4th Quarter 2014
December 31. 2014

Happy New Year!

The calendar has turned once again and as we look back on 2014 there are an abundance of milestones to be thankful for. From a market standpoint, US equities posted another year of gains ranging from single digits on the Dow to double digits on the S&P 500. Foreign stocks were down for the year, but small company stocks recovered in the 4th quarter and managed to stay positive. On the bond side, most were anticipating higher rates, which didn’t materialize and allowed bonds to have another strong year of gains.

Looking forward to 2015, the story that continues to be front and center is the economy. The 3rd quarter GDP was revised upward to 5% which is the fastest growth since the 3rd quarter of 2003. With the Federal Reserve ending their bond purchases known as QE, the 4th quarter GDP numbers will be closely watched. Our belief is that as the economy continues to improve, and with the recent decline in oil prices, the consumer will benefit from lower energy costs. The 2015 forecast from AAA says US consumers could save an estimated $75 billion on gas alone. Since two-thirds of our economy is consumer spending this bodes well for the coming year. We fully expect more volatility ahead as the Federal Reserve eventually begins to raise interest rates and have positioned portfolios to take advantage of these opportunities.

On a personal note, my brother Dan released his book “Retirement Done Right” which is a compilation of stories and lessons clients have taught him over the course of his 20 year career. We have copies of the book on hand and if you would like one or know of someone that would benefit from receiving a copy, please let us know.

2015 marks a few changes within our office. Jen and Kayla will begin assisting during client meetings. Kayla will also begin her Certified Financial Planner – CFP® courses in February. We will also begin transitioning Becky White to assist with client coordination where she will fill the important role of scheduling meetings, greeting clients and answering the phone.

We’re excited to see you at your investment review meeting where our focus in 2015 will be to have a better understanding of your Wills, Trusts and Power of Attorney information. For those of you we have not seen in recent months, we will ask you to bring a copy of your home owners and auto insurance coverage – it’s a part of your big picture.

As always, it is a pleasure to serve you. Please don’t hesitate to give us the opportunity to help you or those around you.

David Michalk, ChFC®