For the week of February 2, 2009
Major indexes declined last week amid corporate earnings disappointments and continued weak
economic data. Personal income dropped 0.2 percent in December, less than the expected 0.4 percent
decline. Personal spending fell 1 percent versus an expected 0.9 percent drop. The Senate begins
debate this week on the proposed stimulus package. For the week, the Dow lost 0.95 percent to close at
8,000.86. The S&P lost 0.71 percent to end the week at 825.88, and the NASDAQ fell 0.06 percent to
finish the week at 1,476.42.
Source: Morningstar.com. * Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and
cannot be invested into directly. Three and five-year returns are annualized. The S&P, excluding “1 Week”
returns, is a reflection of return to an investor, by reinvesting dividends after the deduction of withholding tax.
Still Saving – Despite the financial and economic turmoil of 2008, employees kept their faith in 401(k)
plans, contributing slightly more in 2008 than in 2007 -- $5,600 compared to $5,500, according to a
Fidelity study of 11 million participants in its 17,095 corporate 401(k) plans. Participants took fewer
loans last year than in 2007 – 9 percent versus 9.7 percent – and 96 percent continued contributing to
their 401(k), even during the fourth quarter.
Homes Again – Existing home sales rose 6.5 percent in December from the previous month, according
to the National Association of Realtors. December sales were down 3.5 percent from the previous year,
and prices are down 15 percent in the past 12 months, which may be bringing bargain seekers back into
Go Green – The Internal Revenue Service will process an estimated total of 240,132,700 tax returns for
2008. Of those, an estimated 141,495,000 will be filed on paper, while 98,636,800 will be filed
electronically. The IRS projects that by 2014, nearly half of taxpayers will file electronically. The IRS
recently announced that taxpayers with adjusted gross income (AGI) of $56,000 or less can file online for
free. Visit www.irs.gov for information about filing your taxes online.
Bowl Deflation – The average price for a ticket to Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIII is $2,600, according to U.
S. News & World Report, down 26 percent from $3,536 in 2008 and $4,004 in 2007.
WEEKLY FOCUS – Protect Your Income With Disability Insurance
You’ve insured your home and personal property, your
vehicles and your life, but are you overlooking your most
substantial asset – your ability to earn income?
Steve Strauss, author of The Small Business Bible, uses
this example: If you are 40 years old and net $50,000
annually from your business, over the 25 years until
retirement, you will earn $1.25 million – and that’s
assuming your income does not grow. That’s an asset
Disability insurance protects your ability to earn income.
But say “disability,” and many people visualize
impairment from an accident. According to the American
Council of Life Insurers, the majority of long-term disabilities are because of illnesses, such as cancer
and heart disease. Each year, 12 percent of adult Americans suffer a long-term disability. For every
seven employed Americans, one will have a period of disability five years or longer before age 65. A 35-
year-old has a 50 percent chance of a disability lasting longer than three months before age 65.
Europeans and Australians may have the right idea in calling disability insurance “income insurance.”
Your chances of becoming disabled are much higher than of dying – and if you become disabled, you
continue to require living expenses like food, clothing and shelter, not to mention medical care – with no
income to pay for them. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 46
percent of home foreclosures occur because the homeowner has suffered a disability and can no longer
make mortgage payments.
Choosing appropriate disability insurance takes careful consideration of not only your current situation
but your future circumstances – and the worst-case circumstances at that. If you depend on your current
income to live, you need to ensure it goes on flowing even if you can’t go on working. We can work with
your insurance professional and help you determine what resources you may have in the event you can
no longer earn a salary and ways you can protect yourself and your family from financial hardship. Call us
any time for an appointment.
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