Half of the net wealth created in the US stock market going back to 1926 was produced by just 90 publicly held companies (source: Hendrik Bessembinder, Arizona State University).

NOT WHERE YOU’D THINK – The state of North Dakota has the highest percentage of adult residents who have a net worth of at least $5 million (source: Internal Revenue Service).

GOTTA HAVE IT – Americans pay “out-of-pocket” on average just 15% of the total health care expenditures they generate in a year.  “Out-of-pocket” expenses include deductibles and co-payments for services and prescription drugs but does not include the cost of health insurance premiums.  The remaining 85% of annual health care expenditures is covered by insurance (source: Health Care Cost Institute).

TALENT DROP-OFF - 44% of employers surveyed report they are “having difficulty” hiring new employees with skills equal to that of the firm’s retiring employees (source: Robert Clark, Willis Towers Watson).

Magnifying Glass Picture
The rising and falling of the “cost of money” impacts financial decisions of American consumers.  For the last 30 years, the cost of borrowing (home mortgages, auto loans, business loans, lines of credit) has trended downward, setting the stage for a lower “normal” interest rate.  The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, considered the most popular debt instrument in the world, was yielding 9.06% on 4/18/89 (30 years ago), falling to 5.23% on 4/18/99 (20 years ago), to 2.98% on 4/18/09 (10 years ago), and finally to 2.56% on 4/18/19 (source: Treasury Department).

It happened in the United States within the last decade, but the numbers are unbelievable.  In the depths of the real estate crisis, American banks repossessed 1,050,500 homes in 2010, an average of 87,542 per month.  By calendar year 2018, only 230,305 homes were repossessed (equal to 19,192 per month).  Improvement in that statistic has continued into the 1st quarter 2019 as US banks took back 35,787 homes, or 11,929 per month, a drop of 86% from the carnage of 2010 (source: ATTOM Data Solutions).

The 1975 Congressional ban on most US crude oil exports, a reaction to the 1973 oil crisis in America, was designed to reduce our nation’s reliance on imported crude oil.  Congress and President Barack Obama lifted that ban in December 2015, setting the stage for a surge in crude oil exports.  For the week ending Friday 4/12/19, the United States exported 2.4 million barrels of crude oil per day.  Just 5 years earlier (4/11/14), the US was exporting only 67,000 barrels of crude oil per day or just 3% of its current export level (source: US Energy Information Administration).

CRN-2510176-042219


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Discussing wealth with family members can be uncomfortable and perhaps daunting. However, it can provide significant outcomes in planning for wealth transfer by:

  • Empowering you to make informed decisions
  • Creating a legacy for your family and favorite charity
  • Helping preserve assets and maintain liquidity
  • Strengthening the family vision through communication and education
Keep this in mind

Developing a wealth transfer plan, and keeping it current, is essential to ensure your wealth is distributed as you intend and seeks to provide that there will not be significant negative financial implications in the future. It can be a complicated and time-consuming process, but it all begins with some basic considerations:

 

It takes a team

Estate and wealth transfer planning is a complex undertaking and must be a collaborative effort between your experienced and knowledgeable advisors. Together, your attorney, tax advisor and I can help you develop and implement a plan that addresses your desires as well as your family's needs.

Do you have a plan in place?
We can discuss this topic at a future meeting or please reach out with questions.



CRN-2502539-041519

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REPURCHASE THE STOCK - Companies in the S&P 500 spent $806 billion on stock buybacks in 2018, breaking the old record for share buybacks of $589 billion set in 2007 (source: S&P).

HALF WORK, HALF DON’T – 156.7 million Americans have full-time jobs today, 48% of our 328.7 million citizens (source: Department of Labor).

TRADE SCHOOL, NOT COLLEGE - There are 30 million full-time jobs in the United States today (19% of all jobs nationwide) that pay at least $55,000 per year and don’t require a bachelor’s degree from college (source: Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce).

DO IT - 58% of Americans have not executed a will and other estate planning documents, e.g., a medical directive that specifies what actions should be taken to prolong an individual’s life (source: Caring.com).

Magnifying Glass Picture
While much has been written about the rally in the US stock market since late December, few market watchers saw that a powerful (and surprising) bond rally was also developing.  The gamechanger was the Federal Reserve, first raising rates 5 times over a 9-meeting stretch through mid-December 2018, then abruptly reversing course and all but promising no more rates hikes for the remainder of 2019.  Lower borrowing costs are always good for domestic stocks and for the American housing industry.  The S&P 500 index is up +16.0% YTD (total return).  The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 4.08% today, down 0.86 percentage points in just 5 months (source: BTN Research).

As of the end of 2018, the US stock and bond market was worth a staggering $70 trillion, split between $27 trillion of stocks and $43 trillion of bonds.  The magnet for American equities has been the power of the products and the people that make up US businesses.  The magnet for the American bond market has historically been the integrity and liquidity of the deepest debt market worldwide.  More recently as the rest of the world’s central banks have dropped rates to stimulate their sagging economies, US interest rates stand out because they’re higher than found in most other industrialized countries (source: BTN Research).

Student loan debt nationwide, totaling $1.46 trillion as of 12/31/18, has been a drag on the US economy in multiple ways – reduced the number of first-time home buyers and delayed marriages within the Millennial generation, both of which have contributed in part to a 30-year low in the number of births in the USA (source: Census Bureau).

CRN-2492844-040819


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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She got that from me.

Is it possible to pass down a generosity gene to your children? Family charitable and philanthropic giving may depend on it.

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It is always a tough time.

Your spouse or partner passed away, and you need to figure out how best to proceed. It’s a lot of work, but it needs to be done right to avoid future problems.

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It's not peanuts.

If you continue to work while receiving Social Security retirement benefits, you may have a benefit reduction now, but it could lead to higher benefits later.

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I know there is a better way.

Financial stress in retirement can dampen some of the joy in life. There are a few steps to take to make it less worrisome.

-

CRN-2483102-040119


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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HOUSEHOLDS WITH MONEY - A household with a $1 million net worth ranks in the top 88% of households in America. A household with a $4 million net worth ranks in the top 97% of households in America.  A household with an $11 million net worth ranks in the top 99% of households in America (source: DQYDJ.com).

NO ONE TO ARGUE WITH - 76% of all US businesses are 1-person self-employed entities, operating with zero additional employees (source: Census Bureau).

FOUR-TO-ONE - China had 15.2 million births in 2018, nearly 4 times the 3.9 million births in the United States last year (source: Census Bureau).

DIFFERENT RULES - The admission rate at Harvard for applications from the children of wealthy donors, alumni and faculty is 34%.  The admission rate at Harvard for all other applications is 6% (source: Harvard University).

Magnifying Glass Picture
It was a rumor, but now it’s a fact.  The Federal Reserve has no plans to raise interest rates throughout the remainder of 2019.  Fed Chairman Jerome Powell confirmed in his post-meeting press conference last week that Fed officials will be “patient” in determining the future course for interest rates, largely interpreted that investors can expect “flat to declining” interest rates for possibly the next 12 months.  Powell also indicated the “shrinking” of the Fed’s balance sheet will continue for just 6 more months, stopping in September 2019 (source: BTN Research).

The initial reaction to the Fed’s plan was positive, pushing the S&P 500 to a 2019 closing high on Thursday (3/21/19).  How could investors be anything but thrilled after learning that the Fed’s 3+ year rate-hike cycle might be completed?  However, by Friday’s trading (3/22/19), doubt had replaced enthusiasm and domestic stocks dropped.  Has the US economy slowed that much that it might require an interest rate cut?  Might the nation’s historically low jobless rate (3.8%) move north as consumers cut back on spending?  Did Powell’s comments spook investors to overreact and read way too much into his statement, or will the weekend provide investors time to recognize the win they have just been handed? (source: BTN Research).

The US government ran a $234 billion budget deficit in February 2019, its largest monthly deficit in history.  As recently as 2007, our nation’s budget deficit for the entire fiscal year ($161 billion) was less $234 billion (source: Treasury Department).

CRN-2474319-032519


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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The benefits of a ROTH IRA are mentioned in what seems like every financial article written for magazines or online sites. For many retirement savers, ROTH IRAs are an option worth exploring on a personal level. However, did you know there is also a ROTH 401k option available through most company sponsored 401k plans?

Here are a few steps to consider:
Reach out to your company's benefits specialist and ask if the 401k plan has a ROTH option.
If it does, I can help determine which 401k contribution, ROTH or tax-deductible, is best for you.
If no ROTH option is available, ask why and if they would consider looking into it.

We are always here to help

Employers can offer both a ROTH and traditional 401k option for employees reasonably easily. If your company does not have a ROTH 401k option, our office can certainly get involved and provide information to your company's benefits specialist if needed. Just let us know.



CRN-2462833-031419


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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REALLY BIG NUMBERS – President Trump was expected to release an overview of his fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget on Monday, to be followed by budget details on Monday 3/18/19.  Total FY 2020 government spending is projected to reach $4.69 trillion or just short of $13 billion a day (source: White House).

MAKING THINGS - The 12.8 million manufacturing jobs in the United States as of February 2019 is the nation’s largest total since December 2008 (source: Department of Labor).

HOMES - The average single-family home in the USA increased in value +5.7% during 2018.  Home values in Idaho increased +11.9% (top state) while home values in North Dakota were flat (bottom state) (source: FHFA).

NO DOCTOR NEEDED - 25.5% of Americans had no claims for any health care service (i.e., they did not see a doctor or visit a clinic) or filled a drug prescription in 2017 (source: Health Care Cost Institute).

Magnifying Glass Picture
It was the bull market that few investors saw coming in March 2009.  Over the preceding 17 months, the S&P 500 had fallen 57%.  But all that pain set the stage for what is now the longest bull market in US history.  Although the last 12 months (through last Friday’s close) have tacked on just a +0.4% gain (total return), the entire decade-long bull run for the S&P 500 index has resulted in a +400% increase, equal to a +17.5% annualized gain.  One lesson to learn for the next bull market (that will occur after the next bear market): the biggest money made in a bull market oftentimes comes early.  During the first 12 months of the current 10-year bull, the S&P 500 gained +72% (source: BTN Research).

The record streak of consecutive months of employers nationwide adding new jobs is now at 101 months (dating back to October 2010), but the +20,000 new net jobs added in February 2019 was woefully short of the expected number.  The February total, just the 3rd month in the last 8 years that reported less than +100,000 new net jobs, might be a harbinger of an economic slowdown or may be a one-month aberration that will be revised upward in early April 2019 (source: Department of Labor).

The United States is in its 117th month since the end of the last recession in the country.  In records maintained since 1854 (the last 165 years), the nation has had just one period that avoided a recession that was longer in duration than 117 months.  Thus, it’s not unexpected that 42% of 281 American economists surveyed last month believe the United States will be in a recession by the end of 2020 (source: National Association for Business Economics).

CRN-2455590-031119


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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When is the best time?

Medicare and Social Security are distinct and separate. Both require careful thought and consideration so you make the best decisions at the right time.

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You say it like it's a bad thing.

There is no problem with being frugal but what exactly does it mean? Different people have different priorities and how they spend their money reflects that.

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But she said I could have the ring...

It’s difficult to avoid family issues when dealing with the inheritance of personal property. Seeing things from different perspectives always helps.

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I only want the best for you.

Good financial habits are essential for financial success. Teaching children and grandchildren the best ways to handle their personal finances is one of the most important things any parent or grandparent can do.

-

CRN-2442759-022819


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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RED FEBRUARY - The last time that February did not produce the largest monthly deficit during a fiscal year was in fiscal year 2002 or 17 years ago (source: Treasury Department).

TOP SHELF - To rank in the top 0.1% of US taxpayers in tax year 2016, i.e., top 1 out of 1,000 taxpayers, required an adjusted gross income of $2,124,117 (source: Internal Revenue Service).

NO MORE WORK TO DO - 37% of retired Americans report they retired earlier than planned as a result of health problems, buyout packages, layoffs, grandchildren, or caring for an aging parent (source: Health and Retirement Study).

IT’S NOT THE FIRST ONE - The national emergency announced on 2/15/19 is the country’s 32nd active and ongoing national emergency.  The oldest active national emergency was enacted on 11/14/79 (source: Federal Register).

Magnifying Glass Picture
Coming on the heels of a near-bear market, US stock investors can be forgiven if they didn’t see the bounce-back of 2019 coming.  From a record close of 2931 on 9/20/18, the S&P 500 fell 19.8% to 2351 by the close of trading on Christmas Eve, within fractions of the “20%-decline” definition of a bear market over the 3-month tumble.  Fast forward into the first 8 weeks of 2019 and the nagging sense that a global recession was imminent has been pushed aside.  The S&P 500 has advanced in 7 of the 8 weeks this year, gaining +11.7% YTD (total return) in the process.  The stock index closed at 2793 last week, now down less than 5% from its all-time closing high (source: BTN Research).

They are not the final decision-makers, but enough progress had been made to keep the Chinese negotiators in Washington D.C. for additional trade talks over the weekend.  The goal of both sides: lay the groundwork for another meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi that would end the trade dispute.  The initial tariffs in the US-China trade war were implemented on 7/06/18.  In the 7 ½ months since then, the United States has imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports and China has imposed tariffs on $110 billion of US imports (source: United States Trade Representative).

It has been a very difficult couple of years for shopping malls across the United States.  5,524 brick-and-mortar retail stores closed nationwide in 2018, down from a record 8,139 store closures in 2017.  Another 2,187 retail stores have already closed YTD through 2/09/19 (source: Coresight Research).

CRN-2436015-022519


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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ESG investing allows you to make meaningful investments while pursuing your financial goals. It is becoming more popular with many clients, especially younger investors.

The term ESG stands for a company’s Environmental, Social and Governance practices. ESG practices include:

  • Performing as a steward of the environment.
  • Managing relationships with its employees, suppliers, customers and the communities where it operates.
  • Its leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls and shareholder rights.

Investing in companies whose values align with yours may be something to think about. ESG factors cover a wide range of issues and may have relevance for you or your children.

If you feel it’s something you would like to consider, let’s review at our next meeting or feel free to call to discuss further.



CRN-2423569-021319


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Hand me the Tylenol and call the accountant.

The new tax laws are effective this year and, with the 600 changes made, things will be a bit confusing. Make sure you know how it will affect you.

-


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Your grandson is in trouble and needs your help...

Scammers are increasingly targeting older adults for financial scams. Some are simple while others are more deceptive.

-


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Will you say I do, too?

For older adults, marriage can be complicated and saying “I do” may not be the best thing financially. There is a lot to consider before popping the question.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Act 2 is now beginning.

You still have plenty of energy and enthusiasm so why sit out a possible second act. Consider an encore career whether for passion or profit.

-

CRN-2406808-020119


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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SHORT-TERM – 52.3% of all US Treasury debt at the end of fiscal year 2018 (9/30/18) had a maturity of less than 3 years, i.e., debt that will mature before 9/30/21 and will be rolled over or paid off (source: Treasury Department).

NOT STOPPING - 48% of working Americans surveyed in 2018 anticipate working past age 65, up from just 16% of workers who felt that way 30 years earlier (source: Employee Benefit Research Institute).

CARS - The sales of vehicles in China in 2018 totaled 28.1 million, down 3% from 28.9 million in 2017, China’s first year-over-year decline in vehicles sales in 20 years (source: China Association of Automobile Manufacturers).

FIRST STATE TO DO THIS - Publicly held companies domiciled in the state of California are required by a new state law to have at least 1 woman on their board of directors by 12/31/19.  The gender requirement increases to “2 of 5 directors” or “3 of 7 directors” by 12/31/21 (source: National Public Radio).

Magnifying Glass Picture
It was less than 2 months ago (12/19/18) that the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates for the 4th time in 2018 and released a post-meeting statement that indicated 2 more rate hikes were likely to occur in 2019.  In spite of that message, bond market watchers had already begun to suspect that support for those rate hikes was waning, suspicions that were validated when the Fed’s public statement following their most recent 1/30/19 meeting suggested that their next interest rate move could be “down” instead of “up.”  Over the last 30 years, the shortest span of time between the end of a rate-tightening cycle (i.e., raising rates) and the first Fed easing (i.e., cutting rates) was just 3 meetings over 5 months in 1995, i.e., a 2/01/95 rate hike to a 7/06/95 rate cut (source: Federal Reserve).

It has been an unexpected gift for the American housing industry: the average interest rate nationwide on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 4.41% last week, down more than ½ of 1% (from 4.94%) in just the last 3 months.  That lower interest rate translates into a “principal and interest” payment on a $300,000 mortgage that is nearly $100 a month less, i.e., $1,504 per month compared to $1,599 per month (source: Freddie Mac).

The bull market for stocks is now inside of a month to its 10-year anniversary that will be achieved on 3/09/19.  The current bull run for the S&P 500, already the longest in US history, will need a continuation of the expansion of corporate profits to keep the bull running (source: BTN Research).

CRN-2418303-021119


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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If you know someone who could benefit from this email, please feel free to forward it along.

 
 

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Hand me the Tylenol and call the accountant.

The new tax laws are effective this year and, with the 600 changes made, things will be a bit confusing. Make sure you know how it will affect you.

-


preview -

Your grandson is in trouble and needs your help...

Scammers are increasingly targeting older adults for financial scams. Some are simple while others are more deceptive.

-


preview -

Will you say I do, too?

For older adults, marriage can be complicated and saying “I do” may not be the best thing financially. There is a lot to consider before popping the question.

-


preview -

Ladies and Gentlemen, Act 2 is now beginning.

You still have plenty of energy and enthusiasm so why sit out a possible second act. Consider an encore career whether for passion or profit.

-

CRN-2406808-020119


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Importance of Planning

With the new year just starting, it is a good time to review your estate plan especially with the recent changes in the tax law. Changes in your financial and personal situations are also reasons to make sure your plan is up to date.

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No, I haven’t checked my credit lately…

Many people put off things like checking their credit report but there are good reasons why you should. It’s easy and free so why not begin the new year knowing it is right?

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I know my insurance is just what I need

Make sure you have all the right insurance coverages. Whether it is life insurance, disability or long-term care insurance, life changes affect your needs.

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I think this is the right direction

It is always a good thing to know where you are going. One of the most important steps is reviewing your portfolio.

 

CRN-2365526-010319


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Be a friend
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These links are provided as a service to you, and will take you to a third party site not affiliated with Lincoln Financial Advisors. Lincoln Financial Advisors is not responsible for the content and does not guarantee the accuracy of any information or material contained therein.
 

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With huge lottery prizes people dream big and last month's lottery craze was no different. Even though you may not have won, there are some things you should consider in the event that you or a loved one come into a cash windfall through any of these events:

Any one of these circumstances could substantially change your financial picture and impact your financial plan. Windfalls sometimes lead to bad decisions so it is important to make sure you proceed in the best way possible.


https://www.vermillionfinancial.com/sudden-wealth/windfall/

CRN-2320188-111618


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Our culture fosters charitable giving, and most of us do give to causes important to us. In addition, giving allows you to reduce your tax burden, build a legacy and support a passion.

An unlikely partner in our efforts is the IRS. Our tax code allows for more tax efficient ways to give. Unfortunately, the techniques available are largely unadvertised and underutilized. With some guidance and a little planning, you can make a bigger impact.


There are many income, estate and capital gains advantages to explore to determine what is best for your situation. If you find yourself writing personal checks to charitable organizations, it may be time to investigate better options.

Contact me today to review more efficient ways to give.

CRN-2279548-101518


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
333 Thornall Street, Suite 9B
Edison, NJ 08837
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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THE AGE-RELATED NEED FOR INCREASED HEALTHCARE

As we age, our physical needs change resulting in the necessity for more extensive health care. While we cannot control the results of the aging process, we can find the best ways to cope with these changes to preserve and protect our good health for as long as possible.


HEALTH CARE COSTS ARE RISING

Health care costs are rising primarily due to the increasing need for health care for preventable chronic diseases, aging baby boomers and more frequent use of emergency room care. The skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs is exacerbating the problem, resulting in higher out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy.1


THE INCREASING NEED FOR LONG-TERM CARE

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, today's typical 65-year-old has a 70 percent chance of requiring some kind of long-term care as they age. They likewise report that although one-third of today's 65-year-olds may never require long-term care or assisted living, that one out of five will need it for more than five years.2


LONG-TERM CARE IS COSTLY

The cost of long-term care is already averaging $172,000 per person and is expected to double by 2047 putting an increasingly heavy financial burden on individuals and family members.3


PROTECT YOURSELF

Health care and long-term care insurance go hand in hand. The rising cost of health care makes planning for and covering any long-term care needs you may have essential. The income benefit you receive can be used to pay for your long-term care and assures that you get the help needed for your personal care when you cannot provide it for yourself.


Need more information? I’m always here to help and answer any questions you may have.

  1. https://www.thebalance.com/causes-of-rising-healthcare-costs-4064878
  2. https://www.thebalance.com/long-term-care-insurance-cost-4126749
  3. https://www.aarp.org/health/health-insurance/info-2018/costs-long-term-care-fd.html

CRN-2246575-091818


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
333 Thornall Street, Suite 9B
Edison, NJ 08837
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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I do my best to stay in touch but change happens very quickly. With change comes opportunity – I am always here to help!

Here are a few action items that may necessitate the need for a new financial plan or an update of your current plan.
 

Marriage

Update beneficiary designations
Review life insurance needs
Create/update your will and other legal documents



Buying a House

Life & disability insurance to protect
the mortgage for loved ones

Discuss mortgage options and how they
fit into your financial plan



Retiring

Make sure your money will last
Reassess your investment risk



Having a Baby

Review life insurance needs

College savings funding options for children and
grandchildren – give the gift of an education!



New Job

Consolidate old retirement accounts
Review your new benefits



Cash Windfall

Update your financial plan
Evaluate investment choices



Loss of a Loved One

Advise on estate settlement



Have you gone through any of these life changes recently? Or perhaps you will soon? Call me and we’ll discuss appropriate ways to prepare for these events.

CRN-2209409-081318


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
333 Thornall Street, Suite 9B
Edison, NJ 08837
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Living longer than anticipated is a very real possibility. More Americans are living well into their 90’s. Outliving your money can put you in a difficult situation. Planning well can help you pursue the retirement you deserve. Some things to consider:
AVOID FINANCIAL LOSSES DUE TO INFLATION
DON'T REACT OUT OF FEAR TO THE MARKET'S UPS AND DOWNS
DON'T WAIT TO BUY LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE
DON'T MISS YOUR MEDICARE DEADLINES
DON'T FORGET TO DO YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY HOMEWORK
DO ANY OF THESE ISSUES CONCERN YOU?

Call or email today. I am always here to answer any questions you may have.
CRN-2147072-061118

Brought to you by:

Thumbnail

Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
333 Thornall Street, Suite 9B
Edison, NJ 08837
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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  Be a friend
     to a friend

If you know someone who could benefit from this email, please feel free to forward it along.