For the week of September 28, 2009
A drop in durable manufactured goods and an August new home sales report that fell below analysts’
expectations left investors uncertain about the strength of the economic recovery. Last week marked a
pause in a six-month rally that has brought the S&P back nearly 60 percent over the 12-year low reached
in March. The Dow ended the week down 1.58 percent to close at 9,665.19. The S&P dropped 2.22
percent to finish the week at 1,044.38, while the NASDAQ fell 1.97 percent to end the week at 2,090.92.
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.
Insurance – The “Troubled Asset Relief Program” (TARP) signed into law by President Bush on Oct. 3,
2008, included legislation to raise the FDIC deposit insurance levels from $100,000 per depositor per
insured institution to $250,000 through Dec. 31, 2009. In May 2009, Congress extended the $250,000
level to Dec. 31, 2013 (Source: FDIC, BTN Research).
Getting Better – Nearly half of Americans surveyed (46 percent) believe the U.S. economy is going to
improve in the upcoming 12 months, nearly double the percentage (22 percent) that believe the economy
will get worse (Source: Harris Poll, BTN Research).
Moving On Up – Since 2005, China has moved from the world’s seventh largest economy to the third
largest today. China passed Italy, then France, then the U.K., and most recently Germany. Only the
economies of Japan and the U.S. are larger (Source: The Economist, BTN Research).
Saving For The Future – The Treasury Department released a proposal on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009,
that would allow a terminating employee that is due pay to him/her for unused vacation time to deposit
those funds into the employee’s pre-tax 401(k) retirement plan (Source: Treasury Department, BTN
WEEKLY FOCUS – Should You Co-Sign A Credit Card For Your Student?
Between 2004 and 2008, the median debt owed by
college students with at least one credit card grew 74
percent, according to How Undergraduate Students Use
Credit Cards, a 2009 study by student-loan provider
Sallie Mae. Eighty-four percent of college students have
a credit card, and of those, 82 percent are carrying a
balance, the study said. Unfortunately, college students
often lack the financial skills to manage their credit
wisely, and many leave college with large amounts of
debt and damaged credit reports.
In May, Congress passed the Credit Card Accountability,
Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act to stem the
flood of easy credit and help prevent students from
drowning themselves in debt. The law takes effect Feb. 22, and one of the biggest provisions is the
requirement that a person under 21 supply financial documentation confirming his or her ability to repay
their debts or have a co-signer.
Should you co-sign on a credit card for your high school or college student? On the downside, you
become responsible for the balance on the card, and any skipped or late payments will negatively impact
your own credit score along with the student’s. On the upside, helping your student establish good credit
can help him or her in securing a job (many employers now do a credit check on potential hires) or
renting an apartment after graduation.
If co-signing makes you uneasy, you might consider options like authorizing your student as a user on
your credit card, which can help them build a credit history, or helping your student get a secured credit
card, which requires a deposit and limits the available credit to that amount. Should you decide to co-
sign, set expectations and educate your student on how to use the card wisely. You should also establish
online access and alerts so you can check balance and payment history and get an email or text warning
when your student is in danger of missing a payment or exceeding the limit.
You and your student can get more information on credit card debt and other college financial issues at
Sallie Mae’s website. We also welcome the opportunity to help you and your family with the financial
issues related to life’s milestones, whether it’s a student going off to college, planning your retirement
when the nest is empty or talking to aging parents about their finances. Please feel free to call us anytime.
* 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. Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged index comprised of U.S. investment grade,
fixed rate bond market securities, including government, government agency, corporate and mortgage-backed
securities between one and 10 years. Written by Securities America. SAI# 300417
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