Another year has come to a close and we embark on a fresh journey in 2013. New laws, tax rate brackets, strategies, investments and chances for a bipartisan solution to problems that will arise.
Notes from Sandy:
Playa Hermosa Wildlife Turtle Refuge, Costa Rica
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.
Lynn was a dancer most of her life and many of the guests at the party had dancing and musical backgrounds and were fascinating to talk to. Lynn’s son sang a beautiful rendition of They Call the Wind Mariah and I learned he toured and sang with John Denver. What a nice afternoon with inspiring seniors bragging about being over 90.
Frances is a client of mine that will turn 100 this year and still lives alone, drives and does all her own organic cooking. She plays piano and entertains for the seniors at the nearby nursing home. She and her sister Norma Y. (age 91) are participating in a longevity study with Dr. Eric Topol from Scripps. National Geographic sent a photographer to her house to take photos of them painting, baking pies and playing piano. They might be the cover story in National Geographic in February 2013.
Frances on the left (99) , Norma on the right. (91)
Global news changes daily with Greece, the Euro, Spain and Italy and their associated problems. I am keeping an eye on the yield of the ten year bond issued by Spain and Italy- when it reaches 7%, which is a critical juncture. Both countries crossed this point in November 2011 and again in early January 2012. Yields are currently near 5.73% and that is a positive sign. If there are fears that Spain and Italy cannot manage their debt and need a bailout, the rates will rise. China’s home prices rose last month, a good sign that China is not yet following the US on a path of a home pricing bubble and the following collapse.
I did the Redondo Beach Triathlon in June, a 3 mile swim in Lake Mission Viejo and had an allergic reaction of hives and welts from “swimmers itch”- I will never swim there again! I just finished the Seal Beach Rough Water swim and will do the 2 mile Balboa to Newport Beach Pier swim and several other ocean swims over the summer. I am returning to Hawaii to do the big Labor Day swim this year- my favorite place to swim. I hope everyone has summer vacations and goals planned. I am so excited to see the Summer Olympics in July and so many Olympians coming back to the trials after “retiring” from their sports. Janet Evans (age 40) , Dara Torres (age 45), and Natalie Coughlin are inspiring when you see them compete against teenagers. Age is just a number- go out and do something bold!! Sandy
Notes from Carol:
This past quarter produced the pullback that we had expected: -3.3% for the S&P 500 Index, -2.5% Dow Jones Industrial Index and -5.1% for the Nasdaq. The good news is that it was a mild reversal and the portfolios and indexes are still positive for the year.
Based on your feedback, I revised the Asset Allocation report. The new format shows you the % of your portfolio in US Equity, Global/International, Fixed Income, Real Estate and Cash. There is also a classification for Balanced, which represents mutual funds that contain both equity and fixed income. This should give you a clear picture of how much of your portfolio is in equity vs. fixed income vs. other asset classes.
I will be going on vacation to Europe at the end of August. I will be visiting Spain, Italy and France. Next quarter, I will report on my observations of how these countries are faring.
Notes from Erin:
Save the Date - Gail Moreno Memorial Golf Tournament
Asset Planning will be hosting the 3rd annual Gail Moreno Golf Tournament to help raise money for the Breast Cancer Angels charity. The tentative date for this event is Saturday, October 20, 3 pm, at Little Rec 9 hole Golf Course in Long Beach. We will be sending you more information as plans are finalized. Please mark this on your calendar!
Our IT consultants are experimenting with new email spam filters for our server. Recently we had many client emails that were blocked at the server and we never received them. If you send us an email and don’t get a reply within 48 hours, please call the office. And if you ever need anything immediately (trades, money withdrawals, etc.) please call.
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