A look at the different choices & strategies.
If you have a child with special needs, a trust may be a financial priority. There are many crucial goods and services that Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income might not pay for, and a special needs trust may be used to address those financial challenges. Most importantly, a special needs trust may help provide for your disabled child in case you're no longer able to care for them.
Remember, using a trust involves a complex set of tax rules and regulations. Before moving forward with a trust, consider working with a professional who is familiar with the rules and regulations.
In preparing for a special needs trust, one of the most pressing questions is: when it comes to funding the trust, what are the choices?
There are four basic ways to build up a third-party special needs trust. One method is simply to pour in personal assets, perhaps from immediate or extended family members. Another possibility is to fund the trust with life insurance. Proceeds from a settlement or lawsuit can also serve as the core of the trust assets. Lastly, an inheritance can provide the financial footing to start and fund this kind of trust.
Families choosing the personal asset route may put a few thousand dollars of cash or other assets into the trust to start, with the intention that the initial investment will be augmented by later contributions from grandparents, siblings, or other relatives. Those subsequent contributions can be willed to the trust, or the trust may be named as a beneficiary of a retirement or investment account.
When life insurance is used, the trustor makes the trust the beneficiary of the policy. When the trustor dies, the policy’s death benefit is left to the trust.
Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.
A lump-sum settlement or inheritance can be invested while within the trust. With a worthy trustee in place, there is less likelihood of mismanagement, and funds may come out of the trust to support the beneficiary in a measured way that does not risk threatening government benefits.
Care must be taken not only in the setup of a special needs trust, but in the management of it as well. This should be a team effort. The family members involved should seek out legal and financial professionals who are well versed in this field, and the resulting trust should be a product of close collaboration.
Various factors drive used car prices.
Inflation is defined as the general upward price movement of goods and services in an economy. The key word is “general.” Inflation tends to be uneven and affects the price of some items more than others.
If you’ve been in the market for a used car, you’ve learned a critical economic lesson about the “uneven” side of inflation. The overall rate of inflation has been 5% for the past 12 months. Meanwhile, the average price of a used car is up 30% from a year ago.
Various factors drive used car prices, but most of the trouble links to the global microchip shortage.
Demand for used cars may well slow later this year as automakers return to normal production levels. As the market shifts, some people who bought used cars may learn another key economics lesson: they might owe more for their car than what it’s worth as prices return to historical levels.
The most important takeaway is that inflation touches our lives in different ways. Gasoline prices are up sharply from a year ago, but you might not feel the increase if you work from home or are retired. However, at the grocery store, all shoppers are paying higher prices for everything from beef to pork to milk.
If all the recent inflation talk has you uneasy, please contact our offices. We'd welcome the chance to hear about your experience with higher prices.
In this month’s recap: Stocks moved higher as investors looked past accelerating inflation and the Fed’s pivot on monetary policy.
Stocks moved higher last month as investors looked past accelerating inflation and the Fed’s pivot on monetary policy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.07 percent, but the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 2.22 percent. The Nasdaq Composite led, gaining 5.49 percent.
The May Consumer Price Index came in above expectations. Prices increased by 5 percent for the year-over-year period—the fastest rate in nearly 13 years. Despite the surprise, markets rallied on the news, sending the S&P 500 to a new record close and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite higher.
The Fed indicated that two interest rate hikes in 2023 were likely, despite signals as recently as March 2021 that rates would remain unchanged until 2024. The Fed also raised its inflation expectations to 3.4 percent, up from its March projection of 2.4 percent. This news unsettled the markets, but the shock was short-lived.
In the final full week of trading, stocks rallied on the news of an agreement regarding the $1 trillion infrastructure bill and reports that banks had passed the latest Federal Reserve stress tests.
Industry sector performance was mixed. Gains were realized in Communication Services (+2.96 percent), Consumer Discretionary (+3.22 percent), Energy (+1.92 percent), Health Care (+1.97 percent), Real Estate (+3.28 percent), and Technology (+6.81 percent). Losses were suffered in Consumer Staples (-1.95 percent), Financials (-3.84 percent), Industrials (-3.34 percent), Materials (-5.92 percent), and Utilities (-2.78 percent).
What Investors May Be Talking About in July
Second-quarter earnings season is near, and investors will see whether Corporate America can build upon its first-quarter results.
Earnings are expected to increase 61 percent, in part driven by a nearly 20 percent growth in sales. In the first quarter, earnings rose 52 percent on an 11 percent increase in sales.
First-quarter earnings didn’t move the market, so it’s uncertain whether second-quarter numbers will be a catalyst.
But if earnings miss the mark, analysts may find themselves evaluating stock valuations over the next few months.
Cancel monthly charges for services or products you really don’t use or need. If you decide you do need them, you can always sign up for them again later.
Overseas markets were mixed in June, with the MSCI EAFE Index falling 0.33 percent.6
European markets, however, edged higher. France picked up 0.93 percent, Germany tacked on 0.71 percent, and the U.K. rose 0.21 percent.
In the Pacific Rim, Australia was among the standouts, gaining 2.11 percent. Hong Kong lost 1.11 percent, and Japan dropped 0.53 percent.
Gross Domestic Product: The final reading of first-quarter GDP growth was unchanged at 6.4 percent.
Employment: Nonfarm payrolls increased by 559,000, dropping the unemployment rate to 5.8 percent. The leisure and hospitality sector experienced the largest gain, with 292,000 jobs added.
Retail Sales: Retail sales declined 1.3 percent in May as consumers shifted their spending from goods to services such as airline travel.
Industrial Production: Output at America’s factories, mines, and utilities rose 0.8 percent. It was the third consecutive month of expanded output.
Housing: Housing starts rose 3.6 percent as the high cost of materials hampered activity.
Existing home sales dropped for the fourth consecutive month, sliding 0.9 percent in May. Inventory shortages and declining affordability continue to weigh on the market.
Sales of new homes fell 5.9 percent as the median sales price rose to a record $374,400.
Consumer Price Index: The prices of consumer goods surged in May, hitting levels not seen in almost 13 years. The CPI rose 0.6 percent from April 2021.
Durable Goods Orders: Orders for long-lasting goods rose 2.3 percent, which represented the largest month-over-month gain since July 2020.
“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.”
Dr. Mae Jemison
Following its June meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee indicated that two interest rate hikes in 2023 were likely. The Fed also raised its inflation expectations to 3.4 percent, up from its March projection of 2.4 percent.
However, Fed officials continue to maintain that price increases will be transitory even though there has been no indication of when or by how much the Fed may begin tapering its monthly bond purchases.
Sources: Yahoo Finance, June 30, 2021
The market indexes discussed are unmanaged and generally considered representative of their respective markets. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. Past performance does not guarantee future results. U.S. Treasury Notes are guaranteed by the federal government as to the timely payment of principal and interest. However, if you sell a Treasury Note prior to maturity, it may be worth more or less than the original price paid.
Gary G. Blom | Financial Advisor
Michael Howell CRPC | Financial Advisor
Address: 3340 Tully Rd. Ste B4, Modesto, CA 95350
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1. The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2021
2. CNBC.com, June 10, 2021
3. The Wall Street Journal, June 16, 202
4. Sectorspdr.com, May 31, 2021
5. FactSet.com, June 4, 2021
6. MSCI.com, June 30, 2021
7. MSCI.com, June 30, 2021
8. MSCI.com, June 30, 2021
9. CNBC.com, June 24, 2021
10. The Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2021
11. The Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2021
12. MarketWatch.com, June 15, 2021
13. CNBC.com, June 16, 2021
14. CNBC.com, June 22, 2021
15. FoxBusiness.com, June 23, 2021
16. The Wall Street Journal.com, June 10, 2021
17. CNBC.com, June 24, 2021
18. The Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2021
This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs, or expenses. Investors cannot invest directly in indices. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The Russell 2000 Index measures the performance of the small-cap segment of the U.S. equity universe. The CBOE Volatility Index® (VIX®) is a key measure of market expectations of near-term volatility conveyed by S&P 500 stock index option prices. NYSE Group, Inc. (NYSE:NYX) operates two securities exchanges: the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and NYSE Arca (formerly known as the Archipelago Exchange, or ArcaEx®, and the Pacific Exchange). NYSE Group is a leading provider of securities listing, trading and market data products and services. The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX) is the world's largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading forum for energy and precious metals, with trading conducted through two divisions – the NYMEX Division, home to the energy, platinum, and palladium markets, and the COMEX Division, on which all other metals trade. The SSE Composite Index is an index of all stocks (A shares and B shares) that are traded at the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The CAC-40 Index is a narrow-based, modified capitalization-weighted index of 40 companies listed on the Paris Bourse. The FTSEurofirst 300 Index comprises the 300 largest companies ranked by market capitalization in the FTSE Developed Europe Index. The FTSE 100 Index is a share index of the 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange with the highest market capitalization. Established in January 1980, the All Ordinaries is the oldest index of shares in Australia. It is made up of the share prices for 500 of the largest companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. The S&P/TSX Composite Index is an index of the stock (equity) prices of the largest companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) as measured by market capitalization. The Hang Seng Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization-weighted stock market index that is the main indicator of the overall market performance in Hong Kong. The FTSE TWSE Taiwan 50 Index is a capitalization-weighted index of stocks comprising 50 companies listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange developed by Taiwan Stock Exchange in collaboration with FTSE. The MSCI World Index is a free-float weighted equity index that includes developed world markets and does not include emerging markets. The Mexican Stock Exchange, commonly known as Mexican Bolsa, Mexbol, or BMV, is the only stock exchange in Mexico. The U.S. Dollar Index measures the performance of the U.S. dollar against a basket of six currencies. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability, and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results. MarketingPro, Inc. is not affiliated with any person or firm that may be providing this information to you. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.
As inflation climbs, the Fed reacts.
At its June meeting, the Federal Reserve confirmed what many of us have suspected for some time: prices are rising. In fact, prices are climbing faster than many expected. In response, the Fed raised its inflation expectation to 3.4%, up from its March projection of 2.4%, effectively raising its inflation expectation by 42%.
The Fed’s course correction on inflation expectations and planned interest rate hikes unsettled the financial markets, with further volatility felt after St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said that the first interest rate hike could be as soon as 2022.
The Fed also indicated that two interest rate hikes in 2023 were likely, despite signals last march that rates would remain unchanged until 2024.
So, what’s an investor to do?
It’s important to remember that inflation is just one of the factors considered when creating a portfolio. If inflation trends higher than expected for some time, adjustments may need to occur.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell also said at the June meeting that he believes that inflation will be transitory. But as evidenced by the recent changes, the Fed remains ready to update its outlook as economic data continues to accumulate.
If you’re concerned about inflation, please reach out. As the economy continues to strengthen, economic trends and themes are evolving quickly. We’d welcome the chance to hear your thoughts.