July 2021By Mark Fissel
Posted on July 16th, 2021
June saw a continuation of the global economic rebound scattered with supply chain constraints and inflationary pressures that has characterized 2021, with an increase in volatility in both the bond and equity markets. We believe these trends, including increased volatility, have legs.
Economic growth was confirmed as U.S. GDP increased at an annual rate of 6.4% in the first quarter of 2021. While this is a backwards looking gauge of activity, we can see other forward looking indicators showing a continuation of the expansion, such as The Institute for Supply Management’s forward looking index of Services showed growth at 60.1%, down slightly from the previous month’s all-time high of 64% (anything over 50% is expansion). Employment continues to increase, with June’s data coming in higher than expected with 692,000 new jobs filled vs. 600,000 expected. Yet as job openings remain at all-time highs unemployment continues to hang around the 5.9% area, which may change as emergency COVID-19 unemployment benefits fall off in June and July.
As such, U.S. equity markets had a good June and a great first half of the year.
If you have a 401(k) or other workplace retirement plan that offers a Roth option, you should consider taking advantage of it. Unlike pre-tax deferrals, contributions to a Roth 401(k) won’t reduce your tax bill now, but the withdrawals in retirement will be tax-free. If you expect to be in a higher tax bracket during retirement rather than now, a Roth 401(k) is the way to go.
Life insurance has long been recognized as a useful way to provide for your heirs and loved ones when you die. Naming your policy’s beneficiaries should be a relatively simple task. However, there are several situations that can easily lead to unintended and adverse consequences you may want to avoid.
Debt poses a growing threat to the financial security of many Americans — and not just college graduates with exorbitant student loans. Recent studies by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR) and the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) reveal an alarming trend: The percentage of older Americans with debt is at its highest level in almost 30 years, and the amount and types of debt are on the rise.