Fed Symposium: Wealth Economic Update Aug 29, 2016

U.S. and World News

  • jackson_hole_wyoming_14105333_340The annual Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming began on Thursday and will run through Saturday.  Central bankers and economists from around the world have gathered at the event which this year has the title of, “Designing Resilient Monetary Policy Frameworks for the Future.” Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen delivered her keynote speech on Friday which had been highly anticipated by market participants. Yellen stated that the “case for an increase in the Federal Funds rate has strengthened in recent months,” which was viewed as somewhat hawkish. She tempered that with the comment, “Our ability to predict how the federal funds rate will evolve over time is quite limited because monetary policy will need to respond to whatever disturbances may buffet the economy,” referencing potential risks overseas. Overall, there was no clear direction given on the path of interest rate policy.
  • Brazil’s senate has begun the impeachment trial of suspended President Dilma Rousseff this week. The process is likely to wrap up late next week with a final impeachment vote being held. The likelihood appears to be high that Rousseff will be removed from office on charges that she doctored government fiscal accounts in order to get re-elected in 2014. Brazilian markets have rallied lately on the prospect of the right-wing Vice President and acting President Michel Temer permanently taking over from the leftist Rousseff. Temer would face the tall task of having to drag Brazil’s economy out of its worst recession since the Great Depression and bringing down a massive budget deficit.

Markets

  • This week the S&P 500 was down 0.67% and closed at 2,169. The Dow Jones fell 0.85% and closed at 18,395. So far in 2016, the S&P is up 7.57% and the Dow is up 7.41%.
  • Interest rates increased this week following Janet Yellen’s speech at Jackson Hole on Friday. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.23% and 1.62%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil dipped 2.49% this week to close at $47.31 per barrel. WTI Crude is up 18.13% in 2016.
  • The spot price of Gold was down 1.48% this week, closing at $1,321.60 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 25.55%. 

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims came in at 261,000, edging down from last week’s reading of 262,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims moved down to 264,000.
  • New single-family home sales rose by 12.4% in July, bringing the seasonally adjusted annualized rate to the highest level since late 2007. New home sales increased in the South, Northeast and Midwest, while remaining flat in the West region.
  • Existing home sales declined by -3.2% in July, more than an expected 1.1% decline. Single family sales decreased by 2.0%, while multi-family sales fell 12.3% following solid gains in June.

Fact of the Week

  • The average rate of return on the Dow Jones Industrial Average during the 26 Summer Olympic Games dating back from 1900 through 2012 was an impressive 4% from the opening to closing ceremonies, with positive returns seen 68% of the time. This year’s Games which just concluded continued this trend as the Dow Jones was up 1.65% during the two weeks of the Rio Olympics. (Source: Bespoke Investment Group)

Please contact a member of the Wealth Management Department if you have any questions about this information.

Rich Gartelmann CFP® – (630) 844-5730 rgartelmann@oldsecond.com
Jean Van Keppel CFA® – (630) 906-5489 jvankeppel@oldsecond.com
Brad Johnson CFA®, CFP® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767 jbinder@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.

 

5 Things to Consider When Deciding If a Wealth Advisor Is Right for You

Rich Gartelmann, CFP®, Senior Vice President/Senior Investment Officer—Wealth Management

Rich Gartlemann Bio PictureChoosing an investment advisor, like so many things in life, is all about finding a comfortable fit. If the relationship is going to work, you have to be comfortable not only with the person, but the company they represent and the approach they take to making recommendations and decisions regarding your future.

Taking Measure
Here are five things to keep in mind when evaluating an advisor to determine if they are a good match for you.

  1. Who does more talking in the meeting? Your meetings, especially the first meeting, should mainly be about you, not an advisor’s services and products. The advisor should be focused on listening to you talk about your goals for your money, your attitudes toward risk and your current needs. Only then can they know what services and products they should be discussing with you.
  2. How are they paid? When it comes to fees, it shouldn’t be about finding the lowest fee option but about finding the advisory relationship that provides you with the greatest value. That value should be a combination of good advice, a full range of services and the potential for achieving the long-term results you seek. For instance, wealth management departments like ours are fee based.
  3. How responsive is their approach to change? Automated advisor platforms are becoming more and more popular. They are certainly more economical. But, they are programed based on averages and logic. Your life is probably not average. It’s likely to be highly dynamic with unexpected events and expenses. When life doesn’t go as planned, it helps to be able to talk to a person who can advise you on how to make adjustments while keeping you on track for your reaching your goals.
  4. What are their qualifications? Many wealth managers—ours included—have earned the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation. The designation is awarded after the completion of a rigorous certification process. To retain the certification, CFP®s have to meet ongoing education requirements. But, before handing your personal information over to anyone, no matter how many designations they have after their name, you should still follow a “trust but verify” policy. Find out if they have ever been disciplined for unethical or unlawful behavior. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) makes checking backgrounds easy through its online source, BrokerCheck. You can also look up registered investment advisers—those registered with the SEC or the state’s regulatory authorities here.
  5. Are they willing to provide a preview? To get a feel for what your experience would be like if you were a client, ask the advisor about how often and under what circumstances you’ll hear from them. Also, ask how they communicate—is it by phone, email or will they text you for a quicker response? Then, request referrals from current clients and talk to them about what they like and wish would improve about their relationship.

In the end, hiring an advisor is a lot like hiring an employee—their qualifications, attitude and work ethic need to match yours for a long and successful relationship to flourish.

For more information on how we approach and deliver wealth management services, visit us here or call 630-906-2000. We can’t wait to talk to you about what we can do for you today.

July Fed Meeting: Wealth Economic Update Aug 22, 2016

U.S. and World News

  • Minutes from the July Federal Reserve meeting were released this week and showed that the Committee continues to be patient regarding further interest rate increases. Several members noted that inflation continued to be low and saw little risk of waiting for inflation data to firm up before taking further tightening action. Committee members also noted that while markets rebounded from the surprising Brexit vote, they continued to see a variety of risks overseas.
  • China_Great_Wall_340China’s State Council has approved the launch of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, which will serve as a trading link between the two area’s stock markets. It will be operational in about four months and will be similar to the existing Shanghai-Hong Kong link that was launched in late 2014. It is expected that this new agreement will further open up China’s market to outside investors.
  • In a live broadcast, suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said that, “Impeachment without a crime, if consummated, would be a coup.” Rousseff also called for early elections in an attempt to unite the country that is currently in recession. Rousseff was suspended in May on accusations that she doctored government fiscal accounts in order to get re-elected in 2014. It’s widely expected that she will be impeached and permanently removed from office later this month.

Markets

  • This week the S&P 500 was up 0.06% and closed at 2,184. The Dow Jones rose 0.02% and closed at 18,553. So far in 2016, the S&P is up 8.28% and the Dow is up 8.31%.
  • Interest rates increased this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.16% and 1.58%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil gained 9.17% this week to close at $48.57 per barrel. WTI Crude is up 21.27% in 2016.
  • The spot price of Gold rose 0.41% this week, closing at $1,341.47 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 26.42%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims came in at 262,000, moving down from last week’s reading of 266,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims moved up to 265,000.
  • The headline Consumer Price Index (measure of inflation) was unchanged in July, in line with forecasts as a decline in energy prices offset moderate gains in other components. Over the last 12 months, headline CPI has risen 0.8%.
    • Core CPI (excludes food and energy prices) showed gains of 0.1% in July, less than the expectation of 0.2%. Over the last year, ‘core’ prices have risen 2.2%.
  • New housing starts increased by 2.1% in July, beating consensus expectations of a -0.8% decline. Single family starts increased 0.5% in the month, while multi-family starts increased by 5.0%.

Fact of the Week

  • Of the households headed by a currently employed individual (i.e, a “working” household), 44% do not have any money invested on a pre-tax basis in a defined contribution plan, e.g., a 401(k) retirement plan. (Source: Government Accountability Office)

Please contact a member of the Wealth Management Department if you have any questions about this information.

Rich Gartelmann CFP® – (630) 844-5730 rgartelmann@oldsecond.com
Jean Van Keppel CFA® – (630) 906-5489 jvankeppel@oldsecond.com
Brad Johnson CFA®, CFP® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767 jbinder@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.

 

Brazil impeachment trial: Wealth Economic Update Aug 15, 2016

U.S. and World News

  • brazil_17780429_340The Olympic Games have begun in Brazil but that did not stop the country’s Senate from voting to put suspended President Dilma Rousseff on an impeachment trial. Rousseff had been suspended from her post for allegedly illegally financing government spending. The decision to proceed with impeachment hearings could seal her fate and lead to her successor Michel Temer taking the post on a permanent basis as early as this month.
  • Vladimir Putin has promised to respond in kind to what he called Ukraine’s “terror” tactics in the disputed region of Crimea. Fighting between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed rebels has intensified once again with two servicemen being killed in clashes in the last week. Putin also threatened to cancel the peace negotiations at next month’s G20 meeting and called the talks “pointless”.
  • On Thursday, in an event that hadn’t occurred since December 31, 1999, the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ indices all set all-time highs on the same day. This accentuates a strong comeback in equity markets from historically the worst start to a year which saw those same indices decline more than 10% through mid-February.

Markets

  • This week the S&P 500 was up 0.12% and closed at 2,184. The Dow Jones rose 0.33% and closed at 18,576. So far in 2016, the S&P is up 8.21% and the Dow is up 8.29%.
  • Interest rates dipped a bit this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.10% and 1.51%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil gained 6.96% this week to close at $44.71 per barrel. WTI Crude is up 11.64% in 2016.
  • The spot price of Gold was unchanged this week, closing at $1,335.97 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 25.90%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims came in at 266,000, edging down from last week’s reading of 269,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims moved up to 263,000.
  • Retail sales were flat in July, missing expectations of a 0.4% acceleration. Solid increases in vehicle and parts sales were offset by lower gas station sales as fuel prices declined. Core retail sales (excludes autos, gasoline and building materials) also showed no gain, underperforming estimates of 0.3%.
  • The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index moved up to 90.4 from 90.0 in the initial August release. This was a bit below expectations of a 91.5 reading. Within the report, consumers’ assessment of current economic conditions declined while their expectations of the future improved.

Fact of the Week

  • Americans spent $3.63 billion less at gas stations in June 2016 compared to June 2015, but they spent $2.55 billion more at restaurants and bars in June 2016 than in June 2015 (Source: Census Bureau).

Please contact a member of the Wealth Management Department if you have any questions about this information.

Rich Gartelmann CFP® – (630) 844-5730 rgartelmann@oldsecond.com
Jean Van Keppel CFA® – (630) 906-5489 jvankeppel@oldsecond.com
Brad Johnson CFA®, CFP® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767 jbinder@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.

 

Five Reasons You Should Look Into the HARP® Refinancing Program Today

Terri Hanson, Vice President—Residential Lending

Terri HansonThe Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) may be easy to brush off, given all the flashing Internet ads that use it as clickbait. But, HARP is a real government program. Better yet, it can result in lower monthly payments—and/or a shorter maturity—for those who qualify.

Don’t Assume This Doesn’t Apply to You
If your current conventional mortgage closed prior to May 29, 2009, and is held by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, it pays to see if you qualify for this program. If you checked several years ago, it’s time to check again. The restrictions on HARP loans have changed since the program was first introduced.

To find out the closing date of your loan and to verify which agency holds it, you can use the Loan Lookup tool. Or, you can just call us. We’re happy to look it up for you, whether you originated your current mortgage with us or not.

In addition to the loan date and holder criteria, you qualify for HARP if the following statements are also true:

  • Your home is your primary residence, a second home or an investment property.
  • Your home value has declined, and your loan-to-market value is greater than 80 percent.
  • You’ve had no late payments in the last six months and no more than one late payment in the six months prior to that.

Qualification is the first step, and determining if it makes dollar sense is the next. That’s also something we can help you with. We’ll do the calculation to make sure that after factoring in closing costs, HARP offers a sufficient benefit. We’ll also check to see if there are other programs available that might be better for your situation.

Five Reasons to Refinance Under HARP Now
If you are weighing the hassle of refinancing with just staying with the mortgage you have, here are five reasons why you should take action, now.

  1. Interest rates have fallen since May 29, 2009, which may mean you can refinance at a lower rate and reduce your monthly payments. Remember, even if your mortgage is at a 4 percent level now, with rates currently in the 3 percent area, that could significantly reduce your interest costs over the life of your loan.
  2. Refinancings don’t have to be apples to apples. If you are currently in an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) and want to refinance into a 30-year mortgage under this program, you have that option. You can even switch from a 30-year term to a 15-year term. Changing the term may also lower your payment or help you pay the mortgage off sooner.
  3. The program is very forgiving of changed circumstances. If your income is lower than it was when you borrowed, your credit score has fallen, you no longer have any equity in your home, or even if you’ve declared bankruptcy, you may still be able to reduce your monthly payments under this program.
  4. PMI won’t be triggered by a HARP refinancing, even if your current loan-to-value ratio is below 20 percent. If you don’t have to pay PMI currently, you won’t have to under a new HARP mortgage.
  5. The window of opportunity is closing. HARP ends December 31, 2016, and this time it is not going to be extended.

For more information about HARP online or on any of the other types of home loans we offer, click here. To have us determine your qualification and to discuss which financing structure is right for your situation, contact us at 630-466-4843 or email thanson@oldsecond.com. We can’t wait to talk to you about what we can do for you today.

Post-brexit: Wealth Economic Update Aug 8, 2016

U.S. and World News

  • london_big-ben_49186880_340U.K. Prime Minister Theresa has outlined her plan to reshape the British economy for a post-Brexit world. Her goal is to revive industrial productivity growth in the country by encouraging innovation and focusing on sectors and technologies that will give Britain a competitive advantage. Meanwhile, the Bank of England announced more easing measures in a continued effort to spur growth. Benchmark interest rates were cut and the central bank’s bond buying program was expanded and will now include corporate bonds.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a fresh stimulus package that ranks among the country’s largest since the global financial crisis. The package totals ¥28 trillion ($274 billion) and was approved in response to growing consensus that monetary policy alone won’t be able to revive Japan’s economy. Included in the package that’s expected to lift GDP 1.4% are childcare benefits, $150 handouts to 22 million low income citizens, a loan of ¥10.7 trillion for infrastructure projects and ¥7.5 trillion for direct fiscal spending.
  • India’s upper house of parliament unanimously approved the creation of a national sales tax, nearly a decade after the move was first proposed. This is considered to be the biggest legislative victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he took office in 2014. The tax bill seeks to streamline the country’s fragmented tax system by imposing a single national tax, something businesses have been lobbying for as it would reduce costs and could boost economic growth by 2%. The bill now must be ratified by at least half of all states in India, a process projected to be concluded before the end of the year.

Markets

  • This week the S&P 500 was up 0.49% and closed at an All-Time High of 2,183. The Dow Jones rose 0.65% and closed at 18,544. So far in 2016, the S&P is up 8.08% and the Dow is up 7.94%.
  • Interest rates popped up this week, particularly following the strong July employment report. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.13% and 1.59%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil gained 0.91% this week to close at $41.98 per barrel. WTI Crude is up 4.77% in 2016.
  • The spot price of Gold fell 1.13% this week, closing at $1,336.00 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 25.91%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims came in at 269,000 which is higher than last week’s reading of 266,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims moved up to 260,000.
  • The July employment report showed an increase of 255,000 non-farm payrolls, beating expectations of 180,000. The prior two months’ figures were revised up a total of 18,000, bringing the three month average for job gains to 190,000.
    • The headline unemployment rate remained at 4.9%, narrowly missing estimates of 4.8%. The small miss was due to the labor force participation rate rising by 0.1% to 62.8%.
    • Average hourly earnings rose by 0.3% in July, beating expectations of 0.2%. Over the last 12 months, wages are up 2.6%.
  • The PCE Price index (measure of inflation) rose 0.1% in June, lower than expectations of 0.2%. Over the last 12 months, the PCE index is up 0.9%.
    • The Core PCE Price Index (excludes food and energy, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation) rose 0.1% in June, in line with expectations. Over the last year, core prices are up 1.6%.

Fact of the Week

  • At $25,000, George Washington’s presidential salary represented 2% of the U.S. budget in 1789. If that percentage of pay held today, Barrack Obama would be paid over $67 billion a year. (Source: USA Today)

Please contact a member of the Wealth Management Department if you have any questions about this information.

Rich Gartelmann CFP® – (630) 844-5730 rgartelmann@oldsecond.com
Jean Van Keppel CFA® – (630) 906-5489 jvankeppel@oldsecond.com
Brad Johnson CFA®, CFP® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767 jbinder@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.

 

Attempted coup: Wealth Economic Update Aug 1, 2016

U.S. and World News

  • turkey_7947841_340Following the attempted military coup earlier this month, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is tightening his grip on the country by ordering the closure of over 2,000 private schools, charities and other institutions in his first action since imposing a state of emergency. Also causing alarm among Turkey’s NATO allies was Erdogan shutting down 130 media outlets and his dismissal of over 1,500 military officers as he attempts to regain complete control over the country.
  • The Federal Reserve held its policy meeting this week, leaving interest rates unchanged but altering the language in its statement. The Committee upgraded their assessment of the U.S. labor market, noting that “job gains were strong in June following weak growth in May.” The other key phrase in their statement was, “Near term risks to the economic outlook have diminished.” While this does not make a rate hike imminent, it indicates that the Fed would like to raise rates sometime this year. Kansas City Fed President Esther George dissented, favoring an increase in interest rates at this meeting.

Markets

  • This week the S&P 500 was down 0.05% and closed at 2,174. The Dow Jones fell 0.75% and closed at 18,432. So far in 2016, the S&P is up 7.56% and the Dow is up 7.25%.
  • Interest rates retreated this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.02% and 1.45%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil fell 0.62% this week to close at $41.46 per barrel. WTI Crude is up 3.65% in 2016.
  • The spot price of Gold gained 2.16% this week, closing at $1,351.28 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 27.35%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims came in at 266,000 which is higher than last week’s reading of 253,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims moved down to 257,000.
  • The Case-Shiller home price index declined by 0.1% in May, missing expectations of a 0.1% increase. Data was mixed across the cities that are part of the index. Over the last 12 months, home prices as measured by Case-Shiller have risen 5.2%.
  • The initial reading of 2nd quarter U.S. GDP showed 1.2% annualized growth, much lower than the consensus estimate of 2.5% annualized growth. This figure will be subject to multiple revisions.

Fact of the Week

  • National health care expenditures in the United States during 2016 are projected to reach $3.35 trillion, or $10,346 per person. (Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)

Please contact a member of the Wealth Management Department if you have any questions about this information.

Rich Gartelmann CFP® – (630) 844-5730 rgartelmann@oldsecond.com
Jean Van Keppel CFA® – (630) 906-5489 jvankeppel@oldsecond.com
Brad Johnson CFA®, CFP® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767 jbinder@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.