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September 2019 - Park and Elm

Get a FREE benefits review!

By | September 26th, 2019|Markets|

It’s open enrollment in the American workplace every fall, and employers will begin to pass out packets, forms, memos, hold meetings and launch apps for the benefits enrollment season. Navigating your benefits package can be overwhelming, and has a direct effect on your long-term savings. WE WANT TO HELP!

Below is your quick guide to navigating your benefits booklet from start to finish:

Health Insurance – pay close attention to the following variables to the health insurance options:

  • Coverage – compare what’s covered to your anticipated needs, i.e. maternity?
  • Co-payments and Prescriptions – if you go to the doctor often, or have a recurring prescription to fill, evaluate these fees closely.
  • Deductibles – the amount you have to pay out of your pocket before coverage begins. A high deductible plan typically means lower premiums, but participants pay more out of pocket if an unexpected illness occurs.
  • Premiums – the monthly fee for coverage. A higher premium usually means lower deductibles, co-pays and more coverage. But that’s not always the best financial choice.

Tax advantaged accounts – beyond health coverage, these accounts allow you to save pre-tax dollars for ancillary health and other expenses.

  • FSA (Flexible Savings Account) – similar in tax savings, a FSA allows you to use the funds for medical and child care services. There are limits to contributions and to carry over funds.
  • HSA (Health Savings Account) – contribute to this account to help cover medical expenses you are paying out of pocket. Choosing a high deductible plan warrants opening an HSA due to the anticipated higher out of pocket costs. These funds roll over from year-to-year.

Vision and Dental – Simply put…

  • Dental care is expensive. Insurance doesn’t cover a lot, but what it does cover usually outweighs the cost of the dental care without it.
  • Vision care is inexpensive, but sometimes unnecessary. If you have healthy eyes you need a checkup only every 2 years, so vision premiums may not be worth it.

Life and Disability – Important Voluntary Benefits!!!

  • Short-term Disability – are you covered for a short-term illness or injury?
  • Long-term Disability – if you are unable to work for an extended period of time, how will you pay your bills?
  • Life Insurance – How much should you leave your family if something happens to you?

401(k) – the likely #1 source of retirement savings, this benefit is the major player in your ability to retire.

  • Make a goal to increase your contributions every year
  • Take full advantage of your employer’s match
  • Make catch-up contributions if you are eligible
  • Evaluate the need to defer some of your funds to a Roth 401(k) to provide future tax diversification.
  • Evaluate your risk tolerance and allocate appropriately
  • Choose low-cost funds

The best way to make the most of open enrollment is to simply set aside adequate time to review all your options carefully and ask any questions you may have. Consult with your financial advisor, as these benefits choices will affect your long-term savings. To make the most of open enrollment, read the fine print, consider your family’s needs and make an educated, rather than a rash, decision. We are here to help you navigate these important choices. Please let us know if you would like a more detailed COMPLIMENTARY REVIEW of your benefits booklet!

David Booth On: Forecasting

By | September 19th, 2019|DFA, Dimensional Fund Advisors, Markets|

Dimensional Founder David Booth shares his perspective on the limitations of market forecasting in this less than two minute video. Instead of enticing people to try to stock-pick, Dimensional wants to educate investors, with the over 90 years of data, on investing in capital markets.

Life Insurance – What is your Human Life Value?

By | September 12th, 2019|Markets|

September is LIFE INSURANCE AWARENESS MONTH so we are starting a drive to help clients and friends review and shop for the best and most appropriate coverage possible.

DID YOU KNOW…A recent survey found only 32% of Americans have life insurance.

How would you assess the financial loss your family would incur if you were to die today? Are you the sole provider for your family, or at least a significant provider to the family budget? If you had a money making machine in your home, would you insure it? Life insurance is not for you, it’s for your loved ones once you’re gone.

This calculator provides only a rough estimate of your human life value, which can factor into how much insurance you need.

HUMAN LIFE VALUE CALCULATOR

After calculating a typical lifetime income based on your specific circumstances, you’ll see a final number that gives an approximate measure of your net contribution to your family—your human life value. This should not be considered a comprehensive assessment, as it only takes generalities into account. Still, given the limited information you’re providing, we believe it is the best estimate available.

NOT SURE WHERE TO START ASSESSING YOUR NEEDS? START HERE!

Contact us TODAY to get a FREE assessment of your life insurance needs, and a FREE QUOTE!

855-PARKELM OR kward@park-elm.com

A Tale of Two Decades

By | September 9th, 2019|DFA, Dimensional Fund Advisors, Markets|

Looking at the stock market over the past 20 years, you might think of Charles Dickens: It was the best of times—and the worst. But while the 2000s and 2010s have differed starkly in performance, collectively they have reinforced investing lessons on patience and discipline.

This piece from our partner, Dimensional Funds, discusses the well supported thought that maintaining patience and discipline, through the bad times and the good, puts investors in position to increase the likelihood of long‑term success.

Click here to download A Tale of Two Decades!

…or check it out below:

A Tale of Two Decades_ Lessons for Long-Term Investors

August Performance Dashboard

By | September 4th, 2019|Markets|

U.S. equities stumbled in August, buffeted by economic implications of an inverted yield curve and a possible trade war with China. Large-caps declined, with the S&P 500® down 2%, while the S&P MidCap 400® and S&P SmallCap 600® performed even worse, down 4% and 5%, respectively.

International markets also struggled, with the S&P Developed Ex-U.S. and the S&P Emerging BMI down 3% and 4%, respectively. The Far East and Latin America were particularly weak.

Low Volatility triumphed amid the tumult, and was the sole factor index to post gains in August. Utilities and Real Estate were the top sectoral performers, consistent with the month’s defensive theme.

dashboard-us-August

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