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New Plans for a New Year
Whether we’re aware of it or not, most of us typically repeat the same tasks day in and day out. This constant repetition can make life seem boring and monotonous. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with a comfortable routine, but it is possible to become too set in our ways. When that happens, we can stagnate and as the comfortable routine becomes mundane, we get stuck in a rut.

So how do we break out of a rut? A great method is making an effort to try something new or learn a new skill. Learning new things is a great way to shake up your life and stir your brain from the dullness of monotony. You may discover a great new hobby or learn some useful skills. You might even find out that what you tried just isn’t for you. Regardless of the outcome, attempting something new is valuable as it forces your brain to exercise in a new way. New experiences can stimulate creativity and help you overcome your fears (fear of discomfort, fear of ridicule, etc.). As you continue trying and learning new things, eventually this will filter into other areas of your life, and you’ll find yourself seeing and experiencing the world in new ways.

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

  • Office Update – As far as we know, we should be remaining in the same location until at least around May/June. We will provide you with more updates as the situation evolves.

  • Arbitration Agreement – On September 30, 2021, Ohio Administrative Code 1301:6-3-12.1(I)(1)(d) was updated to prohibit the use of mandatory arbitration clauses. As a result, we have updated our contracts to remove all arbitration clauses. In the near future, existing clients will be required to sign an amendment to existing contracts.

  • Email Signature Links – We have added Sharefile links to our email signatures to make it easier for you to upload your documents. From now on when we request documents from you, simply click on the link that says "click here to upload files securely" and you'll be taken to a secure Sharefile link to safely upload your documents.

  • 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.

  • Gain/Loss Reports - For Orion users who have taxable accounts, we have uploaded the 2021Gain/Loss Report to your Orion portal. This report has been completed to the best of our knowledge and should match the information found on TD Ameritrade’s 2021 Consolidated Form 1099(s) if we held the account for all of 2021. For those clients without Orion access, your gain/loss information is a part of your TD Ameritrade’s 2021 Consolidated Form 1099(s). This Form will be available mid-February by mail or online. If online access is how you are receiving your information, you will receive an e-mail notification it is available. It is also possible that corrections to this report may be made up to April 14th.

  • Changes to RMD Tables - The IRS has made changes to the RMD life expectancy tables for 2022. These new tables have been used for 2022 RMD calculations. Check out this month's blog for more information. (link below)

  • RMD Forms - RMD forms for 2022 have been sent out to those clients who are RMD eligible. Keep an eye out for those forms to arrive via mail in the coming weeks.

  • Designing Your Next: Plan Your Best Life - No matter where you are in your life, this class helps you clarify your intentions, values, and priorities. Guided by Certified Retirement and Life Coaches, this series will take you through well-researched information and specifically designed exercises to help you determine what you want and need for this stage of your life. This 8-week series is held on Thursdays, beginning January 27 2:00 ET via Zoom. Click this link for more information and to get signed up.

  • 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 January 2022 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
It’s been a weird kind of busy this month. Increased time at work is always a given in January and this year is no exception. The garage project should be done by now, but there are some lingering critical issues. The grandsons have been impacted by COVID outbreaks and their own issues (ear infections) which impacts the parents and my desire to help them. I have also spent time on weekends this month helping my son paint some areas in his house and then we go hiking. We decided to go to a new Metro park, in alphabetical order, every time we get a chance to go. This weekend we are in the “Cs”! It’s been really fun spending time with my son and seeing all the wonderful parks we have in central Ohio.
+ What About Bob
Thank you all for your prayers, thoughts, and condolences on the passing of my dad. It really means a lot and I was deeply touched! Dad was very much at peace with the whole thing and that has helped all of us tremendously. We all had the chance to spend one on one time with him. We all knew how he felt and he knew how we all felt. It was a beautiful and faith filled end to a life very well lived. His legacy and memories will live on. Mom is doing well and is very much at peace with it all. Life is trying to get back to normal but it just isn’t right now, and I anticipate it won’t be for some time! I think of him often and miss him terribly.

Grandchildren Update;

Lowell celebrated his first birthday on December 31st! It's hard to believe he was born so prematurely. He's very close to walking and constantly on the move.

Logan had fun playing in the snow earlier this week! They had a snowball fight and he helped shovel. Brittany couldn’t get him to make a snow angel but he was happy to walk right through hers.

Brittany and baby Worch are both doing very well. She is 26 weeks along and as cute as Christmas!
+ Tracey's Time
We had planned to get away for a ski trip in mid-January. We thought better of the idea after researching the resort pricing and the rise of the Omicron surge. We have no regrets, but hope to try out our new skis at the local slopes soon. Conditions need to be right to make snow that isn’t just a sheet of ice. So far it hasn’t stayed cold long enough. There’s always February. So for now, we are just working. 

School is back in session and spring sport tryouts are on the horizon for Cayleigh. A mulch sale fundraiser was completed and preseason conditioning is underway. Lacrosse tryouts will take place in late February. 

Cayleigh is preparing her application for the Student Conservation Association (SCA). This is a youth volunteer organization that works to conserve and restore parks, public land, and green spaces. She is now eligible to participate based on her age and can apply for 4 years. If accepted, she would spend 2+ weeks this summer camping and helping to complete trail maintenance. She hopes to become a Park Ranger.
+ Erik's Exploits
Christmas was a pretty low-key event for my family this year. Due to the Omicron surge, we didn’t get to see any of our extended family. My brother was forced to work on Christmas day, so we had to postpone celebrating until later in the evening. All in all, it was still an enjoyable day.
Earlier this month I was able to attend the Blue Jackets matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks with my dad. Unfortunately, it seems the team didn’t get the memo that there was a game that night as they looked pretty lifeless in a 4-2 loss. Despite the loss, it’s always fun to take in a game at Nationwide Arena. Especially against a former division rival.
Current Economic and Investment Information
MISSING THE BEST – The total return for the S&P 500 over the last 30 years (1992-2021) was a gain of +10.6% per year (total return). If you missed the 30 best percentage gain days over the last 30 years (i.e., 30 days in total, not 30 days per year), the +10.6% annual gain falls to a +4.4% annual gain (source: BTN Research).

AVOID THE WORST – The total return for the S&P 500 over the last 30 years (1992-2021) was a gain of +10.6% per year (total return). If you avoided the 30 worst percentage days over the last 30 years (i.e., 30 days in total, not 30 days per year), the +10.6% annual gain rises to a +18.2% annual gain (source: BTN Research).

JOBLESS The lowest (3.5%) and the highest (14.7%) unemployment rates in the United States since 1970 occurred 2 months apart in 2020. Our jobless rate in November 2021 was 4.2% (source: Department of Labor).

LIVING JUST A LITTLE LESS – The life expectancy at birth of an American baby in 2020 was 77.0 years, down 1.8 years from 78.8 years in 2019 and the largest single-year life expectancy decline since 1943. The 2020 life expectancy number is just under the 2003 life expectancy of 77.1 years (source: Center for Disease Control).

HOUSING – The average interest rate nationwide on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.11% at the end of 2021. The all-time record low national average is 2.65%, set on Thursday 1/07/2021 (source: Freddie Mac).

OIL PRICES – The price of oil ended 2021 at $75.21 a barrel, up +55.0% from its 2020 close of $48.52 a barrel. Oil’s all-time closing high price is $147.27 a barrel as of 7/11/2008 (source: CME Group).

YEAR TWO IN THE WHITE HOUSE This year (2022) is the 2nd year of Joe Biden’s 1st 4-year presidential term. The S&P 500 index has been positive on a total return basis during 15 of the last 24 “presidential 2nd-years,” i.e., 2nd-years dating back to 1929. The average performance for the S&P 500 index during the last 24 “presidential 2nd-years” has been a gain of just +6.7% (total return) (source: BTN Research).

YOU'RE HIRED US employers added 6.45 million new jobs in 2021, an average gain of 537,000 new jobs created each month. The smallest monthly jobs gains took place in December 2021 when just 199,000 new jobs were reported. By year-end 2021, 149.0 million Americans had full-time jobs (source: Department of Labor).

POWER TO THE WORKER Average hourly earnings of employees in the private sector rose by +4.7% in 2021, on top of a +5.5% gain in 2020. This advancement of wages during a nationwide pandemic, a 2-year average wage gain of +5.1% per year, was double the +2.5% annual gain in average hourly earnings over the preceding 13 years, i.e., 2007-2019 (source: Department of Labor).

WAS LOW BEFORE Inflation, as measured by the “Consumer Price Index” (CPI), was up +7.0% in 2021 after rising just +1.4% in 2020. The +7.0% annual inflation was the highest calendar year inflation since 1981 and was the highest year-over-year inflation since June 1982 (source: Department of Labor).

LEGAL EXCLUSION – 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).

THEY'RE IN EVERYTHING Employees that obtain health insurance coverage through their employer do not pay federal income taxes (or payroll taxes) on the economic benefit of that part of their health insurance that is paid for by the employer. The exclusion from taxation of this economic benefit saves US taxpayers $280 billion a year, the largest tax expenditure in the US tax code (source: Congressional Budget Office).
What's in Store for 2022?

Here's an outlook for 2022 put together by Federated Homes

Personal Finance Calendar
Personal Finance Calendar for 2022

By Rob Williams
Source: Charles Schwab
Do you spend more time planning your annual vacation than you do thinking about your personal finances? If so, you're not alone. A lot of people put off financial planning or avoid it altogether.

Personal financial planning is an ongoing, lifelong process, not a one time event. When you're proactive about your financial planning and break it into small, achievable tasks, it's a lot less daunting.

The personal finance calendar linked below should help you get started.

Click here to continue reading this article.
Ten Forecasts for 2022
Ten Trends That Will Shape the Way We Shop,
Eat and Live this Year
Expect a new type of frugality as many change their spending to buy more secondhand items and work around supply-chain issues, says Euromonitor report

By Ann-Marie Alcántara
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Consumers will evolve past being frugal this year by becoming more aware of their spending behaviors and looking for alternatives to buy goods in less traditional ways, said market research firm Euromonitor International in its annual prediction report.

The company’s annual trend report forecasts what consumers will value in the coming year and how companies should adapt to those behaviors. This year, consumers will change their spending in subtle ways. They will also even experiment with the metaverse, the research firm said.

“We see the middle class resetting and thinking about their spending, but we see that way beyond—everybody’s being a lot more frugal,” said Alison Angus, head of lifestyles research at Euromonitor.

Click here to continue reading this article.
Fixing Your Password Problem
How to Use a Free Password Manager—and Make Your Logins Safer

By Nicole Nguyen
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Some of my old usernames and passwords are floating around the internet, and maybe yours are, too.

After repeated notices of data breaches at websites, some I haven’t visited in years, I decided to get serious and use a password manager to create unique, unguessable passwords for each of my accounts. They’re so complex I don’t know what most of them are.

Hackers commonly employ an attack called “credential stuffing”: They take usernames and passwords leaked from one breach and enter them at other sites in the hope that people reused them.

This is why security experts always say don’t reuse passwords, especially those for important logins like your bank, your email and your work accounts. But it also means you’ll quickly end up with more passwords than you can remember.

Click here to continue reading this article.

“To learn something new, you need to try new things and not be afraid to be wrong.”

- Roy T. Bennett
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 we believe 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. No portion of this writing should be construed as legal or accounting advice. All rights reserved.