In This Issue
Welcome to MONTH-2-MONTH, an e-Newsletter from Alexander Financial Planning, Inc. MONTH-2-MONTH is intended to provide you with updates on AFP and timely financial planning and investment information on a variety of topics. You are welcome to forward this e-mail on to others.


A Fresh Approach to Spring Cleaning

Moving past cleaning and decluttering of the tangibles in our lives, we are now bringing the intangibles into focus. Have you considered what your legacy will be. What intangibles do you possess that you want to pass on?  Clean your mind and harvest these treasures.  

We seem to invest a lot of time planning for what will happen to our tangible assets after we are gone. We are told we can't take it with us. But what about your memories and experiences which you will take with you? Aren't these valuables worth equal consideration?

Want to learn more? Please consider attending our Legacy Planning Workshop this week. Look below for details. 

Happening at AFP:


RSVP soon to attend our workshop  "Beyond Money: Leaving a Lasting Personal Legacy" on April 25th (Thursday). We are doing this in a workshop format with two times to choose from 2-4 p.m. or 6-8 p.m. Both will be held at Our Lady of Victory Parish Life Center, 1559 Roxbury Rd., Marble Cliff, OH 43212. 

We have never heard a better speaker on this topic than Susan Turnbull and we  pulled a few strings to bring her here.   Please don't miss this program! 

National expert Susan Turnbull will explore legacy planning as a powerful complement to estate planning. The word "wealth" usually brings to mind tangible assets. But behind the legal documents and the dollars lies a wealth of intangibles - key relationships, stories to be remembered,   
National Legacy Expert Susan Turnbull 
and a mosaic of values, visions and hopes.  

To neglect the intentional communication of the intangibles, she says, may deny future generations the full value - in every sense - of the inheritance you plan to provide them.

This is an RSVP By Invitation Only Event. Click the link below  to review the   Invitation.


AFP will participate in the 6th Annual Grandview Chocolate Walk on Thursday, May 30th. The walk is from 6-8 pm. It is a pedestrian friendly event benefiting the Grandview Library Endowment Fund. Tickets will be available beginning in May at a cost of $25 each. The walk includes stops at many Grandview businesses and ticket holders will receive a chocolate treat at each stop. Tickets are limited. Get yours early so you don't miss out on this fun event. For more information, click the link below.

AFP Client Runs Coastal Marathons

Join us in congratulating AFP client "Tom" on running the Boston Marathon. Tom plans to run the Big Sur International Marathon on April 28th. Good Luck!

New Hire

AFP is seeking a part-time Support Specialist/Team Member. Perks include flexible working hours, and a fun, relaxed environment. Do you know a candidate who may be a good fit? Please send them our way!

On a Personal Note:
Teri's World - Teri is coming up for air after "tax season" and working towards some more normal hours in the office. She has a plot at the Wallace community gardens in Grandview Hts. and has been planning what to plant this year. The Wallace garden is one of the few public Victory Gardens still in existence in the U.S. They began during WWII to provide food during the war.  She has also enjoyed getting outside to walk the dog, hike and run. 

Wh at a bou t Bob? - Bob & Christine have had an enjoyably quiet April. Christine celebrated a birthday and a few visits to see Brittany, Chris and Logan have been the highlights. 

They are also feeling the excitement of a trip to Italy in June beginning to build.

Tracey's Time - Tracey and Andy  have been busy attending Cayleigh's softball and lacrosse games. Both teams are doing well, a few losses and some wins! Practicing good sportsmanship regardless of the outcome is a valuable lesson. She also had time to participate in the National Robotics Competition but the school talent show was the highlight of this month. Cayleigh delivered an acoustic guitar and vocal performance of Blackbird by the Beatles. 

(Current Economic and Investment Information)

  • IMPACTS THE SIZE OF CONTRIBUTIONS - The average assumed rate of return, i.e., the discount rate, used by the pension plans maintained by state and local governments has dropped from 7.9% in 2010 to 7.3% today(source: National Association of State Retirement Administrators). 
  • COLLEGE COSTS - The average cost of 1-year of college at an average 4-year public institution (including tuition, fees, room and board) has tripled over the last 22 years, rising from $7,142 for academic year 1996-97 to $21,370 during academic year 2018-19 (source: College Board). 
  • HOME BUILDING -876,000 single-family homes began construction in 2018, the 7th year of increasing home starts since this measurement bottomed at 431,000 in 2011.  The all time US record for home starts in a single year: 1.72 million in 2005 (source: Census Bureau). 
  • ECONOMIC CYCLES -The last recession in the United States ran for 18 months and ended in June 2009 or nearly 10 years ago.  The longest expansionary stretch in history (based upon records maintained since 1854) is 120 months, the decade from March 1991 to March 2001 (source: National Bureau of Economic Research). 
  • STOCK MARKET - The S&P 500's 4th quarter 2018 loss of 13.5%(total return) was followed by a 1st quarter 2019 gain of +13.6%, just the 6th time in the last 50 years that a "double-digit loss" quarter has been followed by a "double-digit gain" quarter (source: BTN Research). 
  • S&P 500 MAKE-UP - The 13 largest stocks in the S&P 500 make up 25% of the total stock market capitalization of the index as of the close of trading last Friday 4/05/19.  Thus, 3% of the stocks in the index represent 25% of the total value of the index.  The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index (source: S&P). 
  • BOND YIELDS - 10-year government debt in the United States was yielding 2.49% as of the close of trading last Friday 4/05/19.  10-year government debt in Germany was yielding 0.01% as of the close of trading last week (source: Wall Street Journal). 
  • U.S. EMPLOYED - 156.7 million Americans have full-time jobs today, 48% of our 328.7 million citizens (source: Department of Labor). 
  • EDUCATION - There are 30 million full-time jobs in the United States today (19% of all jobs nationwide) that pay at least $55,000 per year and don't require a bachelor's degree from college (source: Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce).

  • COLLEGE DEBT - Student loan debt reached $1.46 trillion as of 12/31/18, up +8.6% per year over the last decade.  An estimated 2 million millennials are living in rental housing today or they are back living with their parents instead of owning a home due to high student loan debt. Millennials were born between 1981-97 and are ages 22-38 in 2019(source: J. P. Morgan Chase & Co.). 
  • ESTATE DOCUMENTS - 58% of Americans have not executed a will and other estate planning documents, e.g., a medical directive that specifies what actions (if any) should be taken to prolong an individual's life (source: Caring.com). 
  • PENSIONS - The 5 pension funds of the New York City Retirement Systems, totaling $186 billion of assets as of 12/31/18, was 76% funded as of 6/30/18.  For the fiscal year ending 6/30/19, New York City will contribute $9.7 billion to the plans based upon an assumed rate of return of 7%, the target performance return for the 5 plans since 2012 (source: New York State Comptroller). 
  • U.S. GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT - The 80-year (1939-2018) average growth rate of the US economy is +3.6% per year.  However, the actual growth rate of the US economy has reached +3.6% or greater in only 1 of the last 18 years, i.e., in 2004 (source: Commerce Department). 



Dealing with Your Healthcare Status

Denial is a primitive defense mechanism of humans that starts in early childhood. There are incentives to refusing to face reality or facts - it allows us to act in the face of adversity. But at some point, reality slaps us down. By continually operating in a space of denial, we are often ill prepared when reality can no longer be ignored.

Health status and lifestyle are big drivers in financial plans. If you live a healthy lifestyle and have great genetics for longevity, you are at higher risk for Alzheimer's when you are old and should plan accordingly for the cost and logistics of your care. Likewise, if you are an overweight diabetic and are unable to limit your sugar intake to keep your diabetes and weight in control, you need to plan for the secondary problems diabetes may cause - increased risk of early death and disability from heart disease, renal failure, amputations and blindness. Getting your Proactive Aging Plan in place and understanding your potential health costs in earlier years is important to reduce financial and physical suffering.

Society generally frowns on people accepting the limitations they have in managing their health problems. It is construed as a lack of willpower if people don't follow through with lifestyle changes, "giving up the fight" if they enter hospice, or "noncompliance" if they refuse a treatment. Sometimes the burden of lifestyle change or treatment is too much, and instead of talking about it so adjustments can be made, the patient just "soldiers on" without making changes. Family and medical professionals become frustrated, treatment of the inevitable outcomes becomes reactive, and everyone suffers physically and financially.

Instead of resorting to denial to deal with unpleasant health events, can we embrace the truth and make the most of it? If you have a significant health problem that you are not dealing with effectively, do the following:

* Make sure you understand what you can and cannot control about your health.

* Share with your doctor what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do to participate in your health care.

* Make sure you understand the potential outcomes of your actions.

* Share with your family your decisions and the future ramifications, preferably in writing.

* Prepare financially for the outcomes by updating your estate planning documents, creating a financial plan, documenting your Proactive Aging Plan, and completing your advance directives.

* Revisit the plan periodically and adjust it as needed.

In our experience, clients are most willing to talk about aging and dying when they are young or if they are dealing with an aging or dying family member. The most reluctant tend to be males over the age of 70 - they don't want to face the loss of control and staying in denial is a powerful tool. Do not wait until problems occur. Begin these conversations early, own your health status, and plan accordingly.


"Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched 
into the minds of others and the stories they share about you ."

-Shannon L. Alder

Alexander Financial Planning, Inc. | | tguthrie@afp-advisors.com