For the week of June 16, 2008
The Labor Department’s inflation reading (see No Surprise below) and declining oil prices lessened
concerns that the Federal Reserve would need to increase interest rates to hold down rising prices. With
the exception of volatile energy and food costs, consumer price increases appear to be under control,
according to some economists. That may indicate the Federal Reserve will leave rates unchanged at its
meeting next week and perhaps longer. The Dow gained 0.83 percent to end the week at 12,307.35.
The S&P remained relatively flat, down just 0.01 percent to close the week at 1,360.03. The NASDAQ
lost 0.81 percent to finish the week at 2,454.50.
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.
No Surprise – Overall inflation during May rose slightly higher than economists had expected, while core
prices – those excluding volatile gas and food – came in as anticipated. Overall inflation rose 0.6
percent, compared to the 0.5 percent analysts anticipated. So far for 2008, consumer prices are rising at
an annualized 4 percent, compared with a 4.1 percent increase for all of 2007.
Good Spending – U.S. retailers reported sales totals a full percentage point higher in May than in April,
as the economy felt the effect of economic stimulus check spending. Sales rose 1.2 percent, excluding
autos, nearly twice what economists expected prior to the Commerce Department report on Thursday. It
was the biggest increase in six months. Excluding higher prices paid for gasoline, sales rose by 0.8
percent, the largest increase in 12 months.
Record Longevity – Life expectancy for Americans has surpassed 78 years for the first time,
according to data from the World Health Organization. U.S. life expectancy typically increases by two to
three months each year, but recently completed analysis of 2006 data indicates a four-month increase
over 2005. The U.S. still lags 30 other countries in life span. Japan has the longest life expectancy at 83
years for children born in 2006. Switzerland and Australia also ranked highly.
I Want It Now – A person born in 1946 is eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits at age 66 or
in 2012. If that individual elected to take his/her benefits early at age 62 (i.e., in the year 2008), the
monthly checks will be permanently reduced by 25 percent vs. what he/she would otherwise receive at
his/her full retirement age (Source: Social Security Administration, BTN Research).
WEEKLY FOCUS - Fatherly Financial Advice
Father’s Day may have left you reminiscing about
lessons you learned from your own father, like throwing
a ball, baiting a hook or changing a tire. What lessons
did your father teach you about money? And more
importantly, what lessons are you imparting to your own
children and grandchildren about personal finances?
A Visa survey released in August 2007 found that 48
percent of adults reported learning their money
management skills from their parents, while 41 percent
said their skills were self-taught. Elementary and high
school, along with college, were mentioned by less than
10 percent combined. The survey did not ask
respondents to grade those skills, which brings up an
interesting question: are we teaching our kids and grandkids good money habits or perpetuating our own
Often the best way to prepare your kids and grandkids for adult life is providing them the appropriate
tools. When it comes to personal finances, you can get some help from websites that offer hints for
teaching money skills to kids and teens:
While you may have done (or plan to do) your best to teach your children and grandchildren about
personal finances, confirmation from an outside source may help reinforce your message. We can be the
neutral ground for helping educate your children, particularly those preparing for college. We can also
tailor that information and instruction to your family based on our relationship with you and knowledge of
your personal financial philosophies and situation. Call our office any time for help talking to your children
or grandchildren about finances.
* 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. WMCSAI# 280302
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