Oak Wealth Advisors produces market updates for its clients…

in addition to the individualized reporting that each client receives. Below we have posted some recent updates that have been distributed to clients.

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2019 Social Security Increases

While it will not be official until mid-October, it appears that Social Security benefits will be rising by 2.8% in 2019.  This will be the largest cost-of-living adjustment since 2012. Assuming the 2.8% adjustment is implemented, those receiving a maximum SSI benefit will get an additional $21 per month bringing their payment total to $771. …

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New Stock Market Record – Now what?

Wow! The stock market just set a record for the longest bull market period in history. A bull market is defined as a period during which the market is rising without suffering a decline of 20% or more. Despite some volatility during the past decade, we have not experienced a 20% decline since 2009. In…

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And Market Volatility is Back!

We all enjoyed the investment markets in 2017. The values of investments climbed gradually throughout the year with almost no declines. In fact, 2017 was a historically calm year in terms of stock market volatility. 2018 is shaping up to be a very different year. January delivered exceptionally good performance for stock markets around the…

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Key Tax Numbers for 2018

While we await the 1099s that report our taxable investment income and taxable IRA distributions for 2017, I wanted to share with you our 2018 Key Numbers document that highlights all the new tax rates and details alongside the rates and numbers for 2017.  Oak Wealth Advisors hopes this will be a valuable resource for…

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2018 – You are off to a great start!

In 2017, the investment markets delivered better than expected returns. As we begin 2018, the prospects remain good for another year of solid investment results. Corporate profits are growing, unemployment is near all-time lows, and the recent legislation provides additional corporate stimulus in the form of lower taxes and less regulation. We would be surprised…

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Preparing For Bumpy Roads Ahead

Ever ridden in a car with worn-out shock absorbers? Every bump is jarring, every corner stomach-churning, and every red light an excuse to assume the brace position. Owning an undiversified portfolio can trigger similar reactions.

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Oak Wealth Advisors’ First 100 Days of 2017

We wanted to update you on the first 100 days of the year at Oak Wealth Advisors. It has been a momentous period that we feel has us well positioned to deliver the best possible client service in the future. The fortune cookies that we opened late in 2016 could not have been more insightful.

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2017 Social Security Benefits Update

– Better than nothing, but just barely… Regardless of whom our next President is, for 2017, Social Security recipients will be getting a .3% increase in their monthly checks.  (That is less than one-third of one percent, not three percent.) Individuals receiving SSI benefits will receive $735/month up from $733 in 2016.  The amount of…

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How Can I Minimize the Taxes on My IRA Account?

IRAs and qualified retirement plans like 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and 457(b)s are among the most tax-inefficient assets to leave your heirs. Distributions from IRAs and qualified retirement accounts are taxed as ordinary income and can be taxed up to the highest marginal income tax rates. For wealthy taxpayers, their IRA balances may be subject to the estate tax at 40%. At their death, if the beneficiaries they have named are subject to the highest (39.6%) income tax bracket, the amount received by the next generation from the inherited IRA account may be only thirty-six cents on the dollar.

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End of the Road Coming for Social Security Strategies

The Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act, passed in 2000, allowed seniors to continue working while receiving Social Security benefits.  This Act permitted Social Security benefits planning strategies that helped couples maximize their retirement income benefits.  These strategies were tied to the concept of a primary wage earner delaying the start of their benefits while…

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What retirement spending rate is safe?

When it comes to retirement spending, everyone wants a simple rule for how much of their savings they can safely spend every year.  For some, the goal is simply to not run out of money before they run out of breaths.  For others, the goal is to not spend below some amount they wish to…

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Calming Fears About Rising Interest Rates

Ideally, wealth creation would proceed on a path of steady growth.  However, investment risks exist which require patience, conviction, and discipline in order for financial goals to be achieved.  While stock market volatility is expected, bond investing is traditionally considered to be less risky.  Ironically, a major investment challenge we currently are facing is the…

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The Longer Investment Horizon

Changes in longevity require changes in our expectations about retirement savings. In the early 1900s, the average life expectancy of a newborn American was about 50 years. In 1933, the year that Social Security was introduced as part of F.D.R.’s New Deal, the life expectancy of a newborn had risen to about 62 years. Today,…

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15 Thoughts for 2015

As most people know, Oak Wealth Advisors does not invest based on predictions.  Instead, we focus on disciplined investing which leads to greater stability and wealth creation.  We also try to keep our clients well informed and want them to be confident that we are aware of important data that may impact their investments.  The…

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Oak Wealth Advisors and Accountability

Accountability is important. It is for this reason we have been disappointed by the media’s failure to hold their “experts” accountable for the recommendations and predictions that they issue. In the past, we have written about the underwhelming investment recommendations published by Barrons from their annual roundtable of experts. We have also highlighted the inability…

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Diversified Portfolio Provides Better Long-Term Results

Everyone would prefer the investment markets to make consistent gains without any periods of negative performance.  Unfortunately, that is not the way the investment markets deliver returns. Research into investor psychology has confirmed what we have witnessed while working with clients for over twenty years.   The negative emotions tied to investment losses are significantly stronger…

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Social Security Benefits Maximizing Strategies

Deciding when to begin receiving Social Security benefits is a major financial issue for anyone approaching retirement. There is a tradeoff between the amount of the monthly benefit and the number of payments you will receive. Most people know that beginning benefits prior to your full retirement age (currently age 66 and increasing to 67…

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The Dangers of Greed

The wisdom of Dr. Seuss is far reaching. One of his tales that is particularly relevant as we enter 2014 is The Bippolo Seed. In this story, a duck finds a special seed that can grant wishes. Before the duck gets the seed planted, he is distracted by a fox advising him to wish for…

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Holiday Stress

Financial matters are stressful for many, and Oak Wealth Advisors takes pride in minimizing these stresses for our clients.  While alleviating the stress associated with the holidays is not our specialty, we hope the following information can help in the months ahead. The websites described below have been chosen by Oak Wealth Advisors staff for…

July 2013

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Tapering…

Tapering, when used as a verb, means to grow gradually lean. However, the two times during the second quarter of 2013 when tapering was used as a verb by Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, investors reacted as if the definition is to destroy all investment assets. Chairman Bernanke’s tapering remarks refer to the…

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Let’s stop making bad decisions

If only it was as easy as just saying we were going to stop making bad decisions… We make decisions every day.  While most of them have insignificant consequences, the decisions that have larger ramifications are often the ones that cause us to worry.  For many people, investing and their personal finances fall into the…

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How did we do that?

2012 is a year for which Oak Wealth Advisors will always be particularly proud. Almost all of our clients enjoyed portfolio performance that exceeded their custom benchmarks on an after-expense basis. While our clients have outperformed in the past, 2012 provides a great opportunity to explain how our process and experience comes together to generate…

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Municipal bonds, defaults, and the fiscal cliff

Most investors have some municipal bonds in their portfolios, either through individual holdings, mutual funds, or exchange traded funds.  Municipal bonds are generally considered among the safest investments.  That viewpoint has been challenged this year due to a few well-publicized defaults and a recent Federal Reserve report that the default rate may be higher than…

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Sell in May and go away

This old Wall Street adage came about as a description of how many traders on Wall Street would take summer vacations and did not want to be holding stocks when they could not monitor the markets.  More recently the phrase has been rejuvenated to reflect the fact that the performance of the stock markets has…

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Volatility reduction is essential to wealth maintenance and growth

Spring has officially arrived, flowers are blooming, and our 2012 investment returns have everyone in a good mood.  In fact, the investment returns this year are far better than we had expected.  Stocks are making four-year highs.  Our worries about the financial markets can be put to rest and we can enjoy a carefree balance…

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I’ll Get To It Before I Die

The familiar refrain of:  “I’ll get to it before I die,” can often be applied to our personal record keeping.  We all know it is important, it can simplify things in the future, yet it is almost never a top priority.

On a recent trip to Disney World, I came across a very special box that was titled the Ultimate Financial File. It was appropriately located between Fantasy Land and Tomorrow Land. Unfortunately, I did not have time to view its contents. However, the discovery of the box inspired me to create a list of the documents that should be included in the Ultimate Financial File.

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Headline makers or money makers?

It is always tempting to believe that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Investors who succumb to this temptation chase the latest tip or invest with the manager who is touted by the media as being the best of the best. Oak Wealth Advisors believes that a disciplined strategy that…

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Seeing our future through the eyes of the Federal Reserve…

In early November, I had the pleasure of having lunch with Bill Strauss, the Senior Economist and Economic Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.  As the lead economist in Chicago, Bill shares research with the other 11 Federal Reserve Banks which collectively comprise our Federal Reserve System (the Fed).  Their consensus thinking drives…

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Is it okay to panic now? –No!

In the wake of the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) credit downgrade of the United States debt obligations (our bonds, bills, and notes that are owed to investors both domestically and globally), there is an abundance of interest, debate, and concern about what should be done.  The media once again is filled with stories of impending…

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Inflation is just around the corner…or not.

We will probably not see any meaningful increase in inflation in 2011 or 2012.  Despite polls of consumers who collectively are certain inflation is just around the corner, and numerous market commentators who believe that the governmental stimulus efforts make inflation inevitable, the more likely scenario is that inflation will not be rising anytime soon. …

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Risk tolerance or loss tolerance?

When investors hear the term risk, their thoughts turn to losing money.  Ironically, the financial services industry and academics define investment risk as the volatility of prices.  Volatility measures how far prices move above and below an expected level. Investors, however, care little about volatility but are passionate about losing money.  Oak Wealth Advisors believes…

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…will win the Super Bowl

____________________  will win the Super Bowl. ____________________  will win the Oscar Award for Best Picture. Making predictions is fun and relatively painless if you are wrong when forecasting things like football games and entertainment awards.  The stakes are raised when you invest based on financial market predictions.  In Oak Wealth Advisors’ annual search to find…

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Be thankful for the important things.

As we approach Thanksgiving, I wanted to share with you some research I have read over the course of the year that centers on the relation between money and happiness. The results suggest that we may be overlooking the things for which we should be truly thankful. Hopefully you will consider how these findings apply…

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Vote with your wallet?

The investment markets have already been reacting as if they know the outcomes of the mid-term elections. We have experienced abnormally robust returns in September and October. These returns are due in some measure to the expectation that the Republicans will win enough seats in Congress to slow or derail the programs the Democrats have…

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Volatility — is it here to stay?

In 2010, most stock market experts predicted a relatively modest year following a calamitous 2008 and a dramatic recovery in 2009. While the S&P 500 stock index is up around 4% year-to-date as we near the end of September, the ride has been anything but smooth in producing these relatively moderate return results. In the…

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Bond bubble? Aren’t bonds supposed to be safe investments?

The perception has long been that investing in bonds is a safe way to generate investment income without much risk.  Today, numerous articles and letters to the editors of financial publications are sounding the alarm bells about the risks of investing in bonds.  This issue will address those warnings and explain a prudent approach to…

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Sovereign debt? That’s someone else’s problem, right?

Sovereign debt? That’s someone else’s problem, right?Nations get into trouble when they do not manage their financial affairs prudently. Often it seems the easiest way to balance a budget is to simply borrow the money that is needed. Sovereign debt includes borrowing in the form of bonds, bills, and notes issued by a country’s government….

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Bottoms Up!

One year from the bottom of the worst recession in our lifetime, it is important to reflect on the recovery and the lessons learned about financial risk taking. Through March 19, 2010, the S&P 500 stock market index has risen over 71% from the low set on March 6, 2009. The most recent twelve month…

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Why would I want to pay tax on my entire IRA now?

Throughout my career, I have found incredible consistency among the clients I have assisted in their desire to minimize their income taxes to the fullest extent allowed by the law. Throughout my career, I have found incredible consistency among the clients I have assisted in their desire to minimize their income taxes to the fullest…

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Okay, what’s next?

2009 is set to finish as one of the strongest years of investment market returns in history. Most every asset class will finish the year with a double digit return, recovering robustly from the lows set in early March. While most of the losses incurred in 2008 and late 2007 have been erased, the big…

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For what are you thankful?

As the year comes to a close and we gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope all of us will take time to think about what we have in our lives for which we are truly thankful. It may be people, health, our careers, our experiences, or even some material things. I…

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Discipline is essential if you seek financial success.

With our children, we use discipline to help them improve their behavior. Applying discipline to financial decision making also provides benefits. While most people do not consider how their emotions and behaviors affect their financial success, studies have shown that along with high expenses and tax inefficient investments, human behaviors are the most detrimental forces…

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“It is tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Yogi Berra

Everyone loves predictions! Unfortunately, it is human nature to be attracted to them like moths to flames. Consider that most people watch weather forecasts with high expectations for accuracy only to have it rain unexpectedly on their picnic. Yet they eagerly await the next day’s forecast. As a society, we attribute expertise and prediction accuracy…

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The worst is likely over!

Numerous independent research reports and data from multiple sources suggest that the economy is emerging from the recession and the market recovery that started on March 9th is sustainable. In fact, the S&P 500 Index has risen over 40% from the low point in early March. Not many market prognosticators had predicted that the stock…

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Boing! What a nice bounce for the stock markets!

While the media continues to remind the public of all the problems that still exist, the S&P 500 index has rallied over 35% from the low it set back on March 6th. Sadly, many people who bailed out of the stock market in early 2009 are still sitting in cash not knowing when it will…

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Wouldn’t it be nice if March 6 2009 was the bottom of the bear market?

No one can predict the future, but we did have some large positive advances in the stock market on very limited good news the week of March 9th.  In fact, since the S&P 500 index hit 666 (yes, that really was the low point for the index earlier this month); it has managed to rise…

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As Oak Wealth Advisors approaches its first 100 days of operations

As Oak Wealth Advisors approaches its first 100 days of operations, it seems appropriate to reflect on what has transpired during the period and what lies ahead.  First, and foremost, I am very grateful that all my former clients have chosen to follow me to Oak Wealth Advisors.  In addition, a handful of new families…