Thursday, December 28, 2017

New Year’s Traditions Around the World

HAPPY NEW YEAR



In the United States, we usher in the New Year with champagne, Auld Lang Syne, and a midnight kiss to ensure that our affections will last throughout the year. Not everybody celebrates the way we do, though.

  • In England, the first person to cross your threshold in the New Year is your First Footer, or Lucky Bird, and will determine what kind of luck you’ll have throughout the year.
  • In India, Hindus celebrate the New Year four times each year to welcome each of the four seasons. During Diwali, children light mustard oil lamps to attract the Goddess of Fortune to their homes.
  • In France, the celebration lasts for a month. Friends exchange cards and enjoy Papillottes – chocolates or candies with wrappers that pop like firecrackers when they are opened.
  • In Denmark, people save china dishes to break on friends’ thresholds during the New Year. A pile of broken dishes outside your home on New Year’s Day is a good sign, showing that you have many friends.

New Year’s traditions vary from country to country just as investment allocations vary from person to person. It may be a good idea to start the New Year off with a portfolio review. We’ll talk about your financial goals and the ways in which your risk tolerance may have changed during the past two years.

We hope your New Year is filled with happiness!

Happy New Year from Leif Hagen & Donna Roberts!


v  The above material was prepared by Carson Group Coaching.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

It's all about taxes!

PEEK OF THE WEEK
December 27, 2017


 Leif Hagen & Donna Roberts

The Markets

It’s time to turn your mind to taxes.

Last week, President Trump signed tax reform, officially titled ‘An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018,’ into law.

The legislation provides significant permanent tax cuts for businesses, including reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Most individual taxpayers will also receive tax benefits, including lower marginal tax rates. However, all of the individual tax breaks will expire before 2026.

In addition, “…the standard deduction has been raised from $6,350 for singles and $12,700 for couples filing jointly to $12,000 and $24,000…With the standard deduction raised to $24,000, many folks will take the standard deduction rather than itemize. Taxpayers itemize their deductions when total deductions exceed the standard deduction,” wrote Barron’s.

The new rules won’t go into effect until next year, and that gives you a small window of opportunity. If you act by the end of the year, you may be able to minimize the amount you pay Uncle Sam. For example, you may want to consider:

·         Deferring income until 2018, if possible, when ordinary income tax rates may be lower
·         Accelerating 2018 planned charitable giving into 2017
·         Paying your January mortgage payment by December 31, 2017 as it includes interest for December
·         Consider prepaying real estate taxes due in the first quarter and other state and local property taxes before December 31, 2017
·         Harvesting capital losses in taxable investment accounts in 2017 and applying net capital losses against ordinary income in 2017 up to $3,000
·         Waiting until January to send invoices for payments you typically receive in December, if you are self-employed

One problem with end-of-the-year tax reform is it leaves little time to act. Before making any decisions or taking any actions, please consult with a tax or legal advisor. This is not intended as legal or tax advice.


Data as of 12/22/17
1-Week
Y-T-D
1-Year
3-Year
5-Year
10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks)
0.3%
19.9%
18.7%
8.9%
13.5%
6.0%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.
1.5
23.2
24.6
5.3
4.7
-0.2
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)
2.5
NA
2.6
2.2
1.8
4.2
Gold (per ounce)
1.1
9.4
12.1
2.0
-5.3
4.6
Bloomberg Commodity Index
2.0
-2.0
-0.7
-7.1
-9.2
-7.3
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index
-2.3
7.1
9.1
5.7
9.6
7.1
S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.
Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

Perhaps it’s best to use old newspaper and string. Here’s something to keep in mind next holiday season when you get ready to wrap gifts. If you have any doubts about whether your spouse will appreciate the workout gear, your daughters-in-law will love the bathroom rugs, or your adult son will value the hand-crocheted vest you made for his hunting dog, then you should not wrap your gifts in beautiful paper and ribbons. Perhaps, you shouldn’t wrap them at all!

Researchers from Yale and the University of Miami recently reviewed the work of economists and psychologists who have explored what produces lasting happiness and its implications for gift giving. They also conducted some field trials. The findings were unexpected, as The Economist explains:

“Americans spend $3.2bn a year on wrapping paper. Yet their work not only fails to enhance joy, it creates unrealistic expectations that lead to discontent. Gift wrappers may think they are transforming the mundane into the magnificent; recipients seem to experience the process in reverse, with disappointment the result.”

It brings to mind that old saying about putting lipstick on a pig.

Of course, few people select an undesirable gift on purpose. The good news is that researchers can offer some insight into gift giving, too. In general, there are two gifting strategies: recipient-focused and giver-focused. If you rely on the former, you choose gifts based on what the person you’re buying for likes. If you prefer the latter, you give things you like.

It may seem counterintuitive but studies show that, “You and the recipient will likely feel closer to one another if you buy them a gift that says something about you, not them.”

Now, for the bad news: It’s not a definitive solution. Researchers caution that giving a gift you like “could signal self-obsession or narcissism.”

If you find the challenges of gift giving to be too much, consider giving a nice IRA or a college fund.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.”

--Buddy, Main character in the movie Elf

Best Regards,







Leif  M. Hagen
Leif  M. Hagen, CLU, ChFC                                                                        
LP Financial Advisor

Securities offered through LPL Financial Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC.
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P.S.S. Also, please remind your friends and family members becoming Medicare eligible that we offer Medicare insurance and Part D options with NO COST to work with Leif as their agent

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* This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
* The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be
representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees,
expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S.
Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association.
The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* You cannot invest directly in an index.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
* To unsubscribe from the “Peek of the Week”, please reply to this email with “Unsubscribe” in the subject line, or write us at: Hagen Financial Network, Inc. 4640 Nicols Road, Suite 203; Eagan, MN 55122.

Sources:


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