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Falling Leaves
Fall has technically arrived but the grip of late summer lingers on. It seems that our seasons are shifting on the calendar. Leaves that used to fall now hang on to the trees and the raking cycle begins later each year. Overall, fall offers much to appreciate. Now is the time to clean and organize the garage. Store away items in danger of freezing and find your rakes. Prefer not to clean and organize, it is also a great time to plant perennials and anticipate their spring blooms.

Halloween is just around the corner. Remember to stock up on treats during your next grocery stop and enjoy the Beggars Night Parade!

  • Our fall program, "Investing in the Current Economic Environment" was well attended. We received some great feedback. We are considering topics for our 2020 programs. We would appreciate any suggestions you may have.

  • We recently held our 4th Client Advisory Board (CAB) meeting. Our CAB was established 2 years ago and consists of a small group of clients whom agreed to advise us. There are 2 and 3 year terms available. With the 2 year terms ending, we are looking to fill some gaps. Our board meets twice annually in the spring and the fall. Meetings are typically 2-3 hours in duration and refreshments are provided. If you would be interested in helping us to shape and tailor our service for you and our other clients, please consider joining our CAB.

  • We have completed some technology initiatives including software and hardware updates while commencing working with a new IT service provider. Two major program transitions are also moving along.

  • Teri attended the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) conference earlier this month. One big take away was related to the compression of fees taking place in the brokerage investment services area and to compensate for this, many firms are saying they offer financial planning without the knowledge or qualification. Additionally, millennial's are becoming a driving force in our industry shaping the way financial planning will be delivered, viewed and implemented.  

  • Teri will be attending Sudden Money's Annual Conference the first week of November. Teri, Tracey, and Maria will be traveling to Omaha Nebraska for an Orion Onboarding training program in mid-November. Teri, Bob, and Maria will be heading to Cincinnati for a day to attend an E-Money Program.
Our Fall Program
Grandview Pumpkin Run Community Event
+ Teri's World
October has been a busy and reflective month. GHMC Historical Society had their Historic House tour and Teri was the captain of one of the houses. It was the most attended in the years this has been done. Spent part of a weekend celebrating Gene’s good friends and neighbors daughter’s wedding – just beautiful. She ran the ½ Columbus Marathon on October 21 st and finished! Spent time with family carving pumpkins this past weekend. Two of the three little ones had a lot of fun cleaning out the pumpkins, but Bryce, not so much – too yucky. Part way through last week Teri learned of a very good friend’s son choosing to take his life after 12 years of battling mental illness. 
Teri with Family and Friends at the Columbus Marathon.
2019 Pumpkins
+ What about Bob
October has been a busy but uneventful month for Bob & Christine. Their church activities are in full swing and keeping their evenings and weekends pretty full. 

Bob and his daughter Ashley had a blast (pun intended) doing some shooting at the Bullet Ranch. Bob won their shooting competition with the most shots in the bullseye.   
+ Tracey's Time
It's time to winterize the RV, but not before one last adventure. We scheduled a weekend trip to Geneva State Park. Geneva on the Lake is located in Ashtabula County, mid way between Cleveland and Erie, PA. It resembles a seaside resort where they roll up the carpets after Labor Day. We enjoyed a peaceful, quiet weekend. The park offers a lodge, camping, marina with fishing charters, hiking, and paved bike trails along Lake Erie. We biked upwards of 6 miles one day but only 4 the next with our dog, Coco running alongside. Did I mention this is Ohio wine country? There are several wineries located in this region!
+ Maria's Moments
This October Maria has spent a lot of time with her family. They went to the Italian Festival to eat her weight in calzones and cannoli’s. Maria and her family also went to Lynd’s Fruit Farm to go apple picking. 

Maria is starting a new round of classes at ODU, this half semester she is taking Accounting for Managers and Managerial Economics. She is very excited for her Managerial Economics course because Economics was one of her undergrad majors and she is familiar with the content. Maria is getting prepared to graduate this spring with her Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance.  
Current Economic and Investment Information
EMPLOYMENT - From the 2.264 million job openings in America reported in July 2009 while the country was mired in a recession, the number of job openings has jumped to 7.051 million as of August 2019. The 4.787 million increase in job openings since mid 2009 is equal to 95,740 new available jobs in each of our 50 states(source: Department of Labor). 
HOUSING - The average loan-to-value ratio in the US housing market as of 6/30/08 was 55%, i.e., the average homeowner had home equity of 45%. The average loan-to value ratio in the US housing market as of 6/30/19 was 36%, i.e., the average homeowner had home equity of 64% (source: Federal Reserve) 
PERCENT OF INCOME - It takes adjusted gross income (AGI) of $2.37 million to rank in the top one-tenth of 1% of US taxpayers. It takes AGI of $515,371 to rank in the top 1% of taxpayers. It takes AGI of $208,053 to rank in the top 5% of taxpayers. It takes AGI of $145,135 to rank in the top 10% of taxpayers. This data, covering tax year 2017, was released last week (source: Internal Revenue Service). 
INCOME & TAXES- The top 1% of American taxpayers in tax year 2017 made at least $515,371 of adjusted gross income (AGI), received 21.0% of the $10.9 trillion of AGI reported nationwide, and paid 38.5% of the $1.6 trillion of federal income tax (FIT) paid nationwide, i.e., 1-21-38. The top 10% of taxpayers made at least $145,135 of AGI, received 47.7% of all AGI, and paid 70.1% of all FIT, i.e., 10-48-70(source: IRS).

GLOBAL INTEREST RATES - 24 out of 41 central banks of the world’s major economies (59%) reduced their key benchmark interest rate during the 3rd quarter 2019, including the Federal Reserve of the USA. Just 3 of the 41 central banks (7%) raised interest rates last quarter (source: Financial Times).  
CHANGE IN WORK FORCE - By the year 2025, more than 50% of the US workforce will be “millennials” or younger. Millennials were born between 1981-97 and will be ages 28-44 in 2025 (source: Inc. Magazine). 
EXPENSES - 10% of American homeowners spend at least 50% of their pre-tax income on their housing costs. 25% of American renters spend at least 50%of their pre-tax income on their housing costs (source: Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University). 

CHINA - China’s economy, worth $14 trillion today, is 80% owned by individuals in the private-sector, compared to being 50% private-sector owned in the late 1990s and 0% private-sector owned in 1978 (source: “Capitalism, Alone,” author Branco Milanovic). 

CHINA'S ECONOMY - China’s economy grew by +6.0% in the 3rd Q 2019, i.e., a year-over-year growth rate, its lowest quarterly result since the 4th Q 1989 or nearly 30 years ago(source: Chinese National Bureau of Statistics).   

SOCIAL SECURITY WAGE BASE - The maximum taxable wage base subject to the social security payroll tax will be $137,700 in calendar year 2020. An estimated 82.5% of earnings of all US workers will be subject to the social security payroll tax next year, a levy that is 6.2% for employees and 6.2% for employers (source: 2019 Trustees Report).  

A FAILURE TO PLAN - 25% of American seniors receive at least 90% of their pre-tax income from their monthly Social Security retirement benefit (source: AARP). 

SAVINGS - The average 401(k) contribution rate by American employees in the first quarter 2019 is 8.8% of salary. This average is based upon those employees participating in an employer-sponsored pre-tax 401(k) retirement account (source: Fidelity Investments).   

U.S. HEALTH - 39.8% of American adults are obese, a threshold that is defined as having a “body mass index” (BMI) of at least 30. BMI is a ratio calculated using an individual’s height and weight. 30.5% of adults were measured as obese in the year 2000 (source: Center for Disease Control). 

Which Companies Responsible
For the Most Carbon Emissions?

By Iman Ghosh
Visual Capitalist
Since 1965, it’s estimated over 1.35 million metric tons (MtCO₂e) of greenhouse gases have been released into the atmosphere—and over a third can be traced back to just 20 companies.

This week’s chart draws on a dataset from the Climate Accountability Institute, and highlights the companies which have been responsible for the most carbon emissions in the past half-century.

U.S. Data Show Signs of Slower Growth

Business activity is weakening around the globe
despite recent interest-rate cuts.

By Amara Omeokwe and Paul Hannon
The Wall Street Journal
Business activity continued to slow around the world headed into the fall, with the U.S. showing signs of tepid growth, an indication that a wave of interest-rate cuts by leading central banks over recent months has yet to turn sluggish economies around.

U.S. orders for long-lasting goods fell in September and a measure seen as a proxy for business investment also decreased, the U.S. Commerce Department said Thursday, providing fresh evidence that global trade worries are hampering business activity.

The decline in durable goods orders was due in part to a sizable drop in orders for transportation equipment, reflecting the strike at General Motors and the continued grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane.

A private survey of business activity separately indicated a slight uptick in U.S. business activity in October, up from earlier lows, though data firm IHS Markit said the overall outlook remained subdued, as new work at the businesses surveyed fell to the lowest pace since October 2009.

The U.S. survey data and “a near-stalling of new order growth to the lowest for a decade suggests that risks are tilted toward growth remaining below trend in coming months,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.

Meanwhile, business activity in the eurozone was close to stagnation in October, while it declined in Japan.

Around the world, factories have been hit by rising tariffs and slowing investment spending as businesses opt to wait out a lengthening period of unusually high uncertainty about future trade relations between the world’s leading economies. Caterpillar Inc., a maker of construction and mining equipment, Wednesday cut its profit forecast for this year, saying that global economic uncertainty is prompting customers to hold off on big purchases.

Those broader problems have been compounded by turbulence in the automobile industry, which faces more strict emissions standards and signs of saturation in some key markets.

The September U.S. figures for durable goods reflected these trends.

Orders for durable goods—products designed to last at least three years—decreased 1.1% in September from the previous month. The transportation sector factored heavily in the decline, with orders for auto vehicles and parts falling 1.6% and orders for commercial aircraft declining 11.8%.

New orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft—a closely watched proxy for business investment—fell 0.5% in September from August, to $68.6 billion, following a 0.6% decrease in August and a flat reading in July. Orders declined 0.8% in September from the previous year.

“Today’s data point to continued weakness in business fixed investment, no doubt, due in part to the uncertainty arising from U.S.-China trade tensions in September,” Barclays economists Jonathan Millar and Pooja Sriram wrote in a note to clients.

The October IHS Markit composite U.S. purchasing managers index was 51.2, up from 51 the prior month. A measure above 50 indicates growth in business activity, while a measure below 50 indicates contraction.

Central banks have responded to weaker manufacturing output by cutting their key interest rates, with those of Indonesia and Turkey the latest to move Thursday. The U.S. Federal Reserve has taken the lead in providing fresh stimulus to growth, cutting its key interest rate in July and again in September. It is expected to do so again when policy makers meet next week.

Their actions in 2020 will largely be determined by whether they succeed in preventing the slowdown from spreading to the services sector, which is much larger.

Surveys of U.S. purchasing managers showed steady services activity and an increase in manufacturing headed into the fourth quarter, an outlook that is better than the eurozone and Japan.

The eurozone surveys indicated that the manufacturing contraction continued while the services sector teetered on the brink of stagnation. But there also were signs that the slowdown may soon spread to services that are offered to consumers rather than businesses.

“Until two months ago we could say the services sector was resilient, but now we can see the PMI for services declining sharply,” European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said Thursday, expressing concerns that the eurozone slowdown has spread beyond manufacturing.

Similar surveys for Japan also released Thursday pointed to a fresh decline in activity during October, with the manufacturing sector contracting for the sixth straight month. However, IHS Markit said that weakness may reflect a rise in the sales tax at the start of the month, and a typhoon that caused widespread disruption, including the cancellation of games during rugby’s World Cup.

Most large economies have yet to release economic growth figures for the third quarter, but those readings that are available suggest activity slowed. South Korea is Asia’s fourth-largest economy, and its central bank Thursday said economic growth more than halved in the three months through September from the previous quarter as exports stalled and investment spending fell. That followed figures from China last week that showed the world’s second-largest economy slowed again in the third quarter.

How Safe are Safe Deposit Boxes?

By Rick Kahler
Advisor Perspectives
I have routinely recommended that people use a bank safe deposit box to store valuable papers and small assets. These include documents like wills, trust documents, ethical wills, and unrecorded deeds. Valuable assets include diamonds, gemstones, jewelry, bullion, and small collectables like rare coins, stamps, and trading cards.

The physical protection of a bank vault, plus a system of access requiring two keys kept by the customer and the bank, would seem to provide a great deal of security. Yet several recent news articles suggest safe deposit boxes are not as safe as they seem.

An article in the New York Times reported 44 robberies in the last five years related to safe deposit boxes. Even worse were numerous bank errors in which boxes were moved, misplaced, drilled open, or closed by mistake. A large Maryland bank closed several branches and lost hundreds of safe deposit boxes. One customer lost $500,000 worth of gold and gems.

In each case, banks vigorously fought any requirement to make their customers whole. Even more shocking, no provision of federal banking law regulates safe deposit boxes.

Nor do banks insure the belongings of customers who trustingly store their most precious valuables in safe deposit boxes. The risks fall on the renter. Wells Fargo’s safe deposit box contract caps the bank’s liability at $500. Citigroup limits it to 500-times the box’s annual rent. JPMorgan Chase has a $25,000 ceiling on its liability.

Decades ago, I placed some rare coins in a safe deposit box with a local bank. A few years ago I went to retrieve my valuables, only to find the bank had drilled open the box and sent the contents to the state as abandoned property. I learned that when I relocated my office, the change of address notification failed to carry through to the annual billing notice for the safe deposit box fee. After three years of non-payment, the bank chose to go through the effort of drilling open the box and shipping the contents to the State Treasurer’s office. It would have been simpler to spend a few minutes looking up my information and contacting me.

Eventually I was able to retrieve the contents of the box. I was lucky.

An international expert in rare watches stored 92 watches plus rare coins, worth millions, in a safe deposit box at a Wells Fargo bank branch. Wells Fargo had evicted another customer for non-payment and drilled open the wrong safe deposit box. The customer found his “safe” deposit box empty. Wells Fargo executives could only find 85 of his watches.

The customer sued. Wells Fargo admitted in court that its employees had mistakenly drilled into and terminated the wrong box. The unrecovered items included gold coins and a watch estimated to be worth nearly a million dollars. After years of litigation and appeals, Wells Fargo has offered no restitution.

If a “safe” deposit box isn’t really safe, what can you do instead? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Consider investing in a high-quality home safe for small valuables and important documents.

2. Scan all important documents and save copies in a secure online “vault.” Many financial planners provide such online backup storage.

3. If you do use a safe deposit box, choose one at the bank you use regularly and open it at least once a year.

4. No matter where you keep your valuables, insure them adequately. Standard homeowner coverage is probably not enough.

5. Share passwords and access codes with another trusted person.

Finally, ask before you store. Understand a bank’s policies and coverage limits before you trust it with your valuables.
"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. "

- Albert Camus

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.