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Winter 2015 Newsletter

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2015 Winter Newsletter-Business
2015 Winter Newsletter-Individual

Happy New Year!

This is a great time to reflect on past successes and plan for upcoming goals. I find this time of year to be helpful in recalibrating my expectations.  Click here for an easy tip to a smart start in 2015.

Best Wishes,
Mark Fissel

Market Recap

The United States emerged from 2014 as the best house on a troubled block. Civil war in Ukraine, a slowing Chinese economy, a stagnant Europe worried about potential deflation, a new recession in Japan, the threat of a new Russian economic meltdown triggered by plummeting oil prices–it all made an improving situation at home look even brighter by comparison… (Read More)

Annual Snapshot (Markets & Economy)

  • US Equities: Slow start but spent the rest of the year setting new highs.
  • International Equities: Generally down.
  • Bonds: Challenges overseas made the U.S. “safe money” and prices rose despite ending to quantitative easing.
  • Oil: Dropped nearly 45% from it’s July high of $107/barrel.
  • Currencies: U.S. dollar soared 11% over the year.
  • Gold: 2013 was a bad year but it stabilized in 2014.
  • Unemployment: ended year at 5.8%; lowest since July 2008. 
  • GDP: Despite Q1 slump of negative 2.1%, GDP was growing at fastest pace in 11 years by Q3 at an annualized rate of 5%.
  • Inflation: well under historical averages for 2014. 1.3% for last 12 months.
  • Housing: Case/Shiller has it at 4.5% year over year but showing signs of softening.
  • Manufacturing: Did well in 2014 and back to it’s long-term average.
  • International markets: Continued to struggle. EU Central Bank cut interest rates to steer clear of deflation. Japan officially entered a recession after two quarters of contraction. As well, China cut two key interest rates to stimulate the economy. (Read More) 

Healthy Resolutions Can Pay Off (Literally)

The link between health and money; eating habits and activity level. (Read More)

2014 Review: 7 Biggest Retirement Plan Stories of 2014

By any measure, 2014 was a busy year for plan sponsors. Supreme Court decisions, crackdowns by the Department of Labor and a shift in the political balance of power were among the big stories on the retirement front. And 2015 promises even more.

Here’s a look at some of the hot topics of 2014 and perhaps what we can expect in the year ahead. (Read More)

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