Message from Jon
What matters most... Part II
When asked what surprised him most about humanity, the Dalai Lama replied:
"Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never lived."
This struck me when I read it recently to the point of me sharing it with you, in the hopes that we can put a bit of perspective on things.
On any given day, the headlines, markets, politics of the day, and sentiments of how we feel about certain things can be impacted in a positive, negative, or neutral way. I say neutral because whenever we are confronted with our own mortality, either by the loss of someone or something dear to us, it is in that moment that we see clearly, the true value of life, I think.
This weekend we spent time honoring and paying tribute to those who have fallen in service to our country. Closer to home, my uncle underwent quadruple by-pass surgery, and a dear friend lost her grandmother. Personally, my family and I were met with the news that we may have to put our Lab of 14.5 yrs to sleep as her health is suddenly failing. When I broke the news to my son about Cindy, I saw him struggle with his emotions, and I remember thinking about what the great Jimmy Valvano said in a speech he gave about living a full life; "If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. If you do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special." I guess we all want the sun and none of the rain. It is the sun AND the rain that give us some of the most treasured landscapes though.
For some, you may skim our newsletters for the quick and explainable. I have been known to do that too. For others, you may take the time to read each one, and I hope that it feels like we are in my office, having a conversation.
It is important that what matters most should not be recalled during moments of tragedy or poignant clarity. In today's world of instant access, fake everything, negativity, and obscenity, what matters most often becomes the why behind the what. I feel very blessed to have the confidence of our clients. We work tirelessly to not only achieve but exceed the expectations of each of our clients. Sometimes we are successful at accomplishing what we set out to do, and sometimes we fall short of our goals. "If you fall, fall forward so that when you get back up, you are closer to where you want to be," was a favorite quote of a coach of mine when I was younger. It wasn't until I was much older that I began to understand the meaning behind it.
Returns are positive or negative. The markets are up one minute and down the next. Like the weather, the news cycle changes by the hour and all too easy, we get carried away in it all. What matters is that we do not lose sight of our course. Our goal should be to live a full life with passion(s), significant relationships, a lifestyle of our choosing, and a career that enriches us. To live with purpose is the why behind it all, isn't it?
Till we speak again, enjoy the summer to its fullest!
Stocks Up, Signals Mixed
WEEKLY UPDATE - MAY 29, 2018
Geopolitical uncertainty affected stocks last week, as the historic summit between the U.S. and North Korea began to look less likely. On Thursday, May 24, President Trump announced that the summit was off, and stocks stumbled in reaction. The next day, Trump said the meeting might still occur next month, leaving investors questioning the eventual outcome.
Also on the geopolitical front, an announcement that Saudi Arabia and Russia would consider easing back oil supply restrictions affected stocks. U.S. crude oil prices dropped in response, pulling energy stocks down with them.
Despite these developments, major domestic indexes increased last week. The S&P 500 gained 0.31%, the Dow added 0.15%, and the NASDAQ grew by 1.08%. International stocks dropped, with the MSCI EAFE decreasing by 1.60%.
What kept U.S. stocks in positive territory for the week?
Solid corporate earnings helped drive upward movement.
A number of companies experienced double-digit stock growth last week after releasing their latest data. This strong performance helped balance the declines and uncertainty that the week's geopolitical headlines created.
What other economic perspectives did we receive?
From durable goods to home sales, various data came out last week:
- The factory sector could drive economic growth, as steel and aluminum tariffs are contributing to rising value of orders and inventories for metals.
- Business confidence and 2nd-quarter investment could increase, as strong core durable goods orders may indicate good news for companies.
- Housing is underperforming, as growth in home sales volume and prices have softened recently.
Overall, last week provided a mix of insight about the current economic strength and geopolitical environment. In this week's 4 trading days, we'll gain more perspectives on consumer confidence, Gross Domestic Product, manufacturing, and employment. We will use this data to continue building our understanding of what may lie ahead in the markets - and how to prepare our clients for the future. If you have any questions, we are here to talk.
ECONOMIC CALENDARMonday: U.S. Markets Closed for Memorial DayTuesday: Consumer ConfidenceWednesday: GDP, ADP Employment ReportThursday: Jobless ClaimsFriday: Employment Situation, PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Mfg Index, Construction Spending
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.
"A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him."
- David Brinkley
|Who Collects IRS Debt?*
The IRS launched a program authorizing private agencies to collect certain overdue tax debts. A federal law, passed by Congress in December 2015, grants the tax agency the authority to contract collections to outside companies.
Taxpayers whose accounts have been assigned to collections will only be contacted by 1 of the companies, not all of them. No other private groups are authorized to represent the agency for collecting overdue taxes.
The IRS always attempts to notify taxpayers before their accounts are transferred to private debt collectors. IRS notification letters include names and contact information of the debt collector, and a copy of Publication 4518.
Private collectors are required to identify themselves as IRS contractors attempting to collect tax debts. The private collectors may discuss payment options. Any payment arrangements, however, must be made payable to the U.S. Treasury.
The contractors will also only discuss ongoing IRS tax issues. The tax agency will have previously attempted to collect the debt with the taxpayer.
Additional information can be found on the IRS website.
* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.
Tip adapted from IRS.gov
|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.
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