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Archive for December, 2009

December 31st, 2009

Retirement Plans

(Tad Majerek) - Is it possible to put more away in your retirement plan. Yes, with the Cash Balance Plan. The CBP is a hybrid of a traditional defined benefit plan and a 401(k) plan. This combination is often a good fit for professional service organizations, such as doctors groups, law firms, consultants and high net worth business owners of closely held companies which have demonstrated a consistent profit pattern and will continue to do so for several more years. The Cash Balance Plan offers an enhanced retirement vehicle which allows for accelerated retirement savings, while taking advantage of potentially tremendous tax benefits. Depending on the situation as much as $200,000 per individual.

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December 28th, 2009

Asset Allocation: A Key to Portfolio Success

(Hampton Scurlock) - For many investors, investing typically begins with one stock or mutual fund. Over time, other selections are added because many people understand it may not be prudent to invest everything in a single security, even if it has a “blue chip” reputation. However, just “spreading money around” in a haphazard way may create only an illusion of diversification.

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December 21st, 2009

The Price of Gold

(Michael Schwartz) - Take your pick – gold surging past $1,100 an ounce, the jobless rate hitting double digits, Warren Buffett’s, “all-in wager on the economic future of the United States,” a 3.2% rise in the S&P 500 index – there was something for everyone last week in the economy and the financial markets.

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December 18th, 2009

Treasury to Hold on to Citi

(Lee Siler) - Stocks took a big hit yesterday on a stronger dollar and Citigroup news. The demand for the Citigroup secondary offering was much less than the company thought. Citi was trying to get around $3.35 a share for the $20+ billion offering. The company ended up pricing the offering at $3.15. At this price the Treasury department decided not to sell our tax payers shares at this time. The Treasury said they would hold off for 90 days and after that would sell within the next 12 months.

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December 17th, 2009

Asset Allocation: A Key to Portfolio Success

(Caren Sgarlato) - For many investors, investing typically begins with one stock or mutual fund. Over time, other selections are added because many people understand it may not be prudent to invest everything in a single security, even if it has a “blue chip” reputation. However, just “spreading money around” in a haphazard way may create only an illusion of diversification.

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December 14th, 2009

Exxon/Mobil Goes X-Mas Shopping

(Lee Siler) - Big news this morning has Exxon/Mobil buying Natural Gas player XTO energy for $31 billion in stock. Exxon/Mobil will be issuing .7098 shares of their stock for each share of XTO. The deal helps XOM gain control of a huge portion of the natural gas market...The deal is valued at a 25% premium from Friday's close.

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December 14th, 2009

Three Advantages of a Roth IRA

(Caren Sgarlato) - Many may not understand what a Roth IRA is, and what some of the benefits of a Roth IRA are. But there are three advantages that a Roth IRA can offer if your estate value is under the Applicable Exclusion Amount ($1.5 million in 2005, and $2 million in years 2006 & 2007) and if one of your planning goals is to leave as much money as possible to your heirs.

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December 10th, 2009

November Markets

(Michael Schwartz) - Could November go down in history as a major turning point in the U.S. economy? The shocking (in a positive way) unemployment report released last Friday by the Labor Department showed the economy lost only 11,000 jobs in November. The markets were bracing for a number well in excess of 100,000, according to CNBC. On top of that, revisions to the previous two months showed 159,000 fewer jobs were lost than initially reported. And, to complete the trifecta, the unemployment rate dropped to 10.0% in November, down from 10.2% in October. On the surface, this is extremely good news for the economy as it suggests the economy is healing nicely.

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December 7th, 2009

Dollar Rallys

(Lee Siler) - For the week, stocks moved slightly higher despite the dollar showing some strength. Last week, we saw a paradigm change as the weak dollar trade subsided and was now trading in concert with stocks. It had been a long time since we've seen stocks and the dollar trade in the same direction. Well Friday's surprising employment data got the dollar moving. The fact that unemployment dropped to 10% from 10.2% was a huge surprise. Wall Street applauded the news. However, I'm not sure that this is the start of a trend. I still think unemployment is a major issue and will likely jump back up to over 10.2% over the next few months.

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December 7th, 2009

2009 Year-End Tax & Financial Planning Memo

(Michael Schwartz) - CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS As a general rule, you may deduct the full amount of monetary donations made to qualified charitable organizations. If you donate appreciated property held for more than one year, you can generally deduct the fair-market value of the property.

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