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New Year, New Start
December 31st heralds the end of the old, the start of something new, and gives us a chance to reflect on our accomplishments. It’s a time for celebrating change and any obstacles we have overcome. New Year’s is meaningful to people around the world and New Year’s resolutions are as popular as ever. Whether we want to lose weight, save money, or spend more time with family, there's nothing like New Year’s to help us focus on how we can improve ourselves. However, New Year’s resolutions are notoriously unsuccessful. A study by British psychologist Richard Wiseman found that 88% of people fail to keep their resolutions.

So ensure your best shot at success with goals that are both doable and meaningful. Set a plan, but be flexible, and remember you don’t need to do it alone. But the most important thing is to be kind to yourself, sometimes we can be our own harshest critic. The first 10 attempts to make a change may have been unsuccessful, but there’s always the 11th, or indeed next year…

Our best wishes to you and yours. We hope that 2021 holds success and good fortune in all your endeavors. Happy Holidays from all of us at AFP!

  • Covid Policy Update – We are currently conducting most meetings via Zoom. If you are fully vaccinated and would prefer to meet in person, please let us know. We'll do our best to accommodate your needs.

  • Office Update – The accounting firm that owns our building moved out last week and we were informed last Friday that the building has been sold. For the time being we will remain in our current location for the next few months. The search for a more permanent office continues. We appreciate some client’s offers of setting up shop in their basements, attics and garages though! Our goal is to stay in the Grandview Hts. area. Stay tuned!  

  • Additional Financial Planning Program – If you frequent the Client Login tab on our website, you will notice a new option. Call us crazy, but we have added another financial planning program to our quiver. We will address this with existing Wealth Management clients during our Annual Updates. In the meantime, if you are curious and would like to know more about it, give us a ring or shoot us an e-mail.

  • Holiday Hours - This is a reminder that AFP's office will be closing at noon on Thursday Dec. 23rd, will be closed on Friday Dec. 24th, and will be closing at noon on Friday Dec. 31st.

  • Orion Portal Reminder - If you cannot access your Orion Portal, contact Tracey to request a password reset. The Orion Portal requires a password reset every 4 months (120 days) and becomes Inactive after 8 months (240 days).
Click below to read our December 2021 Blog edition.

We would enjoy receiving your feedback on our Blog. Please share any comments or suggestions for future topics with us via email.

+ Teri's World
This time of year things seem to ramp up and there are more hurdles to jump over, but it always seems worth it in the end. Last weekend we took 3 of my grandsons to the Holiday Pops concert and then to the Columbus Jazz concert. They had never experienced live music on these two different levels. It was so fun to watch them take it all in. Plus, they got to see Santa!

This week Gene and I saw the production of Fiddler on the Roof at the Palace Theatre. I’m no critic, but I thought it was very well done. We are hoping to spend some time as a family making cookies, but that will be dependent on the health of my 4 “Petri dishes” (grandsons) as they pass colds and viruses back and forth. We are hoping to round out the month spending some quiet time with friends and family. I wish you all a safe and enjoyable Holiday Season as we enter a new year. 
Meeting Santa at the Holiday Pops
+ What About Bob
I can’t believe this is the last one of these for 2021! What an interesting year it has been.

We will be celebrating the Franz family Christmas on the 22nd with dinner at my parents’ house, like we did for Thanksgiving. It’s so wonderful to have Dad & Mom sitting at the head of the table that stretches almost the length of their house.

Layla’s basketball season is in full swing now and she is really enjoying it. Club volleyball will start the first part of next year. She is really looking forward to that.

Lowell is quickly approaching his first birthday. We can hardly believe it! It’s been amazing watching him grow and getting to see his wonderful personality come out!

Brittany and Baby Worch are doing well. She has been extra cautious about COVID, so we haven’t seen them in quite a while. However we are set to go see the Zoo lights this weekend, weather permitting. Hopefully, as she gets closer to her April due date we’ll be able to spend more time together.

We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and wonderful Holiday season!
+ Tracey's Time
We are currently in the midst of the holiday hustle while Cayleigh has been busy studying for her midterm exams. Her orchestra midterm is a small group ensemble performance during which she will play a violin solo. It's scheduled during the school/work day, but I can't miss it! It will be the only opportunity to hear her solo with the group and she has been practicing diligently.

Andy and I both got our COVID boosters recently and continue to recover from our cataract surgeries. It seems to take a while after this for the brain to adjust to the improvement. Andy is amazed and feels as if he now has a clean windshield. We are so very thankful and blessed.

Despite our blessings this year, I am reviving an old holiday tradition that my mother practiced. My Mom was a depression baby born in 1917. Every Christmas Eve she burned a bayberry candle until it extinguished itself. If still burning when we went to bed, she would put it in the kitchen sink bowl to avoid starting a fire. She said it was for “good luck” in the New Year. A recent purchase of two Bayberry taper candles reminded me of Mom’s tradition. “A bayberry candle burned to the socket, puts luck in the home, food in the larder, and gold in the pocket.” We wish these same blessings bestowed upon you! 
+ Erik's Exploits
December has proven to be a busy month for me. To begin the month I spent a few days helping a friend and his fiancée move into their new home. A few days later I helped another friend move as well. One of the perks that comes with owning a pickup truck is everyone wants your help moving. 

I’ve also been spending a lot of my time helping my parents decorate their house for Christmas. My mom is hosting her first Christmas party since the pandemic began and she wants everything to be perfect. 

I managed to find some free time to attend a Blue Jackets game earlier this month. It was a great game right up until we lost. Oh well, can’t win ‘em all.
• Tracey's Tonics •
We decided, given the year we all have experienced and the end-of-year surprise news related to our office space, that we should periodically share some of Tracey’s other talents, mixed drinks. Tracey’s Tonics will appear periodically, so stay tuned. Cheers!

For the Season:

The Cider Mule
  1. 1 shot of bourbon (substitute vodka if you aren’t a bourbon lover)
  2. Top with equal amounts of apple cider and ginger beer
  3. Juice a lemon wedge over and drop it in.
  4. Stir and serve over ice in a copper mug. 

For Gin Lovers:

Name this cocktail?
  1. 1 shot of Tanqueray Sevilla Orange Gin
  2. Add a splash of Root 23 Grapefruit Basil simple syrup
  3. Top off with equal amounts of Cranberry and Pineapple juice. Stir and serve over ice in a rocks glass. YUM!

Prefer a virgin Mocktail? Omit the Gin and substitute orange-flavored seltzer water.
Current Economic and Investment Information
ABOVE THEM ALL – A year ago (12/21/20), Barron’s published the year-end 2021 forecast for the S&P 500 made by 10 Wall Street strategists. The 10 predictions ranged from a low of 3800 to a high of 4400. The index’s 12/31/20 actual close was 3756. The S&P 500 closed last Friday 12/10/21 at 4712 (source: Barron’s).

AT THE HIGH END – A year ago (12/21/20), Barron’s published the year-end 2021 forecast for the closing yield on the 10-year Treasury note made by 10 Wall Street strategists. The 10 predictions ranged from a low of 1.00% to a high of 1.50%. The 10-year note’s actual yield close on 12/31/20 was 0.913%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note closed last Friday 12/10/21 at 1.487% (source: Barron’s).

ONE PERCENT To rank in the top 1% of US taxpayers for the 2019 tax year required adjusted gross income (AGI) of at least $546,434. That highly paid group received 20.14% of all AGI that was reported nationwide but they paid 38.77% of the federal income tax that was collected (source: Internal Revenue Service).

FIVE PERCENT – To rank in the top 5% of US taxpayers for the 2019 tax year required adjusted gross income (AGI) of at least $221,572. This group received 35.93% of all AGI that was reported nationwide but they paid 59.44% of the federal income tax that was collected (source: IRS).

EVERYBODY IS PAYING LESS – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was signed into law by President Trump on 12/22/17 and became effective 1/01/18, i.e., the tax cuts did not impact tax returns filed for tax year 2017. The average tax rate paid by the top 1% of taxpayers, i.e., federal income tax paid divided by adjusted gross income, dropped from 26.76% in 2017 to 25.57% in 2019. The average tax rate paid by the bottom 90% of taxpayers dropped from 8.38% in 2017 to 7.36% in 2019 (source: IRS).

AS LONG AS I'M HERE Just 1 out of every 11 employees (9%) who were auto-enrolled in their companies’ 401(k) plans opt out of their participation in the pre-tax retirement plan (source: Fidelity).

JUST DO YOUR JOB Congress passed legislation on 12/01/21 that will avert a government shutdown until Friday 2/18/22. By that date, Congress must agree on discretionary spending amounts needed to complete 12 appropriation bills that are required for fiscal year 2022 spending, i.e., the 12 months from 10/01/21 to 9/30/22. As of Friday 2/18/22, fiscal year 2022 will be 39% completed (source: Congress).

THEY'RE IN EVERYTHING 75% of the semiconductor chips manufactured in the world today are made in Asia. Just 12% of all chips are made in the USA (source: Semiconductor Industry Association).
Food for Thought

As we move into a new year, some trends are gaining momentum.
Could a change in what we consume be on the horizon?

Click here to view the full chart
Roth IRA Rule Changes
Congress Wants to Kill the "Backdoor Roth IRA." Here's What it Means for You

By Jeanne Sahadi
Source: CNN Business
Tax-free savings in retirement are great to have at your disposal.

But provisions in the Build Back Better bill would limit some of the ways to accrue them in the future -- at least for high-income savers.

The provisions are included in the version of the bill that recently passed the House, and is set to go to the Senate for consideration in December.

Click here to continue reading this article.
Holiday Tipping
Who Americans are Tipping This Holiday Season - and How Much They Plan to Give

By Michelle Fox
Source: CNBC
It’s the holiday season and that means it’s time to start thinking about who to tip for their services this year — and how much you should give.

It’s a way to recognize all they have done for you in 2021.

“Especially after a second very hard year, it is really worth thinking about how much you can give,” said Lizzie Post, co-president of the Emily Post Institute, great-great-granddaughter of the firm’s founder, and co-author of “Higher Etiquette.”

Click here to continue reading this article.
Accessing Digital Content After Death
The iPhone Feature to Turn on Before You Die
The new Legacy Contact setting in iOS 15.2 lets you specify who can access your
Apple iCloud information after you die. Here's how to set it up.

By Joanna Stern
Source: The Wall Street Journal
You must meet two qualifications for this column to be useful:

#1: You own an Apple device.

#2: You will die one day.

OK, maybe you’re on Android, but unless you’re Dracula or Kenny from “South Park,” you’re not immortal.

On Monday, Apple released iOS 15.2, and among many other features, the software update includes a much overdue Legacy Contact setting. The new tool allows you to specify who can access your Apple account—your photos, notes, mail and more—when you die.

Google and Meta (formerly Facebook) have offered a similar setting for years. Instead, Apple had a more lengthy process, requiring a court order.

Click here to continue reading this article.

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written”

- Melody Beattie
Alexander Financial Planning
1621 W. First Avenue
Grandview Heights, OH 43212

Registered Investment Advisor
This material is distributed by Alexander Financial Planning, Inc., (AFPI) and is for information purposes only. Although information has been obtained from sources to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy. It is provided with the understanding that no fiduciary relationship exists because of this report. Opinions expressed in this report are not necessarily the opinions of AFPI and are subject to change without notice. AFPI assumes no liability for the interpretation or use of this report. Financial planning, investment conclusions and strategies suggested in this report may not be suitable for all investors and consultation with a qualified advisor is recommended prior to executing any investment strategy. All rights reserved.