99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
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Phone: 732.623.2070
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Newsletters | Simon Financial Group

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Whatever you do, don't get sick

Health care costs never go down, and the amount of money you need for it in retirement increases every year. Proper planning is the key to staying healthy.

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Psst! Hey Millennial, want to buy a home?

Overwhelming college debt prevents many millennials from buying a home. Those that do buy are being frugal.

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Uncertainty is never a good thing

You've worked hard over the years to build your business. A succession plan will make sure it continues when you are no longer there.

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May I have your health insurance number, please?

Medical identity theft is on the rise and has serious implications for your financial well-being. It can take years to undo the damage, so be careful.

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CRN-2623046-070119


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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NOT AS MUCH - China’s ownership of Treasury securities peaked at $1.20 trillion in August 2017 but has dropped 7.4% to $1.11 trillion as of April 2019 (source: Treasury Department).

MAYBE NEXT TIME - The Fed’s 4th meeting of 2019 ended last Wednesday with no change in short-term interest rates.  The Fed last cut interest rates on 12/16/08 or 10 ½ years ago (source: Federal Reserve).

AT RISK OF A TUMBLE? - The 4 most overvalued housing markets in the world today are Hong Kong, Munich, Toronto and Vancouver (source: UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index).

JULY FOURTH - When the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence on 7/04/1776, the population of the 13 colonies was 2.5 million, equal to the population of Houston today (source: Census Bureau).

Magnifying Glass Picture
Last week’s press conference following the Fed’s 2-day meeting presented Chairman Jerome Powell, on the job for less than 17 months, with a significant challenge – how to describe the US economy in an optimistic light, but at the same time firmly communicate the central bank’s willingness to come to the rescue should aid be needed.  Powell, the first Fed Chair in more than 30 years not to hold a Ph.D. degree in economics, delivered a “dovish” tone that indicates the Fed will “act as appropriate to sustain the (nation’s) expansion” (source: Federal Reserve).

Powell’s signal that he is willing to cut rates quickly rippled across many US securities.  Both stocks and bonds were already hoping that interest rate cuts could occur as soon as late July 2019, but now they appear to be expecting that action.  The S&P 500 index closed at a record level on Thursday 6/20/19, its 5th record close for the year and 212th in the 10 ¼ year bull market run.  The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note dipped to 1.99% last week, its first time below 2% since November 2016.  Lower interest rates translate into a weaker US dollar, just the tailwind needed by US exporters fighting multiple tariff battles (source: BTN Research).

US and Chinese trade teams meet in Japan this week, setting the stage for a face-to-face dialog between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping late in the week.  The White House’s threat from early May 2019 to increase tariffs from 10% to 25% on an additional $325 billion of Chinese imports is Washington’s leverage in the negotiations that will take place in Osaka (source: White House).

CRN-2611124-062419


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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The new tax law has reduced the ability to itemize for many people. “Bunching” charitable deductions is a new and tax-efficient approach to charitable giving and allows you to maximize deductions by combining deductions into a single year and maximize the amount over the standard deduction.

You donate the same amount you would in two years but in a single year. These larger than normal charitable contributions, combined with other itemized deductions, increase the likelihood of exceeding the standard deduction and providing additional tax savings.

  • For example, a married couple claims $5,000 in mortgage interest and the maximum state and local income tax deduction of $10,000. They usually give $6,000 a year to charities. These amounts do not exceed the $24,000 standard deduction. By doubling up the usual annual gift to $12,000, they maximize their deductions and achieve greater tax savings.
     
  • Consider using your annual required minimum distributions to take advantage of a significant charitable contribution.

Bunching is a complex charitable planning technique and will work differently for each taxpayer depending on their particular situation. If this sparks your interest let me know and I’ll add it to our next meeting agenda.

Call or email today to learn more.



CRN-2601420-061819


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
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Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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SIX-TO-ONE RETURN - The average American worker who retires next year (in 2020) will have paid $36,000 in Medicare taxes during his/her working lifetime, far less than the $229,000 in Medicare benefits that he/she is projected to receive.  The projected lifetime benefit total is net of Medicare premiums paid by the retiree (source: Urban Institute).

MONEY - The top 10% of taxpayers received 47% of the $10.2 trillion of adjusted gross income (AGI) earned nationwide in tax year 2016.  The bottom 90% of taxpayers received the other 53% of AGI (source: Internal Revenue Service).

SUBJECT TO A TARIFF? - 35% of the auto parts used by domestic auto makers are manufactured outside the United States, then imported into America (source: Deutsche Bank).

SERVED OUR COUNTRY - The 18.2 million military veterans in the United States are split 91/9 between men and women (source: 2017 American Community Survey).

Magnifying Glass Picture
The tariff dispute between the US and China is a clash between the world’s 2 largest economies.  The tariff dispute between the US and Mexico pits the world’s largest economy up against the globe’s 15th largest, coupled with an unequal relationship between the neighboring countries.  80% of Mexico’s exports are shipped to the United States, while just 16% of US exports are sold to Mexico.  President Trump’s greatest leverage was that an extended trade battle with the USA could tip Mexico’s economy into a recession, an outcome that Mexican President Lopez Obrador had to avoid.  Late last Friday night (6/07/19), the White House was satisfied with the progress made regarding border security and pulled the 5% Mexican tariffs off the table (source: BTN Research).

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell may not have explicitly said a rate cut was going to occur in the near term, but that’s what the US stock market heard.  Powell’s commitment to “act as appropriate to sustain the (economic) expansion” increased the odds of a summer rate cut, three days before a sluggish jobs report from May 2019 showed only 75,000 new hires, well below the average 209,000 new jobs created each month over the last 5 years (source: Department of Labor).

A week ago (6/03/19), the S&P 500 was in the middle of a near 7% tumble driven by trade turf wars and a declining global growth outlook.  Before Chairman Powell came to the rescue, a market correction seemed more likely than a late week rally.  By Friday’s close however, the S&P 500 was back to a +15.7% YTD gain (source: BTN Research).

CRN-2581653-061019


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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No, I don't want another loan

43 million people owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. Putting off buying cars and homes or getting married and starting a family, student debt is a difficult thing for Millenials to deal with.

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But I like working

Not everyone is ready to quit working and put their feet up when they turn 65. For those with college degrees and higher incomes, it is a growing trend.

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Hey kid, how about a little capitalism?

Summer camp isn't what it used to be. Learning how to run a business or become an entrepreneur may be a good way for kids to spend a few days.

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It’s not always easy to figure out

Social Security is more than retirement benefits. It’s complicated and sometimes difficult to understand how to maximize all the benefits available to you. Knowing a few tips never hurts.

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CRN-2559817-053019


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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BIG AND REALLY BIG - 62 publicly held US companies produced at least $1 billion of sales per week in 2018, up from 58 companies that accomplished that level of weekly sales in 2017.  Just 1 domestic company generated more than $1 billion of sales per day during 2018 (source: Fortune).

COLLEGE - During the 2018-19 school year, American colleges awarded 1.88 million bachelor’s degrees, down from a record 1.96 million degrees from the 2016-17 school year (source: NCES).

RECYCLING - Just 15% of plastic is recycled globally, i.e., 85% of plastic ultimately is burned, dumped into a landfill or dropped into the ocean (source: United Nations).

NEWBORNS - Our nation’s “general fertility rate,” defined as the number of births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15-44, was just 59.0 births in 2018, a record low for birth data that has been tracked nationally since 1909 or for the last 110 years (source: National Center for Health Statistics).

Magnifying Glass Picture
Last week likely did not bring any resolution to the US-China trade conflict.  Both sides are resolute with their positions, reluctant to accept terms proposed by the other.  What is apparent however is that tariffs are impacting sales.  US companies exported $26 billion of goods to China in the first quarter 2019, on pace for $104 billion for the entire year.  That projection is 13% lower than the $120 billion of actual exports to China in 2018.  Chinese companies exported $106 billion of goods to the United States in the first quarter 2019, on pace for $424 billion for the entire year.  That projection is 21% lower than the $540 billion of actual exports sent to America in 2018 (source: Commerce Department).

Traders in the oil market juggle a myriad of issues each trading day that go well beyond the classic supply/demand discussion – inventory disruptions, geopolitical tensions, recessions, and now the potential consequences of the US-China trade dispute.  But the majority of topics that would have moved the pricing-needle a decade ago are now oftentimes overshadowed by the surging supply of US shale oil.  Crude oil production in the United States, running at 5 million barrels a day just a decade ago, is at 12 million barrels a day in 2019, largely a result of the US shale oil revolution (source: DOE).

In less than one week, the USA will begin its 120th month while in an expansion, tying the longest growth-run in US history.  However, the message from the US bond market (falling interest rates recently) suggests we are heading into a period of ordinary if not slowing-growth, and weak-to-low inflation.  If the Fed follows the bond market’s lead, its next action would be to ease monetary policy, i.e., lower rates (source: BTN Research).

CRN-2555918-052819


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Now that the dust has settled from tax season, it's time to look ahead. Here are a few items you should consider:

The tax cut resulted in smaller tax withholding from each pay period. Many people did not adjust their withholding and received smaller refunds or had to pay taxes. Review your withholding now to make sure you are not hit with an unexpected tax bill next year.

The IRA contribution limit is $6,000 for those under 50 and $7,000 for those 50 and older. The maximum 401(k) and 403(b) contribution limits are $19,000 for those under 50 and $25,000 for those 50 and older.

Section 199(a) of the Internal Revenue Code provides many owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, S corporations, and some trusts and estates a 20% income deduction.


If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact me. I am always here to help.



CRN-2533307-050819


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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MAYBE THEY WILL? - The Fed Funds futures market is forecasting a 57% chance of a December 2019 rate cut by the Federal Reserve as of the close of trading last Friday 5/10/19 (source: CME Group).

INTO THE TRASH CAN - 61% of 600 human resource managers who were surveyed do not review the resumes of job applicants who are lacking a 4-year college degree (source: Harvard University).

NOT A PENNY - 23% of working Americans save nothing from their monthly income for their future retirement (source: First National Bank of Omaha 2019 Savings Survey).

IN THE RED NOW - The Social Security Trust Fund paid out $853.5 billion in 2018, more than the $831.0 billion the fund produced in total income.  The 2018 deficit breaks a streak of 34 consecutive years (1984-2017) of “income exceeding cost.”  As recently as 2009, the annual surplus was $134 billion (source: OASI Trust Fund).

Magnifying Glass Picture
It was the threat that sent a shiver through stock markets worldwide last week.  The White House accused China of backpedaling on previous trade deal commitments, specifically language that was to be written in Chinese law that would strengthen the intellectual property rights of American firms.  Last Friday (5/10/19), the United States acted on the threat and raised the tariff on 38% of the goods imported from China (estimated to be $200 billion annually) from its current tariff level of 10% to 25%.  American manufacturers that import product parts from China are in a difficult position – absorb the cost increase and reduce profits or pass onto its customers the price increase and potentially lose sales (source: BTN Research).

The S&P 500 has fallen in 6 of 8 trading days during the month of May, largely due to the US/China trade spat.  From its all-time closing high of 2946 on 4/30/19, the S&P 500 has fallen 2.2% to its closing value of 2881 as of last Friday 5/10/19.  During the index’s bull run that started on 3/10/09, the S&P 500 has withstood 12 drops of at least 5%, including 6 drops of at least 10% and 3 drops of at least 15% (source: BTN Research).

The US government suffered a $234 billion deficit in February 2019, the largest monthly deficit in history.  But last month (April 2019), tax receipts climbed to $536 billion (a monthly record for the United States), driving a $160 billion surplus for the month.  With only 5 months to go in fiscal year 2019, i.e., the 12 months ending 9/30/19, our country’s fiscal year deficit is $531 billion (source: Treasury Department).

CRN-2538073-051319


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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JUST FOURTEEN DAYS - The best 14 trading days for the S&P 500 over the last 10 years (2009-2018) gained +86.2% (total return), more than the +84.2% gained by the other 2,502 trading days in the decade (source: BTN Research).

ALL ARE TOO HIGH - On 12/17/18, 10 Wall Street strategists forecasted the yield of the 10-year Treasury note as of 12/31/19, i.e., a year into the future.  The 10 predictions ranged from a low of 2.75% to a high of 3.60%.  The yield on the 10-year Treasury note closed at 2.50% as of Tuesday 4/30/19 (source: Barron’s).

GOOD START - It was only the “advance” estimate on the growth of the US economy during the 1st quarter 2019, but the +3.2% increase (i.e., quarter-over-quarter change expressed as an annualized result) reported on 4/26/19 represents a rate that has not been bested during any calendar year since 2005 (source: Department of Labor).

DOLLARS IN, DOLLARS OUT - At the end of 2018, Medicare was covering 59.9 million Americans (18% of our population).  The program was cash positive in 2018, taking in $756 billion of income (including $10 billion of interest income) while paying out $741 billion in benefits (source: Medicare).

Magnifying Glass Picture
US employers added +263,000 jobs in April 2019, pushing the nation’s jobless rate to 3.6%, its lowest level since December 1969.  In fact, the government has reported an unemployment rate lower than 3.6% only 17 times since January 1954 (65 years ago), equal to just 2% of the preceding 783 months (source: Department of Labor).

The US Federal Reserve has long maintained that +2% annual inflation is its target – somewhere between “too much inflation” (which can lead to an overheated economy that may suffer from runaway inflation) and “too little inflation” (which can lead to a sluggish economy that may stumble into a recession).  The message from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell following last week’s meeting of the nation’s central bank: the Fed will do what it takes to get our “too little inflation” back on target, but for now, that commitment does not include an interest rate cut (source: Federal Reserve).

Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate announced an “agreement in principle” with President Donald Trump last week on a $2 trillion infrastructure spending plan for the next decade.  The broad outline, roughly equivalent to $4 billion of spending per week for the next 10 years, would repair or replace our nation’s aging system of roads, airports, and power plants while bringing high-speed internet access to all sections of the country (source: White House).

CRN-2528913-050619


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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It's not as easy as it was.

Being a Millennial is not easy these days. Baby boomers and Millennials have different concerns when it comes to money.

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The retirement countdown clock is ticking.

Planning for retirement is not for the faint of heart. But, having a comprehensive plan for when that time comes is one of the best things you can do.

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You've worked hard all these years.

Succession planning is key to ensuring your family business continues after you are no longer involved. There are many considerations when developing a plan.

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They are all good causes.

There is a gender gap when it comes to philanthropy. On average, women donate more money and time than men.

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CRN-2518935-042619


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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A LOT IN A FEW - Half of the net wealth created in the US stock market going back to 1926 was produced by just 90 publicly held companies (source: Hendrik Bessembinder, Arizona State University).

NOT WHERE YOU’D THINK – The state of North Dakota has the highest percentage of adult residents who have a net worth of at least $5 million (source: Internal Revenue Service).

GOTTA HAVE IT – Americans pay “out-of-pocket” on average just 15% of the total health care expenditures they generate in a year.  “Out-of-pocket” expenses include deductibles and co-payments for services and prescription drugs but does not include the cost of health insurance premiums.  The remaining 85% of annual health care expenditures is covered by insurance (source: Health Care Cost Institute).

TALENT DROP-OFF - 44% of employers surveyed report they are “having difficulty” hiring new employees with skills equal to that of the firm’s retiring employees (source: Robert Clark, Willis Towers Watson).

Magnifying Glass Picture
The rising and falling of the “cost of money” impacts financial decisions of American consumers.  For the last 30 years, the cost of borrowing (home mortgages, auto loans, business loans, lines of credit) has trended downward, setting the stage for a lower “normal” interest rate.  The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, considered the most popular debt instrument in the world, was yielding 9.06% on 4/18/89 (30 years ago), falling to 5.23% on 4/18/99 (20 years ago), to 2.98% on 4/18/09 (10 years ago), and finally to 2.56% on 4/18/19 (source: Treasury Department).

It happened in the United States within the last decade, but the numbers are unbelievable.  In the depths of the real estate crisis, American banks repossessed 1,050,500 homes in 2010, an average of 87,542 per month.  By calendar year 2018, only 230,305 homes were repossessed (equal to 19,192 per month).  Improvement in that statistic has continued into the 1st quarter 2019 as US banks took back 35,787 homes, or 11,929 per month, a drop of 86% from the carnage of 2010 (source: ATTOM Data Solutions).

The 1975 Congressional ban on most US crude oil exports, a reaction to the 1973 oil crisis in America, was designed to reduce our nation’s reliance on imported crude oil.  Congress and President Barack Obama lifted that ban in December 2015, setting the stage for a surge in crude oil exports.  For the week ending Friday 4/12/19, the United States exported 2.4 million barrels of crude oil per day.  Just 5 years earlier (4/11/14), the US was exporting only 67,000 barrels of crude oil per day or just 3% of its current export level (source: US Energy Information Administration).

CRN-2510176-042219


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Discussing wealth with family members can be uncomfortable and perhaps daunting. However, it can provide significant outcomes in planning for wealth transfer by:

  • Empowering you to make informed decisions
  • Creating a legacy for your family and favorite charity
  • Helping preserve assets and maintain liquidity
  • Strengthening the family vision through communication and education
Keep this in mind

Developing a wealth transfer plan, and keeping it current, is essential to ensure your wealth is distributed as you intend and seeks to provide that there will not be significant negative financial implications in the future. It can be a complicated and time-consuming process, but it all begins with some basic considerations:

 

It takes a team

Estate and wealth transfer planning is a complex undertaking and must be a collaborative effort between your experienced and knowledgeable advisors. Together, your attorney, tax advisor and I can help you develop and implement a plan that addresses your desires as well as your family's needs.

Do you have a plan in place?
We can discuss this topic at a future meeting or please reach out with questions.



CRN-2502539-041519

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REPURCHASE THE STOCK - Companies in the S&P 500 spent $806 billion on stock buybacks in 2018, breaking the old record for share buybacks of $589 billion set in 2007 (source: S&P).

HALF WORK, HALF DON’T – 156.7 million Americans have full-time jobs today, 48% of our 328.7 million citizens (source: Department of Labor).

TRADE SCHOOL, NOT COLLEGE - There are 30 million full-time jobs in the United States today (19% of all jobs nationwide) that pay at least $55,000 per year and don’t require a bachelor’s degree from college (source: Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce).

DO IT - 58% of Americans have not executed a will and other estate planning documents, e.g., a medical directive that specifies what actions should be taken to prolong an individual’s life (source: Caring.com).

Magnifying Glass Picture
While much has been written about the rally in the US stock market since late December, few market watchers saw that a powerful (and surprising) bond rally was also developing.  The gamechanger was the Federal Reserve, first raising rates 5 times over a 9-meeting stretch through mid-December 2018, then abruptly reversing course and all but promising no more rates hikes for the remainder of 2019.  Lower borrowing costs are always good for domestic stocks and for the American housing industry.  The S&P 500 index is up +16.0% YTD (total return).  The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 4.08% today, down 0.86 percentage points in just 5 months (source: BTN Research).

As of the end of 2018, the US stock and bond market was worth a staggering $70 trillion, split between $27 trillion of stocks and $43 trillion of bonds.  The magnet for American equities has been the power of the products and the people that make up US businesses.  The magnet for the American bond market has historically been the integrity and liquidity of the deepest debt market worldwide.  More recently as the rest of the world’s central banks have dropped rates to stimulate their sagging economies, US interest rates stand out because they’re higher than found in most other industrialized countries (source: BTN Research).

Student loan debt nationwide, totaling $1.46 trillion as of 12/31/18, has been a drag on the US economy in multiple ways – reduced the number of first-time home buyers and delayed marriages within the Millennial generation, both of which have contributed in part to a 30-year low in the number of births in the USA (source: Census Bureau).

CRN-2492844-040819


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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She got that from me.

Is it possible to pass down a generosity gene to your children? Family charitable and philanthropic giving may depend on it.

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It is always a tough time.

Your spouse or partner passed away, and you need to figure out how best to proceed. It’s a lot of work, but it needs to be done right to avoid future problems.

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It's not peanuts.

If you continue to work while receiving Social Security retirement benefits, you may have a benefit reduction now, but it could lead to higher benefits later.

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I know there is a better way.

Financial stress in retirement can dampen some of the joy in life. There are a few steps to take to make it less worrisome.

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CRN-2483102-040119


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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HOUSEHOLDS WITH MONEY - A household with a $1 million net worth ranks in the top 88% of households in America. A household with a $4 million net worth ranks in the top 97% of households in America.  A household with an $11 million net worth ranks in the top 99% of households in America (source: DQYDJ.com).

NO ONE TO ARGUE WITH - 76% of all US businesses are 1-person self-employed entities, operating with zero additional employees (source: Census Bureau).

FOUR-TO-ONE - China had 15.2 million births in 2018, nearly 4 times the 3.9 million births in the United States last year (source: Census Bureau).

DIFFERENT RULES - The admission rate at Harvard for applications from the children of wealthy donors, alumni and faculty is 34%.  The admission rate at Harvard for all other applications is 6% (source: Harvard University).

Magnifying Glass Picture
It was a rumor, but now it’s a fact.  The Federal Reserve has no plans to raise interest rates throughout the remainder of 2019.  Fed Chairman Jerome Powell confirmed in his post-meeting press conference last week that Fed officials will be “patient” in determining the future course for interest rates, largely interpreted that investors can expect “flat to declining” interest rates for possibly the next 12 months.  Powell also indicated the “shrinking” of the Fed’s balance sheet will continue for just 6 more months, stopping in September 2019 (source: BTN Research).

The initial reaction to the Fed’s plan was positive, pushing the S&P 500 to a 2019 closing high on Thursday (3/21/19).  How could investors be anything but thrilled after learning that the Fed’s 3+ year rate-hike cycle might be completed?  However, by Friday’s trading (3/22/19), doubt had replaced enthusiasm and domestic stocks dropped.  Has the US economy slowed that much that it might require an interest rate cut?  Might the nation’s historically low jobless rate (3.8%) move north as consumers cut back on spending?  Did Powell’s comments spook investors to overreact and read way too much into his statement, or will the weekend provide investors time to recognize the win they have just been handed? (source: BTN Research).

The US government ran a $234 billion budget deficit in February 2019, its largest monthly deficit in history.  As recently as 2007, our nation’s budget deficit for the entire fiscal year ($161 billion) was less $234 billion (source: Treasury Department).

CRN-2474319-032519


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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The benefits of a ROTH IRA are mentioned in what seems like every financial article written for magazines or online sites. For many retirement savers, ROTH IRAs are an option worth exploring on a personal level. However, did you know there is also a ROTH 401k option available through most company sponsored 401k plans?

Here are a few steps to consider:
Reach out to your company's benefits specialist and ask if the 401k plan has a ROTH option.
If it does, I can help determine which 401k contribution, ROTH or tax-deductible, is best for you.
If no ROTH option is available, ask why and if they would consider looking into it.

We are always here to help

Employers can offer both a ROTH and traditional 401k option for employees reasonably easily. If your company does not have a ROTH 401k option, our office can certainly get involved and provide information to your company's benefits specialist if needed. Just let us know.



CRN-2462833-031419


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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REALLY BIG NUMBERS – President Trump was expected to release an overview of his fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget on Monday, to be followed by budget details on Monday 3/18/19.  Total FY 2020 government spending is projected to reach $4.69 trillion or just short of $13 billion a day (source: White House).

MAKING THINGS - The 12.8 million manufacturing jobs in the United States as of February 2019 is the nation’s largest total since December 2008 (source: Department of Labor).

HOMES - The average single-family home in the USA increased in value +5.7% during 2018.  Home values in Idaho increased +11.9% (top state) while home values in North Dakota were flat (bottom state) (source: FHFA).

NO DOCTOR NEEDED - 25.5% of Americans had no claims for any health care service (i.e., they did not see a doctor or visit a clinic) or filled a drug prescription in 2017 (source: Health Care Cost Institute).

Magnifying Glass Picture
It was the bull market that few investors saw coming in March 2009.  Over the preceding 17 months, the S&P 500 had fallen 57%.  But all that pain set the stage for what is now the longest bull market in US history.  Although the last 12 months (through last Friday’s close) have tacked on just a +0.4% gain (total return), the entire decade-long bull run for the S&P 500 index has resulted in a +400% increase, equal to a +17.5% annualized gain.  One lesson to learn for the next bull market (that will occur after the next bear market): the biggest money made in a bull market oftentimes comes early.  During the first 12 months of the current 10-year bull, the S&P 500 gained +72% (source: BTN Research).

The record streak of consecutive months of employers nationwide adding new jobs is now at 101 months (dating back to October 2010), but the +20,000 new net jobs added in February 2019 was woefully short of the expected number.  The February total, just the 3rd month in the last 8 years that reported less than +100,000 new net jobs, might be a harbinger of an economic slowdown or may be a one-month aberration that will be revised upward in early April 2019 (source: Department of Labor).

The United States is in its 117th month since the end of the last recession in the country.  In records maintained since 1854 (the last 165 years), the nation has had just one period that avoided a recession that was longer in duration than 117 months.  Thus, it’s not unexpected that 42% of 281 American economists surveyed last month believe the United States will be in a recession by the end of 2020 (source: National Association for Business Economics).

CRN-2455590-031119


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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When is the best time?

Medicare and Social Security are distinct and separate. Both require careful thought and consideration so you make the best decisions at the right time.

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You say it like it's a bad thing.

There is no problem with being frugal but what exactly does it mean? Different people have different priorities and how they spend their money reflects that.

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But she said I could have the ring...

It’s difficult to avoid family issues when dealing with the inheritance of personal property. Seeing things from different perspectives always helps.

-


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I only want the best for you.

Good financial habits are essential for financial success. Teaching children and grandchildren the best ways to handle their personal finances is one of the most important things any parent or grandparent can do.

-

CRN-2442759-022819


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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RED FEBRUARY - The last time that February did not produce the largest monthly deficit during a fiscal year was in fiscal year 2002 or 17 years ago (source: Treasury Department).

TOP SHELF - To rank in the top 0.1% of US taxpayers in tax year 2016, i.e., top 1 out of 1,000 taxpayers, required an adjusted gross income of $2,124,117 (source: Internal Revenue Service).

NO MORE WORK TO DO - 37% of retired Americans report they retired earlier than planned as a result of health problems, buyout packages, layoffs, grandchildren, or caring for an aging parent (source: Health and Retirement Study).

IT’S NOT THE FIRST ONE - The national emergency announced on 2/15/19 is the country’s 32nd active and ongoing national emergency.  The oldest active national emergency was enacted on 11/14/79 (source: Federal Register).

Magnifying Glass Picture
Coming on the heels of a near-bear market, US stock investors can be forgiven if they didn’t see the bounce-back of 2019 coming.  From a record close of 2931 on 9/20/18, the S&P 500 fell 19.8% to 2351 by the close of trading on Christmas Eve, within fractions of the “20%-decline” definition of a bear market over the 3-month tumble.  Fast forward into the first 8 weeks of 2019 and the nagging sense that a global recession was imminent has been pushed aside.  The S&P 500 has advanced in 7 of the 8 weeks this year, gaining +11.7% YTD (total return) in the process.  The stock index closed at 2793 last week, now down less than 5% from its all-time closing high (source: BTN Research).

They are not the final decision-makers, but enough progress had been made to keep the Chinese negotiators in Washington D.C. for additional trade talks over the weekend.  The goal of both sides: lay the groundwork for another meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi that would end the trade dispute.  The initial tariffs in the US-China trade war were implemented on 7/06/18.  In the 7 ½ months since then, the United States has imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports and China has imposed tariffs on $110 billion of US imports (source: United States Trade Representative).

It has been a very difficult couple of years for shopping malls across the United States.  5,524 brick-and-mortar retail stores closed nationwide in 2018, down from a record 8,139 store closures in 2017.  Another 2,187 retail stores have already closed YTD through 2/09/19 (source: Coresight Research).

CRN-2436015-022519


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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ESG investing allows you to make meaningful investments while pursuing your financial goals. It is becoming more popular with many clients, especially younger investors.

The term ESG stands for a company’s Environmental, Social and Governance practices. ESG practices include:

  • Performing as a steward of the environment.
  • Managing relationships with its employees, suppliers, customers and the communities where it operates.
  • Its leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls and shareholder rights.

Investing in companies whose values align with yours may be something to think about. ESG factors cover a wide range of issues and may have relevance for you or your children.

If you feel it’s something you would like to consider, let’s review at our next meeting or feel free to call to discuss further.



CRN-2423569-021319


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Hand me the Tylenol and call the accountant.

The new tax laws are effective this year and, with the 600 changes made, things will be a bit confusing. Make sure you know how it will affect you.

-


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Your grandson is in trouble and needs your help...

Scammers are increasingly targeting older adults for financial scams. Some are simple while others are more deceptive.

-


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Will you say I do, too?

For older adults, marriage can be complicated and saying “I do” may not be the best thing financially. There is a lot to consider before popping the question.

-


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Ladies and Gentlemen, Act 2 is now beginning.

You still have plenty of energy and enthusiasm so why sit out a possible second act. Consider an encore career whether for passion or profit.

-

CRN-2406808-020119


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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SHORT-TERM – 52.3% of all US Treasury debt at the end of fiscal year 2018 (9/30/18) had a maturity of less than 3 years, i.e., debt that will mature before 9/30/21 and will be rolled over or paid off (source: Treasury Department).

NOT STOPPING - 48% of working Americans surveyed in 2018 anticipate working past age 65, up from just 16% of workers who felt that way 30 years earlier (source: Employee Benefit Research Institute).

CARS - The sales of vehicles in China in 2018 totaled 28.1 million, down 3% from 28.9 million in 2017, China’s first year-over-year decline in vehicles sales in 20 years (source: China Association of Automobile Manufacturers).

FIRST STATE TO DO THIS - Publicly held companies domiciled in the state of California are required by a new state law to have at least 1 woman on their board of directors by 12/31/19.  The gender requirement increases to “2 of 5 directors” or “3 of 7 directors” by 12/31/21 (source: National Public Radio).

Magnifying Glass Picture
It was less than 2 months ago (12/19/18) that the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates for the 4th time in 2018 and released a post-meeting statement that indicated 2 more rate hikes were likely to occur in 2019.  In spite of that message, bond market watchers had already begun to suspect that support for those rate hikes was waning, suspicions that were validated when the Fed’s public statement following their most recent 1/30/19 meeting suggested that their next interest rate move could be “down” instead of “up.”  Over the last 30 years, the shortest span of time between the end of a rate-tightening cycle (i.e., raising rates) and the first Fed easing (i.e., cutting rates) was just 3 meetings over 5 months in 1995, i.e., a 2/01/95 rate hike to a 7/06/95 rate cut (source: Federal Reserve).

It has been an unexpected gift for the American housing industry: the average interest rate nationwide on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 4.41% last week, down more than ½ of 1% (from 4.94%) in just the last 3 months.  That lower interest rate translates into a “principal and interest” payment on a $300,000 mortgage that is nearly $100 a month less, i.e., $1,504 per month compared to $1,599 per month (source: Freddie Mac).

The bull market for stocks is now inside of a month to its 10-year anniversary that will be achieved on 3/09/19.  The current bull run for the S&P 500, already the longest in US history, will need a continuation of the expansion of corporate profits to keep the bull running (source: BTN Research).

CRN-2418303-021119


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Hand me the Tylenol and call the accountant.

The new tax laws are effective this year and, with the 600 changes made, things will be a bit confusing. Make sure you know how it will affect you.

-


preview -

Your grandson is in trouble and needs your help...

Scammers are increasingly targeting older adults for financial scams. Some are simple while others are more deceptive.

-


preview -

Will you say I do, too?

For older adults, marriage can be complicated and saying “I do” may not be the best thing financially. There is a lot to consider before popping the question.

-


preview -

Ladies and Gentlemen, Act 2 is now beginning.

You still have plenty of energy and enthusiasm so why sit out a possible second act. Consider an encore career whether for passion or profit.

-

CRN-2406808-020119


Brought to you by:

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Importance of Planning

With the new year just starting, it is a good time to review your estate plan especially with the recent changes in the tax law. Changes in your financial and personal situations are also reasons to make sure your plan is up to date.

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No, I haven’t checked my credit lately…

Many people put off things like checking their credit report but there are good reasons why you should. It’s easy and free so why not begin the new year knowing it is right?

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I know my insurance is just what I need

Make sure you have all the right insurance coverages. Whether it is life insurance, disability or long-term care insurance, life changes affect your needs.

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I think this is the right direction

It is always a good thing to know where you are going. One of the most important steps is reviewing your portfolio.

 

CRN-2365526-010319


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Be a friend
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These links are provided as a service to you, and will take you to a third party site not affiliated with Lincoln Financial Advisors. Lincoln Financial Advisors is not responsible for the content and does not guarantee the accuracy of any information or material contained therein.
 

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With huge lottery prizes people dream big and last month's lottery craze was no different. Even though you may not have won, there are some things you should consider in the event that you or a loved one come into a cash windfall through any of these events:

Any one of these circumstances could substantially change your financial picture and impact your financial plan. Windfalls sometimes lead to bad decisions so it is important to make sure you proceed in the best way possible.


https://www.vermillionfinancial.com/sudden-wealth/windfall/

CRN-2320188-111618


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
99 Wood Avenue South, Suite 201
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Our culture fosters charitable giving, and most of us do give to causes important to us. In addition, giving allows you to reduce your tax burden, build a legacy and support a passion.

An unlikely partner in our efforts is the IRS. Our tax code allows for more tax efficient ways to give. Unfortunately, the techniques available are largely unadvertised and underutilized. With some guidance and a little planning, you can make a bigger impact.


There are many income, estate and capital gains advantages to explore to determine what is best for your situation. If you find yourself writing personal checks to charitable organizations, it may be time to investigate better options.

Contact me today to review more efficient ways to give.

CRN-2279548-101518


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
333 Thornall Street, Suite 9B
Edison, NJ 08837
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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THE AGE-RELATED NEED FOR INCREASED HEALTHCARE

As we age, our physical needs change resulting in the necessity for more extensive health care. While we cannot control the results of the aging process, we can find the best ways to cope with these changes to preserve and protect our good health for as long as possible.


HEALTH CARE COSTS ARE RISING

Health care costs are rising primarily due to the increasing need for health care for preventable chronic diseases, aging baby boomers and more frequent use of emergency room care. The skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs is exacerbating the problem, resulting in higher out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy.1


THE INCREASING NEED FOR LONG-TERM CARE

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, today's typical 65-year-old has a 70 percent chance of requiring some kind of long-term care as they age. They likewise report that although one-third of today's 65-year-olds may never require long-term care or assisted living, that one out of five will need it for more than five years.2


LONG-TERM CARE IS COSTLY

The cost of long-term care is already averaging $172,000 per person and is expected to double by 2047 putting an increasingly heavy financial burden on individuals and family members.3


PROTECT YOURSELF

Health care and long-term care insurance go hand in hand. The rising cost of health care makes planning for and covering any long-term care needs you may have essential. The income benefit you receive can be used to pay for your long-term care and assures that you get the help needed for your personal care when you cannot provide it for yourself.


Need more information? I’m always here to help and answer any questions you may have.

  1. https://www.thebalance.com/causes-of-rising-healthcare-costs-4064878
  2. https://www.thebalance.com/long-term-care-insurance-cost-4126749
  3. https://www.aarp.org/health/health-insurance/info-2018/costs-long-term-care-fd.html

CRN-2246575-091818


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
333 Thornall Street, Suite 9B
Edison, NJ 08837
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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I do my best to stay in touch but change happens very quickly. With change comes opportunity – I am always here to help!

Here are a few action items that may necessitate the need for a new financial plan or an update of your current plan.
 

Marriage

Update beneficiary designations
Review life insurance needs
Create/update your will and other legal documents



Buying a House

Life & disability insurance to protect
the mortgage for loved ones

Discuss mortgage options and how they
fit into your financial plan



Retiring

Make sure your money will last
Reassess your investment risk



Having a Baby

Review life insurance needs

College savings funding options for children and
grandchildren – give the gift of an education!



New Job

Consolidate old retirement accounts
Review your new benefits



Cash Windfall

Update your financial plan
Evaluate investment choices



Loss of a Loved One

Advise on estate settlement



Have you gone through any of these life changes recently? Or perhaps you will soon? Call me and we’ll discuss appropriate ways to prepare for these events.

CRN-2209409-081318


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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
333 Thornall Street, Suite 9B
Edison, NJ 08837
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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Living longer than anticipated is a very real possibility. More Americans are living well into their 90’s. Outliving your money can put you in a difficult situation. Planning well can help you pursue the retirement you deserve. Some things to consider:
AVOID FINANCIAL LOSSES DUE TO INFLATION
DON'T REACT OUT OF FEAR TO THE MARKET'S UPS AND DOWNS
DON'T WAIT TO BUY LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE
DON'T MISS YOUR MEDICARE DEADLINES
DON'T FORGET TO DO YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY HOMEWORK
DO ANY OF THESE ISSUES CONCERN YOU?

Call or email today. I am always here to answer any questions you may have.
CRN-2147072-061118

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Saul M. Simon, CFP®, CFS, RFC

Simon Financial Group
333 Thornall Street, Suite 9B
Edison, NJ 08837
Phone: 732-623-2070
Toll free: 888SIMONSAYS
Fax: 732-623-2088
simonsays@LFG.com
www.saulsimon.com

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