Notes from Sandy
Ah, election year. How I hate politics and all the mudslinging that comes with it. Some friends are so rabid on Facebook with their political posts; I can't even look any more. I recently attended a conference and heard Mary Matalin and James Carville speaking together (pictured above). They are so funny with their insults of each other and their opposing parties I have no idea how they can stay married. They each told great "behind the scenes" stories like the day that Dick Cheney shot his friend while hunting quail. All funny stories aside, they gave great insight to their projections of the coming election.

Capital Gains and Tax rates: Going up? Going Down? Staying flat?
Each party has a vision of what the capital gains rates will be, estate tax limits, if there will be a Medicare surtax on unearned income, income tax brackets, AMT tax, and other big issues. Congress and Senate leaders are working now to address the "fiscal cliff" facing our country in January but I don't have much faith they will get a comprehensive deficit reduction deal done. We will see. This means a very busy November and December as we review portfolios in light of changes we believe will take effect.


End of Season
My ocean swims were all successful this year as I returned to Hawaii to swim the Waikiki Rough Water Swim on Labor Day. I swam 2.9 miles this year thanks to high waves and currents but it always a beautiful venue for a race. There is a saying of YOLO- you only live once. We should all do something new and outside your comfort zone and be proud you gave it a try. I went parasailing in Hawaii with my daughter- scared and thrilled at the same time. I don't like heights but soaring peacefully over the ocean was wonderful. We all still need excitement and thrills in our life- it keeps us young and alive! YOLO!

"In the end we only regret the chances we did not take, the relationships we were scared to have and the decisions we waited too long to make." – Anonymous

Notes from Carol:
The stock market ended the 3rd quarter on a positive note for the first time in 3 years. The Dow Jones was up 4.32% for the quarter and 9.98% for the year. The S&P 500 was up 5.8% for the quarter and 14% for the year. The sectors leading the growth were technology, energy, telecommunications and consumer services. There has been some positive signs of economic recovery in real estate, lower unemployment, service sector, and consumer sentiment, but there are also mixed cautionary signals from manufacturing and lower estimated GDP. The Fed launched QE III (Quantitative Easing III) by announcing that they will continue to buy treasury bonds and keep the yields low to encourage investment borrowing. This in turn means the interest rates on CDs, savings and new bond issues will continue to stay low, which lures investors into other assets, like stocks. Overall, the chance of a recession is much lower than it was a few months ago.

I had a chance to vacation in Europe this summer. It was to celebrate my 27th wedding anniversary. My husband and I had not had a vacation without the kids for 24 years. We had a great time! The areas we visited all seem to be doing ok, but I did notice that people are very cost conscious and were very helpful in letting us know where the best deals were. We did see a large but peaceful protest in Barcelona.

Here is a highlight summary of the Obama and Romney tax plans (excerpted from Kiplinger's October 2012):

Long Term Capital Gains:
Obama: 20% for joint filers with AGI over $250,000 (singles, $200,000); up to 15% for everyone else.
Romney: 0% for Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) less than $200,000; 15% for everyone else.

Qualified Dividends:
Obama: Up to 39.6% for joint filers with AGI above $250,000 (singles $200,000); up to 15% for everyone else.
Romney: 0% for AGI less than $200,000; 15% for everyone else.

Marginal Income Tax Rates:
Obama: New top rates of 36% and 39.6 for AGI above $250,000 (singles $200,000); other rates stay the same at 10%, 15%, 25% and 28%.
Romney: New rates of 8%, 12%, 20%, 22.4%, 26.4, and 28%

Estate Tax:
Obama: $3.5 million threshold and 45% rate
Romney: Eliminated

Notes from Erin

Gail Moreno Memorial Golf Tournament
October 20th is our 3rd annual golf tournament that raises money for the Breast Cancer Angels. We thank everyone for their support by playing, sending in checks for sponsorship, and or buying golf balls. Gail was Sandy's best friend for 30 years and all the work she did mentoring newly diagnosed women with breast cancer cannot be forgotten. She was one of a kind. Please call or email if you would like to play. If you would like to participate in our Helicopter Golf Ball drop, a $10 donation will buy you a chance to win $300 & help us raise money for the Breast Cancer Angels. You can make your donation via Paypal by visiting or

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New Additions
We are happy to welcome two new members to our team at Asset Planning, Inc. Whitney Zeldow is our new Research Analyst & Kim