7 Retirement Savings Tips for Women

Mary Randel—Retirement Benefits Officer, Wealth Management 

As a women, saving for retirement is a challenge. On average, a woman’s life expectancy is longer than a man’s, which requires her to accumulate a higher lifetime savings balance. But, what makes saving enough even more difficult, is that many women experience career interruptions to care for children and, later, elderly parents, which reduces their lifetime earnings. Complicating matters even further is a lingering perception that retirement savings supplement Social Security benefits, rather than the other way around.

Whatever the reasons, today, more than ever, saving for retirement is truly hard work.

What Women Can Do to Meet the Challenge

Many employers, regardless of their size, offer 401k plans to help their employees save for retirement. Even if you are just starting out—or have started your own company—participating in one of these tax-deferred plans is your first line of defense for achieving the type of retirement you deserve.

Other actions women can take to feel more confident they are doing enough for their “future self” include:

  • Make no excuses! When your employer offers to match the amount you’re saving, save at least the amount needed to earn the maximum amount being matched. An offer of matched savings is better than a free lunch, unlimited personal time or a snack drawer—it’s literally free money for you to spend in retirement.
  • Regardless of your current position, save. Don’t wait until you’re earning more or have fewer financial obligations. In the long run, how much you save isn’t as important as how early you start and how consistent you are.
  • Have something in reserve. The emergency cash reserve everyone is supposed to build in their 20s becomes even more important in retirement. Be sure to save not just for day-to-day expenses but also for the unexpected things, like replacing cars and furnaces or paying for homecare providers and rehabilitative services.
  • Redefine “old.” Approach retirement planning with the mindset that you will work at least until your age of full employment under Social Security. That’s not 62. For today’s workers, it’s actually between ages 66 and 67. Taking benefits at age 62 when they first become available will severely reduce your monthly benefit for the rest of your life.
  • Invest in yourself. The healthier you are, the more options you’re likely to have regarding your retirement. Preventable health issues can lead to retiring earlier than planned, reduce your quality of life in retirement and significantly erode savings. There is also another reason to invest in yourself: Many retirees find leisure isn’t as compelling as it once seemed. Maintaining your marketable skills, along with your health, makes doing work you find meaningful, as long as you choose to, an option.
  • Plan for both of you…and each of you. Many widowed spouses are surprised when they no longer have a second Social Security check coming in each month after the death of their spouse. Retirement planning should include savings arrangements that cover the needs of the couple but also incorporate the ongoing needs of the remaining spouse.
  • Invest to achieve your goals, not to appease your fears. Being overly cautious when investing can be detrimental to successfully saving for retirement. This is why many people opt to hire a professional. Whether this means having a wealth manager step in or investing in a diversified handful of mutual funds, outsourcing the decision-making can help get you closer to your goals.

Whether you want to supplement your employer’s retirement plan by saving on your own or are an employer who wants to make it easier for your staff to plan for their retirements as well, we can help. Contact me at 630-906-5500 or at mrandel@oldsecond.com. You can also learn more about our options here. However you choose to contact us, we look forward to talking to you about how we can help you plan for the future you deserve.

Attracting and Retaining Skilled Employees

Sean O’Connor, First Vice President/Retirement Benefits 

With the current robust economy comes a tight job market. While that may be great for revenues, it also brings the added pressure of attracting and retaining skilled staff members. Whether you are trying to entice good workers to leave the jobs they have to join your firm or want current employees to stay, it takes a more than salary and a pleasant workplace. Having a good employee benefit plan helps make your case.

The Thing About Millennials

Millennials, the generation that is currently flooding workplaces as the pace of Baby Boomer retirements starts to percolate, may have a reputation for being swayed by the promise of an office foosball table and Taco Tuesdays, but that is not all they want. A key characteristic for this demographic is that they are savers, and many have already begun saving for retirement. As self-guided learners, they are already looking for more sophisticated strategies and advice on retiring. They want to be prepared to “win” retirement—and a potentially early retirement at that.

As an employer, this makes your plan, and its attractiveness in meeting your staff members’ long-term goals, even more critical to your company’s continued growth and expansion.

Closing the Gaps

As a wealth management firm, we have been creating and administering employee retirement plans for decades. That includes establishing, monitoring and administering defined contribution plans, or 401ks and 403Bs, for our business and municipal clients.

With a highly “seasoned” staff—some of us started our careers with larger global consulting firms and research groups—we have an unexpectedly deep bench when it comes to our in-house capability for structuring customized new employer plans for clients. We can also provide consultative services that lead to recommendations for strengthening the retirement plan you already have in place to make it more appealing to participants of all ages.

Easy Access to Answers

Recently, we’ve been making the biggest difference for our plan sponsor clients by bringing their plans up to the technological standards workers expect, especially those that are younger and tech savvy. Millennials, in particular, are information miners. They expect to find the answers they need to questions as they occur to them, online and through a mobile device. Then, they want to be able to contact a person for a one-on-one conversation. We accommodate that.

Through a variety of vendor relationships, we strive to create a seamless and intuitive experience for your plan participants. This enables them to trade online and access research on their own. It also provides the tools and apps that help them focus on achieving their financial wellness goals. Given our own community banking heritage, we are also available to take calls and meet on-site to address their questions and provide the educational assistance that enables participants to get the most out of their employer plan.

Investment Guidance

As a division within a commercial bank’s trust department, we also offer two more advantages. Fiduciary duty is part of our DNA. We are required by law to operate with fiduciary responsibility at every level of our business. This isn’t something new for us; it has always been part of our service.

Secondly, being a wealth management provider, we are also able to leverage the market research and investment knowledge of in-house experts to the advantage of your plan. That expertise can help in structuring the plan and choosing the most cost-effective investment options for you to offer. Beyond fund selection, the fact that we monitor markets and investments daily can lead to a quicker reaction to shifts in market and economic fundamentals. Many of our plan sponsor clients find that added responsiveness and proactive involvement relieves them of the extra responsibility and pressure to conduct their own monitoring and investment reviews.

We Simplify Plan Sponsors’ Lives

We also help keep compliance testing in line with ERISA compliance and monitor costs related to the investments and to the plan’s operation. After all, controlling costs creates more of a growth opportunity for participants. Although, we also recognize it isn’t always about the price. It’s about being able to deliver participants to their goals and providing plan sponsors with the services and support they need—from access to the best investment platforms to on-site education and consultations.

Whether you want to ensure your current plan remains competitive in today’s battle for workers or you think it’s time to add a plan, visit us here or, better yet, give us a call at 630-844-8655. We can help you stay competitive and keep your employees on track to achieve the retirement goals.

5 Life Events That Benefit From Financial Planning

Kathy Diedrick, First Vice President—Retail diedrick

As you write your life story, there are likely to be chapters that completely change the direction of your narrative. Coincidently, these plot twists often come with financial implications. Getting advice at these points isn’t just helpful, it may be rewarding.

A 2010 study found that people who get advice regularly before making major decisions related to money end up with more financial assets than those who go it alone. So, when would seeking financial advice help?

Here are some of the bigger turning points in life, when some guidance can make all the difference.

Your first full-time job. For many, the thrill of a regular paycheck comes from knowing you don’t have to ask permission—it’s your money to spend as you please. But, before you do, it’s a good idea to take a breath, step back and add up what you need to spend each month. Then, think about what you want to spend on the things you do or buy for enjoyment.

It’s also a good idea to get in the habit of shaving off a little bit from each paycheck to start saving for the things you are going to want, like an annual vacation, getting an advanced degree, upgrading your car, owning your own home and, ultimately, retiring.

Talking to an advisor about the best options for living today while saving for tomorrow can help you get off to a good start. Making use of spending tools also helps.

You found the ONE! Making a commitment to share your life is huge, whether you find that person early in your adulthood or later on. It also means that when you start to live life as part of a couple, you should start spending, saving and planning as one. An advisor can help facilitate that transition by advising you on how to jointly own and hold title to your accounts and assets. They can also work with you to set up new savings goals. Calculators like this one can also help you keep track of things as your finances become more diverse.

Buying your first home. While you save for a down payment, you may want to work with an advisor—as well as a mortgage expert—to determine how much house you can afford and if there is a need to address your current debt and credit scores before applying for a mortgage.

Children change everything. From what you spend your money on to what you care about, when you start adding family members, it’s time to reevaluate. For many new parents, saving for college becomes an important goal. While our college savings calculator can help you set a target, an advisor can help you choose the right goal and savings method for your budget, along with a mix of appropriate investments.

Preretirement. The time to consider your plan for retirement is when you’re still working. This way you can make necessary adjustments before locking into any decisions. This tends to be the point in most people’s lives where they really want to meet more regularly with an advisor to make sure their savings are sufficient and their investment allocation makes sense.

No matter where you are in your life, we have the accounts, tools and individuals to support you on your financial journey. Contact us at 1-877-866-0202 to see how we can help. And, feel free to make use of our many financial tools along the way. We’re always happy to talk to you about what you want to do next.

How to Navigate the Wealth Management Milestones in Your Life

Jacqueline Runnberg, CFP®

Jacqueline Runnberg, CFP®Everyone travels a different path through their financial life. But like any well-traveled road, there are milestones along the way. Here are the common life events you are likely to pass through—along with a few roadblocks and detours—and a checklist of what you should be considering as you reach each one.

First Job

  • Understand employee benefits and employer-sponsored (especially tax-advantaged) savings opportunities for health care expenses, retirement and student loan repayment
  • Create a will and set up powers of attorney

Career Changes

  • Review the impact a change will have on your insurance coverage
  • Rollover your retirement account to keep savings on track and tax deferred

How to Navigate the Wealth Management Milestones in Your LifeRelationship Commitments

  • Talk about money with your life partner—different attitudes can be reconciled but not if they are unknown to one another
  • Know each other’s debt load and credit scores
  • Determine how your assets and income will be pooled together, saved and spent
  • Decide the best way to obtain health insurance coverage
  • Review your named beneficiaries on your employee benefits and in your will and power-of-attorney documents

Home Ownership

  • Buy what you need, not the maximum you can afford—it’s likely going to be your biggest asset

Side Trips
These events can require that you immediately revisit your portfolio allocation, named beneficiaries, and state and local laws affecting personal property, liability and estate settlement:
➢ Moving to a new state
➢ Starting a business
➢ Receiving an inheritance

Children

  • Review your budget for different spending needs
  • Initiate saving for future expenses
  • Revisit your will or trust documents and be sure to name a guardian
  • Start saving for college

Detours
To avoid unintended consequences, update documents that name beneficiaries and those for insurance coverage with these events:
➢ Divorce
➢ Unemployment

Retirement Planning

  • Determine what retirement means to you
  • Periodically reassess and gauge your progress
  • Plan for healthcare expenses
  • Understand your options and benefits under Social Security

Estate Planning

  • Consider that having more assets require more tax planning to ensure efficiency
  • Take into account beneficiary considerations
  • Preserve wealth as it grows and the process becomes more complex
  • Plan for your legacy

Roadblocks
Be prepared to reroute for:
➢ Illness or disability
➢ Changes in laws

Retirement

  • Test income plan before fully retiring
  • Determine the best withdrawal strategy for your circumstances

We’ve helped many generations of financial travelers plan for their journey and for any side trips, detours or roadblocks they might encounter along the way. Give us a call to meet with a wealth management representative today. We’ll help you determine the best route for realizing your financial goals.

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

What You Should Know About Retirement

Jacqueline Runnberg, CFP®, Vice President/Wealth Advisor

Runnberg_2015 (1)For most, retirement is what you save for. It’s an activity that keeps you focused on accumulating assets and making long-term investment decisions. But, it’s hard to know how much to save and if you’ve saved enough. To do that, you need to know what your retirement will look like and when it will begin—things that are different for everyone.

To help you gain clarity, here are some factors to consider as you think about what you want to happen next, after the saving stops.

➢ Be realistic: Age 62 might be a little premature for retirement.
Although the age of 62 is still associated with retirement, if your birthday is between 1943 and 1954, your full retirement age for Social Security purposes is actually 66. The age increases gradually for those born in subsequent years, until it tops out at 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

While you can still initiate benefits at age 62, they will be seriously discounted (between 25% and 32.5%) from your full retirement age benefit for those born after 1942.1

This is why retiring early may not make financial sense—quite a bit of money could be left on the table, unless you’ve saved enough to cover expenses in the early years of your retirement without Social Security benefits.

➢ Think long term: Savings (and benefits) need to last longer than ever before.
According to the Social Security Administration, a man who reaches age 65 can expect to live, on average, until age 84.3. A woman can expect to see age 86.6. But, these are just averages. One-fourth of 65-year-olds will live past 90 and one-tenth can expect to live past 95.2 This means you’ll need a strategy for how your savings can be invested (and withdrawn) in a way that lasts your lifetime, a period that could rival the number of years you spent working.

➢ Rethink expenses: Your retirement spending level may not change as much as you think.
It’s entirely possible your expenses in retirement won’t change so much as what you spend your money on. And, that is likely to keep changing. For instance, in early retirement more of your budget will probably be devoted to entertainment and travel than in the past. If your health needs change, entertainment and travel expenses may fall as home care and medical needs rise.

➢ Sweat the details: It’s what you can’t control that you most need to plan for.
Both inflation and health care costs can seriously impact your financial footing in retirement. Any financial strategies you develop will need to be flexible enough to accommodate these factors. They are also the reason you can’t afford to be a conservative investor—you will need to keep a portion of your assets growing if these factors are to be addressed. You’ll also need a withdrawal strategy that can tolerate the unknowns as well as the knowns.

Retirement Is Another Beginning
Retirement is really more like the last quarter of a game that is likely to see multiple overtimes. That’s why envisioning what your retirement will look like and how you will sustain it over three to four decades is so critical while it’s still early in the game.

This is something our wealth management professionals can assist you with. Working together, we can create a plan that helps ensure what you save over your working life will support the retirement you envision and deserve.

 

1 Social Security Administration website, retrieved November 3, 2015.
2 Social Security Administration website, retrieved November 3, 2015.

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

Wealth Management Economic Update February 2, 2015

U.S. and World News

  • The left-wing, anti-austerity Syriza party won the general election in Greece on Sunday, raising concerns over the country’s future status as member of the European Union. Party leader Alexis Tsipras has already moved to form a coalition that will work to reverse years of austerity measures imposed by the Troika. The Syriza government also came out against increasing sanctions on Russia for escalating violence in Ukraine. This could be very problematic for EU foreign policy, as further sanctions must be unanimously voted upon by all EU nations.
  • Just about a week after President Obama floated the idea of ending the tax advantage of 529 College Savings plans, the administration has decided to scrap the proposal. Amid outrage from a broad range of Americans, Obama has decided that the plan is a “distraction” and will seek to raise revenue in other ways.
  • ruble_320Ratings agency Standard and Poor’s downgraded Russia’s credit rating to junk, due to weak economic growth prospects, low oil prices and sanctions from the West. The move sent the Russian currency, the ruble, plunging to new lows.

Markets

  • Equity markets tumbled this week with the S&P 500 falling 2.75% and closing at 1,995. Likewise, the Dow Jones lost 2.87% and closed at 17,165. Year to date, the S&P and Dow Jones are down 3.00% and 3.58% respectively.
  • Yields in the Treasury markets remained at very low levels this week. The 10 year Treasury bond now yields 1.65% and the 5 year Treasury bond yields 1.17%.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil reversed course after a sharp bounce on Friday, rising 4.89% and closing at $47.82 per barrel. In 2015, WTI Oil prices have fallen 10.95%.
  • The spot price of Gold fell by 0.79% this week and closed at $1,283.92 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 8.41%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims declined sharply from last week, coming in at 265,000 vs. consensus estimates of 300,000. This was a new low mark for the recovery. While the Labor Department noted no special factors affecting the report, the holiday shortened week (MLK Day) may have skewed the data. The four week moving average for claims now stands at 298,500.
  • The Case-Shiller home price index rose 0.7% in November vs. expectations of 0.6%. This represents the strongest monthly gain since March. Over the last 12 months, home prices as measured by the index have risen 4.3%.
  • The first estimate of GDP showed 2.6% growth vs. expectations of 3%. Growth was aided by a strong 4.3% increase in consumer spending but was suppressed by increasing import activity. Full year 2014 GDP growth now stands at 2.5%, which is a solid gain especially given the -2.1% number posted in the 1st quarter of 2014.

Fact of the Week

  • Apple reported earnings this week, showing that the company has $178 billion in cash reserves on its balance sheet. The size of this cash component alone would rank it 5th in size in the entire S&P 500. This amount of cash would be enough to give each American $556 or purchase every pro sports franchise in the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL.

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® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767 jbinder@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Tamara Wiley, CFP® – (630) 844-3222 twiley@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

Wealth Management Economic Update January 26, 2015

U.S. and World News

  • President Obama delivered his State of the Union address this week, declaring that the economy has recovered under his leadership and discussed several measures that he would like to see enacted during his final two years in office. Among them, he called on Congress to impose new taxes on high-income earners and new fees on large financial institutions. Obama also reiterated his plan to offer free community college that would be funded by the federal and state government, but is seemingly seeking to discourage individuals from saving for their child’s college by eliminating the tax advantages of Section 529 and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. Many of the issues he raised have little to no chance of passing in the Republican controlled House and Senate.
  • European Central Bank President Mario Draghi announced this week that the central bank plans to expand its purchase of European government bonds to €60 billion per month until at least September 2016. While additional quantitative easing was expected, the size of the program was larger than consensus expectations. The goal of the plan is to reverse deflationary pressures that are weighing on the Eurozone as many of the country’s economies have stagnated recently.
  • oil-rig_000003751456_250King Abdullah, 91, of Saudi Arabia died this week, calling into question the future of the Saudi’s strategy for crude oil production. Historically, the country has been the oil market’s swing producer, altering production volumes based on demand in order to keep prices stable, but this has not been the case during the current plunge in oil prices. Abdullah’s half-brother, Crown Prince Salman has been declared King and a key indicator of the future Saudi oil policy will be whether Salman retains oil minister Ali Al-Naimi, who has driven the decision making since 1995.

Markets

  • Equity markets ended positively this week following the ECB’s announcement of an increased quantitative easing program. The S&P 500 rose 1.62% and closed at 2,052. Likewise, the Dow Jones gained 0.95% and closed at 17,673. Year to date, the S&P and Dow Jones are down 0.26% and 0.73% respectively.
  • Yields in the Treasury markets remained at very low levels this week. The 10 year Treasury bond now yields 1.79% and the 5 year Treasury bond yields 1.31%.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil plunged again this week, falling 7.63% and closing at $45.32 per barrel. In 2015, WTI Oil prices have fallen 15.49%.  According to AAA, the national average gas price is now $2.04/gallon as compared to $3.29 a year ago.
  • The spot price of Gold rose by 1.09% this week and closed at $1,294.39 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 9.29%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims declined from last week, coming in at 307,000 vs. consensus estimates of 300,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors affecting the report. The four week moving average for claims now stands at 306,500.
  • Housing starts rose 4.4% in December against expectations of 1.2%. Rising 7.2% in the month, the increase was primarily from the single-family home category which is a more positive signal.
  • China reported that its economy grew by 7.4% in 2014, its slowest pace since 1990 when growth was only 3.8% as a result of international sanctions following the Tiananmen Square massacre. The slowing growth pace has prompted speculation that the People’s Bank of China may undergo additional support measures.

Fact of the Week

  • The economy of the United States is estimated to be $17.5 trillion, representing 23% of the $77.6 trillion global economy. The 19 countries that make up the Eurozone and use the common currency collectively have an economy of $13.2 trillion, or 17% of the global economy.

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® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767 jbinder@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Tamara Wiley, CFP® – (630) 844-3222 twiley@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

Wealth Management Economic Update January 20, 2015

U.S. and World News

  • Switzerland_swiss_250The Swiss National Bank shocked markets this week when it unexpectedly scrapped the cap that it had placed on its currency, the Swiss Franc, relative to the price of the Euro (€). The move is an attempt to fight recession and deflation threats in Switzerland that has resulted from overall economic weakness in Europe. The cost of defending that cap had become extraordinarily high, and with speculation that the European Central Bank could be announcing a large Quantitative Easing program, costs would continue to go up as the Euro would surely continue depreciating. After the announcement, the Swiss Franc nearly immediately appreciated by almost 30% against the Euro and 15% against the US Dollar.
  • India’s central bank also surprised the market with an unexpected cut in interest rates in an effort to improve growth in the country. Central bank Governor Raghuram Rajan lowered the repurchase rate in India to 7.75% from 8%, the first rate reduction in two years, as lower food and energy prices have eased inflationary fears.
  • As of Friday, Americans will be able to visit Cuba without obtaining a license from the Treasury Department. Many US airlines announced plans to seek regular service to and from Cuba. The issue of the 54 year old trade embargo with Cuba remains, as this can only be lifted by Congress and prohibits American companies from doing business in the country.

Markets

  • Equity markets ended with another volatile week. The S&P fell 1.24% and closed at 2,019. Likewise, the Dow Jones trickled down 1.27% and closed at 17,512. Year to date, the S&P and Dow Jones are down 1.92% and 1.75% respectively.
  • Yields in the Treasury markets continued their downward trend. The 10 year Treasury bond now yields 1.84% and the 5 year Treasury bond yields 1.30%.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil rose slightly by 0.23% and closed at $48.47 per barrel. Year to date, the spot price of WTI Crude Oil is down 9.01%.
  • The spot price of Gold rose by 4.68% this week and closed at $1,280.45 per ounce.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims rose from last week, coming in at 316,000 vs. consensus estimates of 290,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors affecting the report. The four week moving average for claims now stands at 298,000, an increase of 7,000.
  • Headline retail sales fell 0.9% in December vs. expectations of -0.1%. Expectedly, gasoline station sales were a drag on retail sales, falling 6.5% in the month.
  • The headline Consumer Price Index declined 0.4% in December, which was in line with consensus. Much of the decline was due to a 4.7% fall in energy prices. Core CPI which excludes food and energy was unchanged in December. Over the past year, both headline and core prices have been very subdued, rising only 0.8% and 1.6% respectively.

Fact of the Week

  • In March 2009, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the taxpayer cost of the August 2008 TARP bailout would be $356 billion. However, a report by the Treasury Department in December 2014 showed an overall $15 billion profit from the TARP program.

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® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767 jbinder@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Tamara Wiley, CFP® – (630) 844-3222 twiley@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

Wealth Management Economic Update January 13, 2015

U.S. and World News

  • Minutes from the December Federal Reserve meeting were consistent Janet Yellen’s comments press conference following the meeting. There was not much clarity given to the future path of monetary policy. However, there were a number of participants who saw a risk that inflation will persistently undershoot the Fed’s 2% target, calling into question when the central bank will begin to hike short term interest rates.
  • Starting in 2017, Illinois businesses with 25 or more employees that do not offer any type of retirement savings plan must automatically enroll it’s employees in the state’s Secure Choice Savings Program, which will allow them to invest in an IRA. The measure comes as a result of a law signed by outgoing governor Pat Quinn. The program is similar to one that President Obama has endorsed on the federal level, which promotes retirement savings for workers who may otherwise not have the access or knowledge to save in tax-advantaged retirement accounts. Workers will be allowed to opt out after initial enrollment if they choose not to participate. Those who don’t opt out will have a default of a 3% payroll deduction used to fund the account and have a limited amount of investment options to choose from.
  • iStock_000018702425XLarge320President Obama unveiled a proposal this week that would make community college free for the first two years for eligible students. Federal funding would cover 75% of the cost, while participating states would contribute the rest. Obama projects that 9 million students will participate in the program and save an estimated $3,800 a year on tuition. Explaining the proposal, the President said, “We have to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to constantly train themselves for better jobs, better wages and better benefits.”

Markets

  • Equity markets earnestly kicked off 2015 with a very volatile week which saw five straight triple digit moves in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. By the end of the week, the S&P had fallen 0.61% and closed at 2,045. Likewise, the Dow Jones moved down 0.49% and closed at 17,737.
  • Yields in the Treasury markets moved considerably lower this week. The 10 year Treasury bond now yields 1.96% and the 5 year Treasury bond yields 1.43%.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil plunged again this week, falling 8.43% and closing at $48.25 per barrel. According to AAA, the national average gas price is now $2.17/gallon as compared to $3.31 a year ago.
  • The spot price of Gold rose by 2.86% this week and closed at $1,222.44 per ounce.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims fell from last week, coming in at 294,000 vs. consensus estimates of 290,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors affecting the report, although the holiday season is traditionally more volatile. The four week moving average for claims now stands at 290,500.
  • The monthly non-farms payroll report showed 252,000 jobs added in December, beating estimates of 240,000. This was the 11th consecutive month of job gains above 200,000 which is the longest such stretch since 1994.
    • The headline unemployment rate fell 0.2% to 5.6%. This was aided by a corresponding 0.2% drop in the labor force participation rate to 62.7%, lowest since 1977.
    • Average hourly earnings disappointed to the downside, declining by 0.2% in December vs. expectations of a 0.2% gain. In 2014, average earnings rose only 1.7% vs. consensus projections of 2.2%.

Fact of the Week

  • An individual who waits until age 70 to collect Social Security benefits will receive 76% more per month than if they had started taking benefits at age 62.

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® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767 jbinder@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Tamara Wiley, CFP® – (630) 844-3222 twiley@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

April 2014 – National Financial Literacy Month

piggy_000004047530SmallDid you know April was National Financial Literacy Month? Everyone is encouraged to expand their knowledge and awareness of finance and money.

Old Second Bank is pleased to contribute to the financial literacy of customers and non-customers alike. Take advantage of the following Old Second resources:

Or simply visit oldsecond.com to learn more about all our many financial products and services.