For the week of May 4, 2009
The consumer confidence index rose in April marking its largest single-month increase since October
2006, according to the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers. That news, along with
better than expected data on first-time unemployment claims, home prices and corporate profits, helped
the markets overcome a gross domestic product (GDP) report showing the U.S. economy shrank 6.1
percent in the first quarter, more than analysts’ expectation of 5 percent. The S&P ended April with a 9.4
percent gain, its best month since March 2000, and its 18.7 percent gain over the past two months is its
best in 34 years. The NASDAQ gained 12.4 percent in April, its best month since November 2001. The
market will be closely watching the results of the bank stress tests, originally scheduled for release last
Friday, then today and now delayed until Thursday. For the week, the Dow Jones gained 1.69 percent to
close at 8,212.41. The S&P rose 1.33 percent to end the week at 877.52, and the NASDAQ climbed
1.47 percent to finish the week at 1,719.20.
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.
The Oldest Index – The Dow Jones Industrial Average turns 113 years old this month. Only 12 stocks
were used in the index’s original calculation in May 1896, and only one stock in that group remains in the
index today. The index was expanded to 30 stocks in October 1928, just one year before the 1929 stock
market crash. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a popular indicator of the stock market based on the
average closing prices of 30 actively-traded U.S. blue chip stocks (Source: Dow Jones, BTN Research).
Debt-Free – More than twice as many households own their home “free-and-clear” of debt (25 million)
compared to the number of households (10 million) where the outstanding mortgage debt exceeds the
market value of the home (Source: American Housing Study, Money Magazine, BTN Research).
Don’t Stop Now – A 40-year old employee who invests $1,000 at the beginning of every month in a tax-
deferred 401k account will accumulate $510,000 by age 60 if the funds grow at 7 percent per year. If that
individual was forced to suspend his/her monthly deferral for just four years from ages 45-48, the account
is worth just $394,000 at age 60. This mathematical calculation ignores the ultimate impact of taxes on
the account which are due upon withdrawal, is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to reflect
any specific investment or performance. Actual results will fluctuate with market conditions and will vary
(Source: BTN Research).
Do As I Say – Although only 40 percent of American adults currently pay their outstanding credit card
balances each month, 63 percent of Americans surveyed in early March are committed to eliminating any
monthly credit card debt in the future (Source: Consumer Education Services Inc., Money Magazine).
WEEKLY FOCUS – Could Long-Term Care Threaten Your Retirement?
The economy over the past six months has caused many
Americans to re-examine their spending priorities.
Unfortunately, too many see insurance premiums for
long-term care coverage as a discretionary expense –
at a time when retirement accounts have likely been
shrinking and they need to protect what they have left.
Premiums for long term care insurance (LTCI) can be
several thousand dollars a year, depending on the
amount of coverage and your age when you purchase
the policy. Costs for in-home and nursing home care
have been rising, to a current rate of $74,208 a year or
$203 a day, according to a recent survey by Genworth.
The Genworth survey said if rates continue to rise at
more than 4 percent a year, one year of nursing home care could run $270,000 in 30 years.
That has made it difficult for insurers to keep premiums affordable for consumers but at a level that
covers the actual expenses. Some companies have raised the health requirements for LTCI applicants,
making it more difficult for people to qualify. According to the American Association for Long-Term Care
Insurance (AALTCI) 23 percent of applicants age 60-69 are rejected, increasing to 45 percent of those
age 70-79 and 70 percent of those over 80.
Cost has long been the incentive for waiting to secure long term care insurance until a decade or even
two before retirement, but the reasons for purchasing long-term care coverage earlier in your adult life
can be persuasive. Younger policy purchasers can lock in discounts based on health qualifications as
well as premiums based on today’s costs, plus spread the premiums over more years. According to
AALTCI, for those 60 or older, rates can go up 8-9 percent per year for each year you delay buying
Thanks to medical advancements, accidents and illnesses that once caused death can now impair you –
mentally, physically and financially. The cost of in-home or nursing home care could place your years of
saving and investing for retirement at risk. Regardless of your age, long-term care coverage should be
part of regular reviews of your risks and insurance needs. For more information on long-term care
insurance for you or a loved one, or to schedule a review of your risk management plan, contact our office.
* The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of
the stock market in general. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-
chip stocks. NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common
stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Morgan
Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia and Far East Index (MSCI EAFE Index) is a widely recognized
benchmark of non-U.S. stock markets. It is an unmanaged index composed of a sample of companies
representative of the market structure of 20 European and Pacific Basin countries and includes reinvestment of all
dividends. Written by Securities America. SAI# 297307
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