Posts Tagged ‘finance’

Economic Outlook for 2014

February 5th, 2014, Comments Off.

For now, the economic and political climate looks favorable.  Our article, detailing an overview of our perspective on the economic, investment, tax, and estate planning issues of the New Year, is available on the web at

In general, we are cautiously optimistic, and as the Outlook covers, we are revising our models to reflect what we see as a new phase of the cycle. Here’s a foreshadowing of what we expect:

  • On Investing. The U.S. economy will continue to grow at a slightly faster pace, accompanied by improving investor sentiment. The Fed will taper slowly, and interest rates will rise. Don’t fight the Fed, so stay short-term and strategic. Europe continues to trend positive, but with risk. Asia, including Japan, will grow.  Emerging markets are relatively undervalued and are supported by massive global liquidity. The U.S. energy renaissance will continue to provide jobs, low energy prices, and a shift in U.S. energy dependence.
  • On Financial Planning. 2014 financial plans should address future medical costs. We think inflation, a relative non-factor for the prior decade, will rear its head into future projections. Social Security maximization is an issue for retirees not in full collection, particularly couples. 2014 may be a good year to formalize financial plans. The next generation (i.e., children and grandchildren) should be introduced to wealth-preservation concepts.
  • On Taxes. We feel the tax system will not have a major overhaul affecting 2014 taxes. The new complexities of Net Investment Income (NII), new brackets, and the phase-out of itemized deductions and exemptions will provide challenging tax planning for those with incomes of over $250,000. 401(k), 457 and 403(b) plans will remain the primary tax shelters for working people. Charitable deductions are still viable for tax reduction and offsets.  For retirees, ‘bracket topping’ or utilizing the lowest possible tax bracket, is a logical strategy.
  • On Estate Planning. Estate plans that are over five years old, or families with situations that have changed, should be reviewed. Couples with taxable estates under $10.68 million may not need dual trusts, and may be able to accomplish their goals with a joint trust. Estate plans should be reviewed for correct beneficiary designations (primary and alternate) and proper funding (i.e., assets not in trust).  People with large IRAs with non-spouse beneficiaries should look into an IRA trust.


By Leon LaBrecque, J.D. CPA, CFP, CFA

Leon C. LaBrecque, CFP, CFA, CPA, is an attorney and the managing partner and founder of LJPR, LLC, an independent wealth-management firm in Troy, Michigan, which manages $626 million in assets (as of 12/31/2013). He has specialized in servicing individuals, families, and small businesses in the areas of financial, estate, and tax planning for over 32 years. Email him at


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Greatest Financial Concerns for Non-Retirees

December 20th, 2013, Comments Off.

A new survey of investors who are currently working shows that concerns about rising health-care costs, changes to Social Security and/or Medicare, and running out of money are among the greatest financial worries in retirement. The percentage citing these concerns increased since prior surveys.

According to the study, conducted as a part of the John Hancock Investor Sentiment Index by Mathew Greenwald & Associates for Signator Investors, Inc., the financial risk of rising health-care costs in retirement was the greatest concern of the non-retired investors surveyed, with a majority (55 %) saying they were very concerned. This is a 7-point jump from last year’s survey, the study noted. Overall, 89 percent of this year’s respondents expressed some concern about rising health-care costs.

“Though being able to afford healthcare isn’t a new issue, the fact that more affluent workers are very worried about it than not, points to the value advisors can provide to help clients develop strategies to manage it,” said Matt Rigatti, vice president, Signator Investors, Inc.
“We’ve already seen movement in the direction of tools that address healthcare, specializations–or including a healthcare finance-oriented specialist on a client’s team and I suspect we’ll continue seeing growth in that area.”

The following two high-ranking concerns are significantly lower, and had smaller increases. Changes to Social Security and/or Medicare was the second most cited financial risk, with slightly more than one-third (34%) of respondents citing they were very concerned, up from slightly below a third (32%) last year. Overall, nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents cited concern about this risk.

The third most “very concerning” risk– running out of money in retirement– crept up from 26 percent in 2012 to 28 percent in 2013. Overall, 65 percent of respondents this year felt this issue was of concern.

“All of these topics are related,” said Rigatti. “And similar to last year, a large percentage of non-retired investors who say they work with advisors (73%) said they felt it was important that their financial professional have special retirement income certification in addition to other required credentials.”

The survey was of 1,013 investors, 703 of whom were not retired. It was conducted online by the independent research firm, Mathew Greenwald & Associates. Respondents were selected from among members of Research Now’s online research panel. To qualify, respondents were required to participate at least to some extent in their household’s financial decision-making process, have a household income of at least $75,000, and assets of $100,000.


By Ayo Mseka
Advisor Today


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