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Showing posts from 2013

December 2013 Market Commentary

DECEMBER MARKET COMMENTARY: November marked the third consecutive month of positive returns for U.S. stocks. The S&P 500 Index, a measure of domestic large-cap stocks, gained 3.05%, while the Russell 2000 Index, which tracks U.S. small-cap stocks, returned 4.01% (Source:  Morningstar, Inc). Overseas, equity market returns were less robust. The MSCI World ex U.S. Index edged up 0.61%, while the MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell 1.46%. Fixed income lost ground as the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, a measure of the domestic investment-grade bond universe, slipped 0.37%, and the Barclays U.S. Corporate High-Yield Index, which tracks the non-investment grade bond market, managed a 0.51% gain (Source:  Morningstar, Inc). Thank you for your continued support of White House Financial & Settlement Consulting. We wish you all a happy holiday season!!! White House Financial & Settlement Consulting LLC COMPREHENSIVE - CLIENT FOCUSED - FINANCIAL ADVICE 114 South Ma

Biggest Financial Mistakes

BIGGEST FINANCIAL MISTAKES: We are preparing to offer regular educational workshops we are calling our “Get Financially Fit Academy”.  One of the topics we will cover is the biggest mistakes we have seen people make in our almost 20 years of helping people achieve their financial goals which are: 1.)     Not having your important information organized and letting someone you trust know where all your important information is.  This includes ensuring that your estate plan and beneficiaries are up to date.  2.)     Not saving enough.  Many people are very concerned about what they are invested in, however, they fail to realize that the MOST important factor in investing is regular, disciplined savings and NOT what it is invested in.  Sure, it is important to invest your hard savings prudently, however, again this is secondary to simply saving regularly in good times and bad. 3.)     Not having enough disability insurance coverage.  Many people make sure they have

The Federal Government Shutdown

A client came into our office yesterday morning unannounced and wanted to know if he should sell all his investments due to the issues going on in our federal government.   We asked the client if he needed all or a majority of his money in the near future.   His response was “absolutely not”.   Our response to him was that no matter how dire the current situation seems, in the grand scheme of history, the financial markets and life, it is but a tiny blip and we shouldn’t react to short term news, especially when it has to do with our politicians! We have been here before, we will be here again and we will always have a government (and if we don’t you will not need financial assets anyway) and therefore, over the long- term, short- term issues like this will not be significant. The following charge averages the last 17 government shutdowns, plotting the average S&P500 performance 20 trading days before the shutdown and 60 trading days after.   As the chart shows, the stock mark

Market Update

The last few months have seen some big changes in the bond market. At the end of August, the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield had risen more than 100 basis points from its May 1.66% low, with corporate, mortgage, and municipal bond yields following suit. This seems to have spooked mutual-fund investors, who yanked approximately $60 billion from bond funds in June, $11.7 billion in July, and $27.2 billion in August. (Source: Morningstar) With bond yields now higher than they’ve been in several years and showing few signs of retreating, the question is: where do we go from here? In our opinion the relative attractiveness of the bond market is currently less attractive than other areas of the market: Nevertheless, it remains an essential part of a well-diversified portfolio, helping to manage income and market volatility and drawdowns, particularly amid flights to more conservative investments. Thus, while we will recommend adjusting client portfolio exposure to favor   valuati

Online Educational Videos

If you go to our website at you can find educational videos on a variety of topics. We frequently update our library of videos on a monthly basis and address subjects of continuing concern, such as when to claim Social Security benefits, as well as important current issues, such as the recent Detroit Bankruptcy filing.

Current Market Commentary

August was a difficult month for the U.S. equity market. The S&P 500 Index lost 2.90% while the Russell 2000 Index, tracking U.S. small-cap stocks, fell 3.18%. Overseas, equity markets fared slightly better. The MSCI World ex U.S. Index dropped 1.29%, while the MSCI Emerging Markets Index logged its fifth monthly decline in 2013 with a 1.72% loss. Fixed-income markets followed suit with investment-grade bonds, as represented by the Barclay's U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, slipping 0.51%. Meanwhile, the Barclay's U.S. Corporate High-Yield Bond Index, a measure of the non-investment grade bond market, lost 0.61% in August. The U.S. economy continued to show sputtering improvement in August, but concerns about the possibility of a U.S.-led military strike weighed on global stock markets and boosted the price of oil. Emerging-markets equities also continued to reflect investor unease surrounding both inflation and local loan markets. In fixed income, yields rose as redemption

Detroit Bankruptcy

On July 18 the city of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, making it the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history. We have been following this historic event with our strategic partners and have highlighted some of the key opinions and research pertaining to the city's filing in video format. We hope you find it informative. Detroit Bankruptcy Video Commentary

What Is Driving the Current Financial Markets?--Second Quarter 2013 Recap

We know that many of our clients are concerned about the volatility we experienced in the financial markets during the second quarter of this year. Therefore, we'd like to present our insights into what transpired, what the catalysts were and our forecast for how the markets will react throughout the remainder of the year. Here is a basic recap of what transpired: The second quarter was a tale of two halves in the U.S., with mixed performance to go along with the mixed economic data. Financial markets reacted strongly in mid May after the Federal Reserve announced that its asset purchase program could soon wind down. All areas of the global fixed-income markets declined as real yields spiked. Global equity performance was mixed, with U.S. stocks outpacing most other regions. In the U.S., small caps led large caps. Emerging markets, encompassing both debt and equity, were laggards on rising treasury yields and uncertain growth in China. Concerns about moderating emerging m
Thanks to everyone who attended the White House Financial & Settlement Consulting Client, Family and Friend appreciation event at our farm on Saturday! Thanks to my wife  Leslie Tewes White , daughters and team for making it a great event for the 9th year! Thanks to mother nature for the beautiful weather!! These events really make me appreciate the wonderful community of people I am blessed to associate with through my work, friends and my family! THANKS! White House Financial & Settlement Consulting helps busy professionals and entrepreneurs live easier and less stressful lives through the proper management of their financial resources.  We do this by acting as our clients’ trusted  adviser  providing a personal touch customized to the client’s needs!  Please visit our web site at   or contact us directly for more information!

The Keys to Unlocking Social Security and Making Your Benefits Work for You

The role of Social Security in retirement planning is an important factor for long-term financial well-being.  The link below will take you to a video about the various options for Social Security recipients.  This is timely and important information for everyone regardless of when you are eligible to receive your benefits. ***The Keys to Unlocking Social Security***

Creating a Financially Organized Life

Whether you're squared away and structured, live in functionally chaotic surroundings, or fall somewhere in between, there are many benefits to creating a financially organized life. Here's how to get a jump-start on creating a system to organize your bills, policies and other financial paperwork. . ***Continue Reading*** Considering everything going on in your life right now, finding time to complete a detailed inventory of important documents may seem like an impossible luxury. Have you got 30 minutes? That’s all it should take to fill out this executive summary—a quick collection of critical details. ***View Inventory*** 

Business Transition Planning

I recently attended a workshop in Chicago that focused on closely held business transition planning.   I was interested in attending this workshop due to my goal of ensuring an ironclad succession and disaster plan for our firm and to be better able to advise many of our clients who are entrepreneurs and business owners.    As the owner of a closely held business for over eleven years I have tried hard to focus on the following mantra and which is the crux of what this seminar dealt with: Working on your business, rather than just in it! Sometimes a business can be humming along, increasing its net worth and profit margins, while the business owner overlooks potential major issues that can threaten its very existence.   This is rarely done intentionally or out of neglect, it is just that he or she is simply distracted by all of the progress being achieved. Many businesses are devastated when those events we do not like to consider take place such as death, d

Warren Buffett and the Bond Market

On, Monday, May 6 th , during an interview on CNBC, Warren Buffett, the venerated Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and famous investor, called the fixed income or bond asset class a "…terrible investment right now".  Obviously, it is important to listen closely to what Mr. Buffett has to say given his investment track record.  However, it is also important to take several other factors into consideration as well, such as: 1.) Mr. Buffett is in a different financial position than probably 99% of us and, therefore, can afford to take a different amount of risk.  This is also likely true for most of the people who earn a living by making financial predictions. 2.) As  The Wall Street Journal wrote on Sunday , bond bears were making the same calls in the beginning of 2010, 2011, and 2012; those predictions led to lower yields (e.g., higher bond prices and thus higher bond returns) as the year went on.  If the keep predicting this every year I guess eventually they will get it
I saw this quote at a CrossFit box I worked out at in Stuart, Florida called Be CrossFit. "Pain of discipline now or pain of regret later.  Your choice!" This is a somewhat shortened version of the following original quote by Jim Rohn. “There are two types of pain you will go through in life, the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tonnes.” ―  Jim Rohn I think this quote applies to so many aspects of life from family, physical fitness and definitely to personal finances!!!

The Media and Investment Strategy

The media has been reporting that market indexes are hitting a new high, which can make many people feel that their portfolio is not doing as well as "everyone else's”.   We must be very careful when we let the media dictate our investment strategy.   Based on our experience, when this happens, it is important to keep the following things in mind: 1.) The media's first priority is to make a profit by selling advertising, not to make you a profit by making good investment decisions. 2.) Most people only tell you about how much money they have made in their portfolios, not how much they have lost. 3.) Our fist job as a financial advisor is to understand the level of risk that you can take and to do everything we can to preserve your capital.   Our second job is to help you maximize the growth of your portfolio, given the amount of risk you can afford to take. 4.) The Dow Jones Industrial Index or S&P500 index being at a seven year high means that it has had
Feb. 6, 2013 One of the most common misunderstood financial planning concepts that we come across when meeting with new clients is the Individual Retirement Account also more commonly known as an IRA.  The most common misconceptions we find with respect to IRAs typically are: 1.) That an IRA is a type of investment which earns a certain rate of return and 2.) That one can contribute any lump sum they receive into an IRA. An IRA is a type of investment account. It is a form of retirement plan provided by many financial institutions that offers tax advantages for retirement savings in the United States as described in IRS Publication 590,  Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRAs) .  Within this type of account one may invest in many different types of investments or simply hold the contributions in cash.  Second, depending on the type of IRA, as described below, one is limited to a certain amount which they can contribute to an IRA in a year and which must come from EARNED INCO
January 18, 2013   We recently had a client contact us who wanted to know what she was earning in our money market fund because she had heard that another advisor was claiming significantly higher earnings on what they had to offer. During my over 15 years in the financial advising and investment business I have encountered this kind of reaction from clients several times. My experience and gut told me that if we were truly comparing apples to apples in terms of financial vehicles, earning a return that the competing advisor was claiming was highly unlikely. However, we always give people the benefit of the doubt and I never claim to know everything! I contacted several trusted resources including our broker dealer who had several employees who had recently worked for the competitor who was supposedly offering this higher interest rate. All of the sources confirmed that the competitor did not have such a money market fund that earns what they were claiming and that the product m