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Northern Star Newsletter 09/28/2017

Northern Star Newsletter 09/28/2017

Message from Jon

Market Update:

 The foreign markets have been in a recent pull-back these past couple of days since North Korea has reared its ugly head again with threats of Nuclear War. Are these threats credible? Not in my opinion, but the media has to see something for clicks. The domestic markets have also taken a stutter step.


Our path and pattern is still the same, steady as she goes. As you might recall, I was projecting a normal market correction of 3-6, maybe 7%, in Sept-Oct time frame. September came and went, and now we're heading into October, so time will tell if the correction comes or not. Until we get evidence to the contrary though, we stay the course and keep on keeping on.


Planning Update:


Summit 2.0 has come a long way in the last four months. We have adopted and begun to integrate the Summit Pathway Discussion with some clients already and the feedback is really good. We are working on the various different topics that are involved and condensing those into a much less intimidating volume of data to produce, review and deploy. It will be exciting when it is all completed!


Till we speak again, enjoy football season!


Stocks Mixed, Fed Changes Policy


 Domestic indexes were mixed last week, as the Dow gained 0.36%, the S&P 500 eked out a 0.08% increase, and the NASDAQ lost 0.33%.[1] International stocks in the MSCI EAFE added a solid 0.68%.[2]

Three stories that have dominated conversations and driven investor attention in 2017 continued last week:
Healthcare policy: The Senate's continuing discussion of healthcare reform impacted stock performance in connected industries.
Tension with North Korea: The markets responded quietly to continuing conflict between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, although some investments saw a bump later in the week.[3]
Interest rate updates: While the Fed chose not to raise interest rates in its most recent meeting, it indicated that a December hike is definitely still on the table.[4]
When announcing its latest interest rate perspectives, the Federal Reserve also indicated that it would begin to reduce its balance sheet next month.[5]

But, what does that really mean - and why does the Fed have a $4.2 trillion balance sheet, anyway?

A Look Back on Quantitative Easing

During the financial crisis and recession, the Fed took an unprecedented and controversial approach to stabilizing our economy and the world's markets. By buying trillions of dollars of Treasury and mortgage bonds between 2008 and 2014, it aimed to encourage hiring, economic growth, and investing. This action is commonly known as Quantitative Easing (QE).[6]

Through the three rounds of QE, the Fed added trillions of dollars of new money to the financial markets. Since QE first began almost a decade ago, we have seen unemployment reach a 16-year low and the S&P 500 more than triple from its bottom in 2009. Although economic growth is still slower than before the recession, the Fed believes the economy is now strong enough to handle more normal monetary policy.[7]

In October, the Fed will start the gradual process of lowering its balance sheet - currently equal to about a quarter of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Thus far, investors have had a mild response to this plan. As the Fed begins slowly allowing billions of dollars of bonds to roll off, we will closely monitor the economic impact.[8]

We know that monetary policy can seem like an incredibly complex topic - and, frankly, it is. However, we think you deserve to understand the large forces at play in your financial life. If you have any questions about the Fed's latest announcement, or any other financial details, we're always here to talk.

Tuesday: New Home Sales, Consumer Confidence
Wednesday: Durable Goods Orders
Thursday: GDP
Friday: Personal Income and Outlays, Consumer Sentiment

Notes: All index returns (except S&P 500) exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5- year and 10-year returns are annualized. The total returns for the S&P 500 assume reinvestment of dividends on the last day of the month. This may account for differences between the index returns published on Morningstar.com and the index returns published elsewhere. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.


Managing Taxes During a Divorce or Separation*

When couples decide to divorce or separate, they likely must address various financial details related to their partnership. Depending on how complex a couple's finances are, carefully unwinding the tax intricacies may require a number of steps. If you are experiencing a divorce or separation, we understand how challenging these times can be. To help guide you, we've compiled some guidance on how to manage your taxes during the process:
1. Make any name changes: If you are changing your name, you need to update your personal information with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The name you list when submitting taxes to the IRS must match the information the SSA has on file. Find more information on the SSA website.
2. Report any alimony you receive: Spouses that receive alimony must report this income to the IRS for the year they received the money. Also, be aware that alimony does not have tax withholding and may affect how much you owe in taxes when you file.
3. Claim child support correctly: Former spouses or partners that make child support payments cannot include these amounts in their alimony deductions.
Other details may apply, and you can find more information on the IRS website.
* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.

Know These Common Aging Ailments


As we age, our bodies no longer function as well as they may have when we were younger. While everyone ages differently, some common ailments exist as we grow older. Before you worry that you have a pain no one else experiences, explore these typical ailments that occur in older age.
  • Lower Back Pain: Back pain is common no matter one's age. But if you have more lower back pain in your older age, you may be experiencing the effects of arthritis. A visit to your doctor can help you identify the cause and physical therapy that can help improve the pain.
  • Osteoarthritis: One-third of adults over 60 years old suffer from osteoarthritis, which occurs when the protective cartilage between your bones degenerates, creating joint pain. To help combat the condition and minimize pain, be sure to stay active and strengthen muscles around the joints.
  • Carpal Tunnel: This condition can peak between your 40s and 60s, and sometimes may require surgery, depending on its severity. Whether hereditary or brought on by arthritis or another cause, this ailment occurs when the nerve from your arm to your wrist becomes squeezed or pressed. You can lessen pain with short-term use of painkillers and also consult your doctor for recommended treatments.
Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.
Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.
International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.
The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies. 
The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indices from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia. 
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.
The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
Past performance does not guarantee future results.
You cannot invest directly in an index.
Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.
These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.
By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site. 

[1]  http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=!DJI&region=usa&culture=en-US
[2] https://www.msci.com/end-of-day-data-search
[3] https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/22/us-stocks-open-lower-as-geopolitics-tensions-heat-up-after-north-korean-threat.html
[4] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed/fed-keeps-u-s-rates-steady-to-start-portfolio-drawdown-in-october-idUSKCN1BV0GJ 
[5] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed/fed-keeps-u-s-rates-steady-to-start-portfolio-drawdown-in-october-idUSKCN1BV0GJ 
[6] http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/USA-FED/010050VD1YM/index.html 
[7] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-20/can-the-fed-unwind-without-unnverving-markets-quicktake-q-a
[8] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-20/can-the-fed-unwind-without-unnverving-markets-quicktake-q-a 
[9] http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/salted-and-other-caramel-apples/ 
[10] https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/divorce-or-separation-may-affect-taxes 
[11] https://www.golfdigest.com/story/start-every-putt-on-a-great-line 
[12] http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/features/common-pains-of-age#1 
[13] https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/green-living/how-green-are-you
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