Staff Spotlight: Meet Jennifer Wegfahrt

We recently sat down and took a minute to learn a bit more about our Office Coordinator Jennifer Wegfahrt, FPQPTM . What did we learn? Well, we found out who's "spoiled" in her home, her talent for charcuterie boards, and where she likes to visit.  Read on for more! Do you have any pets? "This is Bindi (see above), my mischievous and spoiled child (I mean cat)." What's one thing you're really good at?  "It’s difficult for me to “toot my own horn” but I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback and requests for my charcuterie board creations." What's the best place you've traveled to? "I am not an avid traveler, but South Carolina sure has a piece of my heart. Almost quite literally as my in-laws moved there a few years ago. My husband and I always enjoy visiting family, exploring new places, and eating great food."You can read Jennifer's full bio here >


Wading Through Financial Stability Risks: An Action Plan

The Federal Reserve (Fed) has a history of raising short-term interest rates until something “breaks.” Considering the Fed has raised rates from a near-zero level to 4.75% (upper bound) over the course of only one year, it was almost a near certainty this time would be no different. Recent bank failures suggest things are indeed starting to break. However, we don’t think we’re on the brink of a full-blown crisis, as market indicators we follow suggest contagion risks are still currently low. And while we don’t think a full-blown crisis is imminent, financial stability risks have clearly increased, which makes a prudent asset allocation plan a must.  ContagionThe aftermath of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and other bank failures in the U.S. rippled into Europe last week as Credit Suisse’s (CS) troubles moved firmly into the spotlight. The Swiss bank’s shares slid to an all-time low on Wednesday after the Saudi National Bank (which owns almost 10% of CS) stated it would not provide additional financial support after CS earlier acknowledged “material weakness” in its financial reporting. This followed a series of missteps and compliance issues that have hindered the bank’s global standing in recent years.Then, on Thursday, the Swiss…


Some Perspective on Bank Collapses

We wanted to take a moment to provide you with some resources and perspective on the big news that arrived Friday in the financial world.Last week, SVB Financial (SIVB) made headlines due to its significant share price collapse. The bank, also known as Silicon Valley Bank, attempted to raise capital to compensate for losses in its Treasuries-heavy investment portfolio, but reports suggest that these efforts were unsuccessful, and the bank will have to sell itself.Meanwhile, late Sunday, regulators closed Signature Bank, an FDIC-insured New York state commercial bank. The institution fell victim to excess crypto-related deposits and was also experiencing material deposit outflows.However, it’s important to know that the collapse of SIVB & SBNY is unlikely to be systemic, as the bank's unique focus on emerging tech companies & Cryptocurrency and its high % of customer Deposits over FDIC, differentiates it from traditional banks. Further, the Fed has stepped in and said that they would make whole all depositors of these two banks and unveiled a new program to ensure banks can meet the needs of all their depositors, called the Bank Term Funding Program.At this time, we do not believe the SVB and SBNY bank failures are a deeper…


Debt Ceiling Primer: What You Need to Know

While concerns about the debt ceiling have been increasing, markets, businesses, and the economy are likely to see only minimal impact until we are days, or maybe a few weeks, from the “x date,” the date on which the federal government will no longer be able to meet all its obligations, likely in the summer or early fall. We continue to believe the chances that Congress will fail to raise the debt ceiling before the x date remain extremely low, but current political dynamics have likely increased the risk and there are some negative consequences to even an eleventh hour agreement, as we saw in 2011.Debt ceiling drama is once again increasing, but the build-up will be slow. The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) has been using “extraordinary measures” to cover debt payments since January 19, but that has not been an unusual course of action and does not impact the government’s ability to function smoothly. Markets, businesses, and the economy are likely to see only minimal impact from the debt ceiling debate until we are days, or maybe a few weeks, from the “x date,” the date on which the federal government will no longer be able to meet…


Staff Spotlight: Meet Annie Brinckman

We recently took a few moments to learn a bit more about Wealth Advisor Annie Brinckman, CFP®, RICP®, BFA™ and found out what changed her career goals all the way back in third grade, her "hidden talent", and what she would NEED to have on a deserted island.  Read on for more!When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?"As a kid I dreamed of being an architect. That dream left me around 3rd grade when I realized it was too difficult to spell! In college, I fell in love with financial planning and find a lot of similarities in planning/designing a retirement income plan as I do designing a home. Both are wonderful opportunities for blending creativity and engineering."Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies? "As a woman of many “odd hobbies,” this is a difficult one. I have solved a rubiks cube in under a minute – I’d say that’s a hidden talent of mine. In high school, it was the only toy the teacher’s would let me fiddle with in class without taking it away! Although my hand’s don’t move quite as fast as they once have, I can consistently solve…


Staff Spotlight: Meet Robert Everitt

We had a great time sitting down with Wealth Advisor Robert Everitt, CFP® to learn a a bit more about him, including how he spent his early summers on a roof (it's still his favorite season), and who inspires him.  Learn more below! What was your first paying job? "My first ever job was working with my dad, who worked part time as a roofer and sider on houses.  I was in my early teens when I worked with him.  I spent many a summer’s day on a roof, and on the ground as the cleanup crew.  It taught me many valuable lessons, one of which was to stay focused.  You never wanted to lose focus and step on a nail, or lose your balance on a roof!" What’s your favorite season? "Without a doubt, it’s the summer time.  I love all the activities that are associated with summer, and warm weather.  Baseball, golf, sunlight, swimming, longer days, are all things I associate with the summer.  One of the motto’s that I like is… “if your not sweating, your not living”.  I am a big fan of warm weather and the sun, even if it involves a little sweat!"  Who…


A Feisty Bull-Bear Debate: Weighing the Pros and Cons

The latest episode of the debate between stock market bulls and bears has gotten more interesting. For every valid point from one side, there’s an equally compelling argument on the other side. Perhaps the best reason for the debate is the uniqueness of this environment. The pandemic and its aftermath don’t come with a historical playbook. We haven’t been here before. So we’ll just recognize that the outlook is uncertain, weigh the pros and cons, glean what we can from the past, and give it our best shot. Call us cautious bulls.Topic 1: EconomyBull case: Consumer is resilient, the labor market is strong, wages are rising, and inflation is coming down steadily.Bear case: Inflation is still high, leading indicators are signaling recession, manufacturing activity and housing market have slowed significantly.Background: The global economy will likely slow from the upper-2% range in 2022 down to slightly above zero in 2023 (Figure 1). Much depends on China's growth path now that it has largely abandoned its overzealous Zero-COVID-19 policy.  If the U.S. falls into recession, the chances are it would occur during the first half of 2023 and will not likely be as deep as the 2008 recession, which was initiated by a fundamentally flawed financial…


The SECURE ACT 2.0 Impact – 10 Key Things to Know

As you may have seen, there’s big news from Congress on the retirement front. The passing of SECURE ACT 2.0, a giant piece of bipartisan retirement security legislation, could present significant opportunities for your retirement savings strategy.While the full piece of legislation is nearly 400 pages long, there are a few key points that we’d like to highlight below.Below are the 10 key elements that we’d like to share with you.  As always, feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.1) Changes to Required Minimum DistributionsThe SECURE Act of 2019 raised the age for RMDs from 70½ to 72. SECURE 2.0 further raises the RMD age from 72 to 73 in 2023, and 75 in 2033. Earlier drafts of SECURE 2.0 had a phase-in period, with a gradual increase to 75 by 2033; the final version of the bill does not include a phase in and will simply raise the RMD age from 73 to 75 in 2033.Additionally, SECURE 2.0 reduces the penalty tax for failures by an individual to take the minimum distribution from 50% to 25%. Further, if the failure is corrected in a timely manner, the excise tax is reduced from 25% to 10%.…


Outlook 2023: Finding Balance

After two years of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were searching for some kind of return to normalcy, while at the same time, still experiencing the aftereffects of the pandemic. Some of those aftereffects included the imbalances created by the fiscal, monetary, and public health policy put in place to address the pandemic— and the process of addressing those imbalances has been disorienting at times. If 2022 was about recognizing imbalances that had built in the economy and starting to address them, we believe 2023 will be about setting ourselves up for what comes next as the economy and markets find their way back to steadier ground—even if the adjustment period continues.The Federal Reserve (Fed) spent 2022 aggressively fighting inflation by raising interest rates. In 2023, we expect the Fed to find that point where it can stop raising rates, as inflation starts to come under control. The Fed’s efforts to control inflation throughout 2022 pulled interest rates off of extremely low levels that were historically unprecedented. While that has been painful for bond investors, for the first time in a decade, savers can now get an attractive yield, and 2023 will be more focused on how to…


Will a Resilient Consumer Support Holiday Retail?

Economic and corporate data support the initial strong reads on holiday retail sales despite the macro headwinds, reinforcing the idea that today’s consumer is in a better position than usual at this point in the business cycle. However, consumers were likely tapping into credit and using savings to support spending. In this week’s Weekly Market Commentary we share insights on publicly traded retailers, analyze their underperformance year to date, and look forward to 2023.Will a Resilient Consumer Support Holiday Retail?Consumer behavior during the Thanksgiving weekend is often a good predictor of overall holiday sales and the recent data point to growth this year. Consumers came out in droves on Black Friday, pushing nominal retail sales up over 10% from a year ago in both online and brick and mortar stores [Figure 1]. Elevated inflation this past year appeared to marginally impact the consumer but despite high prices, consumers were active on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Consumers were especially interested in heading to restaurants after Thanksgiving Day – spending at restaurants was over 20% above last Black Friday, partially driven by higher food prices but also supported by a resilient consumer. Retail Sales Data Supports Initial Holiday Shopping TrendsEconomic and corporate data support…

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10 Steps To Ensure Financial Security in Retirement

Planning for an unpredictable future can feel overwhelming, with so many decisions to make it can be hard to know if you're going to have enough money to support yourself through retirement.

In this guide, experts from the Capital Planning Team have simplified the 10 steps you can take, so that you can live a life without worry, sfe in the knowledge that your financial future is secure.