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WINTER 2014

S O M E T I M E S Y O U N E E D R E A S S U R A N C E T H AT Y O U ’ R E M A K I N G T H E R I G H T C H O I C E .

2013: FEAST OR FAMINE
2013 was certainly a year to remember. We all experienced the lows of the Boston marathon bombing and the highs of the Bat Kid saving Gotham City, while “twerking” left us confused and somewhere in the middle. The same can be said about our financial headlines. In this year alone, we witnessed a government shutdown, the introduction (and re-introduction) of Obamacare, and a Cyrpus bailout. We all were introduced to the terms “budget sequestration,” “fiscal cliff,” and my personal favorite, “tapering”. In the end, what did it all mean? With respect to the U.S. stock market, very little. The fear of falling into a double dip recession and trying to use any headline available to justify it ultimately was treated exactly as what it was, just noise. In fact, the stock market went on to have a banner year with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 both hitting multiple new all-time highs. When it was all said and done, SPY (S&P 500 iShares ETF) finished the year with a return of 32.31%. That’s the good news. The bad news — everything else in your portfolio likely stunk. For the first time in quite some time, we were re-educated on the implications of rising interest rates on fixed income products. BND (Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF) finished 2013 with a dreary return of -2.5%. If you were the unfortunate holder of TLT (iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF), then you experienced a -13.7% return for the year, certainly not the performance that conservative investors were looking for. So what does this mean for the balanced portfolio strategy that almost every financial advisor stresses? In my opinion, 2013 doesn’t invalidate it. Instead, I think it re-affirms it. Your typical 50% equity, 40% bond, 10% cash portfolio would have finished 2013 with a return close 12%. Not nearly as attractive as that SPY return, but should still keep you well ahead of your annual return needed to hit your retirement goals. Whether you’re in your twenties or nineties, there continues to be beneficial reasons for holding both stocks and bonds in your portfolio. While many experts believe 2014 will be a milder version of 2013, the New Year constitutes a great time to rebalance your portfolio and stay true to the asset allocation that best suits you for 2014.

ASSET* Large Cap Stocks Mid Cap Stocks Small Cap Stocks Emerging Market Equities U.S. Total Bonds Municipal Bonds Gold Silver

SYMBOL SPY MDY IWM VWO BND MUB GLD SLV

2013 RETURN 31.70% 32.40% 38.50% -6.50% -2.50% -3.80% -27.70% -34.40%

* A ny investing involves a variety of risks including loss of principle. You will want to read the appropriate prospectus prior to making any investment decisions. You cannot directly invest into an index.

RAMBLINGS

BANK SPOTLIGHT

As you have by now noticed, Town and Country Financial Services finally has a newsletter! Please hold your applause!
Incorporating a newsletter into my platform was a goal of mine from the day I began working for Town and Country Bank nearly two years ago. However, during these last two years, broker dealers were changed, offices were relocated, and my second son was born. Fast forward to present day and we’re overly satisfied with our broker dealer Fintegra, I haven’t had to change the address on my business card in over a year, and a teething 10 month old is all the birth control a parent needs. With that said, voila! We have our first newsletter! For some, this may be the only financial newsletter you receive. For others, this may be one of many. Nonetheless, my goal for these four pages is to be different than what you may have received in the past. For better or worse, the content found within this newsletter has been mostly written by me (except for the articles written with typos). That isn’t because I’m a huge ego-maniac, but because I truly believe that the majority of all other newsletters are awful. Most newsletters out there will arrive to your inbox with prepackaged, outsourced material written by financial analysts who speak in industry terms that only 3 out of 10 financial advisors and 0 of 10 human beings would understand. I’ve received those newsletters, I’m guilty of sending those newsletters, and like many of you, I’ve clicked unsubscribe to those newsletters. I would like for this to be different. I want to produce material that is informative and yet easy and enjoyable to follow. I want an open line of communication with both clients and non-clients, and I want to write about issues that are important to you, not just me talking out loud. So with that, I ask: What area inside your personal finances leaves you with the biggest question mark? It can be as simple as what percent of my monthly income should I be saving, or as complex as the affects of quantitative easing on monetary policy (please don’t ask about quantitative easing). Truth be told, if this newsletter can be used as a tool for you to become closer to realizing the ultimate financial freedom that you pursue, then that’s a win in my book. Cheesy I know. So to wrap up, I really hope this is something you enjoy. If it is, the greatest complement you can pay me is to pass it along to friends and family. I appreciate it.

MOBILE TECHNOLOGY
We love when our customers visit us in person. But in today’s hectic world, we understand that can’t always happen. That is why we offer a great virtual experience as well. If you need to deposit a check, pay a bill, even transfer money to April 1, 2013 your child’s account, John Smith 100. One Hundred and no/100 you can do so Jane Doe through our enhanced Mobile Banking App.
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Through our Mobile Banking solution, you can access your accounts, view account balances and transaction history, initiate transactions and pay bills — anytime, anywhere — safe and securely. Other mobile functionality includes depositing checks, transferring money between accounts at our bank to accounts you own at other financial institutions and the ability to pay individuals, like your babysitter. Account types including checking, certificates of deposit (CDs), money market accounts, loans and lines-of-credit are supported through Mobile Banking. Confirmation of processed payments and funds transfers are sent via text message. The app is available for iPhones and Android devices. Visit your App Store today. For all other devices, visit airteller.com/ townandcountrybank. Remember: Don’t Worry. Be App-y!

“ I take great pride in helping clients reach their financial goals.”
SHANE ADKINS
PHONE: 217.321.3624

FA X: 217.546.6858

SADKINS@FINTEGRA.NET

WWW.BROKERAGE.TOWNANDCOUNTRYBANK.COM

ith 2013 in the rearview mirror, it’s time to focus on 2014 and what the upcoming year could bring. I wish I could make a list of off-thewall bold predictions that would ultimately make me look like the smartest or dumbest person in the room, but unfortu­ nately I think the upcoming year will mirror the former to a large degree. In 2013, we saw the 10-year treasury rate increase by 42%, closing the year at 3.03%. The increase represents the largest calendar year gain since 2009, which also happens to be the last year the bond market suffered a negative annual return. If you didn’t hear enough of the word “Taper” in 2013, you should be in luck. The Fed showed their desire to decrease the monthly bond purchasing program evidenced by the $10 billion reduction in December. If the economy continues to show any progress in 2014, I would expect the slow tapering to continue. This would ultimately cause interest rates to increase and would likely negatively affect your bond holdings.

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WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2014

Inflation remains close to historic lows and it’s beginning to look like we could see deflation before any additional inflation. On a positive note, partly because your uncle Mike stopped looking for work, the unemployment rate dropped significantly in 2013. Many economists expect the trend to continue into 2014. The downside is although jobs have increased, wages have seen very little growth. If that trend continues, U.S. growth will need to be spurred by something other than consumer spending. Even if we do continue to see stagnant growth, don’t assume that stocks will automatically suffer. We don’t have to look back far to see that stocks can perform well in low growth years (i.e. 2013). Overall, I think equities will continue to lead the way in 2014. Stocks, which began 2013 looking undervalued, have certainly lost a bit of their value. However, I would still argue that there are still bargains to be had, it just won’t be the “throw a dart at the dart board” type of year that 2013 was. International stocks, which for the most part did not see the significant growth that U.S. stocks did in 2013, are a little more attractively priced to begin the year and could potentially have a little more room to grow. I believe fixed Income will continue to be the toughest obstacle in 2014. Traditional bond funds could continue to deliver suppressed returns if we keep seeing significant increases to interest rates. With that said, fixed income still has a role in every portfolio and can still produce positive returns, it just takes a little different approach than in years past.

KEY TAX FIGURES
One thing that is assured is the beginning of a new year will bring new tax laws, income brackets, and new IRS provisions. While I always recommend consulting with your tax profes­ sional regarding your specific tax situation, here are a few highlights of the new figures for the 2014 tax year.
•  IRA Contribution Limits: $5,500 with an additional

2 014 TA X A BL E INCOME BR A CK E T S A ND R AT E S
Rate 10% 15% 25% 28% 33% 35% 39.6% Single Filers $0 to $9,075 $9,076 to $36,900 $36,901 to $89,350 $89,351 to $186,350 $186,351 to $405,100 $405,101 to 406,750 $406,751+ Married Joint Filers $0 to $18,150 $18,151 to$73,800 $73,801 to $148,850 $148,851 to $226,850 $226,851 to $405,100 $405,101 to 457,600 $457,601+ Head of Household Filers $0 to $12,950 $12,951 to $49,400 $49,401 to $127,550 $127,551 to $206,600 $206,601 to $405,100 $405,101 to $432,200 $432,201+

$1,000 if over 50
•  Federal Gift Tax Exclusion: $14,000 •  Federal Estate Tax Exclusion: $5,340,000

3601 W. Wabash Ave., Springfield, IL 62711

To receive Town and Country Financial Services’ Quarterly Newsletter electronically, please e-mail sadkins@fintegra.net.

Investments offered through Fintegra LLC, member FINRA/SIPC and Registered Investment Adviser. OSJ phone number 763.585.0503. Fintegra is not affiliated with Town and Country Bank. Investments are not FDIC Insured, not bank deposits, not insured by any government agency, not guaranteed by any financial institution, and may lose value.

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS
Each quarter I like to introduce a product that may not be as well-known as stock and bonds but a product that could still play a role in many portfolios. This quarter’s product is Real Estate Investment Trusts. HOW DO THEY WORK: Real Estate Investment Trusts, or better known as REITs, work a lot like they sound. A trust is created with the purpose of purchasing commercial real estate property with the intent of leasing the property to different businesses for their use. Shares of these trusts are sold to investors. Rental income is then collected and at least 90% of that income is distributed back to the shareholders. WHO MIGHT BE A CANDIDATE TO OWN: Someone who is looking to own commercial real estate but does not want to go through the hassle of being a landlord or someone who would like to diversify a portion of their portfolio in real estate.

FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT REITS

REALTY CAPITAL SECURITIES
MONDAY, MARCH 10, 2014

You and a guest are cordially invited for dinner and discussion about REITs presented by

For additional information or to attend, contact Shane Adkins at sadkins@fintegra.net or 217.321.3624 with your name and the name of your guest. Please respond by March 5.