Spring Growth Across World Markets (Apr 9, 2012)

Spring arrived early in 2012 with a remarkable surge among world stock markets. In fact, it was the best first quarter for the U.S. stock market since 1998. Bonds on the other hand, posted stagnant returns as interest rates inched higher. The resurgence in equities reflects a sharp change in investor sentiment and regained confidence that the economy might not fall into the dire state that people began to expect throughout 2011. The reality is that many of the significant challenges of 2011 persist today; however, monetary actions in Europe have likely averted the most worrisome of outcomes

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Wealth Transfer Planning Considerations (Mar 10, 2012)

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the 2010 Tax Act) included new gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax provisions. The Act provides that in 2012, the gift and estate tax exemption is $5,120,000, the GST tax exemption is also $5,120,000, and the maximum rate for both taxes is 35%. New to estate tax law under this Act is gift and estate tax exemption portability: generally, any gift and estate tax exemption left unused by a deceased spouse can be transferred to the surviving spouse. The GST tax exemption, however, is not portable. These major changes are temporary: absent further legislation, in 2013, the exemptions are generally scheduled to drop to $1 million, the maximum rate will jump to 55%, and portability will be repealed. You should understand how these temporary rules may affect your estate plan.

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The Transition Into Retirement (Feb 24, 2012)

Are you ready to retire? The question is actually more complicated than it first appears, because it demands consideration on two levels. First, there’s the emotional component: Are you ready to enter a new phase of life? Do you have a plan for what you would like to accomplish or do in retirement? Have you thought through both the good and bad aspects of transitioning into retirement? Second, there’s the financial component: Can you afford to retire? Will your finances support the retirement lifestyle that you want? Do you have a retirement income plan in place?

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Resilience In US Markets Rounds Out A Rocky Year (Jan 10, 2012)

It was a frustrating year on Wall Street, but the fourth quarter of 2011 was a real turnaround from the third. However, the stock market still posted a subpar year due to incredible events including an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan, riots throughout most of the oil-producing Arab world, the first ever downgrade of the United States’ credit rating, and spreading debt problems throughout the European Union. The resilience of our U.S. markets throughout this period is somewhat astounding. Following is SageVest Wealth Management’s look at significant developments of the quarter, including improved economic indicators, and thoughts moving into 2012.

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Greece Is The Word: The European Debt Crisis (Oct 10, 2011)

The third quarter was difficult for equity investors as stocks suffered the largest declines since the first quarter of 2009. Double digit losses occurred throughout worldwide stock markets.

What is notable is that these events did not mirror economic or corporate results. Rather, they were instigated by a lack of political decision making, with political divides leading to the first ever downgrade to our U.S. Treasuries and to a worsening debt crisis in Europe, namely in Greece.

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From Stimulus Spending To Budget Cuts (Jul 12, 2011)

For the first time in four quarters, U.S. stocks did not advance. The S&P 500 lost 0.39% in second quarter as investors reacted to European debt concerns, the conclusion of the Fed’s quantitative easing program, high gas prices and indications that the recovery was stalling. Yet as June ended, encouraging domestic indicators and better headlines from overseas helped to renew the collective appetite for risk. Returns in the last week of June virtually erased losses that occurred during the quarter, allowing major equity indices to remain in positive territory for the year.

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Around The World In 90 Days (Apr 11, 2011)

No forecast for 2011 came close to the events unfolding in just the first quarter. Tensions in Tunisia unleashed widespread social unrest throughout North Africa and the Middle East, with ongoing conflict and military action. Catastrophic natural disasters in Japan shifted the earth’s axis and left the world on the edge of a possible nuclear disaster. Coupled with a worsening debt crisis in Europe, you might be surprised by the fact that world markets managed to post positive investment performance.

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Investor Holiday Cheer (Jan 11, 2011)

What amounted to be a choppy year fortunately finished with investor holiday cheer. Investment markets posted positive across-the-board returns among equities, bonds, real estate and commodities, rewarding those who held confidence throughout a number of challenges such as the BP oil spill, the May 6th Flash Crash, a mortgage foreclosure debacle, political turmoil and the continuing European debt crisis. All in all, a second year of recovery has further strengthened the economy and allowed many investors to regain financial stability, offering a strong start and outlook as we move into 2011.

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A Tug Of War In The Markets (Oct 7, 2010)

After a difficult start, the third quarter ended with a red-hot rally, bringing a much needed ‘Indian Summer’ effect to the markets. Equities significantly outpaced bonds for the month of September. This was an anomaly as September is one of the worst performing months by historical standards, and a reminder of how trying to time the markets based on trends can easily backfire. Year-to-date, bonds remain primary contributors to bottom line returns as the economy desperately tries to regain recovery momentum.

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Stimulus Spending At Home, Austerity Measures In Europe (Jul 13, 2010)

The months of May and June cast grey clouds over the markets. The Greek debt crisis and the coinciding May 6th “flash crash” quickly erased early 2010 market gains. Ensuring debt contagion fears swathed much further than the so-called “PIIGS” (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain). The effects put broad government debt burdens under scrutiny, brought future economic recovery into question, and ultimately forced equity markets into negative territory for the year.

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